Manchester music maven Anthony Wilson, whose life was depicted in the movie 24 Hour Party People, died in hospital in England earlier today of a heart attack (Friday, August 10th), according to news reports from the BBC, Sky News, and NME. Reportedly the former radio and TV broadcaster, record label boss and owner of the legendary Hacienda nightclub, who had been suffering from cancer, died at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. He was 57 and last year was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had been in hospital receiving treatment since with the life-prolonging drug Sutent.
Apparently San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, seen here trying on his new Halloween costume, didn't get the memo from his own office that the City of San Francisco had canceled all public Halloween celebrations in the city, including the traditional Halloween in the Castro party. As announced Wednesday by San Francisco City officials, there will be "no official Halloween celebration anywhere in San Francisco in October" (including at the downtown AT&T parking lot, which was rumored as a possible alternative party spot to the Castro). This decision is no doubt due to violence at previous Halloweens in the Castro -- notably last year when a shooting incident left nine people injured. Therefore, the normally celebratory Mayor Newsom, who just over the past few days named August "Barry Bonds Month" and named Wednesday "Virgin America Day" (as in the Richard Branson airline), could easily have named October "SF Halloween-Hater Month."
While I do not wish to see anyone hurt anywhere at any time, I think that this move by the city of SF is BULLSHIT and it reminds me of when you are a kid in school and some clown in the class would do something wrong and instead of punishing the perpetrator the teacher would, unfairly, punish the entire class. And just like in those school days, when the teacher's actions merely frustrated and aggravated the law-abiding majority, so too will this action by the city officials of SF merely frustrate the average Bay Area resident who wants to enjoy a San Francisco tradition -- Halloween in the Castro. It is also not unlike the move several years ago by the leaders of the city across the Bay, who voted to shut down Oakland's famed traditional Festival at the Lake (Lake Merritt) due to many young black males "cruising" in their cars and incidents of violence in the surrounding neighborhoods (not even at the Lake). And did the Oakland police action curb violence in the East Bay city? Not at all!
When San Francisco's legendary movie palace the Castro Theatre -- which this weekend is celebrating its 85th year anniversary -- first opened back in June of 1922, the price for a loaf of bread was 5 cents, a newspaper cost 2 cents, and a man's haircut or, alternately, the cost of admission to the Castro movie theater was 25 cents. And tomorrow morning at 11AM (Saturday 8/11), the price of admission will be rolled back to 1922 prices when the historic theater charges only a quarter for admission to a screening of Laurel and Hardy's Way Out West (see clip below) plus some classic cartoons. This is great opportunity to see the classic comedy duo in their 1937 film on the big screen. But it is also a great opportunity to absorb the beauty of the historic San Francisco landmark, famous for its Wurlitzer pipe organ, with the amazing interior and the Spanish Colonial Baroque facade that was designed by Timothy L Pflueger, who also designed Oakland's Paramount Theater.
All weekend great events/movies are planned for the Castro Theatre's 85th year anniversary celebration - although not for 25 cents, but still, at $6 to $9 for most weekend screenings, it is a lot less than going to your local multiplex. These screenings include Clark Gable in San Francisco followed by live music by the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, plus the Maltese Falcon (Saturday night starting at 7PM). And on Sunday night at 7PM, Warren Lubich will play the famous Wurlitzer as accompaniement to a screenig of Phantom of the Opera, plus a screening of Laurel and Hardy's Big Business.
Brandi Shearer, the premiere artist on the Amoeba Music record label, returns to the Living Room at 154 Ludlow Street in New York City tonight (Thursday August 9th) to kick off her Thursday nights at the Living Room in August series at the Lower East Side (LES) location. Brandi Shearer's anticipated new album Close To Dark -- the first release on the new Amoeba Music record label -- is slated for release in a few weeks, on August 28th, and tonight Shearer will be including many songs off it in her set, which begins early, at 7PM. Also performing at the Living Room tonight will be Lipbone Redding (8PM) and Cresent and Frost (9PM). There is no cover but a suggested $5 tip jar at the Living Room. Tonight is week one of a series of shows that Brandi will be doing for the next couple of Thursdays at the Living Room, including August 16th and 23rd. Also note that the singer/songwriter will be performing in Philadelphia, PA this weekend on Saturday night at the World Cafe, upstairs on a bill with the Anthony Lattanze Band-- 9PM is showtime.
When Brandi last performed at the Living Room a couple of months ago, she played the more intimate upstairs room (Googie's Lounge), but this time round she will perform in the larger downstairs performance space. If you happen to be reading this while you are in New York City on any of the Thursdays that Brandi Shearer is playing (Aug 9, 16. 23), head for this recommended show and hang out afterwards in this cool part of town. And if you cannot make it to any of these nights this month but have future plans of being in NYC sometime soon, make a mental note of the club and the immediate LES neighborhood it is situated in, as it is well worth a visit.