When Ireland native and second-generation bartender John Lillis decided to open a new watering hole to complement his popular Irish Times sports bar, he invoked the history of Irish immigrants who came to San Francisco by way of Australia. Before it was the Barbary Coast, the area at the base of Telegraph Hill was called “Sydney Town,” in reference to residents who emigrated from Australia in the 1800s. Some were laborers who had fled the Great Irish Famine, but many were convicts from Australia’s British penal colonies. Read More
I told a winemaker friend of mine I was writing about New Zealand sauvignon blanc this week and his response was not uncommon: “Cat pee on a gooseberry.” But don’t let that turn you off or make you turn the page.
Sauvignon blanc is the grape that put New Zealand on the wine map. Other varietals like pinot noir have staked a claim, especially in the coldest areas, but sauvignon blanc still accounts for more than half of all vineyard space. Officially, this grape is celebrating its 40th year on New Zealand’s soil. Read More
Recent rants from a well-known restaurant critic could have one easily believing that San Francisco’s Chinese food scene is nearly dead, confined to costly dim sum and lettuce-cup chicken served only in downtown office buildings or on tony shopping streets.
Not true, say I.
Exhibit A: Beijing restaurant. Wedged into a horseshoe-shaped plot of concrete across from a Midas and a 76 gas station, Beijing is anything but tony. Unconcerned with glitz and glamour, the chef here focuses on the action-packed flavors of Northern China. Read More
An aspiring dancer with more optimism than talent tries to find her footing in "Frances Ha," and her clunky attempts to do so, which constitute most of the action in this serio-dizzy comedy, add up to an 86-minute puff of joy.
Credit the collaborating talents of writer-director Noah Baumbach and his star and cowriter, Greta Gerwig, for providing the brightness and the buoyancy.
With its depiction of college graduates not quite ready for adulthood, the film recalls Baumbach's "Kicking and Screaming." Read More
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach met actress Greta Gerwig when he cast her in his film “Greenberg.” Now, not only are they a romantic item, they have entered into a fruitful working relationship, co-authoring the wonderful screenplay for “Frances Ha.”
Baumbach, who made “The Squid and the Whale,” directs, and Gerwig stars as Frances, a charming, optimistic, scatterbrained apprentice at a New York dance school whose world falls apart when her best friend and roomie moves out. Read More
When 17-year-old model Kendall Jenner tweeted, “Just wish things could be easier sometimes mann,” the Kardashian runoff was immediately hit with attacks. Read More
And speaking of problematic people to follow on Twitter, ex-A’s star Jose Canseco has unleashed some doozies since being accused of raping a woman after drugging her.
Known for bizarre tweets in the past--“there is a quality control issue with my manfume”--now Jose has tweeted the name of his accuser along with an invitation to her to take a polygraph. Read More
Let’s catch up with Amanda Bynes. According to TMZ, this week she tried to board an airplane without an ID (her license is suspended). Instead, she offered up a great alternative: Just Google me. Read More
British upright bassist Oliver Steadman still recalls the help wanted ad like it was yesterday, on a webite in Oxford where people look for musical instruments for sale. But this one said “seeking a bassist for alternative-pop band.” Being only 17, he didn’t know what that oxymoron meant, so he went to meet them. “They” were keyboardist Jon Quin and singer-guitarist Brian Briggs, who went on to form the quirky folk-rock ensemble Stornoway with Steadman and his percussionist kid brother Rob, then 15. They had no choice, with Steadman being the only bassist who responded. Read More
Filmmakers David Siegel and Scott McGehee, who met at UC Berkeley, never have compromised, releasing just five films in 20 years, including “Suture,” “The Deep End,” “Bee Season” and “Uncertainty.”
Their latest film, the intelligent, heartbreaking “What Maisie Knew,” which opened this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival and gets its theatrical release this week, displays the same high quality.
Based on Henry James’ 1897 novel and updated to modern-day New York, the movie concerns a messy custody case. Read More