<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - ]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/the-scene/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Tue, 26 May 2015 19:02:14 -0700 Tue, 26 May 2015 19:02:14 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["The Breakfast Club" Coming to Bay Area Theaters for 30th Anniversary]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 16:21:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/breakfastfathom.jpg

America's seminal '80s movie about high school students turns 30 this year.

Fathom Events is hosting a 30th anniversary celebration of "The Breakfast Club" in theaters across the country on March 26 and 31. The production company has created a featurette to show with a restored version of the movie that shares anecdotes from cast members and filmmakers.

The film has endured longer than even some of its actors have expected.

"I always loved the movie, I loved it when I filmed it, I just didn't know it would have the longevity that it seems to have had," Molly Ringwald, who co-starred alongside Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall, told Time.

Locally, the film will show at Brentwood 14 in Brentwood, Cupertino 16 in Cupertino, Hacienda Crossings 21 in Dublin, Bay Street 16 in Emeryville, Fairfield Stadium 16 in Fairfield, Eastridge Mall 15 in San Jose and Santa Cruz 9 in Santa Cruz. Screenings in all participating Bay Area cities except Brentwood will be available in IMAX.

The 30th anniversary edition of the movie will also be released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 10.



Photo Credit: Universal Pictures]]>
<![CDATA[30 Years Later, "The Residents" Are Missing Another Eyeball]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 23:35:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/192*120/Residnets+Mr+Blue.jpg

One of the original four eyeball masks from underground music and art group The Residents has gone missing in San Francisco.

A similar scenario played out 30 years ago in Los Angeles when "Mr. Red" was stolen from backstage after a performance at the Palace. That one was eventually returned, and the SFPD is hoping the same will happen with "Mr. Blue."

Homer Flynn, longtime collaborator and co-manager of The Residents, reached out to the SFPD recently to report that an attempted delivery to his Haight Ashbury home resulted in a missing irreplaceable artifact.

"Mr. Blue Original has been traveling in a museum show for the past three years," Flynn said via email Friday morning.

In addition to the eyeball mask, the original Residents at the Golden Gate Bridge photo was also in the package. "The eyeball is valued at $100,000. The photo is $20,000. Totally irreplaceable," Flynn said.

After traveling in a museum show called "Spectacle: The Music Video" to Cincinnati, NYC, and Australia, the last stop for the eyeball and photograph was the EMP in Seattle. "It was coming back to me via FedEx from Seattle when it disappeared," Flynn explained.

"Unfortunately no one notified me when the shipment was actually sent in early April," Flynn said, who was in New Orleans with his family when the package showed up at his house. "My best guess is that FedEx left it on the landing of my building and someone took it. I seriously doubt that they knew what was in the shipping box."

Flynn explained, "At this point FedEx still claims to have made the delivery which was signed for, but the signature is ‘B Ham.’ There’s no one with that name in my building and subsequent emails have indicated that no one was here when FedEx claims to have made the delivery."

The four original eyeball masks were made in 1978, and The Residents filmed some of the first ever music videos with them, eventually ending up in rotation during MTV’s incarnation in the early 1980s. A new documentary called "Theory of Obscurity: A film about The Residents" which chronicles their more than 40-year career recently showed at the San Francisco International Film Festival. (Full disclosure: NBC Bay Area employee Josh Keppel is a Producer on the film.) The film includes a scene where the Museum of Modern Art in NYC added one of the eyeballs to its permanent collection.

Flynn said he has never had a package stolen from his doorstep before, "but there have been a lot of times when FedEx made deliveries to my building and they put the package on the landing, rang the bell and drove away."

Flynn asked that if you see Mr. Blue, please contact the SFPD.



Photo Credit: Cryptic Corporation]]>
<![CDATA["Fifty Shades of Grey" Distracts Sacramento Drivers]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 17:24:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/50ShadesDriveThru.jpg

Opening weekend for the film "Fifty Shades of Grey" included some unwilling viewers.

The movie is being shown at the West Wind Drive-In theater in Sacramento, right off Highway 50. Motorists say they could clearly see the R-rated movie as they drove past.

Even worse, the theater is right next to a go-kart track, which was filled with families over the President's Day weekend.

"I just don't think it should be on a big screen out in the middle of the public, where anybody could turn around and see it," Susan Weiss told KCRA-TV on Monday.

The manager of the theater says he has moved things around so the movie is not visible from the freeway or the track.

By Monday night, KCRA reports, Jennifer Lopez's "The Boy Next Door" and "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” could be seen from a distance, but “Fifty Shades” was tucked away from plain sight.



Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[Trailer Park Boys Stop at Oakland's Paramount Theatre]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 16:50:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/trailerparkboysorg.jpg

Trailer Park Boys hail from a mobile home community called Sunnyvale, but this week they're going to bring their laughs to Oakland.

The stars of the cult Canadian comedic television series will bring their Still Drunk, High & Unemployed Tour to Oakland's Paramount Theatre on February 17.

Trailer Park Boys started as a movie in 1999 and became a television series two years later. In the 16 years since, there have been three more films, eight seasons on TV and two live specials on Netflix. Season 9 of Trailer Park Boys starts next month on Netflix; the subscription service has plans to air two subsequent seasons.

Admission to the Still Drunk, High & Unemployed Tour ranges from $38.95-69; tickets are available via Ticketmaster



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Musician Wins NPR Tiny Desk Contest]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:14:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/npr-th.jpg

An Oakland musician whose soulful, bluesy twang beat out 7,000 other video entries took home NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Contest's inaugural title.

Xavier Dphrepaulezz, who performs as "Fantastic Negrito," sang "Lost in a Crowd" behind a steel desk – (performing behind a desk was a rule of the contest ) –  to claim his 15 minutes of fame.

Dphrephaulezz was too swamped, he told NBC Bay Area via Twitter, to really discuss his win on Thursday, hours after his award was announced on the radio. But he did tell NPR that the name of his band comes out of a "love and fascination for black roots music of the early blues era."

"To me, it's a celebration of blackness," he told NPR Music. "'Fantastic' is self-explanatory. And the 'Negrito' is a way to open up blackness to everyone – make it playful, international. It's extremely positive in my view; it's my affair with this music. And it's like gold! I feel like it's something that everyone should know about."

Late last year, NPR Music "All Songs Considered" host Bob Boilen launched a contest to give an undiscovered band a chance to play behind his "Tiny Desk," perhaps the smallest concert venues in the world. Boilen's actual tiny desk is in Washington, D.C., and where many big names, including Adele, Cat Stevens and Macklemore, have performed.

Boilen wanted to see what great musical talent was out there in the world, and so the rules of the contest were that the musicians had to play behind a desk. Some hauled desks to the snow. Others to the beach. Boilen said Fantastic Negrito was chosen because he just loved how "raw" the sound was.

Last year, the group was listed on the "Crucial Local Music of 2014" in the East Bay Express. Sometimes, he just takes his group out to the streets. In November, he played on Broadway, where one viewer said on a YouTube video that he's a "blend between Otis Redding, James Brown and Lenny Kravtiz."

Fantastic Negrito's website says his band's music comes from being reborn after "going through a lot of awful s---." Raised as an orthodox Muslim, his family moved from Massachusetts to Oakland when he was 12. On his website, he talked about living in the "wild, vibrant" city of Oakland, then getting into a "near death" encounter in Los Angeles involving a masked gunman when he was 20, and being in a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma in 2000. Even today, he plays with a hand that was mutilated in that crash.

Now, back in Oakland, Dphrephaulezz says he is a person reborn, after getting married, planting vegetables, raising chickens and having a son, Kyu.

It was then, he wrote, that "all the creative energy Negrito bottled for years came rushing out."


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<![CDATA[Oakland Child Trafficking Epidemic Inspires Play]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:43:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/TC_HighRes1_EmilioVigilCROP.jpg

Tracie Collins, a professional doula with three children, is deeply concerned about the plight of underage women who are trafficked into prostitution in Oakland.

"Living in the City of Oakland and seeing young girls up and down International Boulevard, I often wondered about their stories," she says. "What brought them to that place?"

Collins, who is also a playwright, actor, director and producer, has come up with a creative expression as a response to the child prostitution epidemic in Oakland. She has written, directed and produced (but does not appear in) a new stage show called "Cold Piece of Werk." There will be four performances at Kaiser Center Lakeside Theatre on March 14-15.

"Sex/human trafficking is often seen as an international issue, but not as something taking place in the Bay Area, specifically Oakland," Collins said. "It could be someone you know: your mother, sister, daughter, neighbor, friend. My productions tackle controversial subjects like this."

The FBI considers Oakland a "high-intensity child prostitution area." A 2010 investigative report produced by Youth Radio in Oakland and aired on NPR is a window into a bleak world where girls barely into their teens are kidnapped and often raped into servitude.

The problem is so insidious in Oakland that in 2014 there was a citywide billboard, poster and bus shelter campaign to raise awareness, according to the Los Angeles Times. And for as many young ladies as are visible on International Boulevard, countless more have been taken to work in distant cities like Sacramento and Las Vegas.

Tracie Collins may be best known in the theater world for The V Monologues: A Black Woman's Interpretation, her 2013 self-produced stage play that featured former CBS 5 anchor Dana King in the lead role of the Vagina Monologues remix.

With Cold Piece of Werk, "I want to give a voice to the voiceless: the black, brown and white girls of the Bay Area and around the world," she says.



Photo Credit: Emilio Vigil
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<![CDATA[2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 13:32:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/beachProposal.jpg Photos: 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am]]> <![CDATA[New Music Video of Slain Rapper Emerges]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:48:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/jackafreewayvideo.jpg

A music video featuring slain Bay Area rapper The Jacka has been released this week.

Philadelphia rapper and frequent collaborative partner Freeway dropped a video for "Dunya," a song the two recorded together for their 2013 album Highway Robbery. 

The Jacka, born Dominic Newton and later changed to Shaheed Akbar, was shot dead in East Oakland on February 2. He was 37-years-old. 

Oakland Police have not announced any leads in solving The Jacka's murder nor does there appear to be an obvious motive. The department and Crime Stoppers are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his killer.

Freeway and The Jacka had a shared connection in the Muslim faith. On "Dunya," Freeway raps, "Got with Jacka 'cause he pray like I pray." The word dunya itself means world and temporary life in Arabic.

"Dunya" and the accompanying album Highway Robbery are available on iTunes.



Photo Credit: Empire Distribution
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<![CDATA[Andy Samberg: From Bay Area to "SNL"]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:59:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/samberg-roots.jpg

When Andy Samberg was a sophomore at Berkeley High School, his teacher told his father not to worry about Andy’s falling grades: “It’s not that big of a deal. Your son is the funniest guy I’ve ever met.”

Samberg’s father, Joe, shot back: “Like that’s gonna pay the rent.”

Little did dad know, when his son grew up, he’d be hired by Lorne Michaels as a writer and featured player on “Saturday Night Live”, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Sunday.

Since departing "SNL," Samberg has become a leading man, taking home the 2014 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

The Lonely Island boys were "inseparable"

Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan, who used to work in the schools when Samberg was a teen in the 1990s, said Samberg and friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, who joined the "SNL" writing staff at the same time as Samberg, were quite hilarious.

All three met as sixth graders at Willard Middle School in Berkeley and continued on as friends at Berkeley High and beyond. In 2000, they established a comedy group, called The Lonely Island, a name that reflected their time in Los Angeles as they struggled to make it big in comedy.

“They were inseparable at Willard and high school,” Coplan said, adding that Samberg’s mother, Margi, was an elementary school teacher in the district. “Then they met again after college and lived in a tiny apartment they referred to as ‘The Lonely Island.’”

All three were recruited to work for "SNL" in 2005, a job they held until 2012, popularizing and leading the "SNL" Digital Shorts division. 

They never forgot their roots

In January 2012, the three pals helped facilitate the largest donation to the Berkeley Unified School District in history: $250,000. A total of $75,000 went to the “Metal Shop Theater” at Willard Middle School and the rest went to pay for a theater manager and other equipment to revive the “Berkeley High Tech Crew” at Berkeley High School.

“These guys are just so down to earth, they’re just regular Berkeley kids,” Coplan said, noting that when the three came back to visit recently, all were humble and joked around with the administrators and teachers.

Such acts of generosity did not surprise the friends' former educators. Nor were they surprised when the boys grew up to be world famous comedians.

Especially Samberg.

Samberg’s third-grade class of future stars

In 1986, Kyle Wong was Samberg’s third grade teacher at Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, where he is now approaching his 30th year. Wong held onto Samberg’s class photo and even has a VHS copy of the school play, “Annie,” featuring Samberg as “Daddy Warbucks” and classmate Chelsea Peretti in a smaller role. Peretti, a highly successful comedic actor in her own right, co-stars with Samberg on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

“That class was very accomplished,” Wong said.

As for remembering young Samberg’s antics, Wong recalled that the third grader loved to be on stage, had “messy handwriting” and was “always wrestling around wearing a puffy jacket.”

Former classmate Eric Thompson remembers Samberg being super silly and "SNL"-bound from a young age.

“He was always funny and just doing crazy stuff,” said Thompson, 41, of Oakland. “He was the only white dude with dreadlocks at Berkeley High. He always carried around an old VHS video camera and was making funny videos. He was basically doing skits when he was young, just without 'Saturday Night Live.'”



Photo Credit: Mark Coplan / Berkeley Unified School District
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<![CDATA[Famous Pianist Plays Free Concert in Hospital Lobby]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:53:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Katya_Carnegie_20141227-014.jpg

Visitors to San Jose's Good Samaritan Hospital will enjoy a free concert from a world-class artist this week. Katya Grineva, a Moscow-born pianist known for her romantic style, who has appeared at Carnegie Hall 14 times, will perform in the hospital lobby from 10-11a.m. on Feb. 10.

Grineva's connection to cancer is a deeply personal one: Her mother recently died of the disease. She has long been building extra time into her concert itinerary, which regularly takes her across the world, to play at schools and hospitals.

Good Samaritan Hospital's piano is a donation from a volunteer whose husband was treated for cancer there. Open to the community for signups, it's a beloved part of the acute care hospital, where music is valued for its powers to heal and uplift.

Grineva will also tickle the ivories at the Cancer CAREpoint benefit at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga on February 11.



Photo Credit: Andre Chow]]>
<![CDATA[E-40, Too $hort to Headline SAP Center]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:38:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/earlstevenskrushgroove.jpg

E-40 and Too $hort will team up with Ice Cube, Scarface and other rap music legends for Krush Groove, a concert taking place at San Jose's SAP Center on April 17.

Though they're both indelibly associated with the Bay Area, both E-40 and Too $hort spend the bulk of their time doing concerts in other places. They both tend to play here or make cameos at other artists' shows only a few times a year.

A local concert appearance of this size and magnitude is rare for the longtime friends, who finally collaborated together on two albums in 2012. There has long been a perception that large Bay Area venues — and cities — may be resistant to booking E-40 and Too $hort shows.

It is a perception that has been fueled in part by the artists themselves. "For some reason, the City of Mountain View won't let E-40 and Too $hort perform," E-40 told Fuse TV in 2012, referring to a rap tour called Rock The Bells that was taking place at Shoreline Amphitheatre. "They can't even give us an excuse or nothing. They can't say nothing. They don't even know why they won't let us perform. They don't want us performing on our soil, man." 

The City of Mountain View later released a statement to Patch denying any such involvement.

San Jose appears to be welcoming these two local and international legends with open arms. Tickets to Krush Groove are $44.75-$140.75 and are available via Live Nation.



Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Better Off Dead" Live Reading Set For SF Sketchfest]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 19:02:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Savage-Steve-Holland-photo.jpg

Savage Dynamite—could be a one hit wonder from MTV’s video heyday, but actually it’s the union of two teen comedy cult icons, Savage Steve Holland and Napoleon Dynamite.

Holland is the writer-director of the 1985 classic “Better Off Dead,” which will have a live read at SF Sketchfest and will feature Jon Heder (a.k.a. Napoleon Dynamite) playing lead role, Lane Meyer (originally brought to life by John Cusack. More on him in a bit.)

The event takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 8, in the Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St. The live read also will feature cast members from the movie Amanda Wyss (Beth), Diane Franklin (Monique), Kim Darby (Mom Jenny Meyer) and Curtis Armstrong (Charles De Mar) as well as guest readers Kevin Pollack, Eddie Pepitone, Annie Savage, Paul F. Tompkins, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney, the last two who are Sketchfest co-creators.

“Jon Heder was on my bucket list because ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ was a teen movie that wasn’t mean-spirited. It had really good sight gags, really great characters and really had a good heart in the middle of it all,” Holland said in a recent phone interview.

The same could be said for “Better Off Dead.” While it follows a teen movie archetype, geeky guy loses girl to popular jock only to discover that he’s better suited for the girl next door, “Dead” is chock a block with memorable oddballs and winning gags.

Fans have their favorites, whether it’s Johnny, the psychotic paperboy, who wants his “two dollars!” or perhaps the comical fails of Lane Meyer trying to kill himself after getting dumped by Beth. Of course, I love Charles De Mar’s ingenious attempts to get high in a clean town—including snorting snow off a mountaintop.

“Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?” De Mar asked after freezing his brain with a huge snort.

Curtis Armstrong was cast because Holland really enjoyed his take as the best pal in “Risky Business,” and the director has since brought him in for roles whenever possible.

“We’ve known each other for decades now, and all that time he would ask me to do something, and I would do it if I could. It meant working with somebody who I really enjoy,” Armstrong said.
“Curtis I always trick into doing my shows,” Holland said. “He’s so awesome.”

February 8th’s reading will be dedicated to comedian/actor Taylor Negron, who appeared in “Better Off Dead” as a slimy mailman. Holland called Negron, who died from cancer on Jan. 10, his good luck charm.

“He once said to me, ‘Your career has not been very successful; so I don’t know how I’m lucky for you,’” Holland laughed.

Despite Dead’s status as a cult classic at campuses around the country, Cusack has notoriously distanced himself from “Better Off Dead” since it was first screened.

“I love that he was in the movie, and I will forever be grateful to him. ... I guess the cat poop in the sundae was that he was there for dailies. He knew every joke that was happening. We would laugh hard,” Holland said. “I was heartbroken because I couldn’t get why he didn’t understand that’s what we were doing. It seriously exploded my brain.”

A fan reached out to both Armstrong and Holland not long ago to let them know that Cusack was actually willing to autograph a piece of “Better Off Dead” merchandise; so perhaps that’s a small step toward him coming around to the fan favorite flick.

“I love Cus-dog. I think he’s awesome. I Think Lane Meyer is one of the most charming characters John has ever been,” Holland said.

Armstrong said Diane Franklin, who sent many a heart aflutter as French foreign exchange student/grease monkey, Monique, is actively trying to get a special edition Blu-ray release of “Better Off Dead” created.

“Most people are still around and could actually contribute to this,” Armstrong said. “I would love to do it. I think it would be great fun.”

Armstrong added that he had a blast making “Better Off Dead’s” follow-up with Holland, “One Crazy Summer.” Those hoping for Savage Steve’s return to the world of wacky comedies might get their wish. He’s been working on ideas with Bobcat Goldthwait for a possible follow-up.

“I don’t know if I can get away with doing what I did back in the ’80s. Back then, nobody gave me notes or anything…My job these days is like artistic waterboarding because whenever I try to do stuff, I just get stopped. I can imagine the reaction when I say, ‘Now there’s dancing hamburgers.’ People would think you’re on drugs,” Holland said. “We’re thinking about doing this sort-of sequel in a way that can stand on its own. When you write with Bob, it’s just so funny; it could be anything.”
 

Visit SFsketchfest.com for ticket info to “Better Off Dead” and other shows that run through Sunday, Feb. 8.

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<![CDATA[Grateful Dead Fans Flood Stinson Beach With Mail]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:05:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/86272000.jpg

The Grateful Dead did things the old-school way, asking fans who wanted tickets to their concerts July 3-5 – incidentally, the last concerts that the band will ever do – to send requests via mail order.

So some 60,000 fans did just that.

The response was "overwhelming" for both the tiny post office in Stinson Beach, where the orders came, as well as for management of the band, which was forced to cancel other pre-sale plans in response, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In context: 60,000 letters is about two months' worth of mail for the town, the newspaper reported.

The first tickets available to the shows went on sale Jan. 20 via mail-order. Tickets range from $59.50 to $199.50. Other pre-sale plans involving the Internet are now being re-assessed, as Dead management plans to "honor" all of the mailed ticket requests, according to the paper.

"Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead" is happening at Soldier Field, the site of the final shows played with Jerry Garcia before his death in 1995.

The rest of the band, including Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, put differences aside long enough to plan this summer's shows, where they'll be joined by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Single-Day BottleRock Tickets Set to Go On Sale]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:02:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bottlerocknapaballoons.jpg

General admission single-day tickets for the third annual BottleRock Music Festival music, food, wine and brew festival (May 29-31, 2015) go on sale Wednesday, Jan. 28 at BottleRockNapaValley.com and Eventbrite.com.

A limited quantity of single day tickets will be available at $99 per person.

Imagine Dragons, who will release their newest album Smoke + Mirrors on February 17, will kick-off the festival on Friday, May 29, followed by Robert Plant on Saturday, May 30 and No Doubt who will close out the three-day event on Sunday, May 31.

The BottleRock Napa Valley daily lineup, to date, includes:

Friday, May 29: Imagine Dragons, Foster The People, Cage The Elephant, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Public Enemy, Los Lobos, Xavier Rudd & The United Nations, AER, The Mowgli’s, Courtney Barnett, Kopecky, Big Talk, Vacationer, Zella Day, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, The London Souls, Afrolicious, Wildlife Control, Ryan Sims Band, The Iron Heart, The Bad Jones, The Deadlies, Pion 2 Zion

Saturday, May 30: Robert Plant, The Avett Brothers, Passion Pit, Young The Giant, Capital Cities, Portugal. The Man, ZZ Ward, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts, Lettuce, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brothers Comatose, Knox Hamilton, Finish Ticket, Grizfolk, Black English, Wild Ones, The Record Company, Con Brio, Transfer, The Trims, Mother Mother, Fritz Montana, Doe Eye, Jessica Malone, Napa Crossroads LIVE Featuring David Pack of Ambrosia, John Elefante of Kansas, Bill Champlin formerly of Chicago, and Jim Peterik founding member of Survivor

Sunday, May 31: No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Gipsy Kings, AWOLNATION, American Authors, Trampled By Turtles, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Echosmith, Brett Dennen, Los Amigos Invisibles, JJ Grey & Mofro, Tristan Prettyman, People Under The Stairs, The Last Internationale, Battle Tapes, Moonalice, Kawehi, Emily Wolfe, Sneakout, The Frail, Eagle Wolf Snake, Silverado Pickups, Matt Moon, grass child, Walsh

Show times will be released prior to the event.

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<![CDATA[Grumpy Cat to Visit San Francisco]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:44:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/477158783.jpg

Can Grumpy Cat save the holidays?

Or, more accurately: can Grumpy Cat save us?

Help may be on the way, when the Internet's beloved "cranky kitty" pays a visit to San Francisco Friday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Grumpy Cat will be on hand at 5 p.m. at Union Square for the unveiling of the holiday pet adoption window at Macy's.

Grumpy Cat will also be promoting her movie. Yes, she has a movie, and "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" premieres on Lifetime on Nov. 29. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for SXSW
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<![CDATA[Former Grateful Dead Manager Dies at 73 ]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:28:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rock-scully.jpg

Rock Scully has passed on.

The former manager of the Grateful Dead died Tuesday at 73 near his home in Monterey, according to the Monterey Herald. He had been battling lung cancer.

Scully managed the band for 20 years, from when he first heard the band at a Ken Kesey acid test, those infamous happenings in which attendees received a dose of LSD as well as a dose of music, until 1985.

Scully had a "mischievous sense of adventure" and was "full of wonder and curiousity," attributes that served him well as the man in charge of an outfit as weird, wild and woolly as the Dead, according to guitarist Bob Weir.

He also "lived 'the hippie ethos' of peace and love every day of his life, like nobody I've ever met before," said David Bean, a Big Sur-based promoter.

A Carmel native, who met current U.S. Congressman Sam Farr in sixth grade at Sunset School, he had studied German literature before deciding to go into music after a ski trip to Squaw Valley, the newspaper reported.

It was Farr to whom Scully announced that he'd be manager of a new band, with a new name. The Grateful Dead. At the time, Farr thought it was "the nuttiest thing I've heard heard," the congressman told the newspaper.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Robin Williams' Former Napa Estate Listed For $25.9 Million]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:40:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/robin-williams-home.jpg

Robin Williams' former Napa Valley estate is back on the market.

The 640-acre "Villa of Smiles" is for sale for $25.9 million, 13 percent cheaper than when it hit the market prior to the actor and comedian's death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The villa is 20,000 square feet and sports five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a library, a bell tower, a theater and "safe rooms," according to the newspaper.

There's also a 65-foot-long swimming pool, a ranch and "more than 18 acres of vineyards," the newspaper reported.

No word on what grapes are planted.

The villa was built specifically for Williams, who died at his Tiburon home in August.



Photo Credit: Coldwell Banker Previews International]]>
<![CDATA[Mindy Kaling Shoots Sitcom in San Francisco]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:03:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kaling-instagram.jpg

Mindy Kaling took a whirlwind tour of San Francisco on Tuesday, shooting scenes for her sitcom "The Mindy Project."

Kaling, who plays an obstetrician/gynecologist on the show, filmed mainly with Chris Messina, her on-screen love interest and fellow OB/GYN. Judging by the stops (and Kaling's Instagram account), the fictional pair planned a romantic and picturesque visit.

The Bold Italic spotted the pair in front of the Painted Ladies Victorian houses on Steiner Street and near the Golden Gate Bridge. Kaling and Messina also shot scenes by a cable car, on the crooked part of Lombard Street and at City Lights bookstore. 

The day culminated with an intimate al fresco dinner scene shot at waterfront restaurant Epic Roasthouse under the lights of the Bay Bridge. 

"They dined on clam chowder, the Epic burger and fries and meatballs," reveals the restaurant's publicist Morgan Moore.

The show airs Tuesdays on Fox.



Photo Credit: @MindyKaling / Instagram
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<![CDATA[Neil Young Announces Starbucks Boycott]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 19:40:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/478056495.jpg

Neil Young and Starbucks are officially over.

The classic rocker announced the end of his latte-sipping days after the coffee giant joined up with Monsanto in fighting food labeling regulations, according to reports.

Monsanto is leading the fight against labels for food products that contain genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

And Starbucks is lending a helping hand in Monsanto's fight, which could mean it's all Peet's from here on out for Neil Young.

On his website, Young expressed his disappointment in Starbucks "working with the biggest villain of them all, Monsanto."

Vermont earlier this year passed a law that says all food with GMOs need labels by July 1, 2016.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Superhero Hopefuls Converge on Emeryville]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:51:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/superhero-auditions.jpg

Not rain nor sleet nor Magneto will keep the superheroes away.

Would-be Marvel men and women converged on Emeryville Thursday, strutting their stuff to prove they have what it takes to earn a place on the Marvel Universe Live! stunt show tour.

Men and women with skills in parkour, trick skateboarding, motorcycle riding and various martial arts took to the Athletic Playground in Emeryville in an attempt to earn a 12-month contract as a superhero.

No costumes required – this is all real-life stunts.

Those powerful enough to prove they can be a superhero get to go on tour with the troupe. The tour includes a stop at the SAP Center in San Jose, March 20-22.

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<![CDATA[Art of Eleanor Coppola on Display at Sonoma Museum]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:26:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Eleanor-Coppola-pic.jpg

Eleanor Coppola glided easily through the Sonoma Valley Museum, eyes darting at everything at once, spiky silver hair sparkling above a bright blue jacket. All around her: 50 years of her artwork stared back, part of a new retrospective exhibit of her life in art.

Drawings, photographs, watercolors and installations engulfed the soft-spoken woman as she made her way through the gallery inspecting the placement of each item.  “It’s like imagining going back and looking at your high school essay,” Coppola said.

The public largely knows Coppola as the wife of film director Francis Ford Coppola, and mother of director Sophia Coppola and her brother Roman Coppola. But, those in her circle, also know her as a consummate artisan who is compelled to create.

“The great thing about this amazing woman is that she is also a wonderful artist,” said Kate Eilertsen, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Museum.

Coppola has eked out her art in between the lines of her other lives: wife, mother, filmmaker and director of the family’s Napa Valley winery. Long ago, she figured out how to inject a life-long passion for the arts within the trajectory of her husband’s work, crafting pieces in the confines of hotel rooms and film locations.

“I’ve traveled to all of Francis’ locations,” she said. “And in those occasions I’ve tried to take smaller work and keep working on those things.”

Along on her travels, paper, pencils and other art supplies tucked into suitcases. One offspring of her travels are several large circle drawings defined by intricate lines. She finished one larger piece over two years.

The exhibit also features clothing designs Coppola created for the ODC Dance troupe. A side-room flickers with short videos she created, including one of a close-up of someone peeling a potato. Another shows a San Francisco Victorian house being hauled to a new location on a truck from the Western Addition during the 1970s.

Coppola famously took up a movie camera during her husband’s filming of "Apocalypse Now," creating the behind-the-scenes documentary "Hearts of Darkness."

One of the more elaborate of the exhibition, is an installation borne of the darkest period of her life. Circle of Memory is a large circular room constructed of straw bales and surrounded by dramatic photos of boulders in Ireland. The room is her version of ancient rooms where people would gather to remember the dead. Coppola’s son Gian Carlo Coppola died in a boating accident in 1986. Coppola discovered the type of room’s healing powers while sitting in one with a friend in Ireland, sharing names of people they’d lost.

“Finally at one point I said our son’s name, Gian Carlo Coppola,” she said. “I just had this unusual emotional experience of feeling connected to all the mothers, all the parents in history who had ever lost a child.”

Inside Coppola’s straw room, a steady stream of salt flowed from the ceiling, a symbol of tears and a baisc element that is required for life.

“It’s a place to reflect and commemorate and appreciate people we’ve lost,” Coppola said.

Coppola’s work is infused with the nature she soaked in at her home and studio in Napa Valley, where she and her family relocated decades ago from San Francisco. She said was initially in tears at the move, having left behind a bustling cultural city of art galleries and music. But then she came to discover the art all around her.

“Very shortly, I realized this enormous drama in nature,” Coppola said. “The skies and changing color of the grasses.”

Coppola said her art isn’t a byproduct of life among a famous family - it’s the sparks that’ve lived inside her since she was a child, smelling the oil paints from her father’s art studio.

As she glanced around the gallery, even she seemed surprised at the variety and depth.

“It’s really gratifying,” she said, “to see that i was able to get some work done during this busy life I’ve lived.”



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Improv Puppet Show Set for San Francisco Run]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:14:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Puppet-Up-1.jpg

Picture a mash up of “The Muppet Show” and “Whose Line is It Anyway?” and you’ll have an idea of what to expect from “Puppet Up! - Uncensored,” an improv comedy puppet show returning to San Francisco, Nov. 13-23.

“Puppet Up! – Uncensored” was co-created by Chairman of the Jim Henson Company, Brian Henson, who will be puppeteering during this run as well. After years of performing in movies like “Labyrinth,” producing shows such as “Farscape” and directing fan favorites like “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” Henson said he was searching for a new comedic voice for puppets.

“I was quite ambitious. I wanted to find the funniest angle for puppets for a discerning audience,” Henson said.

“The Muppet Show” arrived on the tail of such TV sketch comedy classics as “Laugh In” and “The Carol Burnett Show,” and all three owe something to vaudeville. While much of that humor is timeless, Henson’s ambition had him seeking something a little different.

“I wanted something that had a newer feel to it,” Henson said.

His then-girlfriend-now-wife, Mia Sara, suggested consulting with an improv comedy pro, and former Groundling, Patrick Bristow, came highly regarded. Henson said Bristow wasn’t sure that puppets and improv would be a good mix, as improv comics rely on constant eye-contact with each other to progress a scene, whereas Henson-style puppeteering has performers with their eyes locked to monitors.

Somehow, though, it worked to the surprise of Bristow. He suggested adding an audience, to bring the comedy to the next level. Among the friends and family at the first show were producers from the Aspen Comedy Festival, who insisted the new show have a slot there. It was so successful in Aspen, that the Edinburgh Comedy Festival came calling.

“I said, ‘Patrick, I think we’ve got a show,” Henson recalled. “We came back to L.A. to work the show and make it bigger and more robust.”

The run in San Francisco will feature Bristow interacting with the audience, getting suggestions for scenes and characters, while Henson and his improv puppeteers wait to grab one of 90 puppets and do one-of-a-kind sketch pieces and songs.

“It never goes where you expect,” Henson said. “As a performer, I'll often be off-stage with my puppet, and I’m thinking I’m going to come in as Brooklyn street guy, like a construction worker who’s angry. And, I’ll open the puppet’s mouth and all of a sudden, I’m doing a German mad scientist. I didn’t know I was going to do that.”

Henson said they didn’t intend to do an adults-only puppet show, but improv will go where it wants to go, and sometimes that’s into blue-humor territory.

“I have a dirty sense of humor when I’m in the right mode. I love it,” he said. “Occasionally, some of the performers and even me have gone a little too far, and we’ll talk about it.”

Another treat for longtime fans of Henson puppetry is the addition of two classic Henson company sketches. “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face” goes back nearly 60 years. Jim Henson performed it on early television programs including “The Steve Allen Show.”

“My mother said they performed that more than anything,” Henson said.

The other, “Java,” featuring colorful, tube-like puppets dancing, was originally performed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

“I know my dad was a huge fan of doing that one with Frank. I remember they did it for ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ when I was like 7,” Henson said. “I had to do the fire extinguisher at the end, and I remember being just terrified.”

“Puppet Up! – Uncensored” performers include Ted Michaels, Colleen Smith, Peggy Etra, Michael Oosterom, Grant Baciocco, Donna Kimball, Drew Massey and Victor Yerrid.

Visit shnsf.com for tickets and more info about “Puppet Up! - Uncensored.”

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Puppet Up! - Uncensored]]>
<![CDATA[Carol Channing Serenaded By SF Students]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 15:55:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/channing-Carol-2.jpg

Dozens of Lowell High School students crowded around the star, snapping selfies with her as she glowed on the theater stage.

It wasn’t Ariana Grande they were clamoring over but a Lowell alumna 72 years Grande’s senior, San Francisco native and living legend, Carol Channing.

The Broadway baby who brought Dolly Levi to life was serenaded with “Hello, Carol!” by the Lowell chorus and jazz band (a few audience members joined in, too) when she visited her alma mater and appeared in the Carol Channing Auditorium on Thursday.

Channing is doing a whirlwind tour of her old San Francisco stomping grounds that will culminate in the show “Time Steppin’” at the Curran Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Channing will be seeing a different view because it was in the audience of the Curran where she fell in love with the theater, saving her pennies to watch Ethel Waters in “As Thousands Cheer.” At the Curran, Channing will share stories of her remarkable show business career with another stage veteran, Tommy Tune.
“I’ve known him since he graduated from high school,” Channing said after her Lowell presentation. “I was performing down south, and he came and said, ‘I want to do just what you’re doing,’and I remembered him every time he would stop by after a show.”

Resurrecting the arts in public schools has been a passion of Channing’s for a long time, and the fruit of her effort was seen in her charges at Lowell. Their lively performances and polite nature—one dropped to a knee to present Channing with a bountiful bouquet—inspired the 93-year-old performer. In fact, she belted out “Before the Parade Passes By” from “Hello, Dolly!” a cappella.

“Acapulco is what Jimmy Durante used to say,” Channing laughed.

“To see those children’s’ eyes light up, it’s wonderful for me. It’s the essence of life,” she said. A theater student shouted a request from the audience, and Channing delivered the Ephraim monologue from “Hello, Dolly!”

Channing spent a good portion of Wednesday at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she visited frequently as a young woman, when her uncle Bill Chandler was the managing editor.

“It was just a joy to be there. He found every excuse to put me in the paper,” Channing said. “I played ‘Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.’ Every time I even stepped on the school auditorium stage, Uncle Bill put it right there on the second page.”

Surely, Channing and Tune will discuss ‘Dolly!’ during the show on Saturday. For 2,844 performances, Channing never missed one.

“I did shows when I had ovarian cancer. The doctor would stand in the wings. You can’t not be there. I never missed a show on the tours. Gee, I sound like I’m bragging about myself. I never meant it that way. I felt like I was trying to come up to an impossible mission,” Channing told me. “The audience, they saved their hard-earned money. They got babysitters. They drove in for God knows how long. They wanted to see the show, and then I’m not there? I can’t do that. So I got there. Every. Single. Performance. I reached to the heavens to get the show out, and that’s your best performance, the one you can hardly get out.”

Visit shnsf.com for more information on “Time Steppin’” at the Curran Theatre.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Corey Andrew]]>
<![CDATA[Damon Wayans, App Maven, Slated For Samsung Conference]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:23:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Damon-Wayans.jpg

Damon Wayans continues to channel “Hey Mon’s!” Mr. Hedley, a West Indian character he played on “In Living Color,” who scoffed at anyone who worked less than two jobs.

“I’m a comedian, writer, producer, father, grandfather and app maker,” Wayans laughed. It’s the former gig that will bring him to Cobb’s Comedy Club in SF Nov. 6-9, and the latter that will see him moderating a panel about global reach for mobile apps at the Samsung Developer Conference this month.

Wayans brought to life such characters as Mr. Hedley, Homey D. Clown, Handi Man and Head Detective on the ‘90s Fox sketch show “In Living Color,” and he’s been on the stand-up stage for more than 30 years. When trying to take a version of “In Living Color” online back in 2008, Wayans’ creative side took a blow.

“I went to my first convention, and they were talking about entertainment and how they were going to monetize content donations. They’re viewing what I do as a donation, and they’re going to make money off it,” he said. “That made me sick to my stomach. I needed to create tools to help create the content, because creating the content has little value.”

Wayans calls his app Diddeo a “pocket studio” where users can give their videos a professional makeover. With Smart phones able to produce hi-res video, Wayans calls Diddeo the “Rolls Royce of video creation.” In fact, he’s looking to launch a sketch comedy show using Diddeo, possibly with his son, Damon Wayans Jr., who’s having a great year with a starring role in the hit film “Let’s Be Cops.”

“It would me against the world, challenging the online community to do a sketch or music video parody,” Wayans said.

He’s also got FlickDat, an app to replace the paper business card.

“You can change all your contacts into business cards. You can add take a photo, make that your background, add a photo on top of that and add video to your business card,” Wayans said.

Wayans also spent a season on “Saturday Night Live.” He thinks when Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s hit sketch show “Key and Peele” hit, they’re really funny. But, he said since Dave Chappelle left his show, the void has yet to be filled.

“We’ve almost gone backward, if you think about Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and the doors they knocked down. Those doors have been put back up,” he said. “You can’t talk about race. You can’t talk about homosexuals. You can’t talk about politics. What can you talk about? There was a time when this country would laugh at itself.”

Wayans would love for his brother, Keenan Ivory, and Fox to work out the details to resurrect the groundbreaking “In Living Color,” if even for a one-off special.

“There’s still so much comedy in the world to be had,” he said. “We need to hold up a mirror.”

Visit cobbscomedyclub.com for more info on Damon Wayans shows.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.

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<![CDATA[Cameron Esposito Haunts SF Night After Halloween]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:35:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CameronEsposito_By-Mandee-Johnson.red_.jpg

Poor Cameron Esposito has been so bogged down with her plethora of podcasts, releasing a hit comedy album (“Same Sex Symbol”) and packing houses on the road, that she didn’t have time to assemble a Halloween costume this year.

However, the comedian did give this column the exclusive scoop that she will host a costume contest on the stage of The Independent at 628 Divisadero in San Francisco, on Sunday, November 1, to close out the big holiday weekend. (She may also provide saltines and soda water for those who stuffed down too much candy corn with tequila chasers.)

“Maybe I’ll just bring some of those little, weird pumpkins that are also like candy corn. Those are the best, because, what is that even?” Esposito said. “The problem with my life is I haven’t done anything cool for multiple Halloweens now because I’ve been in a hotel room by myself.”

Esposito does fondly recall dressing in ill-fitting Charlie Chaplin garb as a child. Gender-bending at Halloween was a toe-in-the-pool toward coming out.

“I talked to my fiancée, Rhea [Butcher], about this and we compared costumes when we were children. ‘For a while, I was a pirate.’ ‘And I was Garfield.’ It’s all falling in this realm of testing our boundaries of our femininity,” Esposito said. “Not that Garfield is very feminine. He does love lasagna and sleeping, and that sounds just like a woman!”

While it’s adorable to see little tykes trick or treating during the hours of 6 to 8, it can be obnoxious when high school-age-and-beyond young adults come beating on your door for Reese’s at 10 p.m. Esposito has a unique way of looking at that holiday annoyance.

“First of all, I’m proud of those 22-year-olds for not having any amount of shame,” she said. “If you get a high school-age trick-or-treater at the door, just know that they’re not trying to break into an abandoned swimming pool or drink 27 40s. Love them because they’re trying to do the right thing.”

Esposito hosts “Wham Bam Pow,” a sci-fi/action movie-themed podcast with panelists Butcher and Ricky Carmona. Just because it’s the season of the witch, don’t expect her to be discussing any horror flicks on there.

“No. Forget it. It’s disgusting. I really like horror movies as a concept. I like the idea. That stuff fascinates me, but I’m just terrified of everything,” she said. Esposito added that while she’s not watching the current smash show “American Horror Story,” she does keep up with online synopses and photos.

“It’s a very strange tightrope that I walk between fascination with the macabre and being completely unable to see it,” she said.

Visit cameronesposito.com or theindependentsf.com for more info on the Nov. 2 show.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Mandee Johnson Photography | CleftClips]]>
<![CDATA[Family to Pay Musical Tribute to Hardly Strictly Founder]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:48:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rosatohardly.jpg

They’re probably the least famous band at this year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Some didn’t take up instruments until a year ago. But chances are, when the Go To Hell Man Clan takes the Rooster stage in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, it’ll likely get a response as enthusiastic as any of the big name stars.

This variety show band of adopted bluegrass is courtesy of the children, grandkids and musical friends of the late Warren Hellman, the billionaire investment banker/banjo player who founded the free festival 14 years ago. As a tribute to Hellman, who died several years ago, the family has worked up a set of music he might’ve wanted to plunk along with.

“I like to think it was something he would’ve embraced,” said son Mick Hellman, who is also the band's drummer. “Especially seeing his grandchildren out there playing. I think it would’ve meant a lot, a huge amount to him.”

On Thursday night in a San Francisco rehearsal studio, the family band ran through a dozen tunes – with blocks of musicians rotating on and off the stage for each song.

“Everybody’s got their song,” said daughter Tricia Hellman Gibbs. “It brings us close to our father in a way, even though he’s not here, it feels like it is.”

The group will take its slot among more famous groups like Social Distortion, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris. But there are no illusions the Go To Hell Man Clan would’ve made it to the bright lights of the big stage without the family connection.

“It’s because we’re his family and we know that,” said Hellman Gibbs. “But it doesn’t mean we don’t try really hard.”

An avid bluegrass fan, Hellman often called the festival the “world’s most selfish gift.” Though his prowess on the banjo was, shall we say decent, he happily took the stage to play along with some of the festival’s famous acts – including his own band, the Wronglers.

“I really think it was a way for him to express himself,” said grandson Sam Gibbs, “and get in touch with a different side of himself than he could do in investment banking.”

Hellman left behind an endowment to keep the festival going for years. His family now has taken–up the torch to see it continues.

“It wound up being really important carrying on the festival,” said Mick Hellman, “and carrying on the music.”

The festival runs through Sunday in what’s now officially named Hellman’s Hollow in the park. In addition to five stages – festival organizers has added a small museum of Hellman’s memorabilia – along with a small stage where family members will perform smaller sets.

“I think it kind of keeps him alive in a way,” said granddaughter Ruthie Gibbs. “It really moves me every year.”



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Music Venues Use Technology to Disable Smartphone Use]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:26:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/smartphone+generic.jpg

Sick and tired of someone ruining your concert experience with a barrage of selfies and the bright light of an activated screen when the house lights are down? You need Yondr.

Several music venues in the Bay Area are using technology to disable smartphones during concerts, according to SF Weekly. The technology is called Yondr, and it's a "form-fitting case" that slips over phones and locks the device when in use.

Music venues have their patrons don their phones with this silencing apparel, which covers up screens and cameras alike, thereby rendering the phone, well, a phone.

Venues that designate certain areas "phone-free zones" appear the most-likely users of the technology. Those who disobeye the phone-free provision and also avoid sheathing their devices with Yondr risk being ejected from the venue.

In addition to preserving the sanctity of events, Yondr will go far to ensure your privacy and promises that "your idiotic drunk dance isn't tomorrow's YouTube hit," the newspaper reported.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA["Royals" Banned from SF Radio Station Playlist]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:23:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*235/73557949.jpg

There is no room for anything Royals-related in San Francisco, and that includes "Royals."

The 2013 pop hit from Lorde has been removed from KFOG's playlist, the radio station announced Thursday.

That means a "Royals"-free local airwaves for at least 10 days or so...  fewer, if the Giants can wrap up the World Series against that certain team from Kansas City in quick fashion. 

"Why send any positive vibes to Kansas City?" asked Jim Richards, KFOG's program director. "Why not give the song a rest? No one is going to get hurt over it."

Richards told NBC Bay Area that the powers that be decided to remove the song from KFOG's rotation "as the [Giants] players were chugging beers" Thursday night.

New Zealand-born Lorde, who at 17 still has plenty of time to pick a different team, has confirmed that the song was in fact at least partially inspired by a National Geographic photo  of Royals legend George Brett signing autographs.

UPDATE: KOIT has also banned the "Royals" song.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 75, Still Missing in SoCal]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:57:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sally+estabrook.jpg

The search grew on Monday for a woman with Alzheimer’s disease who disappeared from a Julian campground over the weekend without a trace.

Sally Estabrook, the 75-year-old mother-in-law of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, was last seen around 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pinezanita RV Park & Campgrounds on Highway 79. The woman’s husband said he finished taking a shower and realized she was gone.

Officials worry about her safety considering the nearby canyons and the hot conditions. They also worry she’ll be exposed to the elements.

About 30 searchers scoured the campground Monday morning and after finding no trace of her, expanded the search to outside perimeters about five miles from where she disappeared.

Mustaine, a La Mesa native, was at the search site on Monday, officials said.

He tweeted about the search efforts on Monday morning:

His daughter, Electra Mustaine, also tweeted about Estabrook's disappearance, showing a photo of her with her grandmother:

Dave Mustaine got his start as Metallica's lead guitarist before forming the thrash-metal band Megadeth more than 30 years ago.

He stays close to his roots in San Diego County. He now lives in Fallbrook, and earlier this year, he joined the San Diego Symphony for a special one-night performance as a guest guitarist.

Joining the search efforts on Monday for Mustaine's mother-in-law were search dogs, teams from Riverside and San Bernadino counties as well as BORSTAR (Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue).

They will continue their efforts until midnight.

Sheriff's officials are asking anyone with surveillance video from their home or business near the campground to come forward. They believe the footage could offer clues as to where Estabrook went.

“If anyone knows where she is or has seen (her), we urge you to please call your local law enforcement or the number for the search and rescue team and please, please speak your part because we miss her and we want her back,” said family friend Jordan Faintuch.

They say because of her Alzheimer's, Estabrook is not very communicative, but she may respond to her name.

Estabrook is described as 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 145 pounds with shoulder-length blond hair. She may be wearing a teal shirt and white capri pants. She isn't very communicative but may respond to her name, according to officials.

Anyone who sees Estabrook is asked to call 911.



Photo Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department ]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Author Receives Steinbeck Award]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:26:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/k-hosseini.jpg

Khaled Hosseini is following in the footsteps of Steinbeck.

And dhe San Jose author of "The Kite Runner," the "city's most famous writer," is now mentioned in the same breath as a comparable author.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Hosseini -- who read "The Grapes of Wrath" as a teen in San Jose, following his family's escape from Soviet Union-occupied and war-torn Afghanistan -- will receive the John Steinbeck Award from San Jose State University Wednesday, on the 75th anniversary of the Depression novel's publication.

Hosseini was a medical doctor by trade before his writing career took off following the 2003 publication of "The Kite Runner," in which the 12-year old main character, Amir, also finds a home in San Jose.

The 49-year-old Hosseini lives in real life in San Jose with his wife Roya and their two children.

Like Steinbeck's, Hosseini's books have a "commitment to democratic values and belief in the dignity of the common man," as the award committee put it.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Original "Real World" SF Condo Available to Rent]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:00:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/realworldsanfrancisco.jpg

Children of the 1990s, rejoice: Your chance to live as they did on "The Real World" has arrived.

The Lombard Street apartment where Pedro, Puck, and the five other members of the third season of MTV's iconic show made their mark is up for rent, according to reports.

SFGate's Beth Spotswood writes that nostalgia-seekers or would-be stars of their own reality can snag the two-bedroom, two-bath spread at 951 Lombard Street for $5,800 a month.

The decor appears to have been upgraded a bit since the place's glory days of 1994, when Puck was evicted and when Pedro introduced a larger audience to the ravages and tragedy of HIV/AIDS. That could mostly be because of a 2007 fire.

Either way, the pet-friendly, memory-laden pad is likely to go fast, SFGate speculates. 



Photo Credit: Madison Bear]]>
<![CDATA[30 Rock Alum to Perform at SF's Eureka Theatre]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:26:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Scott-Adsit-photo-by-Dan-Dion.jpg

We have no idea what Scott Adsit is going to do or say, and neither does he, when he returns to San Francisco to perform on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19 and 20, at the Eureka Theater.

Of course, that’s OK, because the “30 Rock” and “Second City” alum is part of the 10th annual San Francisco Improv Festival. Adsit will be performing long-form improv scenes with Jet Eveleth.

“I know that you're going to get amazing character work out of Jet. She’s just phenomenal,” Adsit said. “[She] melts into her characters and kind of oozes onto the stage and creeps into your psyche.”

Adsit is no stranger to SF fans of improv as he’s performed at SF Sketchfest shows such as Upright Citizen’s Brigade: A.S.S.S.C.A.T. and Gravid Water, which sees one actor performing from a scripted play and the improviser making up the scene as it goes.

While he’s still recognized as the typically-tortured producer, Pete Hornberger, from NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” Adsit was part of a remarkable cast at Second City in Chicago that also included Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Adam McKay, director of the “Anchorman” movies.

One of the most audacious audience experiments in improv comedy history happened during the run of Second City’s “Piñata Full of Bees.” While seeking an answer to the question, “Can we get the audience to feel something other than joy?” Adsit and his cohorts decided to interrupt the show by announcing the President had been shot. He shared the story of what happened.

“We thought, ‘Let’s break some boundaries.’ I volunteered to be the one to go on stage and tell people that President Clinton had been shot. We didn’t know if he was alive or not. I entered into a scene very quietly, walked on stage and whispered into the actors’ ears, and they shuffled offstage.

“I even bought what I was saying. I had a tear come out of my eye, unexpectedly. I kind of very soberly said, ‘The president had been shot; we’re going to stop the show. We’ll bring a TV monitor on stage, and you can watch the coverage or go home or whatever you need to do,’” he said.

Adsit recalled the comment that it was so quiet in the room, you could hear a mouse poop.

“We brought out a monitor and turned it on, and I couldn’t quite figure how to get it to work. Adam came out to help me. I turned it on, and there was a show with sports bloopers. I said, ‘I’m sorry; I’ll change it.’ Adam said, ‘Wait a minute.’ A guy got hit or whatever, and we both chuckled. Then we kind of got interested in another blooper. We laughed harder at that, and then we sat down in front of the TV and watched bloopers. The rest of the cast came out, and we just silently with our backs to the audience, sitting Indian style, watched sports bloopers.

“I think Adam turned to the audience, and they were just confused, and he said, ‘Everybody loves sports bloopers!’ We just sat there until the audience was gone, which didn't take long. And then the letters came in. People were not happy,” Adsit added.

Could they make the audience feel something other than pure delight? Yes, but Adsit has since learned that he’d rather get people to relate to and empathize with his improv characters.

“I’m still striving for that; I’m just not going about it with a sledgehammer,” he said.

Visit sfimprovfestival.com for more information on Adsit’s and Eveleth’s performances on Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreyshame.



Photo Credit: Dan Dion ]]>
<![CDATA[Tool's Danny Carey with Primus for Special Shows]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:05:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Primus+Tool-001.JPG Tool drummer Danny Carey sat in with Primus while Tim "Herb" Alexander recovers from heart surgery. The first of three shows was at the Concord Music Hall in Chicago. The last is Friday, Sept. 19 in Denver.

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Rain Closes Main Gate at Burning Man]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:53:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/BM+2013-171.JPG

The main gate into Burning Man has been closed through Monday night due to rain, according to the festival's main Twitter account.

Consistent rain has shut down the main entrance to the massive music festival in northern Nevada, and law enforcement officials are turning cars around.

"BRC is closed until midday Tuesday due to rain and standing water. Playa is un-drivable," posted @BManTraffic, the festival's Twitter account dedicated to getting participants in and out of the festival area safely.

People in the area can get hourly traffic reports on BMIR 94.5 at the top of the hour.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Young Jeezy Arrested in Concert Shooting Probe]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:00:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/08252014-jeezy-mug.jpg

Rapper Young Jeezy has been arrested in Southern California on weapons charges by police investigating a deadly shooting at Wiz Khalifa's Friday night concert in the Bay Area, police said Monday.

The rapper, whose real name is Jay Jenkins, was arrested along with five other people after Irvine police officers executed a search warrant on his tour bus Sunday night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine.

Also arrested were Kena Marshall, Peter Maynard, David Kuniansky-Altman, William Gilmore and Alexa Beason, police said.

A publicist for Young Jeezy could not immediately be reached Monday.

The six arrests follow Friday's deadly shooting of a man backstage at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, where Wiz Khalifa and Jeezy both performed Friday.

At 11:05 p.m. Friday, police responded to many calls about shots fired at the concert venue at 1 Amphitheatre Parkway. Eric Johnson, 38, of Orinda, was pronounced dead at a hospital after being shot multiple times, police said.

NBC Bay Area spoke to a man Monday night who has been working backstage at local venues for many years. He did not want his identity revealed, and he said if you have the right pass--a guest, VIP, or working crew pass--the backstage is all yours.

"I would say more often than not, no one is back there to make sure the correct people are back there," he said.

"They can walk through that back gate undeterred," he added.

Security at many venues, including Shoreline Amphitheatre, is provided by private security, not the local police department.

No one has been arrested in connection with Johnson's death, according to police.

Young Jeezy and Wiz Khalifa were on the road together as part of the Under the Influence of Music tour.

Mountain View police are requesting assistance from any witnesses to Friday's shooting, including those with any video, photos of the shooting or the moments leading up to it in the backstage area of Shoreline, police said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.
 



Photo Credit: Mountain View Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[A Day in the Life: Remembering The Beatles’ 1966 Candlestick Concert]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:09:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/87889554.jpg

August 29, 1966, stands out for Rich Bandoni. Even among all the days since, that day of his life returns with ease. He was 9 years old that day, when he hopped a San Francisco Muni bus and headed to Candlestick Park to see The Beatles in concert.

“Everybody on the bus was so happy and singing Beatles songs,” Bandoni recalled, sitting in his trailer home in Pleasant Hill, surrounded by Beatles memorabilia. The stage was close to second base, Bandoni remembered. The band seemed a mile away – like small specks against the stadium seats.

But then the music kicked in. “The first song, I was in a state of shock because all I’d seen was The Beatles on TV,” Bandoni said. The experience of "seeing" the band made up for what Bandoni described as incredibly bad sound – with a pair of P.A. speakers fighting a losing battle against thousands of squealing fans.

“You noticed it didn’t sound anything like the record, and in a way you were disappointed,” he said. “But you’d say to yourself, ‘Who cares?’ It’s The Beatles live.” Bandoni was stunned when the band announced soon after they were retiring from concerts – making the Candlestick show the band’s last ticketed performance. “To know that I was able to hear their last show was like a gift from the gods,” Bandoni said.

Bandoni decided to buy a ticket to Paul McCartney’s Thursday night “Farewell to the Candlestick” show, saying it was a fitting sendoff to a stadium that still holds the perfect day of his entire childhood.

Fred Pardini was also at the 1966 concert – only at the time he was on the payroll of the San Francisco Examiner as a staff photographer on assignment. “It wasn’t an elaborate light show, with flashing fireworks and all the goodies that go with it,” said Pardini. “All they did was four guys come on stage, perform their songs and away they went.”

Pardini snapped a requisite number of photos, not knowing the show would be the band’s last proper concert. Had he known, he would have certainly shot loads more, he said. His images show emotional fans, and the band, playing in front of a scoreboard still bearing the most recent Giants-Dodgers score. Pardini also captured the famous scene of the band loading into an armored car after the concert for the drive back to the airport. “They jumped in the armored car and away it went,” Pardini said.

For Bandoni, it was a day he'll never forget. “Forever in my life going up and down Highway 101,” said Bandoni, his face trailing off toward a memory, “I’d look at Candlestick and think, ‘I saw The Beatles there.’”

Candlestick Park is set to be demolished in spring 2015 and a mixed-use housing and commercial development will be built on the site.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Aerosmith Concord Pavilion Concert Canceled]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:25:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP453154418157.jpg

Bad news for Aerosmith fans: Tuesday night’s Bay Area concert has been canceled. Live Nation, the concert's promoter, says the Concord Pavilion show will not go on because of an illness, but did not say who was sick.

The band members said in a statement they regret not being able to perform.

All fans will get refunds. Ticket holders are being encouraged to visit aerosmith.com or livenation.com for more information.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Robin Williams Was "Fixture" in Bay Area Comedy Scene]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:20:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2014-08-15-williams-credit-alex-stack.jpg

Robin Williams entertained people across the world, but the Bay Area was his home. He was often spotted around town, at Giants games and at local comedy clubs. He popped in often and made people laugh.

His roots were in the City’s standup comedy scene. Comedian Debi Durst first met Williams in the 1970s. “Never ever in our wildest craziest dreams did we ever think we'd lose him so soon,” Durst said Tuesday. She said those who knew Robin Williams are at a loss for words as they try to wrap their heads around the star's death.

Durst has known Williams for more than three decades. She saw him just two weeks ago at friend’s barbeque where she said nothing seemed amiss. “He was hanging around looking forward to more work. There was talk of a ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ 2 in the works."

Comic Bob Sarlatte has also known Williams since the early days, performing standup at the old Holy City Zoo in San Francisco. “He was a fixture – even though he wasn't here all the time, he was a fixture,” Sarlatte said. “He sort of made us proud. He was better than anybody else was.”

As Durst and others prepare for next month’s San Francisco's annual Comedy Day at Golden Gate Park, they're left to wonder what it will be like without Williams. “There's no words to describe when he would show up at Comedy Day,” Durst said. “You would feel the electricity coming from the audience. The minute he hit stage was magic – and to think it's just gone. “

“If you know somebody who suffers from depression,” Durst said, “make sure they know you love them and they can reach out to you at any time before it's too late.”

SUICIDE PREVENTION: If you know someone who needs help, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).



Photo Credit: Alex Stack
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Memorials for Robin Williams]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:40:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/robin+williams+hollywood+star.JPG A collection of memorials to the Oscar-winning actor and comedian who died on Monday, August 11, 2014 at the age of 63.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[As RatDog Nixes Tour Dates, Deadheads Worry About Bob Weir]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:43:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/98659766.jpg

Bob Weir is not going out on tour.

Unspecified and unknown "circumstances" have led the Grateful Dead guitarist, 66, to abruptly cancel all tour dates for an upcoming monthlong swing through the United States with his band RatDog, which was to begin in Boston later this week, according to reports.

Weir made the announcement via his Facebook page and band's Web site on Sunday -- which, as the day after the anniversary of Jerry Garcia's 1995 death, is somewhat unsettling for Deadheads.

Tour dates in Boston and Nashville as well as a destination concert in Jamaica in January 2015 were canceled without reason. Refunds were offered, according to reports.

Weir has missed other shows recently due to health issues, including one date with Furthur, fellow Dead alumnus Phil Lesh's band. And then, of course, there was that bizarre night at Sweetwater in Marin in 2013.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sir Patrick Stewart Attends, Enjoys Outside Lands]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 23:51:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/stewart10.jpg

He came. He saw. He had a little too much fun. Sir Patrick Stewart wandered the glens and hollows of Golden Gate Park this past weekend, tagging along with The Improvised Shakespeare Company for at least part of the Outside Lands music festival.

Stewart also performed with the crew over the weekend, according to SFist. He was on the West Coast as of August 9, when he arose early to watch his favorite soccer team -- Huddleston Huddersfield Town -- play their first match of the season. After that, he wandered over to the park for what was, according to his Twitter feed (which is the gospel source on such matters), his "first music festival."

Is it possible that Stewart has achieved peak hipness? His wife, Brooklyn-based musician Sunny Ozell -- who, it appears, dined at State Bird Provisions on Saturday, a feat of incredible fortune in itself -- appears to have had as tough a time at Outside Lands as her knighted man.



Photo Credit: Patrick Stewart/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Janis Joplin Stamp On Sale This Weekend]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 12:19:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/08072014-janis-joplin-stamp.jpg

Take a little piece of her heart. There’s a special tribute to iconic singer Janis Joplin at this year’s Outside Lands.

The U.S. Postal Service will start selling Joplin stamps at the music festival, which starts Friday.

Many say Joplin paved the way for female rock singers in San Francisco.

The Forever stamp is inspired by Joplin's "In Concert" album cover, which was released two years after her death. The original portrait was shot in New York City in 1970 by music photographer David Gahr. The stamp is by designer Antonio Alcala.

A first-day-of-issue ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the festival's Panhandle stage.

Outside Lands performers Kacey Musgraves and Nicki Bluhm will be at the ceremony with U.S. Postal Service officials and other dignitaries honoring Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joplin.

Joplin's most popular songs include, "Piece of My Heart," "Ball and Chain," and "Cry Baby." She died from a drug overdose in 1970 at the young age of 27.


Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: USPS]]>
<![CDATA[Reports: Next "True Detective" To Be Filmed in Big Sur]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:56:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/true+detectiveAP607793760099.jpg

The mystery and the mayhem are coming to California.

A "significant amount" of the next season of "True Detective," the hit HBO show that saw Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey while away the hours on the backroads of Louisiana, will likely be filmed in and around Big Sur, according to reports, as the show takes a decidedly Californian twist.

Industry insider publication The Wrap scored the details, revealing that series creator Nic Pizzolatto is aiming to tell a story with Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch as the two cops, and Vince Vaughn as the "central antagonist." 

Also in the mix are "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss -- as well as many facets of everyday California life.

The story is that a corrupt city manager dies after a transit deal goes sour. Think the Bell scandal and high-speed rail... or maybe that's too real.

All the show is missing is medical cannabis and a glass of Cabernet.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Prince Asks Fans to Wear Purple]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 14:07:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/52461876.jpg

Purple Rain star Prince is headlining this weekend’s Essence Fest in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

And to honor the recent 30th anniversary of his hit album, “Purple Rain,” Prince asked everyone to wear his signature color.

Prince fans responded by posting their allegiance to the star on social media.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Transformers Movie is a Bay Area Job Creator]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:30:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/06-30-2014-ILM.jpg

In the Bay Area, the latest Transformers movie is more than a box-office smash: It’s a local job creator.

On its opening weekend, Transformers: Age of Extinction pulled in more than $300 million worldwide for distributor Paramount, but before that, it pulled in hundreds of new jobs at Industrial Light & Magic, the San Francisco-based special effects giant that created all the imagery used in the film.

Michael Balog's job title at ILM is "destruction specialist.” The new Transformers movie called for so much computer-generated destruction that the big Hollywood studios to looked north and hired Bay Area high-tech effects specialists.

"I think a lot of clients from LA do come up here because of the level of detail and the quality we're able to produce,” Balog said.

ILM says the typical workforce for most big, summer special-effects driven films is about 200 people. For this movie, he said, 500 people worked to put the effects on the big screen.

"You think you need so many people when you start,” Balog said, “and by the time you finish, you doubled in size. So it has created quite a few jobs up here.”

These days, just about every movie made needs Silicon Valley effects.

That keeps ILM in business … and keeps them growing.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hardcore Devo at Fox Theater Saturday]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:49:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Devo+GGP.jpg

Post-punk, new wave rockers Devo had their first hit song “Whip It” in 1980, but years before that the group was playing, and recording, more obscure, low-fi tunes like “Jocko Homo,” “Mongoloid,” and the cover of the Rolling Stones’ "Satisfaction." 

Celebrating 40 years of existence, remaining members of Devo are hitting the road with the Hardcore Devo Tour, focusing on their music from 1974-1977. 

Last year’s reissue of the compilation album Hardcore Devo: Volumes One and Two highlighted the power and timelessness of those raw songs. 

Talking about the tour, Devo co-founder Jerry Casale told Rolling Stone magazine, “We haven’t played those songs in 40 years. Songs like ‘Mechanical Man,’ ‘Space Girl Blues,’ ‘She Didn’t Know I Was a Midget.’ We wanted to show people what we were doing at the time by using the same instruments, really hardcore and raw. We were the White Stripes and the Black Keys in an era before those guys. We wanted to show people what it was like to actually hear whacked-out parts being played together." 

Tickets are still available for the Saturday night show at the Fox Theater in Oakland. They cost $45 each before fees. 

Gerry Casale was in San Francisco a few weeks ago celebrating the start of his new wine company 50 by 50. The first run includes a pair of releases with a delicious 2012 Pinot Noir ($30) and very good 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir ($20). 

In a one-on-one videotaped interview, longtime wine enthusiast Casale told us that he has wanted to make wine for over 30 years, and that he is very committed to it. 

“I just want people to know that I’m really serious. It’s not like Sammy Hagar stuck his name on a bottle of wine or something. It’s not like that,” Casale reiterated. 

Casale also talked about the similarities of being a musician and wine maker, like others famous rock star winemakers like Sonoma’s Les Claypool (Primus), Maynard James Keenan (Tool) and Dave Matthews. 

If you are an architecture enthusiast, you might be more excited to find out that the “50 by 50 Estate was designed over 60 years ago by the preeminent, 20th century Modernist architect, Mies Van Der Rohe, this perfectly squared design is clad in high tempered glass panels measuring 8 x 25 x 10 feet,” according to information handed out at the tasting event. “The view from inside offers the occupants a 360 degree panorama of the 50 by 50 Estate with its gentle slopes, giant live oaks, terraced rows of grape vines [and] the mountains beyond.” 

To see renderings of the 50 by 50 Estate, and to hear Casale talk about his inspiration on this new endeavor, watch our video interview with him.

 



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Actress Cast in Aaliyah Biopic Sees Backlash]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:31:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zendalaP1.jpg

Zendaya Coleman’s casting as late R&B singer Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime dramatization of her life is causing a lot of controversy, mostly because of the color of her skin.

Also, many don't think the Oakland 17-year-old, well-known for her roles on Disney’s “Shake It Up,” and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” is mature enough to play the part, especially when it comes to the part of the story that focuses on Aaliyah's tumultuous marriage to R. Kelly.

Aaliyah, a Grammy winning artist and actress who starred in "Queen of the Damned," died in a plane crash over the Bahamas on August 25, 2001.

Zendaya was born to a white mother and a black father and, in her words, she is fully aware of the controversy. Yet, she contends she is right for the part because she embodies the late Aaliyah’s talent.

Like Aaliyah, Zendaya is a singer, actress, and dancer.

But the Oakland School for the Arts graduate has many critics.

Voodoo Chile tweeted: “There are plenty of non-mixed brown skinned black American women who could portray Aaliyah.”

However, many fans are excited to see Zendaya play the role. Friend and Disney star Trevor Jackson said the role is meant to be.

Zendaya’s casting as Aaliyah is not the first time an entertainer has been criticized for playing a part of someone who does not share his or her skin color. 

In 2013, for instance, Johnny Depp, who is white, felt backlash for playing “Tonto,” a Native American character in the Lone Ranger. And, in 2007, Angelina Jolie played the role of woman who had a Cuban mother in "A Mighty Heart."

Hip-hop artist Niatia Jessica Kirkland, better known as “Lil’ Mama,” had a similar experience when some thought she was an odd choice to play Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in the TLC film CrazySexyCool.

Kirkland lent her support to Zendaya on social media.

“Congratulations to this young sister," she posted on Instagram. "Girl you are going to kill it as Aaliyah. I know that this is a dream come true for you, as playing Left Eye was for me. If people have doubts about your performance... Let it fuel your greatness, because there is no testimony without a test! Your are a phenomenal talent and I wish you the best Zendaya! God Bless you.”
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Lands Lucas Cultural Arts Museum]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 23:14:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/george-lucas-r2d21.jpg

Chicago has come out on top in the intense competition for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum.

City Hall officials confirmed that the city has beat out San Francisco and Los Angeles for the museum, which will host more than 500,000 pieces of art and movie memorabilia from Star Wars director George Lucas' personal archives.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed building the museum on two parking lots located near Soldier Field and offered to lease the land to Lucas for $1, a similar arrangement other large cultural institutions have with the Chicago Park District.

The proposal still needs to go through the Chicago Plan Commission. The earliest the museum would open is 2018.

Museum officials say it will be dedicated to narrative art -- the telling of stories visually, and that the key objective will be to inspire and educate future generations.

Chicago received the nod "because of the quality of the site proposed by the city's task force," and the "unparalleled visitor access" on the 17-acre site.

"Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in San Francisco," said Lucas, a native of Modesto.

San Francisco was pushing a piece of property near the water in its downtown area after city officials rejected the first targeted location.

In a statement, Presidio Trust Board of Directors Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said the trust is disappointed by Lucas’s decision.

“The Trust encouraged Mr. Lucas to consider an alternative world-class location in the Presidio with views of the Bay, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” Bechtle said. “Mr. Lucas decided not pursue this opportunity. We thank Mr. Lucas for his longtime commitment to the Presidio and wish him the best in Chicago.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti promoted the use of a #WhyLucasInLA hashtag to build support through social media. The museum would have bene located near the University of Southern California, where Lucas attended film school.

Emanuel lobbied hard for the museum to come to Chicago but family ties likely played a part in the decision. Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago and the two share a home in the city.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>