<![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, 01 Sep 2015 05:21:42 -0700 Tue, 01 Sep 2015 05:21:42 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Trailer for Tower Records Documentary]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:42:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TowerRecords.JPG

"All Things Must Pass," detailing the rise and fall of Northern California's Tower Records, is due in theaters on October 16.

Tower Records was a retail empire that was founded in a Sacramento drugstore in 1960, expanded to San Francisco in 1967 and grew to 200 stores in 30 countries before filing for bankruptcy in 2004 and 2004.

With the help of interviews from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Chuck D, Dave Grohl and Elton John, "All Things Must Pass" examines how Tower "became the heart and soul of the music world, and how it all crumbled away."

The film is directed by Sacramento native Colin Hanks, son of actor (and Bay Area native) Tom Hanks.

Photo Credit: Alan Light/flickr
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<![CDATA[San Jose Gets Its First Cat Café]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 19:38:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/11875423790625384381750431531794n.jpg

Cat cafes have arrived in the South Bay.

The Dancing Cat is San Jose's first cafe to offer feline adoption — or just some temporary companionship while having a snack. According to the website, 25 cats were adopted on first opening.

The cafe is open from Thursday through Sunday. It's also open for adoptions by appointment on Wednesdays. One-hour sessions of hanging with kitties are booked in advance; WiFi and catnip are free.

The Dancing Cat's location on East Julian Street is temporary until November; host organization Karma Cat Rescue is soliciting donations to help this project find a permanent home.

The business model of cats plus caffeine has some early success stories locally.

San Francisco's KitTea Cafe adopted out 17 cats in its first month, while Oakland's Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center adopted out 184 cats in the first seven months of business, which brought the euthanasia rate at partner organization Oakland Animal Services down from 41 to 21 percent.

Photo Credit: lswat1/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Chris Brown Sued Over San Jose Concert Shooting]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:12:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-479992216.jpg

One of the five people shot in January at a San Jose nightclub during a party hosted by Grammy-winner Chris Brown is filing suit against the singer and the venue.

Lawyers for Paul Briley, 22, claim the college student suffered “a permanent injury” to his foot when he was shot at “Chris Brown’s Capricorn Bash” at the Fiesta Nightclub on Monterey Highway early on the morning of Jan. 11.

All five people who were wounded suffered non-life-threatening injuries, San Jose Police spokesperson Officer Albert Morales told NBC Bay Area back in January.

The lawsuit includes references to prior violence incidents at Chris Brown concerts and his 2009 felony conviction for a notorious assault on his ex-girlfriend Rihanna.

“This shooting should never have happened. Brown’s managers and the concert promoters know that violence follows in Brown's wake,” attorney Richard Alexander said in a statement.

The lawsuit claims the club had been over-sold beyond capacity. It also states, given “shooting incidents … at similar concerts hosted by Brown under similar circumstances,” the defendants should have implemented stringent security procedures, such as metal detectors and pat-downs.

The suit cites the defendants’ “negligence and carelessness” as having led to Briley’s injuries.

Briley is suing Brown and the club to recoup lost earnings, his medical expenses, and a variety of other damages including “past, present, and future physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering, including fright, shock, terror, and post-traumatic stress of being shot.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.

The venue, Fiesta nightclub, had its license suspended for 60 days and was placed on probation for two years.

<![CDATA[SFPD Recovers Ex-Chili Pepper Guitarist’s Stolen Telecaster]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 19:10:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/th-GUITAR-SFPD.jpg

A valuable piece of rock history is back with its rightful owner, thanks to San Francisco police investigators.

A vintage 1966 Fender Telecaster that was owned by former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante was recovered this week by plainclothes detectives after the $30,000 instrument was stolen during a burglary on Aug. 16.

Frusciante had given the instrument to a friend who planned to loan it out to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this month, according to police. That friend was reunited with the guitar on Thursday.

Police said the guitar exchanged hands three times over the course of the 10 days it was missing. No information was released regarding possible suspects.

Frusciante played with the Chili Peppers from 1988 until 1992, and again from 1998 until 2009.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

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<![CDATA[First Look at 'Burning Man: The Musical' ]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:40:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/burner-musical.jpg

"Burning Man: The Musical" will one day be a full-length film feature, but the first five irreverent minutes are available to watch now.

San Francisco Magazine reported that the project is the brainchild of Matt Werner, 31, a tech writer for Google who is about to go to the annual Black Rock City event for the first time. 

After a successful Kickstarter campaign raised $5,327 in April, Werner has launched a new crowdfunder via Indiegogo that has raised $3,001 of a $20,000 goal as of this writing.

According to the Indiegogo campaign, that $20,000 would help fund the production and filming of the next two songs of the musical, which Werner plans to keep serializing on YouTube.

Photo Credit: Matt Werner
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<![CDATA[SF Armory Plans New Music Venue in 2016]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 16:29:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/San+Francisco+Armory.jpg

A 4,000 capacity music venue will open inside San Francisco Armory next year.

Audrey Joseph, who is overseeing the project, told SFGate that she is speaking with concert promoters Goldenvoice and Live Nation about potential programming.

The massive Mission District building, erected for the United States National Guard in 1914, has been headquarters for the sexcapades of BDSM porn company Kink.com since 2006.

But the building and the Drill Court that will become the music venue served a number of notable purposes in the past century, including a sports venue that historical documents obtained by Armory Studios noted was called the "Madison Square Garden of the West" in the 1920s-1940s.

The Drill Court was also used as a set for shooting interiors of the Millennium Falcon spaceship in the 1976 film "Star Wars."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Lonely Island Wallpaper Pays Tribute to Bay Area Icons]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:15:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/204*120/BayAreaToile.jpg

The Lonely Island has commissioned wallpaper that pays tribute to vibrant Bay Area icons and landmarks.

Designed in a French country toile style by artist Matt Richie (aka Matt136), the "Bay Area Toile" will pop-up for a one-night exhibit at Oakland's Athen B. Gallery on Saturday.

Jorma Taccone, who is one-third of the comedy/music troupe (and "SNL" writing vets) with fellow Berkeley High grads Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer, told NBC Bay Area that the idea was more than a year in the making and was inspired by a "Brooklyn Toile" that Beastie Boys frontman Mike D helped to create.

"I live in Brooklyn but I'm always going to be from the Bay," he said. "This was spawned by me wanting to have a representation of the Bay Area in my house."

Taccone, who plans to come to the exhibit, revealed that it was a difficult process to narrow down the list to the eight Bay Area faces who grace the wallpaper: Food maven Alice Waters, political activist and professor Angela Davis, sports hero Joe Montana, former news anchor Dennis Richmond and rap stars E-40, Too $hort, Humpty Hump and the late Mac Dre. 

"As an art project, having Mac Dre and Alice Waters on the same wallpaper seems wonderfully appropriate to the Bay," he said.

Beloved Bay Area spots like Oakland's Grand Lake Theater and Children's Fairyland also appear; Taccone speculated that they may design another set of wallpaper in the future that includes more places.

For now, the first edition of the wallpaper, made of eco-fabric, will be available for sale at the show and beginning Saturday online at Flavor Paper at a price of $250 for two two-foot by 10-foot pre-trimmed and adhesive backed panels that are made for easy, do-it-yourself installation and removal.

Could this be the start of a Martha Stewart-esque home furnishings empire for the Lonely Island?

"Yes," mused Taccone, "but I think we are skewing more Kathy Ireland."

Meanwhile, the Lonely Island is currently editing an untitled musical feature film, a fictional send-up of big screen pop star documentaries with producer Judd Apatow that's slated for release next summer. 

Photo Credit: Matt Ritchie]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Jackson's Chef Shares King of Pop’s Favorite Foods]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:35:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/71436998michael.jpg

Mani Niall was Michael Jackson's personal chef for two years at the peak of his fame, traveling the world with the star after the release of his seminal album Thriller.

Niall is now an accomplished cookbook author and owner of Oakland's Sweet Bar Bakery (2355 Broadway). He remembers Jackson with fondness and will celebrate his birthday on Aug. 29 by cooking up some of the King of Pop's favorite dishes from their time together.

As a Jehovah's Witness, Jackson never celebrated his birthday when Niall was his chef, so this is Niall's way of making up for lost time.

"His effect on my life is immeasurable and probably made me get serious about cooking," Niall said. "It was just a job until I met him. I saw how hard he worked at his craft and it was, well, inspirational. Plus he had fun with the people he met and worked with, sort of like the best part of running a food business."

Stop in at Sweet Bar starting Friday to try Jackson's favorite pizza, which had shiitake mushrooms, Japanese eggplant and roasted peppers ("Very Eighties," Niall joked). For dessert, Niall is serving "'ookies," which he likened to pecan sandies, dusted with maple sugar.

Niall said these specials will be offered for about a week.

On a side note, Niall recently spotted himself (clad in a turban) arriving with Jackson at London's Heathrow Airport in 1985 thanks to a video posted to YouTube.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Phil Walter
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<![CDATA[E-40 Introduces 40-Ounce Malt Liquor]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:57:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/e40ounce.jpg

East Bay rap star E-40's latest foray into the world of alcohol comes in the form of a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor.

It is an appropriate drink selection for a man whose nickname and rap moniker was first given to him based on an ability to drink many 40-ounce malt liquor bottles. E-40 is also often called 40 Water, because he purportedly used to drink 40s like water.

E-40's new drink, called E40 and bottled under his new company Interactions and Transactions, is a malt liquor flavored with honey that is 10 percent alcohol by volume. The bottle contains a tribute to the Hillside area of Vallejo, where he grew up and earned that nickname.

Last year, the self-confessed wine connoisseur launched his own Earl Stevens Selections with three varietals, a 2011 Moscato, a "Mangoscato" and a 2011 Red Blend. Earl Stevens Selections has been a certified hit in the past year. Stevens has used the same tireless work ethic he has always had as an independent music artist to secure a wide distribution network for his wine; it's available in major chains like Safeway, Costco and BevMo.

He followed the success of the wine line with Sluricane, a ready to drink rum cocktail with a name that references the chorus of "Hurricane," a 1995 song by The Click (E-40, sister Suga T, brother D-Shot, cousin B-Legit): "Hurricane, you can call me Sluricane. . . "

Stevens has long dabbled in the beverage business. He's endorsed and was part owner of a cognac called Landy and also had 40 Water, his brightly hued take on Vitamin Water. He released a song early in his career about Carlo Rossi Wine (erroneously called "Carlos Rossi") and later joined up with the Saturday Night Live-reared band The Lonely Island to record a song about Carlos Santana's wine called "Santana DVX."

(Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously said the new malt liquor drink is 18 percent alcohol by volume.)

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Earl Stevens]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Named Top West Coast Food City]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:14:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/226*120/missollieschicken.jpg

Oakland has been named the top West Coast food city by USA Today.

The East Bay city has landed at No. 7 on a top 10 list compiled by USA Today's Best10.com. It's the only West Coast city in the top 10.

The article specifically namechecked The Cook and Her Farmer, Cosecha Café and Miss Ollie's, all located inside Oakland's Swan's Market on Washington Street.

Minneapolis-St. Paul was anointed as the best locale to eat in the country.

The accolade follows Bon Appétit's proclamation that San Francisco is the best food city in the nation, with the best new restaurant.

Photo Credit: Miss Ollie's]]>
<![CDATA[Janelle Monáe to Speak, Sing Against Police Brutality]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:23:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-AP862628482094_0.jpg

Pop star Janelle Monáe will speak and sing against police brutality at a San Francisco rally this weekend. 

The acclaimed recording artist and performer, joined by her protégé Jidenna and artist collective Wondaland, will appear at a press conference and rally Sunday at 24th and Mission streets in San Francisco. A similar event was planned for Friday in Los Angeles.

According to the San Francisco rally's Facebook event page, Monáe, Jidenna and Wondaland plan to perform a song called "Hell You Talm Bout," which recognizes victims murdered by police.

Sunday's gathering is being organized by the Bay Area Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

Though she hails from Kansas and came to prominence in the Atlanta music scene, San Francisco is a special region for Monáe, who has performed at City Hall and with the San Francisco Symphony.

Photo Credit: AP Images for the NFL
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<![CDATA[Burning Man Children's Book Looks for Funding]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:40:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/burner-book-kids.jpg

A photography book for children about Burning Man is seeking pledges on Kickstarter.

Peter Armenia hopes to raise $9,000 by Aug. 28 in order to publish "Burning Man — The World's Biggest Playground."

As of this writing, 78 backers have pledged $6,259.

The book's imagery focuses on Burning Man's art projects and cars as well as the colorful people who attend.

If funded, Armenia promises he'll donate at least 10 percent of the books to kids and schools in need.

The yearly Black Rock Desert event holds a special place in Armenia's heart: He married his wife Gretchen on the playa in 2010. And, after making personalized picture books of Burning Man for his 4-year-old daughter Veronica for the past four years, Armenia is bringing her along this year.


Check out the world's first children's book about Burning Man!

Posted by Burning Man on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Photo Credit: Peter Armenia
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<![CDATA[Elbo Room Gets Lease Reprieve]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:31:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/232*120/elboroom2015.jpg

One of San Francisco's most diverse nightclubs has a new lease on life.

A small one, anyway.

Mission District nightclub Elbo Room, which was expected to shutter when the lease expired in November to make way for condo development, has been given a brief extension.

Matt Shapiro, representing the staff of the Elbo Room, posted on Facebook Tuesday that the venue's lease has been extended until the end of the year, with "monthly options in 2016."

Shapiro wrote that the extension "came out of nowhere" and that the venue had previously been expected to vacate by Nov. 9.

Launched in 1991, the Elbo Room is known for being one of the few venues in the city to consistently support live and DJ-driven music genres like dub, dancehall and hip-hop.

Photo Credit: Elbo Room]]>
<![CDATA[Robot Butler Starts Work at Silicon Valley Hotel]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:45:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aloft-robot-butler.jpg

The day has come.

Aloft Silicon Valley in Newark now has a full-time robot butler on duty.

The so-called "Botlr" is the second automated employee for the hotel chain, which also installed one last year at Aloft Cupertino.

Duties include delivering morning newspapers, toothbrushes, and other amenities to guests in their room. Instead of tips, Botlr encourages Tweets.

According to Wired, the Botlr was developed in 2014 by Savioke, a Santa Clara firm that creates robot helpers for various service industries.

Critics have called on the hotel chain to invest in higher wages for its employees instead of robotic butlers. One union rep told the BBC last year the machines are nothing more than "a nifty little gimmick."

Meanwhile, the original Botlr at Aloft Cupertino is about to hit the road for a brief tour of the East Coast before returning to duty.

Photo Credit: Aloft Hotels]]>
<![CDATA[Robin Williams Mini Film Festival Planned]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 18:23:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jumanji+Robin+Williams.jpg

San Francisco's SoMa StrEat Food Park will screen 12 hours of Robin Williams movies this weekend. 

The Robin Williams Mini Film Festival runs from noon to midnight on Saturday at the parking lot-turned-food truck marketplace.

The program is scheduled to open with the film "Jumanji," followed by "Good Will Hunting," "Dead Poets Society," "The Birdcage" and "Mrs. Doubtfire."

The park has 10 big-screen TVs for the marathon, and will add a bigger screen after dark for the final two films. Complimentary popcorn and paid options from a dozen different food trucks should ensure ample snacks to go with the movies.
Admission is free for the first 200 people, and $5 thereafter.

<![CDATA[Jacka Birthday Tribute Planned, Murder Still Unsolved]]> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 14:50:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/jackafreewayvideo.jpg

As a birthday concert tribute to slain Bay Area rapper The Jacka is planned in San Francisco this week, there has still been no movement in solving his February murder.

Jacka's former crewmates Mob Figaz are scheduled to join local rap stars Andre Nickatina, Keak Da Sneak, Cellski and more for an all-ages concert on Wednesday at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.

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

Oakland Police have not announced any arrests or leads in solving The Jacka's murder over the past six months.

The department and Crime Stoppers are offering up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of his killer.

Photo Credit: Empire Distribution]]>
<![CDATA[Cystic Fibrosis Patient's Wish: Meet Taylor Swift]]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 19:53:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/B-TZ-TAYLOR-SWIFT-FAN-VO---00000606.jpg

Tiffany Rich has two items on her bucket list: get new lungs and meet Taylor Swift.

The 26-year-old from Brentwood in the East Bay is constantly in and out of the hospital to treat her cystic fibrosis. Rich also is on a wait list for a double-lung transplant.

"When you're getting poked and prodded at like a human pin cushion, it's not fun," Rich said.

Rich's parents were told their daughter likely would not have live past 18.

"You can't change it," she said. "Might as well make it positive."

Rich and her friend posted a picture online hoping Swift would see it and agree to meet them when the pop star performs at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara next weekend.

Since Rich posted the photo online, the hashtag "#Lungs4Tiff" has gone viral with nearly 4,000 retweets. 

"It really warms my heart so much," Rich said. "I don't have the words."

Rich hopes she has the opportunity to let Swift know all she has done for her and for being a positive influence.

"She's just the sunshine on the worst day," Rich said.

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<![CDATA[Snoopy Celebrates Birthday]]> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 12:55:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/snoopy+Peanuts+movie.JPG

Snoopy is celebrating his birthday. 

The beloved beagle with Bay Area roots first appeared in the "Peanuts" comic strip on its third day running, Oct. 4, 1950.

Snoopy's birthday was acknowledged in a strip that ran on Aug. 10, 1968. It is unclear whether that was his first-ever birthday; if so, that would make him 47 years old, 329 in dog years.

Snoopy's creator, Charles M. Schulz, started the wildly popular series while living in Minneapolis, later relocating to Sebastopol in 1958, then Santa Rosa in 1969.

Schulz passed away in Santa Rosa in 2000, leaving behind a strong community legacy that includes an ice skating rink, museum and even an airport named after him.

Now, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang are headed to the silver screen in "The Peanuts Movie," due in theaters on Nov. 6.

Photo Credit: Blue Sky Studios
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<![CDATA[Japanese Pop Culture Festival Moves to Fort Mason]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:12:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/gacharic_800.jpg

Japanese pop culture, ever popular in San Francisco, is getting even bigger in the city.

This year's J-Pop Summit has moved from Japantown to Fort Mason and has transformed from a free to a ticketed event. The Summit runs from August 7-9.

Tickets for Friday's opening event at the Castro Theater are sold out but admission to various events that are still available ranges from $13-30. 

The Fort Mason festivities include music performances, interactive technology displays, fashion shows, (including a contest inspired by the colorful fashions seen in the Harajuku section of Tokyo), and a "J-Pop Idol" singing contest.

Offsite highlights outside of the main program of music, fashion and technology explorations at Fort Mason include a Sake Summit in Union Square and the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco back in Japantown.

Photo Credit: Victor Entertainment]]>
<![CDATA[Margaret Cho Mobilizes Sexual Assault Survivors]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:43:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/chomcho_9455_todd+v+wolfson.jpg

Margaret Cho's new Twitter hashtag #isurviveandTHRIVE is uniting victims of sexual assault.

"You know what would really break the Internet?" she posted to Twitter on Thursday. "If every rape and molestation victim came forward and said #isurviveandTHRIVE - do you?"

The hashtag has been retweeted and used hundreds of times.

"I want people to know they are not alone," Cho told NBC News. "Rape, molestation, sexual violence is more common than anyone admits. If all survivors - I say survivors, not victims - if all survivors came forward we could actually see the problem clearly and find a solution and hopefully heal."

Cho is working on a documentary about homelessness in San Francisco and will embark on a new comedy tour in the fall.

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<![CDATA[Akon Lights Up Africa One Solar Panel at a Time]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:12:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ALA_Akon-describing-his-entrepreneurial-experience_3-31072015.jpg

Singer-songwriter Akon noticed a trend during a recent tour of Africa: a lack of electricity.

With 600 million Africans still eating and working by candlelight he decided to launch “Akon Lighting Africa” in February 2014. Aimed at bringing solar power to nearly half of the 600 million living without electricity, ALA has provided solar street lamps, micro-generators, charging stations and home kits to people in 14 countries.

“Africa needs to be sustainable for a long time and be a crutch for the rest of world instead of the other way around,” Akon told ThinkProgress in a phone interview. “A stable Africa helps the world.”

The Missouri-born Senegalese American is no stranger to the electricity situation in Africa. Though born in St. Louis, Akon was raised in Senegal, in West Africa, until the age of 7.

According to Ivory Coast Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, Africa holds 15 percent of the world’s population, but the continent only consumes 3 percent of the global electricity. More than 1.3 billion Africans have no access to electricity and only 5 percent living in Sub-Saharan Africa have electricity.

Electricity from solar has the potential to change that. ALA plans to continue to install solar street lamps and solar panels on homes and in the street, as well as providing educational training programs called Solar Academy. The first has blossomed in Mali’s capital of Bamako.

“We want to empower the people to develop their own opportunities,” Akon said. “[But] before you empower people you have to educate them.”

This year, Akon and co-founders Samba Bathily and Thione Niang have been to several countries in Africa, including Kenya, Guinea and Benin. Last week, the co-founders spoke and attended meetings in Congo, Nigeria and Rwanda.

Back in the states, 2,000 fans got involved in the campaign when they showed up to Centennial Olympic Park on July 19 for the Passport Experience Festival in Atlanta. Proceeds from ticket sales went toward ALA.

The Akon Lighting Africa initiative has brightened 14 countries in just one year and plans to launch campaigns in an additional 11 countries by the end of 2016. ALA plans to help light all of Africa by 2020.

Photo Credit: Bass
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<![CDATA[Morrissey Says He Was Groped at SFO]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:52:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/455184451.jpg

British pop singer Morrissey said he was groped at San Francisco International Airport this week on his way to London, and now he's making waves by blogging about what he's calling a "sexual assault."

On his True to You "Morrissey Zine" blog, the former Smiths singer wrote that prior to taking off from SFO on July 27, he was approached by an "airport security officer" who stopped him, "crouched" before him, and "groped" his private areas, moving away quickly when another officer passed by.

Morrissey said two members of the British Airways Special Services were "horrified at the sexual attack," and at their urging, he lodged a complaint. Those agents were not identified and NBC Bay Area was not able to independently verify this part of the story.

Morrissey relayed his version of what transpired on his blog between what seems to be a British Airways employee and the officer:

Morrissey:You have just sexually groped this man.
That's just your opinion.
Morrissey: What you have done is illegal.
Officer: That's just your opinion.
Morrissey: You have no right to do what you have just done.
Officer: That's just your opinion.

SFO Doug Yakel deferred all comment to the TSA. According to a TSA spokesman, the alleged groper does not officially work for the federal government, but is a private contractor with Covenant Aviation Security that provides service at SFO.

A TSA spokesperson responded to NBC Bay Area's request for comment, saying in part, "TSA works with numerous groups to continuously refine and enhance our procedures to improve the passenger experience while also ensuring the safety of the traveling public."

It's unclear whether any action will be taken against the officer based on Morrissey's accusations. Morrissey didn't state on his blog whether he was pursuing any criminal action.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Susan Sarandon Brings Her Ping Pong Bar to SF]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:31:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/susansarandonpingpong.jpg

Actress Susan Sarandon is a partner in Spin, a ping pong social club opening later this year at 690 Folsom Street in San Francisco's SoMa District.

Inside Scoop SF reported that Spin should open with 16 ping pong tables, two bars, a full liquor license and a kitchen serving American comfort food staples this winter.

While the menu hasn't been announced, the website includes a catering menu that offers items such as flatbread pizza, charcuterie and cheese plates, grass fed beef sliders and mini braised shortrib sandwiches.

Spin currently operates locations in Los Angeles, New York City, Toronto and Brussels, Belgium. A forthcoming location is also planned for Chicago.

The proposed timeline should allow plenty of time for prospective players to purchase their own custom ping pong paddles from the website of Sarandon's 2014 film "Ping Pong Summer," which co-stars Amy Sedaris and Judah Friedlander.

<![CDATA['Million Dollar Listing' Spotlights 'Starchitect']]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 14:24:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/rohstanley.jpg

The latest episode of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing San Francisco" dubs local designer Stanley Saitowitz a "starchitect."

Saitowitz and his firm Natoma Architects Inc. created the luxury condominiums at 8 Octavia in San Francisco that "Million Dollar" realtor Roh Habibi attempts to sell on the episode and has created several residential buildings in the city.

The professor emeritus of architecture at UC Berkeley is also behind a wide range of recognizable properties including San Francisco's W Hotel, San Jose's First United Methodist Tower, and Oakland's Jack London Tower.

According to Curbed, the "Million Dollar" plotline where Saitowitz is painted as a reclusive rock idol who is difficult to reach or get to attend functions promoting buildings that he's designed might have been massaged in typical reality show fashion. The publication also frowned on the episode's portrayal of San Francisco's Bernal Heights as an undesirable neighborhood when real estate sites like Redfin display otherwise.

But Saitowitz's portfolio is still well worth checking out, if only to learn how many of them are already familiar to the eye.

Photo Credit: Bravo TV]]>
<![CDATA[Adam Levine Serenades Wife Behati Prinsloo in Cabo]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:45:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/adamthumb.PNG

Hollywood may be abuzz with the news that country superstars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have filed for divorce, but at least one other “The Voice" star is very happily married.

Maroon 5's Adam Levine was spotted in Cabo by NBC Bay Area anchor Jessica Aguirre last weekend as he serenaded his wife, Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo, on their one-year wedding anniversary.

The newlyweds were having dinner at Flora Farms — where they got married last July — when Levine got up and took over the stage, and to the delight of other diners, sang to his bride.

He then sealed the night with a romantic kiss as everyone congratulated the happy couple.

"If you look really close you can see me right behind Behati, I'm the one swooning," said Aguirre. "I was pretending he was singing to me."

Video courtesy of The Cape — Thompson Hotels

<![CDATA[Redheads Spotlighted at 'Ginger Pride Festival']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:21:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/234*120/myginga.jpg

Redheads will celebrate their hair color with their own Ginger Pride Festival on Thursday in San Francisco's recently renovated Dolores Park.

Organizer Mike Witherspoon confirmed to NBC Bay Area that the celebration is real and posted an event schedule on the Facebook event page that includes a photobooth (with red wigs for the "ginger challenged") and a red velvet birthday cake for redheads celebrating a July birth. A "silent disco" with music that can only be heard in headphones is to be confirmed.

An afterparty at nightclub Monarch will feature drink discounts for redheads as well as Jameson and ginger ale on special.

Last year, a similar Dolores Park gathering yielded a song and video called "My Ginga," a parody of YG's rap song "My Hitta" created by Calvin Michael West, who sells redhead-positive "Double Recessive" T-shirts on his website.

Photo Credit: Calvin Michael West
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<![CDATA[MTV's 'Real World' Plans San Francisco Casting Call]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:13:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/real+world+san+francisco.jpg

MTV's long-running "Real World" series is looking locally for the next reality stars.

According to Bunim-Murray Productions, a casting call is scheduled for San Francisco bar Woodbury on August 1.

While no age limit is explicitly stipulated, prospectives must be over 21 and "appear to look between 20 and 24."

“We look for characters from real life, people with strong personalities who are unafraid to speak their minds,” executive producer Jonathan Murray told SFGate.

Bunim-Murray has not revealed the filming location of the upcoming season, but it's probably not going to be in San Francisco: "Real World Ex-Plosion," which aired in 2014 and featured surprise sneak attacks by former boyfriends and girlfriends, was shot in the city. San Francisco was also the site of the third season in 1994.

<![CDATA[Friends, Family Mark Robin Williams' 64th Birthday]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:11:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Robin-Williams.jpg

Tuesday would have been Robin Williams 64th birthday.

Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014. Although it has been nearly a year, family, friends and admirers are still reeling from the loss. Many took to social media to wish him a happy birthday.

Monday, daughter Zelda Williams posted an Instagram in which she wrote that she would be taking a break from social media for the next few weeks. “It’s a time better served away from the opinions or sentiments of others, and I appreciate your understanding,” she wrote.

The actor's on-screen daughter, Sarah Michelle Gellar, posted an Instagram as well. “Smile, though your heart is aching Smile, even though it’s breaking Happy Birthday RW #RobinWilliams #HappyBirthdayRobin,” she captioned on the photo. Gellar and Williams starred in the CBS show “The Crazy Ones” together.

Thousands of fans have also tweeted and posted Instagram’s to share their love for the late actor.

Last week, CeeLo Green released a new single titled “Robin Williams.” There is an interactive lyric video released with the song as well that allows users to switch between tabs on Google’s interface.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Amy Winehouse Exhibit Makes U.S. Debut in SF]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:15:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Amy-Winehouse.jpg

Late singer Amy Winehouse is the subject of a major new exhibit and programming debuting Thursday at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Actually, there are two exhibits: "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait," a display of Winehouse's personal artifacts lent by her family and mounted in cooperation with the Jewish Museum London, and "You Know I'm No Good," featuring contemporary art inspired by the late British singing star.

The exhibits are supplemented by several months of special events planned at the Museum, including Winehouse-centric tribute concerts and dance parties, plus guest "gallery chats" by an eclectic group of speakers including tattoo legend Don Ed Hardy and music journalist Greil Marcus.

The Winehouse programming "continues the Museum’s exploration of Jewish journeys through the musical community and music industry," executive director Lori Starr said in a statement, citing past exhibitions such as "Hardly Strictly Warren Hellman" and "Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black/Jewish Relations."

According to Starr, the Museum's next exploration of music will come through a 2016 exhibit dedicated to late Bay Area concert promoter Bill Graham.

"Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" and "You Know I'm Know Good" run from July 23-November 1 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Penthouse Listed For $9.45M]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:12:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/225*120/millenniumtower.jpg

Ready to move on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky?

A penthouse in San Francisco's Millennium Tower is currently on sale for $9.45 million, 7x7 reports.

According to the property listing, the two-bedroom unit was "created as a functional 'objet d'art'" with "no expense spared."

The interior, styled after a Baroque palace, features Venetian-plastered ceilings and was constructed using 24-carat gold, sterling silver, pewter, copper, mahogany, walnut, Baccarat crystal, mother of pearl, and other rare types of marble and stone imported from all over the world.

The building's proximity to the Bay Bridge ensures thorough views of the landmark, but the Pacific Ocean is also viewable from the residence.

As luxurious as this all sounds, it's actually a modest dwelling compared to the most expensive penthouse that's been listed in San Francisco this year, which clocked in at $49 million.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![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]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 05:58:55 -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[Drag Queens Hawk Real Estate]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:14:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/belleofbernal.jpg

While Bravo's new reality show "Million Dollar Listing San Francisco" is putting local real estate agents in the limelight, a pair of realtors who aren't on the show are making waves online by creatively using entertainment as a sales tactic.

San Francisco drag queens Mercedes Munro and Katya Smirnoff-Skyy are the latest movers and shakers in San Francisco real estate. According to SF Weekly, they're the stars of a cheeky new video for a Bernal Heights home listed by realtors Michael Minson and Danielle Lazier.

Munro and Smirnoff-Skyy give off what the realtors describe as "urban eleganza" as they show off "The Belle of Bernal," a home located at 52 Mirabel Avenue.

Perhaps it's not too late for this charismatic pair to make a cameo on Bravo.

Photo Credit: Danielle Lazier and Michael Minson
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<![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.

<![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.

<![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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