Helping the Homeless Through the Arts: Community Housing Partnership in Action

Photo by Federica Armstrong

George Taylor's smile is as bright as a klieg light, and in his wingtips and a feathered fedora, he is dapper as they come. Taylor is also the real deal, and he hails from Memphis, home to a style of sound associated with singers such as Al Green, Isaac Hayes, and Otis Redding, who were (in part) made household names by record labels such as Stax and Hi Records. Singing since 1969 with groups such as Soul Explosion and Phase 6, Taylor's past includes such illustrious events as opening for Stevie Wonder. But his next concert isn't just about him -- it's part of a arts performance to help those in need. Along with the other performers in A Night With the Stars April 9 at SFJAZZ Center, Taylor is a participant in San Francisco's Community Housing Partnership program.

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S.F.'s Largest Game of Thrones-Themed Party, and You're Invited

Categories: Fundraisers


Update: We have 100 free tickets to give away to readers, see below on how to enter to win.

HackCancer, a group that organizes fun events to benefit charities such as Make-A-Wish and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, is hosting the "biggest Game of Thrones themed party in San Francisco."

Held at an actual castle (The San Francisco Amory) on the day before the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thones, the event will feature music (both live and DJ-ed), sword fighting, and various performances. The party will also include a dragon (although the website isn't clear about what exactly that actually entails).

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Behold! Mr. Marina 2014 is Crowned

Christopher Victorio

Ah, 'tis that time of year again for $9 Bud Lights and a bevy of beautiful beefcakes shaking their stuff on stage -- the crowning Mr. Marina 2014.

Last night's festivities kicked off at the Regency Ballroom packed to the rafters with a heady blur of neon, pastel, party dresses and Wolf of Wall Street t-shirts; I couldn't tell if I was in Vegas, the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore. Disoriented I made my way through to the crowd (most of whom brandish -- or wear -- their favorite contestants' swag) and head to the bar because as MC and Mr. Marina founder Brianna Haag reminds me, those drinks are philanthropic tonight!

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If You Like Video Games, You Should Go To This Event

The Alameda Music Project
Flier for Serenade at the Arcade

Remember when we told you about The String Arcade -- the string quartet that's releasing a CD entirely made up of orchestral covers of video game songs?

Well, the album is finished, and they're throwing an epic release party to celebrate.

Called "A Serenade at the Arcade," the party will take place at Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda from 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on March 7. It will feature several rooms with arcade and console games, as well as live performances from the quartet playing the music from the CD, from video games such as Tron, Minecraft, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Also performing will be Steve Kirk and Nils Frykdahl, whose voices you may have heard on the soundtrack of the game Scurvy Scallywags.

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Mission Hero Chata Gutierrez to be Remembered: Fundraising for Mural Underway

The Chata Mural Project

The legacy of the late Chata Gutierrez, radio personality and salsa DJ on KPOO and KPFA, remains in the forefront for Mission District locals.

Gutierrez, who died after a 12-year battle with liver cancer in December 2013, was an inspiration of strength and cultural pride for Latinos and Latinas. Born and raised in the Mission District, for more than 40 years she gifted listeners of KPOO her radio show, "Con Clave", which was the winner of SF Weekly's Best Salsa Radio Show in 2000. The Chata Mural Project aims to showcase Gutierrez's cultivation of heritage through an honorary mural by Carlos Kookie Gonzalez -- and the proposed location: The Mission.

Gonzalez, who is also a Mission native, originally painted the mural as artwork for a poster used in a 2009 fundraising campaign to support the ill Gutierrez. Now Gonzalez, along with supporters of the Chata Mural Project, ask the community to support them as they plan to turn the artwork into a long lasting mural. In total, they need $25,000 for supplies and permits.

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Get Ready for the 28th Annual Chinese New Year Scavenger Hunt

Some 2011 treasure hunters with awesome hats.

What better way to ring in the Year of the Horse than galloping around the city, winning prizes, and meeting new people? The annual Chinese New Year Scavenger Hunt is coming up!

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Historic Marcus Books Fights to Stay Open, Fundraiser This Saturday

Categories: Fundraisers

Steve Rhodes
People pray for Marcus Books at the church of the new owner of the building

Named after Marcus Garvey, the family-owned Marcus Books has been a valued bookstore, community center, and hub for Black culture and activism since its inception 54 years ago. In that time, the bookstore has hosted many acclaimed authors and celebrities, including Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Rosa Parks, and Oprah.

In 1981, it moved from its original location to 1712 Fillmore, which was previously occupied by the historic jazz club Jimbo's Bop City from 1950 until its closing in 1965. Jazz legends such as John Coltrane, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis were regulars at Bop City, making it a San Francisco institution.

And despite the bookstore's new found status as a historical landmark, the rich-in-history building that houses Marcus Books was sold last year, and the owners are now asking for twice the amount the bookstore has currently been paying in rent. If Marcus Books is unable to raise the $2.6 million dollars that the new owners are asking for, this legendary bookstore will be forced to close.

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Viracocha Fundraiser: Performances to Support Impending Change

Looking for something special?

For four years now, Viracocha has been one of San Francisco's most cherished venues for everything from artisanal crafts and furniture to local art and literature, clothes, typewriters, custom light installations... you name it. Cactus in a boot? No problem. Hand-blown glass bottles from France? You betcha.

The store's ever-changing design and overall aesthetic is so appealing that proprietor Jonathan Siegel is often commissioned to assist other businesses with his interior design savvy. Simply walking through the store is an inspirational experience; each item invokes the precious, reminds us that no detail or characteristic is unimportant should we pay it the right attention. It's not uncommon for someone to stroll in off the street, sit down at the piano, and set the mood for an hour or two.

A recent finalist for best bathroom in America, Viracocha is also home to the innovative gem of a lending library, Ourshelves, and the downstairs speakeasy-esque venue that is one of the Bay Area's most intimate, breathtaking, and beloved performance spaces. It's also a classic S.F. story that many don't know because the event space is technically illegal and no one's officially allowed to talk about it. But that's changing.

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Michael Chabon on Becoming Bored and Briefly Amusing Your Children

photo courtesy of Michael Chabon
I first met Michael Chabon at last year's Notes & Words event, a big blowout party at the Fox Theater that brings together authors and musicians to benefit Children's Hospital Oakland. He told a story included in his collection of nonfiction, Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, about the first time he spoke with his kids about smoking marijuana. He told the tale with as much candor as he'd shared with his children; Chabon is very charming and often quite funny, and spoke with wisdom and eloquence about being a parent.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author is doing a benefit for Oakland's Park Day School this Wednesday night, and was kind enough to talk by phone. When I brought up the story, he laughed, responding: "I forgot about that one. I had no idea, man. That was just a little tiny appetizer of a conversation at the start of a long and often surprising banquet." His kids had taken him off guard, of course, and he'd handled the situation as best he could.

Chabon and wife Ayelet Waldman have four kids, the oldest of whom is a freshman in college; their youngest, ten, attends the K-8 Park Day School, where the other three are alumni.

If I were going to talk with kids I wouldn't even know how to address their relationship with literature right now. I feel like it's changed -- how they're engaging with it must have changed so much since I was in elementary school; can you talk about that?

There's no doubt it's really in flux right now. I think everybody's relationship to the printed word is in flux right now. And I don't think anybody really has a good handle on just what it all means; I certainly don't. But it's my impression that our kids are definitely increasingly digital entities; parents, even younger parents, still tend to be analog, at least to a certain degree, and parents I think tend to have a strong relationship with books, printed books on paper. I think at least through the earliest years when it's story time -- when kids are being exposed to texts -- they're still being exposed to picture books and their parents read to them from books. I'm sure there are plenty of parents who are reading to their parents from iPads, but even so they're reading them eBooks, which is just a digital form of the same thing, with illustrations and words on the page. So, I think kids' initial exposure to literature is still more or less what it has been for a while now. I think as they start to hit the fourth grade, fifth grade and into middle school -- that's when it might start to get a little more confusing, from the point of view of an old person like me, but by then I think there has been a foundation laid for a relationship with books and literature.

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SF Carve: Inaugural Sand Sculpture International Competition Docks in the Presidio

SF Carve/ Facebook
Sand art of Sue McGrew, a featured artist at SF Carve.
San Francisco beaches aren't know for being luxurious getaways like their Southern California and Florida counterparts. Infamously known for being too extreme in wind, fog, and overall cold weather, it's apt that they will be the site for an extreme sports competition.

No, it won't be another America's Cup or surfing event; rather, this will be out of the water and onto the beach -- literally.

Hub Strategy, a San Francisco PR and advertising agency will host the first ever, international sand sculpture competition called Carve San Francisco with nine sculptors and their respective teams flown in from all over the world for five days to create massive works of art from more than 400 tons of sand.

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