Le Video Strikes Back: A Sequel for the Awesome Video Store

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Things are looking up for Le Video. The store, which carries an estimated 80-100,000 titles and was expected to close by the end of April, is now planning to stay open. This is thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign, a recent uptick in customer support, and the addition of Green Apple Books as a tenant.

Le Video owner and founder Catherine Tchen recently explained her plan to SF Weekly. While the store is going stay open, it won't look exactly the same.

Green Apple Books will take over the bottom floor of the building, and Le Video will move into the mezzanine upstairs. All of the films will be added to an online database that customers can search from home or at a kiosk in the store, and then pick up their movie at the counter. The upstairs area will have a smaller browsing selection than the current store, but the entire collection will still be available. Tchen promises to keep as many movies on display as possible, and is much more upbeat about Le Video's future than she was in March.

"The mezzanine space will be awesome," Tchen says. "We'll still be able to display way more movies than the average video store; at least 25,000."


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Belle SF is Here! Tastefully Naughty, and Literate

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Belle SF Magazine #1

Last fall, SF Weekly interviewed David Beaulieu, City resident and entrepreneur who, together with his wife Melissa, was preparing to launch Belle SF, a new quarterly print magazine.

The wait is over. Belle SF issue one has arrived.

Belle SF promises to resurrect the glory days of Playboy. The magazine will feature tasteful, artfully-lit photos of beautiful women in the nude. Nothing too graphic, but skin will definitely be on display. The magazine will also feature works by local artists and writers: art, culture and nudity is the motto.

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Iris Skateboards Revives Broken Boards, Supports S.F. Skate Scene (Video)

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Adrian Rodriguez
George Rocha sands the edges of a skate deck to prep for assembly in his garage.

In an Outer-Sunset workshop, San Francisco-based skater George Rocha turns old skate decks into a new ride.

"If you look at the bottom," Rocha begins, pointing to the scuffs with his hands, which are strong and calloused from years of skatepark building, "It's sort of like art in itself." The graphics peek through the blemishes that lead to splintered edges, but he admires every marking for the story it tells.

Iris Skateboards, Rocha's handcrafted rainbow marked gems, are constructed entirely of used skateboards collected from S.F. skaters and shops. He salvages the materials that would normally end up in landfills and repurposes them to create new decks.

"I think that is everybody's responsibility on this planet: To reduce your waste by reusing. That's my version of giving back to the community," Rocha says.

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5 Places to Go Camping In (and Around)
San Francisco

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wanphen chawarung/Shutterstock

While summer in San Francisco means a prolonged visit from Karl the Fog, early spring and early fall can be pretty warm (Hello 75 degree Saturday in March!), so here are some options for making s'mores and telling ghost stories without the car trip to Yosemite:

Angel Island
Beware of the dog-sized raccoons. Okay, maybe they're not that large, but everything sounds bigger in the dark. Arguably the camping locations with the best view in the Bay Area, they'll take some time to get to. Be prepared to hike to get to these scenic spots, the camp sites are a one to two-and-a-half mile jaunt from the ferry dock. You can board the ferry in S.F. or Tiburon (runs seven days a week during the summer months), and there are 10 sites that accommodate up to eight people, in addition to one group camp site that accommodates up to 20; the general sites are $30 a night, and the group site is $50. These camp sites are described as primitive, so if you definitely need a flush toilet, this isn't for you; more information can be found at reserveamerica.com.


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Ermahgerd, You Can Vote for a New Scrabble Word! YOLO!

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Barna Tanko/ Shutterstock
Selfie? Shizzle or nizzle? The possibilities are endless!

Scrabble is letting the public choose the next word it'll add to its official dictionary. And some of the nominees are fantastic: "I vote emotype, the misuse of an emoticon," says one Facebook user, another says "Clearly kwyjibo is the only choice."

To suggest a new word (because that one time you played photobomb really should have count), visit the Scrabble Facebook page. They'll be accepting nominations until March 28.

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San Franciscans to Compete in U.S. Memory Championship

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,a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/sbnation">YouTube
USAMC competitors participating in the face memorization event.

Championships exist all over the world for basically every sport you could imagine. Water polo, horseback riding, rugby, memory training -- yes, we said memory training, and yes, that is a sport.

Every year, mental athletes train for the USA Memory Championship, which is held annually in New York City. Now in its 17th year, this year's USAMC on March 29 features competitors ages 12 to 60 from across the country. And this year, two of those competitors are from San Francisco.

Journalist Nathan Jaye and registered nurse Sue Jin Yang, both from S.F., will be among over 60 other mental athletes from over 10 different states.

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Ban Bossy: Lifetime TV's Message to Young Girls

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Unfairly judged and labeled because she's not a man?

Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg are both seasoned film producers and directors; legendary perfectionists, they're known for showing up on time and fully prepared. They expect nothing less, and will accept nothing less, from their colleagues.

Why then, is Spielberg called a "strong" producer/director, while Streisand is often called a "bitch"?

Lifetime TV, the cable network for women, has launched a campaign in partnership Girl Scouts and LeanIn.org, to address the often culturally accepted mislabeling and name calling which discourages girls from assuming leadership positions.

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Nicolas Cage Art Show to Take Place in San Francisco

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Kara McNary

No other actor has a reputation quite like Nicolas Cage. Because of his overly-dramatic acting style, the ridiculous plots of his movies, and the massive amount of Nic Cage memes to which he owes his enormous Internet popularity, Cage has become the celebrity that everyone loves to hate on, even if they secretly love him.

Perhaps able to describe the Nicolas Cage phenomenon best is DJ and event-planner Ezra Croft, who wrote on the website for his Nicolas Cage art show that "Nicolas Cage is an enigma, of misunderstood sex appeal, raw, unfiltered power." Yes, you read that correctly -- Croft is hosting a Nicolas Cage art show.


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Artists Reconnect with 1906 Earthquake at "Unveiling Happening"

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It's hard to click a link these days without seeing another story about San Francisco's class divide. The artists and working class are being priced out, and everyone blames the techies first and the real estate industry second. But at 55 Ninth St. downtown, a couple of artists, a few foundations, and, gasp, a developer are collaborating on a surrealist happening held in San Francisco's long tradition of public weirdness, and a grand piece of site-specific art.

From a distance, And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea (Caruso's Dream), looks like 13 floating pianos. From underneath, the viewer might wonder if the pianos are falling. The installation created by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn is large, impressively intricate, and deeply symbolic. It's also covered, or under construction, most of the time.


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Monster Jam 2014 Rumbles into the Oakland Coliseum

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Monster Jam
New Earth Authority (N.E.A.)

When Interim Police Chief Norm Miller isn't preserving the peace, he's destroying everything that's in his way. That's because Miller is a Monster Jam truck driver. That's right folks. He has a full-time gig fighting crime in Scappoose, OR, but 15 weekends out of the year, he suits up and gets behind the wheel of a 10,000 pound, 1,500 horsepower high-octane alcohol injected mechanical beast. Got vroom?

After more than 30 years "monster trucks" have long ditched their sideshow days of tractor pulling and sluggishly smashing cars. Today Monster Jam shines the light on the trucks as the main attraction. These vehicles have been souped-up with nitrogen-filled shock absorbers, and slimmed down with fiberglass bodies making the vehicles able to leap higher and crush harder. The evolution in the truck technology has become Monster Jam's signature. Now touring the U.S. and 40 international cities, Monster Jam has made it's name as the only authentic monster truck series with world class drivers and trucks.

Miller has been in the business for 24 years, and finally, this year he debuted his own truck, N.E.A.: New Earth Authority. You can catch Miller with his ride, along with other Monster Jam trucks Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Oakland Coliseum. The Party in the Pits goes from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $15, $25 and $30 (adult) and $12.50 (Children 2 to 12); Party in the Pits passes are available for an additional $10. Miller took time to speak with SF Weekly about why his new truck, N.E.A., is the perfect match, how he became a Monster Jam truck driver, and why he continues to compete after becoming a police officer.

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