Guardian Intelligence: July 16 - 22



The J-POP Summit returns to Japantown Sat/19-Sun/20, unleashing a riot of Japanese pop culture. We're talking a fashion competition sponsored by frill peddlers Baby, The Stars Shine Bright (theme: "Toyland Parade"); an amateur dance contest in homage to Japanese meme "ODOTTEMITA" (which means, apparently, "I tried dancing it"); a film festival (heavy on the anime); and musical performances (including girl-group sensation Tokyo Girls' Style, who also have two movies screening the fest, and the intriguingly-named girl-punk trio Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass). Plus: cosplay galore, a scavenger hunt, and a Pocky eating contest — first prize is a year's supply.


Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down's performance was a stand-out at this year's Phono del Sol festival, which went down July 12 in Potrero del Sol Park. Other highlights: Nick Waterhouse with a full backing band, SF's own A Million Billion Dying Suns, and lots of super-happy little kids and dogs running around on a surprisingly warm San Francisco summer day. See our Noise blog at for more. PHOTO BY ERIN CONGER


Tommy Ramone, the last surviving member of the original Ramones, died on Friday, July 11 at the age of 65, after battling stomach cancer for the past year. The drummer, whose real name was Thomas Erdelyi, was the iconic punk band's de facto manager for the early years of their career. In an early press release-bio the likes of which we would be thrilled to receive today, he wrote "The Ramones all originate from Forest Hills and kids who grew up there either became musicians, degenerates, or dentists. The Ramones are a little of each. Their sound is not unlike a fast drill on a rear molar."


Congratulations to Bay Guardian Art Director Brooke Ginnard and her collaborating artists, who took first place for cover design in the annual Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards. AAN represents all alternative newsweeklies in the country.


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' essential, sprawling seventh triennial survey of the local art scene, Bay Area Now, opens with, what else, a big party Fri/18 (8pm-11pm, $12–$15. YBCA, 701 Mission, SF. BAN7 is even more inclusive than ever this year, with a host of artists exhibiting in a big, museum-like show for the first time, and programming that includes, performance, film and video, visual arts, and community engagement. "BAN7's core idea is to decentralize the curatorial process, and centralize the public presentation of some of the most exciting artistic voices in the region today," the curators say. Even Bay Guardian Senior Arts Editor Cheryl Eddy got into the act, programming the eternal Death Wish III on August 9, featuring a score by Jimmy Page.


Oakland Mayor Jean Quan already faces a small army of rival candidates for November — more than 20! — and her newest opponent may be the strongest (cutest?) challenger yet: Einstein the dog. Yes, this pup is for the 99 percent, and his website claims the furry candidate endured Occupy Oakland's flashbang grenades "just a few paw-strides" away from him. "Woof!" is a good campaign slogan, right?


Looks like Google's newest Street View will be San Francisco's Embarcadero. The tech giant just bought an Embarcadero high-rise for $65 million, just spitting distance from the One Market Plaza, where they also leased new space. Now that more Googlers are in SF proper, will they ditch the UFO buses for Muni?


Sean Parker, former Facebook president and Napster co-founder is gearing up for his new title: uncle elephant moneybags. Parker is now throwing gobs of money at national Republicans, Politico reported, giving over half a million dollars to Senate and House conservatives. Closer to home, Parker contributed $49,000 the right-leaning Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco group, which feels bikes and Muni get too many perks in the city. Yeah, right.


The Francisco Reservoir, located near Russian Hill, has been sitting there unused and taking up space since about 1940. Thanks to a deal between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Recreation and Parks Department, the decommissioned reservoir will finally be converted into a park. Bravo! But there's one small catch. Apparently nobody ever considered using a portion of this sprawling parcel, considered "surplus property" owned by the SFPUC, for affordable housing. City law mandates this as first-priority use for "surplus" land, but the SFPUC is exempt from the rule. John Stewart, who builds affordable projects but has no interest in the property, said he tried to float the idea of housing for teachers and firefighters as part of the Francisco Reservoir plan. But surrounding neighbors, who raised more than $9 million through their own connections to put toward the park, responded with what he termed "polite silence." In the area he thought might work for housing, their plan showed a dog run.