Tag Archives: San Francisco

(Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The odds are far from Katniss Everdeen’s favor in the second installment of “The Hunger Games” series.  Back in District 12, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) prepares for the “Victory Tour,” following her win in the previous 74th Hunger Games. She discovers that her defiance of the Capitol in the previous film has ignited a rebellion throughout the nation’s districts. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) pays visit to District 12 to instruct Katniss that she need not only convince each district of her love for Peeta as the reason for her actions but also convince Snow himself.

“Remember who the real enemy is,” the phrase of mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), sets the tone for the 75th annual Hunger Games Quarter Quell. The last stop on the “Victory Tour” leaves Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in the Capitol. This time they are thrown back into yet another Hunger Games, only to be surrounded by fellow victors of earlier games.

The supporting cast features a number newcomers to the film. Sam Clafin (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) as Finnick Odair, and Jena Malone (“Sucker Punch,” “Donnie Darko”) as Johanna Mason bring a sense of danger to their roles as they form an alliance with Jeffrey Wright (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Casino Royale”) and Amanda Plummer (“Pulp Fiction”) as the eccentric and genius characters Beetee and Wiress.  Actress Elizabeth Banks, portrays the role of Effie Trinket as seen in the first movie, but this time we see the injustices infringed upon her and how much she truly cares for the victors.

I recommend viewers to watch the film in IMAX to enhance the experience.

Although the first “Hunger Games” movie remained true to its book, “Catching Fire” captured Suzanne Collins’ story like no other sequel movie has done. Often, literature adaptations fail to embody the very essence of the story itself, and in doing so fail to succeed in reviews. “Catching Fire” encompassed all the elements of the book: action, sacrifice, emotion, and a looming sense of danger.

“Catching Fire” played in 4,163 locations in North America, dominating the box office during opening weekend. Lionsgate increased the budget to an estimated $140 million; the first movie had a set budget of $78 million. This budget went into visual effects, use of IMAX cameras, and due to the sequel’s story line, more expansive filming was needed.

I recommend viewers to watch the film in IMAX to enhance the experience. Each scene is deeper and darker, and the surround sound will throw you off your seat. It will be as if you entered the film itself.

Jessie Ware returned to San Francisco for a sold-out show at the Fillmore on Nov. 18. She performed at Outside Lands earlier this year. (Photo by Mia Orantia)

British Phenom Jessie Ware Rocks the Fillmore

Before knowing who Jessie Ware was, I was told two things about her. The first was that she has worked with my favorite English electronic music duo Disclosure. The second was that she is “the missing link between Adele, SBTRKT, and Sade.” Instantly, I fell in love with the idea of Jessie.

Upon seeing her at the Fillmore mid-November, she surpassed my high expectations. Song after song, note after note, Ware hit every mark in front of a sell-out show crowd. She gave shine to many songs from different periods of her career, but mainly focused on songs from her most recent album “Devotion.”. Knowing the subtle sophistication of “Devotion,” I was happily surprised to find myself dancing along. Her smooth sensual voice soothed the soul, as all cares began to slip away.

More impressive than her flawless vocals was Ware’s glowing stage presence. Her charisma made me feel like I was reuniting with a long lost friend. Ware’s casual composure was shown throughout song breaks when she would play with the audience, calling herself a “good Jewish girl” and cheering out “L’Chaim.”

It was easy to forget that Ware is a world-renowned singer with an album that some called one of the best of 2012. However,  her stardom is something we cannot forget. In an age where revealing clothing and the selling of sexual appeal have become norms for many female musicians (I’m looking at you Miley,) one must not forget that there still are many women achieving incredible musical feats regardless of image. Jessie Ware may or may not be the missing link between Adele, SBTRKT, and Sade, but one thing is sure, this classy lady sure can rock a stage even in a pant suit.

A better turn out than the Giant’s Parade. San Francisco turns Union Square into Gotham City to make one little boy’s dream come true. (Photo by Nicholas Welsh)

A Dream Come True: Five-Year-Old Batkid Saves Gotham City

San Francisco’s Chief of Police hopes that one day Mayor Ed Lee will praise him the way he praised Miles Scott, the five-year-old cancer survivor who saved San Francisco/Gotham City from terrible criminals last Friday. Police Commissioner Greg Suhr, acting as Commissioner Gordon, was one of many Batman characters present for the day of elaborate festivities in which young Miles’ biggest wish — to be Batman — became a reality. Miles, who thought he was just picking out a Batman costume to play around the house, ended up spending the day riding around in a tricked out Lamborghini “Batmobile” and fighting crimes committed by the Riddler and the Penguin.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation organized the event, which they say drew around 10,000 people to the streets of “Gotham City” to watch Miles rescue a damsel in distress, stop a bank robbery, and save Giants’ mascot Lou Seal from a terrible fate. A flash mob in Union Square to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” helped direct the Batkid, who was accompanied by his sidekick Robin (his little brother) and an adult Batman (acrobat/inventor Eric Johnson) to the scene of a crime. After defeating the mischievous criminals, Miles brought them to City Hall. The Riddler and the Penguin were indicted by members of the San Francisco branch of the U.S. Attorneys’ Office and FBI, and the Batkid was hailed as a hero. Miles was presented with the key to the city by Mayor Lee in front of the crowd of thousands gathered in the Civic Center Plaza.

“It was moving. That many people coming out for one five-year-old…it says a lot about how good people are,” sophomore Patrick Cairns said.

Miles, who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old, is currently in remission. While on stage with Mayor Lee, the five-year-old held up his arm in triumph. For him, he was celebrating the victory over crime — but to the crowd, it was a symbol of his triumph over the deadly disease.

“Those people didn’t just come out for Miles; they came out for everyone who has leukemia, you know? If it had been another kid, even one who wasn’t as cute, they still would have come out,” Cairns said.

The event, which has been in the works since March, was never intended to get as big as it did. Miles’ story went viral on social media, inspiring people around the world to comment, share, and re-post. The hashtag #SFBatKid was rampant on Twitter, and even President Obama joined in to congratulate the Batkid via video after he saved Gotham: “Way to go, Miles; way to save Gotham.”

BART Strike Impedes Transportation for USF Community

For the second time in three months, BART’s union workers, which includes train operators and station agents, went on strike last Friday, leaving the railroad’s reportedly 500,000 daily commuters without transportation.

USF students and staff that commute from other parts of the Bay Area were affected by the railroad shut down after BART management and union leaders were unable to reach a compromise Thursday afternoon.

Christina Goultas, senior exercise and sports science major commutes to USF from San Mateo. She doesn’t take BART herself, but was still affected by the strike. Goultas drives to school, but was late for class because traffic was so backed up on the 280 freeway leading to the Bay Bridge.

“I understand that the BART workers need to voice their opinions,” said Goultas, “but I think they need to be more considerate of all the riders and commuters in the Bay Area who need to adjust their schedule to cope with the strike.”

After BART went on strike in August, Governor Jerry Brown imposed a 60-day “cooling off ” period. After the 60 days ended, negotiations between union workers and BART management continued, but as the workers neglected to operate the train, commuters remain unsure when it will start running again.
First year law student Miles Maurino, whose weekend plans were affected by the BART strike notes, “The California Chamber of Commerce reports that the Bay Area loses $70 million in productivity each day the BART is on strike. For the BART employees to claim that their already high salary is not justified is completely unwarranted by the circumstances,” said Maurino.Much of the controversy is over the worker’s wages. The average base salary for full time station agents and train operators is $56,000 a year, in addition to the average $10,000 of overtime for stations agents and $17,000 for train operators, reports Mother Jones.

The average base salary for full time station agents and train operators is $56,000 a year, in addition to the average $10,000 of overtime for stations agents and $17,000 for train operators, reports Mother Jones.

While many look to that salary and wonder why union workers need a higher salary, train operator William Smith says that’s not the only issue. BART management is attempting to change the contract, resulting in more money taken out of their paycheck for pensions and health insurance, according to Smith.

“Our contract states that each year we pay three percent more for medical insurance, but BART wants to up that,” said Smith. Additionally, the contract BART’s management is proposing takes away some union worker’s rights, said Smith: “we want to maintain the current language of our contract.”

The change in contract is likely due to BART’s management hiring a chief negotiator and general manager outside of the Bay Area. “They have no interest to the Bay Area. There are plenty of negotiators within the area that would love to be paid $400,000 to negotiate BART’s contract,” said Smith.

Smith states that it wasn’t his decision to go on the strike, saying that the current management forced it. He adds, “I feel BART is being disingenuous with the riding public. I make no where near what they’ve printed in the papers,” said Smith. “They vilify the workers, yet they hired us.”

Maurino, who doesn’t think contract negotiations justify the negative effects the strike has imposed, finds it crucial for a compromise to be reached and for the trains to start running again because, “BART is the beating heart of the Bay Area,” he concludes.

Major Lazer literally and musically connected with crowd, while perfoming their top hits like “Get Free.” (Photo by Eric Bader)

Treasure Island Music Festival is the Festival to Go to in the Bay

On Oct. 19 and 20, a short shuttle ride over the Bay Bridge transported my friends and me to a place full of music, food, art, and fun. The Treasure Island Music Festival, held one weekend every October, was a two-day, non-stop music experience. The event only has two stages, and no artist plays at the same time so you can see every one on the lineup.

The weather on Saturday was perfect. It was sunny and warm with a light breeze. I started the day off seeing the rap artist Danny Brown, who really got the crowd moving. The two artists I was excited to see on Saturday were electronic groups Disclosure and Major Lazer, and I was not disappointed. Disclosure blew me away with their visuals, live band, and set list. I did not see one person standing still the entire time, and it was one of the most fun crowds I have ever been a part of. As the sun was setting and the air got cooler, people danced for warmth during Major Lazer. Major Lazer is a group lead by electronic artist Diplo. Their heart pumping beats and crazy bass made for a great dance party as the sun went down over the Bay. Major Lazer’s performance ended around 7 p.m. and the weather had taken a turn for the worse. We nick-named the island “Treasure Iceberg.” It was absolutely freezing and the only way to fight the cold was to huddle into the middle of the crowd for a set by Phantogram, an American electric-rock duo, who put on a killer show. The music was upbeat and the energy from the performers rubbed off into the crowd. Even though I was not familiar with their music, I am now a big fan.

As the night wore on it got colder and colder, and when it came time to see Atoms for Peace, Thom Yorke of Radiohead’s new experimental group, I could not feel my hands. Being a fan of Radiohead, I was hyped up to see Atoms for Peace. Unfortunately, i was very disappointed. They did not come on-stage on time, the performance was half-hearted and not impressive at all. I ended up leaving early because it was not enjoyable.

Sunday was a much chillier day from the start, but the lineup of performers was good enough to get me excited. We stopped to frolic in a cloud of bubbles that came from a giant bubble maker and soaked up a little bit of sun before it got cold again. Then came time for Lord Huron, a folk group who put on an amazing show. The lead singer, Ben Schneider, softly sang with his dreamy voice and mesmerized the crowd. The live performance of their song, “Time to Run,” was energetic, beautiful, and a pleasure to listen to.

STRFKR’s set was full of high energy and props, like astronauts crowd surfing in a raft. (Photo: Eric Bader)

STRFKR’s set was full of high energy and props, like astronauts crowd surfing in a raft. (Photo: Eric Bader)

After Lord Huron’s set, the kickass, sister indie rock group Haim went on the other stage. Their performance blew me away. There is a lot of hype around the group and it is well deserved. Their energy and rock-and-roll style made for a great set which my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed. The rest of the night was left with more stellar performances and no disappointments. STRFKR, James Blake, Animal Collective, Sleigh Bells, and Beck all led incredible performances. STRFKR’s show included crowd surfing astronauts, aliens, blow up dolls, and sumo wrestlers. The combination of funky dance music and visuals was awesome, and made the band stand out the most.
The members of Animal Collective had an amazing set of teeth onto which they projected crazy visuals. Although they did not play my favorite song (“My Girls”), they had great energy, and the crowd loved their performance.

Last but definitely not least, Beck, who was the biggest headliner of the weekend, closed out the festival in a big way. He performed older songs and put on a great show. It was the perfect way to end a great weekend!

The festival also had a huge collection of snack vendors, including the famous Spicy Pie Pizza, and many other delicious food trucks. The crowd was not overwhelming, and the event’s setup was easy to navigate. With the art installations and music, Treasure Island was an enjoyable experience, and you will definitely see me there again next year!

freepressusfonline

Staff Editorial: BART Strikes the City’s Routine

As students with limited affordable transportation options and professors that take the BART for its convenience and speed to get to campus on time, we all have been greatly impacted by the BART strike and its affect on our plans and commute. We, the Foghorn, believe this to be a time of understanding unions and their intentions; as well as maintaining a balanced perspective while critiquing.

As students that come to San Francisco, a city brimming with opportunities for those who can afford the education necessary to be eligible, the BART labor dispute was an inconvenience to us. Yet, as students who should also be aware of prevalent social justice issues in our own communities, we must recognize the considerable wide wealth gap that divides the average Silicon Valley employee and one who maintains BART services.

The BART transports nearly 375,000 commuters along a 104-mile long system on the average weekday. With a halt to this city-funded agency due to wage negotiations, the real impact made on this city will not come from the six-digit income earners that cannot make it to their office, but those “invisible” workers who depend on their meager paycheck and cannot earn it while working from home (i.e. custodians, waiters, etc.).

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute approximated that a day of the BART strike would cost the Bay Area economy $73 million dollars. Yet there is no mention in most media coverage of the strike of this probably being a result of the usually ignored, large number of people in the city that work lower income jobs, just like that of BART employees, not being able to get to their place of work.

A closer look at the unions’ demands shows that their concerns are warranted. Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 have been asking for increased safety measures and a salary that equals some of the risk they expose themselves to whilst working. This past Saturday, two BART employees were killed by an automated train while inspecting the tracks, just one day after the strike began.

The repetitive striking by BART employees is indicative of the unfortunately, disparaging income gap that continues to grow and plague our country. As informed and educated citizens, we must acknowledge that these are individuals demanding the chance to begin bridging this gap.

Tuesday night, BART announced an end to its four-day strike the effect of which was felt by many with a pension, salary and health care settlement that was agreed on by management and the two unions. Even with the reinstatement of the BART service, the topic of working conditions will continue to be negotiated. This is a small victory for not just its union, but for other unions demanding higher wages that give workers the opportunity to save and live comfortably. It is also a step in the effort to fight our country’s income inequality — a feat that will positively affect the lower and middle classes.