Not So Fast: Republicans are for and against cannabis

"U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, has introduced a bill that would ban people from using federal assistance payments to buy cannabis. He happens to also be the GOP’s lead sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow banks to do business with cannabis companies without fear of legal liability, since weed is still illegal at the federal level." Dan Mitchell examines this walking contradiction in this week's 'Chronic Town'.

Flame and Fortune: It’s trees vs. fire in an attempt to get ahead of...

"Trees provide shade during heat waves, sequester CO2, filter groundwater and have shown to reverse desertification in Burkina Faso. Yet approaching the 30th Anniversary of the Tunnel fire—that’s the state’s name of the 1991 Oakland and Berkeley Hills fire—many trees, to some survivors, are the adversary," writes AJ Fish in this illuminating news feature.

Opera? Oops!: Mystifying musical ‘Annette’ stumbles over its own ambitions

"Assuming an 'avant-garde' stance presumes the artists possess the talent and inspiration to present the material 'straight' in the first place. Such is not the case here. Anyone trying to take the laughably 'tragic' story of Henry, Ann and little Annette seriously would be defeated by it," writes Kelly Vance in his review of 'Annette'.

Facing ‘The Homeless’: Stories from the street belie stereotypes

"The truth?" Writes Janis Hashe, "There is no such thing as nameless, faceless 'The Homeless.' Each person couch surfing, or living in a car, an RV, a tent or an encampment on the street, has a unique story of how they got there. And all those stories are profoundly human."

Perfect Timing: Oakland Symphony Director Michael Morgan on music, movements and natural inclusion

"Michael Morgan is effusive and enthusiastic about music-making that serves the community. He’s also circumspect and immensely practical when it comes to his outlook on volatile or complex topics like race, diversity, equity, inclusion—and leading an arts organization prior to and during a pandemic. And then there’s just his good, old-fashioned luck," writes Lou Fancher in this week's Arts Feature.

Artfully Authentic: Las Delicias’ Salvadoran-Mexican fusion expands the potential of both cuisines

Las Delicias serves Mexican food for several reasons. “We know that, especially in California, people love tacos and burritos,” Nelson says. “But we’re serving a Salvadoran-Mexican fusion—the food that we know best—that we can combine with typical Mexican dishes we know people love.”

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Week of July 28

ARIES (March 21-April 19): What does it mean to feel real? Some people have a hard time doing that. They have such false ideas about who they are that they rarely feel real. Others...

They’s Agin’ It: Federal Cannabis legalization is possible, even with opposition from a Republican...

In this week's 'Chronic Town' Dan Mitchell explores the benefits of federal legalization of cannabis, writing, "Revenue from the weed tax would go toward an office at the Justice Department for job training, and legal aid for cannabis convictions to be expunged," but also exploring the many obstacles along the way, especially the Republican-controlled Congress.

Culture Takes the Lake: Lakeshore bustles back thanks in part to revitalized and innovative...

"The resurgence of Black-owned small businesses in Grand Lake might seem like an aberration or a triumph, depending on perspective," writes Eric K. Arnold for this week's Feature, "It’s actually a testament to cultural resilience."

Close Encounter: ‘For Madmen Only’ peeks into the mind of comic acting guru Del...

"According to 'For Madmen Only' Director Heather Ross’ rewarding documentary spelunking expedition into the life and career of the erstwhile fire-swallower from Manhattan, Kansas, Del P. Close was as insanely complicated as any legendary theater mentor should be. Of course, some would say he was just plain insane." Kelly Vance writes in this week's review.

Close Encounter: ‘For Madmen Only’ peeks into the mind of comic acting guru Del...

"According to 'For Madmen Only' Director Heather Ross’ rewarding documentary spelunking expedition into the life and career of the erstwhile fire-swallower from Manhattan, Kansas, Del P. Close was as insanely complicated as any legendary theater mentor should be. Of course, some would say he was just plain insane." Kelly Vance writes in this week's review.

Sonic Frontiers: Deeply informed by traditional music of the Philippines, Karl Evangelista’s ‘Apura’ is...

"An Oakland guitarist and composer with a rigorously conceived and wide-open aesthetic, Evangelista is a creative force at the sonic frontiers where the Bay Area’s new music scene bleeds into jazz. Deeply informed by traditional music of the Philippines, he designed Apura by drawing on folkloric melodies, though the musical conversation unfurled with the roiling ebb and surge of a jazz colloquy," writes Andrew Gilbert in this week's music section.

Yoshi’s Oakland reopens with a full roster of live shows after the challenge of...

Lou Fancher interviews Yoshi's Oakland's General Manager and Artistic Director about the reopening of the beloved Jazz venue this month after over a year of uncertainty. "Surviving the 16-month lockdown was incredibly tough for Yoshi’s,' she writes, "even with nearly 50 years of notable popularity in Oakland to its name."

Flic Chic: Isabelle Huppert excels as a bent cop in ‘Mama Weed’

"Widowed mother Patience Portefeux (Huppert) works in the intelligence section of the Paris police as a translator, interpreting the wiretap recordings and social media posts of Arabic-speaking drug dealers, and occasionally assisting in street busts. In an ordinary, fish-out-of-water cop movie, someone like her would face on-the-job sexism, and disarm with charm, en route to a station-house romance. Patience’s story is a little more complicated," writes Kelly Vance about 'Mama Weed'.

Spellling: Hopeful visions of the future

“‘Little Wheel’ is one of my all time favorite songs,” [Spellling] said. “[Sainte-Marie] does everything I wanted to do on this album in that one song. The theme of ephemerality of time and how special it is to be here, on this planet, as a human. Trying to grasp these big moments we get to share with each other while here and trying to hold onto them. She can speak to grandiose concepts, but the words are so detailed. My album is about that.”

Female Trouble: Reincarnated biblical she-devil ‘Lillith’ goes to college; horny frat boys beware

"No acting-prize hopefuls here," writes Kelly Vance in this week's review. "Frequent TV actor [Savannah] Whitten, in the title role, exhibits a lot of exaggerated energy in her sex scenes, each of which climaxes with the mutilation of her unlucky partner. Otherwise, her most notable achievement is to satisfy the prime requirement for playing Lillith in the first place—plenty of room in her mouth for the demonic dental appliance."
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