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Pounce!— tickets on sale now for Devour! Sonoma Chefs & Shorts Gala Dinner at the 21st Sonoma International Film Festival

SIFF21’s five-course dinner and film shorts event, “Devour! Sonoma Chefs & Shorts Gala Dinner” is Thursday, March 22, 2018, 6pm, at the Sonoma Veterans Hall.  A unique collaboration between SIFF and Devour! The Food Film Fest, the evening will celebrate cinema, food and wine.  Image: courtesy Phototype

The Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF), March 21-25, 2018, celebrates its 21st anniversary this year and has just announced its first special film/food/wine event, Devour! Sonoma Chefs & Shorts Gala Dinner, Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 6pm the Sonoma Veterans Hall.  SIFF is partnering with Canada’s renowned Devour! The Food Film Fest to bring this unique experience to SIFF film and food aficionados.

The evening will feature an extraordinary five-course dinner, with each course taking its inspiration from short food films from around the world.  Lia Rinaldo, managing director of Devour! will serve as curator.   Culinary collaborators include luminaries such as Dominique Crenn (first woman to earn two Michelin Stars and named Best Female Chef in 2016, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco), Evan Funke (Felix Trattoria, Los Angeles), Michael Howell (Founder of Devour!, Wolfville, Nova Scotia) and Sonoma Chefs John McReynolds (Edge) and John Toulze (The Girl and The Fig).  Each course will be paired with Sonoma’s finest wine, including Gloria Ferrer and WindVane, as well as Benjamin Bridge from Michael Howell’s backyard in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  The films are screened simultaneously with the dinner.  This unique offering has sold out in many locations around the world, and with this combination of award-winning chefs, great local foods and wines, it’s sure to please SIFF’s savvy foodies.   “SIFF is thrilled to work with Devour! The Food Film Fest to bring this first Chefs & Shorts culinary experience to our festival attendees!” said SIFF Executive Director Kevin McNeely.

Details:  Devour! Sonoma Chefs & Shorts Gala Dinner is Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 6pm the Sonoma Veterans Hall.  Tickets are $120 for Soiree pass holders, $150 for all other pass holders and $200 for general public.  Click here to purchase tickets for this event or visit to first purchase your festival pass.

 SIFF Pass Information:
SIFF21 is Wednesday, March 21 through Sunday, March 25.  The best way to experience this very popular festival and to have access to all films is by getting a SIFF pass. Currently, Cinema Passes are $225 and Soiree Passes are $725.  All Cinema pass holders will have day access to the Backlot Tent in SIFF Village.  Soiree pass holders will have day VIP area and evening party access.  For information about tickets, festival passes, prices, and benefits visit

More about Devour!  Combining cinematic talent with extraordinary gastronomic activities, Devour! The Food Film Fest is the world’s largest film festival focused on food and drink. This annual five-day festival hosts 100+ events, high profile chefs & celebrated filmmakers from around the world and, just this past season, attracted almost 11,000 food and film lovers to Nova Scotia, Canada. The eighth edition of Devour! is slated for October 24-28, 2018.



January 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 40th Mill Valley Film Festival, October 5-15, 2017, will honor Sean Penn with a special tribute

Actor, director, screenwriter, and political activist Sean Penn will be honored on Saturday, October 7, with a tribute and the MVFF award at the 40th Mill Valley Film Festival (October 4-14, 2017).  The afternoon will feature an onstage conversation with Penn, who won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008), and has been nominated three more times in the same category for Dead Man Walking (1995), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), and I Am Sam (2001).  As a director, Penn has crafted powerful dramas such as The Indian Runner (1991), The Pledge (2001), and Into the Wild (2007).  Penn’s most recent MVFF appearance was in 2014 to support The Human Experiment (2014), a film that he executive produced and narrated.  Image courtesy: MVFF

The Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF 40), October 4-15, 2107, a favorite among film lovers, hasn’t released its full schedule to the public yet but has just announced that Sean Penn will be honored with a festival tribute on Saturday, 3 p.m., October 7, 2017 at the Smith Rafael Film Center.  The two-hour program will feature an onstage conversation with Penn, a clip reel of his work, and the presentation of the MVFF award.  There will be time for an audience Q&A afterwards too, which is always fascinating as savvy audience members ask direct and often difficult questions–familiar territory for Penn.  The complete MVFF schedule will be available online Monday, September 12, 2017.  For this milestone, plan on a star-studded extravaganza, a roll-out in the neighborhood of 150 films and several special musical offerings, all selected with the progressive, knowledgeable and fun-loving spirit of our Bay Area audience in mind.

MVFF founder and executive director Mark Fishkin said that Sean Penn was essential for their 40th: “Not only is Sean one of the greatest actors of this generation; he may be one of the greatest actors of many generations.  The integrity of his performances in unparalleled.  Very few actors can be as absorbed in a role as he can and that comes right from his core.  He has history with this festival.”

Sean Penn, whose film career spans three decades, lived in Ross for several years and has a long association with MVFF.  In fact, over the years, it was a treat to see him catching a movie at the Rafael.  In 2002, he presented and spoke about Jessie Nelson’s I Am Sam (2001), which he starred in with Michelle Pfeiffer and Dakota Fanning.  Penn, nominated for Best Actor Academy Award, played a mentally challenged single father struggling to raise a daughter who ends up with Michelle Pfeiffer as his attorney.

Sean Penn was a lead actor in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams (2003) which had its world premiere at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival, where Penn won his second Volpi Cup (Best Actor Award).  At that time, he had been nominated for three Academy Awards but hadn’t yet won any.  The film later screened at MVFF and Penn and Iñárritu captivated the audience with a revealing post-screening Q&A.

In 2003, Penn came to MVFF as the lead actor in Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s tormenting  21 Grams.  Inarritu presented the film and Penn appeared on stage with him in an intense Q&A with festival founder and executive director, Mark Fishkin.  Reception guests included the unbeatable Tom Waits and Peter Coyote; the evening was unforgettable.

At a very special pre-festival event in 2007, Penn presented Into the Wild (2007), which he both directed and wrote the screenplay for.  The film, based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction bestseller, was nominated for two Academy® Awards.  Penn also presented the Mill Valley Award to Emile Hirsch for his breakout performance as the impulsive young adventurer, Christopher Johnson McCandless who lived thrillingly in the natural world for two years and then died tragically of starvation in the Alaskan wilderness.

In 2009, as part of the Smith Rafael’s 10th anniversary celebration Film of My Life series, Penn presented Elem Klimov’s film Come and See (1985), which unfolds in the Soviet republic of Byelorussia in 1943 and depicts the brutality of war.  Penn explained that the film, which he considers a masterpiece of film-making, affected him deeply.

In November of 2009, Penn was also in attendance at the Smith Rafael for a special screening of Oren Moverman’s lauded debut film, The Messenger (2009), which included an on stage conversation with Woody Harrelson, who starred in the film.

Who can forget Sean Penn’s Academy Award winning performance as Jimmy, an ex-con whose 19-year-old daughter is brutally murdered, in Clint Eastwood’s 24th film, the crime drama, Mystic River.

Penn’s most recent MVFF appearance was in 2014 to support The Human Experiment (2013), a documentary that he executive produced and narrated which explored the astonishing numbers of toxic chemicals found in everyday household products and the need for tighter regulation.

Penns’ fifth film as a director,  the drama The Last Face (2016), with Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem as African aid workers who become romantically involved in Liberian and Sudanese conflict zones, garnered a string of one star reviews and was was promptly relegated to a VOD release.  You can expect some discussion at MVFF of what prompted Penn to cast two gorgeous white actors in the lead as compassionate savior/healers and ensconce them in a bloody black war.

Penn’s latest film, The Professor and the Madman (2017), directed by Farhad Safinia and produced by Mel Gibson, is based on the Simon Winchester book about the true story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Set in 1857, Gibson plays the obsessive professor, James Murray, who oversaw the dictionary’s creation, while Sean Penn plays the equally obsessive madman — Dr. William Chester Minor — who contributed 10,000 entries from an asylum for the criminally insane.  This is the first time Penn and Gibson have appeared together on screen but audiences may have to wait until a legal matter is resolved.  In late July, Gibson filed a lawsuit alleging that the producing company, Voltage Pictures (the company behind The Hurt Locker)  was in breach of contract because one it did not allow him to select a final cut of the film.

MVFF 40 Details:

MVFF 40 runs October 4-15, 2017.  Main venues this year include: CinéArts@Sequoia (Mill Valley), Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (San Rafael), Lark Theatre (Larkspur), and Cinema Corte Madera.

Full schedule online Monday, September 11, 2017.

Tickets before the festival:  CFI (California Film Institute) Passholders get first dibs in order of their pass status. Premier Patron, Director’s Circle, Gold Star, and non-pass holding CFI members can begin to purchase tickets September 12-16.

General Public tickets available September 17-October 4, 2017 online (with convenience fees of $3.75 per order) or in person (no fee) at Smith Rafael Film Center Box Office (1114 Fourth Street, San Rafael, 4 to 8 pm) or Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce, 85 Throckmorton Ave., 4 to 8 pm)

Tickets during the festival:  October 5-15, 2017 tickets will be available 1 hour before the first screening of the day to 15 minutes after the last show starts.  Rush tickets:  rush line forms outside each venue roughly 1 hour before show time.  Rush tickets are sold on a first come, first sold basis roughly 15 minutes before show time.  Patrons have a 90% chance of getting into a show by using the rush line.

September 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Russian Holiday Bell Concert with SFS percussionist Victor Advienko, Saturday, December 24, at Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library


December 21, 2016 Posted by | Classical Music, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Camera Obscura, an experimental cinema salon, at Hotel Petaluma all weekend

Canadian film director Michael Snow with the machine he and engineer Pierre Abeloos designed to film Snow’s 180 minute long experimental film La Région Centrale (1971) which was set and filmed on a mountaintop in a remote locale in northern Quebec. The film screens Saturday at noon at CAMERA OBSCURA Second Annual Report at the Hotel Petaluma. The photo was taken by Joyce Wieland in October 1969 on the fifth and final day of the crew’s presence on the mountaintop. Considered a masterpiece for its exploration of camera movement, the film will be introduced by Antonella Bonfanti, director Canyon Cinema. Photo: Joyce Wieland, production still, 1969

Canadian film director Michael Snow with the machine he and engineer Pierre Abeloos designed to film Snow’s 180 minute experimental film “La Région Centrale” (1971), which was set and filmed on a mountaintop in a remote locale in northern Quebec. The film has it world premiere Saturday at noon at CAMERA OBSCURA Second Annual Report at the Hotel Petaluma. Canyon Cinema will supply the 16mm projector necessary to screen the film, which does not exist in digital form. The production still was taken by Joyce Wieland in October 1969 on the fifth and final day of the crew’s presence on the mountaintop. Considered a masterpiece for its exploration of camera movement, the film will be introduced by Antonella Bonfanti, director Canyon Cinema. Photo: Joyce Wieland, 1969

For film programmer and curator Amanda Salazar of the San Francisco Film Institute and Petaluman Jonathan Marlow, FANDOR co-founder and currently chief strategy office of Kanopy, the on-demand streaming video service, it was their mutual love of experimental film and making it more accessible to audiences that led them to look back in time to the CAMERA OBSCURA Film Society (COFS).  This eclectic organization was founded in the late 1950’s by Lawrence Jordan and Bruce Connor, together with a handful of other artists, and presented pop-up experimental cinema programs throughout San Francisco until 1962.  Salazar and Marlow picked up the mantel and contacted Lawrence Jordan, who happens to live in Petaluma now, and got his permission to revitalize the organization.  They will be presenting The Second Annual report of the reconstituted CAMERA OBSCURA over the weekend at Hotel Petaluma’s art gallery which has been converted into a pop-up screening room that seats 50.  Lawrence Jordan will be in attendance  on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. for the world premiere of his 2016 film Night Light , shot on film, and to introduce Werner Herzog’s short, Lessons of Darkness (1992), which screens before Night Light.  The event kicked off on Friday evening (November 18, 2016) and picks up at noon on Saturday and runs through late-night Sunday.  “Our intent,” says Amanda Salazar “is to create a salon and to start a dialogue about where cinema is at, where it is going, and its relevancy.  We want people to feel free to drop in and see one film or to spend the weekend with us. ”

CAMERA OBSCURA day I : Friday, Nov 18


CAMERAPERSON (2016) dir. Kirsten Johnson

– preceded by the short film – SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT (2016) dir. AJ Schnack

[feature courtesy of Janus Films | short courtesy of the filmmaker and Field of Vision]

— followed by —

opening night reception [Hotel Petaluma ballroom]


CAMERA OBSCURA day II : Saturday, Nov 19

12:00pm | [introduced by Canyon Cinema Director Antonella Bonfanti]

LA REGION CENTRALE (1971), dir. Michael Snow

– preceded by the short film –

THE WATERSHOW EXTRAVAGANZA (2016) [U.S. premiere], dir. Sophie Michael

[feature courtesy of Canyon Cinema | short courtesy of the filmmaker

— followed by —

4:00pm | [introduced by Camera Obscura Film Society co-founder Lawrence Jordan]


dir. Werner Herzog

– preceded by the short films –

NIGHT LIGHT (2016) [world premiere] dir. Lawrence Jordan [in attendance]

EDGE OF ALCHEMY (2016) [work-in-progress screening] dir. Stacey Steers

[feature courtesy of WHF GmbH | shorts courtesy of the respective filmmakers]

— followed by —

7:00pm | THE SON OF JOSEPH [LE FILS DE JOSEPH] (2016) [regional premiere] dir. Eugene Green

– preceded by the short film –

OH WHAT A WONDERFUL FEELING (2016) [regional premiere] dir. Francois Jaros

[feature courtesy of Kino Lorber | short courtesy of La Boîte à Fanny]

— followed by —

10:00pm | [introduced by Alamo Drafthouse SF Creative Manager Mike Keegan]

THE ASTROLOGER (1975) dir. Craig Denny

– preceded by the short film –

PLENA STELLARUM (2016) [regional premiere] dir. Matthew Wade

[feature courtesy of AGFA | short courtesy the filmmaker]


CAMERA OBSCURA day III : Sunday, Nov 20

1:00pm | IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE (2015) dir. Patrick Shen [prod. Brandon Vedder in attendance]

– preceded by the short film –

FLOWERS OF THE SKY (2016) [regional premiere] dir. Janie Geiser

[feature courtesy of the Cinema Guild | short courtesy the filmmaker]

— followed by —

4:00pm | Sunday SEA TO SHINING SEA (2016) [work-in-progress screening] dir. Maximon Monihan [in attendance]

– preceded by the short film –

EXILE EXOTIC (2015) [regional premiere] dir. Sasha Litvintseva

[feature courtesy of Bricolagista | short courtesy the filmmaker]

— followed by —

CLOSING NIGHT:  7:00pm | DARK NIGHT (2016) [regional premiere]dir. Tim Sutton

– preceded by the short film –

[TBA] (2016) [work-in-progress screening]

dir. ——– [in attendance]

[feature courtesy of Cinelicious Pics | short courtesy of the filmmaker]

— followed by —

closing night party [secret location TBA]

Details:  Camera Obscura Second Annual Report is Friday through Sunday, November 18-20, 2016 at the art gallery of Hotel Petaluma, 106 Washington Street, Petaluma, CA, approximately 1.5 hours north of San Francisco.  Screenings (“events”) are for members only. A single screening is $20; a full day membership is $50 and the full weekend, including a one year membership and subsequent Quarterly report screenings) is $100.

For more information:

Kid friendly alert:  the programming is intended for adults

November 18, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 8th Annual Petaluma International Film Festival kicks off Friday, October 28th, and offers a weekend of exciting cinema

If you see just one Kazakh wife-stealing comedy this year, make it Yerlan Nurmukhambetov’s “Walnut Tree,” which screens Saturday at the 8th Petaluma International Film Festival. The 81 minute drama is a beautifully rendered portrait of Kazakh identity with breathtaking cinematography. This year’s festival showcases 40 independent features and shorts from 18 countries with a special program devoted to Sonoma Filmmakers.

If you see just one Kazakh wife-stealing comedy this year, make it Yerlan Nurmukhambetov’s “Walnut Tree,” screening Saturday at the 8th Petaluma International Film Festival. In addition to its humor, the 81 minute drama is a beautifully rendered portrait of Kazakh identity with breathtaking cinematography. PIFF8 is October 28-30, 2016 at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas.

With 40 independent films from 18 countries, the 8th Annual Petaluma International Film Festival (PIFF8) offers line-up of new independent films from the remote corners of the globe to homey Petaluma.  This year’s festival is Friday through Sunday at Petaluma’s Boulevard 14 Cinemas and offers 15 full-length films and 25 shorts and the popular Sonoma Filmmakers Showcase with several filmmakers in attendance.  There’s also Running Wild, Alex Ranarivelo’s new horse drama that was co-produced by Petaluma’s Ali Afshar and was shot in 2015 all around Sonoma County.

Organized by Saeed Shafa who founded the popular annual Tiburon International Film Festival in 2002, PIFF was created to support new indie filmmakers, great storytelling and international points of view.  Since most filmmakers start our their careers by making a short film, Shafa has purposely paired all the feature films with at least one short film to demonstrate to the audience that short stories can be highly effective and so can new filmmakers.

Friday’s Opening film:

A scene from award-winning filmmaker Hilary Linder’s documentary “Indivisible” (2016) showing a meeting at the US-Mexico border between children and their parents. The parents were deported to Mexico and the children stayed behind in the US.

A scene from award-winning filmmaker Hilary Linder’s documentary “Indivisible” (2016) showing a meeting at the US-Mexico border between children and their parents. The parents were deported to Mexico and the children stayed behind in the US.

The festival kicks off Friday at noon with Hilary Linder’s compelling documentary, Indivisible (2016), which showcases real people at the heart of our country’s immigration debate and the Dreamer movement for immigrant rights. In a year in which election theatrics have supplanted substantive debate on the pressing issue of immigration reform, Linder gives us a a very relevant story that tracks three children who were been separated from their parents by deportation and became stuck in redtape which prohibited them from visiting their parents and their parents form visiting them.  Against all odds, these kids remain hopeful and are working to promote reform. Screens with shorts “The Silence” and “Between the Lines.”

Saturday and Sunday evenings—Sonoma Filmmakers Showcase:

Now in its fourth year, the festival’s popular Sonoma Filmmakers Showcase has expanded to both Saturday and Sunday evenings.  The program reflects Shafa’s commitment to our community’s talented independent filmmakers.  The evenings allow the community to gather to meet these filmmakers and to see a number of short films all at once.  This year, the program starts on Saturday with Alex Ranarivelo’s new feature length drama, Running Wild (2016), starring Oscar-nominated Sharon Stone.  The film was co-produced by Petaluma’s Ali Afshar and was shot in 2015 in Petaluma, Tomales, Santa Rosa and Glen Ellen. The story revolves around the plight of wild horses during the drought. Recently widowed Stella Davis (Dorian Brown, FX’s “Wilfred”) faces foreclosure of her Double Diamond Ranch and works with convicts to rehabilitate a herd of wild horses that has wandered onto her ranch. The film screens Saturday at 6:15 PM with director Alex Ranarivelo and actress Dorian Brown in attendance.

Sunday Afternoon: Focus on Dance and Music


A scene from Randy Valdes' "A Todo Color" (2015).

A scene from Randy Valdes’ “A Todo Color” (2015).


Randy Valdes was born in Cuba in 1986 and then relocated to Miami at age eight.  His documentary A Todo Color (2015)  tells the story of how, in the 1990’s, young Cubans turned to music as a source of inspiration and how Cuban musicians managed to disseminate their art and truths beyond Cuba.  Through intimate interviews and fabulous concert scenes, the film explores the artists’ personal and creative journeys, how their influence defines the artistic language of the Cuban cultural Diaspora, and how each incorporates the influences of their newly adopted cultural environments into the ever-evolving phenomenon of World Cuban Music.  Screens Sunday, 2PM with shorts Body & Sound (4 min) and State of Grace (5 min)


Bardroy Barretto’s musical feature Let’s Dance to the Rhythm (2015) brings some 20 legendary songs from the 60’s and 70’s to life in a spectacular tribute to Goan music that unfolds as a love story between a composer-musician, Lawtry (Vijay Maurya), and his protégé, Dona (Palomi Ghosh).  Set against the backdrop of the jazz clubs of Bombay and Goa’s vibrant 60’s generation of musicians, the film is loosely based on a true story.  Goan musicians contributed greatly to Bollywood’s melodious songs and compositions and this film gives these unsung heroes their due.  Screens Sunday at 4 PM. (In Konkani with subtitles)

PIFF Details:

The 7th Petaluma International Film Festival is Friday, October 28, through Sunday, October 30, 2016 at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas, 200 C Street, Petaluma. Tickets: All screenings $12; buy tickets during the festival at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas or online (click here) with a handling fee.  Passes:  All inclusive festival pass is $180 and a day pass is $60. (click here to purchase)

For full schedule and more information, click here.






October 26, 2016 Posted by | Film, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 39th Mill Valley Film Festival is October 6-16 and it’s a very good year



Ethiopian writer-director Yared Zeleke’s feature debut film, “The Lamb” (2015) will screen twice at the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival, and the filmmaker will attend both screenings and participate in an audience Q & A. “The Lamb” wasthe first Ethiopian film ever named an official Cannes selection, made a huge splash at Cannes in 2015. This drama, which unfolds in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, is the story of a young boy, Ephriam (Rediat Amare), who, after his mother’s death, is left to live with his cousins while his father heads off to Addis Abba in search of work. He becomes attached to a goat, Chuni, and when his relatives make plans to sacrifice the goat, he and Chuni go on the run. Much of the film is an exploration of family life in Ethiopia, a land of stunning landscapes and drought-stricken arid areas, where the labor-intensive electricity-free lifestyle is far removed from that in the West. The film is especially recommended for families. Image: MVFF

Ethiopian writer-director Yared Zeleke’s feature debut film, “The Lamb” (2015) screens twice at the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival, and the filmmaker will attend both screenings and participate in audience Q & A’s.  The first Ethiopian film ever named an official Cannes selection, “The Lamb” made a huge splash at Cannes. This drama, which unfolds in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, is the story of a young boy, Ephriam (Rediat Amare), who, after his mother’s death, is left to live with his cousins while his father heads off to Addis Abba in search of work. He becomes attached to an endearing goat, Chuni, and when his relatives make plans to sacrifice the goat, he and Chuni go on the run. Much of the film is an exploration of family life in Ethiopia, a land of stunning landscapes and drought-stricken arid areas, where the labor-intensive electricity-free lifestyle is far removed from that in the West. The film is especially recommended for families. Image: MVFF


With the onset of fall, Bay Area moviegoing options start to multiply like crazy.  The Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF), October 6-16 2016, is hard to beat.  The 39th edition offers a line-up of 200 films—winners from Cannes, Berlin, and Toronto as well as an eclectic mix of features, documentaries, shorts, world cinema and films with a Bay Area stamp—all selected for our discriminating Bay Area audience by programmer Zoe Elton and her seasoned team.  The legendary festival kicks off on Thursday evening, October 6, with two of Hollywood’s hottest fall films—La La Land, Damien Chazelle’s (Whiplash MVFF 2014) love letter to dreamers, artists, and Hollywood with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and Denis Vileneuve’s (Sicario) riveting and thoughtful drama, Arrival, starring five time Oscar-nominee Amy Adams as a linguistics professor who communicates with aliens in a bid to save the planet. Actually, in a move to satisfy everyone’s tastes, there are four films screening on Thursday evening, so add Mick Jackson’s Denial starring Rachael Weiss and Rob Nilsson’s  Love Twice  to the mix but they are not being billed as opening nighters. Special Tributes will honor Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman in a program that includes a screening of her new film with Dev Patel,  Lion, and acclaimed filmmaker and author Julie Dash, who will appear in conversation following a screening of her recently restored  Daughters of  the Dust (1991).  The festival closes with Jeff Nichols’ Loving, which tells the real life story of the struggle, imprisonment and 1960’s Supreme Court battle Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) Loving experienced in one of America’s early interracial marriages.

The festival unfolds in San Rafael, Corte Madera, Larkspur and Mill Valley.  For North Bay residents, getting there and parking is considerably more time efficient and cheaper than it is in San Francisco.  If you want to go, pre-purchase your tickets now as this popular festival tends to sell out before it starts.  There is ample choice right now but not for long.  I recommend seeing films where the filmmaker or actors will be in attendance.  Also, check the new program guide for Smith Rafael Film Center.  Several of the festival films are screening there within the next two months and it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium to see them at the festival and wait in long lines unless there are special guests attending that make it worthwhile.

ARThound’s top picks:

Neruda/Spotlight Gael Garcia Bernal—Mon, Oct 10

Actor Gael García Bernal stars in director Pablo Larraíns new film, "Neruda."

Actor Gael García Bernal, the focus of a MVFF Spotlight, stars in director Pablo Larraíns new film, “Neruda.”

The foreign film line-up is especially strong this year.  Chilean Director Pablo Larrain’s Neruda, Chile’s foreign language Oscar nominee, takes center stage in a special Spotlight presentation honoring Mexican actor-director-producer Gael Garcia Bernal.  The drama is set in 1948 and Bernal plays a police inspector who is charged with finding the fugitive Communist politician and poet, Pablo Neruda, when he goes underground.  In Larrain’s capable hands, the film morphs into a soulful exploration of Chile’s historical dance with heroes and villains and Bernal as the inspector becomes a key figure, obsessed with finding Neruda who has managed to make him his pawn.  Bernal will appear in an onstage conversation covering his extensive career.


The Salesman—Fri, Oct 7 and Wed, Oct 12

Shahab Hosseini (L) and Taraneh Alidoosti in a scene from Ashgar Farhadi’s “The Salesman.”

Shahab Hosseini (L) and Taraneh Alidoosti in a scene from Ashgar Farhadi’s “The Salesman.”

I can’t remember when the festival last hosted an Iranian filmmaker but, over the year’s, we’ve reveled in their creativity, courage and unparalleled story-telling.  This year, acclaimed Academy Award and Golden Globe winning writer-director Ashgar Farhadi (A Separation) will appear in person to answer questions after the two screenings of his new Tehran-set drama The Salesman.   The film picked up Best Screenplay and Best Actor awards at Cannes and was selected as the Iranian nominee for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.  The Salesman is the suspenceful story of a young Persian couple who are part-time actors in Tehran in the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman. Their relationship is strained after they move into a new flat and the wife is attacked while she is taking a shower.  The flat’s previous occupant, a woman who was allegedly involved in prostitution, is never seen but her presence grows as the film progresses.  At Cannes, Shahab Hosseini, the husband, won the award for Best Actor.


Lamb—Sat, Oct 8 and Tues, Oct 11

A scene from Yared Zeleke's "Lamb."

A scene from Yared Zeleke’s “Lamb.”

A rarity for MVFF is an Ethiopian film, in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. Writer-director Yared Zeleke’s first feature, Lamb, was the first Ethiopian film ever named an official Cannes selection. The 37 year-old director made Variety magazine’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” list for 2015.   The story revolves around an Ethiopian boy who loses his mother and moves in with relatives and becomes attached to a pet lamb, Chuni, as a way of dealing with loss and grief.  He also takes up cooking which is unacceptable to his uncle who considers it girl’s work.  The story hits close to home for the director. When he was just 10, Zeleke’s own father was imprisoned by the Derg regme (the ruling military Communist regime that was in power in Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987) and his mother remarried and he went to live with his grandmother.  Ultimately, Zeleke was reunited with his father and they lived together in the US but the happy days he had with both loving parents together were long gone.  Filmmaker in attendance for both screenings.

Frantz—Fri, Oct 7 and Fri, Oct 14

Paula Beer and Pierre Niney in a scene from François Ozon’s “Frantz.”

Paula Beer and Pierre Niney in a scene from François Ozon’s “Frantz.”

French director François Ozon (Swimming Pool, 8 Women, Under the Sand) always stirs me with subtle demonstrations of his artistry and deep understanding of human nature.   His latest film, Frantz, a romantic drama set in the aftermath of WWI in the small German town of Quedlingburg, is a layered portrait of grief.  The story evolves from a strange graveside encounter between a young German woman (Paula Beer) grieving her fiancé and a Frenchman, Adrian (Pierre Niney), who also visits the fiancé’s grave to leave flowers.  He claims to have been friends with her fiancé and, slowly, she begins to develop feelings for him.  Shot in black and white, with brief interludes of color, the film is a loose adaptation of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 drama Broken Lullaby which itself was based on a play by French playwright Maurice Rostand.  Niney, whose elegant face would have inspired Michelangelo, won a Cesar award for his outstanding performance in Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent (2014).

Mom and Other Loonies in the Family—Sat, Oct 15 and Sun, Oct 16

Eszter Ónodi (seated) in a scene from Ibolya Fekete’s “Mom and Other Loonies in the Family.”

Eszter Ónodi (seated) in a scene from Ibolya Fekete’s “Mom and Other Loonies in the Family.”

Hungarian director Ibolya Fekete’s Mom and Other Loonies in the Family revolves around a 94 year-old grandmother with dementia who relates her life story to her daughter.  It’s a heartwarming recounting, told through flashbacks over four generations of crazies.  She was a mother on the run who moved twenty-seven times—and the film spans all of the 20th century, meandering through epic moments in Hungarian and world history.   Her “present” is a time that is infused with struggles, declining health and the confusing intervention of past events.  Her past was committed to keeping the family together at any cost.  The story is based on the filmmaker’s own family and stories related to her by relatives.  Characters appear in archival footage and in well-known Hungarian films as if they were actually in those films. Eszter Ónodi shines as the reliable yet somewhat whimsical woman who moved too many times and just wants to stand on her own two feet.  Her ninety four-year old demented self is played by Danuta Szaflarska who credibly plays the role by reverting to childlike responses.

Green is Gold—Sat, Oct 8 and Sun, Oct 9

Jimmy Baxter (L) and Ryan Baxter (R) in a scene from Ryan Baxter's "Green is Gold."

Jimmy Baxter (L) and Ryan Baxter (R) in a scene from Ryan Baxter’s “Green is Gold.”

I have a weakness for films that are set in Northern, California, where I grew up.  Sonoma State University graduate  Ryan Baxter’s first feature,  Green is Gold, is set in rural Sonoma County and is a family bonds over pot business story that picked up the Audience Best Fiction Film award at the Los Angeles Film Festival for its poetic filmmaking and emotional truth.  Ryan Baxter, the writer, director, editor and star, plays the older brother, Cameron, a black market potrepneur ( a real word I picked up at the Heirloom Festival) who is forced to take care of his younger brother, Jimmy (his real life brother, Jimmy Baxter) when their dad is imprisoned.  Cameron tries to put some distance between the kid and the cannabis business, which involves considerable risk but high payoffs, but, soon Jimmy is knee deep in buds and the two find themselves embarking on a dangerous pot delivery journey that will either leave them rolling in dough or six feet under.  Ryan Baxter, actor Jimmy Baxtor, and rest of cast and crew in attendance at both screenings.)

Unleashed—Wed, Oct 12 and Thurs, Oct 13

A scene from Finn Taylor's "Unleashed," with Kate Micucci (L) and Justin Chatwin (R) who was once her energetic dog, Summit, and has reentered her life as a full grown man. The film screens twice at MVFF with filmmaker, producer and Kate Miccuci in attendance.

A scene from Finn Taylor’s “Unleashed,” with Kate Micucci (L) and Justin Chatwin (R) who was once her energetic dog, Summit, and has reentered her life as a full grown man. The film screens twice at MVFF with filmmaker, producer and Kate Miccuci in attendance.

What if your pets turned into full-grown men?  I couldn’t resist the whacky premise behind Finn Taylor’s Unleashed, which has a thirty-something software app designer Emma (Kate Micucci) settling into her life in San Francisco when her cat, Ajax, and her dog, Summit, disappear only to reappear in her life as full-grown men (Steve Howet and Justin Chatwin).  All their four-legged memories are fully intact and they vie for her affection in their very specific cat and dog styles.

Details MVFF 39:

The 39th Mill Valley Film Festival opens on Thursday, October 6 and runs through Sunday, October 16, 2016.  Buy tickets online now at  Most tickets for films are $14 and special programs starts at $25.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | Film, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The many faces of feminism—a talk, a book and a great play

J.J. Wilson, Jonah Raskin, Julie Lee and Terry Ehret discuss the 2014 Sitting Room Publication, This is What a Feminist Looks Like, with host Gil Mansergh on Word by Word, Sunday, Sept. 7, 4pm, on KRCB, 91 FM and  Participants will discuss their responses to the anthology’s topic  “When I first realized I was a feminist”  which was the catalyst for 46 revelatory essays .

September 6, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

a new pup joins ARThound

Weighing in at 16 pounds at 8 weeks of age, and still to be named, my parents' new Golden Lab male pup is just getting used to his new surroundings and life in the country. I'll be seeing him daily and wishing him the best of dog days. He's already brought a lot of joy to my my parents and that's priceless. Photo: Geneva Anderson

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The wait for a commercial electric car is over – the first Nissan Leaf is rolling in Sonoma County and I’m driving it

ARThound is now all-electric with the Nissan Leaf and it feels great. We were the first customers to receive the Leaf in Sonoma County through Northbay Nissan in Petaluma.

After what seems like forever, our long-awaited all electric Nissan Leaf has arrived and it’s impossible to write objectively about how good it feels to be off oil and to be the first customers in Sonoma County to actually receive their Leaf.  The Leaf is part of our strategy, several years in the making, to go renewable through solar and to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.  Like many who live in Northern, CA, we feel our area is ripe for EV adoption and are proud that we will help lead the revolution.  Actually, we were one of those 16,300 early enthusiasts who reserved a Leaf last summer in anticipation of its December 2010 launch–delayed several times.   The first Leaf actually did arrive at Petaluma’s  Northbay Nissan in December but left immediately with its new owner in Silicon Valley.  So, when we got the call last Thursday, that we would be the first in Sonoma County to take delivery of our Leaf, we could hardly believe it.  

The Nissan Leaf is a zero emission vehicle with a caveat—the car itself is zero emission when charged from solar PV systems but when charged from PG&E’s electrical power (the major supplier here in Northern, CA), it’s slightly better than a Toyota Prius (the leading hybrid) in terms of its overall (car plus electrical generation) emissions.  Our Nissan Leaf SL is zero emission because we are charging it from the sun. 

Commercial all electric vehicles  (EVs) have been around for over 10 years now, but they always seemed to suffer from being impractical, weird, expensive, or downright ugly.  General Motors EV1 elevated our consciousness but was killed by Big Oil.  Chris Paine’s marvelous movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” tells the story unflinchingly.  Other EVs soon followed suit but were fatally weird or downright goofy looking–the Mitsubishi iMiEV, BMW’s Mini E, Nissan’s EV-02, Toyota’s FT-EV II, to name a few. The stunning Tesla Roadster broke onto the scene in 2008 as the first truly commercial EV but was affordable only by the wealthy starting with an MSRP over $100,000 for a two seat sports car. 

EV’s:  a significant component in saving our planet

When President Obama entered office, he appointed Steven Chu as Energy Secretary.  Both Obama and Chu are ardent believers in the dangers of climate change and the economic crisis that U.S. and global addiction to oil will eventually trigger.  They created an extremely favorable environment for the electric car and directed the Department of Energy to make it happen. When Nissan received a $1.4 billion loan to build a plant in Tennessee to manufacture the Leaf, the first very affordable and attractive commercial EV was on its way.  

The Leaf and other reliable and affordable EV’s are essential in the fight against global warming which will drive catastrophic climate change over the next 50-100 years.  Simply stated, global warming is driven primarily by the CO2 Green House Gas that is released by our burning of fossil fuels, like gasoline. Automobiles and other motor vehicles are the largest offenders in releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. NASA scientist Dr. Jim Hansen’s well-known oft-quoted publications on the implications of climate change are harrowing. 

EV’s are crucial to the plan for eliminating our CO2 emissions because fossil fuel burning transportation is the largest contributor to these emissions. Generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric combined with zero emission EV’s can eliminate the automobile’s contribution in a straightforward manner. This formula also eliminates our addiction to oil for our automobiles thereby reducing the economic risk of oil’s price or availability.

The US economy and national security are at severe risk due to our addiction to foreign oil.  The US does not have enough oil reserves to make a difference should supply be jeopardized.  The planet itself is approaching “peak oil,” where Earth’s maximum reserves and production of oil hit an upper limit, or peak, and then begin declining.  Just as demand for oil is starting to accelerate rapidly in China, India and the developing world, oil’s availability is about to peak and then will decline.  If we, as a planet, don’t reduce our consumption of oil, the CO2 emitted from automobiles burning gasoline will accelerate global warming.  Eventually, we will see an economic crisis making the 1974 oil embargo look like peanuts and from that all sorts of disasters will follow suit as oil is so integral and deeply woven into the fabric of our economy.

Getting off PG&E and on Solar—EV’s go hand in hand with Solar PV Systems which we also have

In addition to purchasing a Nissan Leaf, two years ago we designed and built a 12.6 kWatt solar PV system that creates all our electricity from sunlight.  This is bringing our home to nearly CO2 neutral.   Our electricity will be free when our system finishes paying for itself in 1 ½ years from saved utility bills and we have created a model we are proud of— getting off of fossil fuel generated electricity.  If everyone could buy and install an EV and a solar PV system, our planet would be safe from the unthinkable impacts of global warming on climate Change and the coming economic crisis due to peaking oil supplies.

 Nissan Leaf: pricing

That’s the back story to our Leaf purchase.  After paying $99 and signing up for the Leaf months ago online, and waiting through numerous delays, we took delivery last Thursday from Petaluma’s Northbay Nissan.  Besides loving the car, I couldn’t believe it cost just over $20,000 after incentives, which is a ridiculously low price for a new car of any quality.  With an MSRP at $32,780, California will give you a $5000 rebate check immediately and the IRS will give you a $7500 tax credit next April 15,  leaving the final price at $20,280, plus tax and license.  A deal!   You can visit the Leaf site to appreciate what they offer.  We bought ours from Ron Coury at North Bay Nissan in Petaluma which has become the Leaf sales leader and popular with customers from all over CA due to its extremely competitive pricing.

Interior leg and storage room

Upon first glance, the Leaf appears quite small.  When I jumped inside, I was shocked at how roomy it is and at its sophisticated dashboard and front-end technology.  Both the front and rear seats are comfortable for me at 5’10” with long legs (36’ inseam), as well as offering overall reasonable visibility.  The front and rear doors make it easy to enter and the hatchback makes this little car seem almost like a mini-SUV.  The rear seats fold forward and an optional rear cargo compartment cover ($190.00) creates a nearly flat storage area from the front seats to the hatch door, just perfect for a giant red hound.  Of course, the fabric seats available only in a dove gray color will be a HUGE problem for pet owners as these just grab hair right off the animal.  Leather please!  We paid an additional $900 to have the car perma-plated and Scotchgarded but it’s not going to solve this issue.  I was also hoping that once the seats folded down, there would be a standard protective mat to place over the area if you want to transport a bicycle and keep that upholstery clean.  Not yet.   

Keyless Start, Power to Merge

Mastering the procedure for starting this electric car without an actual key takes a few practice runs. First, you put your foot on the brake and then push the start button, release the emergency brake and put it in drive. It’s dead quiet, so you really have to take it on faith that it’s ready to go.  It feels incredibly quick from a standing start due to the torque character of the electric motor.  Its handling is quick and responsive and it turns and stops on a dime, almost feeling like a sports car.  I timed it yesterday when merging onto Highway 101 South and reached 65 mph in a snap, a lot faster in fact than I do in my 2009 Subaru Forester.  

It’s a truly fun little car to drive and feels quite different from a Toyota Prius or other gasoline-powered car.  My only complaint is that shifting into drive is done by pulling back on the shifter and reverse is forward, not terribly intuitive for someone who previously owned a jeep and has become accustomed to shifting Tom’s Z06.  Note to Nissan: Forward = drive.  Reverse = reverse!

Speaking of its quiet ride, it’s so quiet that Nissan added sound back in to alert the sight and otherwise impaired.  Nissan fitted a small speaker on the car’s left front that emits a very subtle tone up to 18 mph.  After that, Nissan reasons that sound of the tires and wind will be sufficient to warm of an approaching Leaf.  When it’s in reverse, it also emits a faint sound.

The Leaf comes with an innovative EV-IT system that assists with range tracking and updates about nearby charging stations. Down-side: Big Brother is a co-passenger and he's very talkative.

EV-IT System: ECO Mode and Pesky Touch Screen

For a relatively inexpensive car, it’s rather sophisticated.  The LED headlamps, EV-IT and navigation systems, Nissan Carwings economy tracking system, solar panel (only available with SL model), built in Bluetooth speaker phone, are all features one might find on a more expensive car.  

Driving the car is really about optimizing your range.  The car comes with a number of features that assist with that.  Constantly displayed are how much charge is left and how many miles remain in your driving range.  A power meter tracks energy consumption and regeneration.  If you drive efficiently, the eco indicator will reward you with a virtual forest.  You can also check with the trip computer to see how much time is needed for a full charge.  You can switch settings to see your efficiency in miles/kWh.

At roughly 20 remaining miles, the Nissan Leaf alerts you of your status and offers to assist you with finding a charging station.

There’s also an EV-IT system which gives you pertinent graphic information. On the map display, you can see your remaining range with a circle giving nearby charging spots.  Another screen tells how to maximize your heater or A/C usage to maximize range.  

I had worried that I would have a lead foot and would not be able to maximize the efficiency of the battery charge.  The Leaf has what Nissan calls the ECO mode where the car’s computer takes control of acceleration and tries to optimize the battery charge.  This really works and it is barely noticeable that computer is controlling acceleration.

Two complaints so far– the multi-level touch screen controls are complex and hard to manage while driving and using the windshield wipers, heater and air conditioning does significantly reduce mileage.  Don’t try to get the full 100+ miles if it’s a cold rainy day and you need to run the heater, defroster and windshield wipers throughout the trip or a hot day and need air conditioning.  I would guess it takes about 20% of the battery charge to continually run them.

For running around town, the Leaf is fabulous and economical.  We have our own solar PV system so charging the Leaf is free.  It feels great driving by all those gas stations with their $4 plus per gallon for regular signs staring you in the face.  

Tom charges the Leaf with a unit that looks just like a gas pump.

Charging at Home: Level 1 and Level 2 EVSE

Our Leaf came with a 120 Volt Level 1 EVSE that allows charging from a standard 20 Amp outlets available anywhere.  Everyone had been concerned at how slow charging would be at 120 Volts and how the 240 Volt EVSE was going to be over $2000 installed. We discovered that since we don’t run the battery down too low, that at 120 Volts, the Leaf charged to 100% easily overnight in about 12 hours. We have been plugging it in around dinner time and by morning, it’s fully charged.  We have ordered a 240V Level 2 Charging EVSE and will be installing it in our garage ourselves with the help of an electrician friend.  By doing this, we will be able to install the Level 2 EVSE for about $900 in our garage. Once we’ve done that, we will be able to charge our Leaf in about 5-6 hours from empty to full.

The Leaf is fitted with a 24kW lithium-ion battery pack complete with 48 separate modules housing four cells a piece.  If one of these fails, Nissan can replace the nodule without having to replace the entire battery pack.  That’s on Nissan.   If you happen to ignore the numerous built-in warning systems, and deplete your battery, the first Leafs come with 3 years of free roadside assistance.  A flatbed truck will haul you to a charger.   

Commercial Parking and Charging and Commute Lane

I have yet to drive the car into San Francisco and park in any of the numerous garages with charging stations.  I mainly park at Sutter/Stockton Garage, Civic Center, and Opera Plaza and all of these supposedly have stations.  EVs can drive in the commute lane by applying for a special sticker…worth the price alone.

March 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet the San Francisco Zoo’s new hippo: he’s from Topeka, weighs 1.5 tons and was Fed Ex’d

A new male hippopotamus from the Topeka Zoo made his debut at the San Francisco Zoo on Friday. Although the journey was long and he spent 45 hours in a crate, he was ready to meet his fans in the morning. Here, he enjoys a swim in his new outdoor pool. Photo: George Nikitin, SF Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo’s newest resident is a 3,700 male hippopotamus that arrived from the Topeka Zoo on Wednesday evening, January 5 and made his press debut on Friday.  Last August, the male hippo, named “Tucker” in Topeka, and his mate welcomed a new son at the Topeka Zoo.  But three hippos require quite a bit of room so the search began for a new home for the 8 year old adult male. The San Francisco Zoo hasn’t had a hippo since “Mama Cuddles,” its 46-year-old female Nile Hippo died three years ago.  After she passed, the zoo began a massive renovation of the hippo exhibit to create a pool three times larger and with a new dry land pasture area.  With a newly renovated space, operation hippo transfer began. Federal Express donated the shipment of the 3,700 pound hippo, and the San Francisco Department of Public Works transported him to the Zoo.

The hippo’s journey began at the Topeka Zoo where he was crated for his long trip then driven to Kansas City International Airport on a Westar Energy flatbed trailer and had an overnight stay in a warm building.  On Wednesday, FedEx Express flew him by cargo plane to its Memphis, Tenn., superhub, then to its hub at the Oakland Airport. Memphis-based FedEx Express is a subsidiary of FedEx Corp..  Zoo Assistant Curator Jim Nappi was on hand to greet him at the airport and feed him some welcoming apples.   Although the journey was long and he spent 45 hours in a crate, he gingerly backed out of the crate and into his night quarters and was ready to meet his fans in the morning.  To see the San Francisco Zoo’s footage of his uncrating and first swim, click here:

 The hippo’s public access will be limited until he adjusts to his new home. 

At its annual fundraiser on April 29, the Zoological Society will seek “parents” for the hippo who will have the honor of bestowing him with a name.

The San Francisco Zoo has no plans to breed the new hippo and reported that he will not be sharing his space with any other hippos either.   While hippos live in large groups called “pods,”  they are not social animals and sometimes become aggressive.  Tucker, however,  so far appears to be very mild-mannered.   The zoo also reported that it is unlikely that Tucker will miss his previous mate or offspring.  In the wild,  hippos breed and then go back to their day-to-day activites in the pod.  The male has no interaction with its offspring.   The San Francisco Zoo’s former hippos, Puddles and Cuddles became acclimated to each other over a long period of time.

The hippopotamus, whose hide alone can weigh half a ton, can reach up to 3.5 tons in weight and is the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos.  It can reach 13 feet long and 5 feet tall and has a lifespan of about 50 years.  It was considered a female deity of pregnancy in ancient Egypt, but in modern times is no longer found in Egypt because of the damage it inflicts on crops.  The hippo thrives in other parts of Africa.

Hippos move easily in water, either swimming by kicking their hind legs or walking on the bottom. They are well-adapted to their aquatic life, with small ears, eyes and nostrils set at the top of the head.  These senses are so keen that even submerged in water, the hippo is alert to its surroundings. By closing its ears and nostrils, the adult can stay under water for as long as six minutes.  The zoo’s new hippo has taken to his large new pool like a fish to water.

About the San Francisco Zoo Encompassing 100 acres, the historic San Francisco Zoo is Northern California’s largest zoological park. The Zoo is home to exotic and rescued animals from all over the world and is located across from the Pacific Ocean.  Winter Hours through March 12, 2011:  The Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.) and is located at 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco.  Tickets: from free to $15.00.  Phone (415) 753-7080 or visit  for more information.

January 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment