Steven Short

Reporter/Producer

Steven has been with KALW News since it’s beginnings in 2004. His history, art and public interest stories have won awards for Breaking News, Feature Writing and Explanatory Journalism. Some of his reports have aired nationally on NPR.

He is responsible for The Source, a recurring feature on the origins of Bay Area place names. He also researches most of the listings for the Crosscurrents local music calendar and compiles the weekly online Cannabis News Round-up.

Ways to Connect

Beatles Karaoke

Feb 29, 2012
photo credit: Terry Lorant

The vocalist you’re hearing is Dana Harnik, participating in the monthly all-Beatles karaoke night at Café Royale on Post Street in San Francisco. Note that this is no “follow the bouncing ball” laser-disc performance. Joshua Raoul Brody, of the band Tango Number 9, plays live piano to match each singer’s style. The next event takes place Monday, March 5, and the first Monday of every month. Music begins about 8pm, and a book of lyrics is provided.

 

The practice of fracking on oil wells near Taft, California has been approved by the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Fracking – the practice of injecting steam underground at high pressure to break up porous soil to release oil – had been banned within 150 feet of any wells known to be seeping oil...

Emeryville, best known for big box stores and a movie complex, currently has something San Francisco lacks: a poet laureate.

One would expect San Francisco, home of the beat poets of the fifties, to have the position – and it does, but the term of the previous poet has expired. This will be remedied soon; candidates interested in the post have two more days to file.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Perhaps you’ve been to an art gallery or museum exhibit where you didn’t... fully understand the artist’s intentions. You know: “My kindergartener could do that” syndrome. Scottish philosopher David Hume put it this way: “When objects of any kind are first presented to the eye or imagination, the sentiment, which attends them, is obscure and confused; and the mind is, in a great measure, incapable of pronouncing, concerning their merits or defects.” [Of the Standard of Taste, 1757] 

Dan Hicks

Feb 23, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Dan Hicks

You’ve probably heard of Bay Area music mainstay Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. But have you ever heard them perform live? The Chronicle says of Hicks, "So few truly original figures exist in pop music that Dan Hicks should be a national treasure."

He has a big 70th birthday celebration at San Francisco’s Davies Hall in April, but you can hear him in a more relaxed show tomorrow (February 24) at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, in Livermore, starting at 8pm. 

Zodiac Death Valley

Feb 16, 2012

The music you’re hearing now is by Zodiac Death Valley. This San Francisco band calls themselves “the loudest folk band in the world.” You can judge for yourself on Saturday (02.18), when they take the stage at The Independent in San Francisco.

Alma D

Feb 15, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Alma D

 The Wall Street Journal has recognized a Bay Area band called Alma Desnuda – or just Alma D to their friends for their innovative business practices, but they’re also passionate about philanthropy. Plus, you can dance to their music! They’re taking the stage at the intimate Boom Boom Room in San Francisco on Friday, starting about 10pm.

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/livenature/2556769885/

Everyone acknowledges that San Francisco is different. Maybe that’s why there are so many songs about the city by the bay.  So many, in fact, that it’s perhaps the only city in the country – and maybe the world – with not one, but two official songs.

Buxter Hoot'n

Feb 14, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Buxter Hoot'n

You might have heard of Butxter Hoot’n band last month on another KALW program: “West Coast Live.” The East Bay Express says their unique song writing, and tight-knit performances make Buxter Hoot’n “an experience not to be missed.” You’ll have the opportunity not to miss them this Thursday (February 16), when they take the stage at The Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, starting about 9pm.

photo: Courtesy of The NAMES Project

The AIDS quilt has come home for a visit.

Considered by organizers to be the largest participatory art project in the world, the AIDS Memorial Quilt began spontaneously on San Francisco’s Market Street a generation ago, when gay rights activist Cleve Jones asked people to create quilt panels memorializing loved ones who had died of AIDS-related causes.

That was in 1987; today, over 91,000 individuals have been memorialized on more than 5,800 quilt panels, each the symbolic size of a coffin (3 X 6 ft.).

Robin Yukiko

Feb 13, 2012
Photo courtesy of http://www.robinyukiko.com/fr_title.cfm

The music you're hearing is by Robin Yukiko of San Francisco. She credits her voice training and piano style to her father, who drilled her on music mechanics every day on their trip home from school.

She'll be playing on  Thursday, February 16 at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco, beginning about 8pm. 

Photo: courtesy of HonoringOurHistory.com

There’s an 18-wheel truck in front of the San Mateo County History Museum today. No, the museum isn’t moving -- the truck itself is a museum. It contains an interactive traveling exhibit on World War I, which is only on view today, until 4pm.

Zoe Boekbinder

Feb 8, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Zoe Boekbinder

For many years Zoe Boekbinder had a recurring dream about being Princess of the Moon, and that lightness is reflected in her music.

She’ll be performing at Studio Querqus, a visual & performing arts exhibition space in Oakland, this Friday (February 10). 

Blind Willies

Feb 7, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Blind Willies

Do you know the way to famously reclusive Bolinas?

If so, and you stop in at Smiley’s Saloon this Friday, you can hear the Blind Willies. This Bay Area band says its music is “gospel revised by thieves, pimps, poets, losers, children, and malcontents.” They also play the blues.

Music starts about 9pm . But remember, this is Bolinas, so be patient. 

Andre Thierry

Feb 6, 2012
Photo courtesy of Dear to My Art Photography

It's not quite Mardi Gras yet, but you can get in the mood Tuesday, February 7th when Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic come to town.

They're one of three bands on the bill at the Elbow Room in San Francisco. Music starts about 9pm.

Foolproof Four

Feb 2, 2012

San Francisco's Foolproof Four describes itself with an equation: multiply blues by jazz, add rock, divide by country, and subtract half the band (as well as most of the drum kit). You can hear them live at Thee Parkside in San Francisco tomorrow, February 3, starting about 9pm.

 

Guy Fox Band

Feb 1, 2012
Photo courtesy of www.guyfoxband.com

This music is by Guy Fox. Guy Fox is not a person; Guy Fox is a band, a band that dance enthusiasts search for, to keep them dancing all night.

They’ll be keeping people dancing at the Brain Wash Café in San Francisco on Saturday (02.04), along with two other bands. Music begins about 8pm.

Just about everyone knows that the largest park in San Francisco is Golden Gate Park. But can you name the second largest one? (The Presidio doesn’t count; that’s federal.) 

Named for John McLaren, San Francisco’s first Superintendent of Parks, McLaren Park is just over 300 acres, about a third the size of its larger and better-known sibling.  

Connie Ducey

Jan 30, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Connie Ducey

Connie Ducey started singing harmony with her parents when she was three, and officially sang in public for the first time at age nine. She’s been performing regularly at clubs and events around northern California for the past dozen or so years.

You can hear her Thursday (February 2) at The Panama Hotel in San Rafael. Music starts about 7pm.

Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Ryan Balboa Be Bop Band

 

No, jazz legend Coleman Hawkins is not from the Bay Area, and he’s not back from the dead. But you’ll learn about him, and other jazz greats, in the Academy Award-nominated documentary, “A Great Day in Harlem,” which you can see at the Balboa Theater in San Francisco on Sunday (January 29).

The program also includes live jazz from Jimmy Ryan’s Balboa Be-Bop Band, both before the film, and then again after.

Vampires and werewolves, the possessed and undead souls featured in the Twilight books and their stylish movie adaptations, may currently have teens transfixed, but the idea of these creatures walking among us dates back to at least ancient Greece. There the man-wolf was called Lycanthropos.

Broun Fellinis

Jan 24, 2012

Where else but the Bay Area would you find a band that describes its music as “a soulful and aggressive style of postmodern improvised/composed jazzical sound that is informed by dub, Afro beat, abstract funk, drum and bass?" There’s more, but you get the idea – and that idea is called Broun Fellinis

They have a CD release party planned next Sunday, January 29, at Café du Nord in San Francisco. Doors open at 8pm. 

Adios Amigo

Jan 23, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Adios Amigo

How about a happy pill? That’s how the San Francisco Chronicle describes the music of the band, Adios Amigo. The band is a side project of Johnny Major, drummer for another band named Il Gato. He says living in the Bay Area “allows one to write happy, hopeful, celebratory music.”

Adios Amigo will be performing on Friday (January 27) at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco. 

Exray's

Jan 19, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Exray's

Did you see the movie, “The Social Network”? If so, then you’ve heard music by Jon Bernson, who the Bay Guardian calls “a force of nature in the Bay Area music scene.” His current band, Exray’s, has a show this Saturday (January 21) at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco. They take the stage about 9pm.

Do you know what year this is?  I’m not asking what you write on your checks (providing you still use them). That’s easy: it’s 2012.  But what do you say when you say it out loud?

Con Alma

Jan 17, 2012
courtesy of Con Alma

The singers you’re hearing are known as Con Alma. This vocal jazz ensemble, which has been active in the East Bay and San Francisco since 1999, has been described as “fresh and full of subtle surprises.” 

They’re performing Saturday (01.21) at Avonova in Oakland, starting about 8pm. 

David Velasco

Jan 12, 2012
Photo courtesy of David Velasco

David Velasco and his friends will play their ambient music at San Francisco’s Dolores Park Cafe tomorrow night (January 13).

Go Van Gogh

Jan 11, 2012
Photo courtesy of Go Van Gogh

The Go Van Gogh music is often called “country music,” which means: while it’s played by Americans, it’s influenced by the music of many countries. They return to Disco Volante in downtown Oakland on Saturday (January 14), starting about 9:30pm. 

Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park is set to become Hellman Meadow if the Recreation & Park Department approves the plan unanimously passed last week by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors. The name change would honor Warren Hellman, the financial and spiritual force behind the three-day free music fest known as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. But festival neighbors see this motion as being out of tune with their concerns.

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