Peaches Christ

Wednesday Night at The Fillmore

Wednesday Night at The Fillmore

The week is going to be a glorious week of rock n roll madness.

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This year’s edition of the San Francisco International Film Festival will transpire in theaters around the city from April 19 to May 3. Last year’s SFIFF marked the Bay Area premieres of such critically acclaimed hits as Beginners, Another Earth, and The Future. This year’s reliably diverse lineup looks just as promising, featuring new work from actors like Shirley MacLaine, Jack Black, Diane Kruger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Greta Gerwig, John Krasinski, Freida Pinto, Emily Blunt, Val Kilmer, Lili Taylor, James Franco, Susan Sarandon, and Common, filmmakers like Richard Linklater, Michael Winterbottom, Lynn Shelton, Andrea Arnold, Lena Dunham, and little-known local winemaker Francis Ford Coppola, and documentaries on subjects ranging from Diana Vreeland and Marina Abramovic to ACT UP and the epidemic of sexual violence against women in the military. The festival will also feature several events, notably tributes to Kenneth Branagh and Judy Davis (both of whom will attend), a Midnight Mass tribute to the late Ken Russell featuring a Peaches Christ-hosted screening of Tommy, and perhaps most awesomely, a program of Buster Keaton short films with live musical accompaniment by Merrill Garbus and her tUnE-yArDs crew.

After the jump, we break down the 20 films we’re most excited to see this year into three categories: World Cinema, New Directors, and Documentaries. All film descriptions are courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society.

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Cloris Leachman greets her adoring fans while hostess Peaches Christ braces herself.

“80. Fuckin’ 80.”

These were the first words that the legendary Cloris Leachman, who will actually be turning 85 in two months, said into her microphone at Idol Worship: An Evening with Cloris Leachman on Saturday, the main attraction of the 10th annual SF Sketchfest’s closing night, co-presented with Midnight Mass and hosted by “the very, very nervous” Peaches Christ. And Peaches had every right to be nervous: Ms. Leachman was as delightfully batty and unpredictable as the audience could have dared to hope.

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Onion with a side of Phirm

One of my favorite pastimes is looking up whatever happened to some of my favorite 90’s icons. I mean, almost everyone knows what happened to some of the lesser known folks in 90’s TV programs. Like Six from Blossom is apparently a struggling country singer, and Rayanne from My So Called Life is married to a lord.  But, my absolute favorite show from the 90’s was The State. It was simply the only TV program of it’s time that I felt emulated my brain functions. With the program now streaming on Netflix, I was reminded of two of my favorite sketches: the mailman that only delivered tacos and the Jew, the Italian, and the Red-Headed Gay. Hence me feeling the need to learn about Kevin Allison, one of the “forgotten” members of The State. Much to my surprise, he has a genius podcast called Risk!, where famous people talk about embarrassing situations they’ve been in. And it’s pretty awesome to say the least. Even better was getting to see it done live at the legendary Purple Onion as part of Sketchfest this year!

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This is a picture of Chris Hardwick. He's not related to me, but he will be in San Francisco for Sketchfest. I will be hitting him up for birthday money, anyways. Hopefully I can fool him.

To the uninitiated, San Francisco’s Sketchfest is probably the most overwhelming 2 1/2 weeks out of the entire year, in terms of live entertainment booking. Its closest cousin is probably Austin’s SXSW festival, where you have a wide array of up-and-coming talent mixed with veterans, all playing some very intimate spots.

As a person that considers himself to be an expert of sorts on taste, I am going to sift through this year’s line-up, and let you know what you should be going to at this year’s Sketchfest. I will guide you through which Emmy winners or CSI corpses (both of which are well represented by this event), in my humble opinion, is most worthy of your hard earned dollar.

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