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ShowBiz City by the Bay

SAN FRANCISCO — One crusty truism in the eternal feud between L.A. and S.F. boosters has been the latter’s perception as a place to be entertained. For entertainment-as-business, they say, go south. But a quiet evo-lution has been taking place in the Bay Area — from animation innovators spawned by Silicon Valley technology to an ever-increasing load of major-studio shoots, Baghdad-by-the-Bay is becoming a hotbed for industry activity.

Some of the area’s main movers and shakers turned up Wednesday at the famed North Beach bar Tosca. The occa-sion: a party launching plans for Variety’s “San Francisco Showbiz City: Your Golden Gate to Hollywood” special section, slated to hit the streets June 30.

Hosted by the mayor’s office —and graced by Willie Brown’s ever-fashionably late appearance — the fete brought together a number of stellar locals. Among them were Joyce Corrigan of the S.F. Film Commission; resident hel-mer Philip Kaufman (“The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” “Rising Sun”); Peter Scarlet, whose S.F. Intl. Film Festival is gearing up for its 40th anni blowout next month; and Zoetrope’s Tom Luddy.

With one major network series (“Nash Bridges”) and a constant flow of new features (“The Rock,” “Jack,” recent area transplant Barry Levinson’s upcoming “Sphere”) being shot around town, the event further attracted various local casting agents, producers and gadflys. “Force of nature” venue owner Jeannette Etheredge was present as well, naturally — it’s said she acquired Tosca some years back in order to assure “The Godfather” maestro Francis Ford Coppola continued berth at his favorite city hangout.

The burg that Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart took this opportunity to call (tongue just partly in cheek) “the ful-crum of cinema in Western civilization” was further characterized by Variety associate publisher Charles Koones as “One among six major metropolitan areas that are defining entertainment today — in film, TV production, legit theater, music, ballet, opera.” With the upcoming special section, Koones said, “we want to put San Francisco in a place where people around the world can see what is truly happening here.”

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