ATN's Claire Kleinedler reports: On Friday, (Jan. 19),
Stolichnaya Vodka and San Francisco Focus, a San Francisco-based
magazine, sponsored the First Annual Freedom of Expression Awards, honoring
local artists, actors, musicians and architects for excellence in their fields.
Winners included actor Nicholas Cage, author Isabel Allende and ATN favorite
The crowd consisted of executive types and Hollywood-esque
yuppies (mega director Francis Ford Coppola among them), all decked out in
their Armanis, sipping martinis and feasting on weird looking food. Hip-hoppers
Spearhead seemed a bit out of place, but leave it to them to bring the house
down anyway. Upon receiving the award, Spearhead frontman Michael Franti broke
out with an impromptu rap, causing heads to bob and hands to clap. And who says
miracles don't happen?
Franti shared his thoughts with ATN during
intermission: "It's always nice to be recognized where you come from, and San
Francisco has been my home but it's also been a place that's fostered my work
for a long time."
Of the very un-Spearhead crowd, Franti said: "It's not
my usual mix. I'm really not the martini set, but it's nice to see that other
people, even though they might be doing a different type of expression, are
still interested in preserving free speech."
Spoken like a true