Spearhead Recognized For Freedom Of Expression.

Spearhead doing their thing this past New Year's Eve. Photo courtesy of Apple Computers.

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