Volume 40 Number 39

June 28 – July 4, 2006

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The Fourth of July listings were compiled by Joseph DeFranceschi and Duncan Scott Davidson. All events take place on July 4 unless otherwise noted.

Fireworks Dinner with Jazz Piano Top of the Mark, 999 California, SF; 392-3434, www.topofthemark.com. 7:30pm, $189 per couple. The music of jazz pianist Ricardo Scales and breathtaking views of the city’s fireworks display accompany this elegant dinner of a four-course fixed menu served with a complementary bottle of champagne.
Fourth of July Waterfront Festival Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, The Cannery, SF; 705-5500, www.pier39.com. 1:30-10pm, free. This all-day fair featuring entertainment, arts and crafts, food, and American flags ends with the famed Municipal Pier Fireworks Extravaganza starting at about 9:30pm.
Hornblower Yacht Forth of July Cruises Pier 33, Embarcadero, SF; 1-800-467-6256, www.hornblower.com. Noon, $49; 6:30pm, $119–$219. Spend the afternoon out on the bay with Hornblower’s lunch cruise; or why not watch fireworks and enjoy a buffet dinner ($119), or an all-inclusive, four-course extravaganza ($219) on your evening voyage.
Kayak Trip to 4th of July Fireworks City Kayak, Pier 39, SF; 357-1010, www.citykayak.com. 6pm, $68. Paddle around with sea lions, enjoy the fireworks and sip champagne (included) from the best seat in the house on this unique aquatic experience.
Red and White Fleet Forth of July Fireworks Cruises Pier 43 1/2 at Fisherman’s Wharf, SF; 673-2900, www.redandwhite.com. 7:45pm, $45 ($25 for kids age 1-11). Red and White Fleet will send out four ships to cover this popular event so get your tickets early and don’t forget your Dramamine.
El Rio BBQ and Bandfest El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; 282-3325, www.elriosf.com. 3-8pm, free admission. Come listen to rock music from the Birds and Batteries, Low Red Land, Mr. Divisadero, and Solar Powered People. Drink beer all day — it’s the American way.
4th of July at the Berkeley Marina Berkeley Marina, 201 University, Berk; (510) 548-5335, www.ci.berkeley.ca.us. noon-9:30pm, free. Berkeley’s all day, alcohol-free, fair with entertainment, food, games, face painting, and giant waterslide is a great place for families and ends with, you guessed it, fireworks.
4th of July Celebration at Jack London Square Broadway at Embarcadero, Oakl; 1-866-295-9853, www.jacklondonsquare.com. 1-9:30pm, free. With international food, children’s activities, arts and crafts, and fireworks the real highlight of this event is a free two hour pops concert by the Oakland East Bay Symphony.
Fuck the 4th Sale AK Press, 674-A 23rd St., Oakl; (510) 208-1700, www.akpress.org. July 3, 4:10pm, free. In addition to 25 percent off everything in the warehouse (books, CDs, DVDs, clothing), and sale books for as low as $1, there will be entertainment, food, and an atmosphere of summer glee.
Oakland A’s Beer Festival McAfee Coliseum (East Side Club), 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl; (510) 638-4627, oakland.athletics.mlb.com. Noon-2pm, ticket to the game needed for entry. Sample beers from over 30 breweries before enjoying America’s game on America’s day. Play ball!
Redwood City 67th Annual Independence Day Parade Brewster and Winslow, Redwood City; (650) 365-1825, www.parade.org. 10am, free. Redwood City hosts the country’s largest July 4th parade and their all-day festival features food, entertainment, vendors of all sorts, marching bands, and ends in traditional fashion with a fireworks display at around 9:30pm.
San Francisco Symphony Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View; (650) 967-3000, www.livenation.com. 8pm, $15-28.50. You’ll soon forget that Mountain View’s beautiful outdoor amphitheater is built atop a garbage dump when guest conductor Randal Fleisher leads the San Francisco Symphony in a concert complete with fireworks. The program features music and clips from Disney film favorites.
USS Hornet 4th of July Party USS Hornet Museum, 707 W. Hornet, Pier 3, Alameda; (510) 521-8448, www.hornetevents.com. 10am-9:50pm, $20 ($5 for kids). View a F-14 Tomcat and Apollo space capsule among other items on a tour of this aircraft carrier which will have music, games, children’s activities, and a great view of the Bay Area fireworks.
The Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, a brief description of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only isn’t sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, and admission costs. Send information to Listings, the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 487-2506; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no text attachments, please) to listings@sfbg.com. We cannot guarantee the return of photos, but enclosing an SASE helps. Digital photos may be submitted in jpeg format; the image must be at least 240 dpi and four inches by six inches in size. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone. SFBG

Nth loop



SUPER EGO “I’m from Indiana,” confided the partly melted drag queen, after nailing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” in a wicked patent-leather Duchess of Spades dress. “You know we do things different out there. I just got here a couple weeks ago, and when I first pulled my hair out the box, the other girls asked if it was three wigs or one.”


“So you’re a Hoosier,” I replied. My observation went ignored. “The scene here’s much more weave than cone,” she winked, then disappeared behind a wall of mirrors. A tape-recorded version of “Is That All There Is?” kicked in. Metaphors!

I wish I could remember what she called herself, but I was knee-deep in my English Summer, an acrobatic concoction hovering halfway between a mojito and a Pimm’s Cup. Mnemonic device, it wasn’t. We were at Harry Denton’s, 46 stories atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, peeping Scarlet Empress Donna Sachet’s swank new “Sunday’s a Drag” brunch show — me and a posse of party kids looking so out of place we may as well have been Skittles in the deviled eggs. The combined total of our online ages was probably half that of any one of the cackling grandes dames around us.

But no matter: “Sunday’s a Drag” blasted off into outer space and gladly took us with it. A parade of energetic old-school queens teased the roomful of swilling octogenarians into Depends-dampening titters, and the whole affair took on the air of legendary drag club Finocchio’s, circa 1985 — but with better prosthetics. (“A lot of money and a lot of surgery,” rasped the nonorganically gorgeous Cassandra Cass as she handed me a “Cassandra Cass: Fantasy Girl 2006” calendar. Memo to Cassandra: It’s June.)

Donna Sachet’s one of those amazing creatures who do so much I often think there are two of her. (“Well, alcohol is a fuel,” the little voice in my head pipes up, the one I call Deficit of the Doubt.) And it was somehow fitting that I was applauding our fair city’s 30th Empress that afternoon, seeing as how I’d come to three hours earlier on brand-spanking-new Jose Sarria Court in the Castro, named after the ass-kicking queen who’d started the whole gay Emperor-Empress dealie — the Widow Norton, her Big Kahuness, Madame Awe. I had Jose Sarria pebbles in my y-fronts, bits of Jose Sarria laurel bush drifting from my hair.

The afternoon launched to another cosmic level when Hoosier-name executed a full-on backbend to Taylor Dane and one of her press-on nails flew off, somersaulted in midair, and landed on the table next to my blueberry pancakes. Which made me lose my bacon.


“It’s like Mabuhay Gardens or the Deaf Club, only gay,” I thought the first time I went to Sissy, the new punk rock monthly run by my favorite obnoxious club brat, Foxy Cotton. When people see Foxy a-comin’ they usually take to runnin’ — he’s kind of like an amped-up Woody Woodpecker with half the feathers missing — but the queen’s got talent pumping somewhere through his veins and an impecc-pecc-peccable sense of style. Plus, he’s actually kinda sweet to me.

Sissy hit me as the potential realization of all my stuck-in-the-Midwest teenage dreams, which imagined the underground punk scene of ’80s San Francisco as a writhing network of gay-friendly mohawks, complete with carpeted dance floors, passed-out hotties, and who-knows-what in the bathrooms. Dead Kennedys in the front, Mutants on the roof. Plus it’s after hours. Rad!

Since its early days (no naked mosh pit, alas), Sissy’s expanded its musical format — but it’s still the ginchiest metal-heavy queer experience out there. Where else you gonna hear L7 nowadays outside a lesbian jukebox? And it’s fun to drop that brainy “post” from post-punk and just let loose. Although clubs may have stopped moving into the future, they’re at least digging into the past with sharper queer nails.


“Did you hear about Kevin Aviance?” It was a friend from New York City calling me, which always means more now that there’s e-mail. Kevin was one of the fiercest things of the ’90s, a club queen with chart-topping dance records, a towering hulk of ferocious, ebony-skinned femininity. Like Eartha Kitt on stilts, but breathier. And bald.

He was famous for never wearing falsies. Now he was in the hospital with a fractured jaw and a useless knee, felled as he left a Manhattan gay bar by six kids shouting “faggot” as they kicked him in the chest. People just stood around and watched.

Every year around Pride I overhear some visitor squealing, “Your Pride here’s so political!” and I think, what’s the opposite of politics? Advertising? Circuit music? Sex on marijuana truffles? This year when I heard it, I wanted to spin around with my slapping hand out and scream, “Kevin just got gay-bashed, dammit! Everything’s political!” But when I turned I saw the person who had said it was smiling. He had a “Queers Bash Back” bumper sticker on his bike bag. He was wearing a T-shirt that read, “It’s The Tits.”


Suddenly I was surrounded by munchkins. They were everywhere — in the lobby, on the dance floor, hanging over the balcony railing. “Oh, no,” I thought with a pang, “my cocktails are interacting. Better dance it off.” I slammed another Stoli Cran and wobbled through the knee-high crowd toward the speakers.

“When I stop the music and yell freeze, everybody freeze!” hollered DJ Sake 1 over “Groove is in the Heart” by Deee-lite. “Freeze!” I looked around again. Dear god, these were children. Even more horrifying, I was at Ruby Skye. It was Saturday afternoon. Obviously my medication wasn’t working. I backed slowly off the dance floor before anybody’s parents mistook me for a Pampers snacker.

Luckily, the ’rents were too busy mobbing the bar. I had landed at “Baby Loves Disco,” the mind-blowing summertime monthly new wave and disco dance party for toddlers ($10 for walkers, free for crawlers). The place was packed with young ’uns running every which way, occasionally chased after by their stumbling progenitors. The club was completely trashed. The music veered from “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang to “Controversy” by Prince, and the whole thing had more than a whiff of bar mitzvah party, but less mature. What’s less mature than a bar mitzvah party? Oh yeah, Ruby Skye.

I made my way upstairs to the VIP lounge — why not? To get there, I passed chilluns with pink mohawks, chilluns with sunglasses, chilluns with full-on ’80s-fierce attitude. I entered the dimly lit backroom. There, on a VIP chaise, reclined the most beautiful toddler I’d ever seen. His little fedora was pushed back on his perfectly round head. His leg straddled the chaise’s red velvet arm. He may have been smoking an inflatable cigar. For a moment our eyes locked, my being immersed in the crystal clear beam of his unjaded, baby-blue gaze.

“Someday,” I realized, “this baby will rule the world.”

SUNDAY’S A DRAG Sundays, noon and 3 p.m. Harry Denton’s Starlight Room 450 Powell, SF $30 (415) 395-8595 www.harrydenton.com SISSY CLUB First Fridays, 10 p.m.–4 a.m. Deco Lounge 510 Larkin, SF $5 (415) 346-2025 BABY LOVES DISCO July 15 and Aug. 19, 2–5 p.m. Ruby Skye 420 Mason, SF $10 (415) 693-0777 www.babylovesdisco.com

Queen of the double feature


HORROR-LARITY If there’s anything better than peaches and cream, it would have to be Peaches and Elvira. Movie maniacs will get a taste of the two great horror hosts this weekend, when Peaches Christ kicks off this year’s tantalizing Midnight Mass series with a pair of prizes — two nights costarring the queen of the double feature, the famous alter ego of Cassandra Peterson.
Peterson sees Elvira as a variation of herself as a teenager: “know-it-all, really sassy, and treats the guys like crap.” She and Pee Wee’s Playhouse writer John Paragon collaborated on the screenplay for the underrated 1988 satire Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, which whips the religious right of the Reagan–Bush Sr. years. Besides featuring a wickedly witty lead performance, Mistress also boasts a great villain in Chastity Pariah, perhaps the best busybody role ever given to feisty Edie McClurg, who along with Peterson and Paul “Pee Wee” Reubens was a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe. “Our relationship was always similar to the movie,” says Peterson. “Edie would always say, ‘Are you wearing that tonight?’ — she was worried I wasn’t covered up enough.”
A poor farm girl from Kansas and Colorado who played with Frankenstein and Dracula dolls while her peers favored Barbie, Peterson brought a love of Vincent Price (“especially his Roger Corman movies loosely — and I mean loosely — based on Edgar Allan Poe”) with her when she first arrived in Hollywood. Her time in the haunted hills has included some strange pit stops, such as a guest appearance on CHiPS (“Erik Estrada was the most egotistical jerk. I hope he’s gotten a little more humble because then he was at the top of his game and he thought he was god’s gift to women”) and televised exercise with Richard Simmons (“He was really fun. He could be a little overly energetic. He kept calling me ‘Ellie,’ and I remember him screaming down the hall: ‘ELLIE!’ It could burst your eardrums”). Her own TV shows, pairing terrible movies with commentary and comedy in the grand style of Ghoulardi and others, will soon be reissued on DVD.
What’s the question that Peterson most often gets regarding Elvira, and what does she wish people would ask? “The most frequently asked question is probably ‘Are they real?'” she says. “I assume they are talking about my fingernails.”
“The question I wish people would ask? … I think they’ve gotten everything. I don’t think there’s anything left they haven’t had.” (Johnny Ray Huston)
Friday/30, 11:59 p.m.
“Uncut Night of the Living Dead Spooktacular with Elvira”
Saturday/1, 11:59 p.m.
“Carrie with Elvira”
(415) 267-4893

Slay time!


THEATER If you love comedy, horror movies, and the singular sensation of being doused with oddly fruity stage blood, you’re probably already a Primitive Screwheads fan. If you’re not, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the madcap masters of mayhem behind such spectacles as Re-Animator of the Dead: The Tale of Herbert West and the inimitable Evil Dead: Live. Named for a favorite Army of Darkness quote, the young company was founded by a group of San Francisco State theater students in 2003; now something of a splat-stick phenomenon, they’ve also mounted two hugely successful shows as part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival.
A few weeks back, a rowdy HoleHead crowd greeted their latest, The Chainsaw Massacres — a riff on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (with The Devil’s Rejects, Saturday Night Fever, and other pop culture insanity tossed in) that’s now returning to CELLspace. Codirectors Sean Madeira and Robert Selander — the troupe’s standout ham, who played Evil Dead’s Ash and has a juicy role in Chainsaw — are in the process of attaining nonprofit status for the Screwheads. It’s an exciting development for a group that basically runs on a self-fueled (and self-funded) mix of ingenuity, enthusiasm, and a staggering ability to multitask.
“Sean is our main writer, and I’m our main blood technician and fight choreographer, but we split directing evenly,” Selander explains. Madeira, who dreamed up the Evil Dead play while at a comics convention, drew on his screenwriting background for the company’s first production, filling a previously undiscovered niche in the San Francisco theater scene in the process.
“Everyone’s seen Shakespeare,” Madeira says. “I figured I’ll just give them something different, something wild.” The Sam Raimi cult classic was chosen because of its single location and handful of characters — and, of course, its gore-tastic possibilities, though the company’s audience-splattering ways (now a trademark) were stumbled upon with utter spontaneity.
“I knew we were gonna have a lot of blood, because it was Evil Dead,” Madeira recalls. “But then once it started accidentally hitting the audience, they went crazy.”
“By the end of the first run, Sean was, like, ‘Well, they liked it! We should just spray it at the audience,’>

Weill-ing away the hours


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Happy End was thrown together in 1929 at the behest of a starry-eyed theater producer looking to capitalize on the surprise success the previous year of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. It was an ominous year for capitalizing ventures in general, you might say. As if to prove it, Happy End, whose story of Chicago gangsters and Salvation Army evangelists was cobbled together by Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann, was anything but a success in its time. In fact, after its famously negative reception Brecht made a point of distancing himself from it. The score alone, including some of Weill’s most memorable work, survived more or less unscathed — at least until Michael Feingold’s 1972 English-language version helped give the full musical new life.
American Conservatory Theater’s production of Happy End makes it clear how, showing the revival off as something more than mere pretext for reanimating Brecht and Weill’s irresistible songs. True, Brecht and Hauptman’s plot seems like thin stew for three acts: In the midst of an evolving heist, Salvation Army Lieutenant Lillian Holiday (a slender but steely and musically superb Charlotte Cohn), a.k.a. Hallelujah Lil, leads her Christian soldiers to battle for souls in the gangster den of Bill’s Beer Hall, only to fall in love with top dog Bill Cracker (a gruffly charismatic Peter Macon) and precipitate falling outs with their respective outfits. Moreover, the political critique buried in its happy-go-lucky story is, let’s just say, unlikely to provoke anything like the notorious uproar of boos and whistles offered up by its bourgeois audience in 1929.
But ACT’s production and Feingold’s fluid adaptation (which cleaves to Brecht’s lyrics but freely reworks much of the book) make it easy to Weill away the hours (just over two of them) until lead gangster “The Fly” (Linda Mugleston) utters her famous closing line: “Robbing a bank’s no crime compared to owning one!” The show winds up with a terrific mocking paean to capitalist “saints” John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and J.P. Morgan. Throughout, artistic director Carey Perloff’s staging is stylish, lively, and sure, while the comedic and musical performances from a first-rate cast (decked out in Candice Donnelly’s snazzy costumes) are enjoyable enough that you won’t worry about the plot, or lack thereof.
While slight in comparison with much of Brecht’s oeuvre, Happy End has contagious fun with the contradictions inherent in a jolly left-wing musical assailing the capitalist class in the midst of one of its own commercial theaters. Walt Spangler’s bold scenic design says as much with its oddly shaped, impossibly shiny steel surfaces covered in a rash of rivets — including a great flat moon that descends from the flies in time for the moonlight evoked by both “The Bilbao Song” and “The Mandalay Song.”
Stumbling out of a series of Mission bars and onto 16th Street the other night, I was drawn to the doorway of yet another bar after my friend got a whiff of something worth investigating. There we proceeded to make friends with what seemed to be two other lollygaggers. Then one of them proffered a flyer, and asked us if we ever go to the theater. (We’d actually just come from a play, which, featuring a pitcher of Bloody Marys, had inspired our copycat binge.) We nodded and took the flyer. This sounded like fate to us, so the next day we headed to the Marsh and the New Voices Festival to see Rude Boy, a one-man show written and performed by Ismail Azeem about a troubled African American man moving in and out of various institutions and realities. Its combination of raw energy, deft delivery, beautifully honed characters, and inspired narrative flow (moving seamlessly from monologue to hip-hop to stand-up to dialogue and communion with the dead) was so transporting I actually lost my hangover. I wish I could report the show were still running, but stay tuned — chances are you’ll be hearing more about Azeem. SFBG
Through July 9. Tues.–Sat., 8 p.m. (also Wed. and Sat., 2 p.m.)
Geary Theater
415 Geary, SF
(415) 749-2228

Heavy petting


The reasons were manifold, many-furred, and multihued, but this much was clear at South by Southwest 2006: The Nashville teen punk sensations Be Your Own Pet were definitely a band to raise your right fist Arsenio-style and woof at, like a member of the Bloodhound Gang at a sports bar. Fronted by the kittenish Courtney of a vocalist Jemina Pearl Abegg and filled out by the impressively fro’d bassist Nathan Vasquez, guitarist Jonas Stein, and drummer Jamin Orrall, and shaking it like Smell-style teenage kicks, Be Your Own Pet gave off the delicious fumes of scruffy Jack Russell terriers hopped up on ’roids, Pop Rocks, and raucous hip-shaking noise punk. They made all the right moves. They were as cute as little pink pills. They threw outrageous parties. They played heavenly bills.
Life in the fast lane. Frankly the entire scene made Orrall want to lose his mind, he said last week, fading in and out on the fiber-optic freeway leading from Texas to Arizona. “I didn’t really like that week,” the asthmatic drummer said — his nose clearly stuffed to hell and back. “We did a lot of shows and a lot of meetings and it was too much stuff with people who aren’t really into music. It felt gross.”
Orrall, who turned 18 last month, and his bandmates must have had some inkling of what would happen — they were born into the business. BYOP’s 2004 single “Damn Damn Leash” initially came out on Infinity Cat, the label run by Orrall, his brother, Jake, and his father, singer-songwriter Robert Ellis Orrall. Stein’s father is said to have managed Vince Neil, Vasquez’s pops is a flamenco guitar player, and Abegg’s dad is a rock photographer.
Helmed by multiple producers, including pater Orrall, Modest Mouse producer Jacquire King, Kings of Leon knob fondler Angelo, and Redd Kross’s Steve McDonald, Be Your Own Pet’s self-titled debut on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace (distributed by Universal) is a spiky, spastic — and yes, adorable — little mutt of a recording, reminiscent of early, primitive Yeah Yeah Yeahs and knuckle-skating riot grrrl, with the odd ode to bicycles, felines, and, urp, “Stairway to Heaven.”
Orrall doesn’t know if their music is “necessarily punk. We’re not really protesting anything,” he wheezed. Nonetheless he and Jake have been writing songs since they were 9 or 10, with few assists from the parental unit. “I wrote a lot of lyrics just in school when I was kind of bored,” he explained.
So isn’t there a bit of a cultural disconnect occurring? The bands that sound like them are still toiling old-school, while Be Your Own Pet’s early single was slipped to Zane Lowe at BBC Radio One before finding its way to XL in England — and the teens have already played massive UK fests like Reading and Leeds and Glastonbury. Orrall likes the idea of their music finding its way into the hands of kids who shop chain stores in Dookieville, Pa. — are such creatures still out there? — but will confess, “It’s, like, pretty strange. We do the same thing, just in a different environment, but it’s hard to connect with the audience because they’re so far away.” (Kimberly Chun)
Be Your Own Pet’s Jamin Orrall’s five current faves
Dirty Projects, New Attitude EP (Marriage)
Thin Lizzy, Jailbreak (Mercury/Universal)
Chocolate Watchband, Inner Mystique (Sundazed)
Deluxin’, Deluxin’ (Stoneham Tapes) “Nathan [Vasquez’s] other band — it’s just like the Sun City Girls but a little more pop-rocky.”
Letho, Wood Ox (Stoneham Tapes) “I listen to my brother’s albums a lot. He’s made five or six records under that name on four-track cassette, but the last one was this six-part epic story of him being raised by oxen on the plains.”

Headbanger’s call to glory – line one


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Zakk Wylde is a postmodern metal god. Or perhaps a modern post-metal god. With his long, flowing hair and beard, bulging muscles, and Les Paul wielded like a battle ax, he is a figure straight out of mythology. His story mines Joseph Campbell territory as well: A working-class kid from Jersey one day receives the call from God (Ozzy Osbourne — well, Sharon, actually) and his life is changed forever.
From odd jobs in gas stations and supermarkets to sold-out stadiums around the world, Osbourne’s musical right-hand man and the heir apparent to Randy Rhoads’s throne (the most coveted position in the metal guitar pantheon), Wylde became a minor deity overnight, anointed by the Prince of Darkness himself. Since that day the figure of Oz has loomed large in Wylde’s career: the vocalist playing Jehovah to the guitarist’s Noah, Ozzy the Allfather to Zakk’s Thor, the Godfather to his Sonny. Literally — Osbourne is the godfather of Wylde’s son.
But Wylde’s newfound glory was threatened by history. His call had come in the late 1980s, just as metal’s star was dimming in the mass market. Within a few years it was totally eclipsed by the poppy neo-punk of Nirvana and their legions of imitators. Wylde, rather than cutting his hair and going flannel (as so many metal apologists did in those dark years), retained his locks and Samson-like strength in an era of cultivated weakness and whiny shoe-gazing, and kept the faith.
He didn’t retreat into the metal ghetto, however — he wasn’t content to preach to the converted. Instead, he embraced his unique position at the crossroads of generations of popular heavy rock music. Both his songwriting and playing style reflect this, and he freely incorporates the past and present of the oeuvre, from before metal’s heyday through its zenith, and after. He has an uncanny ability to invoke the swagger of southern rock, as on “Lowdown,�? from Black Label Society’s Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live (Spitfire, 2001); the sentimental mush of the power ballad, displayed on “In This River,” from BLS’s Mafia (Artemis, 2005); acoustic neo-folk earthiness, as heard on “Spoke in the Wheel,” from his solo Sonic Brew (Spitfire, 1999); and good old-fashioned chunk-a-chunk (see “Suicide Messiah,” also from Mafia). But his music is more melting-pot than balkanized, more stew than pastiche, and he never loses the spirit of metal.
In addition, for many Osbourne fans, Wylde is the most worthy replacement yet for the late, great guitarist Rhoads. Rhoads helped launch Osbourne’s solo career in the early 1980s and in the process redefined heavy metal guitar playing and songwriting by incorporating classically inspired harmonies and virtuosity with strong pop songwriting instincts. His tragic death in 1982 left a void that has never really been filled, though Osbourne would continue to perform and record with various other guitar players. With Wylde, Osbourne finally found one who could serve as a worthy long-term collaborator and their musical relationship, though on-and-off over the years for assorted reasons, has produced some of the strongest and most consistent work Osbourne has made since his first two records with Rhoads.
The guitarists’ playing styles vary: Wylde’s huge sound and rhythmic feel are his main weapons — as opposed to Rhoads’s awesome technique and interesting scale choices — yet he can shred when he needs to and is clearly influenced by his legendary predecessor. Their writing styles differ as well; Wylde’s is more riff-based and bluesy than that of Rhoads, who tended to employ more gothic chord changes than static riffs (compare “No More Tears” with, say, “Mr. Crowley”). Yet in his collaborations with Wylde, Osbourne finally seemed to find the chemistry and energy that had been missing since Rhoads’s untimely passing.
Throughout his career, Wylde has maintained his perspective while high in heavy metal Valhalla. He has accepted his role in history and moved beyond the stylistic camps and divisions of hard rock, tracing the historic threads that tie Hendrix to Rhoads to Dimebag, redefining metal as the sum of its various fractions, fluid and constantly in play, and finding its unifying truth in its many separate and antagonistic truths. Call him the postmodernist’s metal hero, the mythologist’s new immortal, the modern headbanger’s best hope for salvation. Remember his role when he plays guitar with Osbourne on the main stage at this year’s Ozzfest and fronts with his own band, Black Label Society, on the second stage. Expect him to embody his metal warrior’s creed: “Strength. Determination. Merciless. Forever.” SFBG
Sat/1, 10:30 a.m.
Shoreline Amphitheatre
1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
(415) 421-TIXS

Catch some rays


> a&eletters@sfbg.com
Damn, it’s been hard to stay focused since the rain stopped. So many beers in the park to enjoy and so many great shows to see. Here are a few you should catch in between bike rides and slosh ball games.
Gregory Euclid’s work must be seen in person, because no photos can do it justice. He’s showing at White Walls through June, with Anthony Yankovic III and Teodor Dumitrescu, who are also amazing. Next door, the Shooting Gallery just opened its annual erotic show, where one can ogle boobies and butts in painted and photo forms. If you’re in the Lower Haight area, be sure to stop into Upper Playground’s gallery, Fifty24sf, where Japanese artists Kami and Sasu are showing. So good! Weston Teruya is one of my favorite artists in the city. He’s part of a group show at Patricia Sweetow that’s running through July 15. Combine your love of bikes, art, and booze with an evening ride down to 111 Minna Gallery for a cocktail and the group show that’s up now. Henry Lewis and Tara Foley rule it so good now! Smile time. SFBG
Through June 30
White Walls
835 Larkin, SF
(415) 931-1500
Through July 3
Shooting Gallery
839 Larkin, SF
(415) 931-8035
Through July 2
248 Fillmore, SF
(415) 252-0144, ext. 4
With Michele Carlson, Susan Chen, Katie Lewis, Weston Teruya, and Jamie Vasta
Through July 15
Patricia Sweetow Gallery
49 Geary, fourth floor, SF
(415) 788-5126
With Tom Allen, Jamie Dorfman, Tara Lisa Foley, Wednesday Kirwan, Henry Lewis, Jack Long, Yosuke Ueno, and Amanda Wachob
Through July 1
111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna, SF
(415) 974-1719
John Trippe publishes the online zine Fecal Face at www.fecalface.com.

Deadly cure


He may have the world’s largest collection of Kim Wilde posters on his apartment walls, but caterpillar-browed Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is no kid in America: He’s an aging drunk in Romania with a ruined liver and a rupturing brain. And Bucharest on a Saturday night is no place to be when you’ve got the headache and stomachache from hell — in fact, its medical system is a many-leveled modern day approximation of exactly that infernal pit, which is probably why the first name of the title character in Christi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is Dante.
Overtly labeled an anti-ER by its maker, and about as far away from Superman Returns as you can get inside a movie theater this week, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu doesn’t exactly sound like fun: The film follows the booze-pickled Lazarescu out of his fleabag apartment as gruff but ultimately sympathetic paramedic Mioara (Luminita Gheorghiu) wheels this supposed GOMER — get out of my emergency room — from one hospital to another, while both are verbally abused by sluggish doctors and nurses. Yet Puiu’s movie is primarily a sharp and multifaceted black comedy, from slow-coder Lazarescu’s mouthiness early in the journey to the off-the-cuff yet detailed portraits of his eccentric neighbors and the successive “caregivers

Steel crazy


› cheryl@sfbg.com
Imagine that Supermans III and IV never happened, and that in Superman II Lois Lane never realized that Clark Kent was really the Man of Steel disguised in a pair of dorky glasses. (The part about Lois and Superman knocking boots, however, still stands). Now you’re up to speed on Superman Returns, whose title reflects the film’s story — after a five-year outer space sojourn, Superman (Brandon Routh) heads back to Metropolis, to the consternation of ex-sweetie Lois (Kate Bosworth) and supervillain Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) — as well as the film itself, which like Batman Begins heralds a return to cinematic form for its title character. The result may not be as giddily triumphant as Spider-Man 2, but all told, the 21st century is officially a damn good time to be a superhero.
Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) is clearly a huge Superman fan; Superman Returns takes its subject very seriously. With two and a half hours to fill, all the cool super-shit you want to see (X-ray vision, bulletproof body parts, swooping around with one fist extended, etc.) is in there, plus plenty of iconic moments. (Marlon Brando’s Jor-El makes multiple from-beyond-the-grave appearances — and has the cry of “Great Caesar’s ghost!” ever before inspired audience applause?) Needless to say, Superman Returns’ superbudget (imdb.com estimates it at $260 million) spells jaw-dropping special effects. Sure, you’ll believe a man can fly, but you’ll also believe a man can stop a fiery airplane from smashing into a baseball stadium.
The effects can get out of control, though — the climax, which takes place partially underwater, drags a bit despite looking great. At least by the time we get there, all of Superman Returns’ hard work building sympathetic characters pretty much pays off. The film’s intertwining story lines follow Superman as he dons Clark Kent garb at the Daily Planet and wistfully yearns for Lois, who’s semi-happily settled down with nice guy Richard (perennial third wheel James Marsden). Oh yeah, and she has a scraggly-haired five-year-old who may or may not be half-Kryptonian. Meanwhile, bald baddie Luthor is out of jail, ridiculously well funded, and as set on world domination as he is on knocking Superman out of the sky.
The Luthor stuff inevitably supplies the film’s comic relief, thanks to Spacey’s manic performance and certain weird touches (like sidekick Parker Posey’s time-warp wardrobe and a running gag about a Pomeranian). And if you’re looking for correlations between Superman Returns and current events, try Luthor’s plan to destroy the United States — eagerly reported on by Metropolis’s version of cable news. (In the 21st century, the Daily Planet stays afloat thanks to this editorial mission: “There are three things that sell papers: tragedy, sex, and Superman.”)
Of course, the main conflict in Superman Returns doesn’t even involve Luthor: It’s whether or not Lois will forgive her super soulmate for abruptly skipping town. (You know how all that tension between Spider-Man and Mary Jane kind of overshadowed the Doctor Octopus shenanigans? Yeah, it’s like that.) The film’s overriding theme, though, is of fathers and sons. Not for nothing does Brando keep popping up, reinforcing the idea that Superman (Jor-El’s “only son”) was sent to Earth to save humankind — a concept that everyone on earth pretty much buys, including, eventually, the bitter Lois (author of a Pulitzer-winning editorial titled “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman”). But even if you ignore the religious metaphors and check your watch during the mushy relationship bits, it’s hard not to get summer movie thrill-chills when John Williams’s familiar theme (recycled here as part of John Ottman’s score) plays under the swooshing title credits. Absolute perfection, maybe not — but super’ll do. SFBG
Opens Wed/28 in Bay Area theaters
See Movie Clock at www.sfbg.com for theaters and showtimes

Lust for life


› kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Ah, spring — it seems like a distant memory in June as we get socked an SF summer’s weaving, one-two punch of Westside fog and SoMa heat. But spring is the thing when we think about love. Love that picks us up, brings us down, lifts us back up to where we belong, then bitch-slaps us about the face and neck until we’re ready to trade in our valentines for matching straitjackets and a tray of stiff drinks. Pull up a chair and tell it to Jolie Holland, who dredged up her own love–gone–sour mash life lessons for her latest lovely, lithely limned album, Springtime Can Kill You (Anti). “Yeah, it was just one pretty horrible set of emotional circumstances,” she drawls from Salt Lake City while on perpetual tour. “Just a terrible accident of communication–slash–long distance relationship–slash–my life totally changing due to the music taking off.”
Holland knows of what she speaks: She tried to settle down in San Francisco with her Stanford-jobbing scientist, dubbed the “Moonshiner” in song on Springtime, until he went off on a scholarship to Russia for 10 months. “I was tryin’ to basically be married to a nice, normal guy who had a job and all that, which I’d never really sincerely tried before,” she says. “I thought, this is normal — I’ll try this. But the relationship had a vitamin deficiency. Anyway, that’s what “Springtime Can Kill You” is about — trying to make something work that’s not functional.”
Now she’s back to what a friend calls “the buckshot version of romance. I’m dating people who have fucked-up lifestyles like me — I’m dating other traveling musicians.”
Dub it the bitter, beauteous fruit of Springtime and its absinthe-hued wedding of new grit, olde art, and lightly borrowed blues. The full-length’s ballads of sexual codependency and earthy comradeship sound creamy and sensually nostalgic, yet never self-consciously musty, in the lily hands of coproducers Holland and Lemon DeGeorge. Springtime is haunted — by faraway lovers (“Moonshiner”), outright specters (“Ghostly Girl”), smashed hopes (Riley Puckett’s “You’re Not Satisfied”), old jazz records (“Springtime Can Kill You”), and a certain intoxicating insanity (Holland’s old hip-hop collaborator CR Avery’s “Crazy Dreams”) — though it’s far from a relic.
Likewise, Holland is far from antique. In contrast to the sometime Be Good Tanya’s recent femme fatale photo stylings — complete with Bellocq–Belle Epoque cleavage and Veronica Lake peekaboo locks — she’s still a girl’s girl. She worries over the aforementioned image making, laughs like a hungry bird of prey, dishes band politics, sprinkles her speech with “fucked-up”s, shops vintage like a hipster magpie, drops references to a friend’s “psychic power,” and — true to form for the lusty lady who dedicated a song (“Moonshiner”) to Memphis Minnie and Freakwater — gets creeped out by Mormontown. “Oh, thank God, we’re leaving!” the redheaded vocalist says with a relieved, panicked laugh of her current stop, Salt Lake City. “I just walk down the street and people stare and yell stuff at me. And, like, weird shit was happening. Yeah, I don’t like this town, and people are definitely treating me like a freak here. My hair is a particularly unnatural color, right now.”
Still, life — even one far from her ex’s arms — appears to be swinging much smoother these days for Holland, who now considers New York City, Vancouver, and Portland home. “I’m actually being pretty productive. The other day I wrote two songs in a hotel room.” Even quickie genre classifiers don’t matter. The New York Times may have plopped her into a recent splashy “freak folk” feature — amid Vetiver and Espers, a crowd she’s seldom associated with — but that’s OK. “Yeah, it said nothing about me, but it did say my name, like, three times,” she says with her ah-ah-ah laugh. “It’s interesting because we’re Bay Area people, so we can see the fine details of who’s actually associated with who. But from the East Coast, it probably looks different, y’know. My picture looks really funny in there, right?! It looks totally stuck on.
“The thing is … it actually sounds really fun to have a scene!”
Hey, it may be summer, but we can keep those fresh, dewy buds springing eternally, within. Holland is on her way to Cheyenne, where she says her band has heard rumor of a pond they can dip their wings in, and after that there are collaborations lined up with Michael Hurley and Sage Francis, among others. “It’s so great to be not pretending to be a housewife anymore!” says the singer. “I don’t have to stay home and clean the floor.” SFBG
Sat/1, 9 p.m.
Bimbo’s 365 Club
1025 Columbus, SF
(415) 474-0365
Come for the corn — stay for the cool-ocity. Shee-it, Eddie Money and Nelson play Sat/1, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Ricky Skaggs perform Mon/3, and Beausoleil and Preservation Hall Jazz Band bring New Orleans to the North Bay Tues/4. Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. $11–$13. (415) 499-6800, www.marinfair.org.
The “acoustic trio” incarnation of the English folk-rock maestros — including founder Simon Nichol — soldiers on. Wed/28–Thurs/29, 8 p.m., Freight and Salvage, 1111 Addison, Berk. $19.50–$20.50. (510) 548-1761.
Abraham Gomez-Delgado cuts his zany out-jazz with Cuban-world fusion. Wed/28, 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakl. $10–$14. (510) 238-9200.
An Extraordinary Machine rolls onward with a headlining tour. Thurs/29, Sleep Train Pavilion, Concord. Fri/30, Mountain Winery, Saratoga. For times and prices, visit www.ticketmaster.com.
The new Billie — or Sade? The gorg Brit plays it smooth like Karo, but does she have the songs? Thurs/29, 9 p.m., Café du Nord, 2170 Market, SF. $12. (415) 861-5016.
DIY performance art plus your roommate at Evergreen College equals Blow. Blowster Joan Bechtolt also breaks away for a heaping helping of positivity as Yacht. Fri/30, 6 p.m., Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. $6. (415) 923-0923.
A Pushcart Prize nominee folks up. Sun/2, 9 p.m., Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St., SF. $6. (415) 546-6300.
The Congolese supergroup dusts off the effervescent ’60s sound of Cuban rumba melded with African rhythms. Mon/3, 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakl. $20. (510) 238-9200.

She doth protest


› le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS It was Pride month so I was proud. In my own small chicken farmerly way, I celebrated the T and the B — mostly by lying in my hammock, looking at trees and birdies, and going, “Woohoo!” But also a little bit in this column, no?
Well, in any case, it’s all over now. It’s time once again to bow our heads in shame and shuffle around with our hands in our pockets looking for doo-doo to step in.
July, as longtime readers of this column may recall, is supposed to be Poo Poo Pride month, in celebration of my yard-long expulsion of 2005.
Now, before you groan yourself blue in the butt, listen to the rest of what I have to say: This year, I am canceling Poo Poo Pride. And not because it isn’t ladylike to celebrate all things brown and stinky. Some of my favorite ladies in the world just love to talk about poo poo, and last year of all the two or three people who weighed in in support of Poo Poo Pride, almost every single one of them was in fact a lady. And the other, as I recall, was kind of faggy, so …
No, the reason I am canceling Poo Poo Pride this year is because I want there to be an uproar. It’s all very maneuveristic and manipulative of me. It’s strategy, and I know it’s not very strategic to explain your strategy to the world up front and out loud, but otherwise how will everyone know what to do?
I want three or four people to sign a petition, and one or two to write letters to the editor saying how the hell are we supposed to take a crap and feel good about it without Leone’s lovingly described 40-inchers and philosophical contemplation of floaters, and, and — I want to turn on the TV one night and see an animated children’s special with a feel-good ending called “A Year Without a Poo Poo Pride Month.”
I know this is a lot to ask. But asking a lot seems to be what I do best these days. So ask I will, and may the universe ignore me if it dares.
Crawdad’s new squeeze wants her to start farting in front of him. She’s reticent. I’m with him. Nothing facilitates intimacy like intra-couple flatulence, I always say. I didn’t say this at DeLessio’s, sitting outside with them on the cool, colorful, partially walled sidewalk patio; I waited until after.
“Nothing facilitates intimacy like intra-couple flatulence,” I said.
The new squeeze said, “What?”
“Bullshit,” quoth Crawdad de la Cooter. “We farted in front of each other all the time, and look where we are now.”
I looked. We were in the garage at our old place on York Street, sorting through the last of our stuff, new guy mediating our little squabbles very nicely and with humor. He’s also got the only practical mind among us, which comes in handy.
Another thing that comes in handy: He loves chocolate. That’s great! I know this now because I’m getting a sweet tooth, and I worry about my girlish figure, and you gotta love a pal who loves chocolate, because you can say, no, no, I don’t want any dessert, and then eat at least half of whatever they order.
In this case: a chocolate-filled brioche with more butter in it than a lot of people keep in their refrigerator. And a sampling of these cool sort of sheets of various styles of chocolate they call bubble-wrap. Because it looks like bubble wrap.
All of which is well and good, but the real reason I call DeLessio’s my new favorite restaurant is for the sandwiches. And my saying so should astound you. It does me. They cost like seven, eight bucks, and they’re all premade and shrink wrapped and shit, so you can’t even say no mayo, no mustard. Speaking of bullshit.
But … and this is one of the biggest buts ever, they do have muffulettas, the old New Orleans specialty, with three kinds of meat (mortadella, ham, salami), two kinds of cheese (provolone, mozzarella), and, by definition, this super-delicious olive spread stuff instead of mayo or mustard. Not as good as Central Grocery, but … even better, in a way, because it’s here. Right here, at the corner of Market and Valencia.
Also haves: red snapper po’boy, Cuban pork, cupcakes, and buffet tables full of hot things and cold things for $7.95 per pound. From which I can only vouch for the mac and cheese: excellent. SFBG
Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–7:30 p.m.;
Sat.–Sun., 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
1695 Market, SF
(415) 552-5559
Takeout and catering available
Beer and wine
Wheelchair accessible

The un-pork


› paulr@sfbg.com

The imminence of a determined pork eater raises certain questions in the porkless kitchen. The largest of these is, Can pork be faked? Meat fakery has come a long way in the past few years, as anyone who’s eaten a Boca burger knows — but if some entrepreneur has come up with a porkless pork roast that would nonetheless convince a pork connoisseur, I have not heard of it.
In my everyday cooking, I have found that turkey, in its various forms, nicely fills in the gaps left by the pork we more or less stopped eating when Bill Clinton was still president. The breast slices make good scaloppine. Turkey bacon creditably substitutes for pancetta. And the whole tenderloins (really adjuncts of the breast in turkeys, rather than of the back, as in hogs) are marvels of adaptability: They can be butterflied and quickly grilled or cubed for vindaloo, among many other applications.
But would the tenderloins, I wonder, accept the arista treatment, as so temptingly laid out by Bruce Aidells in his Complete Meat Cookbook? Arista means “the best” in Greek, and the dish is said to have originated as an herb-rubbed, spit-roasted piece of pork served to a contingent of Greek prelates visiting Florence in the 15th century. Their verdict? Aristos!
Acclaim and applause are lovely, of course, but I was hoping just to pull off my bit of subterfuge without being caught. Turkey tenderloins are not large (less than a pound each), so I would need several to make the equivalent of a four-pound pork roast. Their smallness invited direct grilling — a blessing, since I have no spit, though even fast grilling of a lean meat like turkey poses the danger of desiccation. Aidells’s rub (of fennel seed, sage, rosemary, and salt) is fabulous, but I also took the precaution of cutting a deep, narrow slit in the side of each tenderloin and filling it with a pat of butter and a clove of peeled, smashed garlic. One additional precaution: a buttery port-cognac sauce derived from the one Wolfgang Puck offers for tuna au poivre in Live, Love, Eat! (My modification: adding dried thyme.)
The guest list included no prelates, and no one was heard speaking Greek, either before or after the appearance of the forged arista. But the meat was juicy and tasty, and most of it disappeared.
“I thought it was pork,” the pork eater said later, when informed of the deception. Bravo!

The road to Mecca


› paulr@sfbg.com
Judging a book by its cover might be a sin, but how about judging a restaurant by its name? In most cases this is probably at least premature, if not quite a sin, though the name Mecca presents a strong temptation. Here we have a restaurant that opened a decade ago on a stretch of mid-Market that wasn’t exactly Shangri-la; the neighbors included a Ford dealership, one of the tattier Safeways, and, a bit later, the sex club Eros. On the other hand, the location was about midway between Zuni and the Castro, and it is along that vector that Mecca — which became Mecca SF last fall under new ownership — has found its enduring identity.
When I first stepped into Mecca 10 years ago, I thought: Studio 54. There was the glam underground feel, the distinct homo vibe, the tall curtains of purple velvet hanging like regal robes and serving as partial screens while also soaking up, in grand fashion, some of the noise reverberating from the many hard surfaces, the concrete and stainless steel, that gave the space its urban edge. As it happened, I had visited Studio 54 in the early 1980s, when the place was senescent and overrun with bridge-and-tunnel folk but still recognizable as a onetime theater of some kind, with an extant stage and balcony — along with fabulous curtains. Mecca, it seemed to me then, wasn’t a direct clone of but was definitely inspired by Studio 54; the drugs, sex, and exclusivity might not be as overt and intense, but in compensation there was food — good food — and a conspicuous valet service, which not only took care of patrons’ fancy cars but also alerted passersby that happenings of note were occurring within.
On a recent visit, we arrived in a Prius — holy of holies for today’s rich liberals, with plenty of rear legroom — and parked directly across the street. Inside, the layout seemed unchanged from my last tour, 3 years ago, or for that matter from 10 years ago. The gigantic, horseshoe-shaped bar still dominates; there is still a cluster of tables under the front windows (which are screened with steel mesh — a Jetsons touch) and another cluster in a curtain-screened alcove behind the host’s station. The curtains did seem to me to be a different color now — camel or cappuccino rather than purple or claret — but that could be a trick or fault of memory.
The change of hands last fall has resulted in, among other things, a new chef, Sergio Santiago. He was born in Puerto Rico, and he describes his Mecca SF menu as incorporating “certain tones of New Latin cuisine.” Maybe, but what most struck me was the richness of Santiago’s cooking. In this sense he has more in common with his recent predecessors, Michael Fennelly and Stephen Barber, than with the restaurant’s opening chef, Lynn Sheehan, whose style of well-polished Cal-Med rusticity was very much in the tradition of Zuni and Chez Panisse.
True, you can still find that sort of dish on Santiago’s menu. The Mecca french fries ($6), served in a paper cone with a ramekin of homemade ketchup, leave nothing to be desired and are nicely sharable. Just as plainspoken is the whole artichoke ($9), baked with parsley and bread crumbs and served with a side of garlic butter for dipping — an important procedure, given the leatheriness of much of the flesh. (Artichokes steam much better than they roast, in my experience, unless they are baby artichokes.)
But it is impossible not to notice the infiltration of luxe onto the bill of fare. Caviar. Lobster. Foie gras. Very Campton Place and expense-accounty, and please have your statins ready. Oysters provide a balancing tonic and reaffirm the Zuni connection; they are available raw on the half shell or, as a quartet ($12), fried and doused with a mignonette. Crab cakes ($13) are good, if out of season — a beurre blanc emboldened by tasso (prosciutto’s poor cousin) is a nice flourish — and they are also noticeably spherical, as opposed to the more typical patty. Among the simplest of the smaller choices is a salad of mixed baby greens, though $12 seems a little steep for what you get.
As is so often the case now, the main dishes seem to sag a bit when compared with the smaller but more glittering starters. It is like going to a play that sets up spectacularly in the first act, then doesn’t quite make it up the mountain. At Mecca SF, this phenomenon has to do at least in part with the usualness of the offerings: There is chicken, beef, lamb, catfish, and duck breast. (No vegetarian choice.) I liked a pork tenderloin ($27), roasted to perfect succulence and presented with mashed sweet potatoes and a tangy chutney of Granny Smith apples; I liked too a roulade of salmon ($26), the disk of fish wearing a top hat of pickled cucumber and radish tissues. But these dishes seemed to be wanting some of the subtlety of the earlier courses.
Desserts (by pastry chef Mie Uchida) are mainly of the modern-art school: for example, a flange of chocolate bread pudding ($9) flanked by small globes of chocolate and peanut butter ice cream — the overall look that of a miniature public sculpture — and a trio of crèmes brûlées ($9), chocolate, coconut, and vanilla, lined up on a narrow platter that resembles a railroad cross tie. The F train, incidentally, stops just about at the front door. No valet needed. Wave as you pass. SFBG
Dinner: Tues.–Thurs., 5:30–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 5:30–11 p.m.; Sun., 5:30–9 p.m. Lunch: Sun., from 1 p.m.
2029 Market, SF
(415) 621-7000
Full bar
Wheelchair accessible

{Empty title}


June 28-July 4
March 21-April 19
Yeah, life is difficult this week, Aries. And we hate when people smugly point out the stunning life lessons embedded in whatever shit sandwich fate is forcing down our throat, but, by golly, that’s what we’re here to do. There’s a deeper method to the madness. Also, it’s a great week to either fall in love or dump someone’s ass.
April 20-May 20
Taurus, now is the time to take a whopping risk that really makes you feel spectacular about who and what you are. A risk that sort of defines your fabulousness, a risk that makes you want to proclaim, I love this risk! I rule this risk! — especially risks that help you hit the goals you set around family issues.
May 21-June 21
Gemini, put on your houndstooth cap and stick your little sleuthing pipe in your mouth, ’cause right now it’s all about trying to find those mysterious places where you deceive yourself, particularly in regard to relationships. How do you trick yourself into thinking that you’re investing in someone when really you’re totally not?
June 22-July 22
You’re kind of screwed, Cancer. It’s like you hit the buffet at the Vegas of life and piled waaay too much grub on your plate. Now you either have to dump a bunch of food in the trash — what a waste! people are starving! — or stuff yourself sick. We say don’t be a martyr. Scrape some of that slop into the bucket.
July 23-Aug. 22
OK, Leo, calm down. Let’s just look at the facts. Fact: You bit off more than you can chew. Fact: You got burned out from your overcommited lifestyle. Fact: You’re going to have to deal with it. Just allow your struggle du jour to expedite transformation, not inhibit it.
Aug. 23-Sept. 22
Come out, Virgo! Come out of that dark little brain of yours! Untangle yourself from the web of negativity your mind has spun you into and realize how far you’ve come. Then you can start cultivating some proud feelings about where you’re at and what it took to get there.
Sept. 23-Oct. 22
You know you’ve got all that inner strength percoutf8g deep inside, right? The trick, dear Libra, is to externalize it. What good is inner strength if it never flexes its muscles? Take responsibility for your shit — but nobody else’s.
Oct. 23-Nov. 21
Scorpio, we’ve got this little feeling about you. Which isn’t that big a deal, as we are psychic and it’s our job to get little feelings. But something big is around the corner. Have your bags packed like a secret agent, so you can fly away fast when you get that call in the middle of the night.
Nov. 22-Dec. 21
This week requires a lot of effort, Sag. Which shouldn’t be too bad, ’cause you cats are truly the Tiggers of the zodiac. If you apply effort correctly, the stars are aligned to aid you in the breaking of a pesky old habit, one that’s been a bitch to break and that you’re finally emotionally ready to overcome.
Dec. 22-Jan. 19
Capricorn, if you don’t actually make the decision to change, then the opportunity to change ain’t never gonna come, understand? If you don’t decide to deal with your crappy, insecure feelings in a brand-new, irreverent, yet totally focused way, you’ll never change your relationship to them. Get on it.
Jan. 20-Feb. 18
The only thing that would be worse for you than refusing to let go, Aquarius, would be letting go and then analyzing the hell out of whether or not you let go correctly. Don’t worry about it, OK? Just let the frick go. Reality is breaking down and you’ve got to handle it honestly.
Feb. 19-March 20
Pisces, you are the recipient of the oddly stressful good, good fortune that is everything lovely all happening at once. You have everything you could possibly need, and now it’s up to you to handle this abundance gracefully. Don’t make things harder by taking on anything new, and remember to be generous. SFBG

Never mind Brookers . . .


› numa@techsploitation.com
TECHSPLOITATION In the world of weird cultural appropriation that is the Web, nothing can compare to the strange tale of a Moldavian pop song called “Dragostea din Tei.” It began in 2003 as a catchy disco tune by boy band the O-Zone, who sing in Romanian and look like a queer version of Duran Duran (or perhaps a queerer version). The video for the song started circuutf8g on the Web a couple years ago and is full of silly shots in which the band dances on an airplane, its members hugging one another and randomly morphing into cartoon characters.
The infectious song became a hit in Europe and immediately inspired several parody/homage fan videos online. One, by a Finnish artist, depicted an androgynous anime character dancing to the tune, and so many people accessed her little movie that no server would host it. Soon a Japanese cartoon version appeared, in which two cats dance while subtitles supply words in Japanese that sound like the Romanian lyrics, thus producing a running commentary of Japanese nonsense.
The obvious and exuberant queerness of the video inspired many other versions, including one in which three Polish guys dance around with giant dildos and another that aired on Spanish television with the lyrics changed to include the phrase marica tu, which means “you’re queer.” Earlier this year a group of students at the University of British Columbia gave the Web possibly the last (or at least the best) word in gay appropriations of the video: Four nubile Canadian men jump around, take off their shirts, chase airplanes, and frolic by the seashore while mouthing the lyrics to the song. Although this elaborate creation was linked from Collegehumor.com, it’s hard to see the parody in it — it’s a straight homage to the goofy Moldavian original.
While these queer appropriations (or approbations) warmed up the Net, a very different group also played telephone with “Dragostea din Tei,” creating parodies of parodies inspired by a 19-year-old American named Gary Brolsma. Brolsma had recorded himself lip-synching, making faces, and chair-dancing to the song with a Web cam and posted it on his Web site. Within days, copies of the video had made it all over the Net, inspiring people to re-create Brolsma’s hand-waving and nutty facial expressions in their own videos. Over many iterations, this meme was dubbed the “Numa Numa Dance,” in reference to the chorus of “Dragostea din Tei,” which goes “numa numa iei, numa numa iei.” Although Brolsma was embarrassed by the phenomenon and stopped talking to the press about it, his happy, geeky imitators posted Numa Numa Dances from all over the world — including Thailand, Hong Kong, the UK, and, of course, Canada. My favorite was made by a couple of kids in the United States studying for a calculus exam, who dance around to the song and wave printouts of formulas and binary numbers in front of the screen.
Even the US Navy got in on the action with a video that sort of straddles the line between gay and dorky.
Despite its global popularity, few in the media paid any attention to this queer geek meme until a straight white girl named Brookers appropriated it on YouTube.com. Her version, called “Crazed Numa Fan,” shows her doing the exact same thing you see in every other Numa Numa Dance flick: She waves her arms and makes faces in front of her bedroom Web cam. But her video, which is no more or less creatively cute than the hundreds of others out there, was downloaded 1.5 million times. And a couple weeks ago it earned the skinny blond 20-year-old a development deal with former MTV star Carson Daly’s production company.
I know, I know. Predictable as hell, right?
But while Brookers’s fame will flare out, the Numa Numa Dance will continue on its merry digital way. When I watch all those happy imitators bouncing to “Dragostea din Tei” on their Web cams, I feel viscerally the utopian promise of global pop culture. I’m nodding along to a joyful tune in a language I rarely hear, and it’s been mashed up, appropriated, and reappropriated, our pleasure in it shared and reshared until it feels like everybody everywhere is doing the Numa Numa Dance along with me. SFBG
Annalee Newitz is a surly media nerd who loves any Romance language that retains the neuter, along with several Latin declensions.
For a short compendium of the best in “Dragostea din Tei,” see the online version of this column at www.sfbg.com.]
Original video: video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2294961099056745991

Cooler heads


› andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:
I’ve been dating a beautiful girl, and I mean she is hot. The problem? She’s really jealous and we fight all the time. I can’t look at another girl. She is incredibly possessive and wants to be involved in every element of my life.
I’ve never had any sort of sexual problems before, but I’m having problems orgasming. We have sex all the time. It’s never boring; she has an amazing body and is a great lay. But I just don’t come. I have no problems coming on my own. Can my mental frustration lead to physical problems in bed?
Feel Free to Come Up with a Clever Acronym
I don’t do those; that’s the other guy.
I keep reading and rereading and I have yet to find the part of your letter where you say you love, like, or are in any way interested in this girl beyond the purely physical, and that stuff’s not going so well. This lack of any genuine affection makes the solution to your problem pretty simple: Get the hell out and date someone you like next time.
If you were actually planning a future with Miss Hot Thing, I’d be expressing concern about the extreme possessiveness and warning you that little good ever comes of a relationship based on the desire to control and possess, rather than enjoy, the object of one’s alleged affection. You probably know this already, but how hard someone latches on to you and how much control that person wishes to exert over every aspect of your life is not a measure of affection, not by a long shot. At best, it’s about her, not you, and it could and will be easily transferred to the next object of obsession. At worst, well, does the term “bunny boiler” mean anything to you?
Frustration can indeed lead to performance issues, as can just plain not liking the person you’re attempting to perform with. Face it, she drives you crazy, and not in a good way. Your body has noticed this and is refusing to cooperate any longer. Your brain, or what passes for one, is still convinced that a girl who’s “hot” and “beautiful,” “has an amazing bod,” and is “a great lay” ought to be enough. Your other head, on the other hand, has proved itself the smarter for once. I suggest you listen to it.
Dear Andrea:
I’m a virgin, though I recently became involved in my most sexual relationship ever. I think we’re nearly ready to have sex, but I’m concerned about not having an orgasm. I hadn’t experienced much penetration before, but now I get a lot. Still no orgasm. I don’t get very far on my own, but when he’s using his tongue or fingers, I occasionally feel close but never experience a release. Is this normal? Does it suggest that I’ll have similar difficulty when it’s his penis instead of a tongue or finger? Or will the difference in size make me more likely to orgasm?
I take an antidepressant but I’ve been on it years longer than I’ve been sexually active, so it’s hard to tell if that’s the problem. I’m working on lowering the dose slightly, but stopping isn’t an option right now.
Please Release Me
Dear Release:
Are we having That Clinton Problem? You say you’re about ready to have sex, but you’ve already had his tongue and fingers and who knows what else all up in your business, which sure sounds like sex to me. It would also be useful to know where exactly he’s sticking those things. My guess is, nowhere useful.
There comes a time in every woman’s life where she must use the power of the Internet to access a nice vulva diagram. I found an alarmingly colorful but rather nice one at www.vaginaverite.com/diagram1.html, but there are plenty more where that came from. See how there’s nothing inside the vagina, but there are plenty of external structures that look worthy of attention in their own right? The clitoris and related bits in particular? Direct his (or your own) attention there for a change and stop worrying about penetration until you’ve gotten what you’re looking for. Although some women are capable of a purely internal orgasm and far more enjoy penetration, if you were going to find your bliss poking about in there, you probably would have already.
As for the drugs, they may indeed be inhibiting you. Many people find that the effect wears off over time, but you’ve had time and it still isn’t working. I suggest trying the clitoral route (your fingers, a vibrator, a shower massage, his fingers, his tongue … you get the picture) while also putting your doctor on notice that you may need to lower or change your medication soon. Perhaps remind him or her that never ever having an orgasm is a depressant in its own right.
Andrea Nemerson has spent the last 14 years as a sex educator and an instructor of sex educators. She rarely has That Clinton Problem. Visit www.altsexcolumn.com to view her archived columns.

Don’t give the tides to PG&E


EDITORIAL It’s been three years since former supervisor Matt Gonzalez suggested that the city build a tidal energy plant, but the mayor is finally catching on. Gavin Newsom told the Chronicle editorial board last week that a new study shows San Francisco could generate a phenomenal amount of electricity from Ocean Beach waves and the tides under the Golden Gate Bridge. If it can be done without disturbing marine life, it’s a great idea — as long as the power stays in public hands.
The legal and philosophical case is simple: Nobody owns the tides, the wind, or the waves. The energy contained in these renewable resources is and should always be in the public domain. Economically it’s clear: Once the power plant is built, the energy would be free — and could be a tremendous boon to the city’s treasury and to local business.
Politically the issue is even stronger: San Francisco is the only city in the nation with a congressional mandate to operate a public–power system, and any new energy resources the city taps should be used to help extract residents and businesses from under the expensive private–power monopoly of Pacific Gas and Electric Company. So why is the mayor even considering other options?
According to the Chronicle’s Phil Matier and Andrew Ross, the mayor’s staff is looking at the possibility of allowing PG&E (or “a little-known Florida firm, operating as Golden Gate Energy, that has already landed a federal license to bring the ocean technology to the bay”) to build and operate the plant. That would be a near perfect repeat of the Hetch Hetchy scandal, the deal that kept public power generated from public water at a publicly built dam in a public national park (Yosemite) under the private control of PG&E.
The Board of Supervisors needs to weigh in on this quickly with a resolution stating that no private company can develop, control, or profit from energy generated through wind, tides, waves, or any other renewable resource in or around the city of San Francisco. And if Newsom tries to treat the Golden Gate tides the way his predecessors treated Tuolumne River water, it will be the worst moment of his political career. SFBG

The best health care plan


EDITORIAL The health care model that’s been established, largely by default, in the United States is an utter mess. Most working people get their insurance through their employers. That means people who have jobs that don’t provide insurance are out of luck, and people who don’t have jobs are out of luck, and the self-employed are stuck with crazy bills, and small businesses are getting hit harder and harder with rising insurance rates that they can’t afford.
It’s a ridiculous way to handle health care: In most other western democracies, everyone is part of a national health care program, and under the best systems, the government is the single insurer and pays all the bills.
Among other things, that prevents the sort of crisis that San Francisco faces today, where the large numbers of uninsured residents have no choice but to seek care at the overburdened San Francisco General Hospital. That leaves the taxpayers on the hook for more than $100 million a year.
For businesses, particularly small businesses, that scrape and suffer to provide health insurance for their workers, the system is fundamentally unfair: Those companies pay twice, first for their own employees, and then again in higher taxes to cover the costs of the uninsured. Businesses that can well afford health insurance (the Wal-Marts of the world) but don’t pay are forcing others to cover their costs.
In a perfect world, with national health insurance, this wouldn’t be an issue. But it’s almost impossible for a single city to implement a single-payer system — which is why Mayor Gavin Newsom is struggling to present a functional health plan, and why Sup. Tom Ammiano’s employer mandate plan is absolutely necessary.
But the small business advocates who complain about the burden of paying more than $100 a month for each uninsured employee have a point, too — and this entire plan ought to be linked (at least in the long run) to Sup. Aaron Peskin’s proposals to change the city’s business tax.
Newsom’s dramatic announcement last week of a complex plan to cover all residents won overwhelmingly favorable press coverage. But so far, the plan itself is little more than a glorified press release. There are a lot of devilish details, particularly when it comes to funding.
There’s no new money in the mayor’s plan. He argues, correctly, that San Francisco currently spends $104 million on health care for the city’s 82,000 uninsured, and shifting that money into a city-run health care program will underwrite a significant amount of the cost. But that money can’t just be moved like a chess piece — it’s part of the San Francisco Department of Public Health budget, and if everyone does not sign up for the new program and very sick patients (including, say, undocumented workers who don’t understand or fear enrolling in the city plan) keep showing up at General, there won’t be enough money to go around.
There’s also the very real prospect that some unscrupulous employers will simply quit paying health insurance premiums and dump their employees into the city plan. That would overwhelm the program and push it quickly toward financial ruin.
So the mayor’s plan has no chance at success unless Ammiano’s employer mandate passes, too. The Ammiano plan would offer additional funding for the program by requiring that employers either provide private health insurance or pay into a city pool — and would prevent businesses from tossing their health expenses into the city’s lap.
Ammiano’s plan isn’t perfect — no employer-based plan ever will be. The health insurance requirement would hit all businesses with more than 20 employees, and that might be a bit low. The plan already has some progressive gradations (companies with more than 100 employees would pay a higher fee), but linking the costs more directly to the size of the business (in other words, hitting the large outfits — which can well afford health insurance — a bit harder and giving more of a city subsidy to the smallest companies) could help ease the burden on struggling merchants.
But in the end, his plan — which would have no impact on employers who already offer health insurance to their workers — is crucial to any effort to get the uninsured into a decent health program (and to end the stiff taxpayer subsidy for companies that don’t provide insurance). The supervisors should approve it.
Still that’s not the end of the story. At the same time that Ammiano’s addressing health care, Peskin has floated a proposal for a new gross receipts tax on local business. Here’s the way to proceed: The supervisors need to fund a complete study of how much gross revenue local firms take in; write a new tax that allows the city to eliminate the payroll tax; add a progressive gross receipts tax; and use the next tax policy to help deal with the costs of health care. Big, rich companies pay a lot (enough to help subsidize the citywide health plan). Small firms pay less (and the reduced tax burden helps offset the costs of paying for health insurance). In the end, San Francisco would be the first US city to launch a progressive system for providing health insurance to all. SFBG

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› tredmond@sfbg.com
The local daily newspapers haven’t paid much attention to it, but there’s a ferocious fuss going on in the blog world over political power and journalistic ethics, and it’s all swirling around a 34-year-old who runs the world’s most popular political blog out of his home in Berkeley.
It’s a fascinating story because of what it says about the revolution that’s taking place in media and politics today.
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga runs the blog DailyKos, which started off as just another liberal political blog by a liberal political activist (who used to be a political consultant and worked at one point for Howard Dean). But in the past three years it’s become phenomenally successful: DailyKos.com gets about a half million page views a day, which puts it in the league not with most of the other blogs but with major mainstream news operations. Moulitsas has no staff — no reporters, no editors, no reviewers, no nothing. His readers — or, more accurately, the members of the huge and growing DailyKos community of 92,000 registered users — provide almost all of the content. They write their own personal blogs called diaries, they comment on each other’s stuff, they promote (and dis) candidates, and they have formed the best known place in the country for the Dean wing of the Democratic Party to meet and confer.
The politicians have noticed, big time: Leading Democrats (like Rep. Nancy Pelosi) post on the site. A couple of months ago, a former president (Jimmy Carter) stopped by to blog. When the Kossacks organized an annual convention this summer, Sen. Harry Reid and presidential hopeful Mark Warner showed up.
So now DailyKos is in the big leagues — and not surprisingly, critics are starting to snipe.
The latest: Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong, who runs MyDD.com, have written a book together, and are longtime pals. (Moulitsas calls Armstrong his “blogfather.”) Armstrong is an active political consultant, and the candidates he works for sometimes get nice mentions on DailyKos. There’s been a lot of mumbling about how there might be some kind of sordid conspiracy here (hire Armstrong, get plugged on DailyKos), and it all became louder when the New Republic got word that Armstrong had been accused of illegally hyping stocks on the Web several years ago — and that Moulitsas had sent an e-mail around to a private mailing list urging other bloggers to keep it quiet.
The right-wingers (including David Brooks of the New York Times) have had a field day with this, acting as if they’ve finally unmasked the Great Left-Wing Conspiracy. Actually, the fact that it all came out in the open pretty quickly shows what a lousy secret cabal the bloggers make. Mostly, Moulitsas’s e-mail was just pretty stupid. But the whole episode raises the question: At what point do bloggers have a responsibility to be accountable, to have ethics and disclosure standards the way “mainstream” journalists are supposed to?
I e-mailed Moulitsas about it, and he’s pretty clear: “People like you keep trying to pound a round peg into a square hole,” he said. “This is citizen media. It is what it is … Old media might want the media landscape to resemble their old world, but it doesn’t, not anymore.”
Which is absolutely true. And I love DailyKos. And the blog explosion is perhaps the most democratic thing that’s happened to media in the history of civilization.
But at some point, citizen journalism isn’t enough — you need reporters and editors and a real staff to give the public real information about the world. And when that happens in the blog world (and it will soon) a lot of the rules are going to change. SFBG

How to end the violence


OPINION Despite its loss at the polls earlier this month, the spirit of Proposition A, the homicide prevention charter amendment on the June 6 ballot, lives on. Prop. A would have mandated that the city invest $10 million in violence prevention efforts. Instead of the typical police response to violence, Prop. A sought to address the root causes of violence, the social isolation and limited opportunity that are so endemic to the neighborhoods most impacted by street violence.
Prop. A offered a menu of strategies, including community outreach and organizing, job training and job creation, and reentry services so that ex-offenders have more than a couple hundred dollars in their hands when they leave prison. It was clear to everyone involved in the Prop. A campaign that this was about ameliorating the harmful effects of poverty and racism.
Even before the election, Prop. A was having an effect. Just two months after saying that no further investment was necessary to stem the tide of violence, Mayor Gavin Newsom crafted an ordinance with Sup. Fiona Ma to increase funding for violence prevention efforts. Responding to community groups, the Board of Supervisors stripped from the original Ma-Newsom legislation a bunch of police department goodies, including a ropes course, surveillance cameras, and bookmobiles — and beefed up the provisions on jobs and workforce training and added school-based violence prevention efforts, street outreach programs, and reentry services.
Overall the Board of Supervisors invested close to $6.9 million in programs and services. That’s a great initial investment but not enough, especially when a significant portion of the new funds can only be used for people under the age of 18.
The budget process offers the opportunity to serve the 18-and-older population and build on the foundation set earlier this spring. To this end, the budget committee added back over a million dollars to save San Francisco’s Trauma Recovery Center for the victims of violence and sexual assault. Now as a result of great advocacy from the violence prevention community and some unprecedented collaboration between the district attorney, the public defender, and the sheriff, the budget committee can program outside the box.
Before the committee Thursday, June 29, will be proposals to increase street-violence prevention outreach efforts, wraparound case management for victims at San Francisco General Hospital, housing relocation services for families impacted by violence, and reentry programs for ex-offenders. All of these programs can be part of a national model for other cities to emulate.
Contrary to the mayor’s line that the city does not need to contribute more resources to violence prevention, I believe city-sponsored resources make a dramatic change in how people caught up in all sides of the epidemic can have better choices and a dignified way out of these mean streets.
Violence is solvable if we make the right choices. SFBG
John Avalos
John Avalos is a legislative aide to Sup. Chris Daly. He dedicates this column to Andrew Drew Elle, a.k.a. DJ Domino, who was shot to death on Tuesday night, June 20, at 24th Street and Folsom.

For bicyclists, some good news…


› steve@sfbg.com
San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront is a natural jewel buried under the city’s industrial past.
The coastline is warm and often beautiful but marked mostly by collapsing piers, rusting skeletons of industrial centers, two power plants, and other long abandoned maritime projects.
But city and port officials, with the support of civic groups, are embarking on an ambitious effort to open up the waterfront with new bicycle and pedestrian trails, rotating public artwork, improved aquatic access, spruced up waterfront parks, rebuilt piers, and the transformation of industrial property into public spaces that would teach visitors about San Francisco’s past.
The recent opening of Pier 14, with the Passage sculpture from last year’s Burning Man festival as a temporary centerpiece, was a big step forward. And the imminent announcement of what the Farallon/Shorenstein development team is proposing for Piers 27–31 will be another important piece of the central waterfront puzzle.
Yet it is the so-called Blue Greenway initiative — which was formally launched June 24 with a bike and boat tour ending with a party at India Basin Shoreline Park on Hunter’s Point — that takes on the toughest terrain: the 13-mile coastline stretching from China Basin all the way down to Candlestick Point.
A Blue Greenway task force was set up six months ago by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Sup. Sophie Maxwell, with support from the Livable City Initiative and Neighborhood Parks Council. They shared their vision with a group of almost 100 bicyclists on a guided tour led by Newsom’s director of greening, Marshall Foster.
“We’re still imagining the way,” Foster said at the first stop of the Imagine the Way tour, Aqua Vista Park, where artist Topher Delaney is still covering the pier in shimmery blue sequins and installing horizontal bike rims trimmed with reflectors at the tops of colored poles.
Another art installment planned at Third Street and Cargo Way, Red Fish by William Wareham, was also not yet complete, like much of the Blue Greenway.
“You’ll notice on Illinois Street how there were no bike lanes. There were supposed to be bike lanes,” said Foster, noting how that project was recently appealed to the Board of Supervisors, only to have that and most other bike projects around the city stopped by a judge’s injunction (see sidebar).
At Pier 70 — once the main employment center of San Francisco, first with Union Iron Works and later Bethlehem Steel — getting access to the waterfront is nearly impossible now. The buildings are dangerous ruins and only broken pilings remain from the once-bustling piers.
“We think ultimately we can get in here and get access to the waterfront,” Foster said.
The Port of San Francisco’s planning and development director, Byron Rhett, who was also pedaling along on the tour, supported Foster’s hopes and said the port has consultants analyzing the site.
“We are just starting the process of declaring this an historic district,” Rhett said. “Bicycle and pedestrian access will be part of those discussions.”
Just south of Pier 70, the tour wound through the weed-strewn and graffiti-covered shoreline park and pathway at Warm Springs Cove. “This is a park that needs love,” said Michael Alexander, an historian and task force member who helped Foster narrate the journey.
A group of eight kayakers who were shadowing the bicyclists showed up while Alexander was talking, and he explained that there will be improvements to water access for them, both at Warm Springs and the next stop, Islais Landing, which was once a busy deepwater port channel, but which is now mostly hidden from view by roadways and underground culverts.
“We want to create places where we can open up Islais Creek,” Foster told the group.
The final two spots of the tour were on either side of the recently shuttered Hunter’s Point Power Plant: Heron’s Head Park and India Basin Shoreline Park, which are connected by a coastal trail that most San Franciscans probably don’t know exists.
At the final stop, Newsom, Maxwell, Assemblymember Mark Leno, and other luminaries gathered to promote the project.
“The Blue Greenway is already in each and every one of us, and we’re going to make sure that dream comes true,” Maxwell said.
The project will be a public-private partnership. Newsom committed the city to the effort but said the public has to get involved: “Without getting the enthusiasm to pull this off, it won’t happen.” SFBG
www.sfbg.com on the Pier 14 opening.

…And some bad


› steve@sfbg.com
Bicycle projects in San Francisco — from the ambitious Blue Greenway initiative to new bike lanes to the simple shared-lane arrows, or “sharrows,” that have been painted on some roadways — have been shut down by a preliminary injunction that Judge James Warren signed as one of his final actions before retiring.
The ruling is part of a lawsuit brought by Rob Anderson, a 63-year-old dishwasher, blogger (whose District 5 Diary regularly blasts the “bike nuts” and “anticar activists”), and failed District 5 supervisorial candidate. Anderson and two groups he formed — Ninety-Nine Percent (referring to those who he believes don’t ride bicycles) and Coalition for Adequate Review — last year sued the city over its Bicycle Plan, arguing that it should have received more rigorous environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Unless the injunction is overturned, city officials are prohibited from making any physical changes contemplated by the plan until completion of a trial that’s set to begin Sept. 13. The Bicycle Plan, which California cities must update every five years to qualify for certain public funds, was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the mayor last year.
City officials and bicycle advocates were shocked by the scope of Warren’s ruling. “This is big. It’s means nothing new for bikes for probably the next year,” said Andy Thornley, program director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “It’s pretty strict, even worse than we feared.”
Beyond the prohibition of “installing bicycle lanes on any street in San Francisco named or described in any part of the plan and its maps” and a range of other physical changes, the ruling says the city can’t pursue plans to allow more bikes on public transit. Anderson and attorney Mary Miles didn’t get everything they wanted, such as an end to the city’s “educational or training programs, enforcement activities, or promotional activities,” but that was small consolation to city officials.
“We’re disappointed with the injunction and we disagree with Judge Warren’s conclusions,” said Matt Dorsey, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office. Dorsey said the lawsuit and injunction defy the spirit of CEQA, as well as its specific exemptions for bike lanes on public streets. “Bikes are already allowed the use of all the streets in San Francisco.”
But Anderson said the Bike Plan should have been subjected to a full-blown environmental impact report before being approved, rather than a finding of exemption from such review, as the board ruled.
“This is not about the contents of the plan itself. It is about the process,” Anderson told the Guardian.
But Anderson’s arguments go well beyond process and bureaucratic details — instead they are driven by what appears to be deep animosity toward the bicycle community, which he has expressed on his blog and in public comments during city meetings.
“I think cycling in the city is dangerous and foolish,” Anderson told us. “It’s irresponsible for the city to encourage an inherently dangerous activity.”
Despite that danger Anderson said he doesn’t believe the city should be building bike lanes or pursuing other safety measures because only a very small percentage of city residents will ever ride bikes. He said that bicyclists are nothing but “an elitist special interest.”
Anderson refused to identify who’s helping to fund his suit or other members of his organization, except to say it’s a “small group” that mostly drives cars. (Anderson said he relies mostly on public transit and walking.) Although he said he believes in global warming and decries traffic congestion, he doesn’t believe bikes are a reasonable form of alternative transportation.
“It’s a progressive fantasy. Bicycles are not the answer to any problem. This is America, not Amsterdam. There are big cars and lots of them,” Anderson told us.
Yet city officials remain uniformly committed to promoting bicycling.
On June 23, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a public statement saying, in part, “Despite Judge Warren’s preliminary injunction, I remain committed to making San Francisco a national leader for bicycle transportation. Our goal is to increase the number of bike trips in the city to reach 10 percent of all trips by 2010. My administration will do everything within our power to reach that goal.” SFBG

Pier review


This summer there are three giant additions to San Francisco’s Embarcadero and all three represent huge victories in uniting the city with its waterfront and artistic roots.
For the next six months, Passage — two 30-ft welded sculptures, representing a mother and child and covered with countless recycled metal objects, including horseshoes, herons, and even a kitchen sink—will grace the entrance to the newly dedicated Pier 14.
Orchestrated by the Black Rock Arts Foundation and the Port of San Francisco, the Passage installation is part of an ongoing attempt to bring the work of local artists into the city’s public spaces and people’s daily lives. First exhibited at last year’s Burning Man event, Passage also represents a cultural full circle, as it comes to rest on the very waterfront where Larry Harvey started the Burning Man tradition, some 20 years ago. And it is the third significant Burning Man piece to be temporarily placed in San Francisco in the last year, a new trend that all involved say they hope to continue.
As for Pier 14, which at $2.3 million for 637 ft. represents some of the most expensive sidewalk in the world, it allows the public to walk on water, as well as meditate on panoramic views of both city and bay from a snazzy set of swivel chairs.
Addressing a crowd of artists, city officials, and curious passersby on June 16, which happened to be his birthday, Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin dedicated the newly opened pier to former SF mayor Art Agnos for his “courage and commitment