By Gene Mahoney
No, that isn't artwork from Mucha, it's the James Dylan-designed SF Herald logo which you'll be seeing on the top of the new Herald newsletter. There are editions for these locations:
SAN FRANCISCO: The Mission, Nob Hill, Hayes Valley, Polk Gulch, Russian Hill, the Marina.
EAST BAY: Berkeley.
THE PENINSULA: Santa Clara, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, Foster City, San Mateo southside, San Mateo midtown, San Mateo downtown, Burlingame, Millbrae, San Carlos, and Belmont.
And more editions are slated to appear.
The new Herald will be an 8-1/2”x11” one-sided newsletter (or soft-sheet as us publishing biggies call them.) It will be printed on nice 20# bond paper, not the cheap, shitty newsprint that bled ink all over your hands like before.
Maybe you saw the Herald newsletter that was an 11”x17” poster hung all over the Bay Area recently. That worked OK, but I think this will be better as people can actually pick it up.
Basically, the format is 3 columns:
Cal-List: Event listings around the Bay Area (named after the disastrous online-only version of the Herald started in 2008, not to be confused with the current disastrous newsletter-website version of the Herald.)
Now on SanFranciscoHerald.Net: Just what it sounds like. Descriptions of what's on the Herald website.
Words from our Sponsors: Classified-style ads. Buy one. The prices are almost as low as the Herald's circulation. I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okay, a new dawn for this rag. Viva la Herald Revolution!
Here's what the San Francisco Herald website looked like on June 16, 2000:
Above is a photo of the Apple Store in Palo Alto shortly after Steve Jobs passed away. As you can see people put Post-It notes expressing their gratitude to him on the front windows. He lived a few blocks from the store.
Below is a picture of an another entrepreneur, in the Mission District...
I was at Starbucks today (January 13, 2012 – yes, Friday the 13th) and heard this song over the speakers I always liked but never knew who sung it. So I Googled a few lyrics and found out that it's called “Waltz # 2” and was recorded by a chronically depressed guy named Elliott Smith in the summer of 1998 (right around the same time the Herald debuted. Sorry, I can't help it.) How sensitive was this guy? He had a tattoo on his arm of Ferdinand, the bull who didn't want to attack matadors and only wanted to sniff flowers. Years later, in 2003, Elliott's girlfriend discovered his body – he had died from stab wounds (the coroner didn't really know if they were self-inflicted or not). Anyway, it's a very nice song in my opinion and if you want to hear it it's at...
Apparently the Elliott Smith mystery is in the news again...
And now, another episode of faux self-loathing guys whom I suspect are just trying to get laid: This video from the Daily Caller is hilarious. They confront those self-described “Patriotic Millionaires” who insist they're chomping at the bit to pay higher taxes. (“Ohhh, you're filthy rich and a humanitarian, too? How niiiccceeee...”). The first guy cracks me up the most, the way he proudly talks about how rich he is while feigning disgust at the same time.
Here's one of the oddest testimonials for a product I've ever seen...
The next few paragraphs are from a column of mine that ran a few years ago. Believe it or not, it leads somewhere...
Well, this is it. Back to the San Francisco Herald brand name. No more Cal-List.com (though apparently since no one realized there was a Cal-List.com, I guess it’s not a big deal.) The Herald will be online exclusively, updated each month. Since there won’t be any more print advertising revenue, and online advertising turned out to be a bust thanks to Google’s excellent job of categorizing and indexing information, the digital Herald will be supported by the marketing of clients’ products and services. Targeted marketing tends to be more effective and less expensive than newspaper advertising, so everything worked out better if you think about it. If you’d like to know more about promoting what you’ve got, contact me at email@example.com.
So what’s happening? KTRB, the talk radio station that moved from Modesto to San Francisco two years ago turned out to be a ratings disaster and changed to an all-sports format recently. I actually enjoyed listening to Howard Stern’s nemesis, Mancow, on KTRB as I never heard him in his Bay Area heyday back in 1993. That was when newly-elected President Bill Clinton caused a mild uproar when he held up traffic at LAX to get a haircut on board Air Force One. So Mancow had a bunch of vans tie up traffic at rush hour while his sidekick “Chewy” Gomez got a haircut on the Bay Bridge.
The reason I never heard that was because I didn’t listen to talk radio back in the early nineties. It was Live 105 all day - and at night, KKSF to chill out and go to sleep. Which really irks me that on the same day KTRB switched formats, so did KKSF. No more “Smooooth Jaaazzzz”. Now it’s “THE BAND”, which plays Jimmy Buffet and REO Speedwagon all day. How am I supposed to relax at night? (Don’t answer that.) Let’s put this Band on the run.
Well, “The Band” got a little bit better because it became “Oldies103.7” and changed its call letters from KKSF to KOFY (KKSF is now an AM talk radio station formerly known as KNEW, go figure.) I can still listen to the great music they played on the old “Smooooth Jaaazzzz” on KKSF. It's on KKSF.com. I can go online and listen to all my favorite artists, like Sade. And Sade. And Sade. Actually, the other stuff they play just puts me to sleep. But that's the point. So if you're agitated from a tough day at work (or just from reading this column) check out the online KKSF at...
… it's not letting me make a link to it. Type in kksf.com manually.
From the San Fran Cup blogspot: Here's a version of the old “Morning Fix” painting that used to hang all around the Bay Area. Pretty cool (but I may be biased)...
This Long Island punk band I remember from 30 years ago is still around. They're called Squirrels From Hell. Here they are...
Speaking of Long Island, here's another short film from LI native John Giaccone, the guy I knew from high school who is now an independent filmmaker in Seattle. In the last Herald we ran a film of his called “Beaver Fever”. This one is called “Talking Dogs”.
Just to show that I'm still a hip, with-it guy – I think this Lana Del Rey person has a great song and video here...
Uh-oh! She's been accused of ripping it off from some Greek artist...
Actually, the quirkiness of Lana Del Rey reminds me a little bit of Julee Cruise, who sang songs from the old TV show Twin Peaks. Our own Ace Backwords had an interesting take on her music when her David Lynch soundtracks were getting attention twenty years ago. He said they sound like those old girl groups from the sixties slowed down from 45 rpm to 33. Here's something more recent of hers...
For those of you who miss hearing Dr. Laura...
There's this cool place in Silicon Valley called Psycho Donuts. I think the first one was in Campbell and the latest one (where I took the pictures below) is in the lobby of Camera 3, that art-film house in downtown San Jose.
The girls who work there are dressed as nurses...
They've got pictures on the wall of nurses licking blood and guts off of meat cleavers. (As far as mascots go, it's a different vibe from the wholesomeness of Ronald McDonald.)
I recently had an email exchange with a well-known person in Bay Area journalism about Oliver Stone's 1991 movie JFK, and, naturally, an exchange about the “Who shot JFK?” question. I was born in 1965, so in contrast to people who are older than me (an endangered species, I'm sorry to say), I grew up thinking that it was taboo to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald actually killed President Kennedy. That if I thought that, I was just some sap believing government lies (or more specifically, Warren Report lies). That it must have BEEN the government! (Cue dramatic music that goes DA-DA-DAAAAAA!!!!!)
The link below is to a pithy article Ron Capshaw wrote about how Stone's movie hasn't held up well since its release over 20 years ago. Not artistically, but factually...
You know the world is headed for tough times when Mr. Motivation -- Tony Robbins-- says things are going to suck. Actually, it's a little more nuanced than that...
It's deadline as I type this, and it's also the day after Whitney Houston passed away. When I think of her I think of moving to the Bay Area in the summer of 1985, because her songs were constantly being played on the radio. She wasn't only physically beautiful, she could really sing, as the two videos below demonstrate...
The “How Will I Know” video...
Whitney's isolated vocal track on “How Will I Know”...
Even amid the wastelands of taste that were the 1970s there were sporadic signs of a sleeker aesthetic struggling to be born, and with the end of that decade, the end of Carter, the end of earth tones, and the beginning of better times, the country was finally ready for designer hedonism, Bright Lights, Big City, and the profound pleasures of a materialism without shame, guilt, or hair-shirt carping. The ersatz Appalachian sanctimony of the Walton clan was replaced by the glitz, bitches, and riches of those big feuding, big-spending Carringtons, and TV was all the better for it: Good riddance Mary-Ellen. Well, hi there, Fallon. Alex P. Keaton became a national icon and everyone went to the mall. The Eighties, thank God, had arrived. It was the perfect moment for Crockett’s Armani to replace Colombo’s raincoat, and thanks to Michael Mann it did. With its flash, dash, and images of consumer delight, music that was part of the script, and wildly eclectic celebrity guest stars (Lee Iacocca! G. Gordon Liddy! Little Richard! Ted Nugent!), Miami Vice reflected, shaped, and, ultimately helped define the best of all decades (oh yes, it was), and, while it was at it, transformed notions of what television could do.
The above paragraph is from “Something in the Air”, an essay written by Andrew Stattaford in the August 16, 2006 edition of National Review. It was published about three weeks after the Miami Vice movie was released in theaters and about two and a half weeks after the film was deemed a critical and commercial flop. Stattaford goes on to praise the '80s TV Vice as modern day film noir. I was never a fan of the show, but after stumbling across Stattaford's analysis, decided to scan the Internet and check out Don Johnson, Phillip Michael Thomas and the whole cabal (anything to remember a time of decadence as opposed to today's climate of worldwide economic collapse.)
Here's the ending to the first Miami Vice episode I ever saw. I had just moved to the Bay Area in the summer of 1985 and had no friends or social life, so I watched it on TV. (26 years later I still have no friends or social life so I watched it again on the Internet.) In this episode Pam Grier plays a New York cop who goes to Miami in search of her sister who has become a prostitute. John Turturro is a pimp who ends up killing Pam's sister, so Pam seeks revenge. (I didn't know who Pam Grier was in 1985. I wasn't into high art like the opera, ballet, or blaxploitation movies of the 1970s)...
Here's the second (and last, as I recall) episode of Vice I saw. I watched it at an airport bar in Dallas while waiting for a connecting flight to Florida (Tampa, not Miami). Phil Collins is actually funny in it. Note the brief appearance by Mr. Judy Tenuta --- Emo Phillips. It also stars a 20 year old Kyra Sedgwick. Great background music by Jan Hammer.
Kate Bush was played on Miami Vice! (This is a good scene, actually.)
Even The Damned were played on Miami Vice! (Sans Captain Sensible I think)...
Laugh about Miami Vice's pretentiousness and penchant for acting “cool” all you want, but the following interrogation scene is Homicide: Life on the Street eight years before Barry Levinson did it.
Regarding that last comment, does that mean that I thought Miami Vice was unfairly maligned by critics while Homicide:Life on the Street didn't deserve its accolades? No. I thought Homicide: Life on the Street was a great show, just like I thought Hill Street Blues was a great show. Miami Vice wasn't great in my opinion, but it was almost a home run.
And when I say it was almost a home run, I don't mean it was a triple. I mean the outfielder caught the ball on the warning track so it was still an out. Overall, from the little bit I saw of it, I'd have to sum it up as an interesting failure.
(A Ferrari pulls up, Sonny Crockett takes off his sunglasses and says...)
“That's better than being an uninteresting failure, pal.”
(Then the car peels out in a cloud of smoke. The camera tilts up to palm trees and a sunny sky as a flop single off Phillip Michael Thomas's debut album plays in the background. No. “Heartbeat” by Don Johnson plays in the background. Fade to black.)
Speaking of Miami, here's Counting Crows singing about it...
And I'll end this column with pictures of me harassing the locals in Miami's South Beach on my visit there last year.
Actually, I won't. See you next time.