By Gene Mahoney
Well, it's hard to believe, but as you probably know by now, our 48 year old local “alternative” newspaper – the San Francisco Bay Guardian – recently ceased publication.
I emailed numerous local figures asking what their reaction was to its closing, and as usual, everyone ignored me. Except for our own Ace Backwords. Here is his response:
Some subjects are so touching, so personal... one has to let a certain amount of time pass, and for the grieving process to resolve itself, before one has the strength and perspective to look at the subject dispassionately and objectively.
Oh, I'm sorry, Ace. I didn't mean to be so insensitive. Let's let some time pass.
Hey, Ace – what did you think of the Bay Guardian ceasing publication?
I'm gonna really miss the Bay Guardian. I used to always take their handy Voters Endorsement Guide with me to the voting polls. And whatever the Guardian recommended, I'd vote the exact opposite.
Thank you, Ace.
A lot has been written about how the closing of the Bay Guardian has been a blow to the San Francisco progressive community. But it's also a blow to the propaganda ministries of North Korea and Cuba. (Just kidding!)
Hey, I know the Bay Guardian has often looked at things differently than I have (usually that's a very smart thing to do), but there's a part of me that feels bad about its closing. They shouldn't take it personally. As long as the print media is going to give their content away online, it's finished. Maybe the Guardian can continue by publishing online-only.
And now, another exciting episode of “24” - about my experiences as a member of 24 Hour Fitness.
As usual, the staff at the Mountain View location are doing a swell job – and they're always cheerful. My beef isn't with them, but with a new member. Every time he lifts a weight, he lets out a loud scream as if he's about to die. He does this with each rep. And he does, like, 20 reps at a time.
I went into the locker room to try to escape the noise, but he walked in a minute after I did with his earphones on, singing a Red Hot Chili Peppers song at the top of his lungs, completely out of tune.
I wasn't sure if this gym was big enough for the both of us.
Update: I saw him a second time, and though he's still loud every time he pumps iron, his howls weren't echoing throughout the entire gym like they were the first time. He also sung a bit more quietly. So maybe someone at the gym had a word with him. Or maybe evolution is starting to kick in. Let's keep up the progress, big guy!
RIP Jan Hooks: Shortly after the world mourned the death of comic Robin Williams, a forgotten comic quietly passed away.
Her name was Jan Hooks, who was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1991 (its Second Golden Age).
Many, including yours truly, actually think the Second Golden Age cast members (Jan Hooks, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, Nora Dunn, Dennis Miller, Victoria Jackson, and later – Mike Meyers) were even more talented than the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players. On top of that, the originals may have launched the show, but the Second Golden Age crew had to save it, as it was on the brink of cancellation after almost a decade of being either mediocre or awful.
Jan Hooks credited fellow cast member Phil Hartman as helping her get over severe stage fright during her time on SNL Both are gone now. Hartman recently had a biography written about him by Mike Thomas. Hooks will probably never have one written about her, but I'd recommend an article with the non-grandiose title of “Jan Hooks (1957 – 2014): An Appreciation” by Sarah Larson in The New Yorker, which has links to some of her funny skits, as well as one which is a touching, non-comedic musical clip between Hartman and herself. (SNL used it as a eulogy to her this year.) While you're online, check out Phil Hartman's SNL audition tape from 1986 on Youtube. If you had to pick the best cast member ever on that show there's a great case to be made for him.
Correction: In the last issue it was reported that the late John Milton was a professor of literature at Foothill Junior College. He actually taught at De Anza College.
I recently heard a song from 1981 I liked but had forgotten about - “Hitsville UK” by The Clash, though a woman also sang on it. Then I remembered the woman was Ellen Foley, who used to date Clash guitarist Mick Jones.
Ellen Foley was someone who always seem to be on the verge of stardom when she'd suddenly get the red carpet yanked from under her.
In the early 1980s she put out 3 albums which got some good reviews but didn't sell well. She broke up with Mick Jones, who went on to write a song about their doomed relationship (“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”) which became the Clash's biggest hit. She recorded the female vocals on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf, then was replaced in the video by Karla DeVito who lip-synched to Ellen's recording. Then she starred on the sitcom Night Court but was replaced after one season by Markie Post (who later caused a stir by jumping up and down on the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom of the Clinton White House).
As it turns out, Ellen just released her first album in 30 years – titled, appropriately, About Time.
“It was about time I made a record,” she mused in a phone interview. “Also, being reflective... metaphysical meaning.”
Ellen recently returned from a tour of Belgium and the Netherlands and often plays around New York with her band, The Worried Men. She currently has a Kickstarter campaign to make another record and is looking for producers. And though she doesn't talk to Mick Jones anymore, she's struck up a Facebook friendship with Karla DeVito.
“She's a great girl. On my next record I want to collaborate with her.”
Speaking of Clash-related people...
I decided to see what Gary Myrick was up to lately. Gary was in the band Havana 3am, along with ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon. Before that he was a solo artist at the beginning of the New Wave genre (remember “She Talks in Stereo”?)
Now he's in a new band, Tex Pawnshop and the Tremolos, which evoke sounds from surf music, rockabilly, and cowboy movie soundtracks. Tony Sales – son of comic Soupy Sales and former member of David Bowie's band Tin Machine – is the group's bassist.
They play a monthly gig at Viva Cantina in Burbank, and are looking for ones up here, too. So if you own a venue and are interested, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now – it's that point in the Herald newsletter where we shed light on inaccurate stories we've heard for years and years.
This issue is about the myth of the Kitty Genovese murder. Yes, she was murdered, but... well, let's take it from the top.
In 1964, Kitty Genovese returned home from her job at a New York City bar very late one night. Just before entering her apartment building's front door, she was attacked by a man who stabbed her in the back. Realizing the police hadn't shown up, he returned shortly afterward, raping and stabbing her some more.
Screaming in agony, she eventually died – but none of her 38 neighbors called the police, as they didn't want to get involved.
The story was published in the New York Times (that “Newspaper of Record”) and quickly spread throughout the country, then across the globe. (The incident started the 911 phone number to alert police.)
New York became known as a cold, callous place where no one would help you - even if you were dying.
As it turns out, almost all her neighbors did try to help (including a brave woman, only 4' 11”, who cradled Kitty in her arms until she died).
Kitty Genovese died a violent death, and the vast majority of her neighbors spent the rest of their lives unjustly branded as cowards by the rest of the world.
There has been much written about how this tall tale got to be, but the most pithy account may be “Debunking the Myth of Kitty Genovese” by Larry Getlen in the New York Post.
Maybe you saw the 11”x17” one-page Herald newsletter hanging on various windows and walls around the Bay Area, but not the multi-page print edition for the Fall issue. That's because after 2 issues of the Herald's print comeback, I gave up. But now it's back because I need the money. Uh, I mean, because I'm committed to serving the community.
As you've seen, the return of the print edition of the Herald is a little misleading. The Herald isn't printed on cheap newsprint with stacks of copies left at numerous businesses anymore. It's photocopied on nice white bond paper, with one store copy to peruse at select cafes and laundromats. If you want to read it at home, you can log on to the Herald's web site. Unorthodox, but in the digital age the ad revenue simply isn't there to support the old model.
As you can tell, this issue is thinner than usual, so if you missed the last one log on to sanfranciscoherald.net and click on Fall 2014 in the archives.###
The San Francisco Herald is copyright 2015 by Gene Mahoney (except work not done by Mr. Mahoney as artists retain the copyright to their own work). The events, situations, and characters in Good Clean Fun are fictitious. Though well-known people and places appear in the comic it's a work of fiction and the usual rules apply. None of the events took place. The Mr. Fabulous stories are complete fiction; parodies. Contact: email@example.com. Web: SanFranciscoHerald.Net