Landing of the USS Irony
Last week marked the 150th anniversary of Mormon pioneers settling San Francisco, and Hyde Street Pier became the site of much-hyped historical backslapping. Against a backdrop of the beautiful bay and a wooden facade of Mission Dolores, lashed to a lamppost, the wondrous tale of "dauntless courage and intrepid daring" was relived for a clean-cut audience of costumed Mormon descendants and confused tourists.
A small brass band was on hand, as was a choir, a troupe of Mexican dancers, and an Ohlone Indian reciting prayers, an animal hide strapped over his striped shirt and bluejeans. Exactly the sort of antiseptic celebration one would expect for the founding of a city whose freak-show reputation is built upon progressive politics, a sizable gay/lesbian population, drunk conventioneers, topless dancing, and marijuana stores.
"Coming through!" yelled a Lycra-wrapped cyclist, who whizzed his bike through a group of monks, re-creating some sort of hardship.
But despite the pedicab bells, noisy children, and barking of stinky, wet dogs, the story was told. Suddenly a loud cannon BOOM! spooked a flock of pigeons. It was the ship Brooklyn, sailing into port! The crowd eagerly ran over to witness the official landing of Sam Brannan and his settlers. The Brooklyn appeared, its crew singing a song about California and waving madly to the assembled Brigham Young University baseball caps, baby strollers, and camcorders.
A historical exhibit provided by the National Maritime Museum said that Brannan also started San Francisco's first newspaper, opened the first public school, bought up lots of real estate, and made millions, before dying penniless with a street named after him. The display tastefully avoided mention of Brannan's many mistresses and fondness for booze, as would the ensuing local media coverage. But, since you're reading this column, you might as well know: The Mormon entrepreneur once showed up thoroughly tanked at the dedication of his resort spa. According to legend, Brannan drunkenly announced, "I'll make this place the Calistoga of Sarafornia."
Cleveland Can Have It
"Dear friend," begins the junk mailer. "I assume we have several things in common. Both you and I have lived with rock music. There has been a moment, or many, in both our lives, when rock has moved us. Body and soul."
Unfortunately, reading this unctuous solicitation moves little more than the uvula. The neon-inked mass mailer from Cleveland's Rock and Roll Museum -- the museum we were supposed to get -- is currently greasing San Francisco mailboxes, trotting out glorious photos of Buddy Holly, the Fab Four, Janis, the Beach Boys, and for the kids Anthony Kiedis. An obligatory Chuck Berry shot is included for racial harmony.
In addition to a "cool" T-shirt and other bric-a-brac, members also receive a "Backstage Pass" plastic card with a Fender Strat image, upon which is embossed the sample name of Jimi Hendrix, no doubt spinning in his own vomit at the thought that his moniker has been added to the fund-raising drive. Purposely dumbed-down language hammers away at those aging boomers hoping to relive the past:
"... 150,000 unsquare feet that ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK. ... The music that became the culture that everybody wants everywhere. It's so hot it wins the Cold War. It's so loud nobody can turn it down. It dates back, and it goes forward."
Yeah, forward right into the garbage.
In keeping with the increasing media hype surrounding heroin, the following was posted to a discussion group by "Candy-Colored Clown":
New!! Celebrity Overdose Limited is proud to present its latest line of children's lifelike action figures -- the Alternative Rock Star Heroin Addict series!! Yes, that's right!! These tattooed 8-inch replicas come complete with soiled, tattered clothing, realistic greasy, stringy hairdos, anatomically correct pierced body parts, track-marked arms and a complete array of smack paraphernalia including colorful syringes and spoons! Watch Junkie Jim as he nods off and falls from the stage in front of a packed mosh pit! Cringe with delight as China White becomes abusive and belligerent during an MTV interview! Feign shock and sadness as Doper Darryl's corpse is carried from the tour bus with a needle sticking out of his arm! Uh-oh! Scag, the drummer, was just busted with six heroin-filled condoms and a loaded .38! Watch Relapse Rita walk out of the Betty Ford Clinic and into the shooting gallery! These fine role models are made of durable, reinforced, non-toxic polyurethane and are guaranteed to withstand even more years of abuse than their real-life counterparts! Collect all 12 and receive absolutely free -- Anorexic Annie! She's a sultry, sunken-eyed, emaciated model/groupie who can't get enough of anything -- except food!
Quantities are limited, so order today before the next drug craze arrives and these become collector's items!
Address all correspondence to: Slap Shots, c/o SF Weekly, 425 Brannan, San Francisco, CA 94107; phone: (415) 536-8152; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.