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Cash Machine
Reviewer Jeff Stark sounds like a cranky old man who just can't, won't, be happy. Regarding the crowd at Johnny Cash's Fillmore show ("Cash Rehash," Music, Nov. 20): I admit, we cheered, we drank, we got deathly quiet when he sat alone in the spotlight and sang "Bird on a Wire."

Oh, I know, he's not young anymore, he's being marketed, he does his old songs, he hasn't been a drug addict recently. All good reasons to ignore his talent and go dingleberry hunting. But as his voice chilled and humbled me, I couldn't stay cool. My mouth hung open in naked admiration.

While the dumb-fuck sold-out audience thrilled to the songs and respected the man, Stark bored himself silly playing music business politics. I've never enjoyed another show more. Thank you, Johnny. You gave.

Robert Toren

Ugly Paradise
David Kronke's review of Paradise Lost (Movie Capsules, Nov. 13) was a bit creepy. First, he reassures his readers that they get to see the mutilated corpses of the victims. Tongue-in-cheek or not, the statement was crude as hell.

Then he says the three suspects all have low IQs. The fact of the matter is that one of them, Jesse Misskelley, has a considerably low IQ, which is why investigators had such an easy time orchestrating his so-called confession. Jason Baldwin just looks like a scared kid. Damien Echols seems to have a very high IQ. Call him special ed, gifted, depressed, eccentric, weird, nuts, but I'd bet my master's degree in special education that Echols registers way above average in IQ.

Finally, Kronke states, "Echols' attitude doesn't quite convey innocence." The evidence against him was virtually nonexistent. Maybe Echols figured that spoke for itself. I found his testimony sincere, matter-of-fact, and very believable. I found the prosecution's case the exact opposite.

But even Kronke admits that Echols doesn't belong in prison, let alone on death row. We'll take it, Dave, but hang back, OK? We're trying to save an innocent man from death by lethal injection. It's kind of serious.

Douglas Giannetto
Russian Hill

Editor's note: The writer is a participant in a support group for the boys, the Western Memphis Three Support Fund (PO Box 45888, Baton Rouge, LA 70895).

Audio Dynamite
I'm one of the musicians in the United Satanic Apache Front, whose Halloween show Silke Tudor reviewed in her column ("Night Crawler," Nov. 6). Too bad she neglected to mention that there are also three musicians in USAF who put a lot of work into providing audio for the show.

Her review has finalized my realization that Steven Johnson Leyba should be doing his act to a normal bias tape of Nine Inch Nails played on a cheap boombox. Whatever, just so it's something MTV has informed consumers they need to like.

We bring $10,000 worth of synthesizers out, and some fuckstick who sent Steve e-mail gets more press than the band. Of course, the review appeared in a San Francisco "entertainment" rag, and we're probably beneath mention since we're inherently invalid and loathsome white, heterosexual males. Maybe if we started buttfucking each other, we'd have something artistically valid to say. Enjoy Hootie & the Blowfish -- you've earned them.

M Stevens
Western Addition


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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