Praise the Lord
Nobody really knows why a 6-foot-6 former lumberjack from Tuolumne, outside Sonora, Calif., would reinvent himself as Lord Buckley, an English, waxed-mustache aristocrat comedian who talked like a motormouth bebop sax player. But people are still glad he did, including everyone from Robin Williams to Roseanne, Eric Bogosian, Frank Zappa, and Beck.
Throughout the '40s and '50s, Buckley performed in burlesque halls and jazz clubs, spinning the classics -- Shakespeare, Poe, Einstein, Dickens, the Old Testament -- in a bizarre, hemphead hipster lingo, playing multiple characters and imitating musical instruments. In 1960 he settled in San Rafael, and recorded a series of shows at an Oakland jazz club called the Gold Nugget, performing on a stage of eight beer bottle cases, stacked two high. These recordings have just been reissued on the World Pacific label as Bad Rapping of the Marquis de Sade, and include wild riffs on de Sade, the H-bomb, chastity belts, and Dickens' Scrooge. You don't know exactly where he's going with a tangent, but the ride is always guaranteed to be completely mad.
Buckley died a few months later, at the age of 54, while touring the country in a red VW minibus. One friend said at the time, "Lord Buckley was so heavy, Jake, he just fell off the planet!"
Looking for as Many Cultures as Possible
Whether you're out shopping for that perfect last-minute gift (for that last-minute person), or kicking and scratching through packs of desperate parents for the goddamn Tickle Me Elmo toy, you might stop for a moment and consider the bigger picture. Yes, our city is currently fulminating with all the usual holiday cheer and new heights of consumerism. But there is another reason for celebration.
You probably already knew that this year marks the 85th anniversary of the local chapter of the Junior League, the women's volunteer organization that shores up the fallen timbers of civic neglect and whiles away endless hours making the Peninsula a happier place to live. But, believe it or not, there's more. According to a recent press release, this is also the season of the launch of the Junior League's new Website (http://www.jlsf.org).
"Because we join forces with all 15 California Junior Leagues and represent the voices of League members throughout the State," writes head honcho Dee Harrell Mooring, "our voices are successfully heard." Indeed, their voices ring loud and clear throughout the site. Judging from the strident, endless descriptions of community service -- pregnant teen-agers programs! homeless benefits! domestic violence workshops! -- it seems the town would collapse under the weight of its own misery without a Junior League.
Thankfully, there has been an established group since 1911, implementing programs, developing skills, and sharing resources, etc. Lest you think the League is simply a bunch of stone-faced stirrup-pants who never have any fun themselves, the site also features a delightful interactive cookbook section. Yep, the League's slapping together another cookbook, provisionally titled San Francisco Flavors, and it's on the prowl for delicious ethnic recipes ("We're looking for as many cultures as possible!"). The page is easily designed to type in your contribution and click a button, making you instantly eligible for "great prizes from Williams-Sonoma and Napa Valley Kitchens!"
Pathetic at a Price
Doug Holland lives alone in the Tenderloin, with roaches on the floor and no sheets on the mattress. He sells plastic fish on the streets of Berkeley, sweeps the floor at a porn magazine's office, does odd jobs, goes to movies by himself. In his late 30s, he's got a crew cut and glasses, missing teeth, and a scraggly beard, and tips the scales at 275.
An ex-girlfriend once told him, "You've got no money, no friends, you live in a slum, and you're too damn fat to have sex. Your life is pathetic."
This quote begins each issue of Pathetic Life, the zine published by Holland, wherein he chronicles his daily misadventures in the Bay Area -- shopping for pickles, staring at girls' cleavage on BART, eating eight-egg omelets, shouting the words "Holy moly!" at the Muni stop to get a reaction from commuters. He lists his back issues as either "boring," "very boring," or "extremely boring," and runs an ad for himself, saying he'll do anything legal for $5.15 an hour. Well worth the three bucks cash from 537 Jones St. #2386, San Francisco, CA 94102.
And last week at the Lower Haight's Naked Eye News & Video, a bum dressed as a cowboy walked in and -- surrounded by hundreds of magazines and comics -- decided that out of everything in the store, the only publication worth shoplifting was an issue of Pathetic Life. Doug Holland has arrived.
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.