Season of the Bitch
"Repeat after us, boys," reads the response to Esquire magazine. "The male-female detachment-commitment dichotomy is culturally overdetermined. ... Now fuck us and then get the hell out of our apartments."
"That's an attitude I feel really strongly about," says Lisa Jervis, editor/publisher of Bitch magazine. "Nobody is really admitting what's going on, that women are into sex and are into it for sex's sake. It's kind of an open secret. The only way to make it stop being an open secret is to just keep repeating it, and then it will be conventional wisdom."
Launched one year ago, Bitch boasts a growing print run of 2,000, available through local stores and national distribution. The magazine's subhead -- "Feminist Response to Pop Culture" -- explains the editorial assault on such targets as glossy men's and women's lifestyle magazines, Wonderbras, and the cult of Martha Stewart. Just to make it interesting, a different cute boy is featured every issue, such as actors Steve Buscemi and Peter Berg.
After moving to the Bay Area from NYC via Oberlin College, Jervis hoped to write fiction, but soon realized it wasn't going anywhere. So, like 24,000 others in the San Francisco area, she started up her own magazine. Her roommate Andi volunteers editing and illustrations, and the ex-boyfriend does the uncluttered art direction, all done out of a house in the Mission, "on a piss-stinkin' street that we love!" For the moment, the contributors are female, but Jervis adds that "My cousin keeps saying he's going to write something."
The 24-year-old Jervis says she can still learn from '70s contributions to the women's section of the bookstore, but is impatient with the current snail-paced progress of feminism, where Nadine Strossen refuses to listen to Andrea Dworkin, Catherine MacKinnon refuses to listen to Susan Faludi, and the same issues linger for years in the same tide pool of endless discussion.
Following a similar path carved by the New York-based zine Bust, Jervis pushes a move toward reclamation. "I wouldn't call my magazine Bitch if I didn't think that reclamation is a really powerful tool."
Jervis hopes to make Bitch even more aggressive, combining criticism with positive takes on progressive women's media. The next issue is scheduled for the end of February, and she promises, in addition to an overall theme of sex, some ads for menstrual products. Because of her zine's upfront attitude, boys are a little intimidated.
"Guys are afraid of me," she admits. "I gotta meet a boy who's a demon proofreader."
If you can't find Bitch at your corner zine emporium, subscriptions are 12 bucks for four issues, or send $3.50 for a single copy to Bitch Publications, 3128 16th St. Box 201, S.F., CA 94103.
Stop ... 'Cause We Really Love You
Over 1,000 hard-core fans braved the monsoon rains last weekend to witness the first-ever S.F. appearance of pop music legends Captain & Tennille at the cavernous Club Universe south of Market. Accompanied only by the Captain at the keyboards, Ms. Tennille crooned the duo's biggest chart-topping hits, from the two-fisted "Shop Around" to the playful "Muskrat Love" and the emotionally draining "Love Will Keep Us Together." In typically surreal SOMA-pomo-boho fashion, the assembled "kitsch-kid" audience dutifully waved lighters during the song "Do That to Me One More Time."
Club promoter Michelle Barnett reports that after the performance, the duo's dressing room was strictly off-limits. One fan who requested an autograph on a vintage 8-track tape was obliged with brisk efficiency -- the door opened, the tape was snatched, the door shut, then was opened again, the freshly signed tape thrust out by the hand of the group's manager before the door quickly shut again.
More Transvestites in Palo Alto...
"One girl measures 36/24/36 ... and that's just one leg," says "Circus of the Scars" ringmaster Jim Rose, describing his newest act -- female sumo wrestling -- in Rose's newest circus incarnation, which returns to the Bay Area next Sunday, Feb. 9. The knockdown, drag-out bout will pit Judy "The Bull" Jenkins against Katy "Piledriver" Wilson, who tip the scales at a muscular 362 and 404 pounds, respectively. Also new to the Jim Rose Circus will be an exclusive match of Mexican transvestite wrestling, "Tickles" Valdez vs. Billy Martinez, "The Barrio Bottom." Rose promises that "all the action takes place below the belt." Call the Edge nightclub in Palo Alto, 324-3343, for details.
While the rest of the planet remained frozen in front of the TV on Super Bowl Sunday, an elderly woman stood on her stoop in Hayes Valley. Waiting for her son to come and pick her up, she had encountered a bit of a problem. She wanted to sit down on the steps, but she couldn't pick up her walker and move it out of the way. She asked a passer-by to pick up her walker and set it on the top step for her. The Good Samaritan did so, and, noticing her purse dangling from one of the walker's arms, mentioned that she should watch out for her purse. Somebody might come along and snatch it.
"Oh, no, that's all right," replied the woman. "I just got back from church."