Letters

Taxing Thoughts
Congrats to the Riff Raff crew for once again conveniently skirting the boundaries of libel with their commentary on Danny D. of Reality Check and the recent Boomerang prank ("Not Exactly Orson Welles' Infamous The War of the Worlds Broadcast, But Still, Terrifying in Its Own Special Way," Aug. 20). OK, so maybe the poor guy did fall for it -- was it really necessary to then go that extra editorial mile and insinuate that he was stupid, too? I submit to you that when the Powers That Be do levy a "dunce tax," it'll be closely followed by a "luxury tax" imposed upon self-important hipsters who get paid to pen smug remarks in the weekly free press -- in which case, you lot might consider a move to Canada. Don't forget your toothbrush.

Michael Layne Heath
SOMA

Ska-Ta
While I am very appreciative that the Specials concert on July 31 was reviewed (Reviews, Victor Haseman, Aug. 13), I just wanted to add that the song "Guns of Navarone" (covered by the Specials) was a tune by the Skatalites, Jamaica's premiere ska band formed in the early 1960s. The song was inspired by the 1961 Hollywood film of the same name.

Also, the Specials were known as the Coventry Automatics in one of their for-mer incarnations.

And let me add a word of caution to those going to see the Skatalites next month -- wear two pairs of socks as your first pair will surely get knocked off!

Elisabeth Sisco
Bernal Heights

Willie as Adolf
I was surprised that Michael Scott Moore failed to understand why Unconditional Theater decided to stage The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui "right now" ("Pfui!" Stage, Aug. 13).

Seeing Brecht is generally a good thing to spark up one's moral batteries, but this portrait of a crude yet dapper thug who takes over Chicago à la Hitler strikes quite close to home.

When I heard the hero spout off continuously about his coming from lowly origins, hypocritically pretending an interest in the lower orders while sucking up to the rich and powerful, surrounded by sycophants engaged in a violent power struggle, and extending his manic dictatorship day by day -- say, Mr. Moore, haven't you been in town the last couple of years?

Maurice Bassan
Upper Haight

A Radiohead Head
Your boy Paul Kimball got Radiohead's Warfield gig all wrong (Reviews, Aug. 6). I had to check dates to make sure the band didn't play some second show that I didn't know about because it seemed impossible I had attended the same concert.

Kimball suggests that Radiohead stiffed their San Francisco audience by not playing the old hit "Creep." He paints the band as arrogant "navel-gaz[ers]" who ignored the crowd's call for the song. He didn't mention the rarity of a major rock band playing four encores to a sold-out crowd, performing for a solid two hours.

When they were in town two years ago they played "Creep," but you could tell it was getting old for them. Isn't it a good thing when bands progress and write markedly new music? Would Kimball be yelling for Jimi Hendrix to play "Purple Haze" at some concert in 1970?

And Radiohead were hardly arrogant. After the set and each encore ended, the members peered out at the audience with a sort of uncertain amazement and seemed genuinely reluctant to leave.

It was the best damn rock show I've ever been to.
Brett Arnott
Tenderloin

Helms Steered His Own Way
Your portrayal of Chet Helms in "The Fall of Love" (Aug. 13) placed undue emphasis on unfortunate events. The story by Jeff Stark rekindles the cultural divide that began in the '60s. The excess criticism of Helms is an indictment against a generation that chose love and beauty rather than gross profits. Those in the arts should not be held to corporate America's standards, certainly not those who have upheld the highest standards of art at their own peril. As Stark quotes, "He [Helms] created a great space. There was nothing to compare to the Avalon. No one else can create that kind of space."

Jim Phillips
Santa Cruz

SF Weekly's profile of Chet Helms was a twisted view of both the '60s and the personal life of Chet Helms ("The Fall of Love"). It surprises me that an alternate San Francisco newspaper would support the values underlying the article. It read like it might have appeared in a magazine that was a cross between Money magazine and a fundamentalist rag.

The basic misunderstanding of the writer and editors is that one of the basic values of the '60s in addition to peace, love, and community was anti-materialism. We knew that as a society and as individuals we could do more with less time and energy devoted to the making of money and the acquiring and consuming of products. In the Haight-Ashbury we sought to make an enclave within a society where people and personhood were more important than money and Ferraris. The San Francisco Oracle also fed people, got them places to stay, and had access to a ranch in Big Sur where we sent people who were having a hard time with drugs or city burnout.

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