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Wednesday, Nov 12 1997
In the Pink
The San Francisco Chronicle has never been a respected newspaper or a good newspaper, and probably never will be. These days it seems less compelling than ever, what with Herb Caen gone and even its legendary frivolousness waning.

But once in a while there's a flash of the old fire. Consider the pink section piece a week or two ago on Paul Verhoeven, director of the new movie Starship Troopers. Accompanying a pair of stories on the director and the movie was a strange and alluring sidebar.

The story, start to finish, was about whether Verhoeven had had sex with Sharon Stone. (The director made Stone a star with Total Recall and created a sensation with Stone's leg-uncrossing scene in Basic Instinct.) The pair had a love-hate relationship, Verhoeven told Chron writer Edward Guthmann. He said he thought Stone wanted to have sex with him, but that they decided it might disrupt the pair's working relationship. Verhoeven didn't sound like he'd reached closure on the issue -- he had "a gleam in his eye" about the "juicy, forbidden prospect of an extramarital fling," wrote Guthmann.

A juicy, forbidden tale it was -- one that on the grounds of lurid sensationalism and sheer pointlessness few dailies in America would consider appropriate for publication. But, of course, those other papers aren't competing with the San Francisco Examiner, led by Executive Editor (and recent Sharon Stone boy toy) Phil Bronstein.

-- B.W.

Marquis de Dilbert
A recent luncheon address at the Finance Executives Institute conference at S.F.'s Fairmont Hotel was a packed affair. Hundreds of Brooks Brothers blazers squashed up against hundreds more Armani suits inside; tie-tacked necks craned over close-cropped hair as dozens more executives crammed outside the salon door. They laughed at every joke the luncheon speaker told, nodded at every point he made, remained rapt during his genial anecdotes.

Who was this captivating speaker? The head of a sovereign state? An ingenious corporate raider? A Silicon Valley financial wizard?

Try Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert comic strip and parodic David to the banal Goliath of white-collar office life.

That's right: The very executives responsible for creating the real-world version of Dilbert's hideous corporate-drone existence turn out to be its satirist's greatest fans. But before we assume corporate America is run by a bunch of gleeful sadists, let's consider some alternatives:

Perhaps these men believe the pointlessness of office life is inevitable, and that executives are helplessly drawn to create soul-consuming Dilbert worlds. Or maybe the corporate elite have never come to emotional terms with their positions in life, and, like Sherman McCoy in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, believe they are mere visitors to the fast lane. Or perchance they find in Dilbert's parables the antidote to their own feelings of pointlessness. Or ...

Nah. They're gleeful sadists.
-- Matt Smith

Boulware + Sex = Party!
Suave and multitalented SF Weekly columnist Jack Boulware has written a book. Its title is: Sex, American Style: An Illustrated Romp Through the Golden Age of Heterosexuality. It hits the bookshelves Dec. 1. We could inflict all sorts of double entendres on you (and Mr. Boulware) now, but won't. Instead, we'll note that the book's 256 pages focus on the '60s and '70s and include these concepts: Barbarella, hot tubs, water beds, Linda Lovelace, Charlie's Angels, swingers, nudists, topless dancers, and John Holmes. The book release party, complete with go-go dancers and vintage videos, is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, November 20, at the Hi-Ball Lounge, 473 Broadway.

-- J.M.

Fazio Supremely Unfazed
Former San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Bill Fazio just won't give up on his lawsuit against the city and his former boss, Arlo Smith. Smith fired Fazio the day the latter announced he would run for district attorney -- and against Smith -- in 1995. Fazio sued Smith and the city, alleging they had violated his First Amendment freedoms by firing him for political reasons. (Smith said he fired Fazio when he offered not to run for DA in exchange for a promotion to chief assistant; Fazio has consistently denied the allegation.)

A federal district judge threw out the lawsuit last year, saying Fazio could be fired for political reasons because he was a "policy maker," not just a rank-and-file employee. And a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

Now, though, Fazio's attorneys have asked for a hearing before the entire 9th Circuit, and if that request is denied, the former top prosecutor says he is prepared to up the ante.

"If we have to go to the Supreme Court, we will," says Fazio, now a criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco. "You can't do this to public employees. You're going to run against your boss, and you get your ass fired because he's a little dictator?

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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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