Jazz, Blues and Patty Hearst
It's a cold late Monday afternoon at the new Boom Boom Room on Fillmore at Geary, the revamped Jacks Bar now owned by Bay Area blues legend John Lee Hooker. Outside, the rain is pouring down like a cow pissing on a flat rock (as we used to say back in Montana). Tami the bartender is smiling across the plank at a man named Maestro Brian, who is holding her hand in his. Smoke drifts from the Montecristo cigar in the ashtray between them as he purrs through a smile, "Will you marry me?" Tami has been married twice already. So has he. They laugh at their track records.
Maestro Brian is hanging with his buddy T. Jaye Richardson between tours of their quintet, the Jazz Hieroglyphics. Maestro plays piano, sings, and writes the music; Richardson fills it in on soprano sax. Their newest album, Positive Minds, recorded in Richmond and San Francisco, is out on Jazzyboo Records, and hits that smooth KBLX, Stevie Wonder-sounding groove best heard in the vicinity of a low-cut dress and a couple of glasses of brandy. But most interesting is the topic of conversation, the 1974 "kidnapping" of Patty Hearst from her Berkeley apartment by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
"I used to see her every day, walking down the street," says Richardson, who grew up in the Haight-Ashbury, near where Hearst was supposedly imprisoned. "She could go anywhere she wanted."
Both recall the ransom demanded by SLA leader Donald "Cinque" De Freeze: a million-dollar food program for the poor, forked over by distraught father William Randolph Hearst.
"Everybody ate real good!" exclaims Richardson. "People ran after the trucks."
"Rich, poor, everyone," adds Maestro Brian, at the time also a teen-ager living in California. "Thanks to old man Hearst."
For the record, it should be remembered that in March 1974, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan said of the food ransom: "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism."
Punk Rock Kitty
Punk collage artist Winston Smith reports being shut out recently by pet food corporation Hartz Mountain. After sending in a coupon for an official Hartz heart-shaped name tag for his cat, Smith received notice from the company that his tag request had been denied by the firm's consumer affairs department. The name Smith wanted on his cat's tag? "SMASH THE STATE."
"Politically incorrect pets!" says Smith, whose cat is actually named 911. His newest collection of collage art, including album covers for the Dead Kennedys and Green Day, will be called Been Wrong So Long It Looks Right to Me, and should be in stores by next February.
L.A. underground lip-sync personality the Goddess Bunny, a tough-talking drag queen who has been crippled by polio, arrives in the Bay Area this week for a few select nightclub performances, including a gig Dec. 3 as part of the "Bondage A Go-Go" night at the Trocadero, and another on Dec. 5 at the Jewelry Store, 2519 Mission at 22nd Street. Special guests at the Mission District show will include bands Three Day Stubble, Fluff Grrl, and Skitzo, the Northern California heavy metal/public vomit act that actually turned down an appearance on Letterman. (The band's lead singer, Lance the Barf Boy, can make himself projectile puke up to 16 feet -- if you've never seen this talent displayed, it's quite memorable.) Those with a high threshold for the bizarre will want to call 922-5966 for more info.
The British Secret Weapon
Tyler Davidson forwards an incisive e-mail analysis of international politics: "The Allies have decided to take action against Saddam Hussein. The Americans are sending 10,000 troops and two aircraft carriers, the French are sending 4,000 Legionnaires, and the British are sending 250 teen-age au pairs."
Those lucky souls who have wised up and canceled their America Online accounts automatically receive a give-us-another-chance form letter that begins "We consider you a friend of America Online ...." Among the many reasons to love and cherish AOL, the nation's largest corporate Internet service: The company will save your online screen name for six months, so when you do reactivate your membership, it will be easier for you "to rejoin family, friends and business associates with e-mail." The implication, clearly, is that if you do not rejoin AOL, your family will lose you and drift away, your friends will stop calling, your income will shrivel to nothing, and you will die alone and hungry in the gutter. The only remaining trace of your pathetic life will be an abandoned AOL screen name, dangling uselessly in cyberspace.
Satire is Dead
Seen wandering the streets South of Market: a bum pushing a shopping cart, wearing a baseball cap with the logo from Spy magazine.
Satan's Erratum: A correction to a recent column about the passing of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey: George Michalski did get into an auto accident with a nun on Halloween, but he did not know about LaVey's death at the time, as reported here. The multitalented Michalski can be heard playing with the 88s every Monday evening at the Cypress Club, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Among the toe-tapping regulars is ex-Sheriff Richard Hongisto.
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