Letters to the Editor

I Am, I Am, I Am Superman; Parking Tips From a Cyclist; We Know, Joe, We Know; All That Jazz; Driven From the City by Dot-Com Yuppie Pukes

I Am, I Am, I Am Superman
Hello Ms. Bites:
When I arrived in San Francisco in 1989 a writer friend told me the only columnist worth reading in the local papers was Jon Carroll. The first JC column I read was about his cats, forcing me to wonder which was the lamest -- my friend's taste or the SF newspaper scene.

Time and ennui eventually led me back to Jon, and his "cat-free" writings turned out to be one of the few features (along with Cintra) I consistently enjoy in the SF dailies. Hey, it's not 100% reading pleasure... I couldn't give a rat's ass about Archie and Jughead, or whatever the cats are called. But once or twice a week or so, Jon's column is not just good, but great. Yeah, I know, a .200 batting average won't get him into the syndicated wordsmith hall of fame, but we can't be too picky in a city where Lord Martine has a regular feature.

So when my favorite writer in the weekly paper world started slamming Jon -- that would be you, of course -- I was disappointed. Nothing a boy can't handle, but it was like finding out Superman thought Batman was a pussy. Holy columnist wars, Bat-Dog! Was I just another softheaded, softhearted new-ager, unable to make critical evaluations of a "nice" man? Doesn't sound like me -- at least to me. Or were Ms. Bites and portions of her readership missing the point, missing all that is Jon? Was my respect for your satiric skewering of local BS causing me to give you, gasp, too much credit? No, I don't think so. I've read enough of your work to happily extend you the credit you deserve.

But now, at least recently, my full faith has been restored in you, though my own self-image is taking a hit. Why? Ken Garcia ("Let Them Eat Cake, and Lots of It," Dog Bites, June 7). I know in my heart I shouldn't enjoy his current status as "columnist most likely to need a rabies shot" (second cliché alert), but there it is. I think Dante had some thoughts on the fruits of enjoying the pain of others. Despite my "lost soul" condition, I commend your efforts. Now, if only we could get Nestor on the "former-yuppie columnist eradication project"... (note to whomever is intercepting this e-mail -- that means you, IT department -- the attached sentence should NOT be construed as an actual threat, but more of a weak literary device).

P.S. Your observations from the SF "overground" last week were hilarious. "This is my first rave." "Where?"....
Gary Parsons
via Internet

Parking Tips From a Cyclist
Thanks for your kind words on the Valencia Street bike lanes and on Critical Mass (Matt Smith, "Cracker Morons Who Maim," May 10), as well as for your pictorial article on the undesirable effects of providing additional parking spaces in our beautiful but small and congested city ("Aparkalypse Now," May 24). However, I did want to mention that many cyclists prefer that motorists park in the center lane on Valencia ($50 fine) instead of in the bike lane ($100 fine), where cars are a hazard and an irritant to those traveling by bike.
Linda Atkins
Mission

We Know, Joe, We Know
"Kubler-Ross' Five Stages of Muni" (Puni, May 17) really hit a nerve. Being dependent on the 24 Divisadero for so many years has left me frazzled. You missed the payoff... after you wait a few hours the three and four buses come together... and eight hours later when you try to go home, the same three buses are right behind one another going the opposite direction.

I'll look for your strip from now on.
Joe Besecker
via Internet

All That Jazz
I have to admit reading Sam Prestianni's "Sonic Revival" (Hear This, May 10) felt like a slap in the face. I agree, at times it can feel like the local avant-jazz scene is floundering due to competition with cover acts, gentrification, and city ordinance garble. All we can do is make the best of what we've got (and what is left) and applaud the efforts of such organizations as the Alliance of Emerging Creative Artists and their outreach into the Asian community. But Prestianni did a poor job of researching the supportive factors in this case. His statement that "only three venues currently feature adventurous jazz, improv or experimental concerts on a quasi-regular schedule" makes me wonder why such an uninformed individual was assigned to write such a review. It would simply take a few minutes to learn that there is much more going on in the local avant-jazz scene than what is featured at the three clubs he mentioned. Had he even taken a few moments to flip through SF Weekly's own Club Directory, he would have discovered that such venues as the Elbo Room, Storyville, Venue 9, Jazz at Pearl's, Cafe DuNord, and the Tip Top Inn feature innovative and avant garde jazz bands on a regular basis. What grabs me the most though, is that just five pages down from Prestianni's article is "Riff Raff," in which fellow writer Mark Athitakis calls attention to Jazz II Jungle, a weekly series of which I am the founder, featuring local acid jazz, free jazz, avant-garde, and drum-n-bass acts. How unfortunate that this discrepancy crept past the editor's eyes. The jazz scene is not dead, nor floundering. In my opinion, we're thriving, and down at Jazz II Jungle, we've only just begun to shine. I think that Sam Prestianni must be the type of person that goes to buy a used Mercedes at a Ford dealer. Broaden your horizons Sam, or go to your peers for some insight.
Candida Martinez
Bella Donna Productions
Panhandle

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