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SF Weekly Letters 


Prohibition During the Depression
Less drink, more think: In an era when people are losing jobs and homes, schools are being shut down, arts and education programs are being cut, and all other manner of mayhem is happening due to the economic downturn, how dare SF Weekly run a story that glorifies some douchebag who blows $500 a week at a bar ["The Regulars," Katy St. Clair, Feature, 8/19] and not have a theater section in your listings? How dare SF Weekly give half a page to the only thing in this week's edition even smacking of newsworthy ["Towing the Line," Lauren Smiley, Sucka Free City, 8/19]?

I understand that it's the job of weeklies to be "cool" and thus, in this city, pander to intellectually shoddy, self-absorbed (but not self-reflecting), overprivileged hipsters, but I would hope the line would be drawn at publishing four-page articles that only further underline the larger world's general conception of us as a bunch of smug limousine liberals too partied out to think straight or do much more than endlessly justify in quips and faux-edginess (but precious little action or upholding of standards) the golden pedestal we constantly put ourselves on.

The worst part? I'm a pretty loyal fan of SF Weekly and weeklies in general, and I'm a local theater artist who has done well by SF Weekly. But I'm willing to put all that on the line and forsake the support of this publication, because I'm that disappointed in what I see going on here. It is the job of the alternative weekly, in my opinion, to save the fluff for a column or, better yet, the Chronicle, and provide an articulate forum for local politics and support for local businesses and artists.

Profiling the local party boys as if they're worthy of the paper the story is printed on is questionable at any time, but at this moment in our society — when so many are struggling to do good against all odds and journalistic integrity is already under so much fire — such a decision is not only irresponsible but also flat-out reprehensible.

See you at the bar.

Stuart Bousel

San Francisco

Teaching to the Choir
Different point of Yoo: I think offering controversial, diverse-minded teachers is the sign of a good school ["Civil Debate?" Peter Jamison, Sucka Free City, 8/12]. Liberals often preach open-mindedness and diversity, but can't put up with right-wing politics. Open-minded means open-minded, and I actually don't believe many people are.

The fact that Professor John Yoo inspired a student to take action (even though it was against Yoo) proves his power as an educator: He has caused law students to fight for what they believe in, which is why they are there in the first place.


Web comment

You're Calling Us Kooks?
Adjust your attitude: Apparently Lauren Smiley and SF Weekly were out to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of their preconceived notions about public-access TV and its producers by referring to us in the subtitle of the piece as "kooky" and then proceeding to write a story in such a way that would have the uninitiated believe that it's true ["Adjust Your Television," Lauren Smiley, Feature, 8/12].

In the mention of shows on public access, the easy stereotype of sex, nudity, and irreverence is far from the truth of what most of the shows are about. As it is an alternative-media outlet, I would have thought SF Weekly would be more circumspect in these characterizations. Should we judge SF Weekly merely on the adult classifieds and sex toy ads in your paper? Then why pigeonhole us?

Many of the shows on public access have won regional and national awards, so it's not just us taking ourselves seriously, as the article noted; apparently others do too! One of the many issues we took up at the meetings about public access was that an Internet-only source of distribution will exclude the very demographics some of us serve on our shows, as the digital divide is real, and some of the constituents who are best served by public access will be the ones who will be left out.

We are trying to be proactive, and as producers we feel that we have been shut out of the dialogue, not just by the Department of Technology, but by others in power. We want to be positive and work together with others, but we need the chance to at least be included in the discussion. There is a reasonable assumption that we would have much to contribute to the future strategy, based on our combined years of experience at the station. Many of us spoke of these matters both with Smiley and at the meetings, but these views were not included in the article.

Rod Laughridge

Producer, Newsroom, on Access SF

San Francisco


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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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