Dear S(tupid) F(ucking) Weekly: Read your review of Engine 88's new record in your stupid rag (Recordings, May 17). Firstly, I can't believe that you failed to notice Tom Barnes is the highlight of that band, not the liability your review seemed to imply.
Then to have the nerve to attempt to dissect and analyze his lyrics to show how bad they are. I am a songwriter who pays a lot of attention to my lyrics and I therefore pay a lot of attention to others who write lyrics. Tom Barnes is, in my opinion, one of the best lyricists in the city and, really, on vinyl period.
To see that fishing song as an ode to the automobile is so vacant; it's an ode to the detail of everyday life and awkward relationships between different people. If you can't appreciate what's really going on in these songs, maybe you should go see them played; if you still don't get it, maybe you should get out of the music-reviewing business.
It certainly is a tragedy that Elliot Lavine at the Roxie had to disinvite the accomplished William Friedkin from the opening screening of his film Cruising (“Bite Your Tongue,” May 17). How dare Lavine put artistic considerations before political ones — after all, who does he think he is, the programmer for an art-house movie theater in some liberal and tolerant city or what? It is also a shame that as a result of ACT UP's crash of the Project Inform event, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation was forced to hire more than 20 security officers for its fund-raising awards dinner. That money could have been better spent serving people living with AIDS and HIV.
But worse than all this — and I thank SF Weekly for raising this issue — is how we are allowing our city to be swept along in the same wave of fear and intolerance that is sweeping the rest of the country. Remember how we giggled at those “raving” and “fundamentalist” protesters picketing the film The Last Temptation of Christ? Doesn't seem so funny anymore, eh?
Attack of the GLAADites
You folks have a lot of spunk to take on the self-appointed “thought police” of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (“Bite Your Tongue,” May 17). The GLAADites have succeeded in intimidating the Bay Area's gay press and both gay and non-gay S.F. politicians. They are profoundly hostile to the very concept of free speech and free assembly. Unfortunately, in this age of the terror of multiculturalism, each racial, ethnic or sexual orientation minority enthusiastically censors any idea that does not echo its “officially approved teaching.”
I saw Cruising last week and I could not see how anyone with a sane mind could stamp this film as “homophobic.” The film certainly captures the pre-AIDS “let's-enjoy-sex” philosophy of the '60s and '70s even though it lacked clarity as to why the killer killed.
Congratulations for raising your voice against the irrational intolerance of the
James F. Gibbons
Ode to Oak
George Cothran's story on Harvey Rose (“Dollars Without Sense,” May 3) was well done, as usual.
The article did rehash one myth about me from years ago: I supposedly bought some expensive “oak” desks for lawyers in our office. That tale was false, but catchy. Now revived, it inspired the following ode:
Your piece on Harvey Rose last week,
I was amused to see,
Did give the city's nose a tweak:
We often miss the forest for the trees.
But careful now, these woods are deep,
Reporters too get lost,
When fed a stale and phony leak:
“Back then our city's lawyer bought
Oak desks at such a cost!”
The desks of oak?
Wood that it were so.
Repeated oft enough
Tall tales, like oaks,
From little acorns grow.
This is no joke,
To be quite clear
Your readers should be told:
Those lawyers' desks were not of oak
But of a thin veneer.
Louise H. Renne
The Price of Political Action
George Cothran's recent article on the American AIDS Political Action Committee (“Dialing for AIDS Dollars,” May 10) leaves some incorrect perceptions. The mission of AIDS PAC is to support federal candidates willing to champion AIDS issues in Congress. The 1994 election cycle was our first. Our contributions to candidates totaled nearly $50,000, which places American AIDS PAC among the top 5 percent of all nonconnected PACs and among the top 10 percent of all PACs, including labor and corporate PACs. That means AIDS PAC contributed more funds directly to candidates than 90 percent of all other federal PACs in the country in our first election cycle.
The article gave the impression that the July 1994 event in San Francisco raised funds for telemarketing. In reality, by that time, we had already garnered a massive donor base via our telemarketing program, which had paid for itself. None of the funds raised at the San Francisco event in July 1994 went toward our telemarketing expenses. In fact, some of the donations from the San Francisco event went directly to Bay Area Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Lynn Woolsey and Dan Hamburg. Any new organization will realize investment costs in establishing a donor base; ours was successful enough to pay for itself and begin contributions to candidates in the summer of 1994.
We realize the difficulties and challenges of raising political funds for AIDS and have set a course to build an unprecedented political movement for AIDS through our telemarketing efforts. Simultaneously we have asked friends in San Francisco and other cities to make donations. Our individual donor program is our most cost-effective fund-raising method and is used to the maximum possible for candidate contributions. The simple fact is that we need to use both methods in order to meet today's challenges and future needs.
Unlike other political action committees, AIDS PAC is a nonconnected PAC. We are legally responsible for all of our own expenses. We must raise enough funds to pay for all administrative and fund-raising expenses, as well as the contributions to candidates, often a process of many years. In our first cycle, AIDS PAC has become the 15th largest nonconnected PAC in the country. No. 14 is none other than Newt Gingrich's GOPAC.
From the start, our goals have also included building a national grass-roots political organization that will demonstrate to political leaders that fighting AIDS must be a major national priority. We believe our PAC should not just be about money for candidates. We have worked to educate American voters and the political community on the HIV/AIDS crisis. However, the opportunity to educate and organize voters is a key to our success. Our efforts have been so successful that we have established a national base of 20,000 supporters from every state in the union and made significant contributions in 1994. We are proud of our success and the dramatic fact that we have reached nearly a quarter-million Americans in calls designed to help build AIDS awareness and increase voter involvement. We will continue to support candidates who support a strong government response to the AIDS crisis.
American AIDS Political Action Committee
In “Bite Your Tongue” (Bay View, May 17), SF Weekly misspelled the name of Roxie Cinema programmer Elliot Lavine.