Dog Bites

Lovers' Spat
As the fraud trial of Supervisor Angela Alioto's former beau draws nigh, mud is slinging in all directions. Her ex, Peter Rowland, alleges that she's been saying he did time in a mental institution. He says it ain't so. Alioto, who'll be called as a witness in the case and may be asked how much she knew about Rowland's alleged scams, is even going after Public Defender Jeff Brown. “She called up the Bay Guardian and told them that I was PG&E's guest of honor at a Chamber of Commerce lunch,” says an angry Brown. “I wrote her a letter telling her if she wanted to smear me in the future she should get her facts right.”

False God
S.F. Live editor Stephen Braitman provides an addendum to last week's Bay View article (“Abbey Road”) about the Ovila Monastery stones in Golden Gate Park. The story related how Hindu leader Baba Kali Dass (aka conceptual artist Michael Bowen) declared four years ago that a bulbous cement traffic barrier adjacent to the Ovila stones was an object of worship, calling the cement pillar a “Shiva Linga,” or Hindu fertility symbol. In a December 1994 S.F. Live piece, however, Bowen comes clean: “Only my daughter and some of the people closest to us at the artists' ashram knew I created [the Shiva Linga] as performance art right from the very beginning …. If you told everybody it was performance art, no one would worship at the Shiva Liga. It would just be a rock.”

Street Talk
Now that San Francisco's Army Street has been renamed CŽsar Chavez, we can expect a barrage of trivia about the city's curiously monickered thoroughfares — as well as a few attempts to capitalize on the phenomenon. First off in the book division: San Francisco Street Secrets: The Stories Behind San Francisco Street Names by David B. Eames, a Larkspur carpenter/photographer/translator. Though the “secrets” of the title is a bit of a misnomer (Eames reveals little about our town's byways that even recent transplants don't already know), he should have left his self-described house “deep in the redwoods” of Marin County to check the accuracy of the book's maps. (In the one depicting Fisherman's Wharf and environs, the diagonal Columbus Avenue is conveniently missing from the grid; another misnames South Van Ness as Howard.) The paperback tome ($10.95) from an L.A. publisher is obviously aimed at clueless tourists, who will marvel at pages of turn-of-the-century archive shots, all the while wondering how street names like Julius, Macondray and Balmy came to be.

By George Cothran, Jack Shafer,
John Sullivan

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