The ride downtown was something less than a joy, what with the people inside crammed together and new arrivals banging on doors to get in. The driver, in self-defense, broadcast his complaints to the Muni control center over the loudspeaker so we could hear: "There's no one in front of me, no one in back of me, but I'm on time."
As the car emptied somewhat at the Powell Street station, we bumped into a colleague, who was leaving to catch a Fourth Street bus down to the Weekly's swanky digs in China Basin Landing. We told him we thought we'd stay with the J Church and try the new E Embarcadero train, a shuttle that stops within crawling distance of our offices. He looked at us as if we were insane and got off the train.
The ensuing two-station trip from Powell to Embarcadero took 20 minutes. Slightly longer, it occurred to us, than it would have taken to walk it. From there, we wandered down the platform to the waiting E car, which was full enough to make us think that it would be leaving soon for China Basin. After about 15 minutes, the driver told us that the system was down.
Thinking on our feet, we headed upstairs to the 32 Embarcadero bus, which, we thought, zooms right to China Basin Landing, where, as we mentioned above, SF Weekly's lush and spacious offices reside. Indeed, a sturdy coach immediately hove to. We boarded happily, only to learn that the line, as of the previous Friday, now terminated at Folsom Street. We decided to walk, work be damned, only to be told by a nice guy at the E line's Folsom station that the service was coming up soon. Sure enough, within 10 minutes, we were on our way, via rail, to Fourth and King. We got to work soon after -- a mere hour and 40 minutes after we started at 24th and Church.
What strikes us about this trip -- and it's not an atypical Muni experience -- is the thoroughgoingness of the problems. Call us transit radicals, but we think that a 20-minute-plus wait is just too much for a light-rail system during rush hour in a major city. There aren't enough trains, or enough drivers. The bus routes seem dictated by whimsy. And if Willie Brown and Emilio Cruz don't like that judgment, they can eat our shorts.
We Watch Larry King So You Don't Have To
If there was any doubt that the family values crowd lacks a sense of scale and humor, it was obliterated last week on CNN's Larry King Live when Gary Bauer, the creepy dwarf who runs the Family Research Council -- and who is testing the waters for a presidential bid -- explained his opposition to the putative ambassadorship of James Hormel, the rich gay guy whose presidential nomination is being held up because homophobic congressmen are grossed out by what he does in the privacy of his sex life. Exemplifying the dictionary definition of making a distinction without a difference, Bauer said he didn't oppose Hormel because he was gay, but because he was a gay activist.
And Bauer gave evidence of that horrid activism: According to Bauer, Hormel was caught on videotape at a San Francisco gay pride event, laughing at an act by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which performance, Bauer said, was clear anti-Catholic bigotry. Using that standard, we expect Bauer to soon advocate the burning of all videotape of Father Guido Sarducci's Saturday Night Live routines. (And, we are sure, a few books for good measure.)
-- George Cothran
We Watch Public Access TV So You Don't Have To, Unless You Like Vikings and Nekkid Girls Mixed Together
Dog Bites had a great idea for a San Francisco TV show: Take a wisecrackin' plump guy in a horned Viking helmet. Sit him on a stool, and let him do nothing but take phone calls from drunken potty-mouthed "dudes" wanting to do terrible things to his mother and waiting for South Park to come on at 10. Then, project vintage naked girlie films on a blue screen behind him. Instant hit city.
Alas, someone stole our idea. Every first and third Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 53 you, too, can have the supreme pleasure of watching Bevornia with your hipster host, Erik the Viking.
If you've ever wondered what would happen if Hagar the Horrible finally left his wife and moved into the bar full-time and did a TV show, then you owe it to yourself to make a little time for the black box and public access TV.
For the past two years, the production staff of two (including the host) has been churning out, um, entertainment for the masses. And it has definitely had its impact.
"I've been approached on Muni, in bars, I get death threats all the time," says Erik.
So what, Dog Bites purred, was the philosophical grounding of this groundbreaking show? "TV is an Etch-A-Sketch plugged into the wall, not a real intellectual medium," Erik responded.
And the creative impetus? "I had bought this helmet for Halloween, and I thought it worked well. I wanted to give the people what they really want, and people want to say whatever they want to, especially on television."
And in print. And sometimes they even get to.
-- Karen Solomon
Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail email@example.com.