Hegranes missed the point: I must commend Cristi Hegranes for what portends to be a factually accurate editorial -- at least as it pertains to the authority of San Francisco's Human Rights Commission -- that entirely misses the point of the recent actions around the Badlands bar in the Castro ["Acts of Commission," News, May 18].
One of the most difficult things about discrimination is that it rarely happens in public, where it can be documented, and we can all judge it collectively. As such, cases around discrimination almost always involve he said/he said. Lack of a paper trail does not equate with lack of discrimination. Further, Ms. Hegranes should know as well as anyone that people in oppressed communities are less likely to report crimes against them for lack of trust in authorities.
Ms. Hegranes also insinuates, based on discussions with Mr. Natali's lawyer, that the complainants against Mr. Natali were being coached. Rather than talking to any of these complainants herself, Ms. Hegranes instead repeats an accusation based as much on hearsay as the hearsay she later claims undermines the commission's findings.
Quite honestly, I'm surprised to find such drivel legitimized in SF Weekly, but maybe I should readjust my expectations downward.
Happens to us all the time. With screaming editors: Hello, I've meant, for a long time, to tell you [Katy St. Clair] that I love your column [Bouncer, May 4]. I haven't had time. There was a period of time you were writing about places I had just been ... and it made me wonder if you were there at the same time (er, this isn't a stalker thing). I'm at a 15-minute Internet station at a library, and there is a screaming baby, so I can't recall what else I was going to say ....
Michael John Anthony Vantz
Send St. Clair to State: I understand that your job as a "music critic" isn't really to give constructive criticism to the "shitty" bands that you so randomly decide to hear. Excuse my language, but give me a fuckin' break. I stumbled across your review of the bands at the Cherry Bar on the Weekly's Web site this week and was greatly appalled. I was at this very same show and have also met [the] little leprechaun psychoanalyst friend you speak of. And, well, I'd like to give you some advice. Every good critic needs a critic of [her] own, right? To start, I must admit I know absolutely nothing about you, and indeed you know absolutely nothing about me ... let's keep it that way. Although I probably saw you that night, I obviously don't remember. But I can just imagine: From your article's intonation and talk of "Oh, shit, hippies," you're probably one of those washed-up, we-hate-the-world-generation chicks with your blond hair dyed black and nose ring proudly displayed ....
Forgive me if I'm way off, but I thought you were a bit harsh on the bands performing that night. I've read a few music reviews in my time, and in comparison I thought the article you wrote was just a coldhearted, closed-minded splattering of local acts. You must first examine the venue you're in. This place is a stepping stone for new acts, so before asking the bands to ratchet up the bar, you better ask the bar to ratchet up its rep.
My point is: I don't know if you had a limited number of words or were just careless in your complexity and analysis, but you missed and mistook a lot of things in your review. My suggestion is to attend a journalism class at SFSU on how to be a critic.
In support of the Covered Wagon Preservation Act of 2006: Somehow, I was accidentally booked into a "country night" at the Cherry Bar. Don't ask me how that happened (the club is still having an identity crisis), but it did. We had a recording session the next week and could use the practice time before stepping into the studio, so I kept myself from canceling the gig, although I knew that we would just be playing for the 10 people who didn't empty the room after being subjected to the crank and crunch of "Redwood City Rock City."
I do have to admit that I got a nostalgic feeling after I made a right turn onto Folsom from Sixth and realized that I was once again driving a van loaded with gear to the site of the former Covered Wagon, the way that I had so many times before. It was as if I stepped back into 1999 or 2000 again for a brief moment. But all nostalgia comes with a "someone walking over my grave" kind of feeling for me. Maybe it is that way for everybody. I can't say. Drinking bourbon and sevens, and stomping around on that stage while Boom dutifully and frantically set my band's sound levels, did have a certain sweetness to it. If only they would bring back the Friday happy hour shows. You know I think I miss those things more than the golden days of "Stinky's"? You played a show and still had the rest of your Friday night to do something else. What more could one want?
The room is more Covered Wagon-like than it was the last time I poked my head in there. That venue has gone through this before. There have been times when new owners have tried to make the old CW into something other than a punk rock dive, only to return to the building's roots after other ventures inevitably fail. The Cherry Bar of today is in its painful transition back into what it once was. Until they demolish that building with its crackhead flophouse, it will always be a rock club -- plain and simple. They should almost put that on the lease for the joint. The Board of Supes should create some kind of Covered Wagon disclosure law wherein anyone who buys the building does so with the knowledge that the bottom floor must be a rock club. Call it the Covered Wagon Preservation Act of 2006.
Still, I did feel sorry for those hapless hippies that you unloaded upon in last week's SF Weekly, although being a drummer who air-drums is an unforgivable sin indeed.
Glad to see that you're still writing and editing and critiquing.
All the best, to the best, from the best.
In "Five Best Historical Bars" [Best of San Francisco®, May 11], we incorrectly identified the owner of the Purple Onion; the current owners are Mario and Stephanie Ascione. SF Weekly regrets the error.