Dead to Rights
I don't know where Phyllis Orrick gets her information, but her statement concerning Keith Williams' crime that earned him death ("A Peep Behind the Executioner's Shroud," Unspun, July 23) reflects either a poor source or an attempt to twist facts.
Williams killed three people. Two were brothers. The other was the young girlfriend of one of the brothers. Williams drove her miles into the mountains and raped her. During the act, he shot her in the head four times so he could feel her death throes. That isn't sensational?
I was at San Quentin for Williams' execution as well as William George Bonin's. I plan to be there for Thomas Thompson's as well. I'll be the one cheering with the "KILL" sign.
James E. Crupi
Editor's note: Crupi is correct. SF Weekly regrets the error.
To Jack Boulware (and his editors) -- thank you ever so much for spelling my name correctly ("Flash on the Flasher," Slap Shots, July 30). For many years I have admired your firm grasp of fantasy and your deep personal connection to irony. You have defined a new course in modern journalism, and it is in this light that I'm especially appreciative of your continued respect for conventional spelling. Unfortunately, I find myself needing to correct a few small and inconsequential details that escaped your normally razor-sharp wit:
You claimed I experienced "a fit of alcohol-induced revelry." Au contraire, it was a very lack of alcohol that lies at the root of the evening's problems. "The swanky Hotel Rex" provided but one bartender for a crowd of 50 to 60 reporters, publishers, and fictionalists like yourself, each one crowded desperately around the poor, beleaguered bartender, loudly clamoring for his attention. (I probably don't need to note that this particular crowd is well-known, perhaps even notorious, for booze-guzzling on a heroic scale.) Prior to my encounter with San Francisco's thin blue line between peace and anarchy, I personally was able to enjoy but two of the Hotel Rex's pathetically meager $7 cocktails. In fact it was because I registered a mild complaint with said "tight-lipped desk clerk" that I first came to the hotel management's attention.
My second minor disagreement with your magnificent reportorial account regards an allegedly exposed member. Now I can't speak for every member in attendance at V. Vale's exquisite party but I, like Groucho, belong to no club. If perchance you are referring to my penis (it must be a slow day in Slap Shots hell for you to devote two fat, adjective-packed paragraphs to the alleged sighting of my modest appendage), it was never in evidence on the particular night in question. I'm not claiming that Mr. Johnson defies the light, I'm simply stating that your booze-soaked sources either had one too many or they had one over on you.
My last dispute with your account of the evening's entertainment regards the impression you leave your good readers with -- despite your inference, I was neither arrested nor was I asked to leave the party. In fact, you and I exchanged mild unpleasantries merely moments after I re-entered the party at the behest of aforementioned "tight-lipped desk clerk."
These inconsequential details notwithstanding, I'm most pleased to be featured in your fine column and honored to be the object of your considerable talents.
By the way, my magazine's name is au Juice (two words, capital J), a French-English amalgamation that translates as "with" juice, or if you will -- saucy.
Pay Later for Mission Bay
Thanks for the article on huge public subsidies to the Catellus Development Corp. ("Mission Pay," The Grid, July 23), which only proves, once again, that "free" enterprise works its miracles best when it has expensive access to the taxpayers' wallets. It's a lesson that never sinks in, as we learned in the last stadium-mall vote.
You missed two small details, however. Catellus does not "own" Mission Bay; the people of California do. The bay was granted to Southern Pacific in the last century only as a transportation easement and should now revert to the state.
It's also a geologic time bomb which will liquefy when struck by a seismic wave. The executives of Catellus, their lawyers, and Willie Brown can only hope that, like the developers of the Marina District, they will be long gone with the swag from the deal when the ghost of Mission Bay wreaks vengeance upon whatever they choose to build upon that toxic pudding.
Your story about public subsidies for the Mission Bay Project is correct ("Mission Pay"). Another sickening plum is Mayor Brown's blocking of the CalTrain extension to Market Street and the $400 million-plus extension of Muni light rail service to Mission Bay.
The foot traffic of thousands of train passengers connecting to Muni vehicles will create one of the most significant increases in value to the Mission Bay properties.
The rest of the world gets mass transit. We get blatant skullduggery.
Kill All the Quail-Killers!
I appreciate sarcastic humor just fine, but "Safeguarding Our City's Future" (Slap Shots, July 23) just goes wide of the mark in reference to feral cats. The inevitable destruction of native ecosystems denuded by nonnative predators is simply not funny.
If feral cats attacked children, the public would cry for their slaughter.
It is only ignorant softheartedness which hinders public perception. Should we start an "Adopt a Medfly" program?
Feral cats or quail; you only get to pick one.
Re Slap Shots' comments on the limiting of scented personal care products as part of San Francisco's Sustainability Plan ("Safeguarding Our City's Future"):
On the face of it, this may seem, as the article suggests, the kind of thing that adds to California's "flaky" image. Manufactured scents have been around a long time without causing much problem.
But most people are probably not aware that perfumes are now full of petrochemical derivatives which are better-suited to car repair shops or regulated laboratories.
An ever-increasing number of people are allergic to these concoctions, but there is no regulation of the fragrance industry, so manufacturers are not required to restrict nor even list what is in their products.
So perfume is in fact a serious health and environmental concern. As such, its limitation is perfectly appropriately included in the Sustainability Plan.
Not So Fassbinder!
Re Gregg Rickman's article on Rainer Werner Fassbinder ("Colder Than Death," Film, July 23) in which he glibly states: "Adorf and Mueller-Stahl worked only once for the director." WRONG! Armin Mueller-Stahl, after his success in Lola, went on to play Veronika Voss' husband in Fassbinder's next film and even received special billing!
Gregg Rickman replies: Gregory-Johnson's right. My apologies.
Call the Doctor
Martin Johnson's review of Dr. Octagonecologyst (Recordings, July 16) smacks of so much complete ignorance of Kool Keith and hip hop in general that I have to question the qualifications of SF Weekly's music reviewers.
Anyone who has been a part of the hip-hop underground since 1987 knows that Kool Keith is by far the most influential MC in rap. He originated the offbeat, stream-of-consciousness rhyme style that has set the standard for new-school MCing. And he continues to push the boundaries of rap and reinvent himself with his performance on the vocal version of Dr. Octagon.
When Ultramagnetic's seminal debut LP, Critical Beatdown, came out in 1988, the hip-hop community was divided between the casual commercial rap fan -- who didn't get it -- and the true hip-hop pioneers -- who did. It's obvious from his ignorant review of Dr. Octagon which category Johnson fits in.
"Obnoxious, Smug, and Condescending" would have been a better title for Matt Smith's article on Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin's work about Fairfield ("Art of Betrayal," Bay View, July 16), although it might be a more apt description of Smith than of Fletcher and Rubin. (Since I have not seen the show yet, I can't tell.)
Smith's article comes off as just another "we're so much better people here in San Francisco than they are out in Fairfield" exercise in ego-stroking. Just because S.F. has Gump's and Stormy Leather and commercial art galleries instead of Wal-Mart does not avoid the pot-calling-the-kettle-black nature of Smith's (and apparently Fletcher and Rubin's) message. Perhaps next time, our intrepid social critics (having returned safely from the wilds of Fairfield) should check to make sure their own boat is not sinking before making fun of someone else's leaky raft.
Peter E.V. Allen
I recently read your article "Art of Betrayal," concerning Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin's "A Few Months in Fairfield." I am a native of Fairfield and have no great love of the town, but I must say that I find the premise of the artists' exhibit (I have not yet had the opportunity to see it) disturbing because of its simple-mindedness. That Fairfield is a banal, consumer-driven society on the surface is a given to any self-respecting individualist. Gentlemen, all that you have shown is that you have a firm grasp of the obvious. Fairfield is suburbia? Some discovery.
Jerry D. Floyd