Cabbie vs. Crabby The Examiner's night cabbie wishes he saw so much seamy underbelly. Matt Kelly is a taxi driver on the mad streets of San Francisco and parlays his tips and stories into the fine Cool Beans. In traditional zine fashion, each issue features a different theme. This sixth time out it's "Drinking and Driving in America," which includes some really awful things you'd rather not know about cab drivers. From the beatific "So You Want to Be a Cab Driver" by Ken Wanio: "The best drivers can shoot a goofball in their neck going 60 in heavy traffic and the passengers won't even notice." Ahem. To soothe your nerves, the 60-page issue includes a 7-inch with tracks by Fuck, Snowmen, Harry Pussy, and the Kelley Deal 6000, all interviewed at length in print. No song by standout interviewee Barbara Manning of the S.F. Seals, however -- who it seems has come down with nasty case of bloated ego not seen since Linda Perry took that big bold step away from 4 Non-Blondes. "I'm really hard on people who don't know anything about me," says Manning. "Because if they're interviewing me, they're only doing it because I have a name and they'll sell magazines." Damn. If only SF Weekly had a cover price. Cool Beans costs $5 and is available in smaller shops and from 3181 Mission #113, San Francisco, CA, 94110. (J.S.)
"Spundae" Salvaged Club DV8 may be gone, but the party hasn't ended -- it's just migrated. "Spundae," one of San Francisco's longest-running DJ parties, celebrated the end of a four-year stay at DV8 on Sunday, March 23. The new home is at another SOMA dance club, V/SF, on the corner of 11th and Folsom streets. "The move will be on a three-month trial basis, with the possibility of becoming permanent," says Kevin Murphy, the owner of V/SF. For more information, see Club Listings. (R.A.)
Square Squandered When the Berkeley Square closed its doors on March 6, it was with a great sad sigh from local metalheads and rockers, who claimed that it was the last venue in the Bay Area that was unafraid of a good, old-fashioned guitar onslaught. Unlike most nightclub closures, the Berkeley Square did not shut its doors due to liquor-license violations, dance-hall troubles, or even IRS woes. In fact, all of its licenses were current and faultless -- but the city of Berkeley saw fit to revoke the club's zoning permit, claiming that the Berkeley Square was too loud for that particular block of sleepy University Avenue. "After I've been running the club for nearly seven years," says owner Omar Nashir in utter disbelief, "now, they say this." The decision came after a number of neighbors began complaining about the noise some six months ago. According to City Councilwoman Linda Maio, "This is a great bunch of neighbors who understands the need for places in the community where youth can go, but they felt that it needed to be run more responsibly." Nashir, on the other hand, says that no one had complained to him, and that the people cited were not his neighbors. Still, the City Council revoked the zoning license around the same time that realtors Ruegg & Ellsworth bought the building, leaving Nashir without a lease or a leg to stand on. Conspiracy theorists aside, Nashir can't help but be reminded of a similar situation involving the Bel Air Hotel, which, three years ago, resided across the street from the Berkeley Square. "Now, it's all low-income housing," says Nashir. "The Bel Air's zoning permit was revoked and then they had to shut down. I guess it's cheaper than buying us out." To Maio, this is a positive thing. "This is the same neighborhood that supported putting in housing for the homeless where the Bel Air used to be," she says. "They are not the not-in-my-back-yard sort of people." Of the Berkeley Square's future, Maio says only that "[t]he neighborhood has voiced support for having another club or restaurant in the place of the Berkeley Square, but the new proprietor would have to be a responsible member of the community." And file for new zoning permits. Nashir says that he plans to appeal the decision within the next few months. (S.T.)
Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full The plate just got bigger for Toronto transplants and Stevie Wonder sound-alikes Mumblin' Jim. The band will fly to Island Records' New York office this Thursday to sign a 55-page record contract guaranteeing at least two albums. Guitarist Steve Fallis says the major label deal suits the band just fine. "We are a commercial act," he assures. "We can go out and be MTV fodder. Easily." No word on whether the big bucks will cover the Motown royalty checks. (J.S.)
Chew or Suck Skoal Chewing Tobacco, sponsor of this year's answer to Lollapalooza -- R.O.A.R. (Revelations Of Alternative Rhythms) -- has also decided to sponsor a small nationwide club tour that kicks off in mid-April. It's a sort of seeding mission, if you will, that takes great live music into targeted R.O.A.R. communities. The first band on the list? Our very own white-trash opera demoniacs M.I.R.V., who just happen to be celebrating the release of their first self-produced album (Feeding Time on Monkey Island on their own Poison Eye Records) since frontman MIRV's solo excursion on Prawn Song. "It's perfect timing," says singer/guitarist Bryan Kehoe. "We have an album to promote, and Skoal's going to foot the bill." While M.I.R.V. is not adverse to Skoal, it seems unlikely that they will give up their beloved cigars in lieu of chew. But, if all goes well, fans may be able to catch M.I.R.V. on the official leg of R.O.A.R. along with Iggy Pop, the Reverend Horton Heat, and the Bay Area's Ryan Downe and Linda Perry. (S.T.)
The Young and the X-less, Part 3 And now, without further ado, the latest excerpt from Ecstasy Club. Here, author Douglas Rushkoff -- a Gen-X consultant whose services net upward of $7.5K per hour from befuddled corporate interests -- employs a classic literary figure: the antagonist, as embodied in Renn, a sinister industrial rocker. Read, and be enriched by the "cult classic" that, according to its publishers, is "destined to be." (M.B.)
I was sure that Renn would feel put upon, but he seized the opportunity to program a new audience. First, he took a moment to admire our tattoos. I got a little pissed when Lauren decided to pull up her skirt and show him hers. She should have known he would lick his lips and then bury his grey dred-locked head between her legs and savagely suck on it.
"Nola has a tattoo of my totem on her vulva, you know," he told her, referring to his now-ex-wife. "Whose totem would you say this is," he asked her with a grin, glancing over to Duncan.
"Well," Lauren said in that sweet, matter-of-fact way of hers, "Zach came up with the name, and I drew the picture..."
"Oh-Hoh!" Renn exclaimed like a madman. "So it's this one at your ovum!" He stared at me with his acid-enriched eyeballs. "Do you understand the power she has bestowed upon you, sir?"
Lauren tried to intercede. "It's really all of our totem. The whole Ecstasy Club." But the moment had passed. Renn saw something and there was no hiding it.
Duncan quickly moved to correct this impression, but Renn's eyes stayed glued to me for a few more interminable seconds.
"I had them all get the tattoos," Duncan interjected as if he were our junior high teacher, "to help them stay focused on the task at hand."
"And what might that be...?" Renn asked patronizingly. As Duncan thought a moment, Renn crossed his effeminate legs to form a platform for his elbow, then propped his chin on his palm, and waited, smiling blankly like a secretary taking dictation.
Lauren suppressed a giggle, and Renn's entourage smirked. This was a showdown between two social programmers, a hazing for Duncan, and a male dominance ritual all rolled into one.
Riff Raff riffraff: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Michael Batty (M.B.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly. No flack, please.