Pete Simonelli's essay about the old Cincinnati Reds, for instance, unleashes a hard-boiled punk-rock powerhouse of emotion: "I don't think of [Pete] Rose as merely sliding into third, but pounding into the fucker head-first as if the thing was one of his many mistresses." ... Also just launching from San Francisco is Siren, a sharply designed, 64-page, full-color glossy that is meant "for women who get it." The premiere issue isn't specific in describing exactly what "it" is, but if the articles are any indication, "it" hovers somewhere between Parker Posey, female bull-riding, winking mermaids, and breasts. ... Although published from Portland, Book Happy will undoubtedly appeal to San Francisco's mad collectors, archivists, and bookworms. Best known for her magazine Kooks and a book collection of the same name, both of which present a bizarre and entertaining potpourri of crackpot literature, Editor Donna Kossey continues the trend with this literary review of forgotten, peculiar, and just plain stupid books. The topics range from child discipline to menstruation misinformation, UFOs, game show producer Chuck Barris, and a couple of incredibly lame examples of the wilderness survival genre, reviewed by San Francisco's own John (Murder Can Be Fun) Marr.
More Free Jack Daniel's Airtime
During last week's election night coverage, TV stations had reporters stationed at the mansion of political consultant Clint Reilly in Seacliff, where the no-on-the-stadium party was on its last legs. As one reporter gave an update ("The gap between the two appears to be narrowing"), two clever individuals in the background surreptitiously held up a bottle of Jack Daniel's over the newscaster's shoulder. No such brand in sight at the Niners' party, where smug millionaires chose to slug from bottles of cheap champagne.
More mythical details are emerging regarding the life of reclusive Northern California novelist Thomas Pynchon (the J.D. Salinger of the West Coast). Those in the Bay Area may remember the saga of Wanda Tinasky, whose many letters to the Anderson Valley Advertiser were supposedly actually penned by Pynchon. (And readers of his book The Crying of Lot 49 will recall the California city with the greatest name in fiction -- San Narcisco.) His newest doorstop, Mason & Dixon, recently attracted a crowd at the Haight's Booksmith, where fans came dressed as characters from his novels, some even showing up with cameras, just in case he might make his first public appearance in decades. Although the author is the biggest agoraphobe in the industry, apart from Salinger, last summer the lure of marketing drew him from his lair to make a secret appearance at the Manhattan offices of his publisher, Henry Holt, to discuss cover artwork.
According to the New York Observer, Pynchon OK'd an early version of the cover, which replicated an authentic 18th-century hot-type face, but upon second glance noticed there was a problem. The cover artist had worked from an early version of the manuscript, and mistook the title to read Mason and Dixon, rather than Mason & Dixon. A longtime ampersand aficionado, Pynchon dug in his heels over the punctuation. Furthermore, it couldn't be just any old 18th-century ampersand. For this cover, the curlicue had to go a specific distance up the ligature of the ampersand. Such an ampersand was not to be found in the files at the publisher. Time stood still as the author flew back across the United States to his research-jammed home. There, in a musty old manuscript among his notes, was the elusive, perfect ampersand -- the character that would make or break this long-awaited tome. He xeroxed it and sent it to Henry Holt. The cover was finished and printed. Crisis was averted.
Love and Haight
The newest chapter in the ongoing battle over use of the phrase "Summer of Love" between hippie concert promoter Chet Helms and the megalithic Bill Graham Presents now sees both sides hurriedly filing to get the name trademarked and obtain legal exclusivity. Such pettiness and money-grubbing; hippies were a lot more tolerable when they were just painting their faces and trying to screw each other in the bushes to the beat of Santana's "Oye Como Va." Since Helms' 30th-anniversary concert in Golden Gate Park is scheduled for October, insiders are executing the double pun off the high dive, and referring to the event as the "Fall of Love."
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By Jack Boulware