Steele says he pitched the show as "NPR meets Monty Python," and the new musical-variety format will appear initially as a two-minute window, slotted between songs several times an hour, until things pick up speed. In the planning stages are sketches from local comics and recurring features such as a yuppie soap opera. Semiregular guests from the media community will hopefully elevate the program's focus from the bargain-basement topics, such as the status of Bennett's hemorrhoids, that the former host increasingly had favored.
Born and raised in the East Bay, Steele promises no out-of-town celebrity TV actors or directors, unless absolutely necessary. "My goal is to make it more local-oriented. We've got such a culture here, local bands and writers. It's just insane to be wasting time with Geraldo Rivera. I have virtually no interest in that kind of crap."
Another significant difference from the old Bennett show -- there will be a live studio audience only on Friday mornings, to make the day more of a spectator event, rather than a format requirement. "I didn't see the value of 30 empty chairs and one guy reading a science-fiction book," says Steele.
Goin' for a Ride
Congratulations to local bicycle activist pranksters for the very subtle hoax poster popping up around town last week, which nicely foreshadowed the escalating tension between the Critical Mass ride and the mayor. Above a smiling Willie Brown, a headline announced, "Congratulations Critical Mass on 5 years of being at the cutting edge of San Francisco's 'Transit First' public policy!" Brown's official signature and a seal of the city appeared below, and at the bottom, Brown supposedly asked, "Take me for a ride next month!" with his office number listed. A spokesperson for the mayor's press office admitted they had been getting calls on it all morning, and declared, "I don't think it was authorized."
Flash on the Flasher
Highlight of a recent book-release party at the swanky Hotel Rex for Zines! Vol. 2, a collection of interviews with zine publishers produced by V-Search, was an appearance by SFPD officers. According to several amused eyewitnesses, Fred Dodsworth, publisher of the epicurean aujuice magazine, had exposed his member in a fit of alcohol-induced revelry, much to the chagrin of hotel staff. (A tight-lipped desk clerk would later say only that Dodsworth "was asked to leave.")
As two officers ushered Dodsworth out of the building, V-Search Publisher V. Vale rushed up and asked them to wait. Dodsworth froze in midstride, the policemen stood stiffly, and all looked back at Vale as he dropped to one knee and snapped a photo for posterity.
Last Day on the Job
Callers seeking show-time information last week from the Northpoint movie theater received the following recorded message from a young female employee, punctuated by frequent howls of laughter in the background [see Reel World on Page 72 for more on the Northpoint]:
"Thank you for calling Cineplex Odeon's Northpoint Theater, located at the corner of Bay and Powell streets, two blocks south of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Today we are proud to present ... nothing, rated nothing. Show times today are anytime you want, Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday. We have a special bargain price, $4.25 for the zero show of the day, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, and any shows before zero time. We offer no parking, a half-block north on Powell, next to the Northpoint Health Club, Monday through Friday, anytime you want. Cineplex Odeon gift certificates make a perfect gift for all occasions, and can be purchased in Richmond. Once again, thank you for calling Cineplex Odeon's Northpoint Theater. For further information, please dial 411. I'm sorry, we are now closed, if you haven't figured it out."
Another voice cried out from afar, "Bye bye, and enjoy the movie!"
Address all correspondence to: Slap Shots, c/o SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Lobby 4, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107; phone: 536-8152; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jack Boulware