Joe Dean got hurt. Real bad. The local music stalwart took an awful tumble down a flight of stairs late last year and fractured three vertebrae in his neck and back. It's the type of injury that runs a huge risk of quadriplegia, the loss of the use of all one's limbs. After a grueling eight-hour surgery in which doctors fused his neck together using cadaver bone and titanium, Dean is in for a long, painful recovery that will force him to drop out of school and quit working for quite a while.
The longtime denizen of the Lower Haight is something of a legend in the local music scene. A guitar player with a unique voice blending country and punk, always adding in his distinct style, Dean has become a desirable sideman for many bandleaders, as well as a compelling frontman in his own right. Past projects have included playing guitar for Jesse Morris and The Man Cougars, Tender, Wifey, Bacchus, Wilson Gil and the Willful Sinners, Two-Headed Dog, and backing up Dwarves guitarist Hewhocannotbenamed on his solo tours.
San Francisco gets more expensive. Landlords jack up rents on residential apartments and businesses in popular neighborhoods. Old business models don't support the new costs. Alternative means of supporting local businesses have to be found.
Such is the case with Adobe Books, the 16th Street bookseller that, over the last 10 months, has gone to extraordinary lengths to cope with a series of hefty rent increases imposed last year by its landlord, forming an arts collective and throwing a series of benefit shows. The store is now only (?) $25,000 short of its March 15 fundraising goal of $60,000 -- so major last-minute efforts are underway. The latest is a benefit show this Monday, March 11, at Public Works, featuring the Dodos, Adam Stephens of Two Gallants, The Tambo Rays, and DJ Andy Cabic (of local band Vetiver).
Bay Area punk musician Sluggo, aka Doug Cawley, has worn many hats over his more than 20 years on the local scene. Besides being the principle force behind over a decade of hilarious, cross-dressing trash punk with faux-geriatric reprobates The Grannies, the guitarist also played in '90s outfit Ain't with future wife/singer Laurian Rhodes, and had a hand in the imprints Dead Teenager Records (co-founded with Zeke drummer Donnie Paycheck) and Wondertaker Records. Unfortunately, earlier this year Sluggo was faced with an unforeseeable new challenge when his four-year-old son, Blixa, was diagnosed with leukemia.
Blixa has faced the disease with an uncommon bravery that can be seen in a series of photos Sluggo has posted on Facebook documenting his treatment. The social networking site has also given rise to Team Blixa, a community that's spearheading fundraising efforts to help support Sluggo and his family with an assortment of Team Blixa/Fuck Cancer t-shirts as well as getting the word out about benefit shows both in the Bay Area and abroad. The second local benefit for Blixa being held tonight at Bottom of the Hill features a stellar three-band bill topped by S.F. garage-psych heroes Thee Oh Sees and featuring rare sets from Doug Hilsinger and Caroleen Beatty's acclaimed Enorchestra (performing songs from Brian Eno's landmark Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) album) as well as Bay Area hard-rock favorites Dirty Power. All Shook Down talked to Sluggo this past weekend about how his son is feeling and the outpouring of support Blixa has received from around the world.
So how is Blixa doing?
He's doing good. He's hanging in there. He doesn't really ever complain. He's actually kind of a good age, because he's old enough to understand what's going on and that it's serious. After the initial horrible diagnosis, which was a big shock, we felt like everything after that was kind of the best of what we could have gotten. He got the best kind of leukemia he could have gotten; he could have gotten the worst kind, AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) instead of ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), which is what he has. As far as the time frame, he's going to miss his first half year of kindergarten, so there's worse years he could miss.
You could almost hear San Francisco let out a long sigh last week when it was reported that the Marian and Vivian Brown, S.F.'s most famous twins and city socialites for 40 years, have hit a string of rough luck. The 85-year-old sisters -- who wear the same clothes, say the same things, and eat dinner together at Uncle Vito's pizza every night -- are now separated: Vivian, who suffers from dementia, is in the hospital after a fall, and Marian is struggling psychologically and financially.
Help has been pouring in ever since the news broke, but now there's a musical benefit to assist the Brown twins: Next week, the Red Devil Lounge is presenting a night of top-shelf local jazz and cabaret, featuring acclaimed local singer Kim Nalley, members of the Hubba Hubba Revue, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and more.
In addition to being a living monument to American writer Henry Miller, Big Sir's Henry Miller Memorial Library hosts numerous events near and dear to the hearts of Bay Area cultural types. Later this summer, for example, the serene bibliothèque will once again be the site of the two-day Woodsist Festival, where bands like Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh & Onlys, Real Estate, Woods and many others will perform over a weekend of rural bliss. (The festival is soooold out, too!)
But if the Henry Miller Library is going to continue to exist, it's going to need some help: This week, the festival's executive director announced that the organization needs to raise $140,000 by this fall to pay for facilities improvements required under federal law. To help gather the money, Phillip Glass and Joanna Newsom are performing at the Warfield on June 25 in a special fundraiser for the library.
This past Sunday, San Francisco DJ and cyclist Christopher Evans, best known as DJ Toph One, was struck by a car while riding his bike at the corner of Ocean and Geneva in the Ingleside neighorhood. The car sped off -- nearby firefighters saw the crash but didn't get a description -- and Evans suffered a broken pelvis, leaving him hospitalized. He was recently moved out of intensive care, but is scheduled for surgery on Friday, according to a Facebook page set up to support him.
There are at least two parties planned to benefit Toph One: On Friday, Jan. 20, Public Works will host DJs J. Boogie, Chris Orr, and B Cause for a benefit night. On Sunday, Jan. 22, Sake One, DJ Stef, Doc Fu, and Rascue will hit the decks at Som Bar to support him. Donations will be accepted, and some bar proceeds from both nights will help pay for Evans' recovery.