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Au Revoir, Silke Tudor 

A brilliant columnist, cultural lodestar, and real friend leaves S.F. for NYC; we look back, trying to smile through our tears

Wednesday, Aug 18 2004

Page 2 of 3

This beat takes its toll on a journalist, as intense and fatiguing an assignment as a battle zone. You can only do it so long. We met recently and talked about her ideas for book projects, and I could see the sunshine returning to her eyes. These are exciting times for Silke. I'll definitely be waiting to see what she does next. As long as she's not behind a reception desk. -- Jack Boulware, author and journalist

Silke Tudor has the most radical note-taking posture of any journalist I have ever seen anywhere. The first time I noticed it was at an Idiot Flesh show at the Transmission Theatre. The place was swarming with people, and I looked up at one point and saw her perched on the staircase, this elegant pixie, looking as regal as a lady on the front of a boat, still as a statue, except for her hand with the pen in it. That thing was flying. When she would reach the bottom of a page, she would flip to a new one with lightning speed, without ever averting her eyes from the action onstage. Now, Idiot Flesh was a pretty compelling band to watch, but I couldn't help turning my shit around and watching Silke do that thing she was doing for the rest of the night. If you ever run into me, ask me to do an imitation, because it's something that deserves to live on in homage.

I have to go deep here for a second and say that the fact that she is leaving San Francisco is a huge loss for us. It's a sucking void not only for the thousands of readers who live vicariously through her intelligent, detailed, funny columns, but for all the artists and instigators she wrote about. Everybody knew that to have Silke cover something you did was an honor, because her level of empathy and unique entry points into better understanding of the world are mind-blowing. She could find her way into a paper bag and then make you wish you had been in the paper bag last Saturday night, instead of at that other lame thing you went to.

One last thing: Here are the answers to the FAQ I always get when someone finds out I know her. Yes, her real name is Silke Tudor. Yes, she is hot. -- Beth Lisick, author and columnist

Silke Tudor is the kind of perfect, pretty-in-punk package that makes you wish you were single (if I weren't already happily married!): smart, sexy, sassy, savvy, sophisticated. But beyond all the alliterative accolades, she is simply a great person. I've never met someone so talented and yet so humble. We felt bonded, I believe, by our commonly bizarre, vagabond childhoods and "colorful" backgrounds that resulted in lifelong literary self-therapy. During all the controversy (and anonymous animosity) I inadvertently aroused when I led a boycott of the Ocean's Eleven remake three years ago, Silke was inspired to write a profile of my entire life for this paper, which went far beyond this silly stunt, delving deep into the stuff behind and beneath my B-movie, lounge-lizard facade, and I've never felt more honored.

When I was left somewhat baffled and depressed by an oddly insulting "hit piece" that appeared simultaneously from a journalist also covering the "protest," Silke countered with this simple, and passionate, response, which seemed to sum up her own professional manifesto: "It's the humanity, the HUMANITY, that matters."

In all of her eloquently constructed pieces, she sought out and celebrated the heart and soul of her subjects, many of whom were pariahs, outcasts, and social misfits. Because she herself has such a compassionate heart and tender soul, she couldn't help but identify with them. My wife, Monica ("The Tiki Goddess"), appeared with her onstage as awards co-presenter at several Wammies shows, and she shares my deeply felt admiration for Silke on all of these many levels. The Bay Area will sorely miss Silke's wonderful work as a poetic journalist with a unique affinity for the cultural fringe, but not as much as Monica and I will miss her personal touch in our own lives.

Aloha, baby -- and don't forget to write! -- Will "The Thrill" Viharo, cult movie cabaret impresario

Silke is about the ONLY person whose cultural appraisals and judgments I 100 percent trust ... she has the most omniscient perspective of the most cutting-edge creativity in ALL areas of culture. I would love to have seen her write a history of the late '80s-'90s -- Artists by the Dock of the Bay -- even in A-Z encyclopedia format -- our memories are precious and really are all we have, and I fear that many truly great and amazing artists, concerts, shows, performances, dog-and-pony shows, et al. have been completely, inadequately documented. If only San Francisco had all the New York media ... well, then it probably wouldn't be San Francisco anymore -- everyone would be too self-conscious and reflexively always self-promotional, the way the too-many-rats-in-a-cage New Yawkers behave, 24/7.

Silke has an integrity, purity of perception, honesty, and ability to forthrightly voice her evaluations while somehow magically almost never offending anybody! Above all, her enthusiasm is, as they say, contagious. I've never been disappointed with an "act" Silke recommends. I'm glad that in the past few years she has been able to write essays on out-of-town cultural phenomena -- caravans, small-town fairs and carnivals, stock car races, whatever ... and her SF Weekly awards which she curated are always the best concerts of the year ... even if you had a million dollars you couldn't put on a better party! I'm still in shock that she's leaving us, and hope that she will "wise up" and return as soon as possible, although I fear the wisdom of that adage, "You can't go home again."

About The Author

John Mecklin


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