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Letters to the Editor 

Week of May 22, 2002

We Respect You, Too

Now, quick -- give us the sexual Kung Fu details: After many years in business, Sacred Space Healing Center has finally been recognized in the local media with your Best of San Francisco 2002 for this extremely important work of human detoxification ("Best Place to Get Your Internal Organs Cleansed," May 15). Thank you for a glowing and accurate write-up. I have a newfound respect for your publication.

This publicity is occurring just as we prepare for the return of internationally known Taoist Master and author Mantak Chia on May 27 and 29 for two lectures (and a reception catered by the San Francisco Vegetarian Society). A story you might want to run is "Sex and Spirituality in the City" with ancient Taoist "secrets of love" being disseminated in the Lower Haight by a great Sexual Kung Fu Master. Please contact us for the details.

Yours in health,
Anusha Amen-Ra, C.N.C.
Director, Sacred Space Healing Center Lower Haight

Jazz -- Alive and Well

It's underground, but it isn't buried: Anthony Bonet is on the right track when he concludes, "[I]s jazz dead? That may depend on what you mean by "jazz'" ("Kind of Code Blue," Music, May 8). But I don't think there's any question at all -- jazz is alive and well, and if anything it's growing and evolving more quickly than it has in decades.

Artists like Charlie Hunter, John Scofield, Stanton Moore, and Medeski, Martin & Wood probably don't fit Wynton Marsalis' specimen-jar definition of jazz. Yet they all combine traditional jazz elements with a bag of new tricks borrowed from hip hop, electronic music, turntable artists, and many other sources. Although none of them are likely to record multiplatinum albums (is that a sin when you consider the artists who do?), they consistently sell out clubs and theaters, and their recordings sell better than a lot of more traditionally oriented jazz releases.

The most important thing about these artists, however, is the nature of their audiences. These are people who are just as comfortable catching a jazz performance, a dance DJ, or a hip hop show; they find Coltrane and Miles just as accessible as De La Soul and DJ Logic. And they certainly don't give a rat's ass about whether the music passes some academic's litmus test for "real" jazz. For musicians and their fans, the only thing that matters is what's happening in the clubs and on the street -- and on that level, I'd say the future of jazz is looking pretty damned bright.

Matthew McKenzie
West Portal

Long-Distance Art Lover

The fog should make you feel at home: I just read your article on the Christian Marclay exhibition at SFMOMA ("Sights and Sounds," Art, May 8). I live in London and read your article online. Your article really makes me wish I was back in San Francisco, as I would love to see this show. I hope to return to S.F. next February, for my second visit, and will definitely be going to the brilliant SFMOMA. Thanks again for your wonderful article.

Vince Deehan
London, England

Aliens Among Us

Taking the cynic route: Is Matt Smith smoking the rock ("Intended Consequences," April 24, on a San Francisco law that officially recognizes ID cards issued by the Mexican consulate)? I hope he doesn't think any elected official actually gives a rat's ass about undocumented aliens. In case anyone else is seeing things through the same hazy rainbow-striped shades, here are the real reasons elected Democrats support mass immigration and sing the praises of diversity: a) to get re-elected -- Latinos, for instance, have an overwhelming tendency to vote Democrat; b) to fatten up the tax rolls; and c) to provide cheap labor for their real constituents, the corporations. If you doubt any of this, I implore you: Call Sen. Barbara Boxer's office and ask her why she makes her home in Greenbrae. I assure you, she ain't up there in Marin celebrating diversity.

Alec Lawson
Western Addition

Wheels of Fortune

Muni's gravy train: Good article about the Muni creative financing ("Runaway Train," Matt Smith, April 10, on a complex, $1 billion deal to lease streetcars to private investors as tax shelters). Some questions I think people should be asking:

What happens if these deductions are disallowed by the IRS? Will San Francisco be left holding the bag?

What are all the conditions under which San Francisco taxpayers could lose on the deal?

Are those who are proposing the deal willing to provide a surety bond that San Francisco will not lose money on the deal?

All beneficiaries to the deal need to be identified and disclosed.

What benefits will there be to any San Francisco elected officials or city employees?

What does the IRS have to say about such deals?

Hope you keep Muni's feet to the fire on this one.

Richard Petersen
Mission District


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