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Letters to the Editor 

Week of December 31, 2003

A Room With (Not Enough) View

Love those hidden gems: Hosannas for Ron Russell's wonderful article on the Diego Rivera mural at City College of San Francisco ["Secret Rivera," Dec. 17]! I'm a San Franciscan and when I lived there I helped form a volunteer group called City Guides and gave tours of the murals in Coit Tower Russell mentions. So I love stories about hidden treasures.

Tomi Curtis
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Here's a good showcase for Diego: A possible way for putting the mural in a more visible location would be for the Mexican Museum and City College Center for Pan American Unity and Study to come together as joint tenants in the new Mexican Museum building going up at Third and Mission, and to install the Rivera there.

In that new building, City College would have a prime downtown presence, the mural would be curatorily tended to and be seen by infinitely more people, and the Mexican Museum would find the long-term growth and stability that has eluded it.

Charles M. Little
Pacific Heights

Will the Real Silver Spooner Please Stand Up?

'Tis Gonzo, not Gav: Matt Smith's article "Pumping Irony" was enlightening, but very one-sided [Dec. 17]. Why the far left in San Francisco continuously portrays Gavin Newsom as "conservative," out of touch, "elitist," etc. is beyond me. I'm a registered independent. I don't adhere to the rhetoric of the Republican, Democrat, or Green parties. I base my voting on the individual's views, policies, and methodology on how they plan to shape our future.

In the campaign for mayor, Matt Gonzalez clearly was throwing darts at a dartboard in terms of his agenda for shaping the future of S.F. and correcting the problems that exist. His background in Texas was one of privilege, not hardship as the local media portrays. Gonzalez was the Ivy Leaguer, not the other way around. Criticizing Newsom for owning and running a business is plain wrong. It is called the American dream. Not everybody is cut out for brokering deals. However, Newsom does have the uncanny ability to make money in a city where there are no free lunches (except maybe Glide Memorial, but you and I don't qualify for that).

All I'm saying is stop portraying Gonzalez as this savior for our city. Running a campaign based upon same-sex marriages and being anti-Newsom based on the "Care Not Cash" proposal will get him nowhere politically in San Francisco.

Adam Smith
Potrero Hill

Wonka Wanker

I want my Wonka Beat!: In regard to Garrett Kamps' "Wonka Records" bit, he may not remember the heyday of acid house, but there was indeed a Wonka label that wasn't half bad [OK Then, Dec. 17]. Too bad it's not the same beast Kamps is talking about! Ah, the good old days when electronic music was dark blue and electric:

When the track "Oempa Loempa" by Aquastep (on Wonka Records) turned into one of Western Europe's most popular club anthems of 1992, Belgian top label R&S invited Sven Van Hees to record for them.

And then there was "Serendipity -- It's Just a Feeling" (Wonka) [$3.95] and "Jambo! -- L'Echo L'Echo" (Wonka) [$3.95].

These singles come to me via the record collection of San Francisco's own legendary DJ Garth. If he voluntarily sold Wonka Beat records, it just goes to support my thesis that he's gone from being a moderately interesting big-name DJ to a Big Retard. These records date from the time when progressive house ruled the dance floor, "tribal" wasn't just synonymous with a crappy house label, and Van Hees hadn't yet lost it. Rife with chunky tribal percussion samples and sweet melodies that never get cloying, Wonka Beat's records are still fresh four years later (as far as I'm concerned, Wonka ceased to exist as of about WONKA010, which is when Van Hees left the label to go start Global Cuts).

There's a reason so many DJs own Wonka Beat slip mats. The only reason I don't already own all of the original Wonka Beats is that they're damn near impossible to find. Anybody that has any old Wonka records they want to sell, get in touch. These records manage to make me feel nostalgic without feeling like a loser dork about it, which is a precious thing indeed:

Flora Flanders

I'm Not a Fan Boy!

Yeah, right: I'll keep it simple. Todd Lamb doesn't know what he's talking about [U.S. Maple, Music Reviews, Dec. 10]. U.S. Maple is more important than his article. They are more important than his entire life. U.S. Maple is the last sound he will ever hear.

No, I'm not a fan. Just a source. You're welcome.

Nate Preston
Portland, Ore.


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