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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, October 11, 2006


A filmmaker's response: I strongly object to Hiya Swanhuyser's recent coverage of my Humboldt music documentary, Rural Rock & Roll [Night & Day, Sept. 27]. Her review was way off base and even mean-spirited. I wonder if she watched the right movie?

First, I did not present anything close to a male-dominated music scene; there are no less than eight female musicians (in four bands) featured extensively in the movie (how dare she fail to mention that?), and they aren't "voiceless." Indeed, we hear from them regularly in interviews throughout. The main narrator, Michelle Cable, is a female commenting on her scene, so I object to Hiya writing that "it's laughably obvious" to me that music in Humboldt is a man's world, because it's so not what I believe. I won't even respond to the race issues she brought up (shame on her!).

Hiya also painted me as "so L.A." — as someone new to this concept of small-town music scenes and ill-equipped to compare Humboldt to other areas. Well, having lived in Humboldt for five years and toured the country as a member of several Eureka bands (during her "research," did she even bother to read my bio?), I certainly feel qualified to declare: No small-town scene I experienced comes close to the per-capita creative energy of the Eureka scene.

I also believe that rural areas are ignored by the music industry, and indie-rock enthusiasts and fans of rock lore would eat up a travelogue documentary series that dives head first into creative rural scenes. So I'm not ashamed to call it a "pilot," even if that sounds "so L.A."

Finally, I'm glad Hiya enjoyed the music in Rural Rock and praised the bands. But the sarcasm ... the nastiness ... the chip on her shoulder ... who put it there? And why on Earth is she mad at me?

Jensen Rufe

Director, Rural Rock & Roll

Hollywood, CA

I Spy

Thoughts from a former target: Great work as always by A.C. Thompson ["Cops Who Spy," Sept. 27]. He works the tough, important stories — and works them well. I was harassed by the FBI for years for being a nonviolent leader in the peace movement in the late '60s and early '70s. Bad enough that the Feds violated our civil liberties — even worse when our local police department does, too. Thank goodness the SFPD is/was as inept as the FBI. But they still tried to smear a lot of good, honest, and brave people. No wonder no one has found Bin Laden yet, or ended the violence that plagues our city, with a bunch of Keystone Kops like these running the effort.

Buck Bagot

San Francisco

Eaten Up

Genius or grifter? I think [Michael Hebberoy] is simply a grifter ["Illegal Food" by Ella Lawrence, Oct. 4]. When his little empire in Portland crashed (largely due to his ineptitude and arrogance), he fled the country, leaving employees, investors, and vendors in the lurch. Now he is starting a new kill-the-restaurant venture in Seattle. Silly, really, when you consider that the only restaurants to die by his hand were his own.

[Name withheld]

Portland, OR

Cops and Bloggers

Videographers have mothers, too: I don't pretend to be unbiased, as I am Josh's mom, but I take exception to your description of him as a "sorta journalist" ["Prison and Profits," by A.C. Thompson, Oct. 4]. His video was shown by major network news in San Francisco, and he was paid for his journalistic work. He has filed a Schedule C tax return for that business. He has been awarded, along with the two Chronicle journalists, the Journalist of the Year Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The SPJ also contributed $31,000 to his legal defense because they consider his case to be meaningful for all journalists. The California Shield Law would protect Josh in this case, and has been ruled to protect bloggers. There is no federal shield law, there is no freedom of the press — although it is promoted as such in our Constitution.

Liz Wolf-Spada

Wrightwood, CA

Seeing Both Sides

Understanding a transgendered musician: I just wanted to congratulate Frances Reade on the great article on Josh [Klipp]'s single ["Just Duet," Oct. 4].

We too often see journalists fail to respectfully cover transgender people or issues (most times unintentionally). Reade's great job made navigating the complexities of language regarding Josh's identity look simple. Well done.

Chris Daley

Transgender Law Center

San Francisco


In our Oct. 4 story "Untouchable," we misspelled the last name of U.S. Attorney Office spokesman Luke Macaulay. SF Weekly regrets the error.


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