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How About Those Yak Fritters
While your review of Lhasa Moon ("Himalayan Rhapsodies," Eat, April 2) was well-researched and full of interesting details, it gave the impression that vegetarianism was widespread in Tibet. However, since the terrain is unforgiving and arid, vegetables are nearly impossible to grow; that's why barley and yak meat are their staple foods. The vast majority of Tibetans, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, eat meat.

Lisa A. Tsering

Naomi Wise replies:My subsequent research proves Tsering correct. In fact, the practice favors killing one large yak, which takes one life, to feed a family, rather than cooking a plate of shrimp, which takes many lives, to feed one person.

Sense, or Sensibility
Like Linda Kiefer ("Un-Welcome to Mr. Roberts' Neighborhood," April 9), I'm married to a newsroom employee of the San Francisco Chronicle. Like Kiefer, I've been known to voice my opinion, participate in campaigns, contact my elected officials, even attempt to mobilize my neighbors about issues some observers might view as petty.

SF Weekly seems to advocate a standard under which Kiefer, as the spouse of a Chronicle executive, forfeits her constitutional right to participate in democracy.

This raises a few questions. Does that standard apply to me too, or does it kick in only if my husband gets promoted to a spot on the masthead? This being San Francisco, does it cover domestic partners? Does it extend to the mates of SF Weekly employees as well? Please advise in time for the June election so we know if it's OK for us to vote.

Caroline Grannan
Miraloma Park

"Sucks" Off
It is obvious from her snide review of ACT's The Royal Family ("Take It With You," Stage, April 2) that Carol Lloyd has a strong bias against traditional theater. Perhaps, because Lloyd is well-ensconced in the experimental theater scene, she is unaware that audiences appreciate and applaud gorgeous sets all the time. Further, Lloyd doesn't have to like the play, but she uses her pulpit to mount a completely unwarranted attack on ACT as a whole, and in a paper that -- just last month -- compared ACT's Machinal to Picasso! Why send a critic to an ACT production when she has such a monumental chip on her shoulder?

And why would the editors of SF Weekly back her up with a banner on the cover ("Pssst! ACT's The Royal Family sucks") that was both mean-spirited and in embarrassingly poor grammar?

Cheshire Dave Beckerman

Barking Up Their Tree
Regarding your Bay View on security, "What's Best -- Pistol or Pit Bull?" (April 9), I'm not sure exactly what tone was intended -- completely tongue in cheek? satiric? semiserious?

In any case, I feel compelled to comment on the inclusion of the pit bull as a "security device." We have recently had new neighbors with a Rottweiler move next door. Their yard is four feet away from the side of our house, in full view, separated only by a chain-link fence. It is obvious that their dog is owned purely as a security device. He is left in the yard 24 hours a day, we have seen no sign of humans interacting with him, the dog crap is piling up, and intermittently he goes on barking sprees which can last almost all night.

We plan on talking to them but they don't ever appear to be home. They leave him food and water, and apparently the only illegal part of the whole situation is the barking and -- if it gets bad enough -- the dog crap. We don't want to start with legal, hostile intrusions but may have to.

I suppose some people get dogs for security but also love them as pets and keep them under control, but we are seeing the worst case of using dogs for security. It's not fair to the dog and it's not fair to the neighbors.

Carol David
Neighborhood withheld

Is That "Hanged" or "Hung"?
As the producer of Rocky Horror Superstar, I find a special delight in reading Julie Chase's "review" printed in SF Weekly ("Nothing's Shocking," Stage, April 9). My delight comes from realizing that there are still people in such a diverse and culturally enlightened city such as ours who simply "don't get it," because it means my work is far from over.

Your "reviewer," a woman whom I met two weeks before as your receptionist, missed what Rocky is all about. She mistakenly placed Rocky alongside pornography. Sadly, for some of our viewers, RHS is not pornographic. Rather, RHS has been created by members of society who are displaying, publicly, their sexuality through cross-dressing, imitation of the opposite sex, and the changing of their bodies through hormonal and surgical procedures. Watching a stage where those issues are confronted may appear to the uninitiated as "porn," but to those involved, the birthing of identity is taking place.

The reviewer goes on to state that no one sings, a curious error in light of the fact that the lead, Jesus of Frankenfurter, does sing one number, "Sweet Transvestite." And what of the fact that RHS has been billed as a lip-sync musical? Perhaps I should define "lip-sync" for Julie?

In closing, I cannot in good conscience fail to comment on the final statement of her review, "[T]he men should be well-hung." Many a gay man, including myself, would beg to differ with her observation.

Terrance Alan, Producer,
Rocky Horror Superstar
San Francisco

Welcome to the Rabbi's World
With regards to your March 26 Mulch item headlined "1-800 Rabbi Confusion," give us a break!

Rabbi Teitz and I have a fine relationship. You are maliciously trumping up charges against the Jewish Educational Center of the U.S.A., trying to intentionally create animosity towards our organization where none has existed.

What will come next? Will you report that we sold Martians a faulty, non-smog-certified UFO and that they have called you to complain?

Real stories happen because of news, not because Phyllis Orrick decides to create "news."

Rabbi Bentziyon Pil
Richmond District

The School Bus Runaround
My thanks as a former public school parent to Lisa Davis for a dead-on summary of a major problem with the city's public school system ("Bus to Nowhere," April 2).

My daughter attended an alternative school through third grade. She got in through the OER lottery as part Hispanic in a school that was at its 40 percent limits for black and white students. The mix of people was great. But there's a huge downside to the system.

Kids have to get up earlier for the bus ride across town. They start class irritable and unfocused, apart from whatever behavioral baggage they bring from home. A disproportionate amount of class time is spent on building self-esteem and teaching conflict resolution. Resources are scarce for kids without learning or emotional problems.

The kids naturally divide into groups by race. No hostility, just shared experience. Pickups and drop-offs across town are hard on parents, especially those with no car.

Imagine you're a single parent in Bayview and you're invited to attend a parent meeting at your child's school in the Haight. You worked all day and you're beat. Or you don't have a car. Or you don't feel comfortable in a room full of soccer moms with more money than you who talk fast, dominate the meeting, and demand more volunteer time you don't have. Meanwhile, the same six parents who show up all the time complain about lack of parent involvement.

John Flores is absolutely right that teachers and administrators need to work with families, not just with children. At the same time, teachers and principals can't be expected to undo years of poverty, racism, and family dysfunction in their off hours.

So all we have to do, then, is overhaul the consent decree and Title I ... roll back Prop. 13 ... fully implement Prop. 98 ... and go to the wall on work rules with the teachers' unions and the district bureaucrats. Sure. We're not busy.

By the way, Bill Rojas is conspicuously absent from Davis' article. Why is that?

Niels Erich

It's Academic
You missed the mark. The cover and accompanying story on Bernard Temple in the March 26 edition ("Portrait of the Soul-Jacker") was nothing more than a fluff piece used to incite further racism, fear, and hatred in a society already overwrought with enough of both to last several lifetimes. What gives at SF Weekly? Every edition is another inflammatory story focused on some other already disenfranchised group of folks: youth in the juvenile justice system, African-American "gangbangers," and ACT UP queers.

What is the purpose of focusing on one individual and his criminal record? The more compelling story is the story of poverty, racism, and isolation of Bayview-Hunters Point, which leaves people with few other opportunities than violent gang life. The problem is not a few individuals' behavior. The problem is the utter lack of opportunity and a system that repeatedly failed Bernard Temple and others like him. We, the community, failed Bernard Temple. We, the community, must take responsibility. It would be much more interesting if you were to write a story about that.

When you write stories about one individual and attempt to pathologize that individual, you do nothing to make change. Instead, focus on the myriad of programs that are working to reduce violence.

John Wiskind
UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Editor's Note: Hey, John, write us another note after you've moved to Bayview-Hunters Point and lived with the decent people who are victimized on a regular basis by the likes of Bernard Temple.

Literary Lites
As a member of the San Francisco Literary Society I found Matt Smith's article ("Bankers Book Bucks," Bay View, April 2) to be yet another example of writing a story for sensationalism. In one visit he has concluded that the goal for all involved is mostly monetary and little literary. Join the real world, Mr. Smith! There usually are secondary purposes in most of what people do (and not just "urbane-minded millionaires"). However, I can assure your readers that the major purpose of the group is in fact literary and we are happy that such a forum exists.

Furthermore, I have never been approached by Northern Trust officials for business purposes. As a lawyer and recently retired law professor, I am sure that I could fend for myself if I were approached. Perhaps Smith might consider a second visit. Even restaurant reviewers do that much.

Richard L. Grant
Pacific Heights

Shit Has a Fan
SF Weekly, in true tabloid journalism style, managed to completely miss the point in the cover article "Men Behaving Viciously" (March 19). The portrayals of the ACT UP San Francisco activists were one-dimensional at best, faulting the activists as if they concocted their frustration out of thin air.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation Executive Director Pat Christen is painted as the innocent victim of a group of lunatic, vindictive, phlegmatic, kitty-poop-tossing psychos. Nowhere in the article is the bigger picture presented. For instance, during her tenure as executive director, Christen has intimidated and fired union members and activist employees. Of particular concern is her cutting of bilingual/bicultural services.

Chicano AIDS activist Ronnie Burk had his own reasons for tossing cat litter at Christen, but it is untrue that he screamed that she should die while he did so. Burk yelled that Christen didn't deserve $140,000 a year, and that has been recorded on video.

Anyone who keeps treatment out of the hands of sick people, discriminates against patients and workers because of their native language or ethnicity, or sits it out on company time while people are dying deserves to have dump trucks of spit, shit, and whatever else tossed his or her way.

Jaime Gutierrez-Rodriguez

Tara Shioya replies: Such legal niceties might escape the notice of Gutierrez-Rodriguez, but San Francisco AIDS Foundation Executive Director Pat Christen's statement regarding Burk's outburst is legally sworn to be true and correct.

Racist Spot
I found Michael Scott Moore's review of Berkeley Rep's Macbeth ("Scot Free," Stage, March 5) to be offensive in the extreme. Since when is casting a black principal actor in a Shakespeare play a "deviation," as he calls it? It is no longer unusual to cast non-Anglo actors in Shakespeare, if it ever was, and to note the actors' race in such an insensitive way shows Moore's ignorance of the history of Shakespearean theater.

It is also sad and offensive to me that the critic chose to bring O.J. Simpson into his review, though the plot of Macbeth has no parallels to the Simpson trials. Is O.J. Simpson the only thing that comes to mind when Moore sees a black man? If so, perhaps he has some work to do on his own racism. If Moore wishes to discuss race in relation to Shakespeare, the least he could do is impart a little intelligence to the discussion rather than the offensive and flip comments he made in his review.

Melissa Kirk

Due to a transcribing error, Nancy Ware, the head of the upper school of San Francisco Day School, was misidentified in the April 9 Mulch "Lusty Teens Tangle in the Web." SF Weekly regrets the error.


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