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Not So Faust
The banality of evil: I must disagree with this reviewer ["Faust in Limbo," Chris Jensen, Stage, 5/12], who must be an English major, for he has supplied us with a review of the literature, and even liked the script, but got some odd ideas about how it was to be performed. "Otherworldly, darkly comic dread" is a fine-sounding phrase, but the script calls for nothing of the sort. Rather, the Prince of Demons tortures Faust by being relentlessly annoying — he reads [Faust's] diary, chews gum noisily, picks his teeth, and makes stupid (offstage) comments. The point here is more about the banality of evil, not some goth rocker's dream of hell, full of smoke and black chains and torn lace.

[Scott] Baker's Faust is a once-intelligent and noble man, now driven to distraction by the tackiness (not menace) of Mephistopheles and the tackiness of the future that has been revealed to him: Budweiser and Lay's potato chips at the 7-Eleven — not quite what the learned doctor was expecting.

I enjoyed the show immensely, and appreciated the performances, which I thought were quite what the script called for. While I disagree with this review, I do appreciate its length and intelligence. I just think it's barking up the wrong tree.


Web comment

Judging Kamala
It wasn't always like this: Peter Jamison's story on the miscast district attorney ["Lack of Conviction," Feature, 5/5] states that "San Francisco has always been a defense attorney's town."

That's about halfway correct. While first-rate criminal defense lawyers historically have abounded in San Francisco, so, once upon a time, did effective career, nonpolitical prosecutors. One was Tom Lynch, who succeeded Pat Brown in 1959. Another was John Jay Ferdon, who served thereafter until January 1976.

The office doesn't have to be led the way it is now.

Quentin L. Kopp

Judge, Superior Court

of California, County of San Mateo

Redwood City

Sometimes the Peasants Don't Want Cake
Just the basics: I wanted to compliment Jonathan Kauffman on his article, "Sometimes Less Is Less" [Eat, 4/28]. I really enjoyed his commentary in the last few paragraphs. It got me thinking about the role that restaurants serve in our lives these days.

I am often amazed by the adulation and status that is bestowed on certain newish restaurants, some examples being Flour + Water, Delfina, Starbelly, and A16. The food is good, well prepared, and often well within people's ability to make at home. Although I don't see what all the fuss is about, I forget that lots of folks are literally starving for this honest, basic, peasant cooking. There seem to be loads of people who've reached adulthood without acquiring basic culinary skills. A butcher shop near my home is teaching courses on chicken butchery!

On one hand, that seems a little sad, but really, I'm encouraged by this huge interest among young people who want to learn how to cook, preserve, ferment, etc.

The chef at Frances [Melissa Perello] is capable of creating edgy, idiosyncratic dishes, but I don't think that's what the majority of restaurantgoers want at this time.

James Franicevich

San Francisco

Not So Down With Willie Brown
Pasta problems: I live on the top of Russian Hill, and for years the restaurant across the street has had its garbage receptacles on the sidewalk 24/7, in violation of a San Francisco ordinance against such things. Numerous complaints have been registered with the Department of Public Works, the mayor's office, and with Supervisor David Chiu; however, there they remain. The neighborhood is convinced that it is because there is a Willie Brown pasta on the menu ["Willie's World," Faux Willie Brown, Sucka Free City, 5/12].

Daniel Detorie

San Francisco


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