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Monday, October 4, 2010

Warren Hellman's Hebrew Jacket Explained

Posted By on Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Definitely not last year's model... - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • Definitely not last year's model...
Jim Herd
Definitely not last year's model...
When Elvis Costello's in town, people can be forgiven for missing some peripheral details and focusing on the artist formerly known as Declan MacManus.

That being said, it was hard to miss Hardly Strictly Bluegrass impresario Warren Hellman's Semitic Sergeant Pepper jacket, complete with sequins, Stars of David, and Hebrew. This is not the sort of attire one expects a man richer than Croesus to wear. What's it all about?

Our calls to Hebrew speakers solved that one quickly. The jacket -- sewn by Hellman's granddaughter -- is emblazoned with the word "asiri," which translates as "tenth."

This, not coincidentally, is the 10th Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. The term "asiri" comes up a lot in ancient texts, incidentally -- as you'd expect when describing, say, the tithing of one's fields.

No tithes were in effect at the weekend's festival, however. Police did not confiscate even one-tenth of the bikes hanging from trees.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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