Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sunday, April 11, 2010

i am superman

Thursday, February 25, 2010

modern journalism 101

a) plagiarism = bad

b) borrowing stories from other sources, laying off people and outsourcing everything to scab volunteers = good

Friday, June 19, 2009

25 songs

1. pigs (three different ones) - pink floyd
2. jinx removing - jawbreaker
3. neat neat neat - the damned
4. emotional rescue - the rolling stones
5. jingle of a dog's collar - butthole surfers
6. someday i suppose - mighty mighty bosstones
7. beverly hills - circle jerks
8. where were you? - the mekons
9. another girl, another planet - the only ones
10. she's calling you - bad brains
11. foreplay / long time - boston
12. nothing left - buzzcocks
13. waiting room - fugazi
14. little guitars - van halen
15. death or glory - the clash
16. autumn walker - jets to brazil
17. bastards of young - the replacements
18. hey hey what can i do - led zeppelin
19. i've been tired - the pixies
20. man-size - pj harvey
21. say it ain't so - weezer
22. summer lovin' - the vandals
23. 7 powers - the lemonheads
24. time the avenger - the pretenders
25. gotta getaway - stiff little fingers

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

king khan & the shrines

11 Things: King Khan & the Shrines

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Digging curiously through the ampersands of time, we found King Khan & the Shrines traveling somewhere north of North Dakota and then, just as quickly as we found them, we lost them again ... only to find them reappearing a few days later somewhere deep inside the great big heart of Alberta. By this point, it had become increasingly obvious to us that the band was unstoppable. But if you think this saddened us, or made us feel down in some small fashion, think again. Knowing that King Khan & the Shrines were unstoppable only made the following facts - and the band members' decision to share them with us - that much sweeter:

1. Old & Wise: "The combined ages of King Khan & the Shrines is 384."

2. Brother & Sister: "Bamboorella, the GoGo dancer, and Ben Ra, the sax player, are the first legitimate brother/sister love affair and have been ex-communicated from all societies except the Shrines."

3. Fate & Coincidence: "Mr. Speed-finger, the Shrines lead guitar player, went to high school with the dude from Stereo Total."

4. Talented & Fun: "Fredovitch, the organ master, was featured in Bass Player magazine in 1998 for being able to play the 'Ghostbusters' theme on slap bass."

5. Sweet & Delicious: "Ron Streeter, percussionist extraordinaire, has been known to cry tears of vanilla ice cream."

6. Righteous & Worthy: "King Khan & the Shrines raised enough money in 2007 to build a school in Ecuador (this is true!)."

7. Strange & Amazing: "Big Fred Rollercoaster, the baritone sax player, has the longest fingers in all of France."

8. Unbeaten & Unbelievable: "A statue was erected in Wolfshagen, the hometown of Simon the Amazing Trumpet Player, for his still unbeaten record as women's arm wrestling champion of the East German Olympics."

9. Furby & RoboCop: "The Shrines rescued a Thunderdome reject who is like the living version of a Furby and RoboCop who, over the years, has morphed into their soundman."

10. Related & Unrelated: "Recent DNA tests have shown that King Khan is definitely not related to the Kennedy family or Michael Jackson."

11. Where & When: King Khan & the Shrines play a free show at 5:30 this afternoon at Amoeba before taking over the Great American Music Hall tonight at 9 tonight. Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight St., S.F. (415) 831-1200. www.amoeba.com; Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., S.F. (415) 885-0750. www.gamh.om.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page F - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

144 things i love

Thursday, March 5, 2009

1. The sky to the east at sunrise. 2. ShamWow! 3. Iced coffee. 4. Fresca. 5. T. Rex. 6. Club Six. 7. "The Magnificent Seven." 8. Dirk McQuickly. 9. "The White Album." 10. 10cc. 11. Root beer. 12. Root Division. 13. Funston Ave. 14. Hubris. 15. Dustin Pedroia. 16. Jack Boulware. 17. Jack Kerouac.8. J. Georgie's Donuts, Teriyaki and Hamburger. 19. The pink elephants at Zeitgeist. 20. The Hemlock jukebox. 21. The Homestead jukebox. 22. Bicycles. 23. Home. 24. Mary Lynn Rajskub. 25. Okonomiyaki. 26. Dubaku. 27. Spoon. 28. Spooning. 29. Leaving. 30. Returning. 31. Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia. 32. GETV. 33. The 33 bus. 34. David Ortiz. 35. Rich Aurilia. 36. Gonzo Grape Bubblicious. 37. Gonzo journalism. 38. .38 Special. 39. Sutro Baths. 40. Sutro Tower. 41. Mabu dofu. 42. Bouncer. 43. Bubbles. 44. Breaking rules. 45. Pedro Martinez. 46. Pancakes. 47. Darkness. 48. The Dark Room. 49. "Donnie Darko." 50. Shabu-shabu. 51. Poutine. 52. Protein. 53. "Damages." 54. Brutal honesty. 55. Tim Lincecum. 56. Moxie. 57. The Roxie. 58. Joan Jett. 59. Tina Weymouth. 60. "Neat Neat Neat." 61. Nihilism. 62. Narcissism. 63. Bibimbap. 64. Bartender Johnny Davis. 65. Virginia Woolf's "The Waves." 66. links.sfgate.com/ZGGT. 67. Qwitter. 68. People who hate Muzak. 69. The Armory flags. 70. Oranger. 71. Oranges. 72. Lemons. 73. Lemonade. 74. Lemonheads' "Lick." 75. Lick-Wilmerding. 76. Ding Dongs. 77. 1977 Mopeds. 78. 1978. 79. "1979." 80. "Women and Children First." 81. "Fair Warning." 82. Philip K. Dick. 83. Charles Bukowski. 84. Coincidence. 85. Drama. 86. Dramamine. 87. Beer. 88. Meatwad. 89. Time capsules. 90. "Time the Avenger." 91. Running through the N-Judah tunnel. 92. Angus Young. 93. Neil Young. 94. Cy Young. 95. "Forever Young." 96. Innocence. 97. Incense. 98. Peppermints. 99. Irina Slutsky. 100. The Scorpions. 101. Trader Joe's. 102. Trader Sam's. 103. Trader Vic's. 104. Repercussions. 105. Reverberations. 106. The Replacements. 107. Pokey Reese. 108. The hokey pokey. 109. Health. 110. Insurance. 111. Health insurance. 112. Writing. 113. Rewriting. 114. Fretting. 115. Dave Chappelle. 116. Dave Roberts. 117. The James Gang. 118. Rick James. 119. Sweet Polly Purebred. 120. Underdog. 121. The Undertones. 122. Underwear. 123. Pants. 124. "24 Hour Revenge Therapy." 125. "Bivouac." 126. "Unfun." 127. Fun. 128. Jerry Harrison. 129. Jerry Roberts. 130. Robert Frost. 131. Robert Duvall. 132. Robert Levy. 133. The walls at Connecticut Yankee. 134. The golf course in Golden Gate Park. 135. The elevator at the Fillmore. 136. The elevators at the Westin St. Francis. 137. The nurses at St. Luke's. 138. Lust. 139. Hal Hartley's "Trust." 140. Rajon Rondo. 141. "Blue Rondo a la Turk." 142. Words. 143. Newspapers. 144. The sky to the west at sundown.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page F - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, February 26, 2009


11 Things: LitPunk

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comparing late 1970s America with present-day America seems to become easier with each passing day. The downswing in the economy, the upswing in lawlessness, the seemingly nationwide post-traumatic political disorder, the DIY-direction of music and media allow comparisons to one-up contrasts almost effortlessly. This weekend's LitPunk event provides us with another one-up victory for comparisons. What is it? An alternative to LitQuake. Why now? We contacted the LitPunk creators and asked them to explain:

John Shirley (author and former punk-rock front man)

1. "Local literary festivals seem too mainstream and not inclusive enough of genre - and festering deep in my brain is a lesion, or possibly a memory, of the vital intensity of punk rock and how it can be fused with words on the artistic level; anger mated with satire giving birth to irony that mates again with anger, giving birth to ... LitPunk!"

2. "Richard Kadrey, Charles Gatewood, Rain Graves, Blag, Michael Layne-Heath, Johnny Strike, Charlie Anders and I know perfectly well that it is completely impossible to shock San Francisco, especially with literature and performance art, but somebody has to try. The edge is out there somewhere. We're blindly feeling our way along the pavement, looking for it."

Blag Dahlia (The Dwarves)

3. "The new Youth Brigade movie - how did a punk band no one wants to listen to wind up making the best documentary of the year?"

4. "Franz Kafka - he died miserable and alone with nothing published, sure that his existence had no value whatsoever. Sounds pretty punk to me!"

5. "No one bought my records or my books, yet young girls from all over the world still insist on sleeping with me just to infuriate their parents. Long live the Dwarves!"

Charlie Anders (author and "Writers With Drinks" impresario)

6. "Literary peeps and punk rockers totally belong together because we have wacky hair, hate bathing and can't dance to save our lives."

7. "Writers are born crusty! And just get crustier!"

8. "If the staff at Dog Eared Books and Modern Times and Borderlands formed a band together, I would go to all their gigs and let them pierce whatever part of me they wanted. It would be that hard-core."

Johnny Strike (author and Crime front man)

9. "I consider my short stories like punk rock songs: short, raw and at times ending in sublime chaos. They're collected in 'A Loud Humming Sound Came From Above.' "

10. "I'm a crime writer. It's all the same to me."

11. LitPunk takes place 7:30-9:30 p.m. Sat. $5. Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. (415) 647-2888. www.makeoutroom.com or www.johnshirley.net.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page F - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Thursday, February 19, 2009


11 Things: Homelessness

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Hobos to Street People: Artists' Responses to Homelessness From the New Deal to the Present" opens today at the California Historical Society. We asked several of the exhibition collaborators to share 11 thoughts on the subject of homelessness. The following were kind enough to participate: Paul Boden, executive director, Western Regional Advocacy Project; David Crosson, executive director, California Historical Society; Art Hazelwood, exhibition curator and contributing artist; and Adrienne McGraw, executive director, California Exhibition Resources Alliance.

1. Humanity: "Economic parallels between the Great Depression and today are seen everywhere, but in this exhibition, the human experience is portrayed." (A.M.)

2. Adversity: "Once they were called hobos and tramps, now they are called street people and homeless. The treatment of the homeless in the arts reflects how society has thought of its poorest members. You can see this in the 'noble' portrayals by WPA artists of the 1930s and in contrast how the artists of the 1980s tended to portray the homeless as degenerates unworthy of the government's interest. Contemporary California artists, however are witnessing, documenting and commenting on today's poverty in ways more akin to the artists of the Depression era. This is what this exhibition is about - where we are now, and where we were then." (A.M.)

3. Tranquility: "Shelter is one of the most fundamental of all human needs and often commands very powerful reactions. This exhibition explores artists' reactions to the issue, from the 1930s to the present." (A.M.)

4. Diversity: "A wide range of artists' approaches to expressing their message is explored. From street posters to radical magazines, from graphic novels to WPA print shops and murals, the exhibition features a wide variety of cultural viewpoints, historical perspectives and positions, from photos by Dorothea Lange to artwork pulled from today's various homeless publications." (A.H.)

5. Equality: "The art in this exhibition is a reminder that despite economic hard times, in the past we were able to reach into our better natures and create a more just and egalitarian society." (A.H.)

6. Ingenuity: "Homeless people have been known to build more than just huts out of cardboard boxes, as demonstrated by the celebrated building projects of the New Deal." (P.B.)

7. Morality: "This exhibition will raise difficult questions with political and moral overtones concerning how society has viewed homelessness and what the government's role has been and should be. The complementary programs and lectures will be provocative and controversial." (A.H.)

8. Poverty: "Now, 75 years after the New Deal responded to the devastating impact of the Great Depression by creating powerful programs to assist those in poverty, people are looking to the new administration and asking, 'Will there be a new New Deal?' " (A.M.)

9. Integrity: "The artwork in the exhibition will make you think about how art can create change and how it may change you. It will prove once and for all that history is not about the past, but about who we are today and what kind of future we aspire to create." (D.C.)

10. Affordability: "The admission fee for this exhibition has been waived to make the exhibition accessible to everyone, regardless of the ability to pay, because the more we learn, the closer we get to a solution." (P.B.)

11. Community: "Hobos to Street People: Artists' Responses to Homelessness From the New Deal toThe Present" runs through Aug. 15. Noon-4:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat. Free. California Historical Society, 678 Mission St. (415) 357-1848. www.californiahistoricalsociety.org.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page F - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, February 12, 2009

death by comcast

11 Thoughts: Death by Comcast

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's 2:11 p.m. on a lovely Saturday afternoon and I am dropping off a modem at the local Comcast office in San Francisco. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? Could it be having to wait a full 45 minutes for a transaction that should take approximately three seconds? Yes, that very well could be it! Forty-five minutes of grass growing, paint drying, water dripping ... and a writer's sanity not-so-quietly disappearing:

1. 2:11 p.m.: No chairs?

Even Greyhound bus stations have chairs!

In fact, when I sigh and look up, I begin to hear the Comcast ceiling tell me the following:

"We can afford this beautiful high-tech ceiling, but you can rest assured we will never consider actually springing for chairs. Nope, not even the cheap plastic ones you're thinking about right now."

2. 2:14 p.m.: No number system?

Even Kaiser has a number system!

Give us a number, or better yet, give us one of those handheld machines that buzzes when the staff is ready to make eye contact with us (so that we might do other things like gently wander off, eat, use the bathroom or go outside to weep quietly).

3. 2:17 p.m.: Sam Kinison's screaming face

After five minutes in line, I begin to see him.
After six minutes, he is right in front of me,
screaming at the top of his lungs.

4. 2:23 p.m.: Samuel L. Jackson's booming voice

By 2:27 p.m., I am replying to it.

5. 2:30 p.m.: Jim Morrison's shrieking vocal cords

He is telling me I "cannot petition the Lord with prayer" -
and I believe him.

6. 2:34 p.m.: Politeness

I strike up a conversation with the people behind me, but they don't reply. Who can blame them? It's as if we're all stuck in an elevator together and the doors won't open and we're not allowed to make eye contact and the elevator just came to a sudden grinding halt.

7. 2:38 p.m.: Dizziness

I begin to see those strange flashes you see when you rub your eyes,
only I'm not rubbing my eyes.

8. 2:42 p.m.: The magic cane

Someone with a cane just waltzed right in and sat down at the special counter by the entranceway. By 2:43 p.m., he is done and gone.

(Wall-size note to self: Next time, bring a cane.)

9. 2:48 p.m.: Proof

I've convinced myself I need to physically be here in order to identify my modem.

10. 2:51 p.m.: A scanner darkly

That is, until I see an employee scan someone else's modem,
which automatically tells Comcast who the modem belongs to,
which automatically tells me it is unnecessary for me to be here,
which automatically tells me I will be writing this column,
which automatically tells the entire planet how unnecessary it is
for a person to be standing in this line
for no real reason at all!

11. 2:56 p.m.: 11 things easily better than this

Root canals, colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, surgery, taxes, turnips, meetings, changing diapers, Muni, pigeons and death.

And yes, for the record, I am still in line at Comcast.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page F - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, February 05, 2009

black history month

11 Things: Black History Month

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Because I still find the content of their character to be every bit as interesting as the character of their content:

1. Billie Holiday:

History: Eleanora Fagan Gough was born April 7, 1915, and died July 17, 1959.

Song to think about during Black History Month: Her version of Abel Meeropol's "Strange Fruit."

Random aside: When you're done with Holiday's version, listen to Nina Simone's version.

2. Screamin' Jay Hawkins:

History: Jalacy Hawkins was born July 28, 1929, and died Feb. 12, 2000.

Song to listen to on Valentine's Day: "I Put a Spell on You."

Random aside: "Jiffy Squid? Turn that damn thing off!"

3. Malcolm Mooney (Can):

History: Can's music always feels as if it's playing in a continuous vacuum somewhere. Perhaps this is why Mooney went crazy and left the band. He was replaced by Damo Suzuki.

Song to rediscover on YouTube: "Father Cannot Yell."

Random aside: Without Mooney and Suzuki, there is no Mooney Suzuki.

4. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy):

History: The Thin Lizzy frontman was born Aug. 20, 1949, and died Jan. 4, 1986. His father was Afro-Brazilian.

Song to listen to on Fridays: "Whiskey in the Jar."

Random aside: The lyrics "musha ring dum a doo dum a da" can be written many different ways.

5. Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex):

History: Marian Joan Elliott-Said was born in the summer of 1957. Her father was Somali.

Song to listen to in the bathroom: "Germ Free Adolescents."

Random aside: "Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think - oh bondage, up yours!"

6. H.R. (Bad Brains):

History: Paul D. Hudson was born Feb. 11, 1953. H.R. stands for Human Rights. His brother Earl is the band's drummer.

Song to rewind and replay and rewind and replay again: "Re-Ignition."

Random aside: The Beastie Boys' BB initials are meant to pay tribute to Bad Brains.

7. D.H. Peligro (Dead Kennedys):

History: Darren Henley was the DK drummer from 1981 to 1986. Sadly, the band is now history.

Song to dedicate to the governor: "California Über Alles."

Random aside: "Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death."

8. Chuck D (Public Enemy):

History: Carlton Douglas Ridenhour was born Aug. 1, 1960, the son of two political activists.

Song to believe in: "Don't Believe the Hype."

Random aside: Public Enemy deserves a much LARGER FONT on this year's Coachella poster.

9. Kool Keith (Dr. Octagon):

History: Keith Matthew Thornton has had more than 50 aliases over the past 20 years, including Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom, Black Elvis, others.

Song to request at Mezzanine on Feb. 26: "Earth People."

Random aside: "Oh s-, there's a horse in the hospital."

10. Kele Okereke (Bloc Party):

History: Kelechukwu Rowland Okereke started the band with Russell Lissack in 1999 (but the band wasn't known as Bloc Party until 2003).

Song to listen to every morning: "Banquet."

Random aside: Bloc Party plays Oakland's Fox Theater on April 20.

11. Tunde Adebimpe (TVotR):

History: Tunde Adebimpe started TV on the Radio with David Andrew Sitek in 2001.

Song to listen to every night: "Wolf Like Me."

Random aside: TVotR releases a pitch-perfect cover of "Heroes" on Feb. 24 - a pitch-perfect way to end a column about a month that doesn't end at the end of the month.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page F - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, January 29, 2009

deth p. sun

11 Things: Deth P. Sun

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We caught up with East Bay artist Deth P. Sun recently and asked him to share 11 things circling around his mind.

1. "Deth" is my first name. It's a Khmer name. I'm Chinese-Cambodian, but the Chinese side is also from Cambodia. I'm only writing this 'cause someone asked me.

2. My girlfriend, Marci, is also a painter. She has a solo show in April at Rena Bransten, and she's been away for the month of January at Yaddo, an artist residency in upstate New York.

3. We went to visit Edward Gorey's house in Cape Cod this summer, and it was pretty awesome. They turned his house into a museum, and we stayed at the haunted inn next door, ate at his favorite restaurant and swam in the pond near the local cemetery.

4. I'm 29 and still don't know how to drive. Last year my friend tried teaching me. On the first try I hit a parked RV. On the second try I nearly ran over a jogger in the big cemetery in Oakland. I think giving up on the idea of driving is probably for the best.

5. The person who designed New York's Central Park (Frederick Law Olmsted) also designed the big cemetery in Oakland. I go jogging there. I like hanging out near the turtle pond and once found a headstone that had the words "killed by ..." written on it.

6. I'm trying to learn how to cook. Two of the first things I learned to make were corned beef and cabbage and fried pork chops. I don't recommend making corned beef more than twice a month 'cause that's a lot of meat.

7. I just developed an allergy to wheat this past year. I figured it out after a night of heavy (Irish) car bombing. It kind of sucks, but since I don't eat bread, drink beer or eat any processed food, I've gotten a lot healthier. I'm just happy that bourbon is made with corn.

8. I live in Oakland but my studio is in San Francisco. I take the T past the ballpark to get to it. I'm looking forward to going to see a game there after work.

9. In a year I hope to be living in Rhode Island. I like the state 'cause the eating's different and I'd like to experience cold weather.

10. Deth P. Sun's "This Too Shall Pass" appears at Rowan Morrison through Feb. 14, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 330 40th St., Oakland. (510) 384-5344. www.rowanmorrison.com.

11. His work is also on display at Palo Alto Art Center's "Tales From an Imaginary Menagerie" with Randy Bolton, Ria Brodell, John Casey, others. Through April 26. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 7-9 p.m. Thurs., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 1313 Newell Rd., Palo Alto. (650) 329-2366. www.paacf.org.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

www.dethpsun.com (for more)!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

rob riggle

11 Things: Rob Riggle

Thursday, January 22, 2009

1. "Facebook Improv"? Can you explain it in fewer than 20 words? We look up audience member profiles, let them explain, then do scenes based on their lives. (16 words.) YES!

2. The Rob Riggle School of Journalism? Can anyone explain it in fewer than 20 words? Don't lie to me 'cause I'll crush you into powder. Also, the truth isn't as important as the story. (19 words.) YES! Nailed it again!

3. Now that Bush and Cheney have departed, is your job really necessary? Always ... Someone ALWAYS has to speak truth to power! Let's see how good the Dems' sense of humor is now that they're in charge.

4. Can you explain exactly how Katie Couric managed to steal you away from Jon Stewart? Stewart lost me in a late-night poker bet to CBS.

5. Do you miss sharing office space with John Oliver? Sharing an office with John Oliver for 2 1/2 years was definitely one of the highlights of my entire comedy career. It's summed up quite nicely in the farewell video at links.sfgate.com/ZFWU.

6. Favorite thing about San Francisco? Most of the people.

7. Least favorite thing? Some of the people.

8. Favorite comedian (other than yourself)? There are sooo many! John Oliver, Mike Birbiglia, Jon Stewart, Rory Albanese, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Owen Burke, Seth Morris, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, Demetri Martin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, Sam Kinison ... the list could go on for a very long time.

9. Is it true you were declared Kansan of the year last year? Not me, I lost again. This time to a 4-H pig named Jezzzebell.

10. Anything you'd like to add? Please come to the SF Sketchfest! I will be juggling fire and plan to swallow a tiger whole. You don't want to miss it!

11. Rob Riggle can be found fighting crime at: "Facebook Improv" with Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Seth Morris, Chad Carter and Owen Burke. 8 and 10 p.m. Fri. $20. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St. (415) 584-2941. He'll also be appearing at "The Hills: A Staged Reading" and "Invite Them Up" with a variety of other Sketchfest comedians. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Sat. $25. Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave. (415) 928-4320. www.sfsketchfest.com.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

if i had stayed married ...

today would've been my ten year wedding anniversary.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009


11 Things: Resolutions

Thursday, January 8, 2009

1. I'm really going to do it this year

What? It.
Why? To improve myself.
Why are you being so selfish? Good point.

2. Stop being so selfish

What? Think beyond yourself.
Why? Because you're not the only one.
Are you serious? Lol.

3. Be more serious

What? Stop kidding around.
Why? This is serious business.
It is? Yes, you should talk to someone.

4. Talk to someone

Who? Anyone.
Why? Because.
Because why? Because we're worried about you.

5. Stop worrying

Why? Because whatever happens happens.
What about free will? Sorry, hadn't thought about that.
Well, what are you going to do about it? Sorry, not sure yet.

6. Stop apologizing

Why? Because it's annoying.
What about when it's warranted? Like when?
Like right now! Oh. Sorry.

7. Stop making excuses

Why? I don't know.
Why don't you know? Well, you see ...
I suppose this is going to be a reason, not an excuse. Yes, exactly.

8. Stop agreeing with everyone

Why? Because you're an adult now.
So I should think for myself? Absolutely.
But what if I think for myself and agree with everyone?

9. Stop being so difficult

Why? For the sake of others.
What's the problem? There's no problem.
Who said there was a problem? Stop!

10. Stop saying stop

Why? Because it's annoying.
Why'd you just say it, then? OK, I'll stop.
I asked you not to do that! OK, I'll continue ...

11. I'm really going to do it this year

What? It.
Why? To improve myself.
Good. Shall we begin?

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, January 01, 2009

happy birthday, j.d. salinger

Happy Birthday, J.D. Salinger

Thursday, January 1, 2009

J.D. Salinger casually discussed school-age alienation well before American society seemed to have any clue about the concept. To pay tribute to the man on his 90th birthday today, I reread my dad's old dilapidated copy of "The Catcher in the Rye." Much like the story itself, Holden Caulfield's thoughts continue to ace the test of time.

1. Page 20: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it."

2. Page 59: "Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away."

3. Page 72: "I think I really like it best when you can kid the pants off a girl when the opportunity arises, but it's a funny thing. The girls I like best are the ones I never feel much like kidding. Sometimes I think they'd like it if you kidded them - in fact, I know they would - but it's hard to get started, once you've known them a pretty long time and never kidded them."

4. Page 81: "The Navy guy and I told each other we were glad to've met each other. Which always kills me. I'm always saying 'Glad to've met you' to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though."

5. Page 123: "The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, no matter how big a bastard he is, they'll say he has an inferiority complex, and if they don't like him, no matter how nice a guy he is or how big an inferiority complex he has, they'll say he's conceited. Even smart girls do it."

6. Page 128: "Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will."

7. Page 140: "Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something."

8. Page 182: "She yelled 'Good luck!' at me the same way old Spencer did when I left Pencey. God, how I hate it when somebody yells 'Good luck!' at me when I'm leaving somewhere. It's depressing."

9. Page 184: "That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'F- you' right under your nose."

10. Page 190: "The thing with kids is, if they want to grab the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them."

11. Page 192: "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, December 11, 2008


11 Things: Tartufi's Favorite Sounds '08

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When I was young, my mom used to draw a line on a piece of paper and ask me to turn it into something. It's a useful way to view Tartufi's music. The songs start out simply and modestly and develop into something epic and dramatic. So I drew some lines on a piece of paper for band members Lynne Angel and Brian Gorman and asked them to turn it into something. Between e-mail pingpong and signing with Southern Records, they turned the lines into their 11 favorite sounds of 2008:

1. The sound of Low Red Land shredding. Additionally, the sound of a shredder shredding while Low Red Land's new album, "Dog's Hymns," plays in the background.

2. The sound of "President-elect Obama."

3. The sound of Mormons gasping and then apologizing to America when Proposition 8 got overturned. ... Oh wait, that's in the future, but it's going to sound so good we can almost hear it now.

4. The sound of Silian Rail making the best and most complex use of all their fingers, arms, legs and feet out of any band we know ... and lookin' hecka good in the process.

5. The sound of our gear not exploding while on tour in addition to the sound of not getting pulled over while on tour and the sound of big toes not breaking while on tour.

6. The sound of Department of Eagles, Deer Tick, Paper Airplanes, Fleet Foxes, the Botticellis, Jesse Rogers, Musée Mecanique, D Numbers, Beach House, "This American Life" and Tunng playing one at a time over and over and over.

7. The sound of biting into a foot-long veggie patty sandwich with everything except onions and jalepenos at a Subway in Ankeny, Iowa.

8. "My name is Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you!"

9. The sound of an aerial mortar firework launching from its hurl tube and then exploding into the night sky.

10. The sound of sound - layered, looped, lush and live.

11. The sound of playing one final 2008 show with Them Hills and Low Red Land. We go on first and it's Lynne's birthday, so come on down early and shake your tail feathers with us. 9:30 tonight. The Eagle Tavern, 398 12th St. (415) 626-0880. www.sfeagle.com; www.tartufirock.net.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, December 04, 2008


11 Things: AC/DShe/AC/DC

Thursday, December 4, 2008

When we learned AC/DShe would be sitting in the fifth row at tonight's AC/DC show, our excitement began. When San Francisco's beloved all-girl tribute band agreed to take things a step further and provide us with an 11-step process to getting ready for the show, our excitement flourished. When we invited them to the column's backstage area, our excitement fainted. Here's what the ladies said when our excitement awoke:

1. Preparation: Find your tickets! Many of us will reaffirm that it was well worth fighting that Sunday hangover to buy tickets the minute they went on sale.

2. Desperation: Beg anyone and everyone with connections for backstage passes. Contemplate whether AC/DC even hangs out backstage anymore. By the way, we're still begging, pleading and considering more extreme options.

3. Adoration: Regardless of No. 2, plan to make the most lasting impression of any fan in AC/DC history. Prepare a few awesome ice breakers, knowing you'll make guitarist Angus Young smile!

4. Affirmation: Listen to and watch AC/DC relentlessly. Get butterflies often. AC/DShe often watches "Let There Be Rock" or the more recently released DVD box set "Plug Me In," which features fantastic footage from the Bon Scott era as well as your Brian Johnson favorites.

5. Anticipation: Gather your favorite AC/DC tour shirt, buttons and other wearable memorabilia and rarities; you'll want to show off your AC/DC best! Lay out your rock uniform the night before - just like it's the first day of school!

6. Celebration: (Perhaps this is just for AC/DShe) Consider driving around San Francisco on a flatbed truck playing your favorite AC/DC tunes the same way AC/DC did in the "It's a Long Way to the Top" video filmed in the streets of Melbourne in 1976. (Please note: Bagpipes are not optional.)

7. Dedication: Build your head-banging stamina by playing Rock Band (AC/DC Live Rock Band track pack) incessantly.

8. Inebriation: Limo party! Drink plenty, ride around the parking lot blasting AC/DC, hang out of the sunroof waving your homemade AC/DC banner.

9. Amplification: Grab earplugs, even though you know you'll ditch 'em as soon as you run into the arena.

10. Declaration: Let there be rock!

11. Destination: AC/DC plays at 8 p.m. today at Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland. (510) 569-2121. www.coliseum.com; AC/DShe plays Feb. 7 at Slim's, 333 11th St., San Francisco. (415) 255-0333. www.slims-sf.com.

Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, November 27, 2008

the hanson brothers

11 Things: The Hanson Brothers

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No, not those Hanson Brothers. We're talking about the NoMeansNo side project Hanson Brothers. We caught up with the Canadian boys via e-mail during the European leg of their tour and asked them to share 11 Things about themselves. They agreed not to say no:

1. The Hanson Brothers, known for their blistering shows in venues from Yellowknife to Sudbury, have released their first live album, "It's a Living," on Wrong Records, licensed by Southern. We're not sure if it's our fourth or fifth release overall, as guitarist Tommy Hanson has a tough time with integers.

2. "It's a Living" was recorded in the lively town of Coaldale, Alberta, home to Canada's french fry cartel and a notable stop on the arm-rasslin' circuit. Paul "Biceps" McGee was a notable member of the crowd the night the show was preserved on tape.

3. Originally, the band contacted the Rolling Stones regarding use of its mobile live unit, but upon hearing the cost, Johnny Hanson exclaimed, "Egads!" Plan B was hastily enacted an hour before the show, and noted sound engineer Blair Calibaba (known for his role in developing the "ripped-jeans-in-bum fashion statement" in the glam metal scene in Regina, Saskatchewan) armed eight punters [punks] with handheld tape-recording devices. The eight tracks were later mixed down in the band's dismal railroad apartment in Cold Lake, Alberta.

4. Because of probation restrictions, bassist Robbie Hanson was unable to travel on tour. Being crafty and resourceful, he played his bass every night over a Mickey Mouse telephone and thus his signature booming musical underbelly was not missed. Neither was his peculiar body odor.

5. There is no truth to the dirty rotten rumors about singer Johnny Hanson and that potato.

6. Drummer Ernie Hanson got a crayon stuck in his nose and was last seen dodging freight train traffic near Edmonton.

7. New drummer Mikey Hanson is an avid Hello Kitty collector and will not perform unless his Hello Kitty Drum Stool is pointing due north. Fortunately, tour manager Adam Slack (a known cat juggler) equips all Hanson Brothers material with GPS trackers.

8. Tommy Hanson rarely gets lolcats.

9. No, Robbie Hanson is not older than Lemmy Kilmister.

10. The Bay Area should be honored that the Hanson Brothers chose a tour this late in the season, as they usually track the migration of caribou this time of year.

11. The S.F. show is a bit of a homecoming for Mikey Hanson, the new drummer. He plays with Ralph Spight in the Freak Accident. Maybe Jello [Biafra] will show up. Or maybe not. Doesn't matter. We're just coming for the burritos.

The Hanson Brothers play with Triclops and the Bar Feeders. 8 p.m. Sun. $14-$16. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco. (415) 885-0750. www.nomeanswhatever.com.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, November 20, 2008

gratitude ingratitude

11 Things: Gratitude Ingratitude

Thursday, November 20, 2008

1. Literature: "Maybe the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly is having to accept it."

- William Faulkner

Maybe the only thing worse is having to figure out which is worse.

2. Philosophy: "There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life - reciprocity."

- Confucius

There is another word that finished a very close second: pants.

3. Kids: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

- Dr. Seuss

And even then, things may remain a bit sketchy.

4. Politics: "We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

We can begin by reminding them that there won't be any Social Security, insurance or retirement when they get older.

5. Art: "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

The essence of all beautiful understanding, all great understanding, is found in another quote.

6. Society: "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."

- Oscar Wilde

Except on eBay.

7. Music: "When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around."

- Willie Nelson

When the IRS stopped counting, things turned around even more.

8. Economics: "It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference."

- Tom Brokaw

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to hold on to it.

9. Journalism: "Thanks to my solid academic training, today I can write hundreds of words on virtually any topic without possessing a shred of information, which is how I got a good job in journalism."

- Dave Barry

Thanks to our solid Internet connections, we can thank Dave Barry.

10. Food: "I feel a very unusual sensation - if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude."

- Benjamin Disraeli

Trust me. It's both.

11. Life: "Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday."

- Dale Carnegie

And the day before yesterday? We'll let you know - the day after tomorrow.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the legendary pink dots

11 Things: The Legendary Pink Dots

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On the eve of the Legendary Pink Dots' two shows in San Francisco, we asked founding member Edward Ka-Spel to share 11 Things that stand out most about the band's 28-year evolution.

1. Exotic machines: The biggest thing has been the Internet. When we first started, we considered fax machines to be exotic; now I can chat away with friends on the other side of the planet and not have a six-figure phone bill. Of course, it isn't all good. People don't buy music as much as they used to, which is very hard for small bands like the Dots.

2. Disappearing borders: One of our best shows in recent years was Moscow. The crowd loved the music (mostly distributed through pirate CDs). Such a show would've been unthinkable in, say, 1986. We now play (and thrive) in all corners of Central and Eastern Europe and are generally treated better there than in places closer to home.

3. Cherished formats: So much great music is still being made. ... It's just sad that we need to search for it harder these days as the record shops I always cherished are becoming fewer.

4. Turning tables: I have to smile at how turntables are being made again. It's been great to see so many titles lovingly reproduced on vinyl. Big business failed to snuff it out, and I say amen to that.

5. Tolerated ignorance: The 2000s have been a time of intolerance and ignorance on a global level. Too many preachers, too many sheep, too many rules.

6. Ignoring intolerance: Now there's a wonderful new president of the United States of America and many of us who'd secretly like to see him be president of the world. Can we stop being scared now?

7. Related relations: Saddest moment in the past 28 years was the death of second guitar player Bob Pistoor back in 1991. A lovely, gentle man and the finest musician we ever had.

8. Elated elations: Happiest moment is harder to pin down, there have been many. ... Maybe that 1995 show in Mexico City when cEvin Key and Ryan Moore played drums and people came from everywhere. ... Still, I have felt elated very often just this year.

9. Regenerated regenerations: I used to fear drying up, exhausting everything there was to say, exhausting all combinations of notes we found pleasing. I'm happy to say I still feel as though we hardly started yet.

10. Generated generations: Survival. We had a choice back in '88. ... Do we go on after four members left or do we end it there? The discussion with Phil (the Silverman) lasted maybe a minute.

11. And look at us now: The Legendary Pink Dots play Cafe Du Nord with Big City Orchestra. 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. $17-$20 (21 and older). 2170 Market St. (415) 861-5016. www.cafedunord.com.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, November 06, 2008

overused phrases

11 Things: Overused Phrases

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1. No question about it
Actually, there is a question about it and it's a very good question and isn't this why we're discussing it in the first place?

But I digress.

2. But I digress
Also mental laziness. It's as if you're saying, "I've entered this conversation, I've looked around, and frankly, I'm not all that impressed."

May I leave now?

3. Now or never
How about next week? Is that no longer an option? You neurotic freaks ...

Seize another day!

4.___ is the new ___
Pink, black, green, Thursday, Friday, Saturday ... San Francisco has a tendency to follow trends as much as Los Angeles, despite recent trends indicating that people who don't follow trends live in San Francisco. So what have we learned?

Anti-trend is the new trend.

5. Going green
A polite way of saying, "We're going to market ourselves as green, claim a boatload of environmental bonus points and get back to whatever it was we were doing before ...

Going green."

6. On the same page
What? Are we all sitting around in a gigantic bed reading books together? Nobody sits around and reads books anymore. Come on!

Get with the program!

7. Get with the program
See above. Change books to programs. Nobody watches programs anymore! Come on!

Think outside the box!

8. Think outside the box
Not a good idea! Trust me on this. The minute you do, they'll want you back in the box, and once you're back in the box, nobody can hear you.

Take right now, for instance.

9. Free with admission
Not only are you still being charged, but they've subconsciously made you believe you aren't being charged. Brilliant - and annoying!

Are we on the same page?

10. If I had my druthers
Translation: If I had my "I'd rathers." Actually, if I had my "I'd rathers," I'd rather leave this one out. If I had my druthers, I'd rather be free to use the word ...


11. Unanswered questions
A bit like saying cheese quesadilla. "Queso" means cheese. Question means we're looking for an answer, so my favorite unanswered question would have to be "What kind of quesadilla would you like?"

No question about it.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, October 30, 2008

raising hell on halloween

11 Things: Raising Hell on Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

1. "Highway to Hell" (AC/DC)

"No stop signs, speed limit/ Nobody's gonna slow me down ..."

Same: road gas prices have taken.
Immortalized here: sfgate.com/ZFFJ.

2. "Straight to Hell" (The Clash)

"It ain't Coca-Cola, it's rice ..."

Same: direction economy has taken.
Sampled here: sfgate.com/ZFFK.

3. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" (The Flaming Lips)

"I was waiting on a moment/ but the moment never came ..."

Same: action Congress has taken.
Blended here: sfgate.com/ZFFL.

4. "To Hell With Poverty" (Gang of Four)

"To hell with poverty/ we'll get drunk on cheap wine ..."

Same: attitude city has taken.
Screamed here: sfgate.com/ZFFM.

5. "Bat Out of Hell" (Meat Loaf)

"Breaking out of my body/ And flying away/ Like a bat out of hell ..."

Same: drunken karaoke joy I've taken.
Inspired here: sfgate.com/ZFFN.

6. "Hell Yes" (Beck)

"Yes/ Hi/ I like your bass/ Your beat is nice ..."

Same: Obamarama joy Bay Area has taken.
Applauded here: sfgate.com/ZFFO.

7. "Where the Hell Is Bill?" (Camper Van Beethoven)

"Maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks."

Same: place Bill was taken.
Located here: sfgate.com/ZFFP.

8. "Where in the Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush?" (Reverend Horton Heat)

"You didn't leave a bar of soap when you left me/ You didn't even leave a towel so I could dry my face ..."

Same: place dental benefits were taken.
Brushed here: sfgate.com/ZFFQ.

9. "Catch Hell Blues" (The White Stripes)

"If you go lookin' for hot water/ Don't act shocked when you get burned a little bit ..."

Same: flak city has taken (for moving Halloween).
Caught here: sfgate.com/ZFFR.

10. "Aloha From Hell" (The Cramps)

"Gonna take a week off/ Gonna go to Hell ..."

Same: place holiday airfares were taken.
Enjoyed here: sfgate.com/ZFFS.

11. "Hell Is for Children" (Pat Benatar)

"Because hell/ Hell is for children ..."

Same: place I was taken.
Covered here: sfgate.com/ZFFT.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, October 23, 2008

the dirty hairy show

11 Things: The Dirty Hairy Show

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What do you get when you experiment with art, music, film, sex and hair? You get the Autista Art Collective and the Oxenrose Gallery collaboration "The Dirty Hairy Show." Autista curator David Charles elaborates on the show's forthcoming mashup of serious, sexy and fun:

1. The influences: Retro-futurism. Metaphysical naturalism. The films of Alexander Jodorowsky. The "Vampyros Lesbos" soundtrack. Brazilian soft porn from the '70s.

2. The ideas: Back in the 1970s, experimentation with art, music and filmmaking reached its peak. So did the volume of women's hair. Both seemed like interesting grounds to cover.

3. The collective: Autista considers itself a refuge to produce work so out of touch with reality that it makes you wonder if there's actually a bit of autism in all of us. (To learn more, visit www.autista.tv.)

4. The international: We'll be showcasing the work of 14 of Brazil's most notorious up-and-coming artists, such as Elisa Sassi, Carlos Dias, Tinico Rosa, Ramon Martins and Fefê Talavera.

5. The national: Special guest artists include film director Anna Biller, Los Angeles multimedia artist Dian-Sofia and San Francisco imaginaire Melinda Gorham.

6. The art: Projections of Anna Biller's indie-hit "Viva!" Giant neorealistic paintings from Manuel Goma. Human-hair sweaters by David Charles and Cris Seixas. Intricate line drawings by Vince Montelongo. Interactive ponytails by Gorham. Klimt-inspired women by Martins. Sassi will also be painting the walls of Oxenrose with her devilish furry creatures.

7. The music: Manfred Hübler & Siegfried Schwab performing "Vampyros Lesbos." Armando Trovaioli. Berto Pisano. Roberto Pregadio and Gert Wilden & Orchestra performing "The Schulmädchen Reports."

8. Favorite hair color: Strawberry blond.

9. Favorite 1980s Brazilian soft-porn actress: Cláudia Ohana.

10. The philanthropy: A large portion of Autista sales go to help autistic children in Brazil.

11. The opening party: "The Dirty Hairy Show" opens 8-11:30 p.m. Sat. and runs through Jan. 3. Oxenrose Gallery, 448 Grove St. (415) 252-9723. www.oxenrosesalon.com.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, October 17, 2008


Friday, October 17, 2008
The Red Sox make it to midnight
By Bill Simmons / ESPN

We were having the funeral for the 2008 Red Sox. Heck, I even gave one of the eulogies. Called my dad during the seventh inning for the requisite, "Yup, we just didn't have it this year," conversation and everything.

My father and I covered all the bases in that phone call. The Sox were too banged up. They missed Manny. They didn't have enough reliable relievers. They had too many young guys with Schiraldian looks on their faces, too many pseudo-fans in the stands, too few free spirits in the dugout. They never should have let Josh Beckett pitch to those last two batters in Game 2. They never should have put Mike Timlin on the playoff roster, much less brought him in for the 11th inning of Game 2. And now, they were going down with a whimper. They were going to get swept in the middle three games at home, three humiliating losses to their formerly scrawny stepbrother in the AL East. Our boys seemed fine with it, and that was what really troubled us. Who was this team? Where were the guys I watched for 6½ months? Were the defending champs really handing over their title without a fight?

I remember uttering the words, "I wanted us to win tonight if only because it would have been another two days where I didn't have to think about Matt Cassel." I remember Dad admitting, "I turned it off 20 minutes ago; I'm watching 'ER.'" I couldn't even blame him. We hung up.

And yet ...

I didn't turn off Game 5. I did the old "half-watching it, going through e-mails and not getting totally invested even though I totally was" thing. When Tampa Bay's Grant Balfour allowed two baserunners in the bottom of the seventh, I would have been more excited with Dustin Pedroia coming up and David ORRR-tese (as Buck Martinez keeps calling him for reasons that remain unclear) on deck if Big Papi hadn't passed away about three weeks ago. During an earlier inning, one of my Red Sox e-mail buddies wrote after yet another Papi whiff, "I'd rather have Brandon Moss or Jeff Bailey or Matt Stairs batting third for us. Papi is not just useless, he's visibly, obviously, pathetically useless." I love Papi and couldn't even muster a counter-argument. You can't hit for power with a bum wrist. You just can't.

Meanwhile, Pedroia was battling Balfour. And something weird was happening. With no reason at all to believe, the Fenway fans were standing and cheering and willing Little Man to get a hit. This was an unexpected old-school Fenway crowd, like the ones we had before they turned Fenway into a theme park and it became acceptable for everyone to joyously sing the "So good! So good! So good!" part of "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth even if the Sox were trailing by eight runs at the time. By Game 5, with the season stumbling to an end and the demand for tickets waning, the Rich People Who Go To Games Just To Tell People They Went weren't so interested in going, and suddenly, Fenway was Fenway again.

Little Man ended up ripping a line drive to right field that Gabe Gross considered diving for, froze for a split-second, then allowed to bounce 3 feet in front of him. Thank you, Gabe. The Sox were on the board. Now, Papi was coming up. Saddled by the aforementioned bum wrist, poor Papi can crush only two pitches for power anymore -- a fastball right in his unrecognizably small wheelhouse, or an off-speed pitch on the lower half of the plate that he can pull -- and for some unknown reason, that kooky Aussie Balfour decided to throw that fastball to him. Which was summarily crushed into the right-field stands, one of those bombs when the camera guy above home plate has to zoom back to find the ball. Just like old times. And that set up my single favorite announcing moment of any baseball comeback:

"And it's a seven to FOUR ballgame!"

Now, Fenway was rocking and rolling. Again, just like old times. I called my dad to make sure he was watching. "Nah, we're still watching 'ER,'" he said. "Call me if they get closer." (At this specific point in time, I didn't realize I would be making fun of him forever for prioritizing Maura Tierney's final "ER" episode over the single most unbelievable comeback in Red Sox history.) Even with the momentum shifting, we needed three more runs and had nobody to pitch the ninth since Jonathan Papelbon already had gotten three outs and never pitches more than two innings because the Red Sox rightly subscribe to the "it's a marathon, not a sprint" philosophy with younger pitchers. After Paps cruised through the eighth, with a potentially rocky top of the ninth looming, I was thinking one thing: "Please, for the love of God, I hope the Rays use Wheeler to get seven outs; that's our only chance."

And that was exactly what they tried to do.

See, I know Dan Wheeler. He spent much of the 2008 season on my AL fantasy team as Troy Percival insurance … which, of course, ended up coming in handy three times. I watched Wheeler pitch many an eighth or ninth inning, suffered through his occasional failures, enjoyed his successes and never trusted him for a damn second. There are two kinds of closers: the lights-out guys (like Papelbon), and the hold-onto-your-seats guys (like Wheeler). When you need three improbable runs, you want the second guy out there. He's the guy who might get nervous. He's the guy who thinks to himself, "Deep down, I know I'm just a very good set-up guy masquerading as a half-decent closer." When the great comebacks happen in baseball, they usually happen with these specific types of guys on the mound -- Donnie Moore, Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley, Jose Mesa, a long-in-the-tooth Rob Nenn -- the guys who can be broken, the guys who can absolutely be taken deep in the right spot. I didn't care that Wheeler saved the Rays by getting 10 huge outs in Game 2. This was different. This was Fenway. This was, "I'm the only person standing between the World Series and one of the great collapses in modern baseball history." This was a spot for Mariano Rivera, not Dan Wheeler.

Jason Bay came up to lead the bottom of the eighth. I like Bay. He has been very good. But if you honestly think I wasn't swearing at Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras at that moment, you don't know me well enough. Manny would have had Fenway swaying like a bridge during a hurricane. Manny would have had the Rays' fans quaking in their boots. Manny absolutely, positively, unquestionably would have gotten on base. (Of course, Manny would have hit fourth, not fifth, but whatever. I can't look at Bay and not think of Manny. At least not yet. Bay is like the dutiful, pretty second wife who does everything right … and yet, I can't stop thinking about the soul-wrenching tramp who married me first and broke my heart. I wish it wasn't that way, but it's going to take some time. The fact that Manny finished the 2008 playoffs with an OPS that was almost as high as my freshman GPA in college didn't help.) And if Bay failed to get on base, I would have punched some things and complained about Manny again.

But our favorite Canadian import walked. Or should I say, "He stood there while a petrified Wheeler threw four straight balls." Either way, nice job by Bay. That brought up J.D. Drew, my 2007 nemesis, the guy who hit the $14 million grand slam against Cleveland last October, the guy who carried us in June, the guy who eventually broke down just like the Dodgers and Cardinals fans promised he would. I have changed my opinion on Drew roughly 350 times in 18 months. This time, amazingly, astoundingly, I was feeling pretty good. If I learned anything about Drew over the past two years, it's this: You have to start every clutch Drew at-bat thinking about the worst things that can happen -- in this case, a double play or a called third strike -- and once you cruise through that process, it's OK. Does this make sense? Of course not. I'm the same guy who watched the last three innings of this game sitting in the exact same spot with my laptop on my lap, my feet on an ottoman and my right foot crossed over my left foot. But Wheeler had to throw a strike, and Drew crushes fastballs when he knows they're coming …


"And it's a seven to SIX game!"

That's right, we had the $14 million grand slam in 2007, and now, I'm starting to think the next $14 million was a downright bargain for 2008. I might buy one of those Drew T-shirt jerseys before everything's said and done. Don't rule this out. Anyway, Fenway went absolutely insane. Like Games 4 and 5 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yanks all over again. Finally -- finally! -- we were defending the 2007 title. I quickly called my father again to make sure he wasn't watching "The Mentalist" or something. "J.D. Drew!" he screamed. "I always liked him!" So much for Maura Tierney.

That same inning, a few minutes before Mark Kotsay belted a double off B.J. Upton's glove in center, I started thinking we could survive Game 5 even after TBS flashed one of those ominous "Don't delude yourself, this would be the biggest comeback in playoff history" graphics. Francona mercifully pinch-hit Sean Casey for Varitek, which was slightly more dignified than just shooting him in the head. (Since May 22, Varitek is hitting something like .178. I'm not even making this up. When I made my "Silver Linings for the End of the Red Sox season" list in my head in the fifth inning, "I don't have to watch another Varitek at-bat this season" narrowly edged "I don't have to worry about Mike Timlin pitching in a close game again" for the No. 1 spot.) I would have wagered anything on The Mayor coming through, but he struck out. Two outs. That's when Kotsay followed with his double.

Now Coco Crisp was up. He's trick or treat. He's like a craps table that just opened and hasn't had a dice thrower yet. You just never know with Coco. I would have believed a three-pitch strikeout could happen. I would have believed a double into the gap. I would have believed a weak grounder to end the inning. I would have believed an 11-pitch at-bat culminating in the game-tying single to right field. Every scenario is in play with Coco. That's just the way it is. This time around, we rolled an eight to establish our craps point, then spent the next 10 dice rolls (or in this case, pitches) trying to hit that point … and wouldn't you know it, on the 11th roll, he came through with the game-tying single. Ladies and gentleman, the Human Craps Table, Mr. Coco Crisp!

Of course, there was one problem lurking over everything: We still didn't have anyone to pitch the ninth. Or the 10th. Or any other inning. Rookie Justin Masterson started the ninth by default under the "if they brought out Timlin or Javy Lopez, there would have been a riot" corollary. The good news: Masterson possesses semi-electric stuff with a vicious sinker that causes an uncanny number of ground balls. The bad news: He has been a reliever for only three months. Hence, he's one of those Tightrope Guys -- you never feel safe with him, but he has a knack for inducing killer double plays at the perfect time. Which was exactly what happened here: He put two guys on and briefly sent Fenway into "Oh God!" mode before suckering the Quietly Terrifying Carlos Pena into a spine-crumbling 4-6-3 to end the inning.

Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

The Rays brought in "flame-throwing" lefty J.P. Howell to start the ninth against Little Man and David ORRR-tese. (Note: I'm not sure what happened with the TBS announcing crew this series, but Ron Darling sounds like a cross between Gene Simmons and James Woods, and every time Martinez unleashes one of those smoky laughs, I think of the reader who compared him to Elmo Blatch in "Shawshank.") If you didn't think Big Papi was injured before this at-bat, you changed your mind when he tried to bunt for a hit with one strike. That was like watching Larry Bird pass up a wide-open 3-pointer to take a 19-footer. I don't want to talk about it.

After Papi feebly whiffed on four pitches for the second out, Kevin Youkilis slapped a grounder to Evan Longoria -- a wonderful player and the only acceptable answer to the question, "Which American Leaguer would you want if you were starting a team from scratch?" -- who made a terrific back-handed stab and then flubbed the throw. The ball bounced over Pena's glove and into the stands, sending Yook to second and spawning a fantastic replay of Joe Maddon staring out onto the field like one of the Fortune 500 CEOs watching the Dow drop another 500 points. Like, he knew it was falling apart and there was nothing he could do, only there was a dugout camera 3 inches from his face.

That was when Maddon made a crucial mistake by walking Bay to pitch to Drew. Again, I like Bay … but he spent his career playing for 65-win teams in Pittsburgh and just watched Manny dominate the NL playoffs to the point that teams were pitching around him like he was the oversized kid in a Little League game. At least see whether he's anxious, right? At least see whether he'll chase a couple of high fastballs and a slider in the dirt. Also, why would you want to pitch to someone who just homered and was 4-for-7 against Howell in his career? Why not pitch cautiously to Bay, see whether you can get him out and, if you do, walk Drew and put the game in the hands of Jed Lowrie and Kevin Cash? Wait, why am I complaining about this?

You know the rest: Drew cranked a single over Gross' head, Youkilis pranced home, screwed up his steps and almost blew out an ACL jumping on home plate, and then everyone congregated into a Walkoff Mosh Pit as "Dirty Water" cranked from the loudspeakers and the Fenway faithful jumped up and down. The Boston Red Sox had lived to fight another day. More importantly, the champs decided they were going down swinging. Win or lose this weekend, that's all we wanted. Show some pride. Show some heart. Show us last season meant something. And they did.

Now my phone was ringing off the hook. Just like old times. My father was claiming he had watched the whole game, never knew about Maura Tierney's last episode and stopped watched "ER" three years ago. My buddy Bug was raving about the old-school Fenway crowd and wondering whether we could create a Red Sox Fan competency test for future playoff games. The calls and e-mails kept coming. Somewhere along the line, I found myself thinking about the poor Tampa fans and their first Stomach Punch game. That was as brutal as it gets. A dagger to the gut.

Look, any neutral baseball fan should be rooting for the Rays in this series. They proved the flawed and immensely messed up sport we call "Major League Baseball" can still work competitively -- as long as the Have-Nots hire the right guys, draft wisely and make low-risk free-agent bets on the right players. Maybe they can't compete year in and year out, but if they play their cards right, things can crest every few years and they can make a run against the Haves. The Rays were the best story in the AL this season, the Bizarro Yankees if you will. They built something. It took some time -- actually, too much time -- but when it happened, it happened. They're so loaded that a St. Petersburg reader named Darren needled me during the sixth inning by saying, "Don't be down, Bill, just think of it this way: Your 2008 Sox just lost to your entire 2010 roster. Consider this a glorified scouting mission."

Normally, I would save such an e-mail and get my revenge in a mailbag or something if things happened to turn. Not this time. When the Sox roared back to send the series back to Tampa, for the average baseball fan with no vested ties, it probably was like watching South Bend charge back from 20 down to break Hickory High's hearts. You can't root for that and you shouldn't.

So let's just agree a memorable baseball game happened Thursday night. It delighted a large group of people and devastated a much smaller group. Everyone else marveled at the comeback and probably thought the outcome was unfair, considering the payrolls and the histories of the respective franchises. Unbelievable, memorable, but slightly unfair. And that's fine. I just know we're headed for one more fascinating game and possibly two. Can the Rays rally from one of the most demoralizing defeats in baseball history? Can the Sox capitalize on their momentum like they did against the Yankees four years ago? Can I survive a few more Varitek at-bats without gargling lighter fluid? Will my father ever recover from Maura Tierney's departure from "ER"? Will Drew earn the third year of his contract a year ahead of time? Will Josh Beckett crack 93 mph on the radar gun? Will James Shields earn the name "Big Game James"? Can the Rays possibly keep hitting after scoring 34 runs in the past four games? You have to admit, this sports weekend suddenly became much more interesting than it was 24 hours ago.

One last thing …

The Aaron Boone homer happened Oct. 16, 2003. The 19-8 thrashing that gave the 2004 Yankees a 3-0 lead in the ALCS happened Oct. 16. The Indians jumped to a commanding 3-1 lead in the ALCS on Oct. 16. Let's just say I wasn't that enthusiastic about Boston's chances on Oct. 16, 2008, although I didn't remember until watching SportsCenter on Friday morning that Boone's homer actually happened 16 minutes after midnight. (Why didn't I realize this? Because I blacked out that night for about an hour. You think I'm kidding. But Thursday night, as far as I knew, Boone hit the homer on the 16th.) As the comeback swung into motion Thursday, I found myself glancing at my cable box's clock and rooting for it to display 9:00 my time (midnight on the East Coast). I didn't think we would get there, but when Pena was batting in the ninth, there were only a few minutes left on the 16th. It was like watching a New Year's Eve countdown. 8:54. 8:55. 8:56. Then Pena grounded into that 4-6-3 and guaranteed that, yes, the Red Sox were getting out of Oct. 16 alive. They made it to midnight. In fact, if Game 5 were a movie, that's what I would call it: "They Made It To Midnight."

Over everything else that happened Thursday night -- Balfour throwing that fastball to Ortiz, Longoria botching that throw, Drew taking Wheeler deep, Youkilis awkwardly hopping on home plate -- I will remember staring at that clock and rooting for Oct. 17. They always said Red Sox fans would care a little less after we climbed the mountain once or twice, that it wouldn't mean as much, that it couldn't possibly mean as much. That's not true. It will never be true. You either love sports or you don't.

Bill Simmons is a columnist for page two and ESPN The Magazine. For every Simmons column, as well as podcasts, videos, favorite links and more, check out the revamped Sports Guy's World.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

guilt by association

11 Things: Guilt by association

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1. Politics: The Weather Underground's name came from a Bob Dylan song. I listened to Dylan recently. I'm also frequently homesick and often have the blues, so obviously ...

I'm guilty!

2. Environment: I went across the street and bought a sandwich. They began putting it in a plastic bag. I said I don't need a plastic bag. They insisted I take the plastic bag. I fought. They fought. And guess what?

They wrapped my sandwich in guilty.

3. Time: I like to think I have free time, but I don't. Most of it's been taken away (or totally ruined by Facebook). I enjoyed the time when I had it, but I no longer have the time to retrieve it. In fact, if I did ...

I would tell you that I'm guilty.

4. Media: It's true. Newspapers still exist. So when someone at a newspaper writes something disagreeable, you should remember that it's my fault and send an e-mail ...

To remind me that I'm guilty!

5. Honesty: I was brutally honest once. I said what I thought, said some more and just kept going. Not sure exactly what came over me, but obviously I was someone ...

And someone was guilty!

6. Sex: The plane had taken off and I was settling in for a long flight when I happened to catch a glimpse of the magazine in the lap of the guy next to me. He was looking at porn! My God, I thought, who reads porn on a plane? That guy! I looked up just in time to hear the flight attendant ask me if ...

I'd like some pretzels with my guilty!

7. Music: Cuts like a knife, but it feels so right. If I had to name 11 bad rock stars, Bryan Adams would consistently hover right near the top. Not only was he 9 years old during the summer of '69, he decided to call his 11th album "11." The math clearly says ...

11 times guilty!

8. Food: Restaurants hang take-out menus on my door. Nobody takes 'em. They fall. People use them to clean up after their dogs, then leave 'em. So one day I come out just in time to hear a stranger ask me why I'm standing there in a pile of filthy menus. I look down and notice ...

A menu for a restaurant called Guilty!

9. Home: I grew up in Connecticut. Most of Fairfield County is my fault. Same goes for the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos. The indecisive senator? Decidedly my fault. The other senator speaking at my high school graduation? Utterly inexplicable ...

Which explains why I'm guilty!

10. Education: Once upon a time, I went to UC Santa Barbara. Once upon a time, Sean Hannity worked at KCSB. These once upon a times? Around the same exact time. Come on! You know the refrain. Sing it with me!

Guilty guilty guilty!

11. Life: I used to love the Flaming Lips song "Do You Realize??" I listened to the lyrics. I appreciated them. I understood them. Perhaps a little too well. And then one day I realized I had stopped listening. So whether you love the song or hate the song it's about time I apologize ...

For being so guilty!

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, October 09, 2008

game over

11 Things: Game Over

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eleven artists participating in Giant Robot's exhibition "Game Over: Art of the Gamer Generation" discuss various aspects of growing up in a video game world.

1. Rob Sato (destruction): The only game I enjoyed any success at was Dr. Mario on the original NES system. The combination of the amazing music, Tetris-like format and dancing germs created a perfection I haven't come across since. Another favorite was Rampage. Punching down buildings and helicopters inspired total glee.

2. Jesse LeDoux (nostalgia): Never having the original Nintendo as a kid, I feel like I missed the golden years of video games. I later made up for it by playing Tony Hawk until my hands were blistered and sore (not one of my prouder moments).

3. Le Merde (media): I used to do a zine in the early '90s called Root Beer that was all about video games from the Atari 2600 era up through Super Nintendo. This art show is a great way to see how other artists have been inspired by video games.

4. Aaron Martinez (fantasy): My favorite game was probably Mega Man. I often dreamed of having a space cannon on my arm and impressing the kids at school with it. Comic books, video games and cartoons all inspired me to become an artist.

5. Sean Boyles (addiction): My favorite arcade coin-op game was Street Fighter II Hyper Edition. Even while working in the studio I still take breaks for a few rounds every now and then.

6. Joe To (devotion): My favorite game growing up was definitely Super Mario Brothers. I would trek 30 to 40 minutes to the house of the one lucky kid in the neighborhood who had it, just so I could get a little play time. Inevitably, there would be five or six kids waiting in line to play.

7. GUNSHO (fascination): Video games have such a distinct imaginative sensibility. Growing up, I was always fascinated with the low-end graphics and the exercise of suspending disbelief when controlling a blocky little character bouncing around on a screen. That little eight-bit character was a digitally diluted avatar of something greater.

8. William Buzzell (culture): For better or worse, video games have become a shared experience for a generation, one that transcends race, geography and, to a large extent, class.

9. Snaggs (colors): Video games have been a huge inspiration, especially the bright, bold colors. Probably the biggest influences were Paper Mario and Zelda for the DS. Such simple, yet incredibly effective, designs.

10. Matt Furie (memories): I did some drawings about Super Mario 2. I can still remember most of the levels. I particularly enjoyed riding the carpet and going into the mouth of the hawk after killing a boss.

11. David Horvath (love): I grew up on the Super Famicom and Japanese game imports. Giant Robot doesn't sell video games, but the goods and general vibe there capture what I felt on the inside (and still do) while living through the best of my more nerdy gamer days.

"Game Over": 6:30-10 p.m. Sat. Through Oct. 29. Giant Robot, 618 Shrader St., San Francisco. (415) 876-4773. www.gr-sf.com.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, October 02, 2008


11 Things: SuperHappyDevHouse

Thursday, October 2, 2008

When we first stumbled upon SuperHappyDevHouse, we weren't quite certain what it was, but we were curious. Co-founder David Weekly was kind enough to explain:

1. The basics: SuperHappyDevHouse is an informal get-together of geeks from all around the Bay Area. Every six weeks or so, 150 programmers and designers with laptops meet up and in anarchic format work on whatever they feel like working on. Think of it as a "productive party."

2. The name: The name comes from the "Saturday Night Live" skit "Happy Fun Ball." Do not taunt the Happy Fun Ball!

3. The beginning: It started when Jeff Lindsay conceived of mixing a LAN Party (where people bring computers to play video games against each other in the same room) with productive development time.

4. The love: We're open to the public and volunteer-staffed - nobody's making money off of it. We accept donations and have sponsorship from Mohr Davidow Ventures.

5. The history: The first DevHouse was in late May 2005 and consisted of about two dozen people at my house. My company (PBwiki) was started there and is now a global organization with over 25 employees.

6. The context: This isn't the first regular nerdathon in the Bay Area. The Homebrew Computer Club ran from 1975 to 1977 and provided the roots for the creation of both Apple Computer and Microsoft. BarCamp is another "unconference" for nerds that happens periodically in the Bay Area.

7. The invites: We encourage "hackers and thinkers" and discourage recruiters and marketers. (And by "hackers" we don't mean stealing military documents or destroying the Internet. We mean creating new things.)

8. The location: The location varies but is usually at someone's home. The Web site is the best way to find out where and when the next event is happening.

9. The lightning: During the event, we let speakers talk for five minutes each about a helpful technical subject. The time limit is strictly enforced.

10. The definition: This is not a networking event (though you'll meet new people) nor a competition or conference (though there are talks and semi-famous attendees), nor a party (though people do have fun and there's sometimes music). It's an olio.

11. The details: Please come having already eaten lunch. Bring your laptop and ideally some (healthy) snacks and/or beer.

SuperHappyDevHouse 27, 2-11 p.m. Sat. $10 donation. Google, 345 Spear St., San Francisco. www.superhappydevhouse.org. (Online registration encouraged.)

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, September 25, 2008

sarah palindromes

11 Things: Sarah Palindromes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A palindrome is a word, verse, sentence or number that reads the same backward as it does forward. "Madam, I'm Adam" is a common example. Sarah Palindromes would thus be palindromes relating to John McCain's running mate. Each reminds how important it is for the country to look forward ... by looking back:

11. Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

Looking back: Look forward.
Looking forward: Look back.
Translation: Progress is a thing of the past.

10. Rise to vote sir

Looking back: Americans can't agree.
Looking forward: Americans agree they can't agree.
Translation: Americans vote.

9. Daedalus: Nine. Peninsula: Dead

Looking back: Palin had plans to visit Woodside today.
Looking forward: Palin postponed those plans.
Translation: Palin is elusive.

8. Ma is as selfless as I am

Looking back: Had to squelch those Daily Kos rumors.
Looking forward: Had to squelch those Daily Kos rumors.
Translation: Abstinence abstained.

7. No, son, onanism's a gross orgasm sin: a no-no, son

Looking back: Politics shouldn't be influenced by religion.
Looking forward: Politics is being influenced by religion.
Translation: Thomas Jefferson is not amused.

6. Meet animals; laminate 'em

Looking back: The moose was doomed.
Looking forward: The polar bears are doomed.
Translation: The animals are doomed.

5. Senile felines

Looking back: Age offsets youth.
Looking forward: Youth offsets age.
Translation: The election just caught its tail.

4. Party booby trap

Looking back: Boy, we're doomed.
Looking forward: Boy, we're doomed.
Translation: Boy, we're doomed.

3. Dammit, I'm mad

Looking back: The country is mad.
Looking forward: The candidates are mad.
Translation: Mad has many meanings.

2. Harass sensuousness, Sarah

Looking back: So many dynamos.
Looking forward: Won't lovers revolt now?
Translation: No idea, but the two themes are palindromes too.

1. Lonely Tylenol

Looking back: Politics gave me a headache.
Looking forward: Politics will give you a headache.
Translation: Read this column twice ... and call me in the morning.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, September 18, 2008

poets 11

11 Things: Poets 11

Thursday, September 18, 2008

San Francisco Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman is a column unto himself, but this Sunday's Poets 11 grand finale isn't about him. It's about the city, the people and the poetry. Thirty-three poets selected from 11 districts will read one poem each. Hirschman is the host ... and the poet providing us with 11 reasons to attend:

1. All: "All the districts are involved."
District 1 Poets: Thea Sullivan, Tiffany Tang, Kristen Tracy.
(The Richmond District)

2. All of us: "No cliques, no everybody-look-at-me!"
District 2: Melba Abela, Marty Campbell, Kory O'Rourke.
(The Presidio, Marina, Pacific Heights)

3. All of them: "33 featured poets will read one of their three winning poems."
District 3: David Menendez Alvarez, Philip Hackett, Joe Pulichino.
(Chinatown, North Beach, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Fisherman's Wharf)

4. All of the above: "They're all solid or sensitive or heartfelt or intelligent or passionate or all of the above adjectives together."
District 4: Mary Dalton, Jennifer Futernick, Jose Luis Gutierrez.

5. All walks of life: "They're workers, retired workers, teachers, students of every orbit of this spinning life."
District 5: Lynne Barnes, Jennifer Chien, Tessa Fontaine, Larry Kaplan.
(Haight-Ashbury, Western Addition, parts of Hayes Valley, the Inner Sunset)

6. All-inclusive: "There'll be different languages, including Native American Ojibway."
District 6: Lourdes Figueroa, Elizabeth A. Larson, Lisa Turner.
(SoMa, Tenderloin, the islands)

7. All in the family: "It's about time you thought: my brother's a poet, my sister's a poet ... and came to hear your family read."
District 7: Al Averbach, Soheyl Dahi, Amy O'Hair.
(West of Twin Peaks)

8. All in all: "There's no higher sense of community participation than reading to create a unified field from a vast range of different poems."
District 8: Susan Dambroff, Stanley Keisel, Alice Templeton.
(The Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park)

9. All in fact: "That brother and sister who are poets are also what you are, what all in fact are - poets."
District 9: Carlos Disdier, Marvin R. Hiemstra, Tehmina Khan.
(The Mission, Bernal Heights)

10. All for one and one for all: "Let's listen to the heart of revolutionary spirit everywhere."
District 10: Ellen Frank, Priscilla Lee.
(Potrero Hill, Bayview-Hunters Point)

11. All are invited: "It's poetry, it's free, c'mon to Koret Auditorium."
District 11: Andre Baca, Aja Couchois Duncan, Victoria Ehrlich.
(Excelsior, Ingleside, Crocker-Amazon)

The grand finale of Poets 11 takes place from 1-3 p.m. Sun. Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin St. www.sfpl.org.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


Thursday, September 11, 2008


11 Things: Bizarro

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dan Piraro's arrival in town completes a Bizarro summer trifecta that involved too much partying with Charo and too many reminders of Ferraro. So I contacted him. After some curious back and forth, I began to realize that the strangest part of Dan Piraro isn't that he's strange, but that he isn't. Like most of us, he loves:

1. Getting up too early: to be at the airport too early to stand in line at security and convince people in uniforms that he's not dangerous.

2. Flying across the country: for a comedy show while wishing someone would put that screaming toddler in an overhead compartment.

3. Watching his luggage: revolve around a crowded room while swearing he'll never do another show again.

4. Wishing obsessively: that he wasn't so obsessive.

5. Thinking: Angelina Jolie isn't nearly good looking enough to put up with living with all those children for.

6. Boring a fellow bar-stooled stranger: with his inner apprehensions about his pathetic need to make a roomful of strangers like him because he's funny.

7. Making sure: the gun in his pocket is fully loaded in case the roomful of strangers doesn't think he's funny.

8. Double-checking: his suicide notes for grammatical and punctuation errors and the proper mix of pathos and humor.

9. Praying: the seats fill up and the scotch doesn't wear off.

10. Listening: to applause and feeling supremely rewarded for all the effort, inconvenience and childhood trauma that led to his demented image of the world.

11. Beginning: to think of his next comedy show.

"Two Funny Heads" with Dan Piraro and special guest Brian Malow. 8 and 10 tonight. $20 (21 and older). Proceeds benefit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The Purple Onion, 140 Columbus Ave., San Francisco. (415) 956-1653. www.bizarro.com.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, September 04, 2008


11 Things: Addictions

Thursday, September 4, 2008

1. Sex:

Pros: Pleasure, babies.
Cons: Babies, displeasure.
Highs: Yes, yes!
Lows: A lack thereof.

Follows: 5 not 2.

2. Drugs:

Pros: Ridiculous insight.
Cons: Ridiculous behavior.
Highs: Yes, yes!
Lows: Illness, prison, death.

Follows: 3 not 7.

3. Rock 'n' roll:

Pros: Bad reputation.
Cons: Bad reputation.
Highs: Annihilation.
Lows: Annihilation.

Follows: 2 not 8.

4. Politics:

Pros: We've been inspired.
Cons: We've been duped.
Highs: Utopia.
Lows: Dystopia.

Follows: 10 not 1.

5. Love:

Pros: Insane happiness.
Cons: Unhappy insanity.
Highs: Delirium.
Lows: Delirium.

Follows: 1 not 10.

6. Television:

Pros: Escape.
Cons: Escape.
Highs: News.
Lows: News.

Follows: 4 not 9.

7. Work:

Pros: Provides insurance.
Cons: Makes you sick.
Highs: Collaboration.
Lows: Termination.

Follows: 11 not 5.

8. Religion:

Pros: Meaning.
Cons: Delusion.
Highs: Heaven.
Lows: Hell.

Follows: Itself not 4.

9. Exercise:

Pros: Health.
Cons: Effort.
Highs: Yes!
Lows: Yes!

Follows: 7 not 6.

10. Internet:

Pros: World at fingertips.
Cons: Pain at fingertips.
Highs: Communicate with world.
Lows: World communicates with you.

Follows: 6 not 11.

11. Sleep:

Pros: Crazy dreams.
Cons: Crazy laziness.
Highs: Sundays.
Lows: Mondays.

Follows: 9 not 3.

- Tim Sullivan, tsullivan@sfchronicle.com


This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle