days into lights up on 2005 and the blur that was '04 lingers.
Perhaps it's the Christmas tree corpses piled up on the City's sidewalks,
or the continuing rain that tap-tap-taps our cracked and broken streets.
This din of nature, wind and rain hissing through the trees, provides
the white noise that endures behind our thoughts of discontent. Or,
perhaps it's not the trees at all, but rather a drum beat, sounding
dread as we hurl toward Act III of the Bushes.
As I look out at the container ships that make their way across the
Bay almost daily, I agree with SF comedian Will Durst, who figures
that our votes ought to count twice. "No one wants to blow up Cleveland,"
says Durst, who is apparently not feeling so lucky that our votes
count even once.
Still, there is also the sound of baby birds chirping up a storm of
their own in the trees along Baker Street near Green. Hatchlings are
not unexpected in the dead of winter by San Francisco Bay, where it
might as well be spring.
Ten days into 2005 and I think Ed Asner may finally be finished reading
the history of the City that was such a stem-winder at Mayor Gavin
Newsom's inaugural ceremony last year.
During the campaign, I wrote a column about candidate Newsom titled,
"Look Ma, no horns!" In it, I attempted to demonstrate that Newsom
wasn't the devil, as many street-level Matt Gonzalez supporters would
have had you believe.
And so it was
with great amusement last week that I observed a man dressed as Satan
in red horns, cape, and trident as he testified during the public
comment section of Gonzalez' final
meeting as a member of the Board of Supervisors and as its president.
"Matt Gonzalez," roared the devil, "You have thwarted my agenda for
the past four years. What do you have to say for yourself now?" It
was a classic moment in Supe soup, and one that proves Green Party
supporters have more humor than was previously believed. I knew it
all along, though. The Newsom camp mostly thought I was damning Gav
in "Look Ma," as if the nicest thing I could say about their guy was
the fact that he's not the devil.
The prevailing sentiment from Gonzalez' colleagues on the board was
that he brought a level of seriousness and respect to the public discourse.
It's something Newsom has done as well.
I once asked Gonzalez if it were possible to have a serious conversation
about our City as long as we're using terms like Nazi, Communist,
and of course, the devil. "That's a problem," Gonzalez said, "and
besides, who knew the Nazis and Communists were so active in San Francisco
that they could get two candidates in the run-off?"
At the Alcazar Theatre on Geary Street on New Year's Eve, Broadway
and art world/cabaret star Sandra Bernhard did more than just pepper
curse words between references to President George Bush, as was reported
by a Chronicle writer who did not attend the show. Bernhard's year-end
evening of songs and rants, which is becoming a beloved recurring
occasion here, included a call to arms.
"I know you're demoralized," Bernhard said, "I know you're thinking,
'I demonstrated,' but you didn't do it enough!" Sometimes it helps
to be reminded that we are the cradle of protest and a beacon to many
parts of the country and the world.
Bernhard opened the set with her original song, "Another New Year's
Eve in San Francisco." The ballad, a poignant satire of loneliness
and loveliness, would stand appropriately alongside the City's great
anthems, but don't hold your breath for a wide release. "I have to
bootleg my own s--- to make a dollar these days," says Bernhard.
In the time it takes to prepare this column, 2005 comes rushing in.
"Newsoms Divorcing!" screams my email. The public story is that the
mayor and his wife - married only three years - have grown weary of
their commuter relationship. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom became a television
corresponded based in New York beginning around the time her husband
took office. The Newsoms are separated, so the story goes, not by
their hearts but by a sea of red states between two blue ones.
As a newlywed myself, I offer the following advice to the mayoral
couple who have become the un-Kennedys quicker than you could say
For Kimberly; If you really are thinking, "Something's got to go and
it's not my gig," then you have a ball and give my regards to the
crowd at Elaine's.
For the mayor; Don't sit there and lick your wounds and don't worry
about a thing. The City offers the best antidote to the blue state
blues that even money and power can't buy. What's that? Friendship,
the art of nature, and laughter to name only a few. Just take a look
out your window, or read this column again from the beginning.
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