the efforts to save the Harding
Theatre and St. Brigid's
Church going gangbusters it's nice to see a local institution
find a second life that's commensurate with its first. The Star
Bakery on Church Street at 29th in Noe Valley is now a Curves
gym. What better place to work off generations of that great Irish
There is encouraging news for bibliophiles in Bernal Heights. Red
Hill Books is going through the permit process to expand the store
into part of an adjacent room in the building at 140 Courtland Avenue.
Just a few years ago, the shop, then Bernal
Books, was mourned as a casualty of the recession. The expanding
Red Hill and the upcoming branch library improvement will help keep
Bernal a book friendly village.
You might not recognize
Powell's Place at
1521 Eddy Street. The
soul food restaurant, a favorite at
its Hayes Street location
from 1972 until last year, reopened on Saturday with a rousing
ribbon cutting and blessing ceremony. Gospel
singer/restaurateur Emmit Powell unveiled a chic new dining room finished
with elegant detail. Don't worry, the food is the same down home cooking,
and it won't break your wallet. Rev. Arnold Townsend, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, Police Chief
Heather Fong, and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes White all made the scene,
along with members of the neighborhood community and fans of the best
fried chicken in town.
the Year of the Rooster favors an orderly household and long-term
love. Since my physical household is always in excellent order, it's
time to dust a few lingering questions out of the corners my mind.
Is SpongeBob gay? I couldn't help thinking of Angela
Alioto when conservatives denounced the cartoon character SpongeBob
for promoting a gay agenda. Stand up comics and commentators have
been entertaining themselves and one or two others for weeks wondering
if SpongeBob is gay himself. Alioto's granddaughter, Chiarra is a
huge SpongeBob fan.
Does Alioto, who has a sizeable gay following herself, think that
the cartoon sponge is a homosexual? "I don't get it," says the usually
up-for-a-laugh former president of the Board of Supervisors, "How
is he gay or anything else? It really is absurd to attribute any sex
to good old Bob." The voice of reason!
What is Democracy? In honor of President George W.
Bush's State of the Union call for Americans to spread democracy,
I've decided to vote for the first time for Empress of San Francisco.
I think the president would be proud of my choice, Victoria
Secret. Vickie was endorsed by Donna Sachet, a past Empress and
one of San Francisco's major AIDS fundraisers. This year's coronation
is the 40th for the gay community's Imperial Court organization. Empress
XL will be crowned this week at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel.
Who is a reporter? I couldn't help thinking of Eric
Allen Bass, the recently deceased blogger and convicted embezzler
known as Joefire, when
Internet reporter Jeff Gannon quit his outlet last week in a Washington
D.C. firestorm over journalism and ethics. "Gannon," a persona adopted
by conservative writer James D. Guckert, attracted national attention
at a January 26 press conference when he asked President Bush a question
based on the presumption that the president's opponents in Congress
had "divorced themselves from reality."
Gannon was discredited after liberal bloggers posted his true identity
and revealed that Guckert had also registered URLs for porn sites
in addition to online reporting.
Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, defended the loaded
question and the questionable questioner. "He, like anyone else, showed
that he was representing a news organization that published regularly,"
McClellan said. "In this day and age, when you have a changing media,
it's not an easy issue to decide, to try to pick and choose who is
Here at home, Bass was given what some called a "state funeral" by
San Francisco's political community after Bass died of AIDS last Thanksgiving.
Months earlier, Bass had talked his way into the City Hall press corps
with no journalism experience and a web page that PJ Corkery of the
Examiner recently reviewed as "mostly illiterate."
In the wake of the Joefire episode, the San Francisco Police Department
has begun to weed out what it considers ineligible recipients of the
press passes it issues to people who report breaking news in San Francisco.
One of the first casualties is the San Francisco Call. The SFPD denied
Call reporter Betsey Culp's request to renew a press pass she has
held since 1998.
The Call, once ubiquitous in print, has been publishing only online
for several months. The public affairs office of the SFPD says The
Call is disqualified from receiving the credential, which technically
only allows reporters to cross police lines while covering breaking
news. In practice, authorities use the passes to mediate access to
press conferences and photo opportunities such as inaugurations and
Culp is crying foul. She says she's entitled to the same access given
to the Chronicle and others. She has posted an account of her struggle
It would be a shame to disenfranchise the Call at a time when small
outlets and bloggers are emerging as viable alternatives to corporate
media. In the Year of the Rooster it only benefits the Foxes to punish
the Calls for the Joefires.
Meanwhile, another voice is gone from the print world. Veteran weekly
newspaper columnist Wayne Friday has retired from the Bay Area Reporter
after 30 years on the beat. Congratulations to the man who was called
"the Herb Caen of the Castro" by Herb
Other questions linger for another year. Why are there always cherry
blossoms weeks before Cherry Blossom Festival? How can anybody live
in North Beach and not know the difference between a Dolphin and a
In closing, a confession. I make it on bended knee, humble pie crumbs
dancing liberally in my whiskers along with crow feathers. I'm actually
beginning to like the new Union Square.
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