Mister SF and the three-party system
by Hank Donat
When queried for directions to 111 Minna Street, Mapquest.com - the
popular website that helps people find their way - provides directions
to 1111 Minna instead*. That’s how I found myself ten blocks away
from Supervisor Matt Gonzalez’ campaign kick-off party last week.
What happened next could be an ‘only in San Francisco’ story,
but who would want to claim it?
Realizing my error, I retrace my steps to Mission Street and hop on
an inbound 14-Mission bus - car #5427 to be exact. At Eighth Street,
the driver attempts to lower the lift in order to board a passenger
in a wheelchair.
Impatience sets in quickly among the passengers. The usual grumbling
and half-uttered expletives follow.
A full four minutes later, the driver tires of struggling with the mechanical
lift. He decides it’s broken and reluctantly asks the passenger
if he can take the next bus.
Unperturbed, the would-be passenger gets out of the wheelchair, picks
it up, carries it onto the bus, and sits down in it. Among the other
riders tongues wag, teeth click, jaws lower.
For those closely following the mayoral election campaign
the Gonzalez kick-off comes as a relief. We went to the first of such
events seven months ago.
Of all the kick-offs, Gonzalez’s was most like a party I would
attend. That shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement, however. I don’t
know if anyone can get elected mayor on the support of art lovers in
their mid-30s. That describes 85 percent of those present, not a cross-section
of San Francisco.
I ran into “Bohemia” author Herb Gold on my way in. The
notorious party crasher known only as Steve from “The Partygoers”
(thepartygoers.com), Veterans Affairs Commissioner Veronika Cauley,
and California Democratic Party Internet Caucus Chair Rick Hauptman
were also among familiar faces and old friends.
A collection of sculpture made from old boom boxes lined the art gallery
at 111 Minna. The scent of gardenia filled the air as video footage
from the point-of-view of a car driving around the streets of the city
was projected onto a screen in the smaller of the gallery’s two
rooms. The other is a cavernous space with a long bar.
Asked how he felt on the occasion of Gonzalez’ launch, Supervisor
Chris Daly said, “Like a hundred dollars.” That’s
Daly, always keeping things within reach for the average person.
Because Gonzalez’ late entry in the race came as a surprise to
most progressives, split- or dual-endorsements will not be unusual during
the campaign. The winner of the “I support my candidate 50 percent”
award is Public Defender Jeff Adachi who actually took the stage to
champion both Gonzalez and Supervisor Tom Ammiano at their respective
Green Party member Gonzalez is the subject of next week’s column,
the final entry in my series of unique outing with the candidates.
The day before the Gonzalez party, Herb Gold was among
the revelers at adman Robert Pritikin’s Labor Day fete at Pritikin’s
mansion on Chenery Street.
It seemed like the beginning of summer rather than the traditional end
of the season, as everyone looked like sunshine under the swaying poplars
in Pritikin’s garden.
Mr. And Mrs. Arnold Laub, Angela Alioto, Eugene Schoenfeld (aka Dr.
Hip), mediaman Lee Houskeeper, Adam Reeves, Phil Frank, Karla Le Vey,
and half the cast of the Nob Hill Gazette including Bella Farrow were
also among those who wouldn’t have missed the event for the world
A performance by Mickey Rooney, an old standard who reminisced between
old standards, was a highlight. You have to hand it to a guy who needs
a teleprompter to name his ex-wives.
Renaissance man Pritikin, who’s also a magician and sometimes
hotelier, is an accomplished saw player. Yes, saw as in that which cuts
down trees. Pritikin nearly stole the show from Andy Hardy with a performance
of SF favorite “Over the Rainbow.”
But I was most taken by Pritikin’s extraordinary art collection.
It includes a Polar Bear sculpture by San Francisco’s legendary
Benny Bufano, an oil by Tamara de Lempicka, a reproduction of Rembrandt’s
Nightwatch, and the animatronic clock from the recently defunct F.A.O.
Schwartz store on Stockton Street.
From the Continuity Department: I also found Dr. Hip
Schoenfeld at the Bay View Boat Club a few days earlier at a party in
honor of the 60th birthday of rock world personality Dr. Twist.
The boat club is one of the most beautiful environments in all of San
Francisco. I hope China Basin and Mission Bay development doesn’t
Dr. Twist is a real-life figure in Ron “Born on the Fourth of
July” Kovic’s second book, the novel “Around the World
in 8 Days.” The novel is a favorite of George McGovern.
Honoring Dr. Twist at the boat club were about a hundred friends including
Ron Raynham of the Sierra Club, real estate guru Susan Schellhardt,
former Chronicle marketing director Dean Church, Nancy Anderman, Robin
Levine, Trish Kettering, and Maritita Timiriasieff.
Twist tells me his portrayal in the hippy-trippy “8 Days”
is mostly accurate but adds, “For the record, I did not kill my
All together now, “only in San Francisco.”
(*It turns out I was typing
"Mina" into Mapquest by mistake. I must have been thinking
of my friend, Mina Harker."
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