Sign of the times.
Whoever dies with the most fonts wins
by Hank Donat
Several years ago, on
a Macintosh SE computer, I was introduced to a typeface called
San Francisco. Different shapes and sizes of letters like those in a
ransom note made from magazine clippings comprised the San Francisco
font. Individually, the characters weren't very lovely or remarkably
illustrated, but together they seemed to capture the eclectic nature
of the city. At least its designer thought so.
Like a Macintosh SE, the San Francisco font is of no particular relevance
today except that this week's column, a strange mix of bits and characters,
called it to mind.
San Franciscans will find a notorious reference when Nickled & Dimed,
the stage version of the bestseller about a woman writer undercover
in the minimum wage economy comes to the Brava Theatre Center on 24th
Street October 8.
In the first few minutes of the play, a waitress and her customer get
into a discussion about whether the customer may special order poached
eggs. How do I know the script refers to the 1997 Geary Street murder
of Pinecrest Diner waitress Helen Manicouover by cook Hashiem Zayed?
The author is local talent, 30-year SF Mime Troup vet Joan Holden.
On a recent installment of the daytime gameshow The Price is Right,
contestants were asked to bid on an all-expenses paid, week-long vacation
in San Francisco. The Triton on Grant Avenue near the Chinatown Gate
provided accommodations for two. The fourth and final contestant bid
a whopping $8,000, prompting host Bob Barker to remark, "It's just
up the coast, you know." Actual retail price: $2,673.
Will Durst is one comedian who lives up to his legend. In other words,
Durst is still very, very funny. "Welcome to California, where
we put the mock in democracy," Durst told the crowd at this years
Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park. On the gubernatorial recall Durst asks,
"Why is it that Gary Coleman the joke candidate and Arnold Schwarzenegger
the frontrunner? The only difference between the two is that Schwarzenegger
is tall enough to ride Space Mountain."
Durst and Tom Ammiano discussed the first time Durst performed at Josie's
Cabaret in front of a mostly gay audience over a decade ago. Durst was
nervous then but Ammiano assured him it only mattered to the Josie's
audience that Durst was funny.
Off-stage, the Josie's comedians loved Durst because he was trying to
save the Holy City Zoo on Clement. "Ouch," says Durst, "Do
you know what I'd have if I put that money in a 401k?" Perhaps,
Will, but you have our gratitude, which is worth more than most 401ks
Robert and Marilyn Katzman's big red shiny Mack fire engine, which seems
to appear everywhere at once in the Marina, Polk Street, and the Presidio,
has company among ubiquitous autos. Everywhere I turn lately I see the
Imagine Art Bus. Head teacher Marie Rogers is a sunny figure behind
the wheel of the rainbow-colored former airport shuttle van. Marie logs
up to 50 miles a day going to and from the playgrounds, schools, and
community groups where the Imagine Bus is a mobile art class.
Not only is the project a hit, so is the work of its young artists.
A 12-foot painting titled, "Yo! Pollack" by Adrian, an Imagine
Art Bus student, was sold to a prominent Marin attorney after being
included in an exhibit at the CBS MarketWatch office on Battery Street.
Continuity freaks may be consoled to know that the boutique store that
has replaced the defunct neighborhood institution Record Finder at 258
Noe Street is called FINDesign.
An apartment manager on Bush Street was asked to witness an inventory
of a tenant's unit by a medical examiner after the tenant died in the
apartment earlier that day. "The medical examiner is narrating
out loud," the landlady tells me, "'TV, VCR, stereo,' he says.
Then he picks up a bag of pot from the tenant's nightstand and says,
‘And here's the green stuff we find in everyone's apartment.'"
Socialite Pat Montandon recently celebrated the sale of her non-fiction
thriller The Intruders to filmmakers. Pat is the TV hostess and party
girl who was married to Melvin Belli for a few minutes and who made
a big splash as the Armistead Maupin character who wanted to "rap
Published in 1975, The Intruders is Montandon's account of a violent
curse levied on her 1000 Lombard Street home by a tarot card reader
who was "quivering with rage" after Montandon neglected to
serve him a drink at one of her celebrated parties.
Those who follow the mayoral election noticed Angela Alioto wearing
a splint on her right pinkie finger for most of the summer. When I broke
my left baby toe and left pinkie finger earlier this year, I consulted
Patricia Kramer of the World School of Massage & Holistic Healing
Arts on 32nd Avenue for the Zen meaning and karma of bone density.
"Your left side can be ascribed to the feminine side that has to
do with care and heart and love matters," Patricia said then. "Your
body may be telling you to embrace nurturing and the feeling side of
I phoned Kramer about Alioto's digit, identifying Alioto only as one
of the candidates for mayor. Kramer said, "The right side is the
aggressive side, the driven personality. The body is trying to tell
the person that it needs 'a break' on that side." True perhaps,
but not likely to happen.
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