A P R I L 2 7 - M AY 3 , 2 0 1 2
MARiN’S BEST EVERY WEEK
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The duck issued a prepared statement to the press.
[ S E E PA G E 1 0 ]
All in Good Taste
Flim-ﬂam, thank you gram'!
Diggin' the dancing queens
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APRIL 27 - MAY 3, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 3
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4 PACIFIC SUN APRIL 27 - MAY 3, 2012
PUBLISHER - Gina Channell-Allen (x315) EDITORIAL Editor: Jason Walsh (x316) Movie Page Editor: Matt Stafford (x320) Copy Editor: Carol Inkellis (x317) Staff Writer: Dani Burlison (x319) Calendar Editor: Anne Schrager (x330) Proofreader: Julie Vader (x318) CONTRIBUTORS Charles Brousse, Greg Cahill, Ronnie Cohen, Pat Fusco, Richard Gould, Richard Hinkle, Brooke Jackson, Jill Kramer, Joel Orff, Rick Polito, Peter Seidman, Jacob Shafer, Nikki Silverstein, Space Cowboy, Annie Spiegelman, David Templeton Books Editor: Elizabeth Stewart (x326) ADVERTISING Advertising Director: Linda Black (x306) Display Sales: Linda Curry (x309), Katarina Wierich (x311) Thomas Morton (x312) Inside Sales: Helen Hammond (x303) Ad Trafficker: Stephenny Godfrey (x308) Courier: Gillian Coder DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director/Production Manger: Missy Reynolds (x335) Graphic Designers: Gwen Aguilar (x336), Shelley Hunter (x337), Michelle Palmer (x321) ADMINISTRATION Business Administrator: Cynthia Saechao (x331) Administrative Assistant: Zach Allen Circulation Manager: Bob Lampkin (x340) Distribution Supervisor: Zach Allen PRINTING: Paradise Post, Paradise, CA Member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
A TREASURE Two Weekends: May 5 â€“ 6 and May 12 â€“13, 2012
Gallery Exhibition April 28â€“May 13 325 Corte Madera Town Center 250 participating artists, guides & maps available at marinopenstudios.com
Gala Preview April 28, 5â€“ 8 pm Meet the artists, enjoy wine and lite bites marinopenstudios.com
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›› LETTERS How ‘bout Chad and Jeremy vs. Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders? I enjoyed Jason Walsh’s article on whether the Beatles are the greatest rock ’n’ roll band of all time [“Vet the Beatles,” March 30]. Regarding your question about Beatles vs. Stones, I have to say neither. The Beatles were the ﬁrst group to break through, but the Kinks and the Who (both still sounding astonishingly contemporary) were the real trailblazers in terms of innovation and evolution of the music scene. They really made a huge impact and continue to inﬂuence numerous musicians. Mary J., San Rafael
This story is full of holes If the county didn’t destroy all the plants and “cover” in the open space where critters lived (raccoons/snakes/birds of prey/etc.)...you’d have a natural balance and perhaps not a gopher problem. I live on Hacienda Way, at the end where the dikes begin and had gophers also. I have very tall trees on my property and asked the “owl” people to put up some boxes so the owls could eat the gophers. They didn’t even respond. I have two very high palm trees, and a nest of baby hawks living there; and I can see the mother ﬂying around looking for food to feed them, and she comes back to the nest with something for them to eat. I haven’t seen a red-winged blackbird in years; ever since you jerks destroyed all their nesting area out in the open space and made it look
like a bomb went off there. No plants, no bushes, nothing...except gophers living in the clay. Marcia Blackman, San Rafael
Also hates gophers Hooray for Marcia Blackman! She tells it like it is. We need more like her. William A DeRade, Corte Madera
TOP POSTINGS THIS WEEK Letter: Easy Street owners tell their side of the story The following is a letter sent to the Paciﬁc Sun from the owners of Easy Street Cafe, one of Marin’s most renowned “kid friendly” restaurants. As writer Pat Fusco.. Where Have All the Hero’s Gone? Remember all of those good guys from Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers? Where are Jim, Tim, and Franklin now? Just in case you might have wondered how their ineptitude aff...
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Apocrita now Whew-eeeee! It sounds like a freeway is roaring through my back yard. I am not talking about the chainsaw, which I hear at this very moment, though that is part of the matter. The real issue here concerns the hundreds of bees I see ﬂying around like darts out of hell. They are going crazy, in clouds, in my neighbor’s back yard. Just standing there, I can hear the freeway humming...I mean, the displaced bees going crazy.... This is the third time that this has happened since last summer. That’s about an eight-month period, or every two or three months, that bees are being displaced and going homeless and hungry for honey. Can we please, before we cut down trees, consider the bees and their survival? After all, ours is intertwined with theirs, too. Perhaps in honor of Earth Day, to also consider going pesticide-free in our food choices, will also help the bees. Drina Brooke, Novato
It’s their devil-may-call attitude! Driving while talking on a cell phone is dangerous. Daily one can see instances of distracted and unsafe driving by those using cell phones. I think it is good public
Yes, as a matter of fact I do own the road...
Go ahead, buddy. Mock us.
policy to have a law against using phones while driving. But I think what is most troubling about drivers who use cell phones is the casual brazenness with which these people break the law right in front of everyone. This is disrespectful and an affront to the community. So I do think you should hang up and drive. However, if you are on the phone, at least have the good grace to look sheepish or act furtive. Next time: those whose dogs assist them in driving by sitting in their lap. J.S. Danielson, San Rafael
Lot of ‘general unpleasantness’ to go around... In regards to Ritter Center winning an agreement to expand to a 933-square-foot medical facility [“Out of Sight, or Out of Mind?” March 30], I think it’s a great step in helping homeless and needy people get off the street. With more medical care available and affordable, the homeless people that are serious about getting back into “society” (although we are still considered citizens and members of society) will get the help they need. Most of us are victims of bad luck and medical issues. I have been a client of Ritter Center for two years. I am able to get showers, medical aid, clothes and food that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain on the meager assistance of moneys the county and government dole out. As for Hugo Landecker’s appeal and comments about the homeless and downtrodden “involved in assaults, defecating in parking lots and general unpleasantness,” just remember, any one of us could be in these sad conditions at any time from misfortune and/or medical reasons or mishap. We need more places like Ritter Center—whose actual goal is to help, not enable. I am very grateful for their services. God bless Ritter Center. Deborah M, homeless temporarily
I’ve had an afﬁnity with the Paciﬁc Sun since 1966 when as a younger lawyer (Boalt Hall ’52) we incorporated the Sun, then based in Stinson Beach, and then Mill Valley. I even owned some shares. Enough for that The William T. Bagley Freeway namesake, circa 1974. These days background. the former state Assemblyman For fun, I call spends his time as a Paciﬁc Sun attention to the truth-in-trivia watchdog. ﬁrst question of Trivia Cafe from March 23. [Question: “Where in Marin County is the John T. Knox Freeway?” Answer: “The section of I-580 through El Cerrito, Richmond, over the RichmondSan Rafael Bridge to route 101 in San Rafael.”] But the John T. Knox Freeway never crossed the John F. McCarthy Bridge to Marin. The following is a memo I wrote to my colleagues in our national law ﬁrm Nossaman LLP—noting the three retired partners’ “freeways”: Named by joint resolutions of the Legislature, the [William T.] Bagley stretches 10 miles on U.S. 101 from the Golden Gate Bridge north to San Rafael. Without my knowledge, the resolution was introduced by a Senate friend, I did not demurrer. Jack Knox’s I-580 freeway runs from I-80 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge; John Foran’s runs on I-280, part way from SFO to San Francisco. An important detail is that the Bagley is the longest but Jack Knox points out that his and Johnny Foran’s are wider— important fact among men. Someone proposed that we create a “Nossaman Beltway” around the Bay, but we could not ﬁnd the funds. Incidentally, Jack is more entitled to his designation because, as a legislator, he went to Washington and obtained a $100 million appropriation to build the I-580 extension through his city of Richmond. William T. Bagley, former state assemblyman for Marin
APRIL 27 - MAY 3, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 7
CEQA and ye shall find Lucas fiasco puts spotlight on environmental review abuses by Pe te r Se i d m an
hen a group of Lucas Valley residents appealed the county Planning Commission approval of a George Lucas project to build a digital technology and ﬁlmmaking complex on the Grady Ranch, the residents inadvertently gave critics of the state’s premiere environmental law a high-proﬁle gift. The county in 1996 approved an earlier version of the project. In that permutation, Lucas agreed to donate 700 acres to the county Open Space District. Supporters say this action underscores his and his company’s dedication to environmentally sensitive development and operation. The project lay dormant for years until Lucas re-ignited it, which led to the Planning Commission approval of a precise development plan that called for a building that would cover about 270,000 square feet. The project envisioned overnightguest rooms, an employee restaurant and other amenities, including a wine cave and tasting room, for employees and visitors. The Mission-style building, although grandiose, wasn’t over the top in a William Randolph Hearst kind of way. Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association, which represents 174 homes southeast of the 54-acre Grady Ranch site, ﬁled an appeal and started a process that has led to the Lucas project becom-
ing a poster child for those who want to “modernize” the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Lucas project is not the ﬁrst time in Marin that opponents of a development have used a CEQA challenge, but this one spread across the country. AP ran a piece on the CEQA challenge, as did the Boston Globe. The billionaire ﬁlmmaker, creator of Star Wars, opposed by a small neighborhood group just couldn’t be ignored, and it suited the business pages as well as the entertainment section. The story reached its third act when the homeowners hired a lawyer who said that issues involving zoning regulations, procedure and possibly inadequate environmental mitigation measures represented substantive legal issues, possibly reaching the level of a legal challenge. Those are ﬁghting words when it comes to CEQA challenges. The county Board of Supervisors supported the project, but in reacting to the challenge, supervisors delayed their approval pending additional study. They said that in all probability they would approve it. But Lucas had had enough and yanked the project from consideration, leaving open the possibility that the land might be sold for a housing development (which probably would attract a separate round 10 > of opposition, no doubt based on
by Jason Walsh
Marin not so full of hot air after all! Marin can breathe a bit easier this week, as it’s been given an “A” for air by the American Lung Association. The ALA’s annual report measures “ozone pollution” and “particulate pollution” over a three-year period and issues a letter grade to counties throughout the country. Among Bay Area counties, Marin joined Sonoma and San Francisco in receiving A’s for “ozone”—meaning the counties had no days from 2008 to 2010 with smog levels above the national standard. San Mateo and Napa earned a B and C, respectively, for having 0.3 and 1.7 smoggy days per year above the standard; Alameda (5.7), Contra Costa (5.3), Santa Clara (6.8) and Solano (4.0) all went home with F’s. Statewide, nine counties received A’s in smog levels; 35 received F’s. California’s worst offenders, in order of one through seven, are Los Angeles, Visalia, Bakersfield, Fresno, Hanford, Sacramento and San Diego. According to the Lung Association, the key factors in smog are emissions from automobiles, residential wood burning, oil refineries, and freight trucks and port traffic (specifically the Port of Oakland). The Bay Area as a whole is making “significant progress,” according to the Lung Association, in reducing pollution—dropping off the list of the nation’s 25 most polluted regions for the first time since the ALA began keeping track. RV Sanitary spills out $1.5 mil to water board The Ross Valley Sanitary District will have to pay the piper as part of a settlement with the Regional Water Quality Control Board in the wake of a pair of December 2010 sewage spills that state agency officials say were not reported in a timely fashion, as required by law. According to the water quality control board, on Dec. 17, 2010, the district reported a 1,000-gallon spill near Kent Middle School in Kentfield. But district officials then failed to notify the Regional Water Quality Control Board or Marin County Environmental Health Services of additional spills totaling nearly a million gallons of sewage until Dec. 22, according to the state agency. The district’s fines, equipment replacement and marsh repair total about $1.5 million, as part of the settlement. A water quality board staff investigation reported that the spill occurred due to multiple reasons, including the shutdown of a pump station for repairs, a large amount of debris blocking a pipe and the collection system’s insufficient rain capacity. The debris found in the pipe became a focal point of the investigation following the spills. District officials said it was likely construction debris left over—or dumped subsequently— following repairs by JMB Construction. District general manager Brett Richards suggested the spills were a case of “eco terrorism.” Last year, the district filed suit against JMB Construction; the case is still pending. Death penalty under the gun After nearly 35 controversial years of capital punishment, Californians will once again put the death penalty on trial. After supporters gathered more than 504,000 signatures, the Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act will be on the November ballot, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced this week. If it passes, the SAFE California Act will replace California’s death penalty with life in prison with no chance of parole. According to the SAFE California campaign,“convicted killers will remain in high security prisons until they die— with no risk of executing an innocent person.” Additionally, the 725 prisoners currently on death row in the state would have their sentences converted to life. SAFE California also requires persons convicted of murder to work and pay restitution into a victim’s compensation fund and creates the SAFE California Fund, which takes $30 million a year for 10
8 PACIFIC SUN APRIL 27 - MAY 3, 2012
›› TRiViA CAFÉ
by Howard Rachelson
1. What place in Marin County has been nominated for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List? 2. Every May 5, on the Cinco de Mayo holiday, Mexicans celebrate the 1862 victory of the outnumbered and overwhelmed Mexican armies over the superior military forces from which country? 3. Pictured, right: Singer Madonna made her 3 first live appearance on national television in 1984, on what musical TV show? 4. Seven of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League are located in Canada. How many Canadian cities and team names can you identify? 5. The Statue of Liberty stands on what island, which is located within what state? 6. In 1743, the world’s first permanent bullring was erected in what European 7 capital city? 7. Pictured, right 7a. The TV series Mad Men portrays a firm engaged in what kind of business? 7b. Lead actor Jon Hamm plays the role of what character? 7c. What is the two-word name of the agency he worked for? 8. Albert Einstein was once offered the presidency of what country? (He turned it 9 down.) 9. Pictured, right: Debuting in 1996, what award-winning Broadway rock musical with a one-word title, based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme, tells the story of young artists struggling to live in New York? 10. What do the words windy, tears, close and lead have in common? (It has nothing to do with definitions, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms.) BONUS QUESTION: What beloved president (from 1964 until his death in 1978) of an eastern African nation named himself after his country? Howard Rachelson welcomes you to live team trivia contests on Wednesdays, 7:30pm, at the Broken Drum in San Rafael. Send your trivia question to email@example.com and if we use it we’ll give you credit!
WNot every place shares Marin’s progressiveness and tolerance. Sierra Salin of Fairfax received a “ﬁx-it” ticket in El Dorado County for failing to afﬁx the current year sticker on his license plate. Sierra claims to have returned the ticket as required, yet a warrant was issued for his arrest. His crime? He signed “LOVE HEALS!” on his ticket. El Dorado charges it is a false signature, though Salin says he provided authorities with proof it is his legal signature. (His bank lets him use it.) Either way, was it necessary to order a warrant, extradition and $5,000 bail? El Dorado County, wake up and smell the aromatherapy. Until then, we issue you a ﬁx-it ticket for being intolerant, wasteful and unreasonable. —Nikki Silverstein
Got a Hero or a Zero? Please send submissions to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Toss roses, hurl stones with more Heroes and Zeros at ›› paciﬁcsun.com
VMarin resident Rodger Chemnick applauds three heroes who helped foil the antics of three naughty teens in Mill Valley. The teens-cum-criminals grabbed a briefcase and leather jacket out of a car parked in a lot on Miller Avenue. Hero No. 1, Jeff Jungsten, the car’s owner, was in his ofﬁce when a neighbor alerted him to the theft. Jumping on his bike to follow the thugs, he called 911 as he pedaled. Hero No. 2, the dispatcher, instructed him to keep the suspects in sight, but “don’t pull a Zimmerman.” Jeff hung back while Hero No. 3, the Mill Valley police, cornered the trio of delinquents in front of Tam High. Congrats to our Heroes for a successful neighborhood watch. Hey Florida, this is how we do it in Marin.
Answers on page 33
›› THAT TV GUY FRIDAY, APRIL 27 New Jack City A film from the height of the crack hysteria depicts a crusading cop’s fight against an elaborate drug distribution empire. Usually when organized crime gets this slick, there’s a government bailout pending. (1991) VH1. 10pm. The Beach Leonardo DiCaprio and a pair of traveling companions discover a hidden beach populated by a commune of freespirited expatriates who have turned their backs on civilization, greed and materialism but appear to have flown in personal stylists and high-end hair-care products. (2000) AMC. 10:30pm.
by Rick Polito
old man living next door.We’re still waiting for the sequel, when Dennis hits his teens and starts raiding Mr.Wilson’s medicine cabinet to support his piercing habit. (1993) ABC Family. 7pm. Avatar Can we get an avatar with washboard abs please? (2009) FX. 8pm. Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots We didn’t know the Rodney King riots had a soundtrack. VH1. 9pm.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 The Thin Red Line Turns out Guadalcanal is not the vacation destination it was made out to be. (1998) IFC. 5pm. Wife Swap This is a special “How Wife Swap Saved My Marriage”episode in which couples explain that having a lunatic in your house who talks to flying saucers and wears panties made out of discarded tin foil “provides some perspective.” Lifetime. 10pm. Woody Harrelson’s island time-share is about to elapse, Wednesday at 5.
The Tonight Show Mel Gibson must have found the key to his straitjacket. NBC. 11:35pm.
SATURDAY, APRIL 28 Fame This is the update of the 1980 classic.The production is slicker.The music is louder and the eating disorders are more pronounced. (2009) MTV. 7pm. Secrets of the Secret Service Among the latest revelations:They don’t tip well. Discovery Channel. 8pm. SUNDAY, APRIL 29 Harry’s Law When a marching band is charged with murder, Harry must figure what formation they were marching in at the time and whether they were playing the Hawaii Five-0 theme or something from the Michael Jackson catalog. NBC. 7pm. TV Land Awards Great achievements in TV history are honored with awards in such categories as “Best Sitcom About a Spunky Single Mother,”“Least Believable Breasts,”“Whitest Teen Drama” and “The Matlock Award for Most Obvious Mystery.” TV Land. 9pm. MONDAY, APRIL 30 Lethal Weapon 4 By this point, Riggs and Murtaugh find their relationship has lost its thrill and they seek couples counseling at a “Rediscovering Romance!” weekend retreat. (1998) Spike TV. 6:30pm. Death Row: The Final 24 Hours Really? It’s spectator sport now. As if we needed any more signs that the empire is in decline.You can put on your togas now. Discovery Channel. 10pm. TUESDAY, MAY 1 Dennis the Menace A precocious young boy irritates the stuffy
THURSDAY, MAY 3 Apocalypto A young Mayan man targeted for human sacrifice attempts to escape.We do the same thing to young people now, only we call it “student loan debt.” (2006) IFC. 7:15pm. The Treasure of Bin Laden This is actually about stuff they found on his computers. It turns out Bin Laden had quite the Farmville empire going. Discovery Channel, 10pm. Late Show with David Letterman Stephen Colbert is among tonight’s guests. It’s always interesting when a talk show host appears on another talk show.The Indian wrestling segment is typically the highlight. CBS. 11:35pm.
Some student-loan creditors are more persistent than others. Thursday, 7:15pm.
Hey! Check out That TV Guy’s latest project. He’s bringing back storytelling. Really. But he needs your help— make a pledge and post it wherever you can. http://www.kickstarter.com/ projects/1310394177/help-shake-ntell-bring-back-storytelling. If you don’t want to type out the URL, just Google Shake-N-Tell and Kickstarter.
Turn on more TV Guy at ›› paciﬁcsun.com APRIL 27 - MAY 3, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 9
< 8 Newsgrams three years in budget savings and puts it into the investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases. California has executed 13 inmates since reinstituting the death penalty in 1978; the state has put to death no one since 2006, when a federal judge suspended executions, ruling that the state’s lethal injection protocol constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Jeanne Woodford, former warden at San Quentin State Prison and an outspoken proponent of the proposition, says the “system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake.” “In November, voters will have the first opportunity ever to decide between the death penalty and a sentence of life in prison with absolutely no chance of parole,” says Woodford. “Back in 1978, we did not have an alternative sentence that would keep convicted killers behind bars forever.” The state has spent $4 billion on the 13 executions, says Woodford,“at a time when we’re laying off teachers and cutting vital services.”
Supes consider cutting out the organics middle man... Are you a local farmer seeking information about Marin’s nationally accredited organic certification program? Marin’s official response to such inquiries may soon be: Don’t ask us... The Marin County Board of Supervisors is considering whether to amend the ordinance for its Marin Organic Certified Agriculture program to make it official policy to direct questions elsewhere—specifically to Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, where farmers— and anyone else—can find the Organic Food Production Act Provisions for the National Organic Program. The Marin organic-certification program adheres to the same definitions, requirements, exemptions and other organics information as the U.S. Department of Agriculture—and, the reasoning goes, the USDA will have more accurate and up-to-date information than Marin officials. The Marin Organic Certified Agriculture program was established in 2000 to “provide organic certification services for local organic producers at an affordable cost.” In 2002, the Marin County Agricultural Commissioner’s office was one of the first in the state to receive accreditation to offer an organic certification program to qualified farmers. So for updated info on Marin organic certification, check out the USDA at www.ams.usda.gov. Marin couple accused of lavish spending—oh really?! Everyone knows that no taxpayer-funded government conference to Sin City is complete without clowns, hot tubs and mind readers—but sushi in Vegas? C’mon, everyone knows the all-you-can-eat lobster is more cost effective. At least that’s what a Mill Valley couple are finding out, as Jeffrey and Deborah Neely are embroiled at the center of the controversy surrounding the lavish General Services Administration junket to Las Vegas in 2010 that has members of Congress and the Justice Department demanding to know how $823,000 could be spent on a single agency get-together. The viva Las Vegas imbroglio stems from accusations of misconduct alleged by Inspector General Brian Miller who has asked the Justice Department to step in and investigate. Neely is the acting commissioner for the GSA’s Pacific Rim division. According to the Washington Post, his wife Deborah took the reins of party arrangements for such junkets and helped find accommodations for relatives of GSA officials. The Neelys also allegedly enjoyed work/recreational trips to Guam, Hawaii and the Mariana Islands on the government’s dime, according to the Post. Neely, 57, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on April 17. Baseball mascot comes out quacking! Anthropomorphic animal lovers and those old enough to remember Crazy Crab from the Giants ’80s heyday have been waiting with baited breath for word on the San Rafael Pacific’s chosen mascot for Marin’s new minor league baseball team—would it be a red-tailed hawk, a fallow deer or an awe-inspiring mountain lion? Baseball fans, meet the duck. On April 20, the Pacifics, in partnership with Drake Terrace Senior Living in San Rafael, unveiled Sir Francis the Drake—a swashbuckling foam-sword-wielding quacker with a red cape that reads “Love the Drake” (the duck is a Seinfeld fan, apparently). Sir Francis made his debut appearance last Friday at the Parkside Children’s Center at Albert Park, adjacent to Albert Field, where the Pacifics will play their home games. The duck issued a prepared statement to the press in which he introduced himself as the team’s mascot. “Before we get any further, there are a couple things you should now about me,” said Francis, a member of the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese.“I am a male duck, or, if you will, a Drake. If you knew that, you should be on Jeopardy.” Francis further explains that he was inspired by the 16th century privateer, Sir Francis Drake, who some historians believe was the first European to reach Marin shores. Continued the duck:“In the coming days, weeks and months, keep a close eye out for me, as I will be swashbuckling my way around Marin County, and every Pacifics game. “If you see me, feel free to stop and wave hello. “But please,” he quacked further,“don’t feed the ducks, we’re really tired of your old bread...we’re just far too polite to show it.” Sir Francis is the brainchild of Pacifics team president Mike Shapiro who says he hopes Sir 11 > Francis “becomes synonymous with the Pacifics and with our community.” 10 PACIFIC SUN APRIL 27 – MAY 3, 2012
< 8 CEQA and you shall find CEQA questions.) Critics said the county should have worked harder to shepherd the Lucas project. But there’s only so much the county can accomplish in the CEQA world. The homeowners’ appeal raised concerns about public safety, zoning regulations and environmental compliance. Much of the work done during an environmental impact review deals with water and air quality, and regional agencies hold the cards. The homeowners’ challenge included questions about how the project would affect a creek on the Grady property. “Imagine you’re the regional water agency and an attorney comes in and says there’s going to be dirt going into the creek. A bureaucrat is going to be careful and say the agency will look into the issue,” says Supervisor Judy Arnold. Supervisors Susan Adams and Steve Kinsey met with the Water Quality Management District and came back with an understanding that the water agency would in the end sign off on the project. The county also told Lucas it would move as fast as possible to approve necessary county-related permits; construction could start on June 15. (The lawsuit threat would, however, still remain.) The supervisors urged supporters to write and email to make their voices heard. Arnold says that in two days she received 66 emails supporting the project and just four opposing it. But in the CEQA world it takes only one person to bring a project to a screeching halt. It’s the ultimate democratic planning tool, which is both good and bad. CEQA critics say a well-intentioned law now is being abused for purposes that have nothing to do with environmental protection. CEQA became law under Gov. Ronald Reagan, who signed the legislation shortly after the federal government passed the National Environmental Policy Act. In 1972, the California Supreme Court ruled that CEQA applied to private development projects that required approval from a public agency, and California became one of only three states to apply environmental regulations to private as well as public development projects. (The others are Washington and New York.) Since its passage, CEQA has attracted the ire of commercial and development interests, just as it has attracted protectors from the environmental community. Supporters are quick to point out that CEQA is responsible for protecting many of the state’s signature environmental assets. Under CEQA, an environmental review is required if there’s a fair argument based on substantive evidence that a project will have a signiﬁcant environmental effect. Critics say the bar should be higher before an environmental review is required. They also say that other state and federal laws dealing with environmental issues have been passed since CEQA, and loosening CEQA mandates would not harm environmental protection, a position many in the environmental community disagree
with—vehemently. CEQA requires that the public have an opportunity to comment on environmental impact reports. And the lead agency, such as a regional water quality district, must prepare written responses to comments. It’s those last two mandates that tie many projects in knots. While CEQA proponents say the law is a prime example of transparency in good government decision-making, critics say the law is rife with opportunities for abuse. Opponents can use the process to slow a project while sponsors and agencies go back to the drawing boards to fashion responses to comments. In the end, a project can be built with mitigation measures, but the lost time and increased cost (environmental impact reports can cost big bucks) may not be worth the effort. When Lucas brought his Grady Ranch project back to the county, the company had an inkling: “We were hoping that it would be a smooth process since the master plan had already been approved [in 1996], but having been through this process before we knew that was improbable,” Lynda Benoit wrote in response to questions about the Grady Ranch project. Benoit, with publicity and corporate communications at Lucasﬁlm Ltd., adds, “What surprised us was the fact that some of the people opposing the project were the very same people who had gone through the process before and then claimed they had no prior awareness of the project.” It’s not unheard of in Marin for a major project to receive initial approval and then go on the back burner. When it re-enters the process, memories grow short. Part of the appeal involved a supposition that the nature of the project had changed substantively since 1996 and therefore needed additional review. “Some new opponents also wanted to go back before the master plan was approved and start that ﬁght over again. There came a point where we had to say enough is enough—we had to move on.” That’s a textbook example of a CEQA delaying tactic. But this time it was for a project that the majority of the county believes was in the best economic and environmental interests of Marin. Reaction to the homeowners’ challenge grew heated; hisses and boos at meetings were just part of the expression of frustration among supporters of the project. The Lucas Valley Homeowners Association, which has no connection to the Lucas Valley Estates group that ﬁled the challenge, received very unpleasant telephone calls. A member of the Lucas Valley Estates board, who spoke on condition of anonymity to shield family members, said the challenge never was intended to stop the Lucas project, and when Lucas pulled the plug it was a surprise. “Our expectation was that there would be mitigations based on the concerns that we raised. We felt that our concerns hadn’t been addressed.”
The group hired a lawyer to make sure it “did everything by the book” the board member says, and at no time did the group actually threaten to sue. “Those words never came out of our mouths. We were hoping to ﬁnd the best outcome for everyone. We all have great respect for Mr. Lucas and his company.” But others note that having a lawyer involved in a CEQA appeal says what words don’t have to: It’s implied. “We are over 25 years into this project,” says Benoit, “and [we] were four years into trying to get the precise development plan permit for Grady Ranch with no end in sight. Time is our most precious commodity. We are no longer willing to suffer all of the combined delays. It’s time to cut our losses and move on.” Lucas had been thinking about contingency plans in case opposition mounted beyond a reasonable level and the Marin welcome mat got yanked. “There have been cities courting us but we were hoping to build a studio in Marin,” says Benoit. “We’re not at liberty to talk about the other locations right now.” The strong-arm CEQA pushback is giving Marin a black eye, says Mill Valley Mayor Gary Lion. He’s a member of the Marin Economic Forum, which estimated that the Lucas project would have created 690 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the county. The pushback “is going to cast a pall on all our efforts to bring targeted industries to
Marin County in the future for many years to come,” says Lion. “Here is an example of a great project, done with terriﬁc environmental sensitivity by a philanthropist that went through all the hoops—and still we couldn’t avoid the effects of a thousand tiny cuts of neighborhood opposition.” Some projects, says Lion, obviously are harmful to the environment and should be opposed. And using CEQA makes sense in those situations. “But this one in my mind was clearly a situation where the environmental protection laws were used by a group to delay and eventually defeat a project, and environmental protection was not really the issue.” That’s a situation that’s being played out across the state, say business leaders, and it’s igniting opposition to CEQA. “We need to take this as a wake-up call,” says Cynthia Murray, president and CEO of the North Bay Leadership Council. “This is a company that [would have] made all kinds of amazing environmental improvements and [planned] green buildings and has donated open space. If all those things couldn’t make this project go through in an expeditious way, most [other business] people will feel they have no chance.” Murray’s organization and others, such as the Bay Area Council, continue to lobby Sacramento to loosen CEQA rules. Raising the possibility of “modernizing” CEQA elicits an immediate defensive response in the environmental community. En-
vironmental organizations remain ﬁrm that CEQA is a net beneﬁt to the state and should not be dismantled, although some procedural changes might meet acceptance from both sides. The infamous document dump is one example. Under current rules, anyone can bring in comments right up until the eleventh hour of the last day of consideration. Then agencies must respond to the comments before anything can proceed. When Murray served on the Novato City Council, councilmembers were
considering a plan to light a ball ﬁeld. One neighbor opposed the project and submitted 3,000 comments. That kind of last-minute submission helped break the camel’s back at Grady Ranch, says Murray. Shortly after Lucas pulled the plug, the Bay Area Council released a report titled “California Environmental Quality Act: Case Studies of Dysfunction and Abuse.” The ﬁrst example? Lucasﬁlm’s Grady Ranch project. < Contact the writer at email@example.com.
< 10 Newsgrams
Point Reyes association throws down gauntlet to hikers Get your hiking boots on, Point Reyes lovers—that is if you’re up to the “challenge.” That challenge is the Point Reyes Trail Challenge, the Point Reyes National Seashore Association’s “hike-a-thon” in which individuals and families explore the PRNS while raising funds to support trail and wildlife projects. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the seashore joining the national park system, the self-paced “challenge” will run from June 2 to Nov. 1, during which time registered hikers will take part in one of five “challenge tracks” and solicit pledges from family and friends on the promise of completing their “challenge.”Tracks include an all-park 150-mile challenge; a “50 miles for the 50th” challenge; a family challenge; a “five habits” challenge; and an equestrian challenge. The event kicks off June 2 with a celebration at the PRNS headquarters in Bear Valley. Cicely Muldoon, superintendent of the Point Reyes National Seashore, calls the contest a “wonderful opportunity” for folks to get to know the seashore better. “The Trails Challenge will restore habitat, improve the trail system and introduce a whole new generation to this amazing national park,” says Muldoon. Funds raised will go toward the Point Reyes National Trust, which was established to restore and enhance the park’s trail network. The association has received about $50,000 in matchingfunds sponsorship for the challenge so far; the goal is to raise more than $100,000. Registration for the contest is free; pledge minimum is $50. Register at www.ptreyes.org or call 415/663-1200, ext. 310.
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The â€˜grandâ€™ illusions Grandparent scams target older folk who havenâ€™t yet learnedâ€”trust no one! by Dani Burlison
or those of us with sub-par spam ďŹ lters, weâ€™ve all received a ďŹ shy email or two. A friend, co-worker, relative pleading with us to send money: Iâ€™ve been mugged in Paris. I lost my passport, wallet, train tickets. Please wire money to help me get home. Some are even on the receiving end of spam from strangers, needing our urgent help in order to relieve political oppression, to make their lives better through sending money their way. Or, did we ever tell you about our new business associate, the Nigerian prince? Aside from email scams, in which a friend or acquaintance appears to be asking us for urgent help in the form of wiring money to a foreign location, some of us get phone calls from someone claiming to be a relative in trouble. In early March, 84-year-old artist and Greenbrae resident Gerhard Weihl received a phone call from a man claiming to be his nephew, Eric, who said he was being held in a Mexican jail. â€œHe said he was in some sort of trouble and to not tell his dad about it,â€? says Weihl. â€œHe even put a man on the phone who said he was Ericâ€™s attorney. It sounded legit.â€? The men instructed Weihl to go to the nearest Western Union location and wire $2,687 by 11am that day and that they would call back in order to verify the conďŹ rmation number. Weihl and Alice, his wife of 58 years, agreed and headed out to their nearest Safeway to send their distressed nephew the money he needed to settle his court issues and return home to his family in Washington state. The men called back at 11am, as promised. Recounts Weihl: â€œThe man who said he was an attorney said, â€˜We have to hurry up. I canâ€™t give you any information right now
because the police are standing right here and the judge is waiting.â€™ He said heâ€™d call me back by 1pm and that everything would be ďŹ nished by then.â€? The men never called back and Weihl quickly grew suspicious. He called Western Union, who told him his funds were received, yet wouldnâ€™t give him any further information about the identity of the person or people who pocketed his $2,687. Weihl knew something wasnâ€™t right and immediately ďŹ led reports with the police department, the Marin County Sheriffâ€™s Department and the district attorneyâ€™s ofďŹ ce. He has also been very persistent with Safeway and Western Union about their accountability for scams like this one. â€œThey fell victim to what is called the grandparent scam,â€? says Jane Kreidler, outreach coordinator for Californiaâ€™s Contractors State License Board. â€œIt happens a lot and some people have been scammed out of as much as $20,000.â€? The grandparent scam involves a phone call made either early in the morning or during mealtime, when most people tend to be distracted or caught off-guard. The person running the scam usually poses as a relative and always asks the victim not to contact anyone about the call. Kreidler organizes regional seminars on senior scams with local legislators and representatives from government agencies with the agenda of educating the senior community about fraud such as the Weihls experienced. In fact, a â€œsenior scam stopperâ€? seminar was hosted by the Contractors State License Board and state Assemblyman Jared Huffman earlier this month at the Redwoods senior living facility in Mill Valley. Unfortunately, the grandparent scam isnâ€™t the only way the senior community is being scammed out of their savings.
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Some of the other common scams are from people posing as bankers, asking for account numbers and even unlicensed contractors showing up at a residence offering home repairs for low, cash-only fees. Money is then drained from bank accounts and the contractors often donâ€™t show up for work or simply do a poor job at the repairs. â€œSeniors are targeted because theyâ€™ve worked all of their lives and have a nest egg,â€? says Kreidler. â€œAnd it doesnâ€™t matter what kind of income they have, the people targeting them know they usually have money in their banks.â€? Kreidler suggests that seniors donâ€™t answer the door to strangers or to take a business card and insist on calling any potential repairperson back after a trusted friend or family member can assess any issue with the home. She also recommends that people use their caller ID and not pick up the phone if the number isnâ€™t recognized. â€œThey should just let the caller leave a message instead of risking a scam,â€? she says. And anyone emailing or calling for bank account information shouldnâ€™t be trusted. â€œBanks have all of the
account information at the bank. They will never call and ask for it.â€? And, though scams are growing increasingly common among the senior population, Kreidler says the incidents are under-reported. Many are embarrassed that they fell for scams or are worried that family members or caretakers will see them as incapable of handling their own ďŹ nances. â€œMost seniors are shocked that anyone would try to harm them or steal from them,â€? says Kreidler. â€œI have to remind them that we donâ€™t live in a handshake world anymore.â€? As for the Weihls, they are still hoping that large businesses like Safeway will become more aware of the scamsâ€”if only to prevent others from losing money the way that they did. And, unfortunately, regardless of record keeping and reports ďŹ lled, the Weihls are not expecting to have their money refunded. â€œItâ€™s not about needing the money back,â€? says Weihl. â€œBut I want to make a little difference so other people donâ€™t have to go through this.â€? < For more information about avoiding or dealing with scams, call the Contractors State License Board at 800/321-2752.
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t John Doe brings some -citemen to the Ross Vall ey
ou might know John Doe as the singer, i b bassist, i songwriter i and d cofounder of the seminal L.A. punk band X, a sometime actor and musician who the All Music Guide has hailed as “one of the most inﬂuential ﬁgures in American alternative rock.” But the punk icon who often wrote menacing tomes about bums and serial killers ers and druggies and other inhabitants of the dark side of L.A.’s underground-rock scene, all cloaked in raucous angst-ridden sonic blasts, is a father with three grown daughters who lives with his wife in a bucolic Fairfax neighborhood surrounded by gently rolling hills, chirping songbirds and swaying eucalyptus groves. “I love it—it’s fantastic. I lived in Bakersﬁeld for three years before moving here and...yeah...,” he says, by Greg implying the lack of a favorable comparison. “You can just go dot, dot, dot. “I mean, I enjoyed Bakersﬁeld because I was close to my daughter, who was graduating high school, and it was, um, very real. Yeah, Bakersﬁeld is very real. When people talk about being disconnected from Middle America, you’re not disconnected when you live in Bakersﬁeld or Lodi or San Joaquin or any of the other communities in the Central Valley. That’s very literary and it’s a fantastic opportunity [for a songwriter] because there are so many Luddites and foot draggers and things like that. But I’d much rather be with like-minded people and not feel like I’m, well, you start to get this weird feeling like, am I just slumming? Am I living here and looking at the rest of the city’s population like I’m superior to them? “It’s just sort of bullshit.” His move to Marin 18 months ago coincides with a milestone in Doe’s creative development. The artist who harnessed so much inspiration from pain and sorrow more recently confronted the challenge of writing songs under the inﬂuence of serenity. His ninth and most recent solo album, The Keeper (Yep Roc), ﬁnds the 58-year-old waxing poetic about happiness. It’s had the music press marveling that the acclaimed songwriter and former angry young man has found inspiration in contentment as he’s grown older. “It’s challenging to write songs if you’ve always relied on being unhappy or longing for someone, if you’ve relied on that kind of turmoil for inspiration,” he says, during a phone interview (Doe declined requests for a face-to-face interview). “I think everyone is looking for some sense of satisfaction, especially if you’re 45 or older—you should, if you’re not. I recommend it because otherwise you’re going to be 65 and bitter and nobody’s going to want to hang out with you. “That’s for real! “But it’s deﬁnitely a bit of a learning curve to write a song that’s a little happier or in which both
parties get loved in the song, a challenge to make that song have a sense of mystery and an edge, so that it’s not a soft and bad song.”
O O O O
BEFORE THE MUSIC world knew him as John Doe, his family and friends called him John Nommensen Duchac. He was born in Decatur, Illinois. His family made stopovers in Tennessee and Wisconsin before settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where Doe sang in church choirs and made his Cahill ﬁrst public appearance at a school talent show singing “I Love You a Bushel and a Peck,” from the Guys and Dolls musical. He soon discovered rock—early rock. “I was in sixth grade when the ﬁrst British Invasion happened, but Baltimore was behind the times, so you could still hear a lot of doo-wop and Chuck Berry on AM radio, and I’m part of that era when you could hear all that different music on a single station,” he says. “James Brown owned a station in Baltimore, like he did in a lot of East Coast cities, so I got to hear a lot of hard-edged soul and funk.” At 16, Doe started playing bass in a series of “crappy bands” at clubs along Fells Point on Baltimore’s historic waterfront, where many of the nation’s ﬁrst naval ships were built and which in the 1960s and ’70s nurtured such local bohemians as kitschy ﬁlmmaker John Waters. “This was long before it was taken over by yuppies and frat boys,” Doe says. “It was a great education, playing for tips and stuff like that.” During trips to New York City, Doe attended shows at the landmark punk venue CBGB—the funky Bowery club that spawned the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Talking Heads and Richard Hell
14> APRIL 27 - MAY 3, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 13
< 13 Less desparate, get used to it... Hills during an encounter with one of the and the Voidoids, among othersâ€”and Maxâ€™s ďŹ lm industryâ€™s most legendary ďŹ gures: the Kansas City, a Park Avenue South hangout for reclusive actress Gloria Swanson (who played pop artist Andy Warhol and the inďŹ‚uential Norma Desmond in the postmodern 1950 rock band Velvet Underground. â€œI had seen ďŹ lm Sunset Boulevard). â€œIt was awesome. I got the Talking Heads, Television, and the Heartto help Gloria Swanson ďŹ nd diet and food breakers and realized that scene was really booksâ€”she was one of the original raw food developed and locked in,â€? he says. â€œBut I was advocates,â€? he says. â€œShe was all of 4-foot-10 tired of the East Coast and its old buildings â€”just a tiiiiiny lady.â€? and all the ghosts.â€? At night, Doe frequented the cityâ€™s nascent So in March 1976, the then-21-year-old punk-rock clubs. â€œThe scene was underseeker ďŹ‚ew to California for a visit. â€œI had a ground. The scene was in basements. The real attraction to Nathanael West [the late scene was full of misďŹ ts who didnâ€™t like the satirist and screenwriter who wrote about popular music of the time: the Eagles, Peter the fringes of Hollywood], the mythic movie Frampton, Fleetwood Mac and all those industry and Charles Bukowski. The Doors other corporate rock acts that had come up,â€? and Love were big inďŹ‚uences on my musical he says. â€œThere were maybe 200 or so people tastes,â€? he says. â€œAs soon as I got off the plane, involved in the local underground-music I thought, â€˜I like this,â€™ though obviously I had scene. Everybody did something, whether it built up a lot of the image of what it should was making ďŹ‚iers or having a fanzine or just be. But I did like it. I think that people who hanging out and being crazy and a risk-taker stay in California have an immediate connecand not going along with whatever the protion. gram was.â€? â€œItâ€™s one of those things where you just say, He soon met guitarist Billy Zoom (aka â€˜Oh, I get it. This is me.â€™â€? Tyson Kindell), the perennially smiling rockaSix months later, he moved to Los Angeles billy axeslinger who would go on to provide for good, drawing inspiration from the cityâ€™s Xâ€™s supercharged licks. Their meeting has tradition of pulp novelists and beat writers become the stuff of Hollywood-style legend. as well as the local music scene. â€œI would give Both Zoom and Doe placed ads for bandthe literary aspect of L.A. as much mates in the Recycler, a local classiďŹ ed weekly. credit as the musical part: James M. The ads were worded similarly. Each Cain, Raymond Chandler, but most returned home that notably Nathanael West,â€? he says. day to ďŹ nd a phone â€œHe was the one who best embodmessage from the ied L.A. to me. I had read The Day other. of the Locust and Miss Lonelyhearts. I liked the economy of his style.â€? Still, he adds, â€œthere was something in the air about the music changing, from David Bowie and his work with the Stooges to the way [Detroit rockers] MC5 and Patti Smithâ€™s Horses changed the landscape in a major way. There was something going on and I didnâ€™t want to miss it by being in Baltimore.â€? He even got a taste of the old Hollywood that populated Formed in 1977, Xâ€™s country and rockabilly roots set it apart from the bandâ€™s lessWestâ€™s novels while working at accessible L.A. hardcore contemporaries such as the Circle Jerks and the Germs. the Brentano bookstore in Beverly From left, Billy Zoom, D.J.Bonebrake, Exene Cervenka and John Doe.
â€œWe got together and started playing old Sam Cooke, Gene Vincent and songs like that, to see how we liked each otherâ€™s playing,â€? Doe recalls. â€œAnd we hit it off.â€? Around this same time, Doe met his future wife and soon-to-be lead singer Exene Cervenka (born Christene Cervenka). The two clicked. â€œWe met at a poetry workshop. I ďŹ gured that the easiest way to get involved in the community that I knew something about or to ďŹ nd like-minded people was through the writing world,â€? he says. â€œI had run a poetry-reading series with some other people in Baltimore. And there was a big poetry circle in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area that was all about performance and didnâ€™t take itself so seriously.â€? One day, Cervenka showed Doe a song she had written called â€œIâ€™m Coming Over.â€? Doe, who still had no original material for the band, thought he saw an opportunity. â€œI told her Iâ€™d do it with this band I was starting with Billy Zoom. She said, â€˜If anyoneâ€™s gonna do my song, I will,â€™â€? he remembers. â€œSo I thought I should ask if she wanted to be part of the band.â€? Drummer Donald â€œD.J.â€? Bonebrake rounded out the lineup. The bandâ€™s big break came in 1978 when former Doors keyboardist and songwriter Ray Manzerak caught them as the opening act at a show at the Whisky A Go-Go on Sunset Strip. Manzarek and his wife, Dorothy, had gone that night to catch the headliners, the seminal rockabilly revival band Levi and the Rockats. During Xâ€™s set, Dorothy pointed out to her husband that the band was playing a high-octane cover of â€œSoul Kitchen,â€? a Manzarek song from the Doorsâ€™ ďŹ rst album. â€œHe didnâ€™t even recognize it,â€? Doe muses, â€œbut she did.â€? Manzarek was smitten. He helped X land a deal with the Doorsâ€™ label, Elektra Records, and went on to produce their ďŹ rst three albums. â€œI was awestruck. My jaw dropped,â€? Doe says of his ďŹ rst meeting with Manzarek, who now lives in the North Bay as well. â€œJim Morrison and his poetry and the Doorsâ€™ music were something that as a teen I was completely infatuated with. I was drawn to their dark side. Having Ray validate our band was a huge conďŹ dence builder.â€?
John Doe at the Movies John Doeâ€”who will appear in the upcoming post-Katrina zombie apocalypse ďŹ lm Zombex, due this fallâ€”has performed in at least 65 ďŹ lms and TV episodes. On TV, he portrayed the sheriff on the WB network paranormal-teen series Roswell and had roles on ER and 2009â€™s Wizards of Waverly Place. His ďŹ lm credits include roles in Oliver Stoneâ€™s Salvador, the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire (he was Wynona Ryderâ€™s dad), Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze, The Good Girl (with Jennifer Aniston), the 2007 Bob Dylan biopic Iâ€™m Not There, and the supremely creepy drug cautionary tale Bug. His three daughters have acted with him in director Allison Andersâ€™ 1999 Sugar Town as well as Border Radio. He even had a role in Whitney Houstonâ€™s 1992 Doe plays a barkeep wh redneck breakthrough ďŹ lm, against Patro goes up The Bodyguard. in 1989â€™s â€˜R ick Swayze oadhouse.â€™ Doe can be heard on the jukebox at a country-and-western bar singing a country version of Dolly Partonâ€™s songâ€œI Will Always Love You,â€?during a scene in which Houston (playing a pop diva) and Kevin Costner (the Secret Service agent hired to protect her) dance cheek-to-cheek in a pivotal romantic scene. Houston later reprises the song. Her version was a smash hit, Doeâ€™s has slipped into obscurity as it was excluded from the CD version of the soundtrack.â€”GC
X WASNâ€™T THE ďŹ rst punk band to emerge from the scene in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone once reasoned, but it deďŹ nitely was â€œthe ďŹ rst one that mattered.â€? At a time when most L.A. punk bands merely aped the sound of their London and New York counterparts, X invented a metal-edged, rapid-ďŹ re rockabilly-based sound that stood head and shoulders above the pack, thanks to deep roots in the storytelling tradition of Woody Guthrie. Music writer J.D. Considine once opined that the bandâ€™s strong suit was that its early songs were â€œso obviously and audaciously in-
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telligent, with verses that read 35th anniversary, ranges from more like poetry than punk arena concerts with Pearl Jam doggerel.” to an intimate show for 300 or Their edgy brand of protoso fans at the Sweetwater Music Americana was rich in counHall in Mill Valley. try-inﬂected harmonies and “I think the reason X worked, melodic vocals, unafraid to aside from documenting some explore the nation’s seamy unof the Los Angeles scene, was derbelly, and inviting comparithat we persevered,” Doe says. sons to ﬁlm noir and the work “We were dedicated and had of Bowery bum-cum-Beat poet ambition and wrote songs Charles Bukowski. that writers like to write. We Over the years, and especialgot signed to Elektra Records ly in the solo works of singer/ because we had songs that songwriter Doe and ex-wife were poetic and that had some Cervenka, the band members accessibility. And we weren’t have continued to produce completely self-destructive as a intelligent underground rock, band—we were just personally spoken-word albums and altself-destructive.” country songs that never panIn recent years, X’s inﬂuence der to the audience and always has been felt in a new generarespect the maturing voice of tion of post-punk bands drawn the songwriters. to its music, as well as dozens In 1987, the band released of alt-country and insurgent its last album, See How We Are, country bands. Doe himself has with ex-Blasters guitarist Dave been associated with cowpunk Allen replacing Billy Zoom, and rockabilly bands, including and then released two more Dave Alvin and the BlastFrom top, ‘See How We Are,’ ‘Los ers (he co-wrote two of their studio albums with guitarist Tony Gilkyson replacing Alvin Angeles’ and ‘Wild Gift’ are the X best-known songs), and such albums that most often crop up on before disbanding in 1993. insurgent country acts as the Sagreatest-albums-of-all-time lists. During the past 15 years, dies and the X alt-country side X has reunited for occasional concert tours. project the Knitters. Last week, he performed, Their upcoming 50-city tour of the United along with fellow Marin residents Ramblin’ States and Europe, which marks the band’s Jack Elliott and Rob Wasserman, at an L.A.
in-store appearance at Amoeba Records to promote seven or eight songs on a CD that we sell at the few performances that we do together. She was onstage talking about some political thing, about how we had all felt that Ronald Reagan was going to be the end of the world and realizing now that that was such a naive time [in comparison to today]. If you project 15 or 20 years into the future, you realize that we’re going to think of this as being a very naive time. “And I’m thinking, holy crap, what’s that going to be like? “We’re deﬁnitely getting toward the top of the hill, where there are going to be even more serious crises. And you have to try to act responsibly and alleviate that. That’s one of the reasons I love living Coming Soon in this area. People do OOOO X-35 performs Wednesday, May try to eat better food and 9, at 9pm, at the Sweetwater THESE DAYS,DOE appears recycling isn’t requested, Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera to be comfortable in his own it’s mandatory—it’s part Ave., Mill Valley. The show is skin, able to express artfully of the price of living. After sold out. the sentiments of a middleall, in some parts of the aged family man and his recountry, people are acting sponsibility as a troubadour like it’s 1950 or something at a time when anarchy has gone mainstream and burying their heads in the sand. with the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests. “I think our music should speak to everyThat’s no easy task. one as much or more than it ever did,” he says “Struggling with the fears of the present of X at 35. “There’s a universal feeling of angst day is more of a challenge now than it was and I feel really lucky that X still translates 10 or 15 years ago, just because the world that and can bring it to the stage. has ramped up its intensity,” he says. “I had “I’m totally fucking grateful for that.” < a thought the other day: Exene and I did an Identify yourself to Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
concert celebrating the 100th birthday of folk legend Woody Guthrie. “[The attraction to roots music] was part of the return to two-and-a-half-minute songs. The musical ethic of punk rock is no more ﬁve-minute solos, no more fucking jamming and may God not strike me down right here in Fairfax, no more Grateful Dead,” he says with hint of a laugh. “It was all part of the revolution, the return to the notion that rock ’n’ roll was dangerous, the return to rock ’n’ roll as freedom. It’s a return to the thrust that rock ’n’ roll is youth and short songs and maybe the lyrics are dumb, or maybe not, but it’s to the point. “Our heroes were Eddie Cochran and Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis because they did embrace that kind of rebellion.”
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May is National Stroke Awareness Month.
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Our comprehensive program includes followup care; physical, speech, and occupational therapy; rehab; and medical management. Our exceptional care has earned us the American Stroke Association’s Gold Plus Award for 2011 and 2012. If you are experiencing stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately.
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s boutiques and even secondhand stores become more and more picked over, many fashion-loving folks are taking their wardrobesâ€”along with scissors, knitting needles, sewing machines and fabric dyeâ€”into their own hands. In fact, DIY fashion may be the hottest trend around. From knitting gorgeous shrugs with handdyed yarn to embellishing old cotton dresses with applique ďŹ‚owers and re-purposing old slacks into crafty handbags, everyone from teen boys to grandmothers are fashioning hip new outďŹ ts in the most creative of ways. For the not-so-sewing inclined, many websites and even booksâ€”like the newly published I Spy DIY Style, based on author Jenni Radosevichâ€™s website, www.ispy-diy. comâ€”offer simple step-by-step instructions on constructing or re-purposing jewelry, clothing and even shoes to complete unique wardrobes. And for those clothes lovers out there who end up confused and frustrated, wading through tangles of yarn and ribbon during at-home attempts at clothing construction, Marin has several stores with yarn, fabric, sewing supplies, dye and hands-on assistance and/ or classes. Here are a few: Once Around, 352 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, offers free drop-in help in the sewing studio and a knitting night. Check website for dates and times: www.oncearound.com. Rainbow Fabrics, Crafts and Things, 50 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax, has seasonal sewing classes (think: Halloween costumes) and other classes to help repair or re-purpose clothing. Check website for the schedule of classes: www.rainbowfabrics.net.
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Dharma Trading Co., 1604 Fourth St., San Rafael, not only has a gorgeous collection of yarn and apparel just waiting to be dyed and painted, they also offer knitting/crochet classes and online tutorials to help with fabric art projects: www.dharmatrading.com. Doodlebug, 641 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo, offers sewing and craft classes for kids and adults alike: doodlebugmarin.com. Bluebird Yarn & Fiber Crafts, 325 Pine St., Sausalito, offers knitting classes in addition to the yarn collection (www. bluebirdyarn.com), as does Atelier, 217 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo (atelieryarns. com). Material Grace, 11 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, offers a great selection of fabric; owner Bonnie Wells, an experienced textile design teacher, doesnâ€™t currently have space for classes but may in the future. Check materialgrace.com for more information. < Send DIY info to Dani at dburlison@paciďŹ csun.com.
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