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With h brown

Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Court Jester reviews GavinWatch party


By h. brown


March 30, 2007

"I am not Frank Vega's daughter!!"

(Cecilia Vega)

Granddaughter then? I mean, c'mon, the resemblance is amazing. Chron photographer Kat Wade snapped away as Vega made the rounds of the Anarchist Media Summit disguised as a party at El Rio last night. She had her little notebook to make certain she got the names right but she was completely clueless as to what she was watching. She was standing in the middle of the nerve center of the Progressive Media war camp. All these geniuses who'd been fighting in this gladiatorial Spring training were slapping each other on the back, shooting down double bourbons, and going from display after display of posters, stickers, video clips, short films … all blasting incumbent Mayor Gavin Newsom.

They were breaking camp and getting ready to turn up the volume on the battle that was already engaged. The Progressives might not have a candidate certain as yet, but they certainly had an enemy target and that was enough. I mused at how much the high-tech work on display would have cost a campaign.

Willie Brown's worst nightmare

A multi-million dollar Progressive independent expenditure campaign was launched last night. An honest to God, genuinely independent campaign. That's never happened before.

I mean, who the hell can accuse us of not being independent? We don't even have a candidate. Our closest ties to any political candidate are to Newsom. We draw all of our energy from the enemy and he's got plenty to give.

We were an army in search of a general. Not that we'd pay that much attention to them, but we need at least 3 people to put their names on the ballot. I shot that question at Rob Arnow who was a chief architect along with Professor Steven Hill, of the 7 million dollar City elections treasure chest meant to help financially strapped candidates from whatever area of the political spectrum … to mount credible campaigns for mayor against the Downtown financial juggernaut.

"Who's gonna spend this money?"

I'm told that Rob Arnow is 'hot'. My gay friends are crazy about him. I see a skinny little guy peeking from behind the curtain of the control room making certain everyone is in their proper position.

They see Errol Flynn.

He couldn't answer. Hell, maybe Tony Hall will spend it all. He's certainly better than Newsom. Fact is Arnow's legislation doesn't favor a particular candidate or point of view. Like most of the work projects scattered around the dark El Rio compound, the whole point of the effort has been to potentially level the playing field for candidates who can't go to billionaires for support.

Most of the talk about candidates was about the Danny Glover buzz.

Danny Glover

Newsom actually was there

I got my picture taken with him, several actually. In one of them, I was squeezing his balls while a six foot chicken squawked in delight and shutters clicked and the instant image flashed upon TV screens placed here and there. It was, of course, a cardboard cutout but it was emblematic of how creativity can beat raw bucks.

Are cardboard cutouts relevant?

Oh yeah, and then some. Hey, I'm an oldster and I recall being 8 years old and crawling around at night putting Adlai Stevenson for President bumper stickers on Cadillacs in 1952. Now, that's grassroots politics and cardboard cutouts are of that era. Point is, this Progressive geek army doesn't just depend upon a paper-free high-speed Internet to get their messages across. They'll use antique tactics to reach their antique demographic. As we all got our pictures taken with 'Gavin' and slapped knees and danced on a far corner of the plank board circular veranda, another blast from the past (tribute to technology past) roared in flash-card fashion on the hundred foot wide brick wall across from us.

Someone had gotten access to a back apartment above the funky night spot's large rear beer garden and a meth-like retro collage of Gavin with every woman he's dated since he's become mayor played out from a projector from the second story window above the bar. I talked to Michael Strickland of Civiccenterblogspot.com (or, something like that) and his friend, Tony the Sicilian who never forgets, as I wrote an ad for Craigslist:

Mayor needed!

- English not necessary

- Orientation irrelevant

- Bulletproof car and bodyguards

- Unlimited starlets

- Billions to spend

I was amazed that we didn't have a candidate. We kicked around whether we could get Danny Glover to run with Barbara ('Kitty Ultra-Sound, cabaret singer) Early and Jackson West, a founding father of SFist.

Dan Noyes was ranking media personality and he took the night off to socialize. He's a family man with a career and doesn't often venture into such a crowd without a camera, soundperson and makeup. He's also smart as hell and I was surprised that when I introduced him to Marc Salomon that it was the first time they'd met.

Charles Kalish was there sans banshee attitude. He was talking to Julian Davis who'll audition for a position on his landscaping crew (Kalish looks half his age cause he works his ass off - we always accuse him of youth pills and cosmetic surgery). I thanked Police commissioner David Campos for trying to get Josh Wolf, Police Specials, and Steroid Abuse onto the commission calendar. He said that Commission President Louise Renne was resisting a public forum on the Wolf scandal.

h brown, Charles Kalish and Ray Tobey

Fog City Journal chief Luke Thomas and Bay Guardian City Editor Steven Jones spent so much time tete a' tete in a secluded corner that I had to go over to see if they were fondling one another.

I drug Channel 4's multitasker Jonathan Blue over (he drives, he films, he does sound, he does graphics, he cleans the restroom and he replaced someone making 90k a year) … drug the kid over to film Luke and Steven, then introduced them with an obscenity-laced presentation that made his tape useless.

David Sloane, who says he's with the FBI, bought me two double bourbons on the rocks and introduced me to a gorgeous young thing named Francesca. Kimo Crossman and Bruce Wolfe arrived late from a panel discussion with Annalee Newitz of Brugmann's Guardian.

Andy Blue was there in all of his good humor and Keely Zahn bade me go over and shake hands with Jimmy Dorenkott whom I invited out into the street in jest.

Beth Spotswood rules!

She's the best satirist in town other than myself (hey, if you don't like your own product, get out of the business). In her 20's and writing online for the Chron. She is hilarious. Strickland and Jackson West turned me on to her writing last year. Read the woman and compare how she writes this thing up with how Vega and I separately describe it.

The lust dripping satirist, Beth Spotswood

"Tales of my demise are exaggerated!"

(A defensive Mike Farrah arrives late)

Uh huh. I don't buy it, but I like Mike so I nodded in agreement. Fact is, Phil Ginsberg is the new mayor and he's shaken up everything. Farrah's 2-room suite went to Stuart Sunshine and Farrah got Ruby Tourk's old digs, plus lots of duties 'outside' the office like being called out to come observe one of the opposition enclaves. I

Jokingly, I introduced Farrah to Dan Noyes that amused them both.

Gumshoe Dan Noyes and Mike "Whiskers" Farrah

Ted Strawser and biker honey, Lisa Schaum chattered with Noyes for a long time as Blue ran his camera and Hope Bryson swooped in late to embrace Luke Thomas in front of God and everyone.

Luke Thomas and Hope Bryson
Photo by Marc Salomon

Paul Hogarth of Beyond Chron bounced around the room being ridiculously young and full of energy. Krissy Keefer arrived from a late dinner and I presented her to Cecilia Vega: "Prettiest woman in town, meet the hottest."

BeyondChron writer and activist, Paul Hogarth

Vega was uncomfortable and scribbled incessantly.

There were lots more people there and they'll remind me that I forgot to mention them. But, we started this with Vega and let's end it with her. She and #4's Jonathan Blue are the new face of corporate journalism. Low pay. Increased duties. Clipped wings.

In the middle of the hundred or so free-lancers, they stood out by way of their tense body language. Neither of them has a future. Once they start making a decent wage, her 'uncle' Frank (whatever) will fire her and Jonathan's masters will dump him for someone who does all that he does but cheaper yet.

Chronicle pheramone transmitters Beth Spotswood, Eve Batey and Cecilia Vega


This group is trouble down the road for Team Newsom. Talent trumps cash more and more every day in the field of political technology. While Rob Arnow has handed Progressives the key to the vault of public funding, that isn't what will make the difference in this coming mayoral campaign. Naw, it will be the thousands of cartoons and videos and songs and general irreverent mockery that will bring down the Getty Humpty-Dumpty.

And, we'll have a hell of a good time doing it.

Salon is 1-3pm

Enjoy the sunshine.

h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email h at h@ludd.net.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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