Barred from Viewing Controversial SF Murals

Sometimes San Francisco really sucks. It sucked one cold, foggy day last week when I tried to get into George Washington High School to see the controversial murals painted in the 1930s, under the aegis of the New Deal, by a commie named Victor Arnautoff. The friendly Samoan security guard told me “No Way. No […]

A Whale of a Time on the California Coast

“Save the Whales!” Who hasn’t heard the cry that’s now timelier than ever before? It’s not only the commercial hunting of whales that’s to blame for the decline of the species, though there’s still much of that. Despite a 1986 ban that made whaling illegal worldwide, hunters from Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to kill […]

I Am the Target of a Hate Group & You Might Be, Too

Last month I wrote an article about the 1970s group, Weather Underground, which was published in Tablet magazine. It prompted a response from Daniel Greenfield, which appeared in FrontPage, a right-wing political website, edited by David Horowitz and published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Greenfield libeled me and targeted me, too, as “a stooge […]

Why I Write Murder Mysteries

The other day at Peet’s Coffee on Broadway in the town of Sonoma, I had a conversation with a young woman I have known for years, but have never really gotten to know. Let’s call her J. She is white, tall, fit and single, though her hard-working parents live close by. J has four jobs […]

Paul Krassner, American Satirist

“He’s gone. Feel free to spread the word,” Michael Simmons said in an email that went out to a few dozen or so of the usual suspects, including Wavy Gravy, Judy Gumbo, Larry (Ratzo) Sloman, Jim Fouratt, Rex Weiner, Aron Kay, Kate Coleman, Jeffrey St. Clair, and Barbara Garson, some of whom had been Yippies, […]

NORML’s Deputy Director Speaks Volumes

The National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)— which was founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup and that now has 135 chapters nation-wide and 550 lawyers ready to serve — is still going strong as the bulwark of the marijuana cause. There’s much more to do, though a great deal has been accomplished […]

1969 & All That Weird Stuff

When my friends ask librarians to recommend a novel by a local author that’s set in Sonoma County they suggest Greg Sarris’s Watermelon Nights and Jack London’s The Valley of the Moon. They rarely if ever point readers in the direction of The Girls by Emma Cline. Some of the settings are vague, but Cline mentions Petaluma, East Washington Street, Adobe […]

Ferlingetti at 100

Much of the spirit of City Lights Books and City Lights Publishing found their way into the pages of AVA, and the AVA found its way to City Lights on Columbus Avenue, the best little bookstore in the world. It felt good to see the AVA displayed along with newspapers and magazines from around the […]

Kerouac Meets McCarthy on TV

Think of the 1950s and it’s hard not to think of the bomb, blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe, Beat Generation writers and that all-American ogre, Senator Joseph McCarthy who burned himself up and burned out quickly, though not soon enough for those who feared him and detested him. Jack Kerouac, the King of the Beats, […]

The Promise & Perils of Hemp

Tony Linegar, the former Mendocino Agricultural Commissioner, is in his eighth year as Sonoma County Ag Commissioner. Not surprisingly, he’s not fading quietly into the sunset, not with yet another controversial crop on the horizon. “Solving the challenge of how hemp can fit into the agricultural landscape will be a balancing act with many opposing […]

1 2 3 8