Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Short but sweet

Out There

A Keith Haring poster (1989) is part of the International Vintage Poster Fair this weekend. (Photo:
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The classic Keith Haring poster that illustrates this column is one of the offerings on display at the International Vintage Poster Fair, the world's oldest, largest sale and expo of original vintage posters, coming to Fort Mason Center this weekend. This year's feature exhibit, Seven Deadly Sins, showcases vice in poster art. We believe you know our sisters Wrath, Greed , Sloth, Pride, Lust , Envy and little baby Gluttony.

Count us among those who felt closing down Civic Center for six days of set-up, four days of jocky fun, and who knows how many days of breakdown for the Dew Tour was a sin. Here's a clue as to how far things have come: the robber barons of the Gilded Age were certainly as greedy as today's corporate capitalists, but still they sponsored public parks, libraries, etc., to help make urban working-class lives a little easier. In a weird reversal, these days public parks, squares and amenities are closed off, working people's lives inconvenienced, for all the whoop-de-doo of corporate functions and parties. Where, oh where, will it all end?


Grateful dead

The San Francisco Symphony will deliver its fifth annual Dia de los Muertos community concert on Sat., Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. This year's Day of the Dead event has got talent to burn, including the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra performing Aaron Copland 's El Salon Mexico and Jose Pablo Moncayo's Huapango; the SF Symphony Chorus singing the beautiful Misa Criolla by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez ; narrator and host Luis Valdez , the father of Chicano theater and founder of Teatro Campesino; plus Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan and folkloric dance ensemble Los Lupenos de San Jose.

Starting an hour before the concert, Davies Symphony Hall lobbies will be filled to the rafters with Day of the Dead altars and installations created for the event by a host of local artists; activities for children and families; choruses, dance performances and complimentary Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto. Beats shivering in a graveyard, no? Info at


Short stop

The just-released paperback original Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story (Picador) is a joy between covers for lovers of that short literary form. For editors Lorin and Sadie Stein , 20 contemporary writers choose and introduce their favorite classic short stories. Some stand-outs include Jane Bowles ' "Emmy Moore's Journal" (introduced by Lydia Davis); Bernard Cooper 's "Old Birds" (Amy Hempel ); Raymond Carver 's "Why Don't You Dance" (David Means); and Ethan Canin 's "The Palace Thief" (Lorrie Moore).

Here's a small gem from the late great Donald Barthelme 's "Several Garlic Tales" (introduced by Ben Marcus): "The trawler made a smooth landing in the fjord country of Norway. 'Sightseeing' would be a cheap word for what they were experiencing.

"Yum Yum wrinkled behind her fan. Paul resolved to 'have it out' with her. 'Have a cigar,' he said. 'All the Scandinavian girls smoke them.'

"'All the Scandinavian girls smoke them! All the Scandinavian girls smoke them! All the Scandinavian girls smoke them! All the Scandinavian girls smoke them! All the Scandinavian girls smoke them! Paul, you are trying to make me something I'm not. Just like when you wanted me to wear those white rubber pajamas!'"


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