Velvet Underground. How do you make a rock doc without any concert footage?

The Velvet Underground is one of the most iconic albums of all time. The LP, released in 1966 long before the days of CD’s and streaming, had a classic banana peel cover. You could peel it off.

The documentary by Todd Haynes takes the viewer on a trip down memory lane of the rock scene in its early tumultuous days. Must viewing.

The Guardian 10.16.2021

How do you make a rock doc without any concert footage? In his electric portrait of the Velvet Underground, the film-maker Todd Haynes elegantly sidesteps this conundrum. Unable to rely on archive material of their gigs, he turns instead to the early films of Andy Warhol, their friend, publicist and one-time manager.

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The band came out of New York City’s avant-garde art scene in 1964 , so Haynes frames the film like a downtown gallery installation. A slideshow of still photographs runs in split screen alongside new interviews and clips from this period in experimental American cinema (the format is a homage to Warhol’s 1966 film Chelsea Girls). Warhol’s screen tests of founding members Lou Reed and John Cale, staring into the lens, play out in full. His black-and-white chiaroscuro closeups capture the Velvets’ confrontational cool.

In his dramas Velvet Goldmine, I’m Not There and Carol, Haynes imagined the sexual escapades of a Bowie-esque pop star, cast Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan, and queered the melodrama genre. He’s the perfect practitioner, then, to tell the story of a band who also defined themselves in opposition to the mainstream. A more conventional director might have chosen to focus on their most famous member, Reed, but Haynes smartly structures the film as a group show, giving space to the women in the ensemble. Singer Nico is thankfully presented as more than a femme fatale, while drummer Maureen “Moe” Tucker embodies the band’s no-nonsense, New York attitude with her withering comments about “flower power”.

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Film which brought home Algeria’s fight for independence from French rule

Lee Heidhues 10.17.2021

October 17, 1961 was the day French police in Paris massacred hundreds of Algerians during the Algerians struggle for independence from colonial rule.

It was a brutal and violent  war with a take no prisoners attitude on both sides.

The most gripping visualization of the Algerians fight for independence is the 1966 mock documentary film The Battle of Algiers. It is recognized over 50 years later as one of the classic political films of all time.

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October 17, 1961: A massacre of Algerians in the heart of France by Paris cops

Lee Heidhues 10.16.2021

60 years is a long time to wait for an apology.  It was 60 years ago on October 17 that French police murdered hundreds of Algerians in the heart of Paris. 

The massacre was carried out at the direction of Paris police chief Maurice Papon, himself a collaborator with the Nazis during their occupation of France during World War II.

This is a shocking event which most Americans have never heard about. It is only because the sad anniversary is receiving media coverage that I myself know of its occurrence.

When this massacre happened the French were struggling to hold onto Algeria, one of their last colonies. A vicious war of independence raged from 1954-1962 when the Algerians achieved their independence from their colonial masters in Paris on July 5, 1962.

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Excerpted from France 24 – 10.16.2021

President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday became the first French head of state to take part in commemorations of the massacre by Paris police of protesters at a rally 60 years ago against France’s rule in its then-colony Algeria. He stopped short of issuing a formal apology but said that the deadly crackdown on that day was “inexcusable”.

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The events of October 17, 1961 were covered up for decades and the final death toll remains unclear. But many historians believe it could amount to several hundred.

The rally was called in the final year of France’s increasingly violent attempt to retain Algeria as a north African colony, and in the middle of a bombing campaign targeting mainland France by pro-independence militants.

On Saturday, one day ahead of the formal anniversary, Macron took part in a memorial ceremony for the victims at a park on the Paris outskirts. He acknowledged that several dozen protesters had been killed, “their bodies thrown into the River Seine” and paid tribute to the memory of the victims.

The precise number of victims has never been made clear and some activists fear several hundred could have been killed.

While Macron didn’t issue a formal apology for the actions of the Paris police that day, the French presidential office said in a statement that the deadly crackdown was “inexcusable”.

Macron “recognised the facts: that the crimes committed that night under Maurice Papon are inexcusable for the Republic,” the Elysée statement said.

“This tragedy was long hushed-up, denied or concealed,” it added.

The Paris police chief at the time, Maurice Papon, was in the 1980s revealed to have been a collaborator with the occupying Nazis in World War II and complicit in the deportation of Jews. He was convicted of crimes against humanity but later released.

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Historian Emmanuel Blanchard told AFP that Macron’s comments represented “progress” and had gone “much further” than those made by Hollande in 2012.

But he took issue with the decision to pin responsibility on Papon alone, saying that then prime minister Michel Debre and president Charles de Gaulle had not been held to account over the ensuing cover-up or the fact Papon would remain Paris police chief until 1967.

Activists were hoping Macron, the first president born in the post-colonial era, would go further than his predecessor François Hollande, who acknowledged in 2012 that protesting Algerians had been “killed during a bloody repression”.

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San Francisco bureaucrats meet to discuss future of The Great Walkway

Lee Heidhues 10.15.2021

In response to a Public Records Request with Supervisor Connie Chan I received the attached document.  StatementGreatHighway10521.

In early October representatives of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, The Metropolitan Transportation Agency and The Recreation and Park Commission met to discuss the future of The Great Walkway.

The Subject: line in the September 28, 2021 email states Supervisor Chan, the legislator primarily responsible for reopening The Great Walkway to cars in August 2021 after 16 months as a car free zone, and MTA Director Michael Tumlin would be participating.

Supervisor Chan did not attend the meeting. Legislative aide Kelly Groth participated in her place.



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San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Provide Update on the Future of the Great Highway.

Please see the attached meeting invite for the list of folks invited to the meeting; which  also included Megan Imperial (BOS) and Sarah Jones. (MTA)

From: Ng, Beverly (REC)
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 12:46 PM
To: Groth, Kelly (BOS) ; Yu, Angelina (BOS) ; Madland, Sarah (REC) ; Tumlin, Jeffrey (MTA)
Cc: Chan, Connie (BOS) ; Simpliciano, Sophia (MTA) ; Doherty, Timothy (MTA)

Subject: Briefing update on Great Highway with Sup. Chan & Director Tumlin
When: Friday, October 1, 2021 9:30 AM-10:00 AM.

On Aug. 5, 2021, Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar, with support from Supervisors Connie Chan and Myrna Melgar, modified the emergency order so the Great Highway will be closed to vehicles from each Friday at noon until the following Monday at 6 a.m. and open to pedestrians, cycling and other recreational uses. 

 Throughout this time, Rec and Park and the SFMTA have been focusing on the Great Highway’s long- term future beyond the emergency order. Together, we have been monitoring usage in order to recommend a two-year pilot program to the Board of Supervisors. Our target for presenting the plan, originally set for fall, will now be postponed as we study the impact of the partial opening, which went into effect August 16.   

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The abbreviations:

BOS – San Francisco Board of Supervisors Board of Supervisors

MTA – San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency

REC – San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission


Feds cave to howls of The Entitled mob of drivers. Put brakes on Park parking fees

Lee Heidhues 10.14.2021

Paying for parking in Federal parks and the howls being heard from The Entitled is yet another skirmish in the San Francisco Do Cars Rule the World battle?

As the excerpt from The San Francisco Chronicle shows the Feds have caved to the howls of The Entitled Mob.

Its ironic that some who profess to appreciate the environment, including elected officials, are howling the loudest about having to pay to park in Bay Area national parks.

The struggle for car free zones is being waged in San Francisco with The Great Walkway and JFK Drive being Ground Zero. San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan, whose district encompasses JFK Drive and The Great Walkway, can now ad the Lands End area to the list of environmental battle zones.

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Cyclists at Crissy Field in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Supervisor Chan has already betrayed the Progressives who put her in office in 2020 and taken the side of the most reactionary elements amongst The Entitled in the JFK Drive and Great Walkway battle.

The Supervisor must know one way to get people to leave their vehicles and find alternative modes is to make it costly to park.

She doesn’t care. She wants to get reelected. Period.

Supervisor Chan should commend the National Park Service, a steward of the environment, for putting forth this sensible proposal.

Excerpted from The Chronicle 10.14.2021

As the country’s national parks confront record crowds, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, home to the Presidio, Marin Headlands and Stinson Beach, is looking to introduce parking fees to ease the higher cost of operations.

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Not everyone is happy about this. Members of Congress, a powerful dog advocacy group and about 900 letter-writers are among those fighting the proposal, which calls for a $3-an-hour or $10-a-day parking fee at eight sites in San Francisco and Marin County. The sites, where parking has long been free, include such locally popular play spots as Baker Beach, China Beach, Lands End and Rodeo Beach.

On Thursday afternoon, in an unexpected turn, GGNRA officials told The Chronicle they were reconsidering their proposal in light of the feedback and would hold off on charging for parking in at at least some of the spots. Which ones remains to be seen.

“Cancel Culture Bullshit” the right-wing talking point on Gruden resignation

Lee Heidhues 10.12.2021

Back in Jon Gruden’s halycon days as Oakland Raiders coach he was affectionately known as “Chucky” and billboards with his smiling face graced billboards on Bay Area freeways.

Times have changed.

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s sudden resignation in the face of a political and media firestorm when his 10 year old incendiary emails found their way into the news cycle has become a major political story.  What is more disturbing is the fact that people inside the NFL and the media have known about Gruden’s comments for years.

The question becomes, “Why did it take 10 years for this story to become public knowledge?”  The reason may be that Gruden has been a money machine for the networks in his role as a coach and a commentator on ESPN.

Money can make a lot of uncomfortable problems go away.  But not forever.

Excerpted from Vanity Fair 10.12.2021

Newsmax host Greg Kelly chalked up Jon Gruden’s resignation to “CANCEL CULTURE BULLSHIT,” while right-wing talk radio host Jesse Kelly said that if Gruden had “mocked straight people, insulted the looks of a white man, and said Christians are stupid, he’d still be employed today.”

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This past June, the National Football league launched a new promo video that proclaimed, “Football is gay,” as well as “lesbian,” “beautiful,” “strong,” “queer,” and “transgender.” The video reportedly drew plenty of hateful comments, and this week, a new scandal has shed light on the recalcitrant culture of homophobia and racism that still exists in the NFL.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden made a series of racist, homophobic, and sexist comments in emails several years ago.

Gruden attempted to sweep aside the incident when confronted with the first seemingly racist remark he made in 2011, when he said that NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, has “lips the size of [Michelin] tires.”

Gruden ultimately resigned in the face of the Times story, which suggested the comment was not an isolated incident. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” Gruden said in a statement. “I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

In perhaps a predictable turn of events, Gruden’s resignation has granted him instant martyr status in the right-wing media’s “cancel culture” wars.

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ex-Raiders Coach Jon Gruden

Blogger and podcast host Matt Walsh said as much in a tweet stating that “Nobody was a victim of Gruden’s vulgar comments,” ergo he should face no consequences. “Nobody was hurt or even offended. Call it what it is: Gruden is getting canceled for thought crimes,” Walsh wrote, adding that Gruden lost his job “because he’s a white guy who used insensitive language.” Gruden’s use of anti-gay slurs is of particular note given that––up until Monday night––he coached Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to come out publicly. Still, Walsh wrote, there is “no indication or even claim that [Gruden] has acted inappropriately in his job as a coach.

Naturally, the controversy made its way onto the former president’s favorite TV network. During his Fox Business show on Monday, host Charles Payne argued that Gruden was a victim of selective punishment and that he “should [not] have lost his job over this,” while his guest asserted that proponents of “cancel culture” have “won another battle.”

Jason Whitlock, a former Fox Sports personality who now hosts a show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, responded to the controversy by suggesting that this season’s Super Bowl Halftime Show’s performers—rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem—are all more cancel-worthy than Gruden.

Top photo -NFLPA Director DeMaurice Smith

Raiders coach Gruden quits. Be careful what you write. Written word is forever.

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Lee Heidhues 10.11.2021

Over 25 years ago, at the dawn of email, my employer called together the troops to issue a cautionary warning about email.

She told us the written word takes on a life of its own and lasts forever.

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, a fixture in National Football League circles the past 25 years, obviously didn’t get the message.

Incendiary words he posted 10 years ago surfaced last week.

Jon Gruden resigned today.

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Excerpted from The New York Times 10.11.2021

Jon Gruden stepped down Monday as the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders football team hours after The New York Times detailed emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist statements about a union leader.

His resignation was a striking departure from the football league for a coach who had won a Super Bowl, been a marquee analyst on ESPN and returned to the N.F.L. in 2018 to lead the resurgent Raiders, which he had coached years before.

“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” he said on Twitter in a statement issued by the team. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

Mark Davis, the owner of the Raiders, said in a statement that he had accepted the resignation. Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ special teams coordinator, was elevated to interim head coach, the team said.

SF Chronicle Knightcrawler plays lawyer. Tries to take down SF District Attorney

Lee Heidhues 10.11.2021

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight is at it, again.

Knight’s October 10 column dissects the aftermath of two fatal auto driver caused bicycle accidents on the same day in June 2016. She attempts to hold DA Chesa Boudin as the party most responsible for the sentence meted out to one of the culprits.

The column gives short shrift to the fact, which is briefly acknowledged in her column, that the charging decisions were made nearly four years before Chesa Boudin became District Attorney. His office was left to handle a difficult situation left him by his predecessor.

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District Attorney Chesa Boudin with his supporters at SF City Hall – August 2021

In trying to place the current DA in the worst possible light, Heather Knight essentially engages in the unauthorized practice of law.

Making her column more egregious is the fact Heather Knight interviewed Tom Ostly, an ex San Francisco Assistant District Attorney fired by Chesa Boudin when he took office.

Ostly is now a prime mover in the attempted recall of the District Attorney. He is deeply involved in the anti Chesa Boudin Stop Crime Action PAC which is sending out mailers to targeted San Francisco voters.

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Chesa Boudin being sworn in as DA January 8, 2020 by Mayor London Breed with his wife Dr. Valerie Block looking on

In short the column is an undisguised hit piece. It takes anecdotal evidence, inaccurately portrays the record and most reprehensible is the insinuation the DA is responsible for a situation left him by his predecessor.

As an award winning journalist Heather’s reporting continues to be totally beyond the pale when it comes to Chesa Boudin. A pattern of reporting which began nearly two years ago when she was covering the 2019 District Attorney campaign.

Artwork – Liz Heidhues

The execution of the Rosenbergs and the political lynching of DA Chesa Boudin

Lee Heidhues 10.10.2021

It is not far fetched to find parallels in the attempted Recall of Progressive San Francisco District Chesa Boudin and the June 19, 1953 execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

In the midst of the 1950’s Red Scare paranoia the Rosenbergs were convicted of espionage and executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The evidence against both Julius and Ethel was sketchy, particularly Ethel’s. Their arrest, trial and conviction was one of the most shameful episodes in American political history.

Tabloid journalism during The Red Scare

After the execution the French author Jean Paul Sartre penned the following in the magazine Liberation.

Now that we have been made your allies, the fate of the Rosenbergs could be a preview of our own future.  You, who claim to be masters of the world, had the opportunity to prove that you were first of all masters of yourselves.  But you gave into your criminal folly and this very folly might tomorrow throw us headlong into a war of extermination.

By killing the Rosenbergs you have quite simply tried to halt the progress of science by human sacrifices—we are here getting to the point—your country is sick with fear…you are afraid of the shadow of your own bomb.

Now we fast forward to 2021 and Progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.  He was elected less than two years ago on a platform of “progressive” justice. The San Francisco Police Officers Association spent nearly $1,000,000 in a vicious campaign to defeat him.

From Day One DA Boudin has been besieged by his opponents in the mainstream media and the political establishment who have jumped on every alleged misstep to bring him down.

Two recall attempts have been launched. One by a disgruntled San Francisco Republican failed to gather the necessary number of signatures.  The second recall launched by so called moderate Democrats has been funded by wealthy right wing donors and Political Action Committees funded by law enforcement agencies.

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Chesa Boudin – Election Night November 5, 2019

This second attempt, which has spent over $1,000,000 will likely make the ballot and a Recall election will take place in the coming months

Make no mistake.  This recall is an insidious attempt to thwart the will of the voters. In its most blatant form this must be called an attempted political lynching of Chesa Boudin.

San Francisco cannot allow this Rosenberg type political justice to occur and have a present day Sartre write a similiar epitath about Chesa Boudin.


No justice in America. US will not charge cop who shot and paralyzed black man

Lee Heidhues

People of color cannot expect to get justice in America.

American cops continue to engage in their lawless behavior. Shooting and murdering at will with no ramifications. People thought that with the disgraced Donald Trump out of office the Justice Department under President Biden would change its policies.

Sadly, the Biden Administration is continuing the whitewash policy of its predecessor when it comes to equal justice under the law.

Deutsche Welle 10.8.2021

The Justice Department says it won’t pursue federal criminal charges against the Wisconsin officer over the shooting last year. Jacob Blake was left paralyzed after the incident that sparked days of protests.

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Kenosha cops gun down Jacob Blake – August 2020

The US Justice Department announced Friday that they will not follow up charges against the white police officer who shot Jacob Blake last year.

In August 2020, Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake, a Black man, several times in the back during a domestic disturbance in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down following the incident, which was captured on a cellphone.

The Justice Department said in a statement it had declined to prosecute due to “insufficient evidence” to prove “beyond reasonable doubt the officer willfully” used excessive force.

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Jacob Blake and son

Several nights of protests were sparked by the shooting of Blake, during one of which an Illinois man shot three people, killing two of them.

State prosecutors elected not to press charges against Sheskey in January of this year after video footage showed that Blake had been armed with a knife.

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Protesters confront Kenosha cops – August 2020

Meanwhile, the Justice Department launched its own investigation days after the shooting.

The federal executive said Blake’s family had already been told of the decision to not prosecute.

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Jacob Blake protest