SONIC REDUCER What flying snacks do not kill me only make me harder, better, faster, stronger come all ye children of Kanye West and Friedrich Nietzsche. I love San Francisco. Where else can you catch hell and come this close to getting brained by a pupusa hurled by a nattering, nutty nutbag in orangey pink stretch pants? I'm all the rage, ready for the crème de la Salvadoran vittle missiles.
I'm just cranked on shady luck like that, and was oozing my everyday allotment of pure, untrammeled harassability on a recent Sunday, just minding my own bad bidness strolling through the Mission District. Plenty of lukewarm trade in cell chargers and black velvet paintings of howling wolves and solemn American Indians with ghostly hands emerging from over their maws. Fresh-faced, black-eyed kids in Sunday finery toddled by as I finally landed in Las Palmeras to sample yuca frita con chicharrón. The familias around me were busy cracking crab when an elderly lady with an extremely fashion-damaged Phyllis Diller fright wig cruised alongside me and started in with "You better understand ..." before launching into a diatribe en espagnol. Oh, to be the object of so much obsession as she hobbled outside in royal snit, returning only to yell at me further through the restaurant window. Later, when the good folks at Las Palmeras handed her a conciliatory pupusa balm to all that ails ya she flung it, as hard as she could, at my offending, chomping image. Oh, but I don't understand I really, really don't.
Ah Ess-Eff, as if you could ever stop providing safe harbor or serving up mucho psychotic triggers for so many mad men and women. You needn't throw a pupusa far to find classic only-in-SF, Emperor Norton<\d>style eccentrics or lunatics everywhere you wander. Yet my favorite inspired obsessive this week has to be Chicago's Galactic Zoo Dossier zine impresario and psych king in his own write-right Steve "Plastic Crimewave" Krakow (least beloved: food-fighter lady marma-lardbutt).
Now out in all its hard-to-read yet lovely-to-behold DIY hand-drawn glory, Galactic's issue no. seven, published by Drag City, discharges a wealth of info and interviews with the Incredible String Band's Clive Palmer, Gary Panter, Ed Askew, the Strawbs, and Kevin Coyne for all of us acid- and otherwise damaged lysergic eminencies. Ravin' spot-on spotlights on dark psych creators like Sam Gopal and Crushed Butler make you wanna bolt out the door or start up the eBay eye strain to acquire these jewels. Krakow does give you a taste of the mind expansion under way with the included hot-rockin' double CD of aged rarities like the Ukuleles of Halifax (a more than 30-strong, all-teen-girl '70s Canadian uke orchestra) and contempo freak-beaters headed up by Bay Area locals like Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, Charalambides, and the Stooges' Steve MacKay and his Radon Ensemble. Shoving in a track by his wondrous Plastic Crimewave Sound and sprinkling his writing with more wells and OKs than a high school speech class, Krakow coughs up 100-plus pages for this issue making it more booklike than zine-ish.
Still, Galactic foregrounds the fan in fanzine and hews more closely to the spirit of an obsessively handwritten letter than to that of a more sterile blog. And Krakow's sincerity, knowledge, and breadth of taste dude delves into Giorgio Moroder and the Banana Splits, revisits overplayed hit makers like the Bee Gees, and resuscitates faded pharaohs like Edwin Starr inspire you to penetrate his dense scrawl. Also beyond cool: sheets of Astral Folk Goddesses and Damaged Guitar Gods trading cards collect 'em all, from Jacqui McShee and Erica Pomerance to Jukka Tolonen and Keith Cross, shop hobbits!