I attended the weekly Salon editorial meeting Thursday. After five months' absence it was great see Joan Walsh, King Kaufman and Ruth Henrich, with whom I have worked closely for over 10 years now. It was also great to see Richard Gingras, Tracy Clark-Flory, Gail Williams, Kathryn Branstetter, Alex Fernandez, Amy Pan, Jim Ruga, Vynce Montgomery and many others, including Jim Wiggins whose big annual New Orleans style crawfish boil is coming up this weekend in San Francisco. Have you been to the Rincon Annex building where Salon's offices are? You should see the WPA murals in the lobby. It's the old main post office building, actually. I remember delivering packages there as a bike messenger in the late 1970s, when I worked for Aero, which had its office on Steuart under the west entrance to the Bay Bridge.I've actually worked at Salon in three different locations now.
My first desk at Salon in 1999 was in a crowded hallway because we were hiring people so fast there wasn't enough room in the copy department. Every Friday were cocktail parties and drinks would be spilled on my desk by revelers as I worked late to get the issue out ... and perfect ... under the exacting guidance of then-copy chief King Kaufman. It was a hot, noisy old office whose huge, south-facing windows (which could be opened to let in the traffic noise) looked out across Mission Street onto Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; it sat one floor above the Rochester Big & Tall store at Mission and Third, catty-corner from the old Jerry & Johnny newspaper bar where I used to drink with the bike messengers and work on my SF Weekly column. I remember that night in the late 1980s when hard-partying Oakland Raider John Matusek came in singing "Pretty Woman" and I wrote a Freefall column about what a sweet singing voice he had for such a brute of an animal on the field ... that series of columns was written during my last dizzying years as a half-crazed rocker and party fiend, steered gingerly by my friend and mentor Tommy (J.H.) Tompkins, who hired me at the Weekly in the mid-1980s. That John Matusek column was one of my favorites of all time. Poor guy died in 1989 at the age of 38.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is what a warm pleasure it was to rejoin my colleagues at Salon Thursday. I spent some time with CEO Richard Gingras, who is charting the way for this band of incredibly talented writers and artists to perform at their peak in a complex, fast-changing technical environment, while also having fun and maintaining some of the old virtues of accuracy, style, passion and sparkle. And it was great to see Karen Templer, who has returned to Salon after playing a major role in its madcap early years.
What a privilege it is to work at Salon! How remarkable that such a strange creature as myself should find a niche there!