“Migden, Newsom, Rust Review…”

by on February 28, 2007


I would not expect a subtle campaign from Carole Migden.

When then Supervisors Migden first visited our Panhandle Residents
Organization in the 1980s, she commented brightly about how nice it was
just to walk around the corner to visit constituents. It is true that she
owned the condo just around the corner, but she “sublet” that apartment to
another woman – we all understood she actually lived up in the Oakland hills.

Sometime later, at another meeting, I asked her what she and the Board of
Supervisors were doing to attract biotechnology to San Francisco. She
looked at me blankly and said: “What is biotechnology?”

Wayne Lanier

Dear Editor:

The Bush administration has again announced drastic cuts to housing programs that threaten the existence of Mayor Newsom’s programs aimed at eliminating homelessness and improving quality of life for San Franciscans, and where is he? Once considered a creative, courageous and charismatic young heir of Kennedy era vision and leadership, Mayor Newsom is seldom seen or heard speaking out about repressive federal actions that continue to bushwhack him at every move.

Is he in treatment, bed with a starlet, talking bad WiFi policy on the Google jet or just in hiding? Silence and invisability are not attributes I want my elected political leaders to be flashing as the federal government wreaks havoc with the needs of those Newsom is once again neglecting to represent with compassion and care. Get your ass back to work and let us know you’re capable of doing your job.

Thank You,

Stu Smith
San Francisco, CA


I don’t know when you saw RUST, but I went to a preview last Thursday night and it was announced prior to the opening that there was a new ending added to the play. The revised ending was a more traditional theatrical “tragic” ending. First, the other cast members appear, but they seem to be magically “absorbed” by Aunt Jemimah, as they leave the racist curio shop and disappear with the sound effect that gives the impression that they were absorbed (my mind went into a reference to the Borg from Star Trek). Only Chunk, the lead’s fellow Football player, Jeanne, Chunk’s wife, Randall, the cast lead African American Football player (please correct your review – you cite him as a Football player and later as a Basketball player) and Randall’s wife confronting Aunt Jemimah. Everyone but Randall freezes in a moment reminiscent of one casting upon the gaze of Medusa. Randall than confronts Aunt Jemimah, upon which she reveals herself to be his mother.

Their interactions appear at first to lead to an ending involving a reconciliation from their conflicts earlier in the play. Yet, just as suddenly as this occurs, the mother subsequently begins to recriminate her son for his choices he has made, confronting him about the role that she views is racist and presents him with one finally opportunity to “make right” in her mind. Then the old man who runs the curio shop comes in, and rice starts falling on his head, I presume to denote him as “Uncle Ben”, a very obvious play on to a reference as an “Uncle Tom”. Uncle Ben leaves the stage and Randall is forced to make a choice – join his mom/A. J. and continue to hold out from his football career or rejoin the team and buy into the system. The final words of the play reveal Randall has made the latter choice, and with the choice he freezes in place as the other 3 cast members in what appears to be the ultimate judgment for his decision.

I thought this ending was much stronger than what you described, and I hope you give the play another chance and attend another showing now that it is moving into full release. I would say that the reference to Joe Lewis by the older man who appeared to be stuck in a hospital where his skin was being pulled of to use as a book binding was a bit obtuse – and very disturbing if it is a reference to a true story. Despite this loose end that needs cleaning up, I found that most of the other aspects of the play worked for me.

Perhaps because a lot of the themes of the play touched me directly as a man of color working in a predominately white professional field, where many of the decision makers and those who hold power (of all ethnic backgrounds) come from a different class background than my upbringing. I think the issues that Randall have to deal with affect everyone – essentially the struggle of how authentic are you to your values in a professional world that may ask you to put those aside in the name of profit, politics or maintaining power.


Kenya Wheeler

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