Bucky Sinister reviews MTMU in Grunt.
Comedian, poet, performer and author Bucky Sinister (Black Hole) reviewed The Murders That Made Us in GRUNT 2, his zine for all his writing "that doesn't fit anywhere else from crackpot ideas to pop culture reviews."
Bucky and I have moved in overlapping circles in the San Francisco lit and entertainment scene, but we've never performed together as much as we should have. Like he was upstairs at the Paradise Lounge at a poetry reading while I was downstairs wrestling a guy in a Sasquatch suit while people threw food at me.
Here's the review....
The Murders that Made Us
For years, people thought I had been murdered. People saw me on the sidewalk and looked at me like I was back from the dead.
“Holy shit! I heard you got shot in Golden Gate Park!”
Ah, it wasn’t me. It was the other Bucky…Buck Naked, the frontman of Buck Naked and the Barebottom Boys.
We were mistaken for each other by name and by deed. I got calls from people saying they heard I was selling a guitar or asking if I could get them a gig at the Paradise Lounge. I knew him, in passing. I often took messages for him and carried them down to the Paradise Lounge, where he worked, and give him numbers. I told him we could just exchange numbers and I could tell callers where to reach him.
“Nah,” he said, “anyone who’s asking around for my number and gets yours instead doesn’t know me well enough to have mine.”
Due to the ABC laws in San Francisco, you weren’t allowed to have full nudity and serve alcohol in the same place. There were strip clubs that sold fake alcohol, and partially nude strip clubs that sold real alcohol, but, apparently, if you see a vagina and have a hard drink, all of society will fall apart. This law was meant for female nudity, but it applied to men as well. Buck got around this law onstage by wearing a codpiece featuring a very Freudian toilet plunger. That plunger should be in some kind of Bay Area Music Hall of Fame.
But back to the point. Buck was shot in the park. There’s not a lot to the story. But it’s an entertaining and interesting story.
The world of true crime is dominated by the big cases. The Black Dahlia and the Manson family are the starting point for many enthusiasts. They are to true crime readers what the JFK assassination and the faked moon landing are to conspiracy theorists. But there are many crimes, smaller in scope that don’t get their due.
* * *
Bob Calhoun has researched and compiled San Francisco’s sleaziest and most lurid crimes in his new book The Murders that Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers, and Cult Leaders Built the Bay Area. He covers 170 years of criminal history, including the aforementioned Buck Naked murder. He goes back to the Gold Rush days all the way to the punk rock days of Gilman Street.
What drew me in was Bob’s own connection. His mother was a suspect in a murder case. I often wonder why some people are fascinated with such matters. Here you go. Nothing like a family member being involved.
From there, Bob gives a history of the ever-evolving Bay Area while thrilling us with headless corpses. I moved to San Francisco in 1989 and left in 2016. The city had changed so much, I couldn’t stand it anymore. But yet, it has always changed and warped and mutated. I’m sure there was someone who left in 1989, thinking the city was now ruined.
I would love to see this book as anthology series in the format of a show like Ancient Aliens, but without the ancient aliens. This won’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the show. There’s so much here that maybe wouldn’t make a whole documentary but would be a great half-hour episode.
The Murders that Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers, and Cult Leaders Built the Bay Area
Release Date: May 4, 2021