Out come the geeks

Belly of the beast: Speaking with Bites after his Punch Line Comedy Club show last week, San Francisco comic Will Durst likened the gubernatorial race to a “geek show run by ventriloquists on a roller coaster.” And though that may be disorienting for your average Californian, it’s pure opportunity for Durst. As he said onstage that evening, “I am a political comedian, which means that sometimes there’s nothing going on, and I’m screwed … but not now.”

Indeed, with the upcoming recall election looming large in the media, Durst packed the Punch Line with fans of his timely political jesting. Never one to hold back, he tackled California’s looming state of affairs and opened fire on everyone from incumbent Gray Davis to hopefuls Gary Coleman, Larry Flynt and Durst’s own personal favorite, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Dubbing Sacramento “the belly of the beast,” Durst blasted Davis for having “the personality of a human speed bump” and joked that Arnold’s marriage with Maria Shriver was “phase one in a genetic experiment to breed a bulletproof candidate.” Yes, it’s that kind of wholesome, light-hearted humor that keeps Bites and the rest of Durst’s devotees coming back for more.

In a small cage completely naked: If, like Bites, you were unable to catch the protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus earlier this week—featuring People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) model Lisa Franzetta posing in a small cage completely naked except for body-paint tiger stripes—you can always show up outside the Sacramento Convention Center on Friday at lunchtime to protest for or against Ehud Barak’s appearance at the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s 2003 Perspectives. (OK, OK, the two protests have nothing to do with each other, but how often does Bites get to write about a PETA model posing naked except for body-paint tiger stripes?)

In fact, if you’ve got a spare $125-$235, you can even go inside and hear Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, along with former Bush adviser Karen Hughes, ex-con Frank Abagnale Jr., U.S. warlord Tommy Franks and failed sportscaster Dennis Miller. And if that doesn’t get you to shell out the big bucks, Metro Chamber spokesperson Hall Silliman reminds us that it was just two years ago that Perspectives brought to the stage the Terminator himself, whom Silliman describes as “living proof of the American dream.”

In other words, Perspectives 2001 participants may be able to say they saw our next governor up close and in person when he was a mere movie star. And who’s to say history won’t repeat itself? Maybe one of this year’s speakers will go up against Schwarzenegger in the next recall.

Arena of apathy: Speaking of rich folks who don’t get out to vote much, the last time Bites visited the county Registrar of Voters, it couldn’t help but check up on Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof.

As noted in our recent cover story about the plan to build a new downtown arena for their team, the brothers don’t think they need to say anything to the public about getting a few hundred million in public financing to make it happen. The best Bites could get from team spokeswoman Sonja Brown was the same thing she’s said for two years: The boys are hiding behind Mayor Heather Fargo and “following her lead and her vision.” (Bites wonders if that courageous stance—“OK, mayor, we’ll take it if you twist our arms”—was cooked up by Richie Ross, the omnipotent lobbyist and political consultant who’s worked as an adviser to both Fargo and the Maloofs.)

Interestingly, though the arena question almost certainly will need to go on the ballot before it goes forward, it doesn’t look as though the Maloofs are into the whole voting thing. Although Brown confirmed that the millionaire brothers live in Sacramento County, the registrar found no record of either on voting rolls.

So, will the prospect of voting for themselves to get a few hundred million for a new arena inspire them to register to vote? Stay tuned.