Book Burning Memorial

'In the center of Bebelplatz, a glass window showing rows and rows of empty bookshelves. The memorial commemorates the night in 1933 when 20,000 “anti-German” books were burned here under the instigation of Goebbels. There's a plaque nearby that says something like “Where they burn books, they will also burn humans in the end.” '

Interesting but rarely mentioned: most of the content burned that night came from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (institute for the science of sex) headed by Magnus Hirschfeld. The institute and Hirshfeld himself were some of the first to openly campaign for the right to have sex with someone of the same gender, the right to transition if you did not identify with your birth sex and for the general acceptance of queer people. The team had already performed the first SRS operations in Germany and in addition, the institute advocated sex education, contraception, the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and women’s emancipation.
Photographs of the night of the book burning are plastered across history books world wide, but the queer movement that was destroyed that night often goes unmentioned.

From the Wikipedia entry on the Institut:

On 6 May 1933, while Hirschfeld was on a lecture-tour of the U.S., the Deutsche Studentenschaft made an organised attack on the Institute of Sex Research. A few days later, the Institute’s library and archives were publicly hauled out and burned in the streets of the Opernplatz. Around 20,000 books and journals, and 5,000 images, were destroyed. Also seized were the Institute’s extensive lists of names and addresses.

(Emphasis mine.)

And from a 2008 article in EDGE Boston:

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 homosexuals, mostly men, were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

(via wrecklesart)

Important information about the realities of global poverty (which is decreasing all the time!) and the myths that hold back progress.


The 3 Dogs need some TLC. Please help with this Kickstarter so they’ll look as good as new and can keep hitting the road to support great goings-on around SF!

The Doggie Diner heads embody San Francisco’s unique, weird, creative spirit. They are a symbol that intersects the post-WWII Bay Area small business, the 60’s underground comic scene, and SF Cacophony-inspired creative mischief that continues to this day.

Originally a local Oakland/SF fast food chain, the Doggie DIners peaked at about a dozen restaurants around the Bay Area and then succumbed in the mid-1980’s to competition from national chains like McDonalds.

Each of these epic canine cabezas stands 10-feet-tall and weighs 300 pounds, made of fiberglass and metal in the fetching shape of a dachshund’s head wearing a chef’s hat. They were giant signs for the restaurants, akin to the better known Shoney’s Big Boy, usually mounted on a pole 10-feet off the ground.

San Francisco artist Bill Griffith often drew talking doggie diner heads into his surreal comic strip Zippy the Pinhead carrying them into daily papers around the country as well as collections published by Last Gasp Books, San Francisco’s iconic purveyor of underground art & comic books.

Zippy the Pinhead's friend and confusing museZippy the Pinhead art by Bill Griffith

And the Cacophony Society connection? Well John Law and a few other Cacophony folks worked in the commercial sign industry from the 1970’s on. Installing, maintaining and demo-ing all kinds of business signs. They watched first-hand as the number of doggies dwindled over the years.

John recounts in detail on the Kickstarter site how he acquired 3 of the monumental mutts. Here’s the short version:

Around 1990 when the last of the Doggie Diner heads were being hauled off to landfills, John Law and fellow tradesmen and artists managed to rescue a few of the last Dogs from what would have been a most certain death. Since then, these remarkable and historic icons have toured around the Bay. As a service to the community, for the last 25 years they have been dropping in free of any charge on hundreds of charity events, local music shows, parades, and important public happenings.

John’s loved to bring the doggies out for Cacophony and like-minded events, parked out front as a sign that something weird, wonderful and worthwhile was going on in the vicinity. As a key member of both the Cacophony Society and its predecessor The Suicide Club, John knew what was worth drawing attention to including St Stupid’s Day, Art Car Fests, and Laughing Squid events, amongst many many others.

As you can imagine the dogs got noticed. Everywhere they infatuated those just meeting them and brought back memories for those who grew up in the Bay Area.

Over 25+ years though the dogs have had some serious wear and tear, and that’s reason that John and friends set up this Kickstarter. They are half way to the nearly $50K needed to help the dogs look like new and be sturdy enough for the next quarter century of representing all the best things about San Francisco. With incentives that include Doggie Diner art by Ron English, Josh Ellingson, and Loid Mongoloid as well as Zippy the Pinhead himself. Also Cacophony books and your own personal adventures with John Law. , daredeveil-cyborg-raconteur-dogwrangler.

For the love of all that is San Francisco, please kick in a few bucks, and spread the word!! Follow John on Twitter for updates!

These dogs, and their people, are some of my favorite things about San Francisco.

Mr Churchill has been taken again with pneumonia… They are using M and B. If they can prolong so a life so valuable for a few years that will be something, though the Nature Cure people dislike this treatment.

M and B was a common name for sulphapyridine, “the first chemical cure for pneumonia.”

From Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-1945, which I bought from The Book Depository


“Debbie Harry photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, February 2014… we always thought Deb should play Boudica anyway… ”



Debbie Harry photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, February 2014… we always thought Deb should play Boudica anyway… ”




"To fight monsters… we created monsters of our own. We needed a new weapon… The Kätzchen Program was born."

This is literally the first cat picture I’ve ever felt the need to post on the Internet, ever.

This makes me so very, very happy.