Gavin Newsom Debates Chicken John Rinaldi
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Chicken John and Dammit take City Hall
photograph by Lane Hartwell

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"From Chicken John's campaign blog,"

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photo by Jason

So here are some links for your Monday morning….

video of the “debate” with Gavin Newsom last Saturday. How Gavinwatch got it before I did is beyond me.

Josh Wilson write about journalistic integrity….

Here is some funny writing about Ethics and my timeline with them from the SF Weakly…

You have an opportunity to speak at an Ethics Commission meeting tomorrow evening at 5:30 (sharp!). There is another meeting (that we are not on the agenda for) that is allowing public comment. Do you have a comment on verbage being stricken from the minutes of a meeting that casts the fate of the Matching Funds for committee Vote for Chicken? Hmmmm…. then you might want to stop by….

Monday we have 18 more precincts to walk. Takes like 2 hours. Put doorhangers on doorknobs. Look harmless. Get excercize. Listen to Ipod. Get eternal gratitude. Bragging points.

Monday evening our friends Phobe and Leighton are opening a shop on Valencia and 16th called the 5 and Diamond. At 8:00, there is a ribbon cutting ceremony that I will preside over. You are welcome to wish them well. Buy a bracelet or some hippy beads or something.

Tuesday night is the LOSERS BALL. It’s shaping up to be a HUGE show. More soon… I just wanna make sure you’ll all be there. But where else would ya be?

Here are some alarming statistics:

“Since February, only 154 voters have been added to the city’s registration rolls. That’s far fewer than the 26,652 added during the same period in 2003 and the 75,339 in 1999, when the write-in campaign for Supervisor Tom Ammiano worked overtime to register voters for his run against then-Mayor Willie Brown, who was elected to a second term.”

Well one of the newly registered voters was me. And I registered a bunch of people when I was doing that awful petition thing. Probably at least 100 people. I guess Gavin didn’t really get the registration thing out. Probably wasn’t good odds, or he’d have done it. Kinda puts a chill in the air, don’t it? Maybe people are starting to see how bad things really are. I’ve always said that they are gonna have to get a lot worse before they get any better.

This evening I had the most pleasant interaction with a reporter that I have ever had. And that says a lot. A guy named Karl Vick, Washington Post. The difference between talking to this guy and the Chronicle people was like night and day. This guy was a journalist. Smart. Fun. Traveled. For all our wealth and ideas one of the biggest problems in SF I’m realizing is solid, world class journalists writing for our daily paper. But the cartoons this week in the SF Weakly hit a new low. Now I’m not gonna pretend that a part of this election wasn’t using Gavin as a punching bag… fair’s fair. You take your lumps. We all do. This was just lame. Bad Showmanship. Bad sport. Poorly drawn. With no punchline, it can’t be funny unless it’s ironic. Anyway, this is what politics in SF 2007 has come to. I’m debating a puppet and Matt Smith is a cartoonist:

Please come to the Ethics Meeting at 5:30 in City Hall. Call me, I’ll tell you what room it’s in…

Chicken John
San Francisco, California


Chicken John: Project Artist Connect

Artist Reception Thursday November 1st 7pm-9pm

In accordance with Gavin Newsome’s programs Project Homeless Connect, Project Green Connect, Project perfect hair Connect, Chicken John has created Project Artist Connect, inviting 10 San Francisco artists to depict their city in a visual commentary addressing local issues and attributes. The exhibition features a range of work in subject and medium, including solemn pencil drawings, explosive statements in metal, and a real estate company selling modular housing solutions. Chicken John will be on hand to classate his platform to the San Francisco presented by the artists, and to discuss the dilemmas facing our city. An unnamed cast of characters will push political hot-buttons with impromptu performances and crooked fingers, truly exemplifying innovative art.

Participating artists:
Benjamin Carpenter (Bender)
Muriel Buckner (Sunshine)
James McPhee
Nancy Kalef
Lee Harvey Roswell
Rebecca Meredith
Larnie Fox
Dr. Hal Robins
Michael Christian
Robin Frohardt
Dystopic Horizons Realty

Near the bottom of this article:

It’s not a direct quote, but it’s still damn funny:
“Buses could be disrupted later that night if unsanctioned gaiety breaks out despite the ban, Muni warned.”

This Halloween stuff is starting to get silly. Unsanctioned gaiety. In San Francisco!!!! Holy shit. We are in big trouble.

The man went by all the bars in the Castro and told ‘em all to shut down. Gavin lost a few votes there.

I’ll be at Lucky 13 @9:00. Then gonna go to some parties. Throw candy at cops. The biggest party on Halloween in SF is gonna be at 850 Bryant. SF jail….

Thursday morning I’ll be on Energy 92.7 @ 7:30 then on Alice morning show 97.3 @ 9:00 because I’m famous and I have a great speaking voice. Listen in…

An article in Tuesday’s Maariv, an Israeli daily newspaper, covers the indy candidates for Mayor of San Francisco, including Chicken John. Attached is a screenshot of the article from the e-version of the paper.


illustration by Seb Hyde

Check out the endorsement:

all rights reserved, photo by Karie Henderson, this photo is totally copyrighted and someday when she’s rich and famous she’s going to hire lawyers to sue everyone who ever looks at this photo.

They keep asking me for content. Interviewing me. Want me to go to an endorsement meeting. What a joke. They wrote an article, and the online version (now gone) was titled Gavin and the 11 dwarves. I decided that that was enough. It’s a shame that the SF Comical is our newspaper. But I’m done talking to them.

They had this project they wanted me to contribute to. 10 ways to improve San Francisco. I wrote this instead. Lets see if they print it.

I’d like to offer something to the people of San Francisco in response to your request for me to weigh in on the issues. Your newspaper called me a dwarf on 10/27. Your newspaper has referred to me as a “colorful character,” “an outsider,” “wacky,” and “a joke”. The problem with San Francisco, and all the issues that you bring up, is quality. Not that we don’t have it, just that we don’t use it. We are surrounded by generous people, but they never get a chance to explore that generosity. There are innovations galore here. SF is a beacon to brilliant artists of every variety. But we are not taking advantage of these resources properly. We are settling for second best or third best or worse all the time. The SF Chronicle, for example. It’s a shitty newspaper. And I just can’t think of a reason for why that would be, except that you’re probably not paying your writers a living wage in this overpriced city. But whatever the reason, I’m just not interested in providing content for your paper that has been the architect of a single candidate election since the beginning.

You’ve asked me to weigh in on the issues, but let’s be honest. You don’t care what I think about homelessness. Your newspaper has become a tabloid. Journalism is replaced with some hero-worship fan-boy/girl crap for our rock-star mayor. The cult of celebrity complete, you now throw the other candidates a bone so it all looks fair. So it looks like it’s balanced journalism.

Here’s a story for you to cover. My campaign qualified for matching campaign funds from the city. I raised $XX,XXX dollars from XXX San Francisco residents in XX days. But the Ethics commission (all appointed by our handsome mayor Gavin Newsom) refuses to give my campaign the funds (until after the election, maybe). Is gross subversion of the democratic process not newsworthy enough for your paper?

Or perhaps you’re not into reporting serious news. So how about this story: 400 people dressed like zombies attacked the library after the mayoral “forum” that Gavin and I and the other candidates participated in. How does that elude the pages of your paper?

You want to report news? I have a truck that runs on coffee grinds. Zero emissions. How can that not find its way into your paper? News? How about the simple fact that most organizations are choosing to not endorse anyone for mayor?

With headlines like “Gavin and the 11 dwarves”, you gotta see it from my side when I tell you to take a flying leap rather than fill out your form to see where I’m aligned on the ‘issues’.

The issue is that this is a one candidate election. There is a powerful, well-calibrated machine in place to make sure no inconvenient facts get in the way of the candidate. You are part of that machine. You want to talk about the issues in SF? Go ahead. But it’s insulting to your readership to imply that this mock-dialog is going to achieve anything. With reporting like yours, we are powerless to do anything but watch this administration mandate the aesthetic of our city and the content of our culture. At the very least we can choose not to watch it through the template of the SF Chronicle, littered with typos, grammatical errors and tabloid spin that is embarrassing to a city of over-achieving intellectuals.

in disgust, chicken john


The cover of this months’ Bay Woof!

Photo by Lane Heartwell, her first cover…

The text inside (the theme for the issue is Gratitude):

Dammit Dog and me have been together a long, long time. And some of those years were road years. Sure, I’m grateful. That’s only the beginning… she’s 17 1/2. Lost a toe. Crooked from vistibular disease. Broke a few limbs. Teeth ground down to the nubs. Lost her tail at some point. Kinda blind. Totally deaf. Sleeps with her tongue hanging out of her mouth… scares the shit out of me. All that and she still does her act like a pro. We were in the circus all those years ago. And if she hears anyone clapping even now, she’ll assume her show positions. It’s in her blood. Showdog. Not some sissy blow-dried 80’s Fiero dog. This is the dog that rides shotgun in a 1961 Ford pick-up that the door keeps falling off of. Dammit Dog is the single best thing that ever happened to me. It was an honor to be on the other end of her leash. And I think she’s got a few more years, even. I lost her leash eons ago. She worked hard. She doesn’t need a leash. But she can hardly hear me whistle anymore. But I’m not rushin’ her… she’ll hop in the truck when she’s ready. Grateful? That’s only the beginning…

photo by Deb Sherman

First of all, there is a really good pitch about the ‘debate’ last week on Fog City Journal. It’s an online mag that’s got squishy liberal all over it, but the Crackberry writer is a swell wordsmith and the photographer is second only to Lane. Even if he’s a Brit with no sense of humor. Great photos of the zombies and a chance to peek at Eric Jaye, Gavin’s Campaign Manager guy. Not that I’m implying that Eric Jaye is a zombie. You’re jumping to conclusions. Again.


The link for the Silver Crest Donut Shop didn’t work in my last email. Because I don’t actually know how to work a computer. Here it is:

We meet at 10:00 Sunday morning for a Wholesome Day’s activity. See there is an RSVP list there. Were at 32 now, 40 max.


Week 8 of the Public Financing Debacle. The last I heard from them today, a lease isn’t proof of address. Neither is a license that a donor got because he didn’t have proof of address. Because he got it AFTER the donation (like they asked him to), it’s not proof that he lived there WHEN HE MADE THE DONATION. I know that this stuff probably isn’t very interesting to you… but it’s really fascinating to me. It’s like being on another planet or in another culture. Right here in my own city. With baffled bewilderment I listen to the words slowly come out of the bureaucrats mouth, as they sentence me to another round of me driving around San Francisco knocking on donors doors asking them to sign another document or scan another piece of mail or a pay stub. All to prove that 250 who have $100 each support the City of Art and Innovation. So that a box can be checked on a form in a file in a drawer in a basement that no one will ever look at again. The process of qualifying for the program has been nothing short of Olympian. The simple fact is that the election is upon us, and they will not part with the money. We defiantly qualified. If there is comedy here, it is hiding behind a huge block of wasted time… but I continue to hunt… there has never been a candidate who has gotten to know his donors better than me. I’ve been to most of your houses. I know how much your electric bill is. I know where the last 3 places you lived. I’ve seen some of you in bathrobes, towels, evening gowns and I’ve met your husbands, your girlfriends and your kids. Although nothing like I thought it would be, the life lessons that I’m being afforded are unparalleled. The talent surrounding this is hysterical. The sheer lost opportunity of it all makes you wanna cackle like a hyena. In the end, it’s the possibility that “anything can happen”. That’s what theatre is all about. That’s why you go to a live show. You wanna be there for the magic of possibility graduating into a confluence of now. And that’s why improv is even better. Because without a script, the “anything can happen” part becomes a bonus multiplier.

Things are about to get interesting…

Thanks for watching…


photo by Lane Hearwell

First thank you dinner was a smashing sucsess. Except I had 3 sips of wine too many and talked for a teeny, tiny bit too long. But it was interesting. The donors came. They had critiques. They had compliments. Complaints. They were interested, inspired and hungry. They ate everything and went through my underwear drawer.

The next thank you dinner will be probably after the election. I have now like 430 people to thank and feed.

This blog is me stalling because I can’t write about all the other stuff because it’s just too many words right now and I have a feeling that the world doesn’t need more words tonight… it needs something else. But it’s definatly something that I don’t have.

I’ve learned more in the last week than I have in the last year of my life.

I’m about to explode.

Great night…


Well. Where does one start? The ‘debate’ was well done. You can probably see it somewhere online. I’ll post it somehow. Everyone sounded really good. I hate to say it, but there were 7 or 8 people on stage that could be great mayors of San Francisco. I got some yucks in, did the East Coast posture thing like nobody’s business. I answered some of thier questions… sometimes, I answered other things. I was the only candidate that did that. I mentioned, in my closing statement, that San Francisco “Wasn’t a bunch of Zombies”. Boy, was I wrong….

photo by Lane Hartwell

Here is the debate deal. I’m talkin’, Gavin’s laughing. 30 second answers. NOT easay. I aced. It was fun.

photo by Lane Hartwell

This is what was waiting at the exit. 400 zombies. Cops. Security. Screaming. Panic. It was real. Peope were freaking out. There were so many zombies, that you actually couldn’t see through them from the exit of the library. It was awesome.

photo by Lane Hartwell

The gaurds pulled down the gate. Nobody in. Nobody out. People were screaming from the inside. It was kinda intence for a minute. I barely got out….

photo by Lane Hartwell

…only to be turned…

Photo by RockBandit

We loaded the undead on the bus and zombied around the Marina, looking for Gavin’s after party. We invented Zombieokie. Which is kareokie with zombie grunting. That was a great night in my life. One of 10.

Thank you San Francisco.

Zombies Invade San Francisco!

URGENT ALERT: Thanks to Professor Grenzfineski’s recently installed EEW* system, we have detected a sudden upsurge in undead activity throughout the city. Another attack is IMMINENT.

But rather than passively wait in fear, we are striking back! With the Professor’s assistance, a zombie homing beacon has been hastily assembled and installed at the Main Library’s north-western corner on Larkin Street, by Fulton.

Location on Google Maps:

This device will be switched on Thursday the 11th, at PRECISELY 7:30pm. Once activated, the undead hordes will be unable to resist its pull, and will gather immediately at its base, where we will attempt to neutralize them before they can once again terrorize our fair city.

NOTE: Great care must be taken with this operation, as a San Francisco Mayoral debate will be taking place in the Main Library. If we are unable to contain the zombies, it is highly likely that they will turn their attention to the hundreds of citizens exiting the debate at 7:45, whom, though disenfranchised, are not disembrained, and may thus prove irresistible to the shambling cerebrophiles. (Thankfully, zombies DO NOT attack or otherwise harass innocent bystanders. Their moans and sheer numbers are more than horrifying enough.)

Once the zombies have successfully been contained, we will transport them via bus to a secret location, where they will be provided with complimentary “embalming fluid”. Further updates and general Zombie Mob guidelines can be found, as always, at:
For reference, the basic zombie mob rules are as follows:

1. Zombies will loose the sense of smell. In fact, the only thing they can sense is Duct tape. If you are wearing duct tape on your torso, the mob will attack you, ruin your clothes, eat your brains.
2. Zombies will not get blood on innocent bystanders or their things.
3. Zombies will leave private property reasonably soon after being asked.
4. Zombies who don’t exhibit these behaviors will be beaten into shape by their fellow horde.

And the basic schtick is:

Show up at the meeting point on time. Arrive dressed as either a zombie (fake blood, torn clothing, vacant stare) or a zombie victim (place a piece of duct tape somewhere visible upon your person, and wear clothes that you do not mind having torn and bloodied). Act like zombies. Attack and “convert” victims. Shamble where the mob shambles. Have fun, but be respectful of innocent bystanders and private property.

photo by Scott Beale

Thursday the 11th, 6:00 Main branch of the public library

OK, so this is it. This is likely the only debate that Gavin will do with any of us. We get 30 seconds to respond to a question. So maybe 10 questions. 30 seconds to answer. No introduction. This is it. This is the draconian approach to a ‘fair’ election. This is so rigged it’s absurd. Gavin refused to do it if any TV stations were there. We got cable. No cameras, no video. Nothing. It will be like it never happened. The Chron will write about how Gavin answered ‘tough questions’ and how Grasshopper made fart noises. This whole thing sucks. But it’s what we got. It would be great to see a bunch of you in the crowd. We encourage you to come early and get in line, so you can get a seat. We will provide entertainment and refreshments to our people in line. Please let us know that you are one of our people by raising your hands often and declaring that you have a head injury. “I have a head injury.” as we walk by with snacks and drinks. If for no other reason then to get other people to proclaim “I have a head injury.” Somehow that’s funny.

I’m kinda bummed. This is the extent that we are even acknowledged. It’s really hard to get anyone to even notice you, forget hear what you say. This politics is dirty business. I should have guessed. It feels good to know that you can still be naive about some things.

The show starts at 6:00. We are recommending getting there at 4:00 or so. It’s over at 7:30.

There will be a surprise waiting for you when you come out. Please participate.

This is what a few of the others candidates paid the $5,000 for.

It would be great to have your support there…

chicken john


photo by Lane Hartwell

No wonder why the SF Bike Coalition didn’t endorse anyone for mayor….


Here is a city vehicle in the bike lane in front of Gavin’s house.

Here is the SF Bike Coalition wrap up. Read it and weep…

We did an in conversation thing last week. I was showing them my fan club.

photo by Colin Hussey

you can listen to the conversation here:


photo by Lane Hartwell (

Thursday the 11th, 6:00 Main branch of the public library

OK, so this is it. This is likely the only debate that Gavin will do with any of us. We get 30 seconds to respond to a question. So maybe 10 questions. 30 seconds to answer. No introduction. This is it. This is the draconian approach to a ‘fair’ election. This is so rigged it’s absurd. Gavin refused to do it if any TV stations were there. We got cable. No cameras, no video. Nothing. It will be like it never happened. The Chron will write about how Gavin answered ‘tough questions’ and how Grasshopper made fart noises. This whole thing sucks. But it’s what we got. It would be great to see a bunch of you in the crowd. We encourage you to come early and get in line, so you can get a seat. We will provide entertainment and refreshments to our people in line. Please let us know that you are one of our people by raising your hands often and declaring that you have a head injury. “I have a head injury.” as we walk by with snacks and drinks. If for no other reason then to get other people to proclaim “I have a head injury.” Somehow that’s funny.

I’m kinda bummed. This is the extent that we are even acknowledged. It’s really hard to get anyone to even notice you, forget hear what you say. This politics is dirty business. I should have guessed. It feels good to know that you can still be naive about some things.

The show starts at 6:00. We are recommending getting there at 4:00 or so. It’s over at 7:30.

There will be a surprise waiting for you when you come out. Please participate.

This is what a few of the others candidates paid the $5,000 for.

It would be great to have your support there…

chicken john


photo by Lane Hartwell

So this is a letter to people who donated to my campaign. Just so everyone knows, that total was around $38,000. I first asked for money on the evening of August 6th. The last payments dripped in on the 28th late in the evening. So it’s 21 days. $38,000. That’s $1,809.50 a day. Compared to Gavin’s measly 1.5 million over the last 2 years that he’s been traveling all over like a buzy beaver raising for a daily total of $2,054.79 a day. If I would actually get the matching funds I have qualified for I’d get another $84,000. For a total of $122,000. Or a daily take of $5,809.50. With almost 500 individual donations, if you use the polling tool that Gavin uses that one person represents 100 constituents, that means that I’ve got at least 50,000 people on my side. It would seem that I’m polling better then he was 4 years ago.

But it’s all so petty, really.

I seem to have qualified for the funds, but they are refusing to give them to me. The problems are many. The Ethics Commission is not really bending over backwards to solve the problems. But that’s understandable. I’ve kinda been having trouble with the beaurocracy part since the first day. I got that form to put the signatures on. I put it on my website as a PDF. The Election people freaked. They send me a demand that I take it down. They said that you can’t do that. Not without writing a letter. I wrote them a letter asking permission to embrace technology. 3 days later the form was on Gavin’s website as well. I asked if there was anything I should know about accepting PayPal donations. They said it was fine. I asked other candidates who have received matching funds they said it wasn’t a problem.

It’s all a problem. It’s like a giant problem. Actually, pretty much all of it is nearly impossible to navigate. If you’ve moved in the last few years, you likely can not give money to a candidate and qualify for matching funds. Period.

But there’s good news. We found so many holes in the Ethics Commission that we slice it thin and put it on bread and call it Swiss cheese. There is so much ambiguity surrounding this that there is no way that they can just say we didn’t qualify. And the really good news is that it all now HAS to be fixed. They are going to have to clean up this mess and make it so that other people can get this money. I’m going to help them help themselves. I’d like you to help as well….

Please come to a lunch thing tomorrow @ noon at Southpark and enjoy some delicious ROAST PIG. We roasted a pig for our lunch tomorrow, great for photo ops… we invited the Mayor and the press… and YOU!!!! Our fabulous donors. We took out a full page ad in the Weakly to make sure everyone knows and I think that it will be great for the press to ask all of you how you feel about not being able to give money to a political organization but you can still vote but it won’t really matter because the press has already announced the winner and the winner of the next one. I guess I should have invited Camilla Harris to lunch as well. Anyone know her? Tell her to come on down!

Next Monday at 5:30 the Ethics Commission meets at City Hall. We are likely going to have to ask for an appeal. I’d like to extend an invitation to all of you to come down and see the wheels of justice grind to a halt when I stand in front of the Ethics Commission hearing and explain to them that the definition of ethic is the science of morals. I am comforted that there opinions don’t matter. It’s a good thing. I think they’re all appointed.

The real tragedy here is that this has be consuming time. A lot of it. I haven’t wanted to commit to what kind of campaign this was gonna be until I knew what the budget was. I gotta know if I can get bailed outta jail, ya know… but it looks as if we are going to proceed as if we are not going to get the funds. Which is OK. We just can’t afford all that top shelf booze and the limos I was planning on hiring. And the chamber orchestra for the losing party at 12 Galaxies on election night… but I’m getting ahead of myself here….

I have yet to properly thank everyone for the amazing outpouring of support. Astounding. Mind numbing. Dumbfounding. I can hardly believe how many there are of you. I’m having a thank you dinner at my house on the 17th of Oct. please RSVP if you can come. I’ll have another one closer to the election. Thank you all so much. I hope I’m doing a good job. Well, there’s not much to see right now, but trust me it’s coming….

Below is the press release. Feel free to forward this on to other press contacts you may have.

Press release: Chicken John 415-215-1632

Lunch is on You! (well, on my donors at least…)

Yes, we’re going to have a picnic on Tuesday Oct. 9th @ noon.

We’ve invited Gavin Newsom to come and talk about Public Financing/ Matching Funds.

It sure is hard, maybe even impossible to qualify for public funding. It seems possible they were not going to give them us no matter how hard we tried.

Our style of campaigning is not the usual paint by numbers style.

I guess we rubbed somebody the wrong way when we ran for second, promised to not win and then showed a constituency of 50,000 people.

We’re the silent majority.

San Francisco is a place of art. For artists. It’s an inarguable platform.

My garbage can disappeared last week.

Please come speak to a few of my donors. You’ll know them by the yellow armbands.

At SouthPark. Tuesday. Noon.

Here’s a full page ad I took out, page 84 SF Weakly this week:
SF Weekly Ad

Power haircut


So I decided that I didn’t have a chance in politics without a power haircut. My hair’s best years were in the 80’s. I had some dumb hair. Check this out:


… or how about this one:


That Mohawk that I was sporting (in this photo a tender 16 years old) was dyed every color of the rainbow, but before digital photos you had to pay money for film. Living in a squat in a freezing NYC winter I had better things to spend what little cash I had on…

But the hair really makes the man. Truly. And with my hair migrating like collage artists from Soma, well I’m bound to be nobody pretty soon. It’s a weird thing, this losing your hair. I kinda like it. For the first time in my life, I look my age. No wrinkles yet (not one) and I could probably do a sit up or 2… but for the most part I’m looking all of my 39 years. Holding well. But I needed a miracle. So I went to Edgardo Chacon. I was looking for a miracle.

I was referred to Edgardo by the popular website Yelp.

Edgardo is a Columbian from NYC. His accent is amazing. The Columbian accent is my favorite. Regal. Defined. Unapologetic. In many ways it’s better English then any of us spout, and it’s way more fun. Funny. Sexy. Emotional. Edgardo is cool. We talk about the old days in NYC: Danceteria, Save the Robots… we were there at the same times. He was pensive but interested in my Mayoral run. And kinda confused. He told me: “I’ve been cutting Gavin’s hair since he was 24. He’s got good hair.” I concur. If I had Gavin’s hair and H. Browns smarts, why, there’s nothing that could stop me!

But I digress. The cut was pricey, but they gave me an asian smock and a glass of vino… it’s got a good view as well. The Kamalaspa. 7th floor on Union Square. As I looked out over Union Square, I remembered the Santa’s meeting there in ‘95… before they changed the park and made it into the hidious debacle that it is now. That was a fun night. Edgardo is kinda a master with the scissors. Grace, skill and poise… he snipped and snipped and then: Voila!!! It was amazing.

Here is the before shot:


Photo by Lane Hartwell

Here is the after:


Photo by Lane Hartwell

IT’S A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, Edgardo. It was tons of fun.


Tom Ammiano filed as a write in candidate and took Willy Brown to a run off. Today, no one filed as a write in candidate. And today was the last day. Actually, the 23rd was the last day. That’s this Sunday, so someone could argue it, if’n ya wanted to file on Monday. So if you were here 8 years ago, today was that magic day. 22 year old Dot Com billionaires were buying Porches and throwing banquets to impress chicks that just got their braces off. The value of arcade sized video games went through the roof because every office need one or 3. The housing bubble was being inflated. Live/Work lofts were being invented. The bay bridge just went up to $3. Fire spinning was still kinda cool. The Burning Man was on a pile of haybales. Clinton was president. Solar power was something ‘in the future’. Green was a color. Terrorism was something that happened in Beirut. The dollar was worth more in other countries. A lot more. Tsunami’s were things that happened in history. We were concerned about the Y2K bug with computers. Livin’ La Vida Loca was a hit song. Prince’s 1999 was on the raidio constantly. Apple released the blue and white Power Mac G-3. Columbine. Napster debuts. World population reaches 6 billion. John F Kennedy Jr. flies his plane into the ocean. You still knew people who said “I’m never going to get a computer”. Cell phones were uncommon.

That was 8 years ago.



As I was wiping my ass this morning I had a revelation. I didn’t get music swelling or anything… but I did nibble on epiphany. I thought of how I did it. How I wipe my ass. And why. Now, I know *why* I wipe my ass… but *how* do I know to do it that way. There are likely a bunch of different ways. You can be a folder. A buncher. You can be a looker or a dropper. A dabber or a smearer. Girls are taught to go from the front to the back. On and on. But I’ve never seen anyone else wipe their ass. I know that each and every one of you do; but I’ve never seen it.

How do we know what we know?

How do we know, even, that we do, indeed, know what we know? Are you wiping your ass better than me? Do I do it differently then everyone else on my block? I mean, I’m likely doing it the way my mother taught me 38 years ago. But who taught her? Her mother? In the 30’s? Who learned in the 1860’s in Europe? We just jumped 150 years and across the Atlantic to before toilet paper in 3 jumps. Huh? Yup. Toilet paper is new. Started in the 1850’s. Fascinating subject. Wikipedia has some details, but there are piles of information about toilet paper out there, if you can’t sleep.

But I’m not running for the toilet. I’m running for Mayor.


So I’m forever thinking about and examining what it is I’m doing. Why. How. What is the most effective message. And this morning, I was thinking about approved methods of running for mayor. Platforms. Issues. Propositions. Initiatives. All these things that people are talking about are all the things that people talk about at this time. 4 years ago I watched everyone I know become an expert in politics by spending 3 hours on SF Gate in mid November. Yes you did, don’t lie! I did it too… I just want to eliminate the whole politics as usual thing and embrace a more experimental format. The resistance to that is, of course, crushing. But how do we know how to run for public office? Really. Resistance to innovative thinking is the most deplorable thing I can think of. It would seem that running for Mayor is an act of subversion. Could be worse. I could be as boring as some of the other candidates… or I could be wasting your time by trying to win. It actually could be way more fun to do it this way. And likely is a better chance of winning, by refusing to do anything that would achieve that result. Chaos is like that.

We are doing great. We re-filed our matching funds document yesterday. It was a mess the first time. Paypal kinda changed it’s product and that was weird. But it’s all worked out. We actually were able to file more money this time… over $27,000. There was some stuff we didn’t get in last time because of last minute donors. So much work. Hopefully we’ll hear in the next few days that we got the match.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing endorsement meetings with the SF Bay Guardian today, and tonight with the Bayard Rustin LBGT Coalition. I am very interested in the whole Citizens for Halloween thing this Saturday at 1PM at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center in the Castro. I’ll be on KSFS this Saturday morning at 10:00 or so.

Every time you wipe your ass, think of voting for me for second place. It’s easy: Chicken John for #2!!!!

Lev here with an important Chicken for Mayor campaign announcement.

Our official campaign site,, is alive and kicking. Come by and check it… admire the lovely look and easy-to-read layout by Steve Hubbard… gaze at the glamorous photographs by Lane Hartwell…. listen to the inspiring anthem “The Year of the Chicken” by our court composer, Jascha Ephraim…. read Will Franken’s whimsical biography of our brave leader…. learn about Chicken John’s revolutionary views about art, innovation and the future of our fair city. And, when you’re done, leave your endorsement!

FYI, will continue to be the campaign blog, and its contents will appear on the main page of for the duration of the campaign.

Lev here with an important Chicken for Mayor campaign announcement.

Our official campaign site,, is alive and kicking. Come by and check it… admire the lovely look and easy-to-read layout by Steve Hubbard… gaze at the glamorous photographs by Lane Hartwell…. listen to the inspiring anthem “The Year of the Chicken” by our court composer, Jascha Ephraim…. read Will Franken’s whimsical biography of our brave leader…. learn about Chicken John’s revolutionary views about art, innovation and the future of our fair city. And, when you’re done, leave your endorsement!

Hi, it’s Lane here, just wanted to update everyone that contributed to the campaign and requested one of the lovely prints that were donated.

I haven’t forgotten about this, and am currently contacting the artists and arranging for the prints to be made and shipped. People (including myself) have been out of town, on vacation, at Burning Man etc. It’s happening, just a little slower than I had anticipated.

Your patience is appreciated!



First of all: Article today in the Bay Gardian

Finally a piece of good press. The sheep will likely follow, reporters are dumb farm animals.

I did my first public speaking to the sunset Democrat club last night, asking for an endorsement. Quinten Meckie was also there, and did the dog and pony show with the gloom and doom progressive thing like nobodys business. Of course, the old ladys can’t hear anyone…. but that’s the comdey part. I enjoyed it. It was very wholesome…

We have our slogans down to a few runners up:

Campaign artist
First choice for second place
Pretend your vote counts
IRV means never having to say your sorry
Fail to win
Am I elected yet?

Today I find out if we qualify for matching funds. If our inital filing is rejected, we will have 5 days to re-file. We know that we will get shot down this first time, but think that we will only be off by some small amount and it won’t be because we don’t have the money part, it’s the paperwork part. They must have proof that the people live in SF. So I’m not totally sure how they determine that, but we’re gonna find out in 2 hours.


A Season In Hell, with John Hell,
Monday, September 10th at 9pm

Pirate Cat Radio, 87.9fm SF

I will do a radio interview with my dear friend John Hell this evening. You can call in to the show, you can listen on the interweb, you can drive around SF and listen while eating cheeseburgers. Radio is a great thing. It defeats television by making you imagine what we are doing with our hands. Please imagine us in our underwear with our hair in curlers while you listen tonight. And don’t be shy to call in. We’ll be announcing the number on the air.

Elections for Dummies

random musings::::::::::::::::::

As I unpack my suitcase from my trip to Burning Man, I think about brutal truth. I am literally digging my clothes out of the suitcase. I could use a shovel. The dust this year at Burning Man was like advertising. It just got in everywhere. It was a challenge this year to not be miserable. But there was stunning art, naked maniacs, fancy clothes and a deep level of understanding and tolerence that draws me back even though the guy who runs it sounds more like Teddy Rosevelt every day. That’s a brutal truth. BM isn’t the utopia I thought we were building. While I was building a vessel for unrestricted generosity some other people were building job security. We all met in the middle and now that the arguement of weather it’s an art festival or a community festival is irrelevant because it’s a right of passage that all Canadians must do before they die.


We begin now our mayoral candidacy. I was hoping to tell you that we qualified for matching funds by now, but the paperwork is still being checked. We will know soon. Monday maybe. I’m assebling staff. Photographer. Manager. Gal Friday. I’ve assembled a Tuesday night strategy team. Dream team. The mural of my face on the side of my building starts tomorrow. I’m moving my office out of my bedroom. I have to buy a fax machine. It’s all so…. adult.

I know it’s starting now. Because someone called me today to move a couch for them. I asked them if they would like me to move it Nov. 8th or Nov. 9th? I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I guess anyone would in this situation. I mean, ya know what you know and what ya don’t you go find out. Doesn’t sound that hard. But in politics, you can’t know it all. So in that way, we’re all equal. And I’ve got Dr. Hal. So nay.


Ya gotta admit, it’s got a ring to it… I think we win if the newpaper headline Wedensday Nov 7th reads:


A guy can dream can’t he….

Comfortable in brutal truth. That’s a great lesson. Someone should write a self-help book with that title. I’d read it. I read Sugar Blues and the Power of Now. Damn. Maybe a book about running for mayor as therepy. Running for mayor as a sure-fire way to quit smoking. Run for mayor of LA to get discovered? The possiblitlys are endless. Maybe a reality show where all the candidate are locked in City Hall and interns vote them off the island. Combine the Olympics and politics? It rymes…

OK, no more random exausted burnt out after Burning Man musings. Tomorrow morning I will rise, dress and start my new job: I’m a candidate for the postion of Mayor for the city of San Francisco for the next 60 days. In the next 2 months, I will consider our founding fathers vision. I will champion the ideas of Democracy and will get an education on how to make a difference in our system of governance in a way I have eluded my whole life. I’m going to take this opportunity to change my thinking and re-tool my machine. With positive resolve, I will march forward beleiveing that the system can work and that it’s design although not flawless is mostly valid and calculated. My intention will be to simply leave it better than I found it. Somehow. My intention will be to document my learning process. I’m so green I’m St. Patrick’s Day. I may be a doormat for Mr. Newsom now… but I’ve got a secret weapon. And 500 people just donated to this campaign. I’ve got a posse! In the world of polling, 500 people doing something is a constituency of 50,000. 10% of the voting population of SF has been to Burning Man. I think I’ll get the 40 Italians in SF to vote for me as well… Win, place, show…. the only difference is where ya put your money, right?

Bet your sweet bippy on the Showman to place on the 6th…

Hey folks, Lane Hartwell here… I just returned from Burning Man, where I stayed with Chicken and his lovely friends at Camp Pain. Chicken is still on the Playa, but should be returning in a day or two. While there, we took out the Cafe Racer a few times for demonstrations of the gasifier and the truck in action. Here’s a few shots I took:

Chicken working on the gasifier in a dust storm



Also, I will be dealing with the donations for prints this week, so if you did that I will be getting in touch with you soon. Thanks to all of you who donated!

Lev here again with late-breaking news from San Francisco. Tony Hall, the only other serious contender for the number 2 spot in the mayor’s race, has dropped out! Read about it here in the Chronicle. Here’s some choice quotes:

With Hall out, “Who does that leave? The Chicken Johns of the world?” said Richard DeLeon, a San Francisco State University political science professor emeritus.

Newsom’s campaign manager, Eric Jaye, said Hall’s exit will affect the campaign, though probably not the outcome of the election. “He was one of the last candidates left that wasn’t named after a barnyard animal,” Jaye said.

Truly, this race is ours to lose! Meanwhile, our hard-working candidate Chicken John is pressing the flesh (in multiple ways, all quite wholesome) on the Playa at Burning Man, taking grass roots politics to where the grass doesn’t grow.

Keep checking this page for Chicken updates, or subscribe to the Chicken Feed (RSS).

Hello world, this is Lev (Chicken’s co-conspirator and, suddenly, campaign manager). I have some incredible news to share.

You, the great collective you of the Chickensphere, heeded our plea for help. We’ve spent the last 24 hours hitting up everybody we know, watching the total inch toward the magic number and wracking our brains about who to call next and how to make it happen. Alita, Goddess of the Spreadsheet, worked like a Hero of Soviet Socialist Labor to get all the scraps of paper, checks, Paypal contributions and loose change together. And in the 59th minute of the 11th hour, you came through and brought us over the top, to a grand total of $26,371.21 in eligible San Francisco contributions for Chicken’s race for mayor. That’s the documented sum of money that we brought to the Campaign Office at 4:45 this afternoon…. you should have seen us, racing down Van Ness in the limo VW bus, folders crammed with arcane documents and forms, sweating, exhausted, Rob Levy driving like a maniacal cabby to get us there on time. We scrambled up the steps into the warren of offices… and met the press! Reporters from the San Francisco dailies were there, waiting for us like it’s the Bay to Breakers finish line. Read it in the news tomorrow, baby. As far as we know, only Tony Hall also made the cut, but he’s Republican or Republican-like… so in reality, it’s Chicken vs. Gavin on November 6 !

So we’re in, and all of a sudden its for reals. The papers are filed, Chicken is on an airplane to the Playa and we’ve got ourselves a mayors race.

Thank you so so so much to everyone who came out of the woodwork in the last few days, as well as all the supporters who carried us up along the way. We are deeply awed by the trust that you’ve given us to run this race. This has gone from whim to performance to drama to triumph, and it literally is all because of you. You’ve put your hard-earned ducats into the hands of Chicken John, and I hereby vow that I’m not gonna let him squander it on top shelf figs and imported liquor or whatever it was he promised to do with it. In the coming weeks, we’ll be putting our secret plan into action. As they say, watch this space.

Signing off,

One Happy Chicken
One Happy Chicken
15 Minutes Left, and the Elevator is Soooooo Slow
15 Minutes Left and the Elevator is Soooooo Slow
Aleta, Goddess of the Spreadsheet
Alita, Goddess of the Spreadsheet

Hey folks, Lane Hartwell here. Tuesday is the big deadline for the matching funds, so I’ve asked some of my photographer friends to lend a hand and donate some images.

So from now until Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at noon, San Francisco residents who haven’t already contributed to vote for chicken and would like a photo, will receive a beautiful 11 X 14 print from the choices below. Here’s how it works:

1. If you want a print, donate $100. or more to Vote For Chicken by TUESDAY, AUGUST 28 at NOON. Remember, you must be a SF resident and have not previously donated to Vote for Chicken.

2. The prints are first come, first served. Everyone has agreed to donate one print each. So if you like one, don’t wait!

3. Send your contribution to Vote For Chicken via check or Paypal.

4. Send an e-mail to Chicken at and CC to me at letting us know what print you would like.

5. You may also feel free to visit my photostream at and choose an image you like. I will be personally donating more than one print.

Now here are the beautiful photos. A big thank you! on behalf of Chicken John to all the talented photographers who gave so generously.

1. Photographer: Luis Montemayor, Mexico City.
Photo by Luis Montemayor

see his other work here:

2. Photographer Craig Morse, San Francisco/NOLA
Photo by Craig Morse

see his other work here:

3. Photographer Eddy Joaquim, San Francisco
Photo by Eddy Joaquim

See his other work here:

4. Photographer Sharon West, Pittsburg.
Photo by Sharon West

See her other work here:

5. Photographer Cynthia Wood, San Francisco
Photo by Cynthia Wood

See her other work here:

6. Photographer Roger Kisby, New York
Photo by Roger Kisby

See his other work here:

7. Photographer Bernie De Chant, San Francisco


Photo by Bernie DeChant

See his other work here:

8. Photographer Navid Baraty, San Francisco
Photo by Navid Baraty

See his other work here:

9. Photographer John Curley, San Francisco
Photo by John Curley

See his other work here:

10. Photographer Kari Hartmann, Ukiah
Photo by Kari

See her other work here:

11. Photographer Pilar, San Francisco
Photo by Pilar

See her other work here:

12. Photographer Lane Hartwell, Alameda


See my other work here:

On the corner of 25th street and Alabama, in San Francisco’s Mission district is a building. It’s actually an idea. An idea whose time may just have come. It may actually be early. This idea of a building is referred to in Sunset magazine here. It’s the first LEED Building Standards Platinum rated residential structure.


I sent out a plea to my mailing list. The general contractor of this place responded. She said that she was very interested in my campaign and thought that my running was “relevant”. She knows about my involvement in Scraphouse, and is very interested in the Scraphouse Law, which I’ll talk about below. She offered the house up for a demo, even though it’s not totally done. It’s the greenest house on Earth. It’s the most efficient, effective and intelligently designed house ever. It’s a model. And if you come to the event on Monday, you will be the first people to see it. Before any of Gavin Newsom’s people see it. Before the fancy architects see it. Before Larry Badniger (the zoning administrator) sees it. Because you’re gonna write a check (you’re a SF resident, aren’t you) for a hundred bucks. I need to raise $25K by Tuesday at 5:00. I’m almost at $20K. I just need 50 more people to kick down, and I qualify for matching funds. Which is totally important.

Sean Hayes will play for us. Sean is my favorite singer/songwriter. I’m honored that he will come and swoon for the cause. We also have a case of Sirius Vodka donated, and the Sirius Vodka ladies doing the infusion sampling. I’ve got wine donated from Whiterock Vineyard and food from various places. Ritual coffee of course… And we did all this in an hour today, all this booking and stuff. I send out a distress email and the Cavalry came!

The house will be a treasure of our community, an example of the way things should be. This is what San Francisco can be in ALL departments, in ALL areas and in ALL thinking. You will get to explore the house, and marvel at its design. It’s really, really super cool. If you remember the NOW HOUSE from a couple years ago, this house blows it away. This is no luxury live/work condo plastic fantastic blah blah… this is cutting edge green design. In this age of greenwashing and green as a fad or trend, things like the sunset house are totally important. They will push the building codes and laws in the right direction, which of course in the end is conservation.

There is a law that is being considered in San Francisco. It’s #1 on my priorities of the *INNOVATION* part of my Art and Innovation mantra. This law is called the Scraphouse Law. It will clearly state that 10% (for a start!!!!) of the materials used in the construction of a new building must be from the destruction of another building. This is such a slam dunk, you can’t even believe it. Follow the rabbit hole, it all leads to a great place. If nothing else, it is the first step to mining the landfill. Which is such a huge part of our future. Our future is in the landfill…. funny, sure. But true. There is more and more and more, and I will tell you about it all…. but you must come to the event!!!! Meet the builders, meet the designers, meet me and some other people from Scraphouse. This Monday at 6:00.

Admission should be $100. OK $50. Whatever. If you believe in things green and not greenwashed you may want to support my absurdist campaign. I built a car that runs on coffee grinds. To prove a point. I need the matching funds to use the press to push my points and my agenda to make our city leaders re-think the current path in regards to energy and fuels. I can do this. I want to see a few buses running off coffee grinds and methane. It’s easy. I want to see Terra Preta in our parks. I want to see our city dump gasifying garbage and creating its own power. I want our recycling program to work. I would like to see repurposing done on a global scale, starting with the Scraphouse Law. I would like to introduce people to power generation as an art form. Huh? Yup. The generation of power as a form of art. Why not? Maybe then we could better grasp the value of it. And not squander and waste so much. But experimentation and openness to innovations is brave. And our current political climate is poisoned with cowardice; the progressive agenda has sunk to a new low. Me.

Please come to this awesome event. And thank you to Jeremy Paul for knowing everyone in the universe. chicken


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