Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Summer of Subtitles, Part 2
I had put off seeing "The Lives of Others," the Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Film from Germany, for several weeks because it sounded really depressing. Memorial Day is a somber holiday, however, so I figured it was as good a time as any. The film really is brilliant, so I'm glad I went.

"Lives" takes place in East Germany in the mid-80s, when the Berlin Wall is still up and the Stasi (secret police) has absolute power to monitor the citizenry. The film's lead characters are two men: Georg Dreyman, a successful playwright who seems to be a model (non-subversive) artist, and Capt. Gerd Wiesler, the Stasi officer assigned to spy on him after a powerful government official becomes infatuated with Dreyman's live-in actress girlfriend. Wiesler happens to be listening in when Dreyman is finally spurred into taking a stand against the East German government -- Dreyman's good friend and mentor, director Albert Jerska, kills himself after having been blacklisted for years, unable to practice his profession. What happens next changes the lives of both Dreyman and Wiesler forever.

I was surprised to note that "Lives" is the first film ever directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, because it is such a mature and assured work. (von Donnersmarck, who was just a teenager when the Wall came down, also wrote the screenplay.) The grim subject matter does make it difficult to watch at times, as when one Stasi bigwig gleefully notes that he's found the perfect way to deal with artists who are thought to be dissidents -- put 'em in solitary for 10 months, and when they finally come out, odds are they'll be so traumatized, they'll never create anything again -- problem solved. Even grimmer is the real-life fact that an astonishing one out of 50 East German citizens was a Stasi informant, spying and reporting on neighbors, friends, even family members. This isn't ancient history -- it happened less than 20 years ago. Don't say it could never happen here, in our post-9/11, security-conscious world. I firmly believe that it could.

We didn't only see movies with subtitles this weekend -- we also checked out Josh Kornbluth's new monologue, "Citizen Josh," at the Magic Theater in SF. I've written about Josh in my blog loads of times because I'm a huge fan and consider him one of our local treasures. In at least one of his previous monologues, Josh mentioned that he never finished the senior thesis that was a requirement for his graduation from Princeton University. "Citizen Josh" is his senior thesis -- yep, he's finally getting that sheepskin! OK, so he's in his 40s, but it's never too late, right?

Josh decided that the topic of his thesis would be "democracy" -- not too broad, right? Of course, all of Josh's monologues are about Josh, and he pulls it off because he's so funny and profound. We learn about his efforts to spruce up a neighborhood playground in his hometown of Berkeley (some neighbors are against it because they don't want to hear kids going "Whee!" -- that seems a little nasty, but living near a swimming pool that's frequently populated by "Whee"-ing kids, I sort of understand). He tells us an affecting story about his younger brother, who was born very prematurely and barely survived. And, of course, he talks about his late dad, a colossal presence in all his monologues. He may not quite tie all the discrete stories together quite as nicely as he did in "Ben Franklin: Unplugged" (my fave Josh monologue) or "Love and Taxes," but it's still darned entertaining, worth a solid A-minus or B-plus.
posted by 125records @ 3:40 PM   0 comments
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Summer of Subtitles, Part 1
Not all of us want to see the trio of big-budget Parts Three now playing in theaters: "Shrek the Third," "Spiderman 3" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 3." Luckily, there's counterprogramming in the form of a bevy of foreign films now playing in an arrondissement near you.

It just so happened that my parents and brother were all in Paris, a city I've never visited, at the exact moment that "Paris, Je T'aime" opened in Berkeley. So naturellement, I had to go see it; a $7.50 matinee is cheaper than a trip overseas, non? "Paris" is an anthology, made up of 18 five-minute films shot by different directors, ranging from Americans (Joel and Ethan Coen, Alexander Payne, Gus Van Sant) to Indian-English Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham"), Germany's Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), Mexico's Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men"), and the Frenchiest French guy of them all, Gerard Depardieu. Unsurprisingly, not all of the films succeed, but even with the lesser efforts, you can still enjoy the Parisian atmosphere and scenery. I particularly enjoyed the two films focused on lonely American tourists, by the Coen brothers and Payne; Chadha's beautiful and touching tale of an encounter between a Muslim woman and a young Frenchman; and Sylvain Chomet's ("The Triplets of Belleville") loopy story about how two mimes meet and fall in love. The shorts veer from comedy to tragedy to horror to pathos; the characters we meet are young and old, native French and immigrants, realistic and fanciful. If you can't afford a trip to Paris this summer, enjoy a two-hour vacation with "Paris, Je T'aime."

We also went to see "After the Wedding," the Oscar-nominated Danish film. Mads Mikkelsen, best known in the U.S. for playing the Bond villain in "Casino Royale," stars as a Dane who's spent almost his entire adult life away from his home country, most recently running an orphanage in India. He is summoned back to Denmark by a rich businessman who wants to check him out personally before writing a big check to help fund the orphanage. It turns out that there are some interesting connections between the two men that come to the surface as the film progresses. I found the whole thing a little overwrought, verging on soap opera, and what the heck was the deal with all the close-ups of eyes? Director Susanne Bier keeps coming back to them -- giant eyes, filling up the screen. A good 10 minutes could probably have been shaved off the 2-hour running time without all those eyes. I'm sure it all Means Something (some of the close-ups are of the eyes of taxidermied animal heads), but by the end, I didn't really care.
posted by 125records @ 5:35 PM   1 comments
Monday, May 21, 2007
The Chronicle layoffs: who's staying? Who's going?
I forgot to mention the highlight of yesterday's Bay to Breakers: Meshugga Beach Party. Performing in Golden Gate Park, there they were: a bunch of guys dressed as Orthodox rabbis playing surf music versions of traditional Jewish songs. I should've just quit running and listened to them. Seriously, how cool is that?

All of San Francisco is a-twitter about the upcoming layoffs at the Chronicle. 25 percent of the newspaper's newsroom staff is going to be cut. I like the Chron and am sad that it will have to take such drastic measures to survive. It's inevitable that every Chronicle reader will wind up losing a favorite. Here are the people I really, really hope will be sticking around:

Don Asmussen. The wildly funny, irreverent and imaginative cartoonist doesn't fill a lot of column inches -- he does two cartoons a week -- but he's so brilliant, I can only hope someone at the Chron knows what they've got and keeps him on.

David Lazarus. Newspaper business sections tend to be pretty snoozy, but Lazarus's columns on topics like identity and data theft, deceptive advertising and corporate greed are always eye-openers.

Neva Chonin. Her Sunday Live! Rude! Girl! columns are always must-reads for me. They're the kind of cranky, first-person articles you'd expect to find in an alt-weekly, but there they are in the Chron. Let's keep them there.

Tim Goodman. Judging from the comments on his blog and the packed houses at his annual TV Hootenanny, Goodman is more than just a TV critic -- he's got his own cult of personality. I'm proud to be one of the cultists.

Aidin Vaziri. Perhaps the most hated member of the paper's arts staff, Vaziri writes a weekly Q&A called "Pop Quiz" where he asks impudent questions like "Are most of the songs on [your new] album inspired by prostitutes?" (to Adam Levine of Maroon 5) or "How high did you get with Willie Nelson on the set of 'The Dukes of Hazzard'?" (to Lynda Carter). Since he's fairly new, he might be considered expendable, but his byline shows up an awful lot, so perhaps the overlords will figure they get a lot of bang for their buck with him. Plus, the Letters to the Editor section of the Sunday Datebook wouldn't be the same if he were gone.

Peter Hartlaub. Hartlaub's official title is "Chronicle Pop Culture Critic," which for some reason means he gets tasked with reviewing every really, really horrible movie that comes along. If something is not screened for critics -- "Delta Farce," "Kickin' It Old Skool," etc. -- count on a Hartlaub critique in Monday's paper, always with a wacky parental-advisory warning. (From his "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" review: "
This film movie contains every horrible thing you'd expect from a movie with the words 'Texas,' 'chain saw' and 'massacre' in the title, plus a few you never would have thought of.") He's also the go-to guy for video game commentary, Super Bowl ad reviews, the Anna Nicole Smith obit, etc. He's funny and needs to stay.

Leah Garchik. Love her back-of-Datebook column, which is sort of a gossip column, but also about the ordinary people of San Francisco -- who are, of course, often quite extraordinary.

Places where cuts should be made:

Mark Morford. According to a quote on his web page from the Detroit Metro Times: "His twice-weekly column routinely features jaw-dropping, unflinchingly liberal prose so biting and sweet and innovative it amazes us that a mainstream daily would keep this guy on the payroll." Not for long, I bet.

The movie section. The Chron currently has two full-time film writers: Mick LaSalle and Ruthe Stein. LaSalle has been "extending his brand" recently with a podcast and a blog. The funny thing is that even though I frequently disagree with his reviews, I have become an avid reader of the blog and faithful listener to the podcast. Is it all part of a diabolically clever plan to show management that he's a team player? (Apparently, Chron staffers get no extra payment for doing blogs and podcasts.) Who knows, but I'd be kind of surprised if both LaSalle and Stein are allowed to stick around. If one has to go, my bet is that Mick's job is safe, and we'll be seeing more wire reviews in the Friday paper.

Jon Carroll. I suspect if the Datebook staff was cut down to one person, Jon would be the last man standing. What can I say, people love those cat columns.

ChronicleWatch. I'm on the edge of my seat; will that dry fountain in downtown Berkeley ever see water again? It's Day 1,192, dammit!
posted by 125records @ 3:04 PM   6 comments
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The slowest race
I realized Bay to Breakers wasn't your ordinary footrace when I was waiting for the event to begin, and noticed that the people immediately to my left were smoking pot. Some other folks were downing Jell-O shots. And then there were the half-dozen or so people dressed as Team Zissou, pushing a shopping cart filled with beer.

Somewhere far, far ahead of me, a bunch of fleet-footed Kenyans were poised at the starting line. One of them wound up winning the 12K (7.46 miles) race, with a time of just under 35 minutes. As John Korir crossed the finish, I was finally reaching the start -- along with people in Homer Simpson masks, a banana, a nun, butterflies, folks in gorilla suits, dozens of women in tutus, a few men in tutus, and a guy imitating Will Ferrell in the "Needs more cowbell" sketch from "Saturday Night Live."

Of course, there were some "real" runners too. But on the whole, Bay to Breakers, a San Francisco tradition for over 90 years, is a race where silliness reigns supreme. As I turned onto Ninth Street, dozens of people in elaborate salmon costumes came through, running the opposite way of everyone else -- swimming upstream, get it? Approximately 35,000 people, including myself, pay $40 to become an official race participant, but another 25,000 or so don't bother. Since there are so many people, it's not like anyone can check and pull people off the course if they don't have a number. Without one, your time won't be recorded, but I suspect a lot of the folks who come out to party don't make it all the way to the end of the race anyhow.

The course runs from a point near the Embarcadero, all the way across San Francisco, through Golden Gate Park, to the finish line by the Pacific Ocean. It took me an hour to go the first four miles, which is a ridiculously slow pace even by my slowpoke standards. I just couldn't break through the throngs of people clogging the streets. Walkers are supposed to keep to the right, but that's taken about as seriously as the "no nudity" and "no alcohol" regulations. (Yes, a lot of people -- mostly 50ish men, by the looks of it -- run the race nude. I've seen enough pasty white asses to last me a good long time.)

Finally, when we crossed into Golden Gate Park, things opened up a little and the remaining three and three-quarter miles passed quickly. I slowed down a bit to admire some of the scenery in the park: the new DeYoung museum, which I still have yet to visit; the gorgeous, Victorian Conservatory of Flowers; the bison paddock; and the north windmill. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm morning; I felt sorry for the people in big furry costumes, because they must have been sweating up a storm. I was actually surprised when the finish line came into view because it didn't really feel like I'd gone almost eight miles.

My feeling of triumph was short-lived, since the closest parking space Joe had been able to find was up near the Sutro Baths, a long, long hike uphill. Seriously, the walk to the car was the most difficult part of the race. So when you add it all up, I surely traveled over nine miles on my feet! Throw in another three miles, and you've got yourself a half-marathon! (By the way, it totally makes sense to me now why the Nike Marathon keeps such a tight limit on the number of runners. The streets of SF may look wide, but pack 'em with 60,000 walkers and runners and it gets crowded.)

I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again, but at least I can say I've participated in one of the things that makes San Francisco weird. The next race I have coming up is a 10K and having run it in the past, I can attest to the fact that it attracts a far more serious crowd.

(Below: I kid you not, this flyer was included in the official race packet.)

posted by 125records @ 3:54 PM   2 comments
Thursday, May 17, 2007
"Blackbird" flies high
I haven't been writing because I've been stuck at home with a cold. It's not the first time I've come down with a cold after a film festival; next year, I should wear gloves and a face mask to all screenings.

Last night, armed with cough drops, I went to see "Blackbird" at ACT. I had heard that it was about a shocking secret, so I tried to avoid all reviews and spoilers, but somehow I wound up finding out about it anyway. (Check out this review if you want the complete lowdown.) The play opens with a man in his mid-50s and a woman in her late 20s onstage; what is the nature of their relationship? You find out about 10-15 minutes into the play, and the few people in the audience who had managed not to read anything about "Blackbird" gasped. Playwright David Harrower, who seems to have more than a passing familiarity with the plays of David Mamet, based on some of his characters' speech patterns, still has some tricks up his sleeve, though. Near the end of what you think is a two-character play, a third character enters, and suddenly, everything changes. The actor is not even listed in the program; that's how sneaky they are.

The man in "Blackbird" is played by Steven Culp, best known for his portrayal of Bree's husband on the ABC soap "Desperate Housewives." The woman is played by Jessi Campbell, whose British accent is so convincing that I wonder if she's spent a lot of time in the U.K. (Her stage credits all seem to be U.S.-based, though.) The play is a fast-moving, intermissionless 85 minutes long, but it's such an emotionally draining work that it must be a real challenge to perform it eight times a week.

"Blackbird" is one of the "edgy" plays that ACT presents from time to time, so perhaps it's not so bad that most audience members know what it's about going in; as was the case with Edward Albee's "The Goat" from a few seasons ago or Berkeley Rep's recent "The Pillowman," the subject matter could offend more conservative theatergoers. Ah well; it's almost summer, which means some local theater will undoubtedly be presenting "Damn Yankees" for the millionth time.
posted by 125records @ 12:19 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
At the festival: Part 2
The San Francisco International Film Festival screened over 200 films, and I saw only five of them. It's hard to drop everything and get to screenings over in the city -- I couldn't even have seen five were it not for the superb dog-sitting provided by my fabulous neighbors (thanks, guys!). I already wrote about "The Deal" yesterday; here's a brief rundown of the rest:

"The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music" (USA, 2006): Harry Smith seemed like such a character that I thought a documentary about him would be fascinating, but unfortunately, there's not enough Harry and too much footage of modern-day artists in this film. Smith was an avid record collector who bought everything from the 20s and 30s he could get his hands on, and then released his favorites on the Anthology of American Folk Music in 1959. As a record company owner, I was amused by the fact that Smith neither sought permission from the original artists nor paid them any royalties. Things were a lot more free & easy back in those days. Ironically, the director of the film couldn't use much of the original music in her doc because she couldn't afford the rights to the recordings (the Anthology is still in print, on Smithsonian Folkways). Most of the songs are in the public domain, and she was given free rein to use footage from a series of Anthology tribute concerts staged by impresario Hal Willner, so much of the film consists of artists like Beth Orton, Beck, Nick Cave, Lou Reed, etc. performing the songs. It would have been nice if the modern renditions could have been juxtaposed with the originals. I understand that it's hard to get financing for documentaries, but "The Old, Weird America" still seems like a missed opportunity.

"Once" (Ireland, 2006): Speaking of being done on the cheap, this low-fi charmer must have been made for next to nothing. And yet, like a beloved mix tape dubbed onto a cheap cassette, there's something undeniably endearing about it. The otherwise-unnamed Guy (a street busker in Dublin) and Girl (a young Czech immigrant) meet, realize they are musical soul mates, and make some beautiful music together. I don't want to say anything else, because nothing that happens in "Once" is conventional or predictable in any way. The slightly Radiohead-y songs by Irish singer Glenn Hansard, who plays the Guy, form the bulk of the soundtrack. "Once" has more heart than any film I've seen in a long time. It should be opening in selected cities next month, so keep an eye out for it.

"Reprise" (Norway, 2006): Bromance between two Oslo dudes in their early 20s, Erik & Phillip, who both dream of becoming successful novelists. Phillip's book is the first to be published, but his happiness is short-lived -- he is soon hospitalized after a nervous breakdown. The movie has some wonderful moments (footage of the Norwegian Independence Day Parade set to the completely incongruous music of Joy Division, for instance), but it kind of drags in the middle when the movie's focus shifts from Phillip to Erik. Still, the film shows enough promise that I'll be interested to see what director Joachim Trier (who was Norway's two-time national champion skateboarder -- talk about a renaissance man!) comes up with next.

"Rocket Science" (USA, 2007): Even though I'm getting ever closer to receiving my invitation to join the AARP (OK, still a ways away, but time flies), I still enjoy a good high school misfit movie, and "Rocket Science" is one of the best. Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, whose documentary "Spellbound" was such a delight, "Rocket Science" tackles the unlikely subject of a stutterer who joins his high school debating team. Why? For a girl, of course -- Ginny, who's like an even more devious version of "Election"'s Tracy Flick. In real life, Blitz was a teenage stutterer who joined his high school debate team and wound up becoming a champion. In the movie, Blitz obviously didn't want to go for such a feel-good story arc. This film is just stuffed with brilliant observations, surprises and moments of sublime hilarity; it opens in August, and you should go see it.
posted by 125records @ 12:52 PM   2 comments
Monday, May 07, 2007
At the festival: Part 1
The 50th annual San Francisco International Film Festival is winding down, and it remains to be seen how it compares to previous fests in terms of attendance, but all of the screenings I attended were pretty full. Every year, there seems to be some hand-wringing in the press about how SFIFF compares to other festivals in terms of scoring prestigious films and premieres. A few years ago, the Film Society hired an executive director primarily because of her "Hollywood connections," and no one seemed happy with the way things worked out, despite the fact that she did get Warren Beatty and a few other notables to travel north to accept awards. The current director, Graham Leggat, is a bald, 47-year-old Brit with a lilting accent who seems to have been embraced by Film Society members; having attended a number of members' events over the past few years, I know how contentious they can be. (Things that make the membership testy: too many films in English, and too many films that are "mainstream" enough to have already secured distribution deals. If SFIFF had presented something like "Spider-Man Week," which was part of this year's Tribeca Film Festival, Leggat would have been run out of town on a rail.)

Leggat seems perfectly content to aim the festival at the film-crazed fans of San Francisco, which is as it should be. The award recipients also seemed calculated to please: always-edgy Spike Lee received the directors' award, while Peter Morgan, who was rather obscure in this country until his script for "The Queen" was nominated for an Oscar, got the Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting. Robin Williams received the Peter J. Owens Award for acting, but since he's local, I guess we can cut him some slack. (Did anyone at his Q&A ask about the brave cinematic choices he made in his magnum opus "R.V."? What about "Patch Adams" or "Bicentennial Man"?)

Joe and I attended both Lee's and Morgan's special events. Spike Lee was interviewed onstage by former San Francisco critic Wesley Morris at the Castro Theatre, and proved himself to be a man of few words. It wasn't easy for Morris to draw him out. If it had been me, I think I would have been sweating bullets after the first few minutes. At one point, Morris tried a few "Inside the Actors' Studio" type oddball queries ("What is your favorite word?"), and Lee was having none of it. He seemed a tad more animated when he responded to audience questions. Luckily, Lee communicates beautifully with a movie camera; after the Q&A, Parts 2 & 3 of his HBO documentary "When the Levees Broke" were screened. It's a documentary about Hurricane Katrina and, not surprisingly, was incredibly depressing; Part 3 ends with the funeral of a 5-year-old victim who was swept away by the rising floodwaters. Nevertheless, it's an important piece of work, and Lee did entertain as well as enlighten in '06, since the wonderful "Inside Man" also came out last year.

Peter Morgan was far more loquacious than Lee, enjoying a friendly chat with local critic/legend David Thomson. The film chosen to represent Morgan's oeuvre was "The Deal," a precursor to "The Queen," made by the same director (Stephen Frears) and also starring Michael Sheen as Tony Blair. Morgan gave us a bit of a rundown on British politics so we Yanks would understand what was going on in the film. It covers Blair's career as a Member of Parliament, focusing on his friendship with Gordon Brown, another young, ambitious and fast-rising Labour Party politician. When the head of the Labour Party dies and the search for a successor begins, the slick, Southern-friendly Blair faces off against the Northern, more rough-hewn Brown. "The Deal" isn't quite as compelling as "The Queen" because, well, it doesn't have Helen Mirren, but it was surprisingly entertaining and seemed to delight the Anglophile audience. Morgan tantalized with the prospect of a Part III, which will cover Blair's relationship with George W. Bush.

Still to come: we see & review approximately 1/40th of the films screened at SFIFF!
posted by 125records @ 11:11 AM   0 comments
Friday, May 04, 2007
Oh, the Conanity
I'm really not a big fan of Conan O'Brien -- I find his tics and mannerisms more annoying than endearing -- but his weeklong series of shows in San Francisco has rekindled my civic pride. Look at Monday's show, which featured scripted banter between Conan and bandleader Max Weinberg about the MacArthur Maze meltdown, or the taped bit where Conan roams around the city, doing tai chi in a park with senior citizens and trying to find someone in Chinatown who recognizes him. It's all about us! We really are the most fascinating place in America! (Well, of course, next to New York, where Conan's show usually originates from.)

Anyway, I figured I would try to leverage my contacts in the late night talk show biz -- thanks to the ever-popular lineups page, I actually have a few -- and see if I could get tix for one of this week's Conan tapings. My favorite comedian, Patton Oswalt, was one of the guests on Thursday, May 3, so it seemed like it would be a good show to see.

When NBC made tickets available for the five tapings, they received over 85,000 requests, so it seems that Conan-mania is alive & well in SF. When we arrived around 1:45 PM, hundreds and hundreds of people were already waiting in line. Apparently some folks arrived as early as 7 AM for the 4 o'clock taping. Joe and I agreed that there's no way we would wait nine hours for a taping of any show.

The VIP ticket holders were herded into a little room at the Orpheum Theater. Not surprisingly, the better seats all went to the people who had been waiting outside all day, as opposed to the couple hundred "VIPs" who swanned in at 2:45. After being herded into another room, we were then herded upstairs to the balcony. Moooo. We were seated at the far right side of the balcony, right next to a platform where a cameraman was operating a camera attached to a very long cantilevered arm that enabled him to get long, swooping shots over the audience and the stage.

After a couple tunes by the Max Weinberg 7, the taping started and Conan was introduced. The audience went insane. Seriously, the applause and hooting seemed to go on for a good 3 minutes. I got kind of irritated, hoping they'd shut up already so we could get to the comedy. Even when Conan was able to get some jokes out, people kept interrupting him with shouts and "wooo"s. C'mon people, let's not ruin the show for people in the rest of the country, OK?

There was a taped piece about a Conan look-a-like contest sponsored by our local NBC station, and the winner came out briefly at the end. The first guest was "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson, who I suppose qualifies as an honorary San Franciscan since he used to live here & play in the band Journey. Then Patton did a brief set of stand-up, followed by a segment where Conan played disc golf with championship player David Feldberg (leading to more audience craziness, since they started throwing discs into the crowd) and a musical number by Bob Weir & RatDog. As always seems to be the case at TV tapings, it went by quickly. I hope the folks who waited in line for 9 hours thought it was worth it!
posted by 125records @ 9:22 AM   1 comments
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Don't believe a word I say
A few weeks ago, I said I was going to stop going to rock shows, which turned out to be total b.s. I am, however, selective; I figured I could go see the Canadian band Sloan because:
(a) There was only one opening act, the 88, a band I like a lot; and
(b) Surely fans of a Canadian rock band would be super-polite and not spend the entire evening text messaging and checking their cell phones and Blackberries.
As it turns out, the 88 totally rocked, and Sloan's fans were perfectly lovely. The only cell phones I saw all evening belonged to people who were using them to take photos of the band, which is fine with me, because at least that means they're focused on what's happening on the stage. One guy clad in a Rush T-shirt and toque (can you get any more Canadian?!) lit up a cigar about 20 minutes before the end of the show, but I just moved aside, out of the stream of smoke. (Yes, that is highly illegal in California, but then again, so is smoking pot inside rock clubs, and goodness knows that goes on all the time.) Sloan played my favorite new song and my favorite old song and just generally entertained the heck out of the large, enthusiastic crowd, so I'd call the evening a complete success. Bonus: we were home by midnight.

I'm not going to push my luck, though. One of my favorite new bands, Peter, Bjorn & John, are playing at Bimbo's later this month, but there are two opening acts I've never heard of, and PB&J are kind of a hot buzz band right now -- in other words, the sort of act that will probably attract a heavy contingent of annoying hipsters. If they endure, maybe I'll see them someday when they're less fashionable. (Sloan has been around for something like 15 years, and the San Francisco show got zero publicity in the local media, which means that the people who were there were really serious fans.)

I didn't write it here, but a couple of months ago, I mentioned to Joe that I was going to cut back on going out so much in the evenings -- a maximum of three times a week sounded about right. So here I am, going out nine days in a row. A lot of that is due to the fact that it's film festival time. By Wednesday the 9th, when this long run of nonstop entertainment finally winds down, I'm liable to be completely exhausted.
posted by 125records @ 11:01 AM   1 comments
About Me
Name: Sue
Home: San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States
About Me: Email me: talk at interbridge dot com
See my complete profile
Previous Post
Powered by