Drama Talk & Drinks: Berry Gordy in person

Katie & Brittany checked out Motown the Musical, and it sounds pretty great. Here’s their report (with a couple notes from me at the end, I couldn’t help myself, sorry):

We were very excited but also very skeptical about seeing Motown The Musical. (We are always at least a little skeptical when it comes to musicals based on already written music) Of course we knew of Motown Records, but didn’t know much about the man who founded it, Berry Gordy, so we were very interested to see how Broadway was going to tell this story.

Katie: I want some more Motown!

Brittany: Me too! The set was insane! There were many times that I was just like how are they doing that??

K: I was really into all those moving screens with media on them. For a second I thought they were projections but realized that they were large TV’s.

B: Amazing production value and cast. Everyone was beautiful and talented. It was disgusting.

K: It was like being taken back in time and attending a Motown concert. When the Marvin Gaye character started singing “What’s Going On” I almost started crying. I was extremely entertained but the only time it got a little slow was at the end of the second act.

B: I loved that since it was opening night Berry Gordy and the director came up after the show. And it was cool to hear the director talk about how this is exactly what we need right now, music that brings people of all ages and colors together, dancing and being kind to each other. And at the end of the first act “What’s Going On” was being sung during video of protests of the day and all I could think was wow, so timely and so on point. Not that it wouldn’t have been amazing otherwise, but the resonance with what’s happening in the world right now and what this play is about was really in sync.

K: Right, and yet I loved hearing these songs in context of the time period and what was going on in history.

B: The girl who played Diana Ross was so good. She was basically her generation’s Beyonce, and that woman pulled it off flawlessly. People should definitely go see it. There was a real story to tell and they did a great job telling it.

K: I could not stop smiling when little Michael Jackson was singing! So freakin’ adorable!

 

The Verdict: If you love Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, The Jackson Five and being “wow’ed” by talented singers, this is the event you will want to treat yourself to. This was everything you expect and hope for from a Broadway touring show. Amazing set, ridiculously talented actors and being thoroughly entertained for two hours.

The Drama Talk: We were afraid that this musical was just going to be hit song after hit song with a random plot shoehorned in. Instead it was more about what was happening at that time. That’s what really worked, it wasn’t just actors breaking into a song that everyone knows, just because. You really feel like you are at a Motown concert.

The Drinks: We were really excited after the show, so knew we wanted a good, strong cocktail. We decided on a place that was only a couple of blocks away from the theater that we had never heard of called Oddjob, which we found out opened 9 months ago. [They lost me at "bespoke mixologist mastery" - Ed.] Though pricey (our drinks were $14 each) they were really, really good. [Also, re: Oddjob, "working man's cocktail room" with $14 drinks . . . sorry, continue. - Ed.] We both ordered the “For Your Eyes Only”. Such a treat! Oh, and the “secret” entrance is to the left of the building, down the alleyway. Great way to end our entertaining evening. [Oh, secret alleys? Done it. - Ed.]

Motown the Musical runs through 9/28 at the Orpheum Theatre and tickets can be purchased through their website. Ticket prices vary from $45-$200 depending on where you sit. ALSO, another way to go is to grab some of the limited number of $40 rush tickets available two hours prior to curtain at the SHN Orpheum Theatre Box Office. It’s cash only and only 2 tickets per person, and are subject to availability. There are also tickets available on Goldstar for $69-$80.

 

Here & Far at The Roxie

Before we got a bunch of our friends together and built The Secret Alley, Noel Von Joo and I got a bunch of our friends together and spent a number of years making a strange post-zombie-apocalypse movie, When Gravity Changes. It’s about a loner who is stuck on his roof while zombies swarm beneath him, the sun has stopped rising and his only companion is a talking raccoon . . . until he finds a city of fetuses hidden in a tree. It was shot on a roof in Santa Cruz, an attic in Sacramento and a gutter on our very own Capp Street.

Noel at home.
[Noel in the fetus city set]

The movie will be showing as part of Here & Far, curated by Sarah Flores, at The Roxie this Wednesday night. Our movie will follow a bunch of other local shorts, Vacation (2014) Written and Directed by Tracy Brown, As Long as There is Plenty (2013) Written and Directed by Kenneth Vaughn, Chaos Directed by Natalie Eakin, Bequeath the Heart By Zack Von Joo & Million Year Check-up By Davenzane Hayes.

The show starts at 7pm and The Roxie Theater is at 3117 16th St., near Valencia. You can purchase tickets in advance here.

Today’s edition of Your Constantly Changing Neighborhood

First, Hoodline has the renderings of the condos that will replace Flax Art & Design. After years of their wooden guy trying to take down Travelodge, they finally lost the battle. The new condos will pay homage to San Francisco’s rich architectural history and – oh wait, it’s just another big boxy building.

[via Hoodline]

Next, Uptown Almanac reports that after thirteen years, Therapy’s furniture store on Valencia will close at the end of this month. The landlord increased their rent from $5,700 to $10,500, so, make of that what you will. It’s hard to remain shocked at this point.

[UPDATE: Image by Google Streetview inserted to clarify that the furniture store, on the left, is closing, while the clothing store is remaining open]

From UA:

In conversation, Whelan mentioned that he was never late on rent, and that there is simply “more demand for [Valencia Street] than there is Valencia.” Whelan believes that with the average “consumer on Valencia Street [being] a hyper-affluent tech person,” a Valencia Street store “becomes a billboard to promote [a company’s] brand.” The outrageous rent paid simply becomes another line item in a company’s marketing budget.

You know, like Times Square or something. Cool. Awesome. Love it. I’m sorry, I’m trying not to be so negative. But this neighborhood is being smothered by a huge pile of money. Speaking of money, you can save some by taking advantage of Therapy’s clearance sale!

Gypsies, Vagabonds and Refugees

Tonight Oddball Films presents Elswhere: Gypsies, Vagabonds and Refugees, a series of archival short films all about what really gets people moving.

[frame of Buster Keaton in Railrodder]

The Hitch-Hiker (1950), a rather racy instructional film on how to get a ride; Railrodder (1965), wherein an aging Buster Keaton traverses the Canadian National Railway in style; Madeline and the Gypsies (1959), the film adaptation of the classic tale by Ludwig Bemelman; The Greenie (1942) a touching bit of WWII propaganda about a young polish refugee; San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (1906), or how Oakland got its start; Thumbs Down (1974), a cautionary educational film featuring real-life Los Angeles hitchers; Story of the Hungarian Refugees (1956), a U.N.-produced piece regarding the perils of border-crossing; and Riff Raffy Daffy (1948), on one unlucky duck’s run-ins with the Pigs! …Plus: Newsreels, Wobblies, Navajos, + “Wild & Bully.”

Arrive early for Clowns, Henry Miller in Paris, Donuts and special surprises!

Sounds pretty cool. The show is tonight (Thursday, July 31st) at 8:00pm. Oddball Films is at 275 Capp Street (btwn 17th & 18th). Admission is $10 and you can RSVP to RSVP@oddballfilm.com or (415) 558-8117

About that old police station

Reader Britta writes in to let us know about a writeup she did on the old (abandoned?) Mission Police Station on 17th Street near Treat. I’ve always wanted to check out the interior, but never had the chance. Anyone know what’s going on in there now? Last I heard Tracy Chapman was thinking of buying it, and had maybe done some recording in there. Britta suggests that it may currently be owned by an entertainment industry management firm. Sounds spooky.

In 2014


[image via Google Street View]

In 1924


[photograph via UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library]

[article link]

Drama Talk & Drinks: “It felt like a bad joke.”

Brittany & Katie do this column because they love theater. They really do. And so it is with two heavy hearts that they delivered this review of Patterns, at The New Stage in Hayes Valley:

“Wall-size video projections surround the audience with an awe-inspiring panoramic view of love in life.” This was the description we read when we got the invitation to check out Patterns a one woman performance piece. Sounds awesome right? We thought so.

After the show, at the line for the bathroom

Man in line: Did you guys get it?
Katie: Nope.
Brittany: Nope.
Man in line: Ok good, me neither.

The Verdict: This piece feels like a over-thought and over-indulgent Master’s thesis. It’s definitely interesting but not necessarily enjoyable.

The Drama Talk: Amy Munz, The New Stage founder and the creator and performer of Patterns is obviously a talented artist. But Patterns feels more like an artist’s contemporary take on Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, than a piece designed to entertain. The show kicks off with screaming manic laughter and devolves from there. Although The New Stage concept of immersing the audience in video projections is intriguing, the positioning of the screens made us feel like were were watching a tennis match. We had to constantly readjust and look from side to side around fellow audience members heads to catch obstructed views of the dream-like video projections. It was tiring.

Video of what looks like a cow being disemboweled plays while the character of a young girl delivers a disjointed schizophrenic monologue (not about cows getting disemboweled, mind you). It felt like a bad joke. Munz might be trying to alienate the audience, but the performance fails to actually assault the senses (largely because video screens are obscured) while playing into every stereotype of the out of touch ACTOOOR. The characters, though vibrant and distinct, lacked an arc. There wasn’t really a story to speak of, just flashes into the psyches of unstable women. Without a story, without a character arc, and with obstructed video screens which nearly gave us whiplash we didn’t really enjoy the show. This piece has so many promising elements, but this execution falls short.

The Drinks: After the show we couldn’t wait to get a drink and sort through what we just saw, luckily Sauce was very nearby. Sauce is a quaint little bar and restaurant under a boutique hotel. Katie had the moscow mule and Brittany had the American Honey Side Car. They were tasty and strong and helped us relax after a hectic performance piece that left our heads spinning and neck aching.

Patterns runs through 8/16 at the the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, and tickets can be purchased through their website. Ticket prices vary from $30-$65 depending on what package you buy.

Sun punching through

Sign sun punch

Seen on 18th Street.

“Fair warning” to hipsters and yuppies

A new tag on Samy’s Liquors at 24th and Bryant makes some pretty clear threats to a couple broad swaths of people. It instructs to kill hipsters and yuppies, two hard to define groups that were often derided among taggers in the last decade, but makes no mention of techies, the neighborhood slur du jour.

This is my fair warning to the hipsters + the yuppies!!
Get the [fuck?] Up Out the MISSION!! Before this [shit?] starts getting UGLY!!
you got 6 Months, Keep it Kickin!! If you don’t, it won’t be funny!
I Guarantee my Soldiers will GLADLY Come Out GUNNIN!!

The beholder’s eye

“It’s a clue.” he said as he slammed it down on my desk. I couldn’t see what he had put down. Firstly, because my eyes were closed. Secondly, because I wasn’t sitting at my desk, I was curled up beneath it. Vic, Helen and I had closed down the Latin American the night before. Or was it this morning? In any case, we had also opened it up this afternoon. That kind of week. I had gone back to the office to get some blogging in, but I don’t think I actually did any. And now all I could see were three pint-sized margaritas floating in front of me. I swatted at them fruitlessly.

“Hey. Hey!” Allan’s low top sneaker kicked me in the arm. “I need you on this. And I need it now.”

I was lying on what felt like a burrito butt and a gum wrapper was stuck to my cheek. My maid was on vacation. “Did you bring me coffee?” I croaked from my little dusty bed. It was just about five, and I couldn’t get as far into the afternoon daylight as I used to be able to without some slow drip.

“I’ll put a pot on. Let’s get to work,” Allan’s kicky feet walked away from my desk. “Commenters want to know, is this art?” I slowly crept out and slithered into my chair. The sideways sunlight cut through the office fog of dust, slicing it to ribbons with help from broken and uneven venetians.

“Where did you get this?” I asked, finally getting a look at the photo. It was an oddly shaped paint dribble. It almost seemed accidental, but something about the curvature suggested intent. Allan was hot on the trail of a new tagger in town. Someone who approached every untouched spot in the city like a beautifully blank surface with the potential to be a new Mona Lisa. Or at least one of Reyes’ letters.

“Don’t worry about that, just suss out the meaning.” Allan plopped a full coffee mug on my desk. The sound of porcelain against oak was pleasing. As was the hot drop that splashed out and burned my hand, teasingly. I took a long sip, searing the roof of my mouth and probably also my throat. The Mission Mission office’s snack budget didn’t reach as far as the fancy neighborhood boutique cafes. This was brown bean water. But it would do.

Half an hour later, I had this.

I brought it to Allan. He was lost in thought. “Someone’s been passive aggressively hate-faving my tweets. Can I just disable all engagement?”

I didn’t know. “I don’t know,” I responded. “Here’s your image.”

“Ariel. You’re so literal. This is quirky and whimsical, but it’s not what I need. This goofy lil’ ankle biter, this isn’t what we’re after. It’s great, it’s fine. You did your best. But take a look at these. I went ahead and had Extra Pizza Toppings take her own crack, and I think she found it. I think she found both of it.”

And he was right. She found something. “Go with this,” I said, “Something about people looking like their pets.”

“Huh.” Allan frowned. “Could it really be that banal?”

“You can’t spell banal without anal.” I grabbed my whisky flask from the middle drawer of my desk.

“What they hell is that?”

“I dunno. A joke? A headline? An out of context status update?” I grabbed my hoodie off the rack and flung the door open. “I’m meeting a commenter who’s ready to go legit, I’ll find you at The Alley, I’ll be there by the time the sun burns into Sutro.” I closed the door behind me, this day had posed too many questions and I was all out of answers. I stepped out onto Mission Street and stumbled East into the Capp Street wind.

Ellis Acting a 98 year old

Another week, another use of the Ellis Act to evict long time SF residents. 98 year old Mary Phillips has lived on Dolores Street for 50 years, and she’s now being told that she has to leave by her landlord, a real estate company called Urban Green Investments. According to KRON 4, when she heard the news, Mary said “I didn’t sit down and cry, I just refused to believe it. They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first.” She says that she has never been late on her rent and has nowhere else to go. Heartbreaking. This is really where we’re at.

Way back in DotCom1 when my single mom and I were illegally evicted from our Dolores Street apartment, the Tenants Union was a big help. You can become a member or donate to them on their site.

UPDATE: According to Business Insider, Urban Green has released a statement revealing that they will allow Mary Phillips to remain in her apartment for the rest of her life, rent free.

“Contrary to recent reports, we have always planned to provide for Mary in this way,” said McCloskey. “We have made no comment about Ms. Phillips’ situation to this date as we have been negotiating with her attorney in good faith, but the recent media reports have made today’s comment necessary in order to clarify the facts.”

UPDATE 2: According to some, the deal that McCloskey wrote to Business Insider about was never acceptable to Phillips. The larger issue for her may be that her caregiver, Sarah Brandt, is still being evicted, making the living situation too unsafe for Phillips to remain. Though I’m seeing conflicting takes on who’s offering what and when they offered it. More on Brandt and her relationship with Phillips here.

Ariel Dovas

Posts: 695

Email: ariel (at) missionmission.org

Website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eviloars/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eviloars

Biographical Info:

This guy moved to the neighborhood from his hometown of Santa Cruz in '93. Now he makes movies and does a bunch of other weird stuff.