Drama Talk & Drinks: Schooled “the liberals couldn’t get their shit together”

Summer time in San Francisco means free theater in the park from the long running (57 year old) SF Mime Troupe. No, they’re not silent mimes. They’re a troupe committed to creating socially relevant theater. In the throws of one of the most dramatic election seasons in recent history, we needed to see something that would make us both laugh, and think. So off we went to see SF Mime Troupe’s Schooled at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival for some drama talk and drinks.

Velina Brown (Lavina Jones) and Rotimi Agbabiaka (Thomas Jones) in Schooled. Photo: Mike@mikemelnyk.com

Velina Brown (Lavina Jones) and Rotimi Agbabiaka (Thomas Jones) in Schooled. Photo: Mike@mikemelnyk.com

Katie: Seeing a play in San Francisco produced by a democratic-socialist theater company about why one shouldn’t vote for Trump seemed….I don’t know, like singing to the choir? Did I like the song? Hell yes! It was the song I like to sing;  anti-Trump, anti-oppression, anti-big business and lets do what’s right for the people and not just what’s right for the bottom line. I was into it, but it didn’t feel like it was changing any minds. It was great to feel part of the community though.  What an awesome crowd.

Brittany: Yeah, the crowd was genuinely diverse, which was neat. You don’t see that at a lot of shows. You are totally spot on with the fact they are singing to the choir, but I don’t know if that’s a problem.  It was terrifying that in the end the character which was most like Trump won. The liberals couldn’t get their shit together. If our election plays out like this super liberal theater troupe is saying, we are going to have a Trump presidency and, as you’d guess, it doesn’t end well.

K: Terrifying for sure, I think that’s the point, to show the audience what’s at stake if we don’t all work to make sure he loses. The actors did such a great job. A really well rounded cast with some great singers. They all played multiple characters really well too.  The show moved and held my attention. Here we are, in this busy urban park in the middle of downtown, people everywhere and I was so in it. It had good pacing, scene changes, and use of music and sound effects. It all really came together in this piece.

B: Their sets are so cool. I love the way they are so small but do so much. The song where the actors were being spun on and off stage singing about why they should be elected for president of the school board was really well done. You have to think, they do this in different locations where they have to set it up break it down. They’re outside, people everywhere, and technically it goes perfectly. Really impressive and so on point. The show was maybe too real for me, despite being satire. It didn’t feel as hopeful as other Mime Troupe shows I’ve seen, and we need a little more hope in politics right now. That really has nothing to do with the show though, just my depression regarding the current state of political affairs.

Verdict: Relevant. Entertaining. Well done. It’s FREE & anti-Trump. We think this is a well spent day in the park.

The Drama Talk:  There’s good reason SF Mime Troupe has been around so long, producing high quality, politically relevant theater, they’re very good at it. Although the show is obviously intended as a satire of the current election, with characters representing Hillary, Bernie and Trump, they did a good job creating their own story-line (a school board election) so it doesn’t feel stale. Although by the end of the play you can’t mistake the commentary on contemporary events, they also tackle some interesting topics which go beyond the election including the purpose of education, the mechanization of labor, and other important themes. The actors are all extremely talented, the band is fun, the set is great. Although none of the songs are super memorable, the message of the show is.

The Drinks: We have been hearing a lot about Susan Sarandon’s ping-pong bar and restaurant project called Spin and since it was very close to Yerba Buena Gardens we decided to check it out. We didn’t play ping-pong (It’s $50 for 1 hour!) but we did have some cocktails which were delicious and average SF prices. This extremely modern, street artsy, swanky “social club” was quite the contrast to our afternoon in a park watching free community theater. Fun, but fancy enough that you could imagine Jay-Z making an appearance.

Schooled runs through September 5th at various parks (see below). Tickets are FREE.

Lakeside Park- (Lake Merritt)in front of the Edoff Memorial Bandstand

Wed., July 27-7:00 pm (Music 6:30)

Thurs., July 28 – 7:00 pm (Music 6:30)

Bellevue Ave. & Perkins St., Oakland

McLaren Park-Jerry Garcia Amphitheater

Sat., July 30-2:00 pm (Music 1:30)

100 John F ShelleyDr.,

San Francisco

Walnut Park-Petaluma Progressive Festival

Sun., July 31-4:00 pm (Music 3:30)

201 4th St. (at D St.), Petaluma

See the complete schedule HERE.





Protestors protesting Mathieu Verbeeck and Catherine Crevels, tech couple and evictors of Mission mother and daughter


[via The Tens]

Please read our original post on the topic if you like.

Calling all witches

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[via Adam]

Drama Talk & Drinks: You’re Gonna Cry – “A piece about gentrification in the Mission that was gentrified out of the Mission”

Gentrification is a frequent topic of conversation around these parts. However, recently it’s felt like the tone of these conversations has shifted, from one of righteous indignation, to that of resignation. Two years ago DT&D had the good fortune to interview Eric Reid, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Theater MadCap, who also used to run CELLSpace/Inner Mission SF before it was lost to The Beast on Bryant. Eric, partially inspired by Theater MadCap’s displacement, teamed up with HBO Def Poet and Youth Speaks co-founder, Paul S. Flores, to produce You’re Gonna Cry, a one man show about gentrification in the Mission in the 90s.  Their goal is to make the gentrification conversation a little more action oriented. So off we went to Union Square (since their art space was gentrified out of the Mission) for some Drama Talk and Drinks.

Katie: It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. I was expecting it to be more innovative, with more spoken word and poetry.

Brittany: Yeah, it felt more like it was going for an Anna Deavere Smith vibe, lots of monologues around a theme. Some of the characters that were created were super compelling. I loved the immigrant mother with her daughter finding the old microwave on the street. Or the old women selling books. I wanted to know their stories. But despite some bright-spots, the pacing was off, and the show dragged for me.

K: The pacing was definitely a problem for me too. The transitions between the different characters took too long, and some of the staging was just wonky, like when he played all 3 characters at the same time. I don’t envy Flores, it’s not an easy show.

B: There were some technical problems with the TVs that were distracting too. This is a one man show, shit needs to be tight, and it wasn’t.

K: I appreciate what they are trying to do though, It’s important to have this dialogue. I also really appreciate that they had the post-show discussion with an activist. You want theater to inspire action, and it’s great they’re helping to direct people’s frustration about gentrification in positive ways.

The Verdict: The show needs some tightening, but the message is on-point. Making yourself a more empathetic and informed San Franciscan while supporting local theater is not a bad way to spend a night. Go and stay for the discussion at the end.

The Drama Talk: A play about gentrification in the Mission couldn’t even take place in the Mission because of gentrification. That’s pretty intense. The production itself could have been tighter. Slow transitions and some tech mishaps meant it lost some of its momentum and therefore emotional impact. MadCap’s website encourages audiences to “Come for the play. Stay for the discussion.” and we really appreciated the dialogue that happened after the show. Each night has a different local artists or activist who leads the post-show talk, so check the list below since discussion will vary dependent on who’s leading:

May 14thAmy Farah Weiss – Homeless advocate.

May 15th – Norman will talk about wages and the struggle for gente to teach gente in the Mission.

May 20thAdriana Camarena – Local Mission activist and author.

May 21stEdwin Lindo – District 9 Supervisor candidate.

May 27thLuna Malbroux – Comedienne/Community activist.

The Drinks: Afterwards we went to Benjamin Cooper, which was literally right next to the theater entrance. Exit the building, make a left, then an immediate second left into an unmarked door, up the stairs to a small cocktail bar. When you enter go right and head to the back, there are usually a place to sit. And after a discussion about SF’s housing crisis you will need a strong drink.

You’re Gonna Cry runs through May 28th at The Phoenix Theater. Tickets are available through the MadCap website and are $20.



My main problem with the Super Bowl was that it is called “Super Bowl 50″ instead of “Super Bowl L” like it should be

But then they added insult to injury. Our pal Broke-Ass Stuart is organizing a demonstration, set to take place next Wednesday, February 3rd:

Mayor Ed Lee told homeless people they “have to leave” for the Super Bowl.

Our response: “Hey Mayor Ed Lee, No Penalties for Poverty”

We, the people of San Francisco, demand that Super Bowl City and Ed Lee pay and invest $5 million right now in housing – we could house 500 people immediately with that money.

We also demand the use of publicly-owned assets, such as the empty Pier 29 or 80, or the land under the Freeway at 101/Cesar Chavez, and create monitored programs that support secure sleep, hygienic toileting, and access to transition/healing services.

We want an end to the criminalization of poverty and the continued violations of poor people’s civil and human rights. All resources currently being used for law enforcement of anti-homeless laws must be immediately re-directed to housing and support services.

Come out in your red & gold Niners colors to #TackleHomelessness. Join the Coalition on Homelessness, First they came for the homeless, and Broke-Ass Stuart as we protest the mayor’s unjust plan and demand immediate housing for our city’s unhoused residents.

Meet up is at 4:30 in front of Sinbads on Embacadero next to the Ferry Building. We are going to set up a tent city, with plenty of visuals next to the superbowl city. Bring signs and banners and cardboard cut-outs of houses. And bring tents if you don’t mind them getting confiscated.

Read on for more info and to RSVP.


Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.51.01 AM

[via Julia]

Update on our pal Jeff Seal’s long-standing habit of pissing on the Mast Bros Chocolate shop

Last week we mentioned how our pal Jeff Seal has been pissing on Mast Bros since long before news of their fraud made it cool to piss on them.

Well, Jeff got at us on Twitter with three fine pieces of further proof of his deeds:




Thanks, Jeff!

Follow Jeff Seal on Twitter, everybody!

Take in some wine and jazz to help an awesome SF human rights organization this Thursday!

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 7.18.21 AM

Did you know there was a rad organization in San Francisco dedicated to tracking down war criminals and bringing them to justice?  You didn’t???  Well, here’s your chance to get involved and help them out, all while drinking wine and listening to some jazzy melodies from our own Vic Wong!

CJA is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other severe human rights abuses around the world through litigation, policy advocacy and outreach in pursuit of truth, justice and redress for victims and survivors. 

In addition to our quarterly free speaker series events, the YPCHR puts on an annual fundraiser for our peers.  This year our event is called A Toast to Justice and will be held on December 3 at SomArts (934 Brannan St.)Guests will enjoy wine tasting from several local and international wineries and live music from jazz guitarist Vic Wong, plus remarks from renowned artist Richard Kamler.  The exhibition in the gallery is a group show called A Place of Her Own featuring all female artists.

Tickets available here!

I think they spelled Coca-Cola wrong on this giant Coca-Cola ad on Valencia Street

[via Jon Axtell]

Drama Talk & Drinks: Freedomland – “Black Lives Matter”

It’s hard to talk about the history of theater in San Francisco without talking about SF Mime Troupe. So we were pumped when we saw the notice for this summer’s show Freedomland, since DT&D hadn’t had a chance to review one of their plays yet. First just to clarify – SF Mime Troupe is not silent. As their website explains:

The San Francisco Mime Troupe does not do pantomime. We mean ‘mime’ in the ancient sense: to mimic. We are satirists, seeking to make you laugh at the absurdities of contemporary life, and at the same time see their causes. We travel the country and the world with our message of solidarity, comedy, and the plight of the worker in our increasingly corporatized democracy, and have done shows about most of the burning issues of our time – normally debunking the official story. And because we want our shows about the issues of the day to be seen by the people who are most effected by those issues- working class families who can’t always afford to the ticket prices at the other Tony award winning theaters – we perform most of our shows free in public parks, for tens of thousands of our fellow citizens every summer.

So off we went, to join our fellow San Franciscans for a night of Drama Talk & Drinks!


(l-r) Lisa Hori-Garcia (Emily Militis), Michael Gene Sullivan (Malcolm Haywood), Hugo E Carbajal (Cop), Keith Arcuragi (Cop) in Freedomland. Photo: Mike@mikemelnyk.com

Katie: That was really fun to see a Mime Troupe Show! I highly respect them as a company, and it’s been years since I’ve seen one of their shows. It’s great that they still tackle very topical and important issues in their work. Nothing is more timely right now than the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brittany: One of my favorite theater genres is social justice theater. I’ve always dug the work that was done during the WPA. Unions and political groups using the stage to pass on revolutionary messages through humor and art. I really appreciate that SF Mime Troupe is keeping that kind of theater alive.

K: At times though, it felt like they took a complex issue and oversimplified it. There were some talented actors, but in trying to create such one-dimensional examples of bad-guys and good-guys, they limited the complexity of the characters.

B: I guess that’s one of the failings of this kind of theater. I wasn’t expecting complex character arcs, so I wasn’t disappointed.

K: True, I guess I just don’t prefer this kind of theater, but it was well done. I appreciate that this piece choose to show us long-term institutionalized injustices that compound over the course of a black person’s life. Systemic injustices that they endure over and over again, and then when they’re stressed, or fed-up, or what have you, they finally stand up for their rights and that’s when the events escalate to make an otherwise ordinary oppressive encounter turn deadly.

B: I liked that they were blunt, that it didn’t have a happy ending like most musicals, and that they didn’t try to sugarcoat it, while they still somehow made it funny. The only thing I do wish is that there was a better call to action at the end. At the end of the play I wish the audience had jumped to their feet and had started chanting Black Lives Matter, because they were so moved by the injustices they saw on stage. I feel like that should be the ultimate goal of this sort of piece, and the audience just didn’t get there – they clapped – they were possibly intellectually moved – but they didn’t take to the streets. It didn’t have quite the oomph, or the solution. I guess there isn’t an easy solution, but I wish there was.

The Verdict: Who doesn’t love a day in the park? Who doesn’t love free theater? SF Mime Troupe’s Freedomland allows you to enjoy both, while being funny, topical and maybe even a bit revolutionary. Go see it when it comes to a park near you!

The Drama Talk: They did a good job of using humor to lighten up what could be an incredibly heavy topic and made it accessible. The actors are uniformly talented, and for such a small cast (only 4 people) they convincingly play a wide variety of very different characters. The music is good, as is the band, but you don’t really leave this show humming a tune. It’s a show that makes you think, which is one of the best things theater can do.

The Drinks: Since this show is normally in a park, we suggest BYOB (when allowed), but since we saw the show at the SF Mime Troupe space, we availed ourselves of the vino there.

Freedomland runs through September 7th, so even though we’re nearly halfway through the run, you still have time. Nearly all of the performances are donation based, so while you should totally throw SF Mime Troupe a few to keep this great company going strong, you can just show up. Even thought the show we saw was in the SF Mime Troupe space, nearly all the rest are outside in parks all over the Bay Area and beyond. You can check out the SF Mime Troupe website for more details, but here’s a list of the remaining shows this summer:

Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park
Sat, Aug 8th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Sun, Aug 9th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Hillegass Ave. & Derby St., Berkeley

San Lorenzo Park
Sat, Aug 15th @ 3:00 PM (Music 2:30)
Sun, Aug 16th @ 3:00 PM (Music 2:30)
San Lorenzo Park, Santa Cruz
Post-show discussion after 8/15/15. No dogs, alcohol, or smoking allowed in park.

Glen Park
Sat, Aug 22nd @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Bosworth & O’Shaughnessy, San Francisco

Mitchell Park, South Field
Sun, Aug 23rd @ 4:00 PM (Music 3:30)
600 East Meadow Drive & Cowper Street, Palo Alto

St. James Park
Tue, Aug 25th @ 6:30 PM (Music 6:00)
3rd Street & E. St. James Street, San Jose

Miners Foundry – Parking Lot
Fri, Aug 28th @ 7:30 PM (Music 7:00)
325 Spring Street, Nevada City
Ticket Info: http://www.minersfoundry.org/buy-tickets/

Southside Park, Bandshell
Sat, Aug 29th @ 5:00 PM (Music 4:30)
6th & T St., Sacramento

Community Park
Sun, Aug 30th @ 7:00 PM (Music 6:30)
East 14th & F St., Davis

Bay View Opera House, Outdoor Plaza
Wed, Sep 2nd @ 6:30 PM (Music 6:00)
Bay View Opera House, San Francisco

Peacock Meadow in Golden Gate Park
Sat, Sep 5th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
JFK Drive & Peacock Meadow, San Francisco Btwn Panhandle and Conservatory of Flowers

Dolores Park
Sun, Sep 6th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Mon, Sep 7th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
19th St. & Dolores St., San Francisco
Post-show discussion after 9/6/15