Cool first page of a book

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[via Molly Young]

Drama Talk & Drinks: The Encounter – “like nothing I have ever seen.”

Ever since the Curran’s grand-reopening earlier this year, the theater has been bringing some serious theater game, living up to their mission of “presenting bold, daring work”. Their latest show, The Encounter, promised audiences an “epic journey” through the use of the latest in 3D audio technology. Actor and director Simon McBurney’s one-man-show takes audiences into the Amazon rainforest, following the story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre.  We had a feeling that this was going to be something special, so off we went for a night of Drama Talk & Drinks.

theencounter

Simon McBurney in THE ENCOUNTER (Photo by Gianmarco Bresadola)

Katie: This was like nothing I have ever seen. That in itself was magical. There were moments where I could feel myself making a crazy face and thinking “what’s happening, this is so cool”. I have just never experienced storytelling in that way. He (Simon McBurney) was an amazing actor and storyteller. Then you throw in what he did with sound design and it made it a recipe for awesomeness. It was one man on a very bare stage but I really felt taken away.

Brittany: Yeah, it was mesmerizing. It’s also an interesting juxtaposition. On one hand he’s using the story of encountering this remote tribe in the Amazon to critique the consumerism and technological dependence of modern Western society. At the same time, the way he’s able to transport you on this journey is through the use of this amazing audio technology and lighting. There are a few groups in the environmental movement who are exploring how you can use technology to build deeper empathy and concern for places like the Amazon rainforest. That certainly was one goal of this show. While I don’t know if I came away with a concrete way to change my behavior, aside from shunning bottled water, but it certainly gave me a deeper experience of the rainforest. It was a very innovative way to engage people.

Katie: The show presented a lot of interesting questions and ideas on the environment and generally on life. I appreciated the way it encouraged us to challenge our perceptions about the truthfulness of stories we tell, what it means to be alive, and what we should value.

Brittany: Also major kudos to the Curran. When we were walking out I was thinking how unique it is to see a piece like this in a theater this size. It was amazing to see this on a big scale. One little person on this great big stage and he was able to fill it. I feel like you don’t get the opportunity to do that very often. And it was mesmerizing for the 2 full hours.

Katie: I’d have to say that the Curran is really sticking to their promise to be bold and different. I’ve seen some really cool and innovative theater there. Looking forward to seeing what they do next.

The Verdict: SO cool! A very unique and mesmerizing experience. Go! Go now!

The Drama Talk: Simon McBurney did an incredible job transporting the audience to another place. He gets in your head, or at least your ears, through the use of  3D audio technology that is served directly to each audience member via personal headphones found at each seat. The masterful sound design is at once intimate and immersive. The story takes the audience to the Amazon rainforest and the sound design makes you feel surrounded by the jungle, the river, the mosquitos and the swirling voices of the story being told. Technically speaking it was incredible, but beyond the flashy technology, it also was just great storytelling.

The Drinks: A block away from the theater on Geary we checked out the Pineapple Bistro and Bar in the Alise San Francisco hotel. It was a great choice because is was practically empty with plenty of seating and great service. There were lots of pineapple everything, and Katie’s drink even came in a brass pineapple, which felt appropriately jungle themed after an evening in the Amazon.

The Encounter runs through May 7th at the Curran. Tickets are $49-$185 and can be purchased on the Curran’s website.

Mission Bicycle’s Bright Idea.

Full disclosure: As the project manager, I may be biased. Feel free to take this post with a grain of salt.

So here’s what’s up. Tomorrow, Mission Bicycle unveils (thanks to Betabrand for the veil) what we’ve been working on for the last 2 years.

  • Integrated lights
  • GPS tracking

Starting in 2018, all Mission Bicycles will come with theft-proof lighting. Front and rear.

Two lights, one battery, one button. Close to a month’s worth of commutes with one charge of a removable rechargeable battery.

Mission Bicycle is adding a GPS tracking device to help reunite bike owners with their bikes in the event of theft. “The bike industry regularly takes note at what’s happening in the Mission. The suits literally come into our store for ‘inspiration.’ ” gloated Jefferson McCarley, General Manager of Mission Bicycle Co. “I actually hope they rip us off.” McCarley said. “More bikes on the street with GPS tracking will help us move the needle in reducing bike theft. Might take them a couple of years, but I really do hope that more bike companies can figure this out.”

 

An Android and ios app shows Mission owners where the bike is at all times.

Tuesday night at 6:00, Mission Bicycle staff will be on hand to answer questions and demo two prototype bikes in their R&D workshop which is located on the 2nd floor over the 766 Valencia storefront.

If Mission Bicycle Company’s Kickstarter campaign is funded then the LYRA will be available later this year to Kickstarter backers and to the general public in 2018. 

The company is planning to host a Bait Bike project in June as a part of their research and development. We’ll be posting videos of those adventures here.

 

 

 

 

1984 and startup workplace environments in 2017

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Via the world-famous Molly Young, a “[p]assage in 1984 that could also describe most start-up workplace environments in 2017″:

In principle a Party member had no spare time, and was never alone except in bed. It was assumed that when he was not working, eating, or sleeping, he would be taking part in some kind of communal recreations; to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity.

Is it true?

[link] [Unrelated photos also by Molly Young]

Drama Talk & Drinks: Adventures in Tech (with Pillow Talk on the Side) “You have to laugh at how ridiculous real-life is”

A former co-worker of Brittany’s was in a new show at Piano Fight, Adventures in Tech (with Pillow Talk on the Side). Katie was busy, but Brittany wanted to see the show, so she rounded up a group of co-workers (groups of 6+ get discounted tickets) and out they went for a night of Drama Talk and Drinks – co-worker-edition.

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Brittany: So did you like it?

Co-worker 1: I thought it was fun!

Co-worker 2: Yeah, it was great.

Co-worker 3: I feel like I am supposed to say something really profound.

Brittany: Have you read Drama Talk & Drinks? You don’t need to say anything profound.

Co-worker 4: I thought it was very thoughtful, very good characters.

Co-worker 3: I loved the characters too. The were really rich. I wanted to hear more from them. The scenes moved so quickly. I felt like it was unfinished; I wanted resolution.

Co-worker 2: I kind of liked that.You get to peak inside of someone else’s life, but you don’t know how it ends.

Co-worked 1: I also appreciated the diversity of people and themes they included in the show. They touched on rising rents, homelessness, women in tech, and lots of other issues, all while making me laugh.

Brittany: I came in worried that it may be too snarky, and I was happy it wasn’t. It was funny but earnest.

Co-worker 5: I didn’t always know when to laugh. There were times when it would jump between something funny, and then suddenly jump to something deep, and I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Co-worker 6: It was very genuine though. I felt like I was watching conversations I’ve had before be performed on stage. You have to laugh at how ridiculous real life is sometimes.

The Verdict: Our group was unanimous, and not just because we’re bias, this is a show worth seeing.  While it makes fun of the tech industry, and touches on some of the negative impacts the influx of people and money has had on our city, it does so with a warmth. This show reminds us that we are more similar than we are different, which feels like an important message to take home nowadays.

The Drama Talk: We’re a group of privileged young professionals, and this show definitely is written for that demographic. The script was supposedly pulled directly from the life of the playwright (Stuart Bousel), and his time working – at first reluctantly – as an office manager for a start-up. From intimate moments in bed with his boyfriend worrying about how to pay rent as an artist in SF, to awkward and funny conversations at work, a coffee-shop, and a recruiters office, the show jumps quickly between quick scenes giving the audience the feeling of being a fly on the wall. Although the quick cuts were a bit jolting at first, and the constant lights up and down with lots of (efficient but distracting) set movement sometimes forced you out of the moment, the show on the whole is a funny and honest look at life in today’s San Francisco.

The Drinks: As is often the case with a night out at Piano Fight, there’s no real reason to leave the venue after the show. We got post-show drinks at the bar, toasted our friend and a successful night of drama talk and drinks.

Adventures in Tech is already half way through their run. They have a show tonight (July 8) and one more weekend July 14-16, so go soon if you want to catch it before it closes. They have a great deal that tickets are $15/person for groups of 6 or more. Goldstar also has some discount tickets ranging from $12.50-$20. Regular general admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased

Save

Gutted by fire

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[via Stella]

First-person account of Saturday’s fire on Mission Street

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Photos by our friend Trusha A. and this report by our friend Malcolm M. (via our Facebook post on Saturday):

The bulk of the burning was apartments above Playa Azul–completely gutted. Blaze was uncontrolled and stoked to massive proportions by strong easterly winds. The fire department seemed to be *extremely* slow in getting hoses on it (about 20 minutes after trucks arrived). A girl who lived above Cole said she was the one who called 911 and suspected it was a trash fire behind Cole sparked by her porch smoking neighbor’s cigarette. Very sorry for the families and residents who lost almost everything, and for the local businesses and employees affected–especially much-beloved Cole Hardware. Let’s try to help them out however possible, and PLEASE let’s not allow market rate condos to be built where local shops and rent controlled apartments stood this morning.

Thanks, all.

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Drama Talk & Drinks: West Side Story “Nothing says gang violence like grand jetés”

We’re suckers for the Stern Grove Festival (which, PSA starts next weekend). Epic picnics, redwoods, and culture all in one place. A trip to Stern Grove also means layers though. No matter how warm it may be when you start, you’ll end up shivering and cocooned in your dusty picnic blanket by the end. So when Brittany learned that a similar phenomenon, Mountain Play, existed just across the Bay on Mt. Tam, high out of Karl’s reach, she was intrigued. This summer’s production is the classic, West Side Story, so she asked her boyfriend (and frequent DT&D contributor Sam) on a Sunday date. They packed a picnic, rented a car, and drove up the mountain for a day of Drama Talk & Drinks.

West Side Story

Sam: I think this is the widest set I’ve ever seen. This theater is insane, I can’t believe that view! Did you get a good picture of the set?

Brittany: Yeah, I took it before the fog took over when you could still see the City.

S: Oooo, it looks cold down there. We should stay up here, above the clouds, there’s a place for us.

B: So did you like the show?

S: Yeah, I thought it was great. Great set, good costumes, this space is amazing.

B: They had great voices too. The dancing was the only thing fell a bit short for me. West Side Story is part ballet. Nothing says gang violence like grand jetés, and only some of the dancers were up to the task, although the fight choreography was on-point

S: They’re baking under the hot sun, at 2000 feet. I was impressed.

B: True, the audience was dropping like flies. I saw at least 3 people near us need to get medical help during the first act because of the heat.

S: I felt bad for the orchestra, they were outstanding, but they were stuffed into that little black box on stage. It must have been boiling.

B: I think it’s hard when seeing a play in a venue like this to fully appreciate the show. There’s so many distractions, the view, the wine, the picnic, kids walking around, audience members fainting. I think they did a good production of West Side Story, but with so much else going on you lose some of the emotional impact. You’re never fully immersed into the world of the play.

S: You don’t get the same punch, that’s for sure. It’s nice that outdoor theater doesn’t have to be as buttoned up though. The whole experience of spending a day on top of Mt. Tam, listening to the pre-show music, having a picnic, hiking up from the car to get here and then there’s a great show on top of it all. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday.

The Verdict: There’s a reason people are more likely to call this production by its company name, Mountain Play, than the name of the show they’re seeing. West Side Story was good, but it’s the whole experience that makes this day-trip worthwhile.

The Drama Talk: The actors had fantastic voices, the set and costumes were great, and although the dancers fell a bit short of Broadway-quality, it was still a well-choreographed show. West Side Story is a classic for a reason, and this is a solid production. Mountain Play is all about the experience. It’s a whole day affair. Music starts at 12:30 so if you get your act together you can arrive around noon, eat your picnic, kids can get their face painted, and hang out before the show starts. There’s even a picnic judging competition, which is just too intimidating, but it gives you an idea of how serious there people are about enjoying Sunday. Get there early for parking on-mountain and a place to sit in the shade.

The Drinks: Lots of people bring wine with their picnics, and there’s also wine and beer for sale on the Mountain. Just be careful to hydrate, it is hot and you’re at altitude. After the show we reluctantly rolled down the mountain back into the fog and Mill Valley, picking up a stranded fellow audience member on the way whose car was parked at the bottom. She told us that she grew up in Mill Valley and hadn’t been back to a Mountain Play since she was a kid. For her, this defined Marin summer. Jonesing for Puerto Rican food, we went to the closest thing we could find nearby, Joe’s Taco Lounge and Salsaria. We got some margaritas and toasted to a successful day of Drama Talk & Drinks.

West Side Story runs through June 19th, shows are on Sunday’s at 2:00pm, but pre-show music starts at 12:30 so get there early to picnic and enjoy the view. General admission tickets are $40 and available on the Mountain Play website.

Too dangerous

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Our old pal zinzin, one of our earliest and most devoted commenters, left the Mission about 7 years ago, but he still goes to the gym here. Check this out:

my gym is at 16th & mission. i lived near that corner for almost 20 years. it’s the heart of sketchiness in sf. the blocks around it are a 24/7 open air drug & prostitution market. always has been. over the years, the sketch has been compressed down into the blocks immediately surrounding 16th & mission. the block where my gym is – mission between 15 & 16 – is particularly sketchy. big crowd of people – the same people – every day, and i go to the gym at 9am. commerce is clearly being done. mental illness is clearly on exhibit. it’s a crowd of almost exclusively black people (not too many black people live in the mission), many of them speaking spanish. i dont really have a horse in this race (so to speak – heroin being the main drug for sale) – i moved out of the hood 7 years ago – but I’m fascinated by the sociology. so, today, for the first time, i say more than ‘hi’ to one guy in this crowd who i see almost every day.

me: so dude, this is a big family here every day.
dude: yeah man, we got to get paid.
me: yeah i can tell there’s business going on.
dude: are you a cop?
me: dude you see me every day. you think I’m a cop?
dude: i have to ask.
me: i dont care what y’all do out here, but I’m amazed that the cops dont shut you down.
dude: nah, it’s live and let live with the cops unless there’s violence.
me: i never see any
dude: only at night. dont come through here at night.
me: i used to live right around the corner here.
dude: i would never live in this neighborhood. it’s too dangerous.

[Photo by Google Maps]

Dinner & Bikes

  • seven course gourmet meal
  • inspiring bicycle short films
  • conversation and Q&A
  • raffles, prizes
  • New Belgium beer

All for about $20.

In its 6th year, Dinner & Bikes is a month-long tour that brings people together to eat a huge vegan dinner and share bicycle stories, campaigns, and inspiration.

It’s presented by Joe Biel, Elly Blue, Joshua Ploeg and hosted by Mission Bicycle.

Joe Biel is the director of the feature documentary Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland as well as over 100 short films. He is the author of half-a-dozen books, including Beyond the Music. He founded Microcosm Publishing and has published over 350 nonfiction books, zines, and movies.

Elly Blue is the author of Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economyand Everyday Bicycling: How to Ride a Bicycle for Transportation (Whatever your Lifestyle). She’s the marketing director of Microcosm Publishing, producing books and zines about all aspects of feminism, self-empowerment, and bicycle transportation.

Joshua Ploeg is the the traveling vegan chef. When not touring the world, he’s a personal chef and delighter of secret cafe goers in L.A. His 8th and newest cookbook is This Ain’t No Picnic: Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook.

 

Tickets here:

Friday, June 10, for Dinner & Bikes: Food, movies, and bicycle inspiration.