Drama Talk & Drinks: A Tale of Autumn – “A long philosophy lesson”

Bay Area Obie award-winning playwright Christopher Chen‘s latest work, A Tale of Autumn, just had its’ world premiere at Potrero Stage. One of DT&D favorite theater companies, Crowded Fire Theater, commissioned the work “a psychological rise-to-power fable”, so we knew we wanted to check it out for Drama Talk & Drinks.

Lawrence Radecker as Dave (left) and Shoresh Alaudini as Gil (right)  Photo by Cheshire Isaacs

Lawrence Radecker as Dave (left) and Shoresh Alaudini as Gil (right)
Photo by Cheshire Isaacs

Katie: What just happened? I was so excited for this show, and that was just…meh.

Brittany: I feel bad. For the first act I was like, “cool, I’m with you”. There were some good actors, a smart script exploring some cool concepts, but I wish it ended at the end of the first act. I mean, I know it didn’t make sense as an ending, but the whole second act felt like a long philosophy lesson. It totally lost momentum.

K: I agree, I just felt like the story could have been more concise. It was like we were being hit over the head with the concept that the ends can’t justify the means. Cool I get it. How is this helping to move the story along? There were a lot of words coming at me and it didn’t help me connect to the characters. A strong story is really important to me, without that I just stop caring.

B:  It wasn’t like the people in it weren’t talented, or the set wasn’t cool, the set was really cool. It was just over written. You can make a point without jamming it down people’s throats.

K: I agree. I don’t think I’ll be telling friends to run out and see this one, but I have for multiple other Crowded Fire shows. This is a piece that seems like it could use some work.

B: Love Crowded Fire though, they always do interesting, innovative work. This one was a bit too much like a lecture.

The Verdict:  If you are a Bay Area theater nerd, you should probably see it. Christopher Chen is a prominent local playwright, and this is the world premiere of his latest work. Otherwise, if you aren’t really into Bay Area theater and having your pulse on the local theater scene, this is probably one you can skip.

The Drama Talk: This is such a promising play, but needs some edits to live up to its potential.  There were lots of cool and smart things A Tale of Autumn explores  -  like what is the line between selfishness and self care, and should we as a society trust “benevolent” companies, but the story gets lost in the philosophizing in the second act. While this show has lots of bright moments, a cool set, and some great actors, it just collapsed under its own weight.

The Drinks: As always after a show at the Potrero Stage, we headed up the hill to Blooms for some drinks with a view.

A Tale of Autumn plays through October 7th at the Potrero Stage. Tickets range from $15-35 and can be purchased on their website. The company also offers the following discounts: Student Tickets are always $15! (Please bring i.d.). Seniors (65+), TBA/TCG Members: $3 off at checkout.Groups of 5 or more receive an automatic 15% savings at checkout

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A night out in the Mission

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Local Livejournal user Honey Jets tells us about a busy night out in a 2-block area of the Mission:

Elisa and Jane met me at Jono’s place at about 5:30. I put my shoes on while we watched Jojo’s video on Vimeo, and then we headed toward the Make-Out Room. Jane had to wait in line for a while to get her hand stamp, so Elisa and I walked around trying to figure out where to eat. Elisa didn’t want anything greasy or fried or containing dairy, so Wes Burger was out, Mission Chinese was out, Escape from New York was out, and F.O.B. Kitchen was out. We settled on Mateo’s. Jess met us there. I ran into Amy and a friend on my way to the salsa bar and we talked about meeting at Doc’s Clock after. On our way out of Mateo’s we ran into Omar and a friend, and we caught up for about half a block. At Make-Out Room Jonathan Richman was pretty good, and we ran into Joe. During the break, Joe and I talked outside about how he, me, Jess and Will had all been in Nashville recently. I told my “P.G. band” story, and he told me a cool story about how English people are different from Americans. After the encore, Jess and I headed for the New Mission. At the bar we ran into Mike and chatted for a minute, mostly about how good he is at his job. Upstairs we waved at Dave and Atousa who were in the row in front of us. Wild Beasts was as gnarly as promised, if not gnarlier. Terror Tuesday rules. After the movie we said bye to Mike, and then to Jess who went home to go to sleep. We joined up with Dave’s friend Brendan and went to Doc’s. Kevin was there already and we talked for a minute about how the new Doc’s is pretty good. Dave and company had gotten a table, so I joined them and we talked about the movie, at length. Dave and Atousa bickered a little (in a cute way) about fried chicken, we talked about plans for Friday, and then I strolled home, and ‘grammed an arty photo of the median on Guerrero in the moonlight.

I think it’s supposed to be a throwback to posts like this and this from July 2011, which in turn were I think some kind of homage to our dear departed Janebook.

Read on for a brief epilogue about the following morning. (And do go to all those restaurants, and do check out Amy’s blog about the Mission and Omar’s cookies and Mike’s Terror Tuesday lineup and new Doc’s Clock.)

The Salesforce awakens

Local artist Steve MacDonald aka Ramblin Worker says:

#sanfrancisco is getting so crazy! I look out my window & I really thought it was the #deathstar

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[Link]

Puke plea

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[via Doc Pop]

Now please enjoy all these other pleas…

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.

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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

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