Wednesday, September 29, 2010

he is not your man...

Today's SFGate Culture Blog is up! In it, I once again complain about other people nnoying me at the movies. I know, I know. If I hate it so much, why don't I just watch new releases in my climate controlled, over-stuffed leather couch'd screening room...

gettin' hot with my silly bandz...

My co-worker Carlos has three daughters, ages 9-17, which is fabulous because I love tween shit. I love it! So I was asking him what kind of pop culture stuff his 4th Grader is into and Carlos revealed, "It's all about Silly Bandz."
Have you heard of these? Silly Bandz are shaped plastic bracelets that one can wear by the dozens. Hundreds, even. Silly Bandz are such a big deal at Carlos' kid's elementary school that they have been banned. Kids were wearing Silly Bandz up to their elbows and then, of course, some kids had not a one. Not on Silly Band! As a result, Silly Bandz are verboten and I can barely sit still, I'm so desperate to run out at get the Justin Bieber collection and the Save the Gulf collection.
Back in my day, the Silly Bandz equivalents were friendship bracelets, made from crochet yarn and having as many keychains attached to one's Eddie Bauer backpack as possible. We wore plaid uniforms at my elementary school, and abused any permitted self-expression until it too was outlawed. I can only imagine the frenzy Silly Bandz would have caused at St. Patrick's.
I need to know, what was your Silly Bandz? And what else am I missing out on? I mean, I need to get on the Silly Bandz bandwagon while it's still hot. I wanna be first in line for whatever comes next...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

fantasy football is not so fantastic...

I have joined two Fantasy Football Leagues. I know. I can't believe it either. And I'm in last place in both of them. I know. Makes perfect sense to me too. My work league team is the Golden Ponies. And Grey Cloud has a league as well. In his, I'm the Sensitive Unicorns.
Picking team names was daunting enough.
But actually moving these players around, figuring out the logistics of adding and dropping people, starting and benching players, percent owned and points earned? It's way more complex than I initially assumed. I mean, don't Big Gulp people go this in their underwear while collecting disability?
My co-workers Carlos and Bill finally took a look at my teams and had an intervention.
"Beth, why would have drafted these people?"
I confessed that the Sensitive Unicorns were selected based solely upon the originality of their names.
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
"This is ridiculous."
"I'm offended as a sports lover."
So I had to get rid of Knowshon Moreno, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Nehemiah Broughton. And they made me draft Michael Vick.
"He's paid his debt to society, Beth."
"He made amends with the animal rights activists."
"People fuck up."
I'm not pleased, but I'm less pleased being in last place. It's what they'd expect of me, and no one seemed amused by the Sensitive Unicorns original draft strategy anyway.
Michael Vick is now a Sensitive Unicorn.
Bill tried to appease me. "Alright, what about Legadu Naanee? He's got a great name and he might do really well this season."
"Are you nuts?" Carlos said. "Do not keep Legadu Naanee."
I hemmed. I hawed. Legadu Naanee is an awesome name.
"Listen, Carlos." I said. "I've got to make this interesting for me too."
"Fine." He went back to work on his computer. "It's your funeral..."

Monday, September 27, 2010

this your girlfriend...

Today's SFGate Tourist Trapped is up. This week, Big Chris and I head to Chinatown to get complex parking instructions, meet Wilson the Waiter, try on hats and continue to explore the definitions of our stupid and apparently, non-optional friendship. I KNOW! Enjoy it...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

let's actually not get it on...

I went out to dinner in Marin with my friend Dinelle on Friday. We hadn't really hung out in years and it was so good to sit down to fancy soul food and hear all about her life. We were having such a lovely time, we decided to paint the suburbs red after dinner.
Dinelle wanted to go to a house party. Thank you, no. I don't need to sit on a stranger's beanbag watching 21-year olds play video games. Instead, we headed to the No Name Bar in Sausalito, sight of a previous adventure Dinelle and I shared.
Years and years ago, we were there with Kelsey and Grey Cloud, listening to cheezy smooth live jazz and mocking the locals. The No Name is a salty old bar across from the ferry terminal. It has seafood restaurant chairs and a little stage off to the side. It's dark and weird and where
older Marin couples go to re-live the hanging-fern 70's.
Anyway, when we were there together lo those years ago, Dinelle leaned over and asked me if I had any weed. No, I said. I didn't carry drugs on my person, thank you for asking. But in my desire to appear older and sophisticated, announced I could get some.
Leaving Grey Cloud and Kelsey in the bar, Dinelle and I walked outside. There we found an ancient hippie smoking a cigarette, engaged him in conversation and the next thing I knew, we were sitting in the back of his taxi from the beginning of time, while he drove us around Sausalito and offered us drugs.
It all happened so fast, as I remember it. I was sitting in the back of the cab, whispering to Dinelle not to smoke the joint because I was convinced it was laced with all kind of horrible rape things. And I saw my reflection in the rear view mirror and thought, "Tonight is the night that I die." I was more worried that my parents would have to explain to people that I was murdered because I tried to get free drugs from an old hippie and then refused to partake in them because he struck me as dirty.
This Friday night, seven years later, Dinelle and I headed back to the No Name.
"I'm not getting in the back of some man's cab, Dinelle."
"Oh my God, remember that!"
Yes. I do remember that. It's on my list of Top 10 Times I Cheated Death.
The seafood restaurant chairs are still there. As is the smooth live jazz and Three's Company vibe. Dinelle and I decided all of the middle-aged couples crowded in there, in their Tommy Bahama shirts and crochet sweaters would go home later and have tantric hot tub sex while listening to one of those global grooves CDs you can buy at giftshops where $5 of the purchase price goes to third world orphanages.
The bartendress featured dramatic bags under her eyes and teeny, tiny little shorts. Up top, she appeared to be wearing a black sports bra and over it, a cropped, crochet, flutter-sleeve sweater, which we later discovered in a boutique window display next door. She was mesmerizing, with her cartoon voice. She kept getting our order wrong and sold a t-shirt to a tourist by telling her that her boobs were too big.
We sat at the bar, and the gentleman on my side had super curly, long grey hair, which was pulled into the inevitable ponytail. He was there alone, no doubt asking women their sign before inviting them over to listen to something recorded Live at Red Rock.
The band, when not introducing their 5th member, Phil the Tip Jar, said they took requests.
Ponytail looks over at Dinelle and me and says, "It's so hard to request jazz. I guess I'd request 'Let's Get It On.'"
I offered Dinelle huge sums of money to go request 'Let's Get It On" but she refused. Mainly because our days of fucking with ponytailed strangers are apparently over...

Friday, September 24, 2010

necessary conversation, episode five...

Necessary Conversation for the week of September 23rd, 2010 from Necessary Conversation on Vimeo.

happy birthday brian...

Today in history, Brian James Devine graced the world with his hilarious, charming, loving presence. Since this day many, many, many years ago, Brian has found true love, wild success...and me. The latter of which I regard as the most notable of his many accomplishments.
The only real thing wrong with Brian is that he's not married to me, a fact my mother still struggles to accept. To mention all of the ways Brian is one of the better people on the planet would take decades. So today, on his 837th birthday, I bring to you my Top 10 favorite things about Brian Devine:
10: His rosemary focaccia
9: His cruel judgement of everyone in town except for me and Melissa
8: When I thought someone had broken into my house and called 911 and all these cops stormed in and I got ready to die, my first call was to Brian
7: Brian is the most generous person I've ever met in my life
6: His beautiful rendition of the Golden Girls theme song, on command
5: Brian can say anything irreverent he wants. He volunteers, he donates money, he's married to a man, he recycles AND composts...and so he can talk LOADS of shit and get away with it. It's awesome
4: Brian Devine makes his own soap and scented candles in a craft room at his beach house where I've been given my own wing, en suite
3: He gives everyone the benefit of the doubt until they do something to offend him, and then he hates them with the heat of a thousand suns
2: Brian only stays at fancy hotels. It's never occured to him to do otherwise
1: Brian Devine has been a friend to me through thick and thin (literally), ups and downs, highs and lows. He makes me feel safe, funny, beautiful and loved. He is the fucking wind beneath my wings and I would be a much more horrible person without Brian in my life.
Happy Birthday, Devine! I love you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

who are you wearing...

The whole debate is nearly up on the internet yet. It just ended two hours ago. But look what is! It's Pollo Del Mar and my first ever post-debate red carpet interviews. But on linoleum:

I know. That dress has a lot going on. But it's D8!


Today's Culture Blog post is up! And on the front page of SFGate. It is very jarring/wildly exciting to see my first and last next to the words "total Gleek."
Join Brock and me as we head to Mijita for a public screening of last night's Glee premiere...

are you ready to rumble...

I hope it gets crazy tonight. I hope there's screaming and snark and outburts. Because tonight is the Young Democrats District 8 Supervisorial Debate at the San Francisco LGBT Center. And if D8 can't put on a show, no one can.
Moderated once again by someone named Melissa Griffin, the debate will be streamed live with color commentary by Pollo Del Mar and yours truly. You can watch it all over at VidSF or the SFYD. And tweet us your questions, comments, thoughts on our hair.
According to the SFYD's Facebook Event Page:

On Wednesday, September 22nd, SFYD will host it's 3rd candidate debate for the four candidates vying for the hotly contested District 8 Supervisor seat. We are honored to be co-hosting this event with our good friends from the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, as well as the Eureka Valley/Castro Neighborhood Association.

The candidate debate will be moderated by Melissa Griffin, the San Francisco Examiner's irreverent political reporter, and will be streamed live on VidSF with commentary by Beth Spotwood, of CBS5 and SFGate's Culture Blog, and San Francisco Bay Times columnist, Pollo Del Mar.

Community members will have the opportunity to meet candidates and join a coalition of neighbors and political junkies for an in depth discussion on the city budget, key district issues and the future of our city.

What: District 8 Candidate Debate

* Bill Hemenger
* Rafael Mandelman
* Rebecca Prozan
* Scott Wiener

Where: LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street - San Francisco, CA 94102 - Rainbow Room

When: Wednesday, September 22nd, 5:30 pm
Light appetizer and wine reception to begin at 5:30, debate to begin promptly at 6:30

No, no. That THAT Rainbow Room. The one at the LGBT Center. I'll be judging on talent, evening wear and swimsuit, so I hope these four are in it to win it. This is for control of Badlands, folks. Let's get serious...

Monday, September 20, 2010

tourist tower...

Today's Tourist Trapped is up on SFGate! This week, Kate and I attempt to climb to the top of Coit Tower. And only one of us makes it...

no white limos...

I have a newfound respect for actors. Which is weird, because I've spent a lot of time bemoaning their existence. Working both on backstage crew and as an administrator in live theater for most of my career, I quickly became sick of the bullshit.
I've had costume boots thrown at my head. I've been subject to hazing by chorus boys. There's a choreographer in the Bay Area who made the mistake of getting my attention by calling me, "office lady." As in, "Oh, office lady! Office lady!"
I'm not proud to report, I made her cry. Okay, actually, I am proud of that.
Anyway, I've never really seen what the big deal is. I've hated the coddling and the walking on eggshells and effusive compliments. It's a fucking job, folks. Suck it up, put on your wig, and do your stupid dance.
I just spent another 11-hour Sunday filming two back-to-back
episode of Necessary Conversation. We film every other Sunday, a team of six of us. Our show is directed (yes, we have a director) by Sean Owens, who is fabulous and wonderful and helps Melissa and I write much of the show.
And now, having just filmed Episodes 5 and 6, I've learned some things about performing I never thought I'd admit:
1. Eggshells, please! Throwing a joke out and having it shot down is HEARTBREAKING. Especially when I'm right and everyone else is wrong. So if they have to tell me one of my ideas sucks, I need them to phrase their words delicately. Because I am a sensitive artiste all of a sudden, when writing with, ugh, others.
2. I need coddling. All that stuff about directors being fatherly and providing a safe space? I get it. With that stupid wig and a pound of makeup and the prompter breaking and my rejected jokes, goddamnit... and then Sean comes over and coos, "Sweetheart, you are doing so amazing. I so love it when you turn to look at Melissa that way and...oh, you need more coffee! Lemme get you more coffee."
Oh, well if you're gonna be that way about it, I will do this for another three hours.
3. I joke around a lot, screaming at my co-horts, "I need a safe space to fully explore my vessel!" Except that, you know what? I need a safe space to fully explore my vessel. It's ridiculous, right? But then the camera turns on and I've got to make fun of my body and mimic a gypsy and memorize a cock joke, and suddenly, everyone in the room needs to be on my side or I can't really do it.
4. I no longer care about people crawling up my dress to fix the microphone. I have no problem all of a sudden walking around in a wigcap without makeup. It's weird. Because normally I'm really uptight about that shit.
5. While I don't regret spending the past 10 years rolling by eyes at thespians and performers who demand 73-degree bottled water and no eye-contact, I...I kinda get it. I mean, there's no fucking way I can be expected to eat a yellow m&m and then give myself to the camera...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

my dinner with michael bauer...

Last week I had dinner with Michael Bauer. THE Michael Bauer.
Today I wrote about it for SFGate. THE SFGate.
Read all about it on the Culture Blog...

are you a 1989 earthquake survivor...

Good morning! Big day today at the day job. I think, I don't want to jinx it. Head to CBS5 at around 2 or 3 today and let us know what you think.
In totally unrelated news, please read See Spot Write in the SF Appeal. I went to a boring political forum and then complained about it on the internet...

Monday, September 13, 2010

i can't believe how much this sucks...

Today's Tourist Trapped is up on SF Gate! I'm joined by the hilarious Joe Wagner as we explore Ripley's Believe It or Not and emerge to say, Not...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

huey lewis is still in it, tho...

Thanks to my brother's roommate Landon, I now know that the date is wrong on Back to the Future. My apologies. It's the 17th, not the 10th. I had no idea people expected these to be accurate:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

no tank tops, and other lessons for men...

Today's Culture Blog post is up on SFGate! In it, I offer tips to "Spider Dan" on how to get more people to pay attention when he's got shit to say, and then invite him to be my date to a gala...

i got the brains...

Who has the cutest little brother in the world?
Okay, I'm done. But he's so cute!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

oh, hermit money. that's good...

Tara and I decided to go to a movie and a late dinner, and met for a 7:30 show at Opera Plaza. We'd chosen to see Get Low over that movie where Patricia Clarkson has an emotional affair in Egypt because the latter seemed too stereotypical. I'm thrilled we did. Get Low stars (my close, personal friend) Robert Duvall as a hermit who throws himself a funeral party, hiring Bill Murray and the grown-up kid from Sling Blade to plan it all. It's wonderful, and would have been perfect save for the horrible, horrible people sitting in the theater with us.
I actually took a moment to think, "What do I expect? My own private screening? Come on. How bad are they?"
They're bad. When Bill Murray first comes on screen, the woman behind me gasped like she'd just seen a dead relative and then, in an outside voice, announced, "Is Bill Murray in this?"
Annoying, right?
Now just multiply that by 100 repeated, similar offenses and you've got our theater. Opera Plaza theaters are super small. There were probably 80 seats in the whole room, so Sherlock sitting behind us got to share her observations with everyone. Including her husband, the man who's throat will never be truly, fully clear.
In front of us, we had the gufawer. He joined the throat-clearer in audibly grasping every subtle piece of humor in the film. There were certainly some LOL's to be had. But at one point, Duvall posts a sign that says, "No Damn Trespassing." That's it. A smirk, sure. But the gufawer let out a bellowing, "Ha! Ha! Ha!" He probably grabbed his belly and rolled back in his seat. It was like watching a movie with fucking Santa.
The film, which you should go see, let out at 9 and Tara and I discussed it all the way to the Wayfare Tavern, Tyler Florence's new FiDi restaurant that everyone is oohing and ahhing over. Unable to make even a 10pm reservation, we decided to see what walking in would do. There was no way we'd get a table, but we were told we could wait out for two seats at the bar, which we did. Immediately, an Irishman dining alone at the bar adopted us for the next hour.
By the time the two seats next to him opened up, Tara and I knew literally everything about this charmer: when he lost his virginity, his child's medical diagnosis, his wife's thoughts of monogamy, his politics, his detailed recommendations on the menu. I was rapt the entire time. When he finally left, around 10:15, Tara said, "I want to marry a man like that."
He was gorgeous, the way 40-something men get gorgeous when they're confident and honest and funny and touch your arm to make a point. And while he talked off our ear, we ate it up.
We finally ordered food at 10:30, and took a second to look around the space. I've really done a lot of eye-rolling at Food Network celebrity chef TyFlo. But my GOD, this place is my version of aesthetic heaven. It's dark and masculine, cozy and colonial. I want to live there.
When Tara came back from the bathroom, she gushed, "You've got to go. You're going to love it."
She was right.
My meal was wonderful. I had two appetizers: fresh figs with burrata and tomato bread soup. Tara ordered a burger that was too massive to consume. But her fries were perfect. And everything just looked so great, felt so stylized yet comfortable.
I take it all back TyFlo. You're a genius.
On 30-something girl dates, by the way, one always gets dessert. We split chocolate pudding, which was perfectly normal and then, what will go down in history as one of the greatest foods I have ever consumed, the pineapple upside down cake.
We didn't speak as we ate it. Tara and I took our time, crafting perfect bites onto our massive, pewter, colonial spoons. "This is..."
"I know."
"It's like nothing I've ever..."
"I know."
After a solid two and a half hours at the gorgeous Wayfare Tavern, Tara and I headed back to my car. Arm in arm, we laughed about what a long, fun night we'd just had.
"Oh, a Citibank!" Tara said. "Lemme just run in and use the ATM."
The Citibank on Montgomery and Sacramento has one of those ATM's that's inside, requiring ATM card to access. The second Tara pulled the door open, we were hit with a smell that was like a slap in the face. And which point, right as the clock struck midnight and Tara screamed, "My God, Beth! What is tha...", we saw:

That's a heater, she has plugged in. And a stuffed animal as a pillow. While we obviously did not use the ATM, I took a photo because, smell aside, this is obviously a pretty resourceful woman. She managed to get herself into the Citibank ATM room and plug in her appliances. And running into her, as it were, was a weird and bracing end to our night.
As I drove Tara back to her car, we passed The Clift Hotel's Redwood Room, it's over-dressed contents spilling out onto the sidewalk. I thought for a moment that Saturday nights in my 30's are a lot different that Saturday nights in my 20's.
And I'm perfectly fine with that...

Friday, September 03, 2010

i hate being an activist...

If you've ever been to my little flat in the Mission, you'll know I like bulletin boards covered in crap. In fact, if you've ever been to my little flat in the Mission, you're probably part of the crap. I have everything on those boards from my Nonie's high school candids to a signed cocktail napkin wager from 1999. And amidst these personal mementos and postcards and buttons are magazine clippings of fabulous living spaces I plan to one day inhabit.
I've got this great full page of a massive Moroccan loft in Manhattan and a torn half-sheet on a Nantucket kitchen. The most faded of these clippings is an ancient article on decoupage artist John Derian. I've followed him ever since, drooling over his divine plates and serving trays at fancy shops like Gump's and Nest. It's all gorgeous complex artful pieces you'd expect to find once the young heirs have taken over their family's hunting lodges in rural England.
But other than purchasing a small "calling card dish," I've never been able to really justify dropping $200 on a single John Derian plate to hang on my wall. I'm just not there yet.
And now finally, after I've waited so patiently for either immense wealth or a heavenly discount retail moment, John Derian debuts at Target this Sunday.
Those plates are now plastic. And $2.99.
Target, you've probably conveniently forgotten, we are boycotting because they gave money to anti-gay marriage politicians. Which is aggravating on two levels: 1) What kind of idiot doesn't support gay marriage? And 2) It feels like Target is my husband who cheated on me with a cheap hooker and I love my husband but this mistake is really ruining our fucking relationship.
I'm sure John Derian and his people made this deal with Target long before Target went and screwed that cheap hooker, but something makes me wonder whether the artiste might issue a statement. I mean, come on.
Making this even more painful are my Labor Day party plans coming together nicely. Leslie's going to do some lovely hors d'eouvres and Alex is slow-cooking ribs and wouldn't some lovely little plates add to the ambiance I've created with my fresh flowers and my twinkling votives and my jam-packed bulletin boards covered with, well, now one less piece of crap...

episode two of necessary conversation...

Necessary Conversation for the week of September 2nd, 2010 from Necessary Conversation on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

mr. and mrs. safety green...

With my relatively new job as a full time blogger I HAVE NO TIME TO BLOG. Although I saw so many weird things today, I kept thinking I should really get back on this.
I park my car around the block from work is this big garage where one needs to wait for one's car to be delivered. Inevitably, there's a huge crowd itching for their Camrys at 5:30. I generally bide my time pretending to text while admiring everyone's outfits and wishing I had better work clothes. But today, as I stood typing nonsense into my Blackberry, these two officious folks, a man and a woman, in emergency vests and gigantic, utilitarian straw hats marched into the garage.
"No." I sheepishly answered.
"None of us have." A supermodel piped up.
They both plopped down in the parking attendants' chairs, taking a very obvious load off. But then, just as I was really mentally laying into their aesthetic, the gentleman (who had an Amish beard) offered me his seat.
"Oh, no thanks." I said. "I've been sitting all day."
His female companion, awkwardly removing her safety vest, announced, "NOT US."
Oddly, it's only since this new job that I've felt entitled to take such obvious conversation bait. Turns out, these two were "measuring" the scene of an accident.
The moment they suddenly became the most interesting people in the world, Mr. and Mrs. Safety Green wanted nothing to do with me. And I don't blame them. I would've asked every gory detail I could think of, and off the top of my head, I've got like, seven questions.
In other news, I completely failed to post both of this week's SF Gate Culture Blogs. My mother, whose years of working all corporate/FiDi-style are now of tremendous use to me, pointed out as kindly as she could that no one can find me on the Gate's front page if I don't link. While sad, this is a very good point. An internet tip from Joanne! What's the world coming to!
Here is Tourist Trapped, in which I go to a cheezy hotel by myself for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES OF SILENCE.
And here is Wednesday's offering, wherein Squid Pro Quo and I hit Edinburgh Castle' Pub Quiz.
As for the background, Brian Devine was having none of the book shelves. As his approval drives much of my work, I switched to something more simple. What do YOU think? I find it kinda cozy!
Thanks so much to all of you who sent in positive feedback about Necessary Conversation. Another one should be up tomorrow and we've got a long day of filming on Sunday. Which reminds me, I need some slightly whore-ish 70's outfits.
Finally, Weekend What's Up, because we're killing like, eight birds here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

hip and happening...

No word on if he was asked to show papers, but my friend and yours, Brian Devine flew down to Arizona to be on the boob tube. I'm so proud!

Brian: always on the side of justice! Also, check out the pose of the anchors. Pretty badass...