Monday, January 30, 2012

tourist trapped: mayhem at the farmers' market...

When I was writing today's Tourist Trapped, comparing the Ferry Building Farmer's Market to the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster, only not as relaxing, I thought, "Hey, I wonder if the commenters are going to lose their shit over this one!"
Take a guess.
Up now, on SFGate:

Friday, January 27, 2012

how was this event free from occupy protesters...

I am heartbroken that I did not sneak into the Junior League of San Francisco Fashion Show Model Auditions yesterday. Based on the Facebook photos I'm seeing, it appeared to be held in a fancy hotel ballroom, and involved a women strutting across the carpet surrounded by fellow Junior Leaguers.
I knew, as everyone does, that getting to model in the Junior League Fashion Show is the PINNACLE of life. (I am not kidding.) But when hearing about this, I stupidly assumed that like most charity fashion shows, the models were simply invited to participate. Oh no! These broads make each other do Next Top Model-style runway walks.
Several women I know and one of my very good friends are in Junior League. I am afraid to reveal which good friend this is as I don't want her to get in trouble. I don't know what getting in trouble with Junior League entails, but I am sure it involves being made to bus tables at a homeless outreach luncheon for NO POINTS.
Yep, they have a points system.
I was with her at a cocktail party once and we ran into several of her Junior League 'friends' one of whom was wearing an actual sweater set, unironically. I didn't want to be rude by pointing out to my beloved and awesome friend that some of her JL friends were LESS THAN COOL, but as soon as we left the party, she grabbed my arm and said, "I don't really like those girls."
That's another JL thing. They call each other girls, like we're all backstage at Fashion Week. Needless to say, the Junior League's existence scares the shit out of me mainly because they aren't like the girls that were mean to me in high school. They actually are the girls. Like, literally. Oddly, each of the women I know who are active in Junior League are kind of badass, beautiful, funny broads. So maybe I should change my perception. I think they do raise a ton of money for worthy causes, like recycling late-90's "Return To Tiffany" necklaces.
But fashion show model auditions? Can you imagine anything more terrifying than women in their 20s and 30s in actual sweater sets watching you try to be a runway model?
"Oh, Susan's trying out? That's funny."
That said, I want the Junior League of San Francisco Limited Edition Centennial Scarf in 'Fall'...

and also my great-grandfather died on my birthday...

I once forgot a friend's birthday and he got all mad and me, pointing out that he never forgot my birthday. Well, unlike SOME people, I do not humbly and quietly test friendships by making people remember an arbitrary date no one cares about but me. I fucking announce my birthday in advance. (It's tomorrow!)
I share my birthday with a certain local blogger, who's taken to the internet to announce the occasion, updating the Wikipedia Page of the national disaster that falls on our birthday.


Anyway, I'm still way, way younger than Brock!
When Eve introduced me to Brock, he mentioned that he was an Aquarius, and I said, "Oh, I'm an Aquarius." And he said, "When's your birthday?"
"January 28th."
"MINE TOO!" He screamed across the bar of the Hotel Nikko. And then, in unison, forever binding our friendship, we both yelled, "The day the Challenger blew up!"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

they forgot, 'i left a really kickass comment...'

Naturally, and I think rather cleverly, some funny folks made a 'Shit San Franciscans Say' video and it's going around, like videos do. Up on SFist, it's getting the fairly standard comment treatment. Because someone made a 3-minute video about San Francisco and now everyone's all like, "Dolores Park!" or whatever.
If someone could just grab a video camera and run over to my house later, I would like to make a "Shit Internet Commenters Say" video. Don't worry. The first one can be, "This was funny in like, 2011."
Other ideas, not that this nonsense drives me fucking insane or anything:
  • Fail.
  • Yawn.
  • Zzzzzzzz.
  • Pawned (or whatever that word is.)
  • Is this what passes for journalism these days?
  • I normally think you're amazing and talented, but you really missed the mark on this one you stupid whore.
  • Christ, it's like ANYONE can get a blog these days.
  • You're ugly.
  • Go back to Kansas, you 23-year old Marina bitch.
  • Ever herd of spellcheck?
  • I am writer/blogger/journalist/comedian. You are the reason people hate writers/bloggers/journalists/comedians and here is a link to my MySpace.
  • Native San Franciscan (New York, etc.), blah, blah, blah.
  • This was already on SNL and it was better.
Anyway, I found their video funny. You GO, Shit San Franciscans Say!

the military supermodel could not care less...

This is me in twenty years, only it won't be the State of the Union. It'll be at a nerdy, regional convention awards ceremony and I'll be pissed about my table assignment.
None the less, I just LOVE this broad...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

i'm not wild about his first and last tho...

Today, the Culture Blog reviews a Sketchfest Event. And by reviews, I mean I spent 2 hours screaming at Melissa, Matt and Alex, "Holy Shit, Paul Rudd! Oh my heavens, Paul Rudd! What are those, dimples? Paul Rudd!"
I know. Only ladies care. But for the angry gents? David Cross was there.
Up now on SFGate...

Monday, January 23, 2012

trust the gorton's fisherman? think again...

Today's Tourist Trapped heads to Candlestick for last night's tragic football game. I have to admit, I thought I knew of every conceivable way to sneak booze into an event, but Ahab over here is pretty impressive.
Up now on SFGate...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

why don't you take off your windbreaker and stay awhile...

As evidenced by my proudly wearing oversize, colorful blazers, comedy is my life. Which is why last night, Melissa, Matt and I went to a late show at Cobb's Comedy Club for SF Sketchfest. (Sketchfest is going on right now and you should go. I want to go to like, 5692 events.)
We had an extra ticket, so I asked my brother if he wanted to join us. Indeed he did, so we all agreed to meet at LaRocca's Corner at 9, for drinks before the 10:30 show.
I think I'm going to write about the show for Wednesday's Culture Blog because, and I'll try to type this as calmly as I can, PaUl RuDD performed his adorableness in person.
Anyway, we were sitting in the bar talking about movies, at which point someone mentions Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and my brother says, "Oh yeah, I saw that. It has that guy you like in it...(mumbling, looking down)..um, Bumberland Coomberbum."
"You mean Benedict Cumberbatch."
"Yeah, yeah." Alex rolled his eyes. "Benedict. Like eggs."
Bumberland Coomberbum was, in that moment, the funniest thing I had ever heard. In a huge english accent, I kept announcing, "Bumberland Coomberbum! SIR Bumberland Coomberbum!"
"His name is ridiculous, Beth."
"Indeed it is, my good man. Bumbletops Capricorn!"
We had to wait in line on the sidewalk for half an hour, and every few minutes or so, it would just escape me. "Bumberland Coomberbum!" I couldn't help myself. "Barbbleby Cobblestone!"
Pretty soon, everyone was doing it. And I woke up this morning to a text from Matt.
"Bumberland Fancyfielde."
It just went on from there:
"Breeledee Garismuche."
"Dumbledore Tipseyhatt." (That is one of mine. I'm... pretty proud of it.)
"Cecilmean Fancypants."
"Nevillylln Googletyme."
"Langythme Oystersauce."
"Beauregard Basiltwitch."
You should try it. It's got to work in a posh British accent and it's got to sound more ridiculous than Benedict Cumberbatch. (Good luck.)
While my brother is right, and his name is a doozy, you've got to admit, there is something about that Bumberland Coomberbum:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

no captain, no problem...

My brother, as a means of making me feel better because I have THE FLU AND AM DYING, started IMing me.
"I am all over this Italian cruise ship disaster!"
Oh yes, the tragic and bizarre Italian cruise ship disaster.
He sent me the link to the audio file of the Italian Coast Guard screaming angrily at the captain, who had jumped ship. The recording will also make you fall in love with Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco. It's pretty amazing, and like me, my brother always imagines how he would handle himself in this situation. As he and I have been stuck on several cruises together, we are both confident that we'd be fine.
This was a very survivable accident, if seems. You just needed to be smart and fast. In these types of situations, you can't be all touristy and stand around wondering what to do. I just finished reading In The Heart of the Sea. Shipwrecks are no joke. I'd get myself off that ship, INCLUDING MY LUGGAGE.
Alex went so far as to say, "I'd be running around 'I cant believe this is actually happening!' We'd be leading people to shore. No captain? No problem!"
This horrible accident has me wondering several things:
1. In this day and age, how are 29 people still missing. This happened three days ago.
2. Do the survivors get their money back?
3. Normally ships take a long time to sink. How did so many people get trapped, unable to escape when basically this ship ran aground? From the looks of things, one could swim to shore. (But also I know that during crises, shit happens fast and the geography in the photos could be deceiving.)
I now join my brother in being "all over this" Italian cruise ship disaster.

In other international news, I was on TV in Japan!
Well, LitCrawl was on the news in Japan, but you can see and hear me reading onstage at 1:15. And then the last half of it is all the awesome organizer Amanda (and Julie!) and the other readers being amazing in the wind. With me, it's like a big zoom in from far away, kind of like what I can only assume is my impending popularity in Asia...

UPDATE: Oh Anderson. You're too much:

Monday, January 16, 2012

more like bronze globes...

What did you think of the Golden Globes? It was kind of 'eh', right? Let's not forget this is the very awards show that once featured Jack Nicholson talking out of his butt. I had high hopes. I even got a new shag rug for the occasion. It cost $71 at Target. Please admire.

Anyway, I was underwhelmed by last night's telecast.
Joining me in first-world disappointment was Sally, Mel, Christopher and of course, Big Chris. Big Chris knows more about show business than most CAA agents. His knowledge of what is going on in the industry is bizarre.
One of the Globe highlights for me was dwarf activism. As a huge fan of The Station Agent, I want to love Peter Dinklage. And I do. It's just hard for me to love him as much as I want because he seems like the most humorless person in the world. He is a famous dwarf whose last name is Dinklage and ... in no way is anything funny to him ever. (I just spent an hour watching Peter Dinklage clips on YouTube. I kind of take this back. Kind of.)
That said, it is very nice that Peter Dinklage used his "Oh, I won another fucking award? Whatever" speech to raise awareness about dwarf tossing. It is a very real issue.
Another highlight, and I know I will be talking about this a lot because IT IS A BIG DEAL TO ME, was all of the Second City people there. How amazing is Tina Fey in general? So amazing. When she snuck into Amy Poehler's shot as they announced the nominees, Melissa said, "I'm going to do that to you one day?"
And is Steve Carrell Jesus? His child-like, t-shirt-clad Second City headshot was on the wall outside my classroom and everyone would just smile back at him and high-five Steve Carrell's photo. Anyway, my friends got very sick of my screaming, "Oh! Second City!" during the Golden Globes.
Finally, Downton Abbey won. Since Bridesmaids was totally snubbed, I'm thrilled that at least Downton won in their antiquated, weird, miniseries category. Melissa and Christopher JUST started watching Downton, thank God, because it is the most important show in the history of the world. And BBC/PBS Masterpiece is amazing. Did you read that Vanity Fair article about the American woman who basically rules the BBC's Masterpiece productions, including Sherlock? (Of course you did, you're very sophisticated.) I will now devour anything labeled Masterpiece, including all of their BBQ sauces, as I am so convinced of the genius behind it all.
In closing, you should all come over to my house for awards shows, for numerous reasons including that since Melissa never shops for food, if I tell her to bring snack, it's like she's a celebrity bringing food to poor people. 100 mini-salamis and Ritz crackers? Don't mind if I do!

In other news, today's Tourist Trapped is up! It features my favorite SkyMall catalog items, photographed on my flight from Chicago much to the dismay of my seatmate. It's up now on SFGate...

Friday, January 13, 2012

there must be a self-help book for this...

Eve loves sending me the weirdest stories she sees on the wire first thing in the morning. Generally, I wake up to a sick mix of weird deaths and curious crimes. The one that's sticking with me this morning is THE BITER:
A 46-year old woman in a Mountain View bookstore bit two children, actually drawing blood, and then ran out of the store only to be captured at Starbucks (naturally.)
All I can think of (other than the poor children) is this woman who felt so compelled to bite kids (on their cheeks!) that she hovered around some suburban bookstore, probably trying to talk herself out of it. But she just can't help herself. She's a 46-year old biter. What can her life be like? Does she have friends? Is this the huge secret of an otherwise successful person?
Sadly, this is one of those things where I'm telling myself, I might not be perfect, but at least I'm not biting kids on the face in a bookstore...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"susan" is still going to kill me...

My editor referred to this post (lovingly) as "depressing". For some reason, I kinda love my "single spinster NYE sucked" post. Maybe I'm still so glowing from my week at Second City that the fact that we were the most hated women in Absinthe on New Year's Eve seems like a distant memory. But it's true. The HATED us.
Up now on SFGate...

Monday, January 09, 2012

the totally upsetting history of the tea garden...

Tourist Trapped is back, kicking off 2012 with a reflective trip to the Japanese Tea Garden. There, I discovered scandal, sadness, loud people ruining my meditations on life-stuff and tea sandwiches. Drink it in over at SFGate...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

and then we all met oprah...

I’m trying to figure out how (and where) to best write about my experience at the Second City Training Center. It was very literally a life-changing experience. I’m struggling to find the words to express just how terrifying/wonderful this past week has been.

So stay tuned for that emotional bullshit.

In the meantime, I need to tell you about my last night in Chicago.

I’d made plans the night before to meet back up with Jordan, the comedic genius 21-year old from my afternoon comedy writing class. He wears a baseball hat 100% of the time and parts of it are held together with a safety pin. I kinda love him.

And I also wanted to meet up with Lynn, the friend from class who took me to a taping of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, which is a story for another post. Trust me.

I then decided to text Justin, a comedian from Pittsburg who was also at the Training Center. And Jordan had texted Geoff, a Gosling-esque hipster from Scottsdale in our writing class. Geoff was staying in his girlfriend’s mom’s apartment two blocks from my hotel. So Jordan and I met them there. And we figured people would just show up as the night progressed.

Which is how I found myself hanging out with three 21-year olds whispering because someone’s mom was sleeping, while we tried to figure out where to go. I felt really old.

We decided on a weird Mexican place next door, where Justin finally arrived, bringing along Shelley. Shelley is also in the other class, and I have no idea where she is from but she is very funny. And with them, they had Ben.

Ben was in my improv class. He’s from Wisconsin and exceptionally weird. Like Andy Kauffman weird. I loved to watch him, but I was terrified of doing improv with Ben, because he calmly deadpans every line and says shit TO ME like, “Steve, why is there an magical alligator coming out of your penis?”

I cannot 'yes, and' that.

(Yes, and is the number one rule of improv. If someone throws something out there, you have to go with it, say yes to it, and then add to their idea. Yes, and is very big at Second City. It’s on the t-shirts.)

Anyway, the 7 of us are hanging out and someone made a joke about Tracy Chapman. Shelley pulled out a notebook and wrote it down. Then Ben slowly took the notebook and wrote a Tracy Chapman joke. I was next. We all just instantly started passing around a notebook and when it came to you, you just knew to write down a Tracy Chapman joke.

By the time the notebook made it to Jordan, Justin cocked his head, listened to the music and screamed, “Holy shit you guys, they’re playing a Tracy Chapman song!”

Cue hysteria.

“This is a sign!” Justin screamed. “There is a midnight open mic at Second City tonight. It’s 11:55. Let’s go!”

There is no way that in my San Francisco world that I would ever be hanging out in what I regard as the middle of the night with people who know when the open mics are, much less want to arrive to one LATE and then actually perform.

“Oh, you guys.” I said, being old again. “I have a flight tomorrow.”

“Beth!” Jordan screamed across the table. “I thought we agreed you are my date tonight! You’re going. We’re all going.”

In that case then yes. Obviously. I am going.

Six of us went racing through the halls, up the escalators of Second City. People, amazing people, spend decades studying at Second City, and we’d spent one measly week there. But we ran though that place like we owned it.

“Where’s the open mic? Which theater?” Justin was screaming at random people standing around.

We pushed open the doors to the little black box theater on the 4th Floor to find 15 people watching a guy do his set on stage.

All 6 of us awkwardly “excuse me’d” our way to the front. Ben marched right over to the sign up sheet. It was 12:15.

After a a couple of men did short sets, Ben, our comedic representative, was announced as the final act of the night. As he walked on stage with a notebook full of our Tracy Chapman jokes, the rest of us went nuts.

Our jokes were stupid. Our jokes were offensive. But Ben deadpanned them all, and just kind of stared at the audience. “Tracy Chapman is so tough, she can rip apart a phone book with her bare testicles. (pause.) You don’t like that one? Okay.”

I was laughing so hard, I still ache.

With that, the show was over. Once again, Justin rallied us. “A triumph! We’re going across the street to celebrate!”

Directly across the street from Second City is Corcoran’s, or as Geoff started calling it, Johnny Cochran’s. We piled into the perfect wooden booth in the window. And then we played, “Make Me Smile.” Someone had written “Make Me Smile” on a cocktail napkin and passed it down to Geoff and me, sitting across from each other in the window. We’d slam it up against the window and the COOL people on the sidewalk did funny stuff for us.

We were there for AWHILE, and we had an exciting array of responses to ‘make me smile" mainly due to all the comedy shows getting out and drunk people getting taken away in ambulances. It was all very thrilling to me. There was a smattering of moonings, kissing through the glass, one guy did an entire improv scene. Delighted, we gave him a standing ovation, and he came and joined us. He studies at iO, another improv mecca in Chicago.

At this point, it was really the middle of the night, I was in a bar across the street from Second Fucking City with my classmates who felt like my dear, close friends. Everyone was doing voices, and routines and jokes. Geoff performed an entire scene from Good Will Hunting. Jordan can do every movie, ever. In character. Ben sat hunched over at the end, silently drinking a pina colada covered in whipped cream. I have a lot of versions of heaven, but this was up there.

Was this an incredibly challenging experience? Am I glad I came? Did it change everything?

Yes. Yes, and…