Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the language of cinema is universal...

Get ready to be entertained! Kinda.
Today's Culture Blog heads to the San Francisco International Film Festival Opening Night Party, with my friend Adam who got a little saucy and stole some tequilla vendor's pinata. That thrilling tale is up over at SFGate's Culture Blog!

And it's Wednesday, so that means the latest installment of Beach Blanket Babylon's legendary moments series. This week, John tells all about Vegas, baby. Vegas!

you can't start a fire without a spark, apparently...

As I advised the students and hopeful students at FIDM this past Saturday morning, you should always say yes to everything. Unless it's like, getting in a van with a stranger or having unprotected sex. But otherwise, you should always show up for any opportunity.

Which is why I was at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising on Saturday morning, having rolled out of bed to impart my wisdom on a bunch of wide-eyed 19-year olds. Actually, I think I was there to crack the jokes. That's what I ended up doing from my director's chair on stage, while my awesome fellow panelists, Lorraine Sanders and Jeanne Chen said wise and profound things.

 My biggest laugh was when I revealed that I have my Bachelor's in fashion design, and motioned to my ensemble. "Obviously!" Guffaws from fashion-forward gay teens abounded. Because I looked like shit. I have no excuse, but it was 10am on a Saturday and I felt such pressure to look cool that I ended up way too casual and uncool.

Our moderator, Project Runway's Nick Verreos wore a fabulous pink-accented suit combo.

I wore a J. Crew maxidress, this weird see-thru kimono thing and what appears to be a bra that might kill people. Also, at 5'11", I am the tallest person that ever lived. ANYway, the panel was very humid and hot, but also very fun. I looked at all those kids wanting to be fashion-y type adults one day and I remember being there VIVIDLY. I also remember feeling like I wasn't pretty or normal enough to have anything to do with fashion, and being terrified of everything in general.

Saturday, I spent 2-hours Euro-kissing someone from a Bravo TV show and talking into a microphone, so, you know, shit works out.

I can report that Nick Verreos is incredibly sweet, kind and genuine. I told him all about Rose Pak, we googled her and when Nick found a photo of Rose with a cigarette and sweat suit, he announced, "I have found my new muse."

The intimidation I once felt at not being cool enough to like clothes and designers and models is gone. When you're 30-whatever, you're way more whatever about everything. So I loved seeing what the students and teachers and panelists were wearing/rocking. And I loved getting to feel comfortable as myself in front of 200 strangers. They laughed at my jokes. That's pretty much all I need to BE SO HAPPY.

Back to my one word of wisdom, which again, is to say yes to everything, last night I went to the Bruce Springsteen Concert in San Jose with an old friend I hadn't seen in like, 5 years. He had an extra ticket, and emailed me asking if I wanted to go. Um, yeah. Sure. Why the hell not!

It could have been incredibly weird. We had to drive all the way to San Jose and wait in line and I knew three Springsteen songs. But it ended up being fun and funny. And I did the Courtney Cox to 'Dancing in the Dark." In closing, say yes to everything. You could end up looking weird, yet reassuring to a bunch of college students, and at a concert in San Jose singing about unemployment...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

is this for the banquet...

I am so psyched for Jordan's new web-series, MallWalkers. Jordan is my very good friend from Second City, I adore him, and he's been working on this series for ages with his roommate, Max. This is their trailer for MallWalkers, which is a mockumentary about a group of die-hard, competitive mall walkers. Obviously. I'm really pushing for there to be an antagonistic mall cop named Carl. And some Orange Julius worker named Bethy. The folks I met at Second City are up to amazing comedic things all over the country. Celeste is starting Frisco, Texas' own comedy festival. Deborah is doing hilarious work at The Epic Mom. Justin and DJ are doing improv in Pittsburgh. Ben is making his crazy rap videos in Wisconsin. And Nick is Kentucky is keeping us all connected online. I'm biased, but they're all comedy geniuses...

Friday, April 20, 2012

the only downside is this gross weather...

This weekend is one of those weekends where all the stuff I have to do is easy and fun and I'm not worried about any of it. Tonight, I get to hear my folks tell us all about their trip to India. And based on all the "No periods, please" photos I got, this should be gold.
Tomorrow morning, I'm on a blogging panel moderated by Project Runway alum Nick Verreos. And they sent me the questions in advance, so I've already practiced my answers in the mirror. The only issue here is what to wear, since the panel is at the Fashion Institute and all of the other panelists are chic, young, fashion bloggers. I was thinking of pulling an Ingrid Sischy: huge boxy white shirts, black pants, messy hair and wacky prescription glasses. Fashion icon. Prob solved.
Tomorrow night, I get to see some movie about sushi and go to the Wo Hing General Store with Tara. That's a hipster Chinese restaurant, by the way. It's on my must-eat list right after State Bird Provisions, but we couldn't get in there. Obviously. It's a new restaurant called State Bird Provisions. It's booked for decades.
And Sunday, I'll do a Tourist Trapped.
Voila. Weekend. Done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

i've been noticing lately that the A and the E are beginning to bend around the sides...

This week's Culture Blog gives up the secrets (?) of how Brock and I end up at random parties trying to get our photos taken. It's up now, over at SFGate!

And Part 2 of Beach Blanket Babylon's Legedary Moments video series is up. In case you missed it last week, I have the glorious honor of co-hosting 5 episodes of the 'Beach Nuts' series with my old BBB boss, John.

Part 3 will be up next Wednesday, and heads to Vegas, baby. Vegas...

eve suggests han sup shin as the sidekick...

Let's be honest. We've all been feeling like something's been missing in our lives for months now. I couldn't put my finger on it, until Eve forwarded me a press release this morning.
Get ready to be fulfilled everyone!
Current TV is launching "The Gavin Newsom Show."
Yes. Gavin Newsom will get a 1-hour TV show on Current TV. It will start next month.
Hold on. It gets better.

"The hour-long talk show will have a decidedly California touch as Newsom interviews notables from Silicon Valley, Hollywood and beyond."

He's going to interview celebrities!
I would like to respectfully request Gavin book the following guests:

1. OctoMom
2. Dr. Phil
3. OJ Simpson (via Skype, or whatever since he's in the pokey)
4. Some kind of zoo keeper with animal

I am obviously picturing a late-night format. I'm sure Gavin wants to go all Charlie Rose, high-brow, but Current is home to some exciting programming, including "Hooked on Danger," "Kill It, Cook It, and Eat It," and "Cooking In The Danger Zone." Obviously, there needs to be some sort of "danger element." Oh, and make-overs! Tony Hall could be the bandleader. God, I have so many ideas. I should do a Culture Blog post on this, so please send me your brilliant "The Gavin Newsom Show" ideas and we'll do a big post of "suggestions."

Man. The Gavin Newsom Show. I am grinning from ear to ear...

'monitor casually' sounds awfully close to 'kinda stalk...'

Yesterday, my friend Alice forwarded an email chain. As I scrolled down, it was clear this email was making the rounds. Several of my friends had clearly already been forwarded the email.
I read it. And then I sent it to 20 more people.
Because it is BANANAS!
Some young man named Dave has been actively dating women he meets on He keeps track of them in a deatialed spreadsheet. One night, after particularly hitting it off with someone named Arielle, he told her about the streadsheet. Arielle, naturally, asked to see the document in which she was compared with other random women. SO DAVE SENT IT!

He writes:

Well...this could be a mistake, but what the hell. I thought about deleting the names, but figured I might as will give you the whole thing. I only deleted the non-match people's names (at the bottom) since some I've known for a long time. I hope this e-mail doesn't backfire, because I really had a great time and hope to hang again soon :). However, I will keep my word! Have a great weekend!- Dave

Immediately, Arielle forwards it with the following:

Hi Girls,
Wanted to pass this on to you for some monday morning entertainment.
I went on a date with this guy last wednesday. On the date, he tells me that he has a spreadsheet for tracking all of the people from match that are "in process". Naturally, I tease him and ask him to send me the spreadsheet. For some strange reason, he actually does. See below/attached.
Just when I thought I had seen it all....

In addition to giving himself notes like, "monitor casually," Dave rates their online photos versus in person appearance, "nice face/bod" and "mixed bag of pictures." Arielle received a coveted appearance score of "9" but this wasn't enough to convince her to date the guy that made a goddamn spreadsheet about the chicks he's dating.
In chatting about this with my friend Alex, he noted, "best line of his email in retrospect, 'I hope this e-mail doesn't backfire.'"
Jezebel has an awesome article (by Katie Baker!) that Melissa forwarded. From Mexico. Someone is reading about this guy in Mexico. And I kinda feel for him. Because you know? He really is pretty good at spreadsheets...

Monday, April 16, 2012

you're so stupid, rose...

I think this is a sick joke. But The Brians are looking over the paperwork and they approve. I get to take Tourist Trapped to Tahiti. I really get to go to Tahiti by myself.
This is a job? Are we sure this is a job? I cannot stop laughing. I am LOLing.
Also, this week's Tourist Trapped is up. We went to the Penthouse Steakhouse. I KNOW. Eat it up over at SFGate...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

nice matching hat, difi...

The very first real job I ever had was working backstage at Beach Blanket Babylon as the costume mistress. I never really had the traditional college experience. I went to fashion design school in Philadelphia and lived by myself. There were no football games. So suddenly, at 22, I showed up at Beach Blanket and I was surrounded by gay men and dramatic people and a cast of characters who spent all of their time together because we worked such weird hours. Most of it was wonderful, some of it was horrible. But working at Beach Blanket had a huge impact on what I'm like now.
So blame them.
Anyway, my old BBB chum Tom Schween asked me to come back and film a 5-part series on Beach Blanket's legendary moments. I'm co-hosting along with a BBB legend himself, Stage Manager John Camajani who has been there for 33 years, was my very first boss, and probably 3rd or 4th therapist. Part One is up! And Parts Two thru Five will be up weekly.
And now, John tells us about the time the Queen of England came to the show...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

everyone just needs to shut up and sit down...

Speaking of traveling, today's SFGate Culture Blog recounts some odd behavior on my flight home from Texas. Not entirely unsympathetic, I once has very weird reaction to over-the-counter drugs in the middle of a 12-hour flight. I understand that shit happens midair. But lately it seems like folks have been waiting until 35,000 feet to let their weirdness shine.
My cousin Kate was once the cause of some air rage when one stranger dropped a camera on her head and another stranger decided to defend her honor. What, I am very curious, is the weirst thing you've seen while flying through the heavens...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

traveling the world with aunt flo...

Among the many fascinating photos from my folks' trip, this is one of my favorites.

I have so many questions.

1. My mother asked, "How can they tell?" But can't bears tell? If they're really that worried about it, could they maybe get a trained bear, not to, you know, attack, but to respectfully and privately indicate which visitors are riding the crimson tide.

2. Why? What does this obviously natural physical thing have to do with religion. If they don't want chicks inside, that would be nothing new to me. Hey, I get it. There's no sanctity about a bunch of broads complaining and gossipping and being bad drivers. But what about JUST menstruating takes away from the sanctity? I don't get it.

3. Do some women walk up to this temple, see the sign, and put their hands up. "Sorry, fellas. You all go ahead. I will stand here under the big Period Honor Code sign. Stare all you want, pal. So what! I'm on my period. BFD."

I am self-conscious when buying 'feminine products' at Safeway. I cannot imagine that had I come upon this sacred place whilst on the rag, I would have followed this rule, mainly because it is a really awkward way to announce to a bunch of strangers my 'status.' I think it's important to be as respectful as possible of all religions, but I would have lied under those circumstances.
Right up until I heard the growl...

Monday, April 09, 2012

dolores van cartier = best movie name ever...

Last night, Big Chris picked me up at the airport because it was apparently backwards day. He was all nice about it too, which makes me suspect a natural disaster is about to happen. Anyway, we ordered Chinese food and watched The Killing and Mad Men, both of which are the most confusing shows ever.
Perhaps I was just exhausted from my flights home, but what the hell is going on?
The Killing: Holder is my hero. I love him. I can't believe we saw him have sex in a car outside of an NA meeting. Also, I like how there was a big sign outside that said, "NA." That actually doesn't usually happen in real life, since that A stands for Anonymous.
Did you know that in real life Holder is a hugely famous Swedish movie star?
Did Linden and annoying Sonoma guy officially break up? Did I miss the break-up scene? And what is going on with the backback? Is the Polish mafia running the Beau Soleil online prostitution ring? I can't keep up. This is like the time everyone at my grandparents' retirement home watched Sister Act and completely missed that the whole reason Dolores Van Cartier was on the run is because she witnessed a murder. So they had to re-screen Sister Act where someone actually stood up and said, "Now, this is very complicated, but someone is killed at the beginning."
As for Mad Men, I got all excited when Don strangled that horrible woman. And allow me to ask a very dumb question that I was too embarrassed to ask aloud: Was that a dream? What kind of flu does he have? Why was Peggy being so weird with her overnight guest? What did the note say? It's all going too fast for me. I'm amazed I was able to follow the storyline in Sister Act.
(I just announced, "ohhhh" after reading this Rolling Stone recap.)
On a related note, Chris' new thing appears to be screaming out predictions. During the strangling scene, he yelled, "Not real!" Every 10 minutes or so, he'll do this and it's less annoying than it sounds. Really, it's just jarring that he's comprehending 100% of what is going on, because I'm like, "Wait. Why is Joan's mom so involved in everything? Who names a baby Kevin? Can Roger please get more screen time?"

fork tender is the worst...

My hilarious friend Deborah asked me to write a guest post on her blog, The Epic Mom about "What I Hate Today." Deborah lives in Texas and was in one of my classes in Chicago. She's a stand-up comedian, a mom, and she is awesome. Anyway, I wrote a list of the words and phrases that I hate, of which there are many.
There must be some sort of neurological reason for why some words or phrases rub us the wrong way (there's one right there). My brother can't even bring himself to form the word "sliver." Admittedly, sliver is a pretty gross word.
Check out my list is arbitrarily disgusting words and phrases over at The Epic Mom. And please tell me which words gross you out, so I will never type them again...

Thursday, April 05, 2012

"you can't miss me. i'm with the ron paul people." "oh shit okay."

Hey y'all. I'm in Texas!
First of all, let me just say that I ate it on the front steps of the Bob Bullock History of Texas Museum yesterday. So please just drink that in for a second while I present some photos:

My friend had to find me on Congress Avenue today, and I just said, "Oh. I'm with the Ron Paul people. You can't miss me."

I went to a dancehall by myself!

The University of Texas bookstore. This wasn't even the Victoria's Secret section, which exists.

One of the best nights ever. Papi Tino's, front porch, people watching. It was one of those special nights of traveling alone and spending time with strangers that makes the whole thing worth it. We sat on a wooden porch under trees covered in lanterns while someone sang Ella Fitzgerald covers. It was 80 degrees and a full moon. I give it all an A+.

Don't mess with Texas. Seriously. That's their thing.

I know. I'm the worst. But still, so interesting.

My friend Erik took me to find BBQ out in the middle of nowhere today. It was funny. Everything here is funny.
I am in heaven.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

the stars at night, are big and bright...

After spending time with good friends in New York in December, and then my (perfect, wonderful, dreamy) week at Chicago in January, I now know that I really do love travelling alone. I was worried that I'd be lonely, but it turns out, I am good at making sudden friends.
In line. Sitting next to me at a show. On the sidewalk. I'm like an old Southern lady when I'm by myself. I just start talking to strangers.
Which is why I am so excited to fly to Austin, Texas tomorrow for five days of exploring shit by myself. The real reason I am going to Texas is for a meeting for maybe this fun, side-job thing that probably won't happen for awhile anyway. (I'll tell you all about it when it's real.) But because my coworker Bill encouraged me to GAMBLE on Priceline, I am staying at the W for $100 a night. (I just raised the roof, physically, because that deal is so good it deserves some sort of humiliating act.) So I'm staying for 5 days, and I am going to go to this and this and this.
All by myself.
I am psyched. If you have any Austin recommendations, I can't wait to hear them. Otherwise, please stay tuned. I will spend the $14.95 daily wifi fee just so I can tell you when I do this...

Monday, April 02, 2012

seriously. what the hell is he doing...

While my folks have been travelling, I (along with an exciting cast of characters) have been hanging out up at the house. Melissa lay wide awake as wind and rain beat themselves against the roof, asking, "Weren't you scared shitless of this old house as a kid? Because I'm pretty sure this is the beginning of a horror movie."

Big Chris, on the other hand, discovered a stash of Tecate my parents save just for him in the fridge. "There is so much stuff in here! It's like a Costco."

My friend Tom came over and we sat on the rug and ate pasta by the fire. He described the experience as "charmingly rustic."

I love my parents very much, but I also love being in their house when they're not here. It's a good house, a weird house in the woods. And so this week's Tourist Trapped is going for a hike down the road, because I didn't really feel like leaving. I am living what Brock calls, "The Mill Valley Lifestyle." It's pretty good, now that no one is here to ask me to clean my room and finish my homeowrk.

The photo below is my attempt at subtly catching an image of the creepy guy I saw on my hike on Mt. Tam, the details of which are up now, on SFGate...