<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Real Estate, Photo Galleries, Homes, and Apartments]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/the-scene/events http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:28:34 -0700 Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:28:34 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bay Area Ice Rink Open for Business]]> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 15:13:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/skating_rink.jpg

Halloween decorations are still up in most Bay Area neighborhoods, but there is one spot that has already jumped to the next holiday season.

San Francisco's Union Square ice rink opened for business Tuesday.

The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink, presented by Alaska Airlines, hosted a "ice breaking" event to get things started.

It was a balmy 68 degrees for the party. 

The ice rink will stay open through Jan.  20.

Ticket prices are $11 for adults and $7 for children eight years old and under. Skate rentals will cost you another $5.

The hours are 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. every day of the week.

A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[$100,000 "Ultimate Box Set" Sold and Delivered]]> Tue, 22 Oct 2013 19:52:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/UBS+Deliver-005.jpg

In December of 2012, avant-garde music/film/multimedia/performance group The Residents, from San Francisco, announced the availability of an “Ultimate Box Set” with a video of singer Randy Rose showing off a refrigerator filled with over 150 Residents products.

Included in the offering were first pressings and first releases of every major album, single, video, DVD, and much more, with the crown jewel being a genuine eyeball mask from the iconic group.  

Price tag?  $100,000. 

PHOTOS: The Residents' Ultimate Box Set

Last September, Cryptic Corporation Vice President Homer Flynn announced the sale of the first Ultimate Box Set to a man named Tripmonster from Bloomington, Ind.  In a video press release, Flynn also said the delivery would be shot as part of a documentary called, “Theory of Obscurity,” about the 40+ year history of The Residents.  (Full disclosure: I am a producer on that film, but didn’t make the trip for the UBS shoot.) 

Acting as the managers for The Residents, The Cryptic Corporation has handled all press, business dealings and public interactions during the majority of the group’s career, providing the members of The Residents with an impressive level of anonymity.

"For The Residents, the delivery of their Ultimate Box Set was both a profound and satisfying experience," Flynn said. "The expression of joy on the face of Tripmonster, as he held Mr. Green, the eyeball mask from his UBS, was worth every minute of their 40-year existence."

“This past weekend we captured a phenomenal event for our film Theory of Obscurity," documentary director Don Hardy said. "The Residents' Ultimate Box Set is a living testament to the amazing creative output that these one-of-a-kind artists have had over the past 40 years. Seeing all of their creations in one place was fantastic and so was meeting the proud owners of what has to be the coolest refrigerator ever made.”

Before leaving San Francisco, Flynn and fellow Cryptic Corporation Vice President Hardy Fox gathered the materials for the UBS, which ended up being 154 items, plus the eyeball mask. 

The Residents, with the help of the Cryptic Corporation, have kept archival copies of everything they’ve done over the years, and while Flynn was preparing the material for shipping, he said, “I think anytime you deal with nostalgia and are confronted with a whole lot of your past in a short amount of time, there’s mixed emotions that go along with it.”

En route to Indiana, Flynn stopped in Shreveport, La., to speak at Unscene Shreveport about “going to high school with The Residents, and meeting legendary performers like James Brown, Bo Diddley and Otis Redding,” according to the Theory of Obscurity Facebook page.

While thumbing through the items before the trip, Flynn said, “To be honest, as you get older, there’s a point where you realize most of your life is in the past, it’s not in the future. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a future, and it’s not that you don’t feel positive about it, but still, you know you’re never going to live as much of a life again as what you’ve already lived.”



Photo Credit: Theory of Obscurity ]]>
<![CDATA[The Residents' Ultimate Box Set #1]]> Tue, 22 Oct 2013 18:26:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/UBS+Deliver-003.jpg A peak inside the $100,000 Ultimate Box Set from The Residents.

Photo Credit: Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents]]>
<![CDATA[Publishing Legend Ron Turner Roast Kept Everyone Laughing]]> Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:46:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Ron+Turner+Roast2.JPG

Local icon and institution Ron Turner and his Last Gasp Publishing house got roasted by the Litquake organization and received their prestigious Barbary Coast Award for a lifetime of literary achievements this week.
Ron Turner is an almost mythological local character, and Wednesday night's roast did little to dispel that larger-than-life status.
Among the evenings revelations: He knew both Charles Manson and the Reverend Jim Jones of the People's Temple. He once smoked a joint with Lee Harvey Oswald. And he's on a first name basis with both Norman Schwarzkopf and Timothy Leary.
Back in the nineties he helped throw one of the most scandalous parties in American history. It was attended by all the local politicians who were forced to witness a satanic performance artist get a pentagram cut into his back with a knife before being sodomized with a strap-on Jack Daniels bottle.
Over the years this party has taken on a mythic status and led to an urban folk legend that the Forty Niners will never win a Super Bowl again as a result of this profane ritual. It's known as the "Curse of The Forty Niners."
The stories told over the evening seemed to keep lurching from the surreal to the scandalously hilarious. But many of the roasters, such as Burning Man co-founder John Law, kept bringing the focus back to the books Last Gasp has published.
Over his decades as a publisher, Ron Turner has created some of the most outrageous books in print: Horny Biker Slut Comics, Amputee Love, Virgin Sperm Dancer, the list of titles just goes on and on.
But Turner is also responsible for some of the most lovely art books one will ever see. Mark Ryden's Fushigi Circus and the three Hi-Fructose Anthologies are like perfect art objects of breath-taking beauty.
A long list of friends and cohorts lined up to take part in the roast, including such luminaries as author Susie Bright, painter Robert Williams and gossip columnist Leah Garchik. Bucky Sinister was the perfect roast host and he kept the hilarious barbs coming fast and furiously.
Comic artist Jay Kinney talked about Ron's role as one of the main underground comics publishers of the sixties, seventies and beyond. Charlie Winton, of Publishers Group West and Soft Skull Press, described their adventures in publishing.
One of the funniest parts of the evening was the Last Gasp Chorus where a group of current and former employees related some sidesplittingly hilarious personal reminiscences.
Michelle Schlachta told a series of stories involving a nude photo of Ron, a comic called Crack Whore, and a wild party at the Mitchell Brothers that was so funny it left me gasping for breath.
Even Ron's son Colin Turner raked him over the coals with comments like: "I think Ron is my dad."
Though the event was a roast, it wasn't particularly mean spirited. Almost every embarrassing personal reminiscence or barb was usually followed by a protestation of love and respect.
In fact, at times it seemed like more of a love fest than a roast, with some in attendance complaining to roasters, like iconic Dead Kennedys artist Winston Smith, that they were too kind. This is not really surprising because underneath his bizarre eccentricities Ron's really a nice guy, and no one can deny his truly great achievements as a publisher.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[The Tech Brings "Star Wars" to Silicon Valley]]> Tue, 15 Oct 2013 19:47:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/budman4.jpg

Attention fellow geeks: The 'droids we're looking for are about to be revealed.

"Star Wars," the exhibit, is about to open at San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation.

October 19 is the official opening date.

The Tech is promising an event where "science meets imagination."

We're hoping to see some cool stuff from the movies.

PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of Star Wars at The Tech

In fact, follow the link above for some preview pics from a behind-the-scenes, early "hard hat" look at what's coming.

The Tech, along with the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, is giving us an early sneak peek at how The Tech will handle The Force.

The exhibit fills 10,000-square-feet  and includes a thrill ride based on the Millennium Falcon, the spaceship featured in the first "Star Wars" movie released in 1977.

We'll see you on the 19th.

WATCH: Announcement of the Exhibit, Featuring Appearance by Billy Dee Williams

The display was created by the Museum of Science, Boston, featuring props and displays used in the Star Wars films, and presented by the Bose Corporation.

It opened in Boston in 2005 and began traveling around the country ever since.

The final stop is at the Tech in San Jose, where the exhibit will run from Oct. 19 to Feb. 23, 2014. Check The Tech's website for ticket info.

On Twitter, Scott Budman is: @scottbudman

]]>
<![CDATA[Remembering Man Who Brought Music to Tenderloin]]> Fri, 13 Sep 2013 18:26:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kathylooper.jpg

They called Leroy Looper the father of the Tenderloin.

The title stuck with him more than thirty years after he took up residence in the gritty neighborhood, transforming the forlorn Cadillac Hotel into the first residential hotel for the poor.

In Looper's world, his children were the poor souls who crowded the Tenderloin sidewalks seeking for food and shelter. Like any father, Looper wanted to see his children climb the ladder – but he realized they’d first need a ladder to climb.

“Leroy never believed people needed a hand,” said his widow, Kathy Looper. “He just felt they needed the opportunity to move up.”

So Looper and his wife bought a Sizzler restaurant and put people to work. He gave them jobs in the hotel, and helped create neighborhood job training programs.

But Looper believed people needed something besides a roof and a job -- they also needed music. “I feel music is the soul of people,” Looper said in an interview before his death in 2011.

Several years ago, the Cadillac Hotel received a donation of a rare 1884 Steinway piano from Lee Walkup in tribute to his sister Patricia Walkup, a Tenderloin activist who had recently died.

The Cadillac began holding free weekly concerts in the lobby – with the piano taking center stage.

Looper liked seeing the poor of the neighborhood serenaded on such a prestigious instrument. “He wanted people to feel that this was a neighborhood - a livable neighborhood,” said Kathy Looper. “Not just a neighborhood for people that was cheap.”

Looper died on September 11, 2011 at the age of 86.

Kathy saw that the regular concerts in the lobby continued. On Friday, the hotel held a concert to mark the second anniversary of Looper's death. Pianist Jeffrey Chin and his quartet serenaded a roomful of Tenderloin residents with jazzy renditions of pop tunes.

“One of his great passions was music,” said Chin, who like all other performers at the Cadillac, donates his time. “He wanted the people of this community to be able to experience the music that basically they don’t have access to.”

The audience ranged from hotel residents, to neighbors to the homeless -- the crystal clear chimes of the piano bouncing throughout the historic lobby.

“It gives people a chance they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Gayle Wood, who has lived at the Cadillac since 2006, “some exposure to some really good music and some really good artists.”

Kathy Looper said in a way, the concerts are symbolic of her husband’s life – his desire to leave people a little better than he found them. “I think what makes it even more special is when people leave they have a smile on their face,” she said. “They feel uplifted.”



Photo Credit: Kathy Looper]]>
<![CDATA[Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Returns for Lucky 13th Edition]]> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 15:39:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/5E8C905C-BFEB-47B8-A4FB-C76D58E8A001.jpeg

Warren is gone, but the music lives on.

The lucky 13th edition of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival kicks off with MC Hammer and the middle school program on Friday -- and heats up from there.

Up to 800,000 people are expected to flock to Golden Gate Park for the free music festival Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 4-6.

The complete schedule can be found here.


It includes: Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak, Boz Scaggs, Conor Oberst and The String Cheese Incident (not all at the same time, though we may pay to see that).

Guess who else will be there?

Jimmie Dale Gilmore, of "Lebowski" fame, (that's him, Smokey) will play with the Flatlanders.

It's a long list. Feel free to sift through it below, or go to the festival Web page to see for yourself.

Della Mae, Poor Man's Whiskey (Friday morning middle school program), Richard Thompson, Martha Wainwright, Mike Scott & Steve Wickham of The Waterboys, Los Lobos Disconnected, Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz, The String Cheese Incident, Sturgill Simpson, Allah-Las, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Kat Edmonson, Low, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Joy Kills Sorrow, Ryan Bingham, Boz Scaggs, Elvin Bishop, Seldom Scene, Robert Ellis, Trampled By Turtles, Spirit Family Reunion, Loudon Wainwright III, Tumbleweed Wanderers, The Handsome Family, The Brothers Comatose, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band featuring Yungchen Lhamo, Conor Brings Friends For Friday Featuring: Whispertown, The Cave Singers, The Felice Brothers, The Evens, First Aid Kit, Conor Oberst, MC Hammer (Friday morning middle school program), Natalie Maines, Bettye LaVette, Paul Kelly, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Calexico, The Wood Brothers, Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Devil Makes Three, The Flatlanders featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Tift Merritt, Pieta Brown, The Jerry Douglas Band, LP, Gogol Bordello, Manchester Orchestra, Father John Misty, The Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal, Moonalice, Billy Bragg, Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, The Go To Hell Man Clan, Shovels & Rope, Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott, Kate McGarrigle Tribute with Martha & Sloan Wainwright & Special Guests, Nick Lowe, The Deep Dark Woods, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, Buddy Miller, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Holler Down the Hollow: A Hardly Strictly Salute to the Masters, Evolfo Doofeht, Chris Isaak, Jesse DeNatale, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch & Fats Kaplin, Robert Earl Keen, Sonny & The Sunsets, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Jon Langford & Skull Orchard acoustic / FREAKONS, The Warren Hood Band, Justin Townes Earle, Freakwater, Tim O'Brien with Bryan Sutton & Mike Bub, Alison Brown, The Time Jumpers featuring Brad Albin, Larry Franklin, Paul Franklin, Vince Gill, "Ranger Doug" Green, Andy Reiss, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey, Jeff Taylor & Billy Thomas, Supermule, Mark Lanegan, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Jesse Dee



Photo Credit: Stephanie Chuang]]>
<![CDATA[Kathleen Madigan Telling Jokes at Yoshi’s SF]]> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 23:47:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-6-2013-Kathleen-Madigan.jpg

Kathleen Madigan is often called the funniest person in the room—typically by fellow comics like Lewis Black and Ron White—and she will aim to keep that distinction at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on Sat., Sept. 14.

It’s the first time Madigan will perform at the venue after a quarter century of telling jokes.

“There’s a resurgence in the type of place my parents would have called ‘the supper club,’” Madigan said of the classy joint. It’s more relaxed than a comedy club, more intimate than a theater and offers better food and drink options than both.

“And you’re not with a bunch of college kids or a bachelorette party like at the Funny Bone,” she laughed.

St. Louis Native Madigan spent the first decade of her career paying her dues, and now that she’s been consistently headlining at theaters and clubs across the globe, some people—even her agents—expect her to take that next step: wacky neighbor on a sitcom or talk show co-host.

But, for Madigan, there is no next step.

“I want to do a one-time seminar called something along the lines of Drop Your Goals. I don’t know what type of freak started it—Oprah probably—vision boards and dream catchers. Why can’t you just enjoy your life?” she said.

In other words, she’s living the dream. Madigan’s goal from that first open-mic night was to tell jokes to paying customers—and that’s it. Not a stepping stone from comedian to rock star or comedian to sitcom maven. Just comedian.

“This is the goal. Now, not only am I having fun, but I’m making money at it,” she said. She likes the fact that you can’t spot her spewing watered-down lines on a show like “The Talk” every weekday.

“Here’s the thing, I’m like a leprechaun. I bop around, and you can find me if you want to find me,” Madigan said. “And you can feel better if you do, because you caught the leprechaun.”

You can also catch the leprechaun in her new stand-up special, “Madigan Again,” which will exclusively be available on Netflix beginning Wed., Sept. 11. It was taped in Detroit, a tenacious locale where she feels at home.

“I love that they’re still there. Seriously, guys, at what point are you giving up on this dream? There are wild dogs downtown. Wild dogs. They’re digging their heels in, you know. I’ve always had good crowds there.

“It’s a mirror city to St. Louis—just a different industry. We’ve got beer and dog food, and they had cars, but it’s the same type of people—same Midwest mentality,” Madigan said. “In Detroit, no matter where we are at any moment, things could get weird.”
Madigan likes when it gets weird, which is why she doesn’t mind hustling to places like Billings, Montana; Gillette, Wyoming; Valentine, Nebraska or Kiawah Island, South Carolina. It was in SC where she just hit the links with Lewis Black.

“It’s crazy on the golf course. It’s on a swamp! But I’m the freak who loves that. There’s alligators everywhere, and it’s on purpose. They keep it like that,” she said. “I thought, ‘That’s the biggest house cat I’ve ever seen,’ and then I’m like, ‘Holy s***, that’s a bobcat!’ The golf courses are spectacular, though.”

Kathleen Madigan will perform at 8 and 10 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 14, at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Visit www.yoshis.com for more information.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Luzena Adams ]]>
<![CDATA[Burning of The Man]]> Sun, 08 Sep 2013 23:25:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/BM+2013+Burn-006.JPG The Man burned Saturday night, capping off Burning Man 2013, a week which will surely be remembered as having perfect weather, day and night, incredible art cars and art, including two beautiful churches (complete with midnight mass burns), and a Man Base that blew all others before it away.

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Melissa Etheridge Returning to Mountain Winery]]> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 13:29:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-3-2013-melissa-etheridge.jpg

Rock ‘n’ roll stalwart Melissa Etheridge is not just whistlin’ Dixie when she says that Mountain Winery in Saratoga is one of her favorite venues to perform.

“It truly is,” Etheridge says. “I will go back a couple set lists and check the songs I did there because there are people who come back every year, and I want to make sure I’m not playing the same songs. We have files of set lists. So I make sure the next show is not too similar to the last show.”

That is refreshing for a regular concert-goer who does not particularly want to hear the same songs over and over. Etheridge has been kicking off her shows as of late with a kick-you-in-the-pants tune, “Shout Out,” from her latest album, “4th Street Feeling.”

“I swear I write my albums because I’m trying to write the perfect set list,” she laughed. Her albums always seem to have one or two “boom” songs designed to ignite a crowd.

“I do that because there’s no energy through the whole show that is like that first moment—especially at one of my shows,” Etheridge said. “I usually try to use that new song that’s rocking because I want them all up.”

While there are going to be tracks from “4th Street Feeling” sprinkled through the night, Etheridge knows there are fans who come for the hits; so expect to hear thousands of folks singing along to “Come to My Window,” “Bring Me Some Water” and “I’m the Only One,” too. She knows that some fans are more familiar with her catalog than others are.

“There are the people that are coming with their friends that are like, ‘Oh, I know some of the songs,’ the big hits. They end up knowing more than they thought they did. Then there is the sort of person who hasn’t bought maybe my last three albums, but they’re very deep into some of the older material; so I’ll dig deep into the albums. Then there are the people who are listening to every single note I put out,” she said. “I also want to show people going in that this is the new music, and it’s still vibrant. It’s rocking. I’m playing better than ever. I’m a better musician than I’ve ever been, and I’m very excited about that.”

Etheridge, a native Midwesterner and proud of it, said she found herself looking back a lot on this album and on the stage, thinking about and talking about aging—and still loving rock ‘n’ roll. This brought up talk about concert etiquette, specifically audience members who want to stand up, dance and rock out versus those who want to remain calm and seated.

“I got to tell you it’s one of the hardest struggles for me as an artist,” Etheridge said. “I want people to just enjoy themselves. I understand some people, they love to jump up and scream and holler. Of course, I love that. That always gives me more energy, and I would love it if the whole audience was standing all the time. That’s an ideal audience.

“At a concert, I like to sit down. I’ve gotten a ‘little lazy legs.’ I completely understand both, but if I’m at a concert and someone is standing up in front of me, I’m not going to make them sit down. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Melissa Etheridge will perform on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Visit www.mountainwinery.com/concerts for more information.



Photo Credit: James Minchin III]]>
<![CDATA[80s-Themed Regeneration Tour Visits Mountain Winery]]> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 11:50:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*150/AndyBell_headshot.jpg

With celebrity deejays collecting million-dollar Vegas paydays to spit remixed cuts, wouldn’t you rather see some electronic dance music pioneers actually perform live?

While EDM is having a moment, let’s not forget that the synth pop pioneers of the Regeneration Tour have been making this kind of music for decades.

Erasure Lead Singer Andy Bell, Howard Jones, Information Society and Men Without Hats—all revered pop stalwarts with loads of ’80s hits—are still making new music, but it will be the classics fans will be bouncing to on Saturday, August 31, at Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

Andy Bell and I Skyped the morning after Britain legalized gay marriage, so congratulations were in order.

“It’s fantastic. I had my civil partnership this year,” Bell said.

He performed at several stateside gay pride festivals before the Regeneration Tour began this month. “Warm-up gigs,” Bell called them.

Fans should expect high-energy takes on Erasure hits like “A Little Respect” and “Stop,” with a keyboard player, percussion and two back-up dancers, angling to keep up with Bell.

“I sing around the house doing warm-up exercises and stuff. I haven’t been to the gym in ages,” Bell said. “I did just move into a new house and have moved boxes all over. That’s been my work out!”

Bell added that recording a new Christmas album with Vince Clarke—the other half of Erasure—has also kept up his vocal chops.

“When I was 14 or so, my friends and I would go around to other people’s houses and sing Christmas carols at their doors,” he said. “We would make so much money! Recording these carols reminded me of that time.”

Bell said the album, due in November, would be half Erasure original holiday songs and half traditional hymns.

“The Erasure ones are like sound-scapes. The carols that we are doing are more filmic. It really reminds me of Cocteau Twins style than traditional carols,” he said. “It’s quite funny because America seems more religious, but in the UK we sing the hymns more.”

Bell said he was looking forward to performing on the same stage with Howard Jones again. “I was a fan when I was a teenager, before I moved to London,” he said.

Jones is getting some great accolades online from his recent live sets.

He is expected to perform synth pop hits such as “Pearl in the Shell,” “What is Love” and “Things Can Only Get Better.”

Perhaps he’ll surprise fans with a new song (aside from his ’80s tune, “New Song”). Jones is expected to release a new dance album in 2014.

“What's really great is having been part of the ’80s, which seems to be such a recurrent theme in music,” Andy Bell said.

Visit mountainwinery.com/concerts for more information on the Regeneration Tour at Mountain Winery. Show time is 6:30 p.m. to fit in all four acts (and to get us home at a decent hour).



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Reach NYC]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco's Famed Wax Museum Shuts Doors]]> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 19:29:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/elvira2.JPG

Marilyn Monroe stretched out her arms lustily. Donald Trump’s comb-over was perfectly coifed. President Obama looked stately and Charlie Chaplin seemed befuddled.

Rodney Fong strolled deliberately past the famous crowd, making a beeline to a bustily accurate Elvira wax figure.

“I don’t think I’ve met anyone else who’s grown up in a wax museum,” Fong said of himself as he strolled past Elvira into the House of Horrors.

The 350 strange wax figures of movie stars, political leaders and random celebrities are part of Fong’s birthright; his grandfather Thomas Fong founded the San Francisco Wax Museum in a warehouse on Fisherman’s Wharf in 1963. Fong’s father ran it, and eventually the baton got passed to Rodney.

Fong used to play in the museum as a child, eventually learning to create wax figures before moving on to operations.

His mother did the hair for every wax figure in the place. Of course, it all made for odd introductions.

“Good and bad for first dates,” said Fong. “Bringing someone to your work in the wax museum.”

This year marked the museum’s 50th anniversary. And it’s last.

On Thursday, Fong and his family are shutting the doors for good and stepping away from the business. Fong, who serves as president of San Francisco’s Planning Commission said it’s just time to do something else.

“It’s been part of our family, part of Fisherman’s Wharf, part of San Francisco and we’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” Fong said. The closure doesn’t mean the end to kitschy wax figures on Fisherman’s Wharf. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum chain will take over the building, performing a $35 million dollar renovation and adding a dungeon.

The new museum is set to open in nine months.

The workshop where artists once crafted wax Mel Gibson or Michael Jackson, was now filled with giant rolls of bubble wrap in anticipation of the closure. Crews will wrap up all 350 figures and props for the big move.

Fong said he is working with a potential buyer to sell all the figures together. “In a very strange way we’re a family business, but all the 350 wax figures are part of our family,” said Fong. “Who knows what happens here at night. Maybe they end up talking and dancing, so we want to keep the wax family together.”

On Wednesday, former employee David Finnerty came by for a last look around. He remembered working for Fong’s grandfather, and the eerily quiet mornings when Finnerty would walk around cleaning.

“When you went through in the morning with no lights or anything,” said Finnerty said of the figures, “it went in the back of your mind, are they going to move?”

Fong estimated 12 million visitors have been through the museum since it first opened. But rather than wax poetic about the past, he was hopeful for its future under new operators. As he watched a group of visitors gaping at a creepy Frankenstein, he pondered the role the museum has played in the lives of countless tourists.

“To be scared a little bit, to be entertained to be shocked,” Fong mused, “to take them out of their own space for 45 minutes or an hour is something we all need.”



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Cheech and Chong Bring "Musical Comedy" to America's Cup Pavilion]]> Sat, 10 Aug 2013 14:16:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/8-5-2013-cheech-chong.jpg

Cheech and Chong have been cracking each other and audiences up for more than 40 years. So which of them is aging better?

“Oh, I am by far,” Tommy Chong was quick to say in an interview last week. “I’ve got a wife who’s a health nut. She’s got me on a diet and has me going to the plastic surgeon every once in a while for a little filler in my face and a nip and tuck here and there. I’m like her project. I’m like her garden—she takes me to get a haircut when I need it.

“Cheech is the opposite. He’s a macho man; he’s in charge of everything. He’s got no one to tell him not to eat things. He doesn’t listen, so he eats pizza and drinks beer, and it shows.”

The comedy duo will return to the Bay Area on Saturday, August 10, with a concert at the America’s Cup Pavilion. The band War will be a big part of the show. In fact, Chong calls it “a musical comedy.”

Fans of Cheech and Chong’s brand of bong-water-soaked-humor already know that music has been a major part of their act since the beginning. Their early albums were produced by Lou Adler who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year by the duo.

“Cheech likes to have his things scripted,” Chong said about their induction speech. “My job really is to disrupt.”

War’s song, “Low Rider,” kicked off the iconic Cheech and Chong film, “Up in Smoke,” so Chong said it was a natural fit to have the band kick off this new tour with them. Chong’s wife, Shelby, opens the show with a little stand-up before bringing out the guys to do a Q&A with the audience. (Questions about massive joints and Dave’s presence are expected.) Then, Cheech and Chong bring War out for “an audition” to see if they still have the chops to perform in a new C&C movie. War then plays a set before intermission.

The second half sees C&C perform their classic sketches before War comes back out to play with Cheech’s Alice Bowie character. “And that’s the show,” says Chong.

Cheech and Chong are celebrating the 35th anniversary of “Up in Smoke,” arguably the best stoner flick ever. Despite Cheech and Chong parting ways in the ’80s, it’s their movies’ popularity that has helped maintain their longevity, despite only getting back together a few years ago.

“When we got back together, it was like we never left,” Chong said.

“Up in Smoke” features lengthy scenes of the duo just blabbering in a car, and they are still the most-quoted and referenced parts of the flick.

“The funny thing about the car bits is that they were almost all adlibbed. We never had a script,” Chong said.

During their years apart, Chong toured the stand-up comedy circuit with Shelby, and he said that was a lot more challenging than doing these live shows with Cheech.

“We can do it in our sleep. In fact, we have done it in our sleep a few times,” he said about slipping back into character. “It’s an attitude. It comes from miles and miles and miles of doing it. We’ve had people crawl on the stage in the middle of the act. We’ve almost been assaulted. They have thrown bottles at the stage.

“Through it all, we just keep plugging away like two old stoners.”

Cheech and Chong with War will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at the America’s Cup Pavilion in San Francisco. Visit www.americascup.com/concert-series for more information.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Paul Mobley]]>
<![CDATA[SNL Comic Comes to Cobb's in San Francisco]]> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 08:42:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Cecily+Strong+on+SNL.jpg

Ever wondered what Lorne Michaels sees during cast auditions for “Saturday Night Live?”

You will get your chance if you check out Cecily Strong and Friends at Cobb’s Comedy Club in SF on Aug. 9 and 10. “SNL” Cast Member Strong will be joined by Second City Alum Sam Richardson and Anthony Veneziale of Freestyle Love Supreme, a hip-hop improv troupe.

Strong knows Richardson from her time with Second City in Chicago, and they will be meeting Veneziale on Friday.

“So, it’s going to be a fresh show!” she laughed.

Strong said she has a handful of sketch comedy pieces planned, and the trio will perform a mix of short and long improvs. She will include some the characters she performed that got her the “SNL” gig last year.

Cecily had a strong debut season for certain. Her “Weekend Update” commentator character, Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, had audiences and anchor Seth Meyers in stitches. Shame about the character’s name, though; it’s too long to fit on T-shirts.

“The writers were like, ‘You really need to shorten her name,’ and I kept saying, ‘But it’s so her!’ It’s exactly her. If we called her Sally, it wouldn’t work,’” Strong said.

The character is poorly-informed yet self-righteous and constantly fiddling with her cell phone.

“Like, either vote or don’t vote, but take a stand and don’t vote,” the Girl says, while texting. Then when Seth tries to scoot her off the stage, she tosses in something racist like, “Can I do a minstrel show real quick?” “There have been a couple things that have been so ridiculous,”

Strong said about the character. “I love that she said ‘Origami—it’s Spanish for goose.’ Stuff like that always makes me laugh.” Strong had a couple other recurring characters in her first season at “SNL,” including one half of a set of former porn stars who are trying to shill champagne with mispronunciations and bizarre tales from the adult film world. It’s one of those off-the-wall, last-five-minutes-of-‘SNL’ sketches.

“That five-to-one slot is what we call it. It becomes a coveted thing, like ‘Who gets to do their weird thing this week?’” Strong said.

One of my personal favorites is a sketch in which she and Bobby Moynihan play obnoxious McDonald’s employees who think they’re about to be fired, so they take the opportunity to publicly smack down the entire crew.

“Brian, your breath smell like cream corn, and you ain't even eat no cream corn today!”

After a season on the seminal sketch comedy show, Strong said she’s happy to get a chance to keep her improv skills sharp in the Bay Area. She’s due back in New York in mid-September when she and her cronies will put on a weekly, live 90-minute comedy show for millions.

“I’m still pinching myself,” she said. “I tried to do L.A. for seven months and had terrible meetings where agents would say I was too fat. ‘Lose 15 pounds.’ ‘Your face isn’t right for movies. Maybe TV.’ I went through all of that to end up here. It’s bizarre to have your dream come true.”

Cecily Strong and Friends will perform at 8 and 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 9 and at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on Aug. 10. Visit www.cobbscomedyclub.com for ticket information.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Need Burning Man 2013 Tickets? Hours Left to Sign Up ]]> Thu, 01 Aug 2013 13:00:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BM+Cargo+Tix.JPG

Still looking for a ticket to Burning Man 2013?

Registration for the final “OMG” Last Chance Sale of $380 tickets starts Friday, August 2 at noon, but in order to register for the final sale, you must have a “Burner Profile” already created in the ticket system.

Burner Profiles are quick and easy to set up, and only those who’ve created one for themselves by 6 p.m. Thursday will be able to try to grab one or two tickets in the final sale.

This is the first year Burning Man has had the late summer OMG Sale, presumably designed to thwart off desperate ticketless people considering buying an overpriced ticket from a scalper.

At least 1,000 tickets have been held back for sale, but with Burning Man recently being granted approval to grow Black Rock City to 68,000 people, chances are there will be thousands of tickets available to those who are registered for the OMG Last Chance Sale.

Last year the population cap was right around 60,000, and in the days and weeks leading up to the sold-out event, tickets were going for half-price and even free on websites like Craigslist.

With these thousands of extra tickets for sale this late in the game, you may be sitting pretty if you still need a ticket, or not-so-much if you have some to sell. Click here for BM ticket page.

In typical Burning Man fashion, creating a Burner Profile is just the first step in a three-tiered process for getting tickets.

Registration to be eligible for the OMG Last Chance Sale continues over the weekend, from Friday, August 2 at noon to Monday, August 5 at noon.

Then, the actual sale will be first-come, first-served starting at Wednesday August 7 at noon, with only people pre-registered being granted access to the ticketing site.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Burning Man Complete Coverage]]> Thu, 01 Aug 2013 10:21:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/BM+Burn+Night-043.JPG

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Comedian Paul Mooney Ready for Yoshi's]]> Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:17:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/189*120/Paul_Mooney%282013%29.jpg

With racial tension permeating the country—not to mention the seemingly constant barrage of racist comments flying around on TV and the radio—comedian Paul Mooney is ready to get back to work in the Bay Area.

Mooney has been offering frank and plain speak about race in America for the better part of 40 years—going back to his time writing for Richard Pryor’s acclaimed comedy albums and groundbreaking appearance on the first season of “Saturday Night Live.”

Mooney is often called the Godfather of Comedy, a title he both appreciates and doesn’t like so much.

“I don’t want to be anybody’s godfather or Uncle Paul,” he said. “I am old, but I look good. God has been nice to me. You know black don’t crack.”

Mooney would prefer to be in and speak about the now. He will return to Oakland, a place he loves and his former home, to talk about the craziness of America’s current state. He will perform at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26, at Yoshi’s Oakland.

I asked Mooney if people are more brazen about their racism or if it’s more difficult to hide it today.

“It’s both,” he was quick to reply. “If you believe in conspiracy, when you decode America, it says ‘race.’ It lives on it, feeds on it like some ugly monster. [George] Zimmerman and all these other things—shooting in the back—it’s been a godsend for us. It’s actually psychologically freed us because it’s all a camouflage to freedom of speech.

“We have a lot of work to do. This is all to take away freedom of speech. That’s where the power is.”

The media have been jammed lately with racism accusations, from Paula Deen to “Big Brother” to Rush Limbaugh wanting to use the N-word. Mooney said society writes his act.

“This is an experiment gone wrong. We are actually the aliens. It’s not the Martians with the big eyes. We’re the aliens, and they comes and check on the experiment, and they get out of here real quick!” he said. “They go back, and they talk about us. They say, ‘They’re still fighting each other, and those black ones are just too much. I can’t stand them! They’re still killing each other!’”

Mooney helped get issues of race and social standing on the airwaves in a comedy-variety format as head writer for the canceled-too-soon “Richard Pryor Show,” before writing for another groundbreaking show, “In Living Color” on Fox.

Today’s comedy fans likely know him from his popular segments on “Chappelle’s Show,” “Ask a Black Dude” and “Negrodamus.”

Mooney is not shocked that people still walk out of his no-holds-barred, live shows. “If you get offended, good. It means you’re still human,” he laughed.

Mooney publically tried to quit using the N-word several years ago but not so successfully, he said.

“I didn’t do well at all. At least I admitted it! Human beings have habits, and it was a habit. I kept saying it backward. I kept saying, ‘What up, my reggin!’” Mooney said. “I’m not in denial. You can live in the matrix of denial, but reality is always here waiting for you. I always say reality is a stormy trip because you could always take hallucinogenic drugs and believe you can fly. You can jump off the building, and reality is waiting for you when you hit the ground.

“Reality is the greatest drug, so I’ll stick with reality.”

Tickets for Paul Mooney’s Yoshi’s Oakland shows are available by visiting www.yoshis.com/oakland. 

The shows are produced by Jill Newman Productions in association with PM7 Entertainment.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jill Newman Productions]]>
<![CDATA["Fruitvale Station" Premieres in Oakland]]> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 11:39:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/fruitvale+-+octavia+spencer.JPG The premiere of the Oscar Grant film "Fruitvale Station" brought out a little bit of Hollywood and family on the red carpet inside the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ke$ha Upsets Fans of The Residents]]> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 20:38:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/Kesha+Residents.JPG

Some fans of SF’s The Residents are up in arms about a video that surfaced after a Shoreline Amphitheater performance on Friday.

The 17-second video shows 22-year-old pop singer Kesha Sebert (Ke$ha) performing her song “Blah Blah Blah” with six backup dancers dressed in The Residents’ iconic imagery of tuxedo wearing eyeball heads, complete with top hats.

The Residents first debuted that look with the release of their Eskimo album in 1979. 

After about two decades, the group retired the outfits for live performances, but still uses the image as a logo of sorts, with merchandising on their recent Wonder of Weird tour leaning heavily on that unmistakable icon.

The video was sent to The Residents’ facebook page by Chris Mathew on Sunday, and has since inspired a spirited debate over Ke$ha’s use of such imagery.

Some fans think it’s an outrage, including Sara Creamcheese Brandau. “I’m not a naturally litigious person but if you can sue her you really should. Unless you guys are, honored by this tribute? Alright, I gotta throw up,” Brandau posted.

Others, like John H. Felix, don’t see a problem. “Fans of a band who have been maniacally appropriating pop culture for their own needs complain about musician appropriating band for her own needs, film at 11,” Felix posted.

Rick Gawel said, “She's using the eyeballs and tuxes, so what? If it were Primus, who are huge Residents fans and have played with them, people would probably be OK with it.”

Chris Mathew, who shot the video, said he thinks Ke$sha is a Residents' fan herself. “If I had to guess, Ke$ha’s secretly a fan of their [The Residents] stuff… the way she introduced everything, it sounded like she was trying to shoehorn eyeballs into the equation.  And then, viola!  Residents dancers,” Mathew said.


“They were so accurate that, for a second, I thought it was really The Residents onstage and this was just their latest stunt.  But then they started moving wayyyy too young-like for that to be the case.”

The Residents recently celebrated 40 years of releasing music, films and multimedia projects, and throughout their storied career, they have remained anonymous, always performing in disguise, and have been known to pull pranks and use misdirection and mistruths to keep the public guessing.

 This isn’t the first time Ke$ha and The Residents were mentioned in the same breath. 

On April 25, The Residents’ facebook page posted a screen shot from Ke$ha’s MTV reality tv show showing the pop star sporting a “Duck Stab!” t-shirt from the group’s 1978 album, with a caption that read, “Let’s get this woman interviewed for the documentary!”

A documentary film called “Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents” is in production now about the group (FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am helping to produce and shoot this film), and a better shot of Ke$ha’s song was posted on the film’s facebook page which much more clearly shows the eyeball dancers as seen from the front row of Nikon Theater in New York.

On the Theory of Obscurity facebook page, the debate raged on, with more people suggesting lawsuit.  Mark Favro said, “Devo sued McDonalds for ripping off their Red Hat design that was on a Happy Meal toy so The Residents can and should sue sue sue!”

On the other hand, Neal Burgess countered, “Wow, a lot of holier than thou hate coming from the nerds…  I didn’t realize the Residents had any kind of trademark on their now retired costumes, aren’t they in the process of selling the eyeballs?  Maybe Kesha bought 5 of those Ultimate Boxed Sets.”

Burgess brings up an interesting point.  At Christmas last year, The Residents released a video with their singer, Randy Rose, standing next to a refrigerator full of every release The Residents have put out in the last 40 years.  Included in the deal was one of the original eyeball heads.  They were calling it the “Ultimate Box Set” and a U.B.S. could be yours for $100,000.

However, something I’ve yet to see anyone bring up is the offer at the end of the U.B.S. video, where Randy holds up a “1 of a Kind” item in a small black box covered with question marks.

Perhaps Ke$ha drove up in an armored car and dumped $5,000,000 in Randy’s garage. 

Stranger things have happened in the world of The Residents.



Photo Credit: candicefan2 on Youtube]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Bridge Light Show Will Go On]]> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:39:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bridge24.jpg

Ben Davis was worried.

After raising millions of dollars, enlisting a top visual artist, and convincing San Francisco and Caltrans to install 25,000 twinkling lights on the Bay Bridge, he was facing catastrophic failure.

“No one wants to see this piece come down,” Davis said Friday with his back to the Bay.

In May, Davis and his team noticed strands of the lights were staying on, while others were shutting off.

The problem seemed to be spreading, with 30-percent of the lights malfunctioning in some areas, marring artist Leo Villareal’s vast moving display.

Technicians walked the bridge, inspecting the strands of lights strapped to the cables, suspecting the wind, salt air and constant vibrations as the culprits.

“In taking in what was going on they figured out there’s a little bit of water was seeping in due to that harsh environment,” said Davis. “That was just enough to cause those problems.”

With the lights failing at a rapid pace, Davis pondered the worst-case scenario; turning off the lights and taking them down.

But instead, his team rallied.

Artist Leo Villareal reprogrammed the lights to work around the malfunctioning strands.

And light manufacturer Philips Color Kinetics agreed to finance repair and replacement of the lights as well as figure out a long-term solution.

“They’ve come in, they’ve helped us assess the problem,” said Davis. “They’ve owned the problem and the solution and they’re being completely responsible.”

Davis said crews would begin replacing some of the broken strands in about ten days. He said the short-term repairs are aimed at keeping the lights working through the America’s Cup Yacht Races and the scheduled opening of the new Eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

“It’ll be a bit of a trench war for us,” said Davis. “People won’t be aware of it but we’ll be replacing some strands over the summer because we think there will be continued failure.”

Davis admits the plans so far are short-term. He said major work will begin in the Fall to redo the entire project, which may include replacing significant portions, if not all the lights.

Davis announced Friday his group had secured a donation of $1.5 million dollars from WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, which put the project at its full funding goal of $8 million.

Suddenly, Davis says he can see the twinkling lights at the end of the tunnel.

“This thing is going to stay up,” he said, “and it’s going to stay up and shining and look beautiful through the course of the summer.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Les Claypool to Play Benefit for Local Fisherman]]> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 22:37:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/Claypool+Duo-001.JPG

Primus front man Les Claypool is presenting a benefit for a local fisherman who lost his boat  earlier this year.

The benefit concert is at the end of the month in Petaluma.

Back in March, Ted Frank was headed back to port with a load of crab when his 36 foot boat "Yardbird" started to take on water.

The vessel capsized just outside Bodega Bay, and while Frank and his mate Kevin Leeman escaped with their lives, they are now unable to work and are facing a pile of bills after an unfortunate lapse of insurance.

Claypool will bring his latest act Duo de Twang to the LaguMiniAmphitheaterette along with Bad Catahoula as well as other “special musical guests to see if we can help Ted Frank get back on his feet and back on the ocean.”

Folks interested in breaking bread before the show can take advantage of a BBQ/pasta feed that starts at 4:20 p.m., with the show starting at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 at the Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma.

Tickets went on sale Tuesday at noon and cost $75 for the feed and show, and $50 for show only.

We'll have to see if Claypool will play Primus tune "Last Salmon Man (Fisherman's Chronicles, Part IV)" about a fisherman who "promised to his father he'd do his best to stay in Bodega Bay."

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Les Claypool's Duo de Twang 2.0]]> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 13:53:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Claypool+Duo-003.JPG Les Claypool's Duo de Twang premiered with Bryan Kehoe at the Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael before touring the US.

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: New York City's Spectacular Fireworks Display]]> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 12:50:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/AP100704041951.jpg The nation's largest fireworks show lit up the sky in a burst of red, white and blue over the Hudson River straddling New York and New Jersey on Sunday night.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area TV Host Aisha Tyler Performs in SF]]> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 08:47:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/AishaTyler+photo+credit++Ben+Mark+Holzberg+FX.jpg

When Aisha Tyler returns to her native San Francisco to perform at Cobb’s Comedy Club on June 7 and 8, will it be her or a comedic clone?

The Bay Area’s Aisha hosts TV shows—“The Talk” and the upcoming return of “Whose Line?”—voice acts on the manic, animated “Archer,” hosts a podcast and is writing her second book. How could one of her possibly squeeze in a weekend to San Francisco to make us guffaw?

“I’m exhausted. I don’t even know who I’m talking to right now,” Aisha joked during a recent interview. “Right now, the world is just shadow and mist…Nothing great was ever done by just relaxing. It’s not like I’m Bill Gates or Julius Caesar! I just don’t like lying around, feeling like, ‘I wish I had done that.’”

Tyler also wears her nerd cred proudly. She loves “Game of Thrones,” Comic-Con, Zachary Quinto, “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” though she probably won’t be campaigning to be in director J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Wars” sequel.

“I don’t know, will there be a black person in the new ‘Star Wars?’ I guess you could make a female Lando Calrissian,” she said. “It would be neat if there was a Calrissian daughter, but I have no idea what they’re planning. After Lando, the closest thing to a black person is Chewbacca, and I definitely don’t want to play Chewbacca.

I’m tall enough to, though.”

Speaking of her height, Tyler said being tall enough and just masculine enough to be a drag queen are just a couple of the traits that help make her BFFs with the LGBT community. She recently hosted Logo TV’s “New Now Next Awards,” where “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season three champ, Raja, came out on stage dressed as Tyler.

“And said that he did me better than I do myself,” Tyler laughed.

It was the only time Tyler has seen a drag version of herself, but she wouldn’t be surprised now—especially during gay pride season—that some others might be popping up, with drag names like Alicia Taylor or Nyesha Twyler.

“There’s the other Tyra. So there could be the other Aisha. She’s in Atlanta right now doing a suicide drop; I’m sure of it,” she said.

Tyler did make one monumental mistake while surrounded by her drag sisters. She didn’t get any padding tips for her lack of booty. In fact, for her comedy special “Aisha Tyler is Lit: Live at The Fillmore,” she even had a music video about it called “Nowassitall.”

“The irony is—and I’ve really been thinking about this, especially when I was on the red carpet—is that women are always trying to make theirs smaller, and drag queens are always trying to make theirs bigger, and we would all kill for Raja’s body,” Tyler said. “Raja’s waist is so tiny, I want to eat a carrot stick and jump off the ledge. Meanwhile, Raja is like, ‘I’ve got to stuff my underpants with something.’ The grass is always hippier is the moral to that story.”

Aisha Tyler will perform at 8 and 10:15 p.m. on  June 7, and at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on June 8, at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco. Visit cobbscomedyclub.com for more info and tickets.


Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg]]>
<![CDATA[Bjork's Bay Area Residency Finishes with Mike Patton]]> Thu, 30 May 2013 15:04:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*121/Bjork-001.JPG Bjork played three shows in Richmond in the course of a week.

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[SF Zoo Introduces Baby Giraffe ]]> Thu, 30 May 2013 12:43:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giraffemain.jpg

The newest member of the San Francisco zoo is only a week old but already stands six feet tall.

On Wednesday May 22, the San Francisco Zoo welcomed a healthy baby giraffe. The zoo released the first photos of the little guy (or girl) Wednesday.

The newborn is a reticulated giraffe, which means that it has a unique geometric pattern on its coat. While reticulated giraffes are not endangered, they are still very rare.

The mother, 11-year-old Kristin, and calf are bonding privately for now at the Osher Family Giraffe Lodge.

Zoo keepers said the mother will nurse her young for a few weeks, until the two are introduced into the African Savanna exhibit, which is open to the public.

“We are very excited about this birth,” said Jim Nappi, Curator of Hoofstock and Marsupials at the San Francisco Zoo said in a release. “Giraffes add a special majesty to our multi-species African Savanna exhibit. Their successful breeding means that our Zoo-wide Wellness Initiative is working as it should be; and when the animals are thriving, we are happy.”

Kristin was born in Busch Gardens in Tampa and has given birth to three other calves in 2006, 2007, and 2009.

The newborn calf’s 11-year-old father, Floyd, was born in Albuquerque and is the zoo’s only male adult giraffe. Just last week, the zoo took in a baby giraffe from Rio Grande Zoo at Albuquerque, in hopes to increase its giraffe herd.

The new giraffe will have to compete for the public's attention with the wildly popular Sumatran tiger cub named Jillian Manus. 

He was born in February and has been wowing the crowds on the weekends for the past several weeks.

It wasn't clear when the new newborn would have its public debut, and for now the zoo is not saying whether it is a he or a she.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Primus Sails the Seas of 5.1 Surround Sound]]> Thu, 23 May 2013 23:48:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/claypool1.jpg

This week, a reissue of Primus’ Sailing the Seas of Cheese, one of 1991’s best alternative rock albums, gets a rerelease with a newly remixed stereo version as well as a deluxe 5.1 surround sound edit, complete with Blu-ray visual elements that vary with repeated viewings.

Primus singer/bassist Les Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde say they had been mulling over the idea of re-mixing their sophomore studio album for a few years now, but first had to figure out where the material was to start the process.

At a special listening party and moderated discussion between Claypool, LaLonde and Mike Etchart, Claypool explained how the original floppy discs that carried the mixing information from 1991 had gone missing.

As a result, once they dove into the process, they basically had to remix the entire album from scratch.

They enhanced what was there, but tried to keep the sound relatively the same, with a few tweaks, “You have to stay true, as close as possible, to the real thing,” said Claypool.  “We did back off some of [that] cheesy reverb of the day.”

“You won’t miss the reverb, I promise” added LaLonde.

The original album was mixed at Different Fur Studios on 19th Street in the Mission District, still an operating studio that has been around since 1968.

The end result is two incredible new listening experiences:  a new stereo mix, available on CD, vinyl or download, and a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound upgrade.

The stereo mix comes with much richer sounds, filling the room with an even, heavy second take on the original material.

The new 5.1 surround sound version comes on a DVD or Blu-ray disc where sounds travel around the room with intention, while the listener is treated to a video display reminiscent of their live shows, done by in-house video guru Agent O.

“We wanted to approach it like people are sitting there in their living room to watch this and experience the effects [of the sound and imagery],” Claypool said.  “There’s a lot more fireworks to this than most of these.”

To celebrate the release, Universal Music and Tamalpais Research Institute (TRI Studios) hosted a party at Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir’s studio in Marin with a live webcast of the moderated discussion with Claypool and LaLonde. A brief listening of the new material, compete with bank-and-forth comparison to the 1991 mix, let attendees see and hear the results from all the hard work.

Songs like “Fish On” were highlighted. You can hear the epic battle between bass, guitar and drums, rolling around the room, much like a fish on a hook swimming from this side to that as an angler tries to reel in “a hundred pound sturgeon on a twenty-pound test.”

The 30 or so in attendance at the shindig all seemed pleased with the results.  After the webcast, there was a wine and cheese party, complete with Claypool Cellars’ Fancy Pachyderm Rhone-style blend of red wine, which gave people a chance to chat up Claypool and pose for photos.

A few days after the party, Primus headed out on tour, with a stop at the first full-day of the Bottle Rock Festival in Napa, and then up the coast to Eureka, Calif. where the group delighted fans living behind the Redwood Curtain with their 3D show.

Fun Fact: Claypool explained the concept for the title for the album: “We were this under the radar, underground band and here we were, about to be the second release of Interscope Records with Gerardo’s ‘Rico Suave’ as their first release. The whole notion of ‘Sailing the Seas of Cheese’ was that we were either going to sink or swim.” I think we all know the outcome of that one.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Bay to Breakers to Draw Thousands to City]]> Sat, 18 May 2013 11:07:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/187*120/Galib+Ahmad_1.jpg

San Francisco police and other city departments are preparing for the 102nd Bay to Breakers race on Sunday with added security measures following the bombings at the Boston Marathon last month.

Backpacks or other bags larger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches by 4 inches will be banned from the 12K course, which spans from downtown San Francisco to Ocean Beach on the western end of the city.

Bomb technicians and canine units from the Police Department will be located along the course while police will also monitor cameras in real-time at the start and finish lines and at a hilly location along Hayes Street where crowds often gather for the race, police Chief Greg Suhr said.

A total of 17 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are contributing resources to ensure the safety of runners and spectators, Suhr said.

The city's Department of Public Works has also been replacing regular trashcans along the course with transparent ones so authorities can make sure nothing suspicious has been placed inside, Suhr said. Organizers of Bay to Breakers, which is presented for the first time this year by the classified ads website Craigslist, are reimbursing all costs for law enforcement, Suhr said. Race director Angela Fang said, "We're going to have the same great event that this city loves."

Matt Stiker, chief marketing officer of the San Francisco Travel Association, called Bay to Breakers a great example of the quirkiness of San Francisco.

The race is famous for the zany costumes worn by its participants, as well as the occasional runner wearing nothing at all. Stiker said the race is "a pressure release valve" for hard-working San Franciscans and "this city blows off steam like no one else does."

One costumed contestant will be Tom Sweeney, who has been a doorman at the city's Sir Francis Drake Hotel for 37 years and is running Bay to Breakers for the 40th time. Sweeney has run the race for the past 15 years in his 40-pound beefeater outfit similar to the ones worn by guards at the Tower of London.

"It's not your everyday running outfit but I love the challenge," he said. Sweeney is a native of San Francisco's Sunset District and grew up with Suhr, even briefly dating the police chief's sister.

He said he is always cheered on by his friends and other supporters when he runs the race. "It's great, seeing all my friends," he said. "I look forward to this day every year."

Sweeney said he wasn't concerned about his safety in the wake of the Boston bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 200 others near the race's finish line in April.

"I think it will be the safest thing ever," he said. "Boston was unique but I think in San Francisco, everyone comes together. It should be a good year." 

Olympian Ryan Hall, who holds the fastest marathon time ever run by an American, will be participating in the Bay to Breakers for the first time this year.

Tesfaye Alemayehu, an Ethiopian who trains in Antioch and has three top-five finishes in the San Francisco race, is among other top competitors.

The race starts at 7 a.m. Sunday at Howard and Main streets and will affect San Francisco Municipal Railway bus lines along the course.

More than 25 Muni routes will be affected, including the F, N, 2, 5, 6, 8X, 9, 10, 12, 14, 14L, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 38, 43, 44, 45, 47, 49, 71 and 108 lines.

The Great Highway parking lot closed at 6 a.m. Thursday in advance of the event, while dozens of other streets will be closed shortly before and during the race.

A list of street closures and other information about the event can be found online at www.baytobreakers.com.

Bay City News

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<![CDATA[Hooters Welcomes Moms With Kids for Mother's Day]]> Fri, 10 May 2013 16:07:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hooters1.jpg

The chain famous for buffalo wings served by waitresses clad in tight tank tops and short shorts, Hooters will attempt to draw more women into its restaurants this Mother’s Day with a free meal -- but only if the kids come along.

Hooters expects to serve 20,000 moms this year, and the presence of a child serves as confirmation of the coupon, said Dave Henninger, the chain’s chief marketing officer.

“We know most people may not think of Hooters as a typical place to take mom for Mother’s Day, but we want to make it more appealing for mom to try Hooters,” Henninger said. "We’re a popular destination for families for lunch and dinner."

This Sunday will not be the first time Hooters has tried to gain female customers. For Mother’s Day in 2011 and 2012, the chain offered women 10 free wings.

“Hooters is showing moms they are the ‘wind beneath our wings’ with this free offer,” Mike McNeil, vice president of Hooters marketing, said on the company’s Facebook page in 2011.

This year, the chain -- which touts itself on Facebook as “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” -- will not restrict the deal to wings but will give moms any entree under $10 if they bring a child and buy any drink.

“A lot of mothers just weren’t into the wings,” Kyle Penera, Hooters of Burbank manager, said. He added that the $10 limit covers new salads and sandwiches, dishes that got many requests by moms.

The deal’s fine print requires a mother to “be accompanied by one or more of her offspring,” but Penera said he would still honor the deal if a mom is sans-child.

“If you say you’re a mother and you ask for the deal, we aren’t going to deny it,” he said.

Hooters has 24 locations in California, including three in the Bay Area.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Plans for Castro Strip Club Sets Neighborhood Abuzz]]> Mon, 06 May 2013 16:15:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sarahpalineffigy.jpg

Not everyone is in favor of The Randy Rooster.

Plans to open up a high-end gentleman's club in San Francisco's Castro -- in other words, a strip club for men, staffed by men -- have upset some residents of the "gayborhood," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The club, which would go into retail space at the corners of Castro and Market streets formerly occupied by a clothing store, is a "gay gentleman's supper and burlesque club," the newspaper reported. Patrons would sup and dine, and admire men "stripping down to thongs," according to the joint's would-be operator.

Food would be local and sustainable -- of course -- and some of the proceeds would go to charities, the owners say. But there's still a backlash.

According to the newspaper, owners have already spent $7.7 million to buy the building and will spend another $6 million to buy the club, which would be like "the Abbey in West Hollywood," the newspaper reported.

Some neighbors aren't happy, and others aren't quite yet sure what the club will be like and are reserving judgment.



Photo Credit: Adam Lau]]>
<![CDATA[Rolling Stones Play Bay Area This Week]]> Sun, 05 May 2013 14:43:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/156942071.jpg

The Rolling Stones' "50 And Counting Tour" stops in the Bay Area.

The Stones play at Oakland's Oracle Arena tonight. They will be in San Jose at the HP Pavilion on Wednesday.

A legendary band that knows how to perform and give a visually and sonically appealing show to tens of thousands, Mick Jagger and crew will perform on a stage designed to look like the band's iconic lips logo, complete with sprawling tongue and enhanced with video screens and special effects.

Guitarist Mick Taylor, who played with the Stones from 1969-74, is set to join the tour as a special guest.

The setlist will focus on classics, though will incorporate some rarities and cover songs.

The last album came out in 2005, which leaves some fans speculating that some new material could creep into the show.

The band will also return to London's Hyde Park on July 6, almost 44 years to the day of their first show at the Royal Park. 

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ian Gavan]]>
<![CDATA[Comedian Kristen Schaal Play Nob Hill Masonic]]> Sat, 04 May 2013 16:25:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2010bobsburgers2.jpg

Fans of comedian Kristen Schaal’s character, Louise, on the hit, animated show, “Bob’s Burgers,” better bust out their bunny ears because she will be sporting some in San Francisco on Saturday, May 11.

That’s when “Bob’s Burgers Live” comes to the Nob Hill Masonic Center. Cast members will perform a little stand-up, do a table-read of a “Burgers” episode and maybe “take the audience with us to the Bahamas,” joked Schaal. The last time Schaal was in the Bay Area, her comedian pals surprised her with a birthday cake backstage at an SF Sketchfest show.

“The audiences in San Francisco are some of my favorites. I go as much as I can,” Schaal said.

On Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers,” Schaal plays the youngest child in a family where her pink-bunny-eared mischief-maker is actually the most-rational thinker in the clan. Schaal said she can relate a bit to Louise’s instigating nature.

“I do like to get things going,” she said. “I definitely have a weird schedule where I’ve got a lot of pots in the air. I like to get involved in a lot of things. I like to inspire stuff. I don’t think I’m as demonic as Louise is.”

“Bob’s Burgers” is a rare major network show that has been able to grow and find itself and has been renewed for a fourth season. Schaal’s cast mates—including H. Jon Benjamin (burger-joint owner, Bob), Dan Mintz (eldest, booty-obsessed daughter Tina), John Roberts (songbird Mom, Linda) and Eugene Mirman (flatulence-obsessed middle-child, Gene)—will all be part of the festivities.

Schaal said if they were touring the country on a big bus a la rock stars, she could bunk with Mirman.

“Eugene is the most affable of everybody in the cast,” she said. “Everyone is pretty chill. I would say Eugene would lead the charge of being the coolest. I always love to hang out with these guys, and this is a scheduled excuse to hang!”

And as for those aforementioned bunny ears, Schaal said they would be at the top of her list for ways to merchandise the show.

She has a couple of homemade pairs from fans. “One woman was making them and selling them on Etsy.

She sold out immediately because I posted a link to her site,” Schaal said. “I got another pair from a friend of a friend, and she crocheted them. I will probably wear those on the tour.”

If Fox does get on the merchandising bandwagon, don’t expect to find “Bob’s Burgers” sheets adorning Schaal’s bed.

“That would be a little weird, but I would send them to everyone in my family,” she said. Schaal also played Hazel, a demented NBC page, on “30 Rock” which ended its landmark run earlier this season. Surprisingly, Schaal is not too intrigued about doing a Hazel spin-off 25 years in the future. “Not really,” she laughed.

“She was trouble. I don’t know if she could get worse. She could get better, but that wouldn’t be very interesting. She’s tireless in her ambition. She probably would still be on the top of her game in some respects.”

And if Hazel and Louise were to team up, would they be an unstoppable force? “Could be, but I think Louise has a little more decency than Hazel,” Schaal added.

Louise is fortunate to have a grounded family, even if they smell of cooked ground beef and fried foods. Visit this link for tickets and information on “Bob’s Burgers Live!”

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Fox]]>
<![CDATA[Burning Man's Lawsuit Over New Fees Moves Ahead]]> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 14:25:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/BM+2012-029.JPG

The Man does not abide the county's fee.

A lawsuit filed by organizers of Burning Man against Pershing County, Nevada -- where Black Rock City sets up every August in the desert -- over the local government's new fees for the event is going forward, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones denied a motion by Pershing County to dismiss the suit entirely, meaning Black Rock City LLC can tell a court why the "county's thinly veiled attempt to exact more fees or drive" Burning Man "out of Nevada" should be kiboshed, the newspaper reported.

Burning Man has been a fixture of the Black Rock desert in Nevada since 1991. The art event pays $1.5 million in fees to the U.S. Department of the Interior for a permit -- but the permit says that Burning Man must also set up an arrangement with Pershing County.

The event has done that every year since 2006, but last year, a local law went into effect that "levies new fees against Burning Man," the newspaper reported. Burning Man says that the extra $600,000 to $800,000 in fees go above and beyond costs to the local Sheriff's Department -- hence the lawsuit.

There's a law in the works at the Nevada state Legislature that would also ban local governments from extracting money from events on federal land, the newspaper reported. But in the meantime, the Man will go to court.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary Tribute]]> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:35:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/Rocky+Tribute+poster+cropped.jpg

As originator of the role of Magenta, the demented Transylvanian housekeeper, actress Patricia Quinn has seen her share of screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“It’s bad enough having to watch the film again, never mind the play,” the “Rocky” veteran said with a laugh. So, Quinn and San Francisco’s “Peach transvestite,” Peaches Christ, collaborated on a unique idea—a “Rocky Horror Show” 40th anniversary tribute concert!

The performances on May 10th and 11th at the Victoria Theater will be the stateside premiere of such a tribute—and Quinn will kick it off with her iconic lips singing the song she originated in the musical 40 years ago, “Science Fiction/Double Feature.” More on the controversy surrounding that song later. Acclaimed drag queen Peaches, a.k.a. Joshua Grannell, said that Bay Area “Rocky Horror” fans have quite a few opportunities to go see the iconic 1975 film on the big screen, but to have a live concert honoring the 40th anniversary of the musical is quite unique.

“We will literally do all of the songs from ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ back-to-back, with a full band and back-up singers. We’re bringing a saxophone player. All local, notable vocalists will perform different parts, including Jason Brock who was on ‘The X Factor’ doing Frank-N-furter,” Grannell said. “Peaches will be stringing the narrative together between songs. It will still have a narrative feel, even though it’s a concert.” Also look for Peaches to do a juicy take on the song, “Sweet Transvestite.”

One reason for not doing the entire “Rocky Horror” play—aside from the massive undertaking of it—is to leave room for one of Peaches’ wild on-stage interviews, this time with Quinn. “I’ve been in the unique position to get idols of mine, such as Mink Stole and John Waters,” Grannell said.

“When we get onstage, I don’t want to wrangle them. Part of the joy is getting to hear stories that you’re just not going to get anywhere else.” Patricia Quinn—who is ecstatic to be visiting San Francisco for the first time—shared some “Rocky” memories during a recent interview, while she was in the States for the premiere of “Lords of Salem,” a new horror movie in which she co-stars. “My agent said they wanted me to audition for this thing at The Royal Court Theatre (upstairs),” Quinn recalled about her origin with “The Rocky Horror Show” in 1973.

“He wasn't keen on that because there’s no money in a 60-seat theatre. At the time, 18 pounds per week, which I gave to my nanny. She was looking after the baby, not me . I said to my agent, ‘What is this about?’ He said, ‘I think it’s something to do with the circus.’ I said, ‘All right.’ And, I have to say, he wasn't too far wrong. Because I've been in the circus ever since.”

When “The Rocky Horror Show” was voted the most-enjoyed piece of theatre ever performed at the Royal Court, “Rocky” creator Richard O’Brien tapped Quinn, “Little” Nell Campbell and British theatre notables to perform a tribute concert in the larger, downstairs theater at the Royal Court in 2006.

“Richard introduced me and said, ‘Now, we’ll have this young lady sing what she sang 33 years ago upstairs,’” Quinn said. “It was quite brilliant. You don’t have to watch the play anymore. You don’t have to watch the film anymore. It’s new and refreshing, and it’s great.

“I said to Peaches, ‘Why don’t we do that?’ He said, ‘What a great idea!’” Now, back to those lips. Quinn’s crimson lovelies will forever be the iconic image of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” as they were used on movie posters advertising the film all over the globe. 

They also are the first thing you see in the film after the 20th Century Fox logo. But, it’s not her voice singing “Science Fiction” as it was in the play. In the film, it’s O’Brien with Quinn doing the most-famous lip-sync ever.

“That story has gone around and around, and O’Brien has contradicted it since,” Quinn said. “I tell you, on the first day of the shoot, we were in a field outside the church, which was a wooden front.

Over that field came the soundtrack of ‘Science Fiction,’ and Richard said, ‘Listen to that voice.’ I thought, ‘I’m gonna get this pitchfork and stick it in you.’” After the filming for “Rocky Horror” wrapped, Quinn was performing in Anthony Shaffer’s play, “Murderer,” when she was asked to come back in and perform the disembodied lips for the opening of the movie.

“The studio was dark. It was me and the camera crew. It was tragic,” she recalled. “They had no special effects or anything. The mouth kept going out of focus. In the studio, they had these big lamps. They unscrewed the lamp and put the lamp on my head, so it wouldn’t move. It worked. It was like Frankenstein. Hmm, I have never thought of that before. It was Frank-N-furter, based on Frankenstein. I was bolted in so the mouth wouldn’t move. It was extraordinary.”

The Rocky Horror 40th Anniversary Concert Tribute is expected to sell out.

Visit http://store.peacheschrist.com/products/116-the-rocky-horror-show.aspx for tickets.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Chris Hatfield]]>
<![CDATA[Coachella Week 2]]> Wed, 01 May 2013 11:17:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/167091636.jpg Check out the action at the second week of Coachella.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New San Francisco Exploratorium Museum]]> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 18:41:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/exploritoriummirror.JPG Here's a look at just some of the magic inside the new SF Exploratorium

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr. ]]>
<![CDATA[Exploratorium Lifts Curtain For Museum Sneak Peek]]> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 06:29:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/exploratoriumview.JPG

After four decades enlightening visitors to science with its clever exhibits, it seems San Francisco's Exploratorium is finally seeing the light.

Following 44 years in the dim halls of the Palace of Fine Arts, the beloved science museum is poised to reopen in its new 330,000 square foot, glass-walled digs in a transformed finger pier on the city's waterfront. "We have windows for the first time really in Exploratorium history," said Exploratorium executive director Dennis Bartels.

"So we get to bring the outdoors, indoors as well." For the next phase of its journey, the museum brought along hundreds of its strange science contraptions from the old space, while creating 150 new ones for the concrete and steel pier.

The stump of a large 330-year old Douglas Fir tree salvaged from Olema sat in one of the galleries. Visitors were encouraged to touch its bark which was already flaking off in chunks, a week before the museum's official opening.

"We sort of anticipate a slow evolution of the tree," said artist Michael Brown, "as it sort of gets picked at by the visitors."

In an exploration station, visitors got to eyeball a young woman dissecting an eyeball from a cow. In another corner of the massive building, people gazed into a giant parabolic mirror which made images look as though they were hovering in space.

"One of the most satisfying things to hear is the early previews," said Bartels. "Everyone says we kept the spirit and the culture, and even the quirkiness and the funk."

The museum is also taking cues from its new location, thrust out into the bay with water lapping at all sides.

A healthy amount of the exhibits are devoted to studying the bay's tides, currents and biology. In a room the museum dubbed the classroom, a contraption called the Wired Pier kept a running log of Bay tides and water quality.

"The Wired Pier is a platform for us to do research working with local researchers and NOAA," said project manager Mary Miller, "to really understand what's happening; the dynamics of the bay waters, the surface currents, the tides."

Those exhibits Mother Nature didn't create, the museum's team of tinkerers were racing to complete.

The museum's workshop was arranged in full view of visitors, just as it was when Frank Oppenheimer founded the Exploratorium in the Palace of Fine Arts more than four decades ago. A few feet from the shop, a tall Tinkerer's mechanical clock extended its dial as a mallet struck a gong to mark the hour.

The museum is set to reopen next Wednesday - officials said tickets for opening day were nearly sold out.

Even as the Exploratorium begins to hold previews in advance of its opening, workers in hard hats were still scurrying to finish the last minute details.

Still, it may be one of the few remodeling projects, people were happy to acknowledge, will probably never end.

"It will always be a constantly evolving institution," said Brown, "We're always making new exhibits, new experiences."



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Collection of Short Films and Comedy With Bay Area Connection]]> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 11:34:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/lyon.jpg

Does the looming tax deadline have you down? Comedian Grant Lyon would like to perk your spirits and not break your bank.

On Thursday, Lyon is presenting “Say Hello to My Little Funny,” a unique collection of short films made by comedians with filmmakers who have strong ties to the Bay Area comedy scene. The event is $10 and will take place at the Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, at 7:30 p.m.

Lyon went to college in Santa Cruz, has performed comedy all over the Bay Area, and now lives in Los Angeles. While in college, he worked with a sketch troupe that made Web videos, but his film, “Interview Date,” is his first foray into traditional filmmaking.

“We learned a lot by doing. It was a lot of, ‘OK, how do we put together a shot list?’ We had never done that before,” he said of making the film with director Mike Lemcke. Lyon and Lemcke share co-writer duties, and Lyon produced.

“Interview Date’s” tagline is “Right date. Right time. Wrong person,” and sees two couples in awkward situations. One group is there for a job interview. The other is there for a blind date, but they’re with the wrong people.

“Seeing people laugh in an actual theater, that gratification is why we put in all the hard work,” Lyon said.
While “Interview Date” has screened at dozens of film festivals all over and won several awards, it’s yet to be seen on the big screen in the Bay Area. Lyon thought putting together an evening of comedy films by comedians with local ties would be a unique way to see all of these films in one place, with some of the filmmakers in attendance.

“The world of stand-up comedy is fairly small and insular,” Lyon said. “We see each other all the time. So we thought we would reach out to other comedians we knew who did things other than just stand-up.”

The other films will include:

•    “Lucifer’s Crewcut,” a mockumentary about the fate of a death metal barbershop quartet. Comedians and filmmakers Sal Calanni and Robert Selander will be on hand to introduce the film.

•    “Thugs the Musical,” also a mockumentary about a disastrous musical production, is written by and stars SF comic Kevin Avery, who will be in attendance.

•    “Successful Alcoholics” is by T.J. Miller and stars Miller and Lizzy Caplan.

•    And “John’s Wrath,” co-star and writer, Sammy Wegent, will also be there to chat about his film.

While the event is casual, Lyon said he’s trying to be an adult for the first time in his life. So he will be keeping it classy in a Hugo Boss suit, “and probably a bow tie,” he said.

Visit Landmark Theaters for tickets to “Say Hello to My Little Funny.” More info on Grant Lyon can be found at GrantLyon.com.

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago.

If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Grant Lyon]]>
<![CDATA[Sculpture Park Rises Up in Oakland]]> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 19:33:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/sculpture4.jpg Many people are surprised to find the structures. ]]> <![CDATA[Sculpture Park Rises Up in Downtown Oakland]]> Sat, 06 Apr 2013 07:41:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/sculpture4.jpg

A former parking garage in downtown Oakland is transforming into a showcase for art.

The city has now converted the empty lot in the uptown district into a sculpture park.

Five artists filled the former site of a Sears parking garage with nine sculptures.

The display includes an archway made entirely of bicycle parts.

The park sits right next to the restored Fox Theater, an area that has seen a massive revitalization in the last few years.

“That’s one of the things I love about public art is you’re out on the street, people happen on the work, they don’t know that it’s going to be here and then there’s a smile on their face as they want to talk to people, want to ask questions,” Oakland public art manager Kristen Zaremba said.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and the city will celebrate the park's completion Friday night.

The city says the sculptures will remain for a year, and then be changed out with a new set of sculptures.

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<![CDATA[MOMA Packing Up for a Big Move]]> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 18:27:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/moma1.jpg With the days counting down until San Francisco's MOMA two-year planned hiatus for renovations, workers are busily packing up nearly 30,000 pieces of art for the big move. Joe Rosato Jr. reports.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Star Wars at the San Jose Tech Museum]]> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 14:29:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/StarWars03.28.13.jpg The latest exhibit to arrive at the Tech Museum in San Jose is all about Star Wars.]]>