<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/the-scene/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sat, 19 Apr 2014 21:11:57 -0700 Sat, 19 Apr 2014 21:11:57 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Revenge of the Nerds" Stars in SF for Screening, Q&A]]> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 15:15:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-05-2014-Curtis-Armstrong.jpg

Was a 1984 film with themes of bullying, coming out and universal acceptance truly ahead of its time? Keep that question in mind when you realize said film is “Revenge of the Nerds.”

“That’s what I love about it. There was a message of inclusion and tolerance and anti-bigotry,” said Curtis Amstrong, who played Dudley “Booger” Dawson in not only the original but also the three “Nerds” sequels.

Armstrong will join his cast mates, Timothy Busfield, Robert Carradine, Andrew Cassese, Julia Montgomery, Larry B. Scott and Brian Tochi, for a screening of the film and Q&A with The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick at 8:30 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 8, at the Castro Theatre. It’s part of SF Sketchfest, which concludes its 13th edition this weekend.

“Revenge of the Nerds” may be best remembered for things like the nerds versus the jocks; Carradine’s and Anthony Edwards’ inhale-heavy nerd guffaws; Booger’s “wonder joints;” and lots and lots of female nudity. But, beneath all the titillation was an amazing cast, endearing characters and a message of hope, capped with Queen’s “We Are the Champions” at the finale.

People wear their geek and nerd cred as badges of honor these days. In fact, Armstrong and Carradine host a TBS show called “King of the Nerds” that contestants clamor to be on. But in 1984, not so much.

“At the time, if you were a nerd, you were closeted. That’s what the movie was about,” Armstrong said. “There are things throughout intended as metaphors: the burning cross on the lawn, coming out to your classmates as nerds, and the idea of a black fraternity taking in this mob of misfits, who didn’t belong, obviously, in a black fraternity. There are messages all the way through it.

“In addition to all the bare breasts and nose-picking, there’s actually some stuff in there that means something.” Armstrong credits the progressiveness of the story to the filmmakers and even some cast who came up in the ’60s—Carradine and he were 30 years old already when they made the movie, even though they were playing college freshmen.

Aside from the aforementioned cast who are celebrating the film in SF, “Nerds” featured Bernie Casey, James Cromwell, John Goodman and Ted McGinley in co-starring roles. Armstrong said the script as given to the actors wasn’t so great, but director, Jeff Kanew, encouraged bonding among the cast and lots of improvising, which is where the characters were fleshed out.

“Booger didn’t really exist on the page,” Armstrong said. “He wasn’t a nerd really. That made me think he was somebody who went his own way and happened to have bad hygiene. He was unable to pick up social cues like ‘Don’t belch or pick your nose in front of people.’

“I think the reason he’s there, aside from the broad comedy element, is to show that the nerds don’t blink when it comes to him. They take him in like they would anyone else. No one even says, ‘Are you sure we should have this guy in the house? He’s carrying drugs. He’s disgusting.’ No one ever questions it. It’s just, ‘He’s here. We have to take care of him.’”

The climax of “Revenge of the Nerds” sees the Tri-Lam nerds fraternity versus the football team Alpha Betas in a winner-takes-all Olympic-style games. Just don’t expect Armstrong to be able to recreate his triumphant burp from the stage of the Castro Theatre.

“Everybody asks me to do it, but, A, I can’t belch on cue, and, B, it isn’t even a belch,” Armstrong said. “It’s actually the sound of a camel having an orgasm, which no one believes but Busfield will be there, and he can swear to it. He was in the room when they were mixing the movie. They couldn’t find anyone to do the kind of belch they wanted. So they started looking through animal noises, and that’s what they found.”

Visit www.sfsketchfest.com for more information on the “Revenge of the Nerds” 30th anniversary event.

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/coreyshame.

Photo Credit: SF Sketchfest]]>
<![CDATA[David Wain Drops “Wainy Days” on SF Sketchfest]]> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:32:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01-28-2014-Wainy-Days-PR-Image.jpg

With the continuing drought plaguing the Bay Area, it will be a relief that “Wainy Days” are coming soon.

At least writer-director-comedian David Wain’s appearances at SF Sketchfest might help take our minds off the local lack of precipitation. He will present “Wainy Days Live” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, at Marines’ Memorial Theater and will be part of the three-headed monster known as Stella at 10 p.m. on Friday, January 31, also at Marines’ Memorial.

“Wainy Days” was Wain’s wacky (sorta fake) look at his love life in the form of a Web show, and the live version will feature special guests like Rashida Jones from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and Wain’s old comrades, Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black.

“It will be like a variety show of ‘Wainy Days’ scenes. We’ll do a staging of one or two sketches. We might show some bonus things, a staged reading of an early ‘Wainy Days’ sketch I wrote when I was in middle school. It will be a grab bag,” Wain said.

Jones played a version of Wain in drag in an early episode of “Wainy Days.” “Since Rashida is such a great singer, we might also do some music stuff,” Wain said.

He was en route to the Sundance Film Festival during this interview, for the premiere of “They Came Together,” a romantic comedy he co-wrote with Showalter.

“I’m sure we wouldn’t have done the film if we had not done a reading of the script at Sketchfest,” Wain said. “The project had been sitting on the shelf for years and years. I just sort of had an inkling it would be fun to read. When we read it out loud, the reaction was so strong, and we had so much fun, that immediately after Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler came up to me and said, ‘Please, can we do this and soon?’”

SF Sketchfest has been a special gathering for The State, the groundbreaking sketch comedy troupe that first appeared on MTV 20 years ago and helped launch Wain, Showalter, Black and others into the sketch comedy zeitgeist. The State had its last full reunion of all 11 founding members at Sketchfest four years ago, and different clusters of State members have presented a (viva) variety of performances throughout Sketchfest’s history, including a re-creation of the cult 2001 film “Wet Hot American Summer,” directed by Wain and co-written with Showalter.

“The other thing that’s great about Sketchfest is the entire comedic community gathering,” Wain said. “It’s great to check in with people I worked with in the past and say hello to old friends.”

Six of the 11 (or 55%) members of The State will be part of this year’s Sketchfest, including Wain, Showalter, Black, Kevin Allison, Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. Wain said Sketchfest is one of the few opportunities for him, Black and Showalter to perform together as Stella.

“We’re on different coasts,” Wain said. “It’s like riding a bike though. Once we’re on stage, it’s like being in a band.”

Stella formed in 1997, and quickly became a magnet for the burgeoning alternative comedy scene in New York City. The trio create a Rat-Pack-meets-the-Marx-Bros. vibe, chock full of nonsense and vigor.

“Stella was a means of giving comics a place to refine that stuff that they were trying out in these rougher rooms. The whole edict of Stella was to be a little more upscale, a little more refined, a little more put together,” Michael Ian Black said. “It had music. We wore suits. There were drinks. It was all designed be an alternative to a traditional stand-up comedy space.”

Stella’s Showalter has also written a new book about one of his passions, cats, called “Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too.”

“Cats, they are endless sources of entertainment and fascination and conversation. We love them like they are our children,” Showalter said.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, Black and Showalter will perform a live version of their Adult Swim infomercial parody, “You’re Whole.” It’s a co-billing with State alumnus, Kevin Allison, whose Stitcher Award-nominated storytelling show “RISK!” at the Brava Theater.

“It doesn’t have to be something that would ever be able to air on NPR,” Allison said about the raw, revealing stories heard on “RISK!” “It doesn’t even have to be funny. Just take a risk, and say something that is truly, authentically you.”

“RISK!” storytellers will include Dana Gould, Nato Green, Stephen Tobolowsky and Brendon Walsh.
Members of The State may actually reunite to attend this summer’s London reunion of Monty Python, the troupe that helped get their comic juices flowing.

Thomas Lennon, who will appear at SF Sketchfest in the shows “Dead Authors” on Jan. 24, “Superego Podcast” on Jan. 25 and “One Star” on Feb. 8, is proud of his collection of all the Python’s autographs.

“Graham Chapman was actually speaking at the University of Indiana,” he said, “and I ended up being able to get his autograph there, which was pretty amazing.”

Robert Ben Garant, State alum and Lennon’s screenwriting partner, is a special guest for “One Star” at the Eureka Theater. Visit sfsketchfest.com for the full schedule of shows and ticket information.

You can watch all five seasons of “Wainy Days” by visiting www.MyDamnChannel.com/WainyDays

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/coreyshame.

<![CDATA[NorCal's Largest Rummage Sale This Sunday]]> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 23:13:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01-24-2014-white-elephant.jpg

Antique shops pale in comparison. Garage sales don’t hold a candle. And thrift stores are downright pitiful when compared to the 96,000-square-foot warehouse that is home to the annual White Elephant Preview Sale.

Last year I picked up a 24" silver-plated tray for $50 and considered a beautiful carved chair for $100 but it would not fit in my Prius!

More than 1,200 volunteers work the 17 departments that include boutique, silver, fantastic furniture, Christmas, lighting, vintage clothing, furniture, books, jewelry, shoes, tools, electronics, and sporting goods. Rack up karma points while on a treasure hunt—proceeds support the Oakland Museum of California.

This sale is not for the faint of heart, so expect crowds, and watch out for the cutthroat designers and HGTV decorators waiting to snatch that mid-century chair, Chinese vase or classic trunk.

The preview sale is this Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, and is a picker's delight. Admission is only $20!

Come early and wait in line, doors open at 10 a.m.

<![CDATA["Nancy and Beth" Band Perform at SketchFest in San Francisco]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:32:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*128/nancybeth.JPG

Megan Mullally knows her audience and the ways of grassroots publicity. When her newish band, Nancy and Beth, last arrived in San Francisco and the shows were not yet sold out, Mullally and her harmonizing mate, Stephanie Hunt, made a beeline for The Castro.

“I said, ‘Let’s go steal some flyers for the show from the hotel and go,’” Mullally recalled. “We went out to the bars and created quite a stir, if I say so myself.” “We got into the deejay booths and starting singing, playing the tambourine,” Hunt added.

Before long it was 3 a.m., antics had ensued in and out of the bars, and Hunt heard Mullally say, “You literally have to get me back, into the bed and make sure I call Nick,” Offerman, her husband (“Parks and Recreation” star, carnivore).

Suffice it to say, when Nancy and Beth performed their San Francisco shows, they were in front of packed houses. Now, the band is coming back for SF Sketchfest, arguably the greatest comedy festival on the globe. They will hit Kanbar Hall in the Jewish Community Center at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31.

“We’ve got some fun, pizzazz-y songs planned, some sweet songs and everything in between,” Mullally said. “It’s getting very entertainment value-y. There’s a bit of a burlesque/Vegas vibe. I think what’s interesting about the band is the age difference. We’re 30 years apart. I’m the younger one. When you watch the show, I don't think you can quite figure it out. It lends an element of mystery.”

Nancy and Beth isn’t a comedy act per se. They’re sort of like the Andrews Sisters (minus one sister who’s passed out on
the floor after last call in a hooch den). The act is peppered with tunes from 60-70 years ago, such as a harmonious take on the Louis Jordan R&B classic, “Jack, You’re Dead.”

“What’s the use of havin’ muscles, if your life hangs by a thread? If you ain’t got no red corpuscles, Jack, you’re dead,” Mullally and Hunt croon to a bouncing, four-piece ensemble. From there, out come some ’80s sneaks for a take on Run-D.M.C.’s “My Adidas.”

“We have the actual green and yellow Adidas. I had to order them from Japan because they don’t make them in the states. Because yellow and green are for when you want to get ill,” Mullally reminded. “And that’s what we're trying to do at shows,” Hunt added.

Mullally may be best known for her Emmy-winning stint as Karen Walker on the classic NBC sitcom, “Will and Grace,” but her comedy and music cred go way beyond that defining role. She’s added to the chortles on cult fave shows like “Party Down” and “Children’s Hospital” and has wowed Broadway crowds in the musicals “Grease” and “Young Frankenstein.” Mullally also released two eclectic solo abums before aligning with Hunt for Nancy and Beth.

It was the brutal heat of Texas that brought Mullally and Hunt (“Friday Night Lights,” “Californication”) together in Megan’s air-conditioned car on the set of the indie film “Somebody Up There Likes Me.” “I had my ukulele with me. I started singing. I said, ‘Would you sing this part with me?’ It was there in the air-conditioning that we realized our voices sounded really good together,” Hunt said.

“Our voices blend really well. Also, Stephanie does really great harmonies. She’s kind of insta-harmony. That's nice for me because I don't have to learn harmony parts,” Mullally laughed.

The tone of their voices as well as their flavor for songs was instantly in simpatico. They dove into Mullally’s vast library of ditties and created a “freak out” set list, which has grown and changed over the last year or so. Nancy and

Beth recently added head mics so they can create more complicated choreography. You can often catch them rehearsing anywhere there’s a mirror, they said, including hotel lobbies.

“We like to go vintage clothes shopping. Sometimes while we’re shopping, we will pause in front of the mirror and try out some of our clothes to make sure they will work for the show,” Mullally said.

They also recently recorded a cover of rapper Gucci Mane’s song, “I Don’t Love Her,” for the Nancy and Beth debut album.

“Somebody said, it seems like during the show, we’re f****** with the audience a little bit, but at the same time we’re genuinely trying to be entertaining. I think that’s great if people feel that way,” Mullally said.

So, Castro, be ready. If it’s Jan. 30, and Nancy and Beth have seats open for the show on Jan. 31, they’re coming to get you. The Lampshades, featuring Kate Flannery (“The Office”) and Scot Robinson will open the show. Visit sfsketchfest.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/coreyshame.

Photo Credit: Eric Schwabel]]>
<![CDATA[Jenny Slate Making SF Sketchfest Debut]]> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:04:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01-14-2014-jenny-slate.jpg

Spitfire comic Jenny Slate is making her SF Sketchfest debut this month at Cobb’s Comedy Club at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, January 24, with the show Jenny Slate and Friends.

But, what would Jenny Slate and Frenemies from High School be like?

“I didn’t have any frenemies in high school,” Slate said. “If it was Jenny Slate and Frenemies from High School, it would just be me flinching for an hour waiting for someone to attack me and not having anything happen. That would be interesting.”

Instead, Slate is bringing along comic pals Jon Daly, Brett Gelman, Max Silvestri and Nick Thune for a late-night cavalcade.

“The format will be traditional; the performers not so much,” Slate said. “I hear that the crowds at Cobb’s are really down for a party.”

Slate had to cancel her performance at last year’s Sketchfest due to a change in her filming schedule for the season finale of Showtime’s “House of Lies,” she said. Since leaving “Saturday Night Live” after one season in 2010, Slate has been juggling regular live shows on both coasts, hilarious roles on shows like “Parks and Recreation” and Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” and voice work on stuff like “Bob’s Burgers” and her own smash viral video, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.”

The multitasking Slate was even making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her husband during this interview.

“He won’t have a healthy kind of peanut butter. He makes me get Jif, even though I want to have the organic peanut butter without all the hydrogenated oils,” she laughed.

Slate’s humor can be compared to the last sketch that typically appears five minutes before the end of “Saturday Night Life,” off-the-rails, bizarre and spit-take funny.

“That's my area, the bonkers area,” she said.

Slate said the goodnights of “SNL” were among her favorite moments and recalled an odd exchange.

“Bobby Moynihan and I were wearing full gorilla costumes with latex prosthetics on our face. We didn’t have enough time to take them off before it was time for goodnights,” she said. “The musical guest was Bon Jovi. I turned to Richie Sambora and was like, 'Really nice to meet you,' and he said, 'You, too.' And I said, “This latex is so bad. Sorry my face smells like farts.”

One day, Slate began speaking in a slight, sweet and whispery way to her filmmaker husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp, and the voice inspired the couple to create Marcel, an adorable, one-eyed seashell with itty-bitty sneakers.

“Sometimes you'll hear music, and it will make you start doing a dance or a weird body movement that you could only have started with that music,” she said after being asked about her motivation for voices. “I don’t know how to describe it. It's a feeling. I get a feeling. A lot of times it makes me want to speak as somebody else. That seems like I’m mentally ill. It happens pretty naturally. It’s like dancing, if that makes any sense at all.”

He hang-glides using a Dorito. He uses the toenails of a man for skis. He’s Marcel, and his first video has been watched more than 22 million times.

“We have our second book coming out relatively soon. We will be making a feature, eventually. I hope Marcel does stick around. I think he’s really an interesting, positive, complex character. I think he connects with people of all different ages. If there was one thing that I would be remembered for, I would be very happy if that was my little thing that I did for the world,” Slate said.

Slate, Gabe Liedman and Max Silvestri will also present “Big Terrific,” a popular New York City comedy show, transported to Sketchfest at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 25, also at Cobb’s. You can also catch Slate on new episodes of “Kroll Show” at 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Comedy Central.

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: Daniel McMahon]]>
<![CDATA[Comedian Jill Bourque Hopes for Audience "Incontinence"]]> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:57:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NYNNYE-5-horiz_edited_David-Allen.jpg

Comedian Jill Bourque is hoping for an exhilarated audience at her fifth-annual Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve show—but no cardiac arrests.

(Writer’s note: The first New Year’s Eve comedy show I attended, Ron White was the headliner, but before he could take the stage, an audience member had a heart attack in the front row of the Funny Bone comedy club, I told Jill. He survived.)

“You always wonder what’s going to happen when you perform in so many shows,” Bourque said.

Hopefully, her 2014 begins on a less serious note.

“I hope there’s some incontinence from laughter,” Bourque said. “That would be the ultimate.”

This year’s event will be held for the first time at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Bourque is co-hosting with a Bay Area favorite, Brian Copeland, and the line-up features a cavalcade of quirky comics: Kelly Erskine, Laurie Kilmartin, Joe Klocek, Casey Ley, Dan St. Paul, and Brent Weinbach.

“Brent was kind of the genesis for this show. I love his unconventional comedy, and when I was producing shows for The Purple Onion, he was headlining one weekend. We were talking, and he inspired me to create this New Year’s show that would be full of unconventional comedy,” Bourque said.

Her biggest challenge hasn’t been putting together a stellar line-up but to get the comedians to dress up a little for the special occasion. To battle that, last year Bourque had three costume changes, culminating in a big, orange and silver balloon gown.

“I almost became a drag queen last year,” she said. Bourque aims to top the 350 balloons that adorned her petite frame last year. “More, more, more! I think we’re adding some three footers to this one,” she added.

Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve is also not normal because it culminates at 10 p.m. San Francisco time—or midnight in Normal, Illinois, Bourque says.

“I like an 8 o’clock show because I like a crisp audience. Some of the shows go beyond midnight, but I don’t like that kind of sloppy audience. It’s not fun for everyone. It gets a little belligerent,” Bourque said.

But her show does end with a bang or two—a giant balloon drop.
“We have these giant, three-foot-in-diameter balloons. When they drop, there’s five minutes of just the balloons going around the theatre,” Bourque said. “I’ve heard stories of people taking them with them on BART.”

For those who want to continue having a good time until midnight (and beyond) local time, for an additional $99, attendees can bounce into the Marines’ Memorial New Year’s party after the show for an open bar, dancing and champagne at midnight.

You may not see Bourque there, though, because last year after the show she spent 45 minutes taking photos with people who were all a’flutter over her balloon gown. If time allows, she might “float by” the party.

“So many balloon jokes, so little time,” she laughed.

Brazilian Mash-Up Artist DJ Lucio K will also keep the festivities lively, Bourque said. For tickets and more information about Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve, call (415) 392-4400 or visit www.nynnye.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: David Allen]]>
<![CDATA[First Up on the PlayStation 4]]> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 18:23:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000005138732_1200x675_70093891737.jpg Next Generation video game consoles are here and are being fueled by new software. It’s just the start of new era that the Sony PlayStation 4 is bringing to gamers around the world now.]]> <![CDATA[Benefits Planned for Poster Artist Injured in Attack]]> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:11:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AlanForbes.jpg

Several concerts are planned to benefit a San Francisco poster artist cover growing his medical expenses.

Alan Forbes, a professional poster artist best known for designing the logo for the band the Black Crowes, was attacked in the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco last month.

Friends said the attack left Forbes with two skull fractures and damage to his right eye.

The benefit shows will be held in San Francisco and will feature silent auctions. For more information on the events, visit the Alan Forbes benefit blog.

Forbes has also done posters, logos and album art for bands including the White Stripes, AFI, Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine and Dinosaur Jr.

Photo Credit: Alan Forbes Benefit Blog]]>
<![CDATA[Sean Penn Goes Bananas on Dreamforce Attendee]]> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 16:03:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/192*120/brolinjj2.jpg

Note to Sean Penn: Cameras aren't for stomping and hotel bars aren't for the screaming -- unless you want to end up on camera.

The volatile and talented Oscar-winning actor -- and frequenter of San Francisco bars -- was captured on video having a temper tantrum, according to TMZ and others.

Penn, the Bay Area-based actor who starred in "Milk" and was known to frequent Tosca in North Beach, was in town to talk about Haiti at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce 2013 conference.

MORE: Haitian Prime Minister Tours Silicon Valley

Following the talk about saving humanity, Penn was in the hotel bar of the St. Regis when a fan -- who was a Dreamforce attendee -- dared to take a cell phone photo of the actor.


Penn took the man's phone and "slammed it to the ground," according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"Do we look like [curse word] zoo animals?" Penn asked the man. "I'll make you eat the phone -- get the [curse word] out of here!"

TMZ, of course, has video of the incident,
shot by more discrete individuals who were spared Penn's self-editing.

Penn complained to hotel management, who asked if the man wanted to call police. He did not.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[John Waters Hitchhikes His Way to San Francisco]]> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 11:31:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11-18-2013-john-waters.jpg

When John Waters treks from his home in Baltimore to San Francisco, he does it the old-fashioned way, with his thumb. 

“I would recommend everybody hitchhiking again!” the writer-director of iconic films such as “Polyester” and “Hairspray” said.

It was for his next probable best-selling book that Waters decided to take a decidedly old-fashioned approach to cross-country travel. That tome will arrive in 2014, but Waters will be here for two shows at Yoshi’s San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 23.

“I’ve never played this club before, a good jazz club,” Waters said. “I hope I can resist the urge to shoot up heroin before I go on. I don’t do heroin, but what jazz musician doesn’t? Jazz is the sound of heroin. If you see me nodding off, you know I found an old syringe somewhere.”

Perhaps that’s not the type of banter typically heard at the admittedly jazzy joint, but fans of Waters would have it no other way. In fact, his show is titled, “This Filthy World,” and he promises that while it’s completely scripted and memorized, Waters “upgrades” it for the city and venue in which it’s performed. And because Waters owns a home in San Francisco, he’ll have an informed opinion on the city—albeit a potentially controversial one.

“I think you have the best transit there,” he said. “I can say, ‘Your cat hates you,’ and nobody seems to get that upset. I say you have a good transit system, and people say, ‘He’s gone insane!’ I do ride the bus. People say, ‘What are you doing on the bus?’ Why wouldn’t I be on the bus? They have great routes. I want to be the spokesman for BART.

“And the cable car goes right by my apartment. I feel like I live in a Rice-A-Roni commercial.”

Waters’ live show traces through his nearly-50-year career as a mondo weirdo moviemaker. His collection of oddballs and misfits were dubbed the Dreamlanders and co-starred in Waters’ low-budget films like “Pink Flamingos” and “Desperate Living,” flicks that found infamy and rabid fans via the midnight movie circuits. Waters’ muse, female impersonator Divine née Harris Glenn Milstead, became an international superstar.

It’s been nearly a decade since Waters’ last film, “A Dirty Shame.” “The business is not one I know anymore,” he said. Waters has shifted his craft to writing acclaimed books and making interesting cameos, such as one in comedy troupe Lonely Island’s music video, “The Creep.”

“I get recognized everywhere for that,” Waters said. “Have you seen how many hits that’s had? Go on YouTube and see. You’ll be shocked.”

As of this writing, it’s more than 78.6 million.

After Waters performs here (and hits some hipster bars on Valencia with friends), he’s spending the holidays with family.

PHOTOS: Weird News Photos

“I will take my 89-year-old mother to my sister’s in Virginia, as we do every year,” he said. “We go en mass to see whatever the new holiday movie is. It’s hard in a little town in Virginia. I don’t have a lot of choices. I’m mad there isn’t a new Chipmunks movie, which I always want to go see.”

Don’t expect to see a 20-foot-tall, inflatable Alvin, Simon and Theodore adorning his San Francisco apartment this holiday season though.

“I only decorate the Baltimore one because I’m there for Christmas,” he said. “I have a big party. I have a wreath made of sticker bushes that snag your outfit as you come in the door. We decorate the electric chair that was in ‘Female Trouble’ with Christmas lights. We really do it up.”

While “This Filthy World” isn’t his Christmas show, feel free to ask during the Q&A portion about Waters’ view on jolly, old elves.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions about Santa,” he said. “Is he a polar bear? Are the reindeer twinks? One was called Prancer. One would think.”

Visit yoshis.com/sanfrancisco for tickets and more information about John Waters’ “This Filthy World.”


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: Greg Gorman]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood In Napa -- Film Festival Returns]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2013 00:12:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/colinferel.jpg

Is that Colin Farrell with some Chardonnay in Calistoga? Could that be Tom Hanks having Pinot in St. Helena?

Has Carneros become the new red carpet?

It's possible.

The Napa Valley Film Festival is well under way, which means the gliterrati are descending upon wine country.

Friday Farrell made an appearance for the viewing of "Saving Mr. Banks," the Hanks vehicle in which the star plays Walt Disney. Ralph Macchio was also on hand, as was Billy Bush.

The festival includes 125 films, 50 chefs and 150 wines.

PHOTOS: $30M Napa Home Perched Over Pond

And, of course, there are some movies about wine: "Red Obsession" chronicles the Chinese obsession with Bordeaux -- a bad word in Cabernet country! -- and a more homegrown tale with "Dossier Zinfandel," which gets up and close with that "mysterious" American grape.

Jackson Rathbone and Ralph "The Karate Kid" Macchio (he's a director now) will also appear as the festival winds down -- but don't miss the main event.

That's the Gala Night, when Napa gets the Red Carpet treatment. It all begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the Napa Valley Opera House, 103 Main Street in Napa.

That'll get the snobs out of Yountville, for a day anyway.

<![CDATA[American Girl Store Comes to Stanford]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 15:44:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/americangirl1.jpg

Playgrounds across the Bay Area are likely buzzing in high-pitch squeals this week as little girls plan their first visit to the new American Girl store in Palo Alto.

The store has been under wraps for months at the Stanford Shopping Mall, but its door will swing wide open on Saturday morning.

For non-doll aficionados, the American Girl doll is considered the "Tiffany of toys," with prices starting at more than $100. Throw in the brushes, skirts and other accessories, and gift givers are looking at spending hundreds of dollars for each "Saige," "McKenna" and "Kanani," this holiday season.

The American Girl doll line started in Chicago in 1986. The company devotes its entire business to "celebrating the potential of girls ages 3 to 12."

The Stanford store is 15,000 square feet and has two levels. It has a restaurant and a hair salon. Humans can eat in the Bistro, but the salon is only for the dolls.

The store's grand opening this weekend is expected to be crowded.

A ticket system will be used with customers given a group number.

Tickets won't be handed out before 7 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday and Stanford does not allow overnight camping.


<![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[Chick-fil-A Returns to Sunnyvale]]> Thu, 31 Oct 2013 08:30:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IMAG3650.jpg

After a nearly 20-year hiatus, Chick-fil-A is returning to Sunnyvale.

The first Bay Area Chick-fil-A location opened at the Sunnyvale Town Center in 1984. It closed in 1994. The new Chick-fil-A is less than a mile away at 550 W El Camino Real.

Dozens of people have been camping out at the new spot this week ahead of Thursday's 6 a.m. opening.

The first 100 people in line for the opening will get free chicken for a year. The coupon is worth about $350 and is for one meal a week.

The Sunnyvale location is the eighth of nine new restaurants the chain plans to open in California this year.

Chick-fil-A says each restaurant employes 60 to 100 people.

Its founder Truett Cathy first began serving a pressured cooked breast-of-chicken sandwich on a buttered bun with two pickles in Hapeville, Ga., in 1946. The franchises are still serving that same sandwich today.


<![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[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[Playa Preps Underway for Burning Man 2013]]> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 15:55:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/BM+Set+Up+2013-015.JPG Crews and artists are working through the weekend getting camps and art ready for the Burning Man festival which officially starts on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Vintage Sports Cars]]> Sat, 17 Aug 2013 20:24:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/corvette.jpg The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has over 550 entries divide into 16 classes, based on type of car and era of origin. Here, Porsche 911's from the early 70's race thru the famous Corkscrew at Laguna Seca.

Photo Credit: Steve Wheelock]]>
<![CDATA[Cronut Craze Hits San Francisco]]> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 14:39:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ansel_cronut.jpg

The New York Cronut craze has hit the Bay Area with San Francisco bakeries selling out recently as many locals order the hyped-up hybrid croissant-meets-doughnut pastry by the dozen.

The croissant-doughnut creation was born at Dominque Ansel Bakery in Manhattan this spring and has since been trademarked as its popularity soars and pre-order lists grow.

The trendy treat has made its way westward in the past few weeks, with downtown San Francisco coffee shops offering Cronut-inspired "cronots" made by Santa Clara-based wholesaler Posh Bakery.

At Java Trading Co. at 100 Fifth St., owner Fi Li started ordering cronots from Posh Bakery in early July on Fridays only. Two weeks ago she decided to order them everyday as demand increased. "Usually people come in and want to buy a dozen," she said this morning.

She said during the morning rush they often sell out, but as she has increased her orders more customers purchase them up until closing.

She said she first heard about the hype in New York in late June and saw that Posh, which delivers other baked goods to the ground-floor shop at the San Francisco Chronicle building, was offering the cronot. The sugary treats are $3 each and come in flavors including chocolate, cinnamon, glazed and strawberry.

Many are filled with custard. One patron this morning was trying his first cronot and decided on chocolate.

James Seraphine, who works at the Chronicle, said he had heard about the novelty breakfast item from friends in New York. After a few bites he said, "it's perfect," if a bit decadent. He said, "I'd get it again" and was eager to tell his East Coast friends that he had tried the West Coast version.

At one of the several locations of Lee's Deli scattered throughout San Francisco's Financial District had the Posh Bakery cronots packaged in boxes lined along the cash register at 615 Market St. this morning. Owner Sterling Quan said his store goes through four- to five-dozen cronots throughout the day.

They are $2.50 each.

He started selling them three weeks ago.

"It's going pretty well," he said. He orders the baked goods daily and he said some days his location will sell out, especially when he receives orders for 10 in one purchase. He said certain croissant elements, such as the multiple layers and that the treat is "flakier than a doughnut," adds to its popularity.

After Posh offered Lee's locations to sample the item, Quan said he "wasn't aware how big they were" and then discovered people were lining up in New York to take a bite. At his store, "people are disappointed if we're sold out," so he has been upping his orders each morning.

The Fillmore Bakeshop, located at 1890 Fillmore St., made a batch of their own recipe for Kronuts last Saturday and quickly sold out.

The bakers have decided to offer the cinnamon-sugar covered pastries every Saturday between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. On the bakery's Facebook page, the owners posted after Saturday's inaugural Kronut sale.

"Kronuts were a huge success!! Thanks for everyone's patience, we can only fry 6 at a time, but making them in such small batches is what makes them so special!" they wrote.

At the original New York bakery, the Dominque Ansel website has a "Cronut 101" page with details about the pastry that the bakery has dubbed the "most viral dessert item to date."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![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[Yes, Algae Can Make You Beautiful]]> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 06:33:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-7-2013-algae-cosmetics.jpg

It's already in your car. How about a little on your face?

Not content to try and revolutionize the fuel market, Silicon Valley biotech company Solazyme is targeting skincare products. By re-engineering algae, Solazyme has been able to create a cleaner fuel. It's a cool idea, embraced by some car and airline makers.

Now, Solazyme wants to get a little more glamorous.

It's expanding a deal to sell its Algenist line of cosmetics with skincare and makeup hotshot Sephora, and yes, the products will be algae-based. Solazyme has been working on cosmetic products for a couple of years. The latest deal with Sephora will focus on the Algenist line of Anti-Aging oil. It costs $79 per bottle, and is coming to a Sephora near you, whether you're in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Spain, Italy, or a half-dozen other countries.

"Think of it as greener, more sustainable skincare." After all, says Solazyme Chief Scientist Anna Coragliotti, "Algae are survivors."

And Solazymepublicly traded, by the way, under the ticker symbol SZYMknows what to do with it.

"Cellular rejuvenation benefits to the skin, hydration benefits to the skin,” Algenist VP of marketing Tania Toubba said. “You're gonna get anti-aging products that really work."

The future? Look for algae-based food to come from Solazyme. They're cooking some up in their South San Francisco lab now. Lots of products will likely come from algae ... Let's just hope we don't accidentally confuse them.

Sephora’s new line of Algenist anti-aging products go on sale at Sephora stores Thursday.

 Scott Budman is on Twitter: @scottbudman


Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![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[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[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[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[Tornado Relief Effort Gains Support Through Cupcakes]]> Thu, 23 May 2013 06:45:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/052213-sprinkles-cupcakes.jpg

Some Bay Area businesses are taking action to help provide relief for Oklahoma tornado victims. 
Charles Nelson, co-founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes in Palo Alto, is an Oklahoma native who hopes to raise several thousand dollars for his home state.
The cupcake shop is selling “Red Cross Red Velvet Cupcakes” until 9 p.m. on Wednesday. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross.
The white-frosted cupcakes decorated with red crosses on top are priced at $3.50 each and $39 per dozen.  
The company’s past recovery efforts have generated as much as $55,000.
The San Jose Sharks Foundation also contributed to relief efforts by collecting more than $5,500 in donations at Tuesday’s game. Donations will be accepted again at Sunday’s game at HP Pavilion.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![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

<![CDATA[Hopeful Reprieve for SF Bacon Restaurant Facing Closure]]> Mon, 20 May 2013 11:39:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/203*120/bacon14.JPG

There may be no meat to incite the masses to action, like bacon.

Burger restaurants, pizzerias, bars have all folded under the vocal opposition of neighbors. But it seems a San Francisco restaurant that specializes in bacon will live to oink another day.

The year-and-a-half-old Bacon Bacon in the Ashbury Heights neighborhood has been battling for its porky existence since some neighbors began complaining a while back about the bacon smell wafting their way.

“Depending on the wind patterns day to day, there were strong odors of bacon,” said attorney Ryan Patterson, who is representing a neighbor with sensory olfactory nerves. “This is a restaurant that specializes in bacon and is called Bacon Bacon -- and it did smell like bacon.”

MORE: SF Bacon Restaurant Must Close Due to Aroma Issue

With dishes like fried chicken wrapped in bacon, bacon scones and a bacon bouquet (five bacon strips wrapped in paper), it’s not incomprehensible there would be a bacon smell.

But the restaurant had other issues beside just the aroma – namely it didn’t have a permit.

“They have been operating without a permit since December 2011,” said Richard Lee of San Francisco’s Health Department. "We finally set a deadline when they need to get a permit.”

Under the city’s deadline, the restaurant was set to shut down on Friday at 3 p.m. Owner Jim Angelus said he offered to install a $35,000 air filtration system, but was afraid to commit to the work if the city was going to shut him down anyway. But on Friday, Angelus seemed to work out a deal with his neighbor after saying he would install the new system, even thought it had yet to be put into writing, and still required approval from the Planning and Health departments. There is a hearing in July to formalize the permits, and until then, Angelus is running a bacon food truck. To see when and where click here.

Supporters signed petitions, and finally, came down Friday to pig out one last time, walking past a chalkboard sign out front that read “Save Our Bacon.”

“I want to stay here because I’m not going to let a couple neighbors ruin what’s a great neighborhood,” Angelus said. “I live in this neighborhood, too.”

But as Angelus’ four employees wondered if they’d have jobs next week, Angelus received a call Friday - just after lunch - from his neighbor and Patterson. As they negotiated over speakerphone, the contingent finally reached a verbal deal. Angelus agreed to put in the filtration system, and the neighbor would drop his complaint.

“My client has offered to contribute money to make this happen,” Patterson said. “I think everyone is really happy about it.”

But as he hung up the phone, Angelus illuminated a cautious smile. Then he headed back to the restaurant’s kitchen – there were bacon burritos to be made.

More Local Stories:

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Bacon Restaurant Saved]]> Fri, 17 May 2013 18:11:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/203*120/bacon14.JPG Who doesn't love the smell of bacon? A neighbor of a new hot restaurant in San Francisco's Ashbury Heights called Bacon Bacon. Joe Rosato Jr. reports on a last minute deal that appears to have saved the bacon.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>