Archive for June, 2005

What Do You Mean ‘Retired?’

Stopping in at Cheng’s Kitchen for some post-gym sushi, I noticed an odd sound as I sat, miso soup in hand, waiting for the N-Judah to deliver my friend, Amanda.

Tweedleeedle tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet.

I realized the sound wasn’t stopping.

I saw outside the window, in place of the bird cages that usually held live birds, a small, was a plastic cage with a 100% fake bird droning on and on and on and on.

Now, I’ve often joked with dining companions – even a fellow metblogger (who captured photographic evidence of the real deals) – that the live birds’ non-repetitive songs stemmed from anger: those things were outside when it was freezing and when the setting sun surely threatened to fry them on their little birdie perches. When the wind blew, there they were. Fog? Still there.

But not tonight. Tonight, they’d been replaced by the energizer birdie who would. not. stop. tweeting. It was Chinese water torture in a Japanese restaurant.

Finally, I asked what the deal was – where are the real birds?

“They’re retired,” answered the waitress, quickly, as she hurried away.


Why does that answer just not make me feel very good? I think the word I’m looking for is “disquieting . . . ”

Sleeper opens at Bindlestiff next week


Received this email a few minutes ago, and thought this might prove useful for those wanting some Asian American culture next week. There’ll be a new play showing from July 7 – July 16 at BindleStiff Studio. It’s called “Sleeper,” and it’s produced by the Asian American Theater Company and written by Samantha Chanse (who happens to be a friend of a friend of mine — small world).

Here’s the scoop, verbatim from the email:

Bindlestiff Studio and the Asian American Theater Company premiere a new play about fate, friends, family, & fruit baskets

SLEEPER (A Chronicle of the Return of the Remarkable)

Addicted to playing cards and the half-hearted pursuit of job interviews, a young woman is visited by a young man with a strange invitation: to join him as a would-be prophet. Replete with rapid-fire banter, paranormal activity, and secreted children, Sleeper is a comedic tale of a distracted writer and a long-lost brother in search of activation.

Produced by Bindlestiff Studio and the Asian American Theater Company; written by Samantha Chanse, directed by Oliver Saria, and performed by Alexandra Wong, Susan Chung, Ryan Oden, James Lontayao, and Todd Nakagawa.

Dates/Time: July 7 – 16, 2005
7/7 – 7/9 at 8pm
7/10 at 6pm
7/14 – 7/15 at 8pm
Saturday, 7/16, 2 shows at 7:30pm and 9:30pm

Location: Bindlestiff Studio, 505 Natoma (cross street 6th Street) San Francisco, 94103

Cost: $9 – 25, sliding scale

To reserve tickets, call Bindlestiff Studio at 415.255.0440.
For more information, visit

Genderbent Rock City

Last week I went to check out the Thursday Night Live show at the Eagle. Due to it being a school night for me, I only caught two of the three bands: The Ethel Merman Experience and Wood.

The Ethel Merman Experience involves recognizable rock as translated through the mind and mouth of Mark Sargent impersonating Ethel Merman with a big voice and a bigger wig. Keep an eye out for them around town (in the last few months, they’ve played at Cherry Bar—on the same bill as Wood, again, incidentally—and at the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Easter fundraiser in Dolores Park) and hopefully you’ll catch them covering “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Hello! Hell no.

I’m going to have to give much credit to the gender-impersonating talent to the drag kings of Wood, because right up until one of them said something on the mic, I thought they really were men. To tell the truth, I saw all these Alabama biker types unloading amps into the place and thought, “No way, these guys are playing here? These guys are queer?” Shows what I know. Then again, my vision in less-than-well-lit bars has always been spotty, even before I have a drink. Wood plays tunes that fit their image: classic hard rock meant to be blasted from your pick-up or conversion van. They do not screw around.

The band I missed, Pepperspray, also consists of drag rockers, and I’ll have to save them for a later post. They’re locals, so I’m sure I’ll catch them soon enough. Tonight’s show is a benefit for Golden Gate Wrestling, and features The Cold War, The Militant Children’s Hour, Black Ice and Weed Wolf (with members of Spector Protector and Erase Errata). Hopefully I’ll make it. Queer Rock Heaven, why did I not go to you before?

Everyone is an Artist

tsk tskAt right is a detail of the wonderful Hayes Street David Best sculpture. David Best is known for building immense temples out of recycled wood sheets (discarded from making toys and other punch-outs) at Burning Man, where they’re annotated by the community with their hopes and dreams, and then burnt to the ground in a fantastic spectacle of light and heat.

Today, as I was shooting some photos, I heard some tourists tsk-tsking at all the writing on the sculpture. “Look at this,” said the guy in the suit. “Shameful,” said the woman in heels.

They caught me staring at them so I had to speak. I said, “Um, you’re kinda supposed to.”

The man in the suit says, “Yeah, Picasso would have loved that!”

As I walked away, I murmured, “Picasso didn’t burn his art down, either.”

Have we been so trained by museum rent-a-cops and hardcover art books that we can’t see art as a participatory thing anymore? That the best we can do is stand 5 feet back and ooh and ahh at the artist’s genius without realizing that art is something we all have inside us?

The temple is coming down in a couple months, so go see it while you can. And bring a pen. Picasso will understand.

Vertical Since 1905

In honor of the July 4th holiday, I’d like to give a shout-out to some San Francisco landmarks that will be turning the big 100 this year. While you’re out and about this weekend, why not give them a visit? You don’t need to buy them a present or bake them a cake. They’re not having any stuffy parties that infringe on your Saturday night plans. They just managed to stay upright for 100 years, which is more than most of us can hope for.

Images and helpful information courtesy of the fabulous Click an image for more NoeHill goodness.

Built in 1905

Kids, Grab Those Atlases

Because we’ve got two new blogs!

Metroblogging San Francisco welcomes two new sister sites:

Metroblogging Berlin – guaranteed to take your breath away.


Metroblogging Philadelphia – no cheese, all steak. Note this is also a seasonally appropriate blog-launch with that whole 1776, July 4, Independence Hall, Declaration of Independce holiday next week.

Welcome to the fam, guys!

Chron Podcasts

podcast.jpgJust in time for the release for the latest version of iTunes with podcasting support, the Chron has released Chronicle Podcasts.

What’s a podcast? You can check out a quick primer at Basically, podcasts are like radio shows for your iPod or other digital music player.

Chron podcast topics include local news, opinion and food (I hereby dub foodie podcasts “FoodCasts”). It’s a great way to get your dose of local news and culture on your daily commute.

cd adds:

One of the first available casts is a talk with Alicia Parlette a Chronicle copy editor and writer, about her series on her battle against a rare form of cancer.

If you didn’t read her compelling, 7-part series, you really should. The challenges she faces would be frightening even if Alicia were what most people think of as a cancer patient: someone older, someone who’s had a chance at forty or sixty good years. But Alicia is only 23 years old. Unfair.

Party ‘Till Ya Puke

SF’s own Tribe Corporation has selected 25 local people/entities that participate in their social network, whom you may or may not find interesting. To celebrate this accomplishment, these top 25 will be on display tomorrow evening at 1015 Folsom.

Me? I’m saving my energy for the Hollister Bike Rally.

Possible BART strike on Wednesday 7/6/05

So the BART strike is set for Wednesday of next week if they can’t agree with a new contract. Which comes in quite an inopportune time for me, since I’m moving house — from an area where BART isn’t needed, to an area where BART would very much be part of my routine (it is near the Balboa Park station, incidentally). But as I could also take the J Church or the K Ingleside, I still have alternatives.

However, I imagine there are many others that aren’t as fortunate. As CD pointed out, 511 lists several alternatives in case you are one such affected individual. One of the suggested methods is 511’s RideMatch carpool setup, which matches up those who want to organize a carpool. I personally haven’t tried it myself, but Craigslist’s Rideshare listings might also be of assistance (might be a good option for those who don’t have a car, and are willing to pay for gas.)

I too anticipate gridlock if the strike happens. So I guess we’ll all be waking up a little earlier on Wednesday (or arriving later for work), whether we be commuters or drivers.

Suggestive Chalk Art

From last weekend’s North Beach Festival – some sidewalk art that I found particularly attractive:


Or this one, which is just lovely:


They sure beat the hopscotch squares I used to scrawl outside my house.

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