Saturday, April 28, 2007

Membership Has Its Privileges

Last night the membership of Margarita Club was convened for a meeting.

Margarita Club was founded sometime in 2004 by Tom, Chris, Valerie and Kevin. Chris and Kevin believe the exact date to be July 4, 2004; Tom thinks it was sometime in the spring of that year. I didn't think to ask Valerie. Regardless, on that fateful day, whenever it was, the Club's founding members got together at La Rondalla in the Mission for margaritas. As the night wore on, our fearless leaders appointed themselves to officer positions like Margarita Club Sergeant at Arms. They have long since forgotten who holds what office, but every four months or so, a Margarita Club meeting is called and the general membership, which includes me, is invited.

So last night, we were back at La Rondalla, also know as Margarita Club Headquarters, with our ever-growing membership staking claim on space in the crowded bar. I brought Carolyn, Dima and Keri along, and they became members last night, as well. I also met a guy named Roach (I have no idea) and his wife, Emily, who works with Kevin. I believe this was their inaugural Margarita Club meeting.

Carolyn, Dima and I had to leave the meeting at about 10:15, however. Dima headed home, and Carolyn and I took off for The Knockout to see Pat Johnson, a musician I know, perform. Pat was very good, of course, and The Knockout wasn't nearly as packed as Margarita Club Headquarters. After Pat's set, though, Carolyn decided to join Dima at home, and I went right back to Margarita Club. I had been gone only an hour and a half, but the membership was good and sauced by the time I returned. I stayed another hour or so before I decided to put myself to bed. I can never keep up with the professional Margarita Club-ers. I usually just feel full, instead of buzzed, and that's how I know when it's time to go home.

This morning, I woke up and was almost immediately productive. Well, by "almost immediately," I mean that I only lounged on my couch for two hours before starting my day. But once I got going, I got a lot done. I did laundry, took my duvet cover to the dry cleaner, practiced my singing and went running. Then my day really got good. I've been feeling just the slightest bit glum lately, so I took the opportunity on this gorgeous day to treat myself to some retail therapy. Now some of my therapy was practical, as I purchased new running shoes and apparel. But some of it was decidedly frivolous. I went to Belle Cose on Polk Street and bought myself the cutest ever pair of brown and white polka dot heels. I tried to find a picture of them online so I could post them here, but no such luck. But I'll tell you that the shoes I procured are called Doll Face and are made by a company called Poetic Licence out of London. You can imagine how cute they must be.

I am very much NOT a materialistic person, and by no means whatsoever do I believe that money can buy happiness. However, if I were rich, I'd be able to indulge in enough retail therapy to at least permanently soften these occasional glum spells.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Garden Party Extraordinaire

I went to the most fabulous party Sunday afternoon.

My friend (and sort-of former boss) Charly and his partner Jon have a party every Earth Day. For whatever reason, this is the first year I have been able to attend, and let me tell you, I got a taste of what I have been missing. For one thing, Charly and Jon have a fabulous home, and they recently landscaped their backyard. Hence, the whole garden aspect of the affair. There was also wine, but between my two-day-a-week alcohol rule and the fact that I had to work later in the evening, I couldn't indulge.

However, I could eat.

According to my friend Kevin, Charly hired someone named Mimi, who apparently catered Christina Aguilera's wedding, to feed all of us at the garden party. I have no interest in being a mainstream pop star, but I'm happy to eat like one. And boy, were those snacks delicious. Have you ever had beet ravioli? Sounds gross, huh? Well it's not, it is sublime. I had two servings and would have gone for more, had there not been other delectables to enjoy. Cheese, Caesar salad cups, asparagus, house made potato chips and super yummy chilled pea soup.

I could have hung out at the snack table all afternoon, but the desserts were outside. For me to describe all the phenomenal desserts, and they were all phenomenal, would be torture for you. So I'll merely mention one: butterscotch shooters. That's correct. I think heaven tastes like a butterscotch shooter.

I know it's Wednesday afternoon, but I am still thinking about the food at Charly's party. Maybe I'll have Mimi cater my wedding. Hell, maybe I'll get married just to have Mimi's food at my wedding.

This morning I had rehearsal for my little acting project. I am doing a couple of scenes from the film Full Frontal for a some student directors at the Academy of Art. Larry, the student director I met with this morning, is one serious flirt. He's not really my type, not to mention he's all of 25, and technically I'm working for him, but I confess I enjoy the attention. He's a youngster but super cute.

Scrumptious snacks and charming men. Is this what they mean by the good life?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 30

"The English Beat" and The Plimsouls at Mezzanine.

Okay, I have to put "The English Beat" in quotation marks because we all know the band currently is comprised of just lead singer Dave Wakeling and some session musicians. However, that doesn't stop me from going to see them every time they come to town. To that end, there I was at Mezzanine last night surrounded by a crowd that actually made me feel young. You've gotta love the music fans who discovered these bands when they were in high school and college... As opposed to sixth grade, which is when I discovered them.

As soon as we walked in the doors and checked our coats, my English Beat friend Carla and I, along with her friend Brian, laid claim to some space right in front of the stage. Maybe it was the overly-crowded Beat shows I attended at the Red Devil Lounge a year and a half ago, but I now need to be front and center every time I see Dave Wakeling sing. I think one of the reasons Carla loves catching up with me at these shows is because she likes being in front, too, and I just have no shame when it comes to staking out my territory.

Opening for The Beat last night were The Plimsouls. I saw The Plimsouls last year at Cafe du Nord, and if you're someone who knows only their hit record "Million Miles Away" (and I confess to having been one of those people), I'd advise you to get yourself a Plimsouls album or two. What perfect garage-pop The Plimsouls play. I honestly regret that I missed most of their music 25 years ago. Better late than never, I suppose.

After The Plimsouls hour-long set, The Beat took the stage. And they played for two solid hours. Two hours! The English Beat has been one of my favorite bands since 1982, and they busted out a couple of numbers even I'd forgotten about. It was so great.

Of course, because Carla and I are both single and attractive (that may sound egotistical, but whatever), we got hit on. And it's kind of my fault. I first made eye contact with the guy in question, and initially he seemed normal. He and his friend had driven down from Sacramento for the show, and he started telling me all about how he had seen The Beat in high school, and he played bass in a punk band for 15 years, and so on and so forth. When he learned neither Carla nor I are married, he actually said: "Have I gone to heaven?"

That sounds cheesy, but he actually played it off pretty well.

Mr. Sacramento tired of me and began chatting up Carla almost exclusively, which turned out to be a very good thing for me and a bad thing for her. You see, as the evening wore on, and the alcohol he'd consumed started settling in, the touching began. When the show ended, we were rather relieved to lose that dude. No wonder he was coming on to women who live an hour away from him.

Carla's friend Brian was none too impressed with our wannabe suitor either. I learned last night that Carla and Brian are very good platonic friends, and... Well, you know how that goes sometimes. Brian actually disappeared soon after The Beat began playing, and we found him outside the club at about 1:30 a.m. Don't you love the occasional fun provided by male-female friendships?

Aside from all of that, there was the music. Which is definitely making me happy today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

There's nothing better on your day off than some leisurely mid-day snacks.

Today I met my friends Teri and Katie at Palomino so we could officially become Ladies Who Lunch for an afternoon. Teri, Katie and I all work in the same industry, so most of the conversation centered around "shop talk," but it was still fun. And you'll notice that despite how full we were after our meal, we still managed to smile pretty for the paparazzi.

Now I need to practice my singing, clean my apartment, hit the gym and study lines for my acting project. However, after a huge grilled steak salad and some pear bread pudding, all I want to do is nap.

Which activity do you think will win?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 29

The Shins at The Warfield

The Shins may well be the most perfect band I don't listen to nearly enough. I own merely one album and have loaded only three or four songs into my iPod. However, I like what I've heard enough that I signed right up when I heard they were coming to town. So tonight, Ann Marie, Paul and I hit the Warfield for the second of two nights featuring the Shins.

For a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with the band, this show was unlike any other experience I've had at the Warfield. For one thing, I think the show must have sold out very quickly because Ann Marie got our tickets the day they went on sale, and only balcony seats were available. I've never sat in the balcony at the Warfield, save the 2001 afternoon when I escorted some fans up there to watch Billy Idol sound check. No, I'm not making that up. Anyway, given that The Shins are kind of mellow, we were okay with balcony seats. And by and large, our location was fine, aside from the contact high we were sure we'd get from our fellow balcony denizens. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, San Franciscans love their marijuana.

As mellow and refrained as The Shins were, the audience was not. There was a lot of shouting to the band, beginning with the guy who proclaimed, "I love the consistency of your music!" That was odd enough that The Shins responded and had a little discussion about it. Well, the flood gates open, people began yelling all sorts of nonsense like "Do you like beef jerky?" (if you're a Shins fan and know of some significance to that question, please enlighten me) and of course, the ever-so original "Freebird!"

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the refined and sophisticated Bay Area.

As for The Shins themselves, they treated us to one perfect, mod influenced, harmony laden pop confection after another. They played my favorite songs from "Know Your Onion!" on down, and as it turns out, I learned tonight that there are several songs of theirs I enjoy that I never actually knew were Shins tunes. So for me the evening was educational as well as entertaining. And it has inspired me to procure another Shins record or two.

I didn't yell anything from my seat, but I can conclusively say that I, too, love the consistency of The Shins' music.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Urgh! of Joy

If you read or watched any news today, you undoubtedly know that it has not been a good day for humanity. Or at least not a good day for college students. Icky stuff, that.

However, there is a bright ray of joy in my world tonight. I arrived at work this morning to discover Tom had brought me a copy of Urgh! A Music War. I had seen bits and pieces of this post-punk, new wave concert film about twenty years ago, but now I own it! Comprised of almost forty performances from around 1980, the film showcases good 80's music... the stuff that grew out of the punk and glam movements of the late 70's and ever-so briefly made a splash before music took a decided turn for the worse around 1985 or so (The Replacements, REM, U2 and others like them notwithstanding, of course). The Police, The Go-Go's, XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen, X, The Cramps and Devo are just some of the artists featured.

I'm watching it now, and I am so happy. Thanks, Tom!

Sadly for me and pretty much everyone at work, though, Tom is now on a six week vacation. Yay for him, but boo for us. Honestly, we're not sure how we'll make it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Two Songs, No Waiting

So today ended up being a slightly disappointing day for me.

Imagine your Fake Band was invited to play an event where Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker. And imagine you were going to get to meet Bill Clinton, as well as sing in your Fake Band. And finally, imagine that this was likely to be your swan song with Fake Band, so you were really going to go out with a bang. Well, that is what lay in store for me when I got up this morning.

Except that things didn't go quite as planned.

Now, Fake Band did play said event. We played two songs before Bill Clinton spoke, and above is a photo of me in all my sassy glory during that mini-set. Kind of cool, huh? We were then supposed to play another ten songs after Bill's speech, but due to circumstances beyond everyone's control, the timing was all off, and our second set was cut. Well, what are you going to do, right? We'd still get to meet him, which would be very cool.

Except for the fact that this was a work event, so I had other obligations and was tending to them when Bill was finally ready to meet us. However, here is a photo of the rest of the Fake Band boys with the Former President... just so you know he was really there. You can imagine me photo-shopped in this picture, I suppose.

Ah, well. I'm disappointed, but again, what are you going to do?

After the work event, I went to Jelly's, a bar behind AT&T Park, for my friend Nikki's birthday party. I haven't seen Nikki in forever, so it was very nice to catch up with her a bit as I wished her the happiest of birthdays. My friend Debbie was also there, and I went with her, her boyfriend and another friend of theirs to Puerto Allegre for snacks and drinks after the party. Then I met Emily and her fiance in Hayes Valley.

It was in Hayes Valley that I got the news: Don Ho has died!

You might wonder why, aside from general human compassion, I would care about such an event. After all, Don Ho is not a close, personal friend. Well, remember dear readers, that I took in Mr. Ho's Waikiki Review when I was in Hawaii merely three weeks ago. Just three weeks ago. Little did I know it would be one of his last performances.

This makes me want to head back to Waikiki so I may mourn properly.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rock Stars, Rock Stars Everywhere

Yesterday was one fascinating day. For pretty much the entire morning and afternoon I was super crabby due a stinky situation that has recently reared its ugly head in my life. It's no big deal, really, but it was leaving me stuck in a mildly foul mood.

Well, all the stink melted away at about 6:30 when I arrived South of Market to see Daydrinker (also known as Higgins) play at Brainwash. Do you know Brainwash? It's a laundromat, cafe, live music venue combo. Practical and entertaining. Higgins' wife and my dear friend Jayn was, of course, there, as well as many other fun people, including Roland, who was my absolute favorite San Francisco radio DJ when I first moved here. He's no longer on the air, but I still regard him as one of my idols. I also got to meet Sean and Lisa, Higgins and Jayn's neighbors, who promptly described themselves as the most interesting people ever. After talking to them for a little while, I can't say they were too far off the mark.

Daydrinker's set was fabulous, of course. Plus, afterward, Higgins and I talked about the possibility of me singing with him. I'm not sure I'm good enough to be a fellow Daydrinker, as I have only been taking voice lessons for about four months, but we'll see. That would be super fun, if it works out. If you're interested, you can find out more about Daydrinker here.

After Daydrinker's nighttime set, I wandered across the street to meet Sheela for a cocktail at Julie's Supper Club. Well, who knew that Julie's Supper Club has karaoke every Wednesday night? Apparently not many people, because there was hardly anyone in the joint. Sheela sang two songs, her husband Ben sang one after he arrived later in the evening, and I sang four! I wailed my way through "Love Will Keep Us Together" (my standard karaoke number), "Vacation," "Someday, Someway" and "You Can't Hurry Love" with the charisma and poise of the greatest of rock stars. Sheela and I have both decided that we will likely become Wednesday night regulars at Julie's.

Then today, I began my little acting job and after that did some real singing during my voice lesson with Best Friend. We're going to wrap up Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know" next week and then likely start working on Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know."

Can you tell that I really wish I was a rock star? It's a good thing Fake Band is playing this weekend...

Monday, April 09, 2007


Want to hear something gross?

I figured you would. The radiator in the front hall of my apartment building had some sort of unfortunate accident this weekend. As a consequence, it has been leaking a ton of water, and the carpet around it is completely saturated. And I mean saturated. To the point that our front hall has become a big, squishy swamp. Apparently a plumber has been called to fix the radiator and ring out, I suppose, the carpeting, so it should all be dry soon. Until then I would not recommend anyone check their mail or answer the front door of this building in slippers.

Squishy hallways notwithstanding, I am in a very good mood. Tax returns are not even due until next week, but mine was filed weeks ago, and I have already gotten my refund! Of course, that money has already been spent, but you'll be happy to know that my recent trip to Hawaii was fully funded, and the union dues I'll soon have to pay will be taken care of quite handily.

I wanted to go to The Marsh tonight for a staged reading my friend Wendy is doing, but I had one of those super short turnarounds between work shifts today, and I am exhausted. I just went for a short run; I'm about to practice my singing; then I'm off to bed. Sleep is a very good thing, so even though I'm sad to miss Wendy, life is looking pretty fine right now.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

In Our Easter Bonnets

Well, as you can see, we weren't actually wearing Easter bonnets. However, this afternoon Bill, Kim, Ben, Sheela, Serena, Anne, Keri, Denise, Paul, Mark, Wendy and myself all gathered at The Rex Cafe on Polk Street to enjoy a lovely Easter brunch.

And let me tell you, it was delicious.

Everybody got along swimmingly as we munched and drank our way through the early part of our day. I also brought along an Easter basket, so we're probably all going to crash down from our collective sugar high later this evening. This photo, taken with my new digital camera, by the way, probably could have used the assistance of a flash, but all I can say is that I didn't snap it myself.

Then, after I got home I caught the end of Easter Parade on Turner Classic Movies. I'd missed most of it, but I did get a chance to see Judy Garland sing "Easter Parade" to Fred Astaire at the end of the film. I adore that movie.

Okay, I'm off to work in an hour. Love, Peeps and Happy Easter, my darlings!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"That's A Sexy Leg"

That is the line, dear readers, which was very tactfully uttered to me by a random man at the Latin American Club in the Mission last night.

If you've ever been to the Latin American Club, you know that there is an elevated platform (perhaps a stage in a former incarnation of the space) toward the back of the bar. All the barstools and tables in the place were taken, so my friend Wendy and I took residence on edge of said platform, where we enjoyed our cocktails. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, our position put us along the pathway to the bathroom. So not only did that charming fellow choose to comment on one of my limbs, but a random woman also asked us if we knew which was the women's restroom and which was the men's room. And yet another woman asked us if we knew of a bus that would take her to Reno because she had to go there to "make some money."

While Wendy herself was in the bathroom, Leg Man came back and explained to me that when lays his eyes upon something so beautiful, he can't help but comment. My leg was very flattered, I guess. He then asked me not to tell his girlfriend he was talking to me. Um, don't worry buddy, this was not a conversation about which I'll be bragging. Well, except to mock you on this space. Another random man stopped during his pass to the loo to tell me he thought he'd seen me at the Latin American Club before, but he didn't say much more.

The lesson here: don't sit on the edge of the platform at the Latin American Club if you don't want a lot of people to talk to you as they move to empty their bladders.

In other news, I just got together with my friend Jacob, who is in town for a philosophy conference. Jacob is a friend from Brown and is now a political science professor at McGill University in Montreal. Too bad he never made anything of himself, huh? Anyway, he and I took in the brunch offerings at Sears Fine Foods in Union Square and caught up on all things fun. We also reminisced about the crazy, ridiculous, amazing experience that was college. Ah, to be young, idealistic and privileged enough to attend an Ivy League university.

While Jacob brings his political science experience to conference halls full of philosophers, my own work life continues. Yesterday, I had to interview a pop culture and television expert about the final nine episodes of "The Sopranos," which apparently begin airing tomorrow. I have never seen "The Sopranos" and frankly, never care to see it. Yes, I know the show is brilliant, and everybody on the planet respects, loves and reveres it. So shoot me. Anyway, the co-worker who was interviewing the expert with me has never seen "The Sopranos" either, and he and I managed conduct the whole conversation without actually talking about the show. We made the interview about the hype around the finales of long-running television shows and the phenomenon of these finales becoming cultural events. I even managed to summon the names of a few programs I actually have enjoyed: "Sex and the City," "Six Feet Under," "MASH" and "Friends." And never once did I have to discuss the specific plot lines navigated by Tony Soprano. I call that a victory.

Oh, by the way, I booked that acting job I auditioned for on Thursday. So watch out Academy of Art directing students... you have a Sassy actor in your midst.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Back In The Saddle

Today I did something I haven't done in almost five years: I went on an acting audition. As I have mentioned before, I used to be an actor. I trained; I did shows; I hung out with other actors. I still have many actor friends, but in mid-2000, I took a break from performing that turned into a semi-retirement. Since then, I have taken all of three acting classes, done one play and performed in a handful of staged readings and 24-hour play festivals. And I think I've only gone on two or three auditions, the last of which was, I believe, in 2002.

Then, on pretty much a whim last weekend, I decided to join Casting Connection. That lead me to this morning's audition, which was for a student film. Much in the same way the staged readings I occasionally do help playwrights, these little movies help students learn the craft of film making. Whether they use me or not, the audition was really fun. I also ran into my friend Wendy there, and she slipped the cutest little note into my purse when I wasn't looking. It basically said, "Yay, Sassy!" How sweet is that?

I'm not sure how committed I'm going to be on this pass, but it's nice to stick a toe back into the acting pool.

After my audition, I decided I needed to spend a lot of money, so I bought myself a digital camera. Another whim, really, but I take a lot of photos and needed to graduate from those disposable cameras you can buy at Walgreens.

Newly-purchased digital camera in hand, I hopped on BART and headed for my singing lesson with Best Friend. During the lesson we (and by "we," I mean Best Friend, as she is the real musician here) did lots of harmonizing, and it sounded great. I have invited Best Friend to join my soon-to-be band, Blo Pop, and she came up with the brilliant idea that we should have Blo Pop names... much like the Spice Girls had Spice names back in the 90's. I, of course, am going to be Sassy Pop. Best Friend is going to be Sexy Pop. I'll have to run this by Mindi, Blo Pop's other founding member, to make sure she approves of this idea. And then she can pick her Pop name.

And finally tonight, I had Fake Band rehearsal, and it went really well. It was actually one of the more productive rehearsals we've had in a while. Writer Ben Fong Torres (of Rolling Stone fame) is going to sing two songs with us at our upcoming show, so he joined us for rehearsal tonight.

Acting, singing, potential photography. All in all, today was this week's Day of the Arts here in Sassyland.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cocktail Nostalgia

When you have lived in a city for more than a decade, as I have in San Francisco, you realize the potential for nostalgia is everywhere.

Tonight, after not seeing each other for several months, my friend Steve and I met in the Mission for snacks and drinks. Even though I do still pay the Mission fairly regular visits, this evening was like a blast from my late-90's partying past. Our first stops were Truly Mediterranean and Mariachi's so we could procure a chicken shawerma for Steve and a veggie burrito for me. Snacks in hand, we then made our way to Blondie's Bar and No Grill.

Ah, Blondie's. That place was a mainstay of my social life from 1997 until about mid- 2000. I still enjoy it during the week (the weekends there now suck), but I must admit, I don't think I've been to Blondie's in almost a year. I know the proprietor and am actually going to her birthday party in about a week and a half, but I used to know everyone who worked there. Also, I met the first guy I kissed in San Francisco in that joint way back in the day. Ah, to be young... Anyway, that was then and this is now, and I certainly did not recognize the bartender when Steve and I walked in, nor did I have any desire to make out with any of the other customers. Well, at least we got to know our bartender, Jeff, who was very nice and who introduced me to what may become one of my new favorite bands: they're called the Green Horns or something like that. I can't find them on All Music, but Jeff told me to that if I swing by again tomorrow, he'll give me one of their cd's. Sweet.

After a drunk customer scared us out of Blondie's (literally), Steve and I decided to wander across the street and pay Casanova a visit. Okay, I do still frequent Casanova kind of a lot, but it was a much more regular stop of mine back in the halcyon days of my youth. I closed down that place many an evening during the first couple of years I lived here, and then in 2000 and 2001, my friend Gry and I established a Wednesday evening happy hour tradition there until Gry had the nerve to move away. Ah, good times. Tonight, Steve and I chose about 20 songs from Casanova's free juke box... none of which we got to hear because the DJ arrived soon after we'd made our selections, but we didn't care. We still soaked up the atmosphere and giggled over our cocktails.

The twice-divorced Steve offered me an interesting bit of advice while we were out tonight. He recommended I never get married, saying I will be much happier if I avoid that tradition. He also suggested I keep a mental list of all the men who like/hit on me and keep them as my collective back up plan. Interesting advice. I can't say I'll definitely heed it, but I'm not going to write it off either. I'm just saying.