Monday, April 23, 2012

Endless Rock Stars

Last Thursday I did the most fun thing in the world: I went to see Madness in concert. I'd seen the second wave ska kings, whose heyday was in the late 70's and early 80's, once before in 2006, but apparently I had forgotten how great they are live. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen...from guys who have been performing for 30 years. I guess they know what they're doing.

Over the next several months I'll be bouncing between L.A. and the Bay Area to take in shows by a few other ageless rock stars, including Squeeze, the Go-Go's and the Psychedelic Furs. Based on that list, you'd think it was still the late 70's or early 80's.

Make no mistake, I also like quite a bit of new music. Just the other day I picked up a copy of the Shins new album; I become a bigger fan of Fitz and the Tantrums with every passing moment; I downloaded tunes by Fun. and Gotye from iTunes last night; and I go see local bands here in San Francisco on a regular basis.

However, as much as I like new music, I love that the musical heroes from childhood have taken a never-say-die attitude and continue to tour.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Birthday

It's not my birthday, but I'm going to talk about myself, anyway. At least for a moment.

I moved to San Francisco on November 30, 1996. I was 26 years old, about to turn 27, and my first years in the City were amazing. I was still at the relative beginning of my career, so once I found work, which happened quite quickly, I had to work at some slightly insane times of day. However, I  was able to support myself working part-time for my first four years in town. I also was still acting back then, which meant studio classes, play readings in living rooms, four-night per week rehearsals and performances in 50-seat theatre houses, some of which were nestled in the slightly seedier parts of town.

The late 90's in San Francisco were such a crazy good time; I really wish I had appreciated them more. Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to have returned to California after a few too many years in New England, and I was super excited to have become a City by the Bay denizen. I loved my work and my acting habit, and I made friends easily. However, as they say, youth is wasted on the young. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have wasted a millisecond being insecure or worrying about anything. The nightlife also was a kick, of course. "Hipster" was not yet a dirty word, and girls in chunky platformed shoes swarmed the streets alongside boys in bowler shirts. Swing bands were just as likely to play clubs as indie rock acts were, and everyone knew where to get the best burritos after the bars closed.

My first favorite bar in the City was Blondie's Bar and No Grill in the Mission, which I discovered in the summer of 1997. I met the first boy I kissed in San Francisco during one of my first visits there, and in 2003 Nikki, the owner, let me dance on the bar Coyote Ugly-style. Well, Blondie's celebrated its 21st birthday this week, and Nikki threw a party to mark the occasion. Since I am no longer in my twenties, I arrived early and left early. I also brought my friend Andrey, who informed me that he was 17 when I first started frequenting Blondie's. I did ask, but ouch. Regardless, it still was mighty fun to sip a lemon drop (pictured above) and remember those heady, halcyon days.

If I have learned nothing else in my life, I have learned to enjoy the here and now. And that's good news, because even at 42, my life is still a crazy good time, even if it has become somewhat mellow. Believe me, I have no intention of being 60 and wishing I had better appreciated those glory days of 2012.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Different Bunny Trail

If you're a regular reader of this tiny chronicle, you may be aware of my Easter tradition: brunch at the Rex Cafe in Russian Hill. I organized Easter brunch at the Rex for eleven straight years and had every intention of making this the twelfth when tragedy struck.

Okay, what struck was not exactly a tragedy, but it was disappointing. The Rex Cafe closed in early March, making Easter brunch there a tad difficult. So I gathered a bunch of family members and close friends and took my party to Bottle Cap in North Beach where we toasted the Easter Bunny (and Jesus, of course). Emboldened by the change of venue, I also got really crazy and turned the brunch into an early dinner. Actually, I did that because I had a voice lesson in the afternoon, but whatever.

Nothing in life is constant other than change, and even though I loved having a holiday tradition, we all had a fine and quite delicious Easter at the new restaurant. Maybe Bottle Cap will become a tradition, or perhaps we'll be nomadic Easter celebrants. Only time will tell.

Carla, Andrey and me looking lovely in our Easter finest (if I do say so, myself).

Some Easter partiers looking hungry. Don't you think?

Pretty ladies who dine.