Drama Talk & Drinks: Bay One Acts Festival

For this installment of the good old drama talk with Katie & Brittany, the duo went to see the 12th Annual Bay One Acts Festival – Program 1. Here’s their report.

When we heard that there was a festival going on that brings together local artists and many different theater companies we were really excited to check it out. So, this past Sunday night we headed to the Tides Theater in Nob Hill for the 12th Annual Bay One Acts Festival to see 6 different short form plays. Since there are so many pieces we decided to break it down a little differently than usual, just giving you our first thoughts on each of the plays. Jump to the verdict if you don’t care about our initial reactions to the specific plays.

#1: Modernizing the Afterlife – A dead Google developer gets recruited by St. Peter’s nephew to optimize their afterlife processing.

Katie: It made me think of the time I went on an online date with a guy that developed apps for a living . . . and just like this piece I left that date slightly intrigued, slightly confused and wanting more.

#2: Desiree – A woman copes with the aftermath of ten years in captivity.

K: One word – Awkward. All I could do was compare it to the Cleveland woman tragedy. It was the one piece that no one knew when it ended.

Brittany: There were a number of pieces that fell short because of the acting, this one fell short because of the writing more than anything else.

#3: Write Dirty to Me – Dead writers operate literary phone sex lines.

B: This show is what an english major, who is crazy nerdy, thinks is funny. But if you are not deep into english major land you have no fucking clue was is going on.

K: Which was me.

B: This show also reminds me of the time I saw the Vagina monologues during high school and afterwards we said “cunt” over and over again because we thought it was funny. Dirty words just aren’t that funny when you’re an adult.

Intermission

#4: Love Song of Aflred J. Prufrock – A T.S. Eliot poem set to movement.

B: This show made me think of the time I was at a bar when I was 21 and a 50 year old hit on me.

K: Awkward.

B: Yeah.

#5: Red All Over – In the wake of a school shooting tragedy, new relationships begin.

B: Remember that thing we said last time about story arcs . . . there wasn’t one.

K: There wasn’t even a story . . . to be arced.

B: Also, why does a lesbian romance have to happen at a child murder scene…I don’t get that.

#6: Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth – The Zombie Apocalypse has happened, but that doesn’t mean that this couple is done working through their problems.

B: Well written, cute, vignette. It was the best piece in the series.

K: It would have been hilariously bizarre, Modern Familyish, if not for The Walking Dead.

[pic of The Royal Tug Yacht Club by Rose Garrett for Eater SF]

The Verdict: We really, really, really wanted to love this festival. It’s a great idea executed in a really cool space. We wanted to walk away feeling like we saw some fresh, innovative, well developed, entertaining theater, unfortunately we did not. We did only see Program One, so we can’t speak to the festival as a whole, but if Program One was any indication of what Program Two will be like, this festival is best left for an audience of friends of the artists and/or other artists that want to learn from watching artists, the general public might be disappointed.

The Drama Talk: Bay One Acts is a great platform for local directors, writers, and actors to collaborate, but when it comes down to it people are paying $15 to be entertained and moved and we just really weren’t. We want to bring new audiences to the theatre, not just support art just for the sake of supporting art. We don’t think a new audience would be that impressed by what should be some of the best new works in the SF theatre scene. At least for Program One, the writing itself is really what fell short for us.

The Drinks: We heard of a new bar that opened a couple months back just a few blocks from the theatre. The Royal Tug Yacht Club was the perfect place to discuss the evening, a small, almost empty, interestingly decorated (there’s a huge octopus on the ceiling, what is better than that) dive bar with great, strong cocktails. Brittany had the “Seek and Destroy”, which was what she was hoping this festival was going to do (you know, just “kill it”) and Katie got the “Washed Up”, which was what she felt she was after seeing this show.

Bay One Acts Festival

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Drama Talk & Drinks: Porchlight

For the this installment of Drama Talk & Drinks, Katie & Brittany went saw some live storytelling at the Verdi Club after I had to forfeit my own ticket because of work. Here’s their drama talk:

Porchlight has been going on for ten years, but we hadn’t reviewed it yet. We figured you might not have seen it yet either, so we did what any dedicated reviewers would do: we sacrificed our Monday night Mahjong to kick off our week the most raucous way late 20-something non-profit employees can, with bawdy stories, Drama Talk & Drinks.

Brittany: I was really into storytelling shows, like The Moth and Mortified, maybe 2-3 years ago. So I went to a bunch of them. For the first half dozen I was all wide-eyed and like “real-life people are more funny than professionals.” And then I went to enough of them and realized there’s a reason to have professionals. There can be really funny, really talented people who aren’t professionals, but not always, and that’s what came to mind tonight.

Katie: I’ve never been to Porchlight. I’ve only been to a few storytelling events and they can be awesome but they can also not be. They are very hit and miss events. I love stories, but I am very particular about how they’re told. The idea to me is great, but the execution rarely is. But when you hit a good night it’s so, so fun. Have a little party, have a drink, have people who live in your community tell some funny stories . . . But it just fell short to me.

B: Verdi Club is such an old man space. It feels kind of dingy, like you said earlier, it looks like a Lions Club. If you’re a performer you have to realize it looks like you’re at a retirement party, so you need to bring the energy to make it feel young, hip, edgy, fun, and that first storyteller kind of retirement mixer-ed the whole thing, even though she was young.

K: It was just a hard start. Especially after that bizarrely beautiful musical opening. I didn’t really understand it, but regardless I was very entertained. To go from that to the soft spoken, low energy “Um, hi guys, so uhhh . . . I used to be a writer . . .” was rough.

B: Yeah, it started well with the musical performance, but then the bottom fell out and it killed the momentum. The second act was pretty funny, I mean I LOL’ed. But the fact that the first act was low energy, then they started the second act with someone who didn’t even know she was going to tell a story that night, it made it that much harder for the 2nd act storytellers, who were really talented, to pull it up. They tried, they had some really funny points, but they had a lot to work against.

The Verdict: As a friend who saw the show with us said, “The point of Porchlight is to tell a funny story. In order for a story to be a story there should be something like a fucking story arc.” To put it simply, some of the storytellers fell short, but there were some funny moments, and the MC’s were fun. Maybe with a better prompt, or different performers it could be great, but Monday night was not.

The Drama Talk: Tickets were $16 once you paid the processing fee. You can find tickets on Goldstar to watch professional comedians do a show for $10, so part of the high-expectations came from the high price (I know, we’re cheap). We couldn’t find discount tickets to Porchlight anywhere, so it looks like you’re stuck with the full-price ticket. The Porchlight “Open Door” night, their open mic night which happens monthly, is only $5 and is arguably as funny, if not funnier, than these more curated performances. That may be a good place to start if you want to give Porchlight a shot, same funny MC’s, lower prices and expectations.

The Drinks: We went to Mission Hill Saloon, which was formerly The-Bar-With-The-Long-Name-Involving-Some-Chick-Named-Evelyn. It’s old school Mission [Ed. note: Maybe on the Potrero Avenue side of Potrero Hill, unless you go by 101 boundaries, but feels like old school Mission just the same], a little too far for Mission gentrification to reach, so it still feels a little like a real dive, despite The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and other black and white movies they’re screening. We imagine this is where the old men from Verdi came after their Lion’s Club meeting to get sloshed, so it seemed like a good fit. After a super strong daiquiri at Verdi Club, Brittany opted to slow things down with a hard cider. Katie, never one to call it early, stuck with her signature rum and coke.

Porchlight has two shows monthly, their curated show and their Open Door night. Themes change monthly so check out their website for their upcoming show topics and dates – Heck, if you’re feeling ballsy you can even tell your own story at one of their Open Door events. If you know what a story arc is you just might win $50.

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Kind Of A Review

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a new bag company in the neighborhood, Mission Workshop. Tasked with doing some kind of a review of their backpack, I decided to . . . well, I did my best. Take a look.

In summary, the bag is expensive, at $200+ it’s more than I would think to spend on a bag. Then again it’s made and, apparently, sourced in the US. Plus, as was pointed out on the previous thread, if you only have to buy it once and it lasts, maybe it’s a solid investment.

In any case, this does seem like a great bag to take camping or on an urban hike or whatever. It’s huge and fits a ton of crap. It’s also obviously made with care and attention to detail. So if this is the kind of thing that’s important to you, this is a good buy.

I’m still uneasy with all these hip new things being named after the neighborhood . . . but I’m writing this on a blog that did it twice, so what can I really say.