Mezzanine

KnifeParty_RukesPhoto2014

I’m going to be completely honest. I was worried that the crowd at this Knife Party show would kill my opinion of the show itself. I was worried that I would run into a Coachella-Lite type of experience, and I’d be dealing with neon day-glo tank top wearing bros who only came to rage out. I have never been so happy to have my expectations proven wrong. [read the whole post]

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Whoever had this made is rad.

Whoever had this made is rad.

In the world according to Stace (that’d be me, for those not paying attention), Maya Rudolph is a genius. A comedic genius, you might say, but I mean it in a more general way. I’m just sayin’, if this woman ran for president, she might get my vote. Beautiful, funny, and musically talented, she’s got it all. As if that isn’t enough, she’s in a long-term relationship with the music of Prince, and it’s getting pretty serious. Recently, she’s been sharing it with the world alongside her college buddy, singer-songwriter Gretchen Lieberum, and together they are Princess.

Lucky, lucky me: SF Sketchfest brought this act to my city and gave me a ticket to watch! (Don’t be jealous.) So last night, I planted my feet outside the doors at Mezzanine in the drizzle and waited an hour to be let in. At first, I thought I’d finally found the island of misfit toys, as no one remotely associated with the venue seemed to know much about what was going on, who the artist was, if tickets would be available (the show was sold out, but of course there were still those willing to try at the door), or how long the event would go. In the end, after an hour, I was the first one in the door. Cocktail in hand, I picked a spot against a pillar near the front and there I stood for the two hours until the ladies graced the stage. I have to be honest: these were torturous hours. Though I subject myself to them regularly, I’m not especially fond of huge crowds, and Mezzanine really packed ’em in last night. I can’t blame everyone else in the city for wanting to witness the glory of Princess, but it didn’t stop me from wishing I had a little more room to breathe. (Seriously: I even texted managing editor Dakin, who was up front, to ask if it would be any better if I went back near the door. He said probably not much, so I sucked it up and stayed put.)

At last, though, the show was about to begin. [read the whole post]

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Fred Wesley, John “Jabo” Starks and Fred Thomas sharing a laugh between moments of funk. All Photos by Jonathan Pirro.

Have you ever felt like you were in on a big secret? And nobody believed you when you told them this secret? Like the one where one of the most influential bands of the last 40 years staged a reunion in a 1,000 person night club that, somehow, didn’t sell out in 30 seconds? Because on this unseasonably warm November night, the good people of San Francisco got to experience something that we haven’t seen in 13 years. Fred Wesley was James Brown’s trombonist and band leader during the classic 70’s funk era. Although he’s been recording and touring with a band called “Fred Wesley & The New JB’s,” this was the first time in many, many years that he’s played with any of the players that recorded those classic songs with James Brown.

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Where my gerunds at?

Where my gerunds at?

Comedy, as a method of entertainment, works best when we can relate to the entertainer, and the exaggeratedly hilarious (yet quite often true) stories that they tell. Most standup artists use this science as the core of their act, pointing out the sometimes terribly obvious, but far more often insignificant, details that we all have experienced, barely speak about, and yet go through on a regular basis. That excess blast of thought over such inane minutiae succeeds at hitting our funny bones hard, not only because of the presentation, but because we can, in fact, relate. If this is a regular formula for comedic success, then anyone willing to break the mold and give those common trivialities a winning partner with absurdity, disconnection, and whimsical rambling has the potential to turn heads, and in the case of Reggie Watts, he succeeds spectacularly, and leaves you wondering what the hell just bowled you over with laughter.

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Singin' and Dancin' (All Photos by Marie Carney)

Some of the most talented people on earth hail from right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, we have so many uber-talented musicians, writers, comics, speakers, artists, chefs, and so on, that it’s easy to take them for granted. Reggie Watts is one of those performers. He seems to be performing all the time, and everyone in the bay area seems to swoon over him. Yet, I have yet to see him. It could be due to the fact that every show sells out, no matter what the venue. Which is also how Sketchfest was able to book him four nights in a row, also giving him the ability to indulge in whatever he pleases.

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Spinning Platters’ writers Christopher Rogers and Dakin Hardwick both got to enjoy a performance by Stella: Michael Ian Black, David Wain, and Michael Showalter‘s nightclub show.

Instead of boring you with a typical “review” of the show, Spinning Platters is opening the fourth wall, and allowing you into the personal lives of these two legendary journalists. This is a transcript of a private chat between the two, discussing the show on Google Chat.

After the jump, you will learn how a writer thinks.

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Show Review: Portlandia the Tour with Thao & Mirah at Mezzanine, 12/30/11

January 3, 2012

Carrie Brownstein might be the hardest working person in show business. Not only has she, within about a year, assembled one of the most explosive and critically acclaimed new bands in rock music, she is the star of the highest rated program on IFC, the sketch comedy series “Portlandia.” Now she’s managed to squeeze some […]

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Show Review: Plaid with John Tejada and Portable Sunsets at The Mezzanine, 11/25/2011

November 28, 2011

It’s never an easy task to put on a show in the middle of a holiday season, especially when the date of your performance falls on the oft-proclaimed “Biggest Shopping Day Of The Year”. How many people are going to be willing to stay out for many more late hours, dancing the night away and […]

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Show Review: Peter Hook and The Light performing Closer at The Mezzanine, 09/17/2011

September 18, 2011

It is frequently said that when you have a formula that works, it is safe to stick with it, but only to the point where you continue to be successful, and not past the point where you’ve entered a realm of dangerous repetition. In 2010 I stated that a popular trend was for a band […]

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Show Review: Club BFD with Surfer Blood, Innerpartysystem, The Vaccines and Geographer at Mezzanine, 6/4/2011

June 6, 2011

This is the first time I can remember Club BFD being better than original BFD. First off, there’s the lineup which has more melody in four bands than there’d be in 11 hours on Sunday. Then there’s the Mezzanine, which welcomes its visitors with a high-res screen featuring sharp animations about tonight’s show and future […]

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