San Francisco Sketchfest

Jane Kaczmarek reads a story by Katherine Heiny at Selected Shorts: Too Hot For Radio at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre on January 26, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Lau

As a longtime listener of Symphony Space’s Selected Shorts, a short story reading radio program broadcast locally on KQED-88.5 on Saturday nights, I was thrilled to see that Sketchfest was bringing the show to the Festival for the first time ever this year. What made the live performance even more special and fun was that it promised to offer stories “too hot for radio” – ones that, for various content reasons couldn’t be read over the air during the regular program, but could be read to a non-broadcast, live theater audience. As an added bonus on top of that, as is typical with Selected Shorts, the stories would be read by famous, well-regarded actors. For “Too Hot for Radio” we were graced with Arrested Development regular and comedian David Cross, actors Lance Reddick (The Wire) and Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (an alumni of Larkspur’s Redwood High School), and actress and Symphony Space regular reader Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle). The live show, held on Friday, January 26th at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre, didn’t disappoint, and more than lived up to my expectations.

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Annie Ellicott sings with Jeff Goldblum (on piano) and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre on Jan. 28th. (Photo courtesy of:

For the third year in a row, SF Sketchfest fans were treated to the affable charm of actor and musician Jeff Goldblum, who brought his Mildred Snitzer Orchestra jazz band to the Marines’ Memorial Theatre last Sunday for a cabaret-style evening of jazz, movie clips, and a whole lot more. Goldblum’s laid-back and amiable presence is always enjoyable, and he seems to take just as much pleasure in his show and his audience interaction as his fans do. [read the whole post]


The Girls

You’d be forgiven for assuming that The Girls is a vanity project. Fronted by Julianna Guill (Underemployed, Glory Daze), Cyrina Fiallo (The Sopranos, Good Luck Charlie) and Alison Brie (Mad Men, Community) and backed by members of the Jones Street station (Danny Erker, Walt Wells and the drummer who’s name I’m afraid I didn’t catch. It may be Paul Apelgren but I can’t say that with full certainty), the project has all the trappings of a hastily thrown together cover band for three actresses who can maybe sing a little.

You’d be forgiven, but you’d be wrong.

The Girls are phenomenal.

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The Greatest Event in Television History

It would be impossible to fill out a standard account of the events of The Greatest Event in Festival History, a panel for the shockingly popular Adult Swim series where Adam Scott (Party Down, Parks and Recreation) painstakingly recreates the opening sequences of 80’s tv shows. The panel featured star/creator/co-director Scott, co-director Lance Bangs (acclaimed music video director for acts such as Green Day, Belle and Sebastian and The Shins) and co-star/professional Ted Knight impersonator Jon Glaser (Parks and Recreation, Late Night with Conan O’Brien) and was moderated by Kumail Nanjiani (Franklin & Bash, The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail).

However, what happened during the 90 minutes that these stars were on stage defies all sense of narrative cause and effect. So, in order to give you an idea of what occurred that day, I present to you a list of real actual things that for real happened during The Greatest Event in Festival History.

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The coincidently nautical showcase of BOAT and BriTANick (rhymes with Titanic) capsized before the show even started. Eureka Theater’s projector mutinied, died at a time most inopportune. It left behind a lobby drowned with humanity—a sold out show. [read the whole post]



Who will speak for sketch? When it’s all over, when the theaters are empty, when the stand-ups scatter, the celebrities fly away and the improvisers jam out, who will speak for the hardest discipline to sustain in San Francisco? It was important to find a line-up of pure, uncut, Mario-Savio-meets-Frank-Chu Bay Area Grease, and, with a gun to my head, I chose Don’t Watch This Show LIVE! and Femikaze at the Eureka Theater. Both are two sterling paragons of regional ethos, although diametrically opposite: social ills vs. social thrills; subverting media vs. subverting medium; pounding pop culture vs. pounding Pop’s culture. One hits the nail on the head; the other hits it in the balls. How many analogies must I make to convey that these groups are as different as night and day? Wait, damn it! [read the whole post]


SF Sketchfest Review: Smug Shift on 1/24/2014

January 25, 2014″>Gangster

Another year, another Sketchfest, another installment of Smug Shift. It seems just yesterday I was ream-deep into my first SF Sketchfest, jotting notes with a juvenile sincerity dormant since the beginning of middle school (where it all went wrong). Over the overworked, overwrought ordeal, only one show reached personal perfection: Smug Shift, a concoction of […]

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