Cross-posted from my guest blog on 81 Dates ...
When I first met Justin, we sat down at Red’s Java House and I asked him (in more elegant terms than this) exactly what the fuck the deal was. My friend Myla had mentioned a friend of hers who has season tickets in the Arcade section at Oracle Park (that name will never not be strange to me) and likes to take a different date to every game. He then writes about the experience on his blog. He was also looking for new recruits to join him at the yard.
Sign me up!, I said. But I wanted to meet the guy first. It was on that day that I learned that I would, indeed, be going to the Giants-Rangers game in August that would be the setting for the return of Bruce Bochy.
This is a cross-post with Justin's blog, 81 Dates.
Technically, this blog post kicks off Season 6. I hope there are no statisticians or hard-asses out there, because, though we did do a bit of recording up in Club Level at Oracle Park, it will be a minute before we actually kick off our next round of podcasts.
Anyway, S1 guest of our show, Myla Ablog, introduced me to her friend, a dude who "has season tickets in the Arcade section and is known as the Mayor of Section 152." Myla also let me know that Justin, as he's otherwise known, likes to take a different person to every Giants home game, and that he writes about the experience afterward on a blog called "81 Dates." This post is a cross-post with Justin's blog, because we thought it only natural to include it here because it is, technically, part of the Storied: SF experience.
Enjoy, and check out 81 Dates for some highly entertaining writing.
Jeff is the kind of guy who remembers specific at-bats and what they meant to a game or a series or a season; as you may recall, I am the kind of guy who remembers that we probably won some games that year, if I remember what year it was. At one point we get involved in a conversation with a guy in the 415 – he’s a Cubs fan – who talks in very specific detail about some postseason games with Jeff, and my main contribution to the discussion is to have asked where he got that hat (he got it for having tickets in the 415). I can’t say I’m actually insecure about the difference in our knowledge bases, because I can fall back on knowing which two Yankee pitchers traded lives, including wives, children, and dogs in 1973 (Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich), which Jeff probably doesn’t. He is also the kind of guy who has a pregame ritual, which involves going into the Public House to get a beer before the game. I guess mine is trying to be in my seats in time to watch the guy who hoses down the field finish hosing down the field.
Jeff seems to have his ducks in a row, with a wife who sounds like maybe a bigger Giants fan than both of us; he also tells of having been a pretty successful little Leaguer, until he got to the level where pitchers start to acquire real power but haven’t developed much control, which reminds me of my own baseball career and the time I got hit by a pitch, which was probably traveling about twenty miles an hour but was still very traumatic. I’ve been hit by a lot of things since then, but none of them left quite the same impression on my psyche – possibly because about two minutes after I got taken out, I told the coach I felt okay and was ready to go back in and was told that when you come out of a game, you’re out for good, which left me feeling both slightly bruised and kind of dumb. Later in the 415, Jeff declines the opportunity to stand right behind the bullpen catcher and watch the fastballs come in. We both have our emotional scars.
As we approach the end of Season 5 of Storied: SF, we're considering a few tweaks moving forward. We've already secured a nine-week art show at Mini Bar starting in August (for a little more info on that, check out our short bonus episode below). Sometime after that, in October or November, we'll bring the podcast back, but not necessarily on a weekly basis. That's because we want to do so much more ...
More art shows, music, food, poetry ... CULTURE. Live events. Getting out of your house and being with people. We're so lucky that it's safe to do so now, and part of what's gonna bring our city back is doing just that—getting out and appreciating the richness of this place.
Hell, I'm even thinking about doing a zine! I want to ride this thing we've built and explore all the ways we can keep doing what we've set out to do from Day 1. Contra all the nonsense you see about San Francisco "dying" or "Doom Loop" stories, we instead want to focus on those of us still living our lives here and thriving in the face of what is definitely a funk.
Check out our bonus episode from last week, where Jeff talks about some of this stuff.
CAAMFest is the coolest film festival you've maybe never heard of. I've been intimately aware of CAAMFest since about 2016 or so. Like a lot of events requiring humans to be together in close proximity, CAAM was forced into a hiatus during the early years of COVID. The fact that the 10-day festival is back is testament to both where we are in the pandemic and the enduring spirit of this four-decade-old slate of movies showcasing AAPI filmmakers, crewmembers, actors, and writers. If you're saying "wow" right now, welcome to the club.
CAAMFest 2023 did everything but disappoint, at least as far as the events I was fortunate enough to attend. I joined Erin and Producer Char back in April at CAAM's launch party (side note: it was a total trip to be inside Victory Hall, the space formerly—and by "formerly," I mean at least 20 years ago—occupied by 330 Ritch and its "Pop Scene" weekly dance parties). At the launch party, I was immediately struck that night by the enthusiasm on display, mostly from CAAM Festival and Exhibitions Director Thúy Trần (get to know Thúy over on Bitch Talk Podcast) and Programs Associate Jess Ju. Thúy and Jess presented the list of 55+ film, music, and food events that comprised this year's CAAMFest, and I was hooked.
Here's a list of movies I signed up for as soon as I could:
Benkyodo: The Last Manju Shop in J-Town
Jeanette Lee vs.
Fanny: The Right to Rock
Photo by Wally Gobetz
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Hi there! How are you? I'm good. I've been good. Like, really good. Let me go back a little bit ...
Starting around January this year, a spark ignited somewhere in my psyche. Looking back, I think it was caused by several factors. Playing right into it was an opportunity to see so many bands I discovered in the '90s, bands that truly changed my life. I also had the chance to reconnect with folks from my life whom I hadn't seen in 20 or 30 years, people I'd lived with back in my formative days. The temptation to revel in nostalgia was strong, and we definitely acted upon it.
Dwelling in the past is as natural as anything else our brains do regularly. I found myself transported back to "simpler times," in both my life and the world around me.
But almost as soon as I realized what was happening, a second trigger went off—"don't get caught up in the past, Jeff," it insisted. "Take inspiration from this and use it to shape your present and your future." Damn, whatever part of me is speaking to me, you're right!
"What does this have to do with San Francisco?" you might ask. Good question! Like a lot of you, I've been thinking about what our city can be in this oh-so-obvious point of inflection. I've been here nearly 23 years, and my memories of the days of my arrival are almost all fond. I remember public art everywhere ... house parties ... art parties ... $3 burritos ... more fog in the avenues ... an upstart progressive campaign that almost unseated an heir apparent to the Mayor's Office ... the list goes on and on.
Today, as I ponder what I want this city to be moving forward, I am tempted to think back to those simpler times, the early aughts. But it would be a grave mistake to stay there too long. Times change, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
All this to say that these are some of the louder internal conversations I've been having lately. And it relates to something we've got in store for y'all.
Starting this August, after we've wrapped up Season 5 and got some much-needed rest and travel under our belts, we're hosting an art show at Mini Bar on Divisadero. We're still working on the exact name of the show, but the theme is: Rebirth.
For me, thinking about San Francisco and rebirth means tapping into the better elements of the past and applying what we've learned to help shape our vision of the future. To me, a city that uplifts all its residents, that celebrates the arts and all the diverse cultures and histories it comprises, that's a city reborn for the better.
We'll have many more details about our Mini Bar show over the coming weeks and months. But we wanna know from you: What do you imagine a renaissance in San Francisco to look like?
That's it for now. Thanks as always for reading and looking forward to your answers.
Actors, crew, and directors of Home Is a Hotel. Photography by Jeff Hunt
I've lived in San Francisco for 23 years and seen movies at the SFFilm Festival many times. But I've never "covered" the festival as press. At Erin's urging, this year, I applied for press credentials ... and SFFilm obliged. Amazing!
The schedule for this festival, which was celebrating its 66th year, was dizzying, to say the least. I leafed through and found a handful of films that fit the following criteria:
I ended up with access to the following movies, whether by at-home screener link or tickets to a theater: