Shared from the 7/18/2016 San Francisco Chronicle eEdition


Reason to laugh at this year’s candidates


Tuesday nights until November at the Marsh on Valencia, political comic Will Durst’s “Elect to Laugh!” aims to put “the mock back in democracy, where it belongs.”

Last week, the satirist began chronologically, starting when the Republicans had 17 contenders and going forward candidate by candidate, aided by images from an overhead projector. Moans from audience members responding to those images served as a kind of impromptu popularity meter.

Although there were some jokes about Sen. Bernie Sanders — who’d that day endorsed Hillary Clinton — Sanders is treated with a lot more respect in the Mission District than Chris Christie. (If the New Jersey governor had heard the audience response to his image, he might have rued encountering a camera when he was wearing stretchy white baseball pants.)

That’s not to say it’s a one-sided bash fest. On Obama, at first: “No matter what you thought of his politics, you had to admire his ability not to get involved with them.” On the coming election: “I don’t know what’s scarier, that one of these people is going to be president or that the American people get to decide.”

Every seat was taken Tuesday, July 12, and the crowd seemed to relish laughing together at every topical joke. But although there’s nothing nostalgic about Durst’s material, I couldn’t help noticing that most of the audience was significantly older than the neighborhood demographic, which is heavy on sushi-foraging Millennials. I don’t understand that: Aren’t hipsters going to vote?

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Liam Mayclem, who went to see Sting performing with Peter Gabriel in San Jose as the news of Nice was breaking Thursday night, July 14, says Sting told the audience, “We need a new version of the world, one based on empathy, on solidarity, one based on our common humanity.”

Traditional men’s and women’s room signs at Cal Shakes facilities, reports Regan McMahon, are augmented: “We welcome gender diversity here: please use the restroom that best fits your gender identity or expression. To access a gender neutral restroom, please see our house staff for assistance.” Arrows point to restrooms with urinals and without.

And if that seems complicated, another message from Cal Shakes is affixed to bags of Kettle Corn: “Kettle Corn is delicious ... and LOUD! Cal Shakes asks that you be mindful of your neighbors when digging into this bag and eating during the performance.” Is cellophane loud? Should the stuff be poured into laps before the performance starts? Or maybe signage could provide directions for avoiding crackle by sucking on the corn to moisten it before

The publication of

Lorraine Rominger’s memoir, “The Rangity Tango Kids,” about growing up in a California farm family, was celebrated Thursday night, July 14, at Book Passage in the Ferry Building. Rominger, interim executive director of the Goldman Environmental Prize, was executive director of the San Francisco Film and Video Arts Commission under Mayor Frank Jordan. He was at the bookstore, and his official introduction of Rominger included generous praise for her role in his administration.

It was Rominger, for example, who took Jordan down to Beverly Hills to meet with producers and persuade them to shoot films in San Francisco. And it was Rominger, he said, whose push to bring “Nash Bridges” to town resulted in Don Johnson living here.

Although this wasn’t a political event at all, when Rominger took the microphone, she couldn’t help making a reference to civic matters. Twenty years ago, when Jordan was in office, she said, San Francisco “was a better place because we had a mayor that really cared.”

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“Donald is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous and temperamental personality. ... His anger is a great cause of suffering in his life. On multiple occasions, it has caused him to get in over his head and lose competitions. There are times when he fights to keep his temper in check, and he sometimes succeeds in doing so temporarily, but he always returns to his normal angry self in the end. ... He can sometimes come across as a bit of a bully. ... His love of bragging often leads him to overestimate his abilities, so that when he sets out to make good on his boasts, he gets in over his head, usually to hilarious effect.”

Thanks to Gary Tobin for this Wikipedia description of Donald Duck. Meanwhile, Mark Buell notes that the anagram for the last names of the GOP candidates for national office is “un PC temper.”

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“I love other people’s moms.”
Young woman on cell phone, overheard in downtown Mill Valley by Robert Hurwitt

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