Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 25 at noon. Click right here.
Tickets to see the comedian, who went into semi-reclusion after turning down a reported $55 million offer to continue The Dave Chappelle Show, go on sale tomorrow, Sept. 21, at noon. All tickets are $55.
In the past couple years, Chappelle has made infrequent appearances at small clubs like the Independent and the New Parish in San Francisco and Oakland, with tickets usually going on sale the same day and selling out instantly. (You might also recall that last month, he shut down a heckling Hartford, CT crowd.)
Needless to say, this show will sell out very quickly.
Get your tickets here on Saturday at noon.
Controversy surrounds both the center and Maher. Both institutions have left people angry, but ironically for very different reasons. Maher has been to known to spout his far-left gospel to anyone and everyone, stepping on toes as he goes, while the Green Music Center has been funded largely by Sandy Weill—the ex-Citigroup CEO and Glass-Steagall buster extraordinaire named one of the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis” by Time magazine. They’re certainly playing for different teams, but the real kicker is that Maher will be performing in the aptly named “Weill Hall.” Let the hand biting commence!
I mean, how can Maher not make jokes about the venue, the man who helped fund it, or even about the newest and possibly most outrageous development: that MasterCard will sponsor an outside pavilion at the center—a deal hand-crafted by Weill himself? With cost estimates rising from $48 million to over $120 million, the project has turned into a hydra of sorts, and while this hydra is beautiful and prestigious, it has, to quite a sizable number of critics, degraded the reputation of the university.
To ignore the juxtaposed hilarity of it all would not be Maher’s style, so I’m sure that attendees will be met with an onslaught of fantastical big bank slams and capitalistic teardowns. Oh! And there is next to no doubt that Maher will broach the subject of Weill’s Glass-Steagall flip flop. You just can’t make this stuff up!
Tickets are still available, so don’t miss Bill Maher on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Green Music Center, 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 8pm. $49.75-$89.75. 866.955.6040.
My name is Root. I used to go by Cynthia, but all that changed when I left my career in finance back in '09. After I made my first million, I realized my aura involved some must-go negative vibes. Alas, the celery shake and mango oil cleanse couldn't get rid of my inner demons! I quickly left Akron to live on a communal freegan hemp farm in Humboldt County that I read about on Craigslist. What a joy! My spiritual mentor, an ex-real estate agent by the name of Moon Song IV, helped me realized what's really important in life: mind and body connectivity to the outer astral planes. During a two week peyote-fueled vision quest, the two of us met one of the ninth plain's deities, Bakbar Bloitus, a being from a distant galaxy. He made love to both of us. Gosh, what a game-changer that was! I won't go into the story now, but I'll tell you later if our two souls flow into one.
I recently left the farm and moved to Santa Cruz, where I opened up a boutique called Essence. What's really neat is that I don't even have to pay my two employees thanks to an internship program from UCSC's Sustainable Fashion Design 210 course. We specialize in tarot supplies, organic hemp clothing, essential oils, black light art, literature on the exploitation of single cell organisms in the San Lorenzo River, and hats made completely from recycled dreadlocks. I hate contributing to capitalism, but we do donate .005 percent of our profits to a buddhist monastery in Los Gatos.
I'm in an open relationship back home, but am hoping to hook up while burning. After all, you can't clip this bird's wings! My hobbies include truffle hunting, astrology, burlesque, stand-up paddle boarding, and EXPERIMENTATION. I'm really looking to have some fun at Tuesday's candy rave, Bass Laser, in the Great Doperession tent. Like playing doctor? Bring the MD, and I'll bring the MA! If you want into this funky journey I call life, just send some sensual and intellectual vibes my way.
Peace, Love, and Bakbar,
Who's that in the cover photo for this week's feature by Leilani Clark on standup comedy, you ask? The guy getting a banana cream pie smashed in his face?
Why, it's the Bohemian's very own editor, Gabe Meline.
Anyone who's ever been on the wrong side of our paper's editorializing can take vicarious pleasure in repeat viewings of this behind-the-scenes video below, showing the moment of impact while photographer Sara Sanger gets the cover shot:
Former WFC entertainment director Rick Bartalini has a new plan.
Friday, May 14, and the buzz is on. It’s opening night at Napa’s newly restored Uptown Theatre and the place is sold-out, some 800 people packed in to witness Big Bad Voodoo Daddy inaugurate a new era in Napa culture.
Standing amid the buzz is a recognizable figure, Rick Bartalini, formerly the entertainment director for the Wells Fargo Center and the go-to guy for artist hospitality (above, with Olivia Newton-John). Bartalini made his name as the man who knows what kind of flowers Diana Ross favors for her dressing room or the kind of videos Johnny Mathis needs stocked in his hotel suite.
On this day, Bartalini showed up at the Uptown around 10am, took a look at the ordinary chaos of opening night and turned to Uptown executive director Sheila Groves-Tracey. “Girlfriend,” he reportedly said, “give me your credit card.” Eight hours later, special food and drink had been laid in and any other comfort the musicians might have wished for had been anticipated. Bartalini’s magic once again beamed bright.
He’ll have more than one chance to work that magic again in Sonoma County as he rolls out Rick Bartalini Presents, a newly formed LLC that will book and cosset acts at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, both inside at the Grace Pavilion and outside in the adjacent lot where the carnival is erected each summer. Bartalini, who installed Dolly Parton into the Grace for a 2007 Valentine’s Day show that was a pink-hued audio orgasm, knows the challenges and pleasures of such an unconventional venue.
He has also made connections with other North Bay venues; he envisions possibly placing jazz diva Diana Krall at the Green Center and definitely plans big-name country acts for the fairgrounds. His proposed outdoor arena could hold some 15,000 souls. Moreover, Bartalini promises economy in ticket prices, since a place that can hold so many can charge less for tickets than a place that accommodates a smaller audience. With country-music hotspot Konocti Harbor closed, Santa Rosa makes a perfect fit. Bartalini promises programming will begin in the fall. Keep checking these pages for more.Gretchen GilesThis story amended for factual errors and a new (thinner) photo uploaded on May 24, 2010.
(Incidentally, not one of ours.)
At the Lincoln Theatre in Yountville on Saturday, Bill Cosby made his first public appearance since America elected Barack Obama as its next president. One would hope that Cosby might have come up with some special material, in the three days since the historic election, to mark the occasion.
And yet Cosby never once spoke of Obama from the stage.
On Election Night, none other than Karl Rove had credited Bill Cosby with indirectly steering the American consciousness toward the historic act of electing a black president. Cosby set such a positive family example with The Cosby Show, Rove implied, that it paved the way for Obama's victory.
And still, Cosby never once spoke of Obama from the stage.
If this stunning oversight felt weird to the sold-out Saturday afternoon audience in Napa Valley, they didn’t let on. Instead, members of the mostly senior-citizen crowd shouted out requests for jokes about ice cream. And, essentially, that’s what Cosby gave them: nearly two hours of tame material about the wackiness of children, the ruthlessness of wives and the mystery of doctors.
You know. The usual Cosby stuff.
“What we need to do is give people more of a confidence that they can. They must realize that the revolution is in their apartment now. The revolution is in their house, their neighborhood, and then they can fight strongly, clearly, the systemic and the institutional racism.” — Bill Cosby on Meet the Press, 2006.
Away from the comedy stage, Bill Cosby is a different man. For the last four years, Cosby has been fighting a fierce cultural war, calling out the black community for poor parenting, for putting up with gangsta rap and for ignoring inner-city drug use. He’s suggested blacks move away from afrocentrism, and that black families need to stop giving their children “names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap.”
On stage, Cosby talked about turkey stuffing.
Cosby has had his troubles with women in recent years; 14 of them have charged that they were drugged and then molested by him. Repeatedly throughout the show, Cosby spat out the word “women” as if it was one of the obscenities he’d promised not to use at the beginning of the show. Nearly all of his riffs, including a long and brilliant retelling of the Garden of Eden story which recalled his famous “Noah,” were either peppered with or served to highlight the theory that women were put on Earth to annoy men.
He then talked about Kleenex.
“We’ve had an African-American first family for many years in different forms. When The Cosby Show was on, that was America’s family. It wasn’t a black family. It was America’s family.” – Karl Rove, Election Night, 2008.
Undoubtedly, Rove is right. By presenting an image of a functional, well-educated, loving black American family on The Cosby Show, Cosby completely changed the national conversation on race. His approach to race relations has always been the polar opposite of Al Sharpton’s or Spike Lee’s; instead of illuminating the differences between whites and blacks, Cosby focuses on what the two have in common. With patience and diligence, he has successfully slipped into the mind of white America a pure vision of equality—the idea that deep down, black people are just like white people.
But on stage, Cosby told stories about Thanksgiving.
“If you’re black and you say to me, because you see me studying, ‘You’re acting white,’ what is it you’re saying about black people? You see, these are things that have to be discussed with, and people aren’t coming up enough to challenge these statements, to do character corrections on these things.” — Bill Cosby on Meet The Press, 2006.
Cosby’s condemnations about the black community come from a place of genuine love for that community. A struggling black artist in the 1970s in need of funding could count on Cosby to flow some financing his way—see Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song. A forgotten black artist in the 1980s in need of recognition could count on Cosby to highlight their talent on the Cosby Show—see Lena Horne, Joe Williams, Ellis Wilson. This falls in line with his latest book telling black people to stop being victims and start being victors, which is a pretty easy thing for someone as wealthy as Cosby to say.
On Saturday afternoon, he joked about exercise.
“Parents need to know all about what their children are doing—they should look under beds, monitor Internet usage, know who their friends are.” — Bill Cosby on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2007.
Instead of being about Barack Obama, Saturday’s show was all about an 88-year-old veteran in a wheelchair named Clyde. Cosby crawled on his hands and knees to the edge of the stage to chat, but after about 15 minutes of Clyde’s constant commentary during which Cosby went from enamored to exasperated, he finally broke. “Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to do the show. You are not to yell out any more or you will be sedated,” he said, crawling back to his chair. “I’m telling you something. Let’s just leave it at that. I don’t need you remarking on what I’m telling you.”
He told the crowd about recipes, and bacon, and hotel beds.
It’s easy to agree with Cosby when he talks about personal responsibility. It’s practically impossible to agree with him, however, when he rails against hip-hop music and the names parents give their children. But all in all, there’s no doubt that Bill Cosby has made the world a better place, and that he had a positive impact on a lot of people when it comes to race relations—especially kids who grew up watching The Cosby Show. I know, because I was one of them.
Still, I wanted him to mention Barack Obama. Just once. In such an incredible week, and such a notable time in history, couldn’t he break his no-controversy rule a little and give Obama a quick mention? When his son was murdered on a Los Angeles freeway, he spoke about it on stage. When the financial crisis hit earlier this year, he spoke about it on stage.
Cosby ended the set with the routine about going to the dentist. It killed.
The news of George Carlin's death of heart failure hit particularly close to home for his many fans in Sonoma County, and especially those in the sold-out crowd at Carlin's two Wells Fargo Center performances earlier this year, on February 29 and March 1.
Wells Fargo Center Director of Programming Rick Bartalini offers this behind-the-curtain recollection:What impressed me most about Carlin's time here this past February and March was he made it a family affair. His manager, publicist, producers, agents and staff were all part of his extended family, people that had been part of his team for decades. After taping two exhausting specials in February and March here, George could have easily got on the plane and went home. Instead he took well over an hour to walk around and personally thank each person on the production staff. It was the type of gesture that you don't see often in this business. Sonoma County had a love affair with Carlin over the years, selling out 5 performances over the years as well as selecting the Center to be the stage for his 14th and final live comedy special for HBO. On selecting Santa Rosa as the location for the special, Carlin said, "I didn't feel like going to New York. New York's energy is unique, but I felt like changing the whole feel of the show. I've always had good audiences in Santa Rosa. I get a lot of good smart people, left of center, and they like for you to take some chances. It's not like a Los Angeles audience."
The first part of the HBO special from the Wells Fargo Center is on YouTube here. This excerpt resonates for those who just saw him:Now, speaking of dead people, there are things we say when someone dies. Things we say that no one ever questions. They just kind of go unexamined. I'll give you a couple examples. After someone dies, the following conversation is bound to take place, probably more than once. Two guys meet on the street: "Hey, did you hear? Phil Davis died.""Phil Davis? I just saw him yesterday!""Yeah? Didn't help. He died anyway."
Live review: Chris Rock, Paramount Theater, Oakland – Saturday, April 5, 2008
Stand-up comedy genius (and film actor with poor judgment) Chris Rock brought his No Apologies tour to Oakland’s Paramount Theater over the weekend, with four sold-out nights that sadly showed the fallibility of the modern-day Mark Twain.
Momentum was high following a solid set from regular opener Mario Joyner and a powerful slide show of African-American art from the likes of Kehinde Wiley and Basquiat. Rock was introduced via a fast-paced montage of news clips and sound bites featuring many of his impending targets, an appropriate segue considering Rock is a topical artist in the best sense. But his opening riff on one Ms. Spears was immediately tiresome considering her recent overexposure; it seemed distasteful at this point, even though he was actually defending her. “So they take her kids,” he said in his trademark grit, “but Bobby and Whitney keep theirs?! Even O.J. kept his kids, and he killed their mother!”
Still, Rock has a knack for finding gold in already exhausted territories, as evinced by a brilliant 30-minute bit on the current presidential candidates. “So if Hillary wins, she’s going to work every day in the same office where her husband got a blow job,” he said amid a sea of side-splitting shrieks. “There ain’t enough redecorating in the world to get rid of that!”
Rock also had fun with his choice Obama, using the candidate's status as a reminder of how hard it still is to be a black man in America. “Until a black man ran for president,” he said, “I’d never heard of a ‘super delegate!’” His jokes still worked, although they were a little too respectful: “He’s got the blackest name next to Dkembe Motumbo!”
Not squandering much time on McCain beyond a couple of jokes (“Do we really want a president with a ‘bucket list’?” / “I don’t want to vote for someone who got captured; I want to vote for someone who got away!”), Rock knew that digs at Bush would go over much better. “He fucked up so bad, he made it hard for a white man to run for president!” he said early on. “No one gives less of a fuck than Bush,” he continued. “If you were hanging off a cliff and all you needed was someone to give a fuck, and Bush was at the top with a pocket full of fucks…”
And so went the nearly two-hour set of his trademark blend of socioeconomic concerns, the state of the union, and painfully honest & spot-on relationship wisdom. But although he still outshines virtually every other working stand-up comedian, Rock’s material failed to fully incite the Saturday night crowd, even though a good portion had already gotten their swerve at least halfway on.
One might think the large venue had a hand in the restrained reaction, but large venues are nothing new to Rock (his best TV special was filmed at the Apollo). More damaging was the derivative material, recycled from his past glories. When talking again about getting caught cheating, the previous “left turn” became the highway (“Did you take the highway with that bitch? Only side streets from now on!”). Marion Barry’s drug habit became Obama’s very "black-sounding" name (“President? It's hard to become a manager at Burger King with that name!”). He used Obama’s reverend-speech controversy to reiterate how old black men are justifiably the most racist people, and some punch lines were repeated verbatim: “I haven’t seen white people that mad since they canceled M*A*S*H.”
What’s most upsetting about this use of “regular bits” to which many comedians adhere is that not since Eddie Murphy (Delirious, Raw) has a comedian had such universally celebrated, instantly classic, entirely quotable comedy specials. Bring the Pain (1996) and Bigger and Blacker (1999) have endured and entered the pop culture lexicon, becoming more like perfectly paced one-man plays than hour-plus stand-up sets. They continually persist as must-sees for comedy fans everywhere despite their rapidly aging subject matter. It seems naive of Rock to think that his fans wouldn't remember, or would want to hear anything but new material.
Like on 2004’s substandard Never Scared, Rock’s current subject matter is as bold as ever, christening forefather-decorated dollar bills as "rapist trading cards", for instance. But his delivery is not as hard-hitting, never warranting a microphone smack as it did in Bring the Pain. Pacing – always vital for such scripted shows – was also a problem, with Saturday's show scattered and meandering in places. Even the relatively tame Never Scared was sufficiently kinetic when it came to the Bay Area early into his 2004 tour.
Maybe his success (see the live video clip below) or his age has spoiled him a bit. Surely it’s not easy to hit a grand slam each time out, but it’s hard not to think that Rock’s questionable film script-reading skills have extended to his live shows. Although he’s already been on the road for a couple of months, No Apologies is still obviously a work in progress, with the comedian even admitting half-successful delivery at a couple of points on Saturday. But this is a sign of hope that the HBO special that airs this fall will be worthy of his and his co-writers' formidable CV. There's still a killer show buried beneath the shit, so no apologies are necessary, Chris – just some careful editing.–David Sason
Get it while it’s hot (yes, “hot” in that way too, I guess).