He's been taking the class on Sunday afternoons since August, and his class had their graduation show on Sunday morning. Since it is a large class, they were split into two teams to do the show. The team calling themselves "Astigmatism" went on first.
About twenty minutes later, Simon's team "Party at Reagan's House" followed.
Because it's an intro class, most of their scenes are just two people.
Though you could probably tell it was a class show, due to a bit of hesitation between scenes, the shows were both funny & Simon was (as I expected) a highlight.
Though he said afterward that his nerves hit him onstage, I could not tell at all from the audience.
I am so happy that he decided to take this class - he has enjoyed it, and is already planning to take 201 next year.
The last couple of weeks have been eventful. Last Friday morning, we drove up to San Francisco. We wanted to visit April & Tony, and then go to a Conor Oberst concert at The Fillmore on Saturday night. We had no troubles getting away from Los Angeles, and didn't hit any traffic, so we arrived in SF around 3:30pm.
We were supposed to meet April at her office for a tour around 5pm, so we decided to stop and get a beer around the corner at The Beer Hall to kill some time.
They had the newest Game of Thrones beer, Vahlar Morghulis, on tap, so we each had one of those. We tried it back in July at Comic Con and absolutely loved it, so I am glad it is now available for purchase. Definitely try it out if you see it on tap near you!
After our beers, we walked over to April's workplace and met up with her for a tour. Her workplace is different from any other working environment I have ever seen. It's an open floor plan with few walls, they serve employee meals, and they have beer on tap. So basically, you never have to leave work. Not sure if that is good or bad, but April absolutely loves it. After our tour, we headed back to April & Tony's apartment to catch up and relax for a bit. Once Tony was available, we walked around the neighborhood looking for a place to get dinner.
It took a bit of work, but we eventually found a Mexican food place that had a short wait, and we all had tacos. Then we headed back to the apartment.
Climbing the hill back to their apartment always makes me feel terrible, but I think I seriously almost died this time. It is a very steep hill.
The next day, we walked to get some breakfast
and then walked down to the wharf to check out the Musée Mécanique, a free museum filled with old, working video games.
They had stuff from the 20's and 30's alongside Tekken 3 and air hockey.
We got five dollars worth of quarters and went crazy.
After we had our fill of games, we walked down the Embarcadero to Pier 23, a bar with a beer garden along the water.
We had a few beers, trying our best to stay out of the unusually hot San Francisco sun. After a couple hours, we got an Uber back to Tony & April's apartment to pick up our stuff and head over to Hotel Tomo in Japantown. Since we were going to a concert late that night and had to leave early the next morning, we decided to stay at a hotel near the venue.
It was a really cute anime-themed hotel, with a nice view and comfortable bed. We'd definitely stay there again.
After we checked in and dropped off our stuff, we all walked a few blocks to Fat Angel, an intriguing gastropub that April found on Yelp.
We didn't know it walking in, but it was the perfect place for the four of us to spend a few hours hanging out, drinking beer and eating food. They had a delicious cheese plate,
and an eclectic draft and bottled beer list.
We only get to see April and Tony a few times a year, max, so it's always awesome to have a chance to catch up. The four of us had a lovely evening, and a few hours later, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. April and Tony headed home, while Simon and I went back to the hotel for a couple hours before the show. Since the headliner wasn't going on until 11pm and we are old, we decided to rest up beforehand.
Around 10pm, we walked a few blocks to the unassuming entrance of The Fillmore. You would not know it was there without the ticket takers hanging outside the front door. Once we were in, we walked up a set of stairs that opened to the back of the venue, and we caught the end of the second opening act. Finally, around quarter after 11, Conor Oberst and his band took the stage.
Since he is my favorite artist, we have seen him a bunch of times over the years, and this was the first of three concerts we'd see of his in four days. Though we had some crowd issues, and it wasn't over until the early hours of Sunday, it was a good show. I am also really happy we got a chance to check out a historic San Francisco music institution.
We only got to grab a few hours of sleep before waking up early to hit the road back to LA. Simon had his last improv class that afternoon, so we had to be back by 3pm. We made it with over an hour to spare, and he went to class while I relaxed on the couch for a bit. Then, I went to pick him up from class to head to our second Conor show, a John Prine/Conor Oberst double-billed concert at the Greek Theater.
Conor went on after 11pm in San Francisco, but his start time at the Greek was 7pm, as he was co-headling the date with John Prine. So he started right on time and played for an hour and a half. Most were songs we'd heard the night before, but he played some different ones as well.
John Prine was next up, and though we didn't know many of his songs, he was a good match for Conor's style.
Monday night, we walked over to LACMA to see a movie I've been hearing about since January called Whiplash. It opened at the Sundance Film Festival and people absolutely loved it, so I was very excited to finally get the chance to see it.
All I can say is... wow. It was amazing. Simon and I were both floored by how good it was. I'm not going to get into detail about the plot, because I think you are better off going in with limited knowledge, but it's about a young jazz drummer and his teacher.
There was a Q&A afterward with most of the cast, including Miles Teller & J.K. Simmons, as well as the young writer/director Damien Chazelle. I am confident we heard some future award winners talking about their parts in this film that night.
It won't be in wide release for a few weeks at the earliest, but if you love music or movies, I insist that you find a theater to see this film. It was so very good. I am honestly thinking about seeing it again.
Tuesday night, I met Simon downtown to get some dinner at Yard House in LA Live.
After dinner, we walked to the Grammy Museum for a third and final Conor Oberst show. I had my reasons for getting tickets to each show. For this one, it's because the Grammy museum has a tiny, 200 seat venue where artists give performances that the museum tapes and keeps in its archives. I knew I'd never be able to see him in a similarly sized venue again, and tickets were only $20, so I jumped on them. Definitely worth it.
As with many excellent things in LA, photography was forbidden, but I snapped this before the show.
The theater was very cozy, and we were in the fourth row from the front. For the next thirty to forty minutes, Conor was interviewed by a guy from the museum, and then the band played a ten song set after the interview. Despite his extensive back catalogue, most of the material was from his newest album. Though he did play our wedding song, which was really nice! I'm really excited that I found out about this venue, and not just because it was so intimate for one of my favorite artists. Other bands play there all the time, and now I know to look out for other bands that we like playing the small space.
After a few very full days in a row, we spent Wednesday and Thursday night at home. Friday, we went to a new-to-us movie theater, the Sundance Sunset, to see The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her/Him. The films, starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, are stories about a failing marriage where one movie is told from the perspective of her character, and the other is from the perspective of his. A combined version was released last month, but I was interested in seeing the originals, and we live in the perfect city for limited release things like that. And since Jessica Chastain and her co-star Jess Weixler were doing a Q&A after the Friday showing, we decided to go to that one.
The movies were interesting, if not groundbreaking, and the Q&A was great. You can usually tell when an actor is doing promo for something because they are forced to versus when they are excited to, and Chastain was obviously genuinely eager to talk about the movie, which she also produced. She spent a lot of time talking about how important it is to have better roles for women in films, and she is in a position to make that happen, which is excellent.
Saturday, Simon did some schoolwork and later than evening, we went to ASSSSCAT. Kumail Nanjiani, a comedian/actor who Simon & I both like, was the guest monologist.
The cast of improvisers was solid, and the show was ridiculously funny.
Which brings us to yesterday. We had Simon's improv show in the morning, and then my favorite UCB show Hot Sauce later that night on the very same stage.
And if you think improv is a big part of our lives now... UCB is about to open a new location just a couple miles away from the current one. They'll be keeping the original location open, so there will be approximately double the amount of shows there are now. Which will be crazy. We are anxiously awaiting the schedule for the new venue!
That's all for now, folks. I have some things planned for the next week while Simon is in Texas, and then a couple days after he gets back, I am coming home for a bit! I am also trying to plan a combined NYC/Reading Christmastime trip... we'll see how that goes. Love you guys, and I will see you soon!