Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

17 Aug 2002, 11:56 a.m.

Today is Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park (free stand-up!), and…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Today is Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park (free stand-up!), and I'm not going, but you might.

Actual Book Titles: Yankee Doodle Dead (a mystery, of course), The Pig and the Skyscraper (a history of Chicago; note Organism-Artifact form), and (marketing, of course).

Cody's Deals: We carry the Patrick Nielsen Hayden sci-fi anthologies, Starlight (III is the newest). Also, I've seen some neat biographies (e.g., Jack Kerouac) and film guides and the like upstairs, on our bargain shelves. These are unused, often hardcovers, often for $6 or so. I've seen J.G. Ballard's Crash there, and D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers, and cool cookbooks. Do remember to go upstairs.

Oh, and Anirvan, thanks for showing me upstairs that first time!

News of the Incongruous: Don Marti has a LiveJournal now, which is kinda weird -- next thing I know, Jeana'll have a Badvogato account.

The Guster concert: Yesterday I got off work early, thanks to a lenient boss, and hoofed it to the Greek Theater on campus. As I walked up Piedmont, I saw workers making progress on resurfacing a playing surface, and I saw happy students talking and laughing, and I caught a glimpse of the Campanile for the first time in a month. "Hi! I love you!" I found myself thinking to the campus. "How are you? I've missed you!"

When I was a student, I had hundreds of little social interactions with friends and acquaintances every day. Everywhere was progress and intellect and groovin'. Now I'm disconnected from that network. No wonder I've been lonely.

I found Adam and his friends (Dana, Edo, and Rachelle) in the line. Later, we found Matt gabbing away on a cell phone to some friend, directing him not to take a particular route to join us: "Don't go there, it's a parking lot." He sounded like a New Yorker, which he is.

On our way in, staff herded us like cattle. All bags had to be searched (I thought for guns and bombs, Adam said for booze).

When Matt asked who had a cell phone, everyone in our group, except Adam, produced one. Poor Adam had to discover that we were all agents of the dark side. And it only got worse inside; it was "like spotting shooting stars" to look up at the stands and see hundreds of people talking on cell phones with one hand and waving at some far-off person with the other. One woman somewhat near us exemplified the usual sequence of waves.

  1. First, the big side-to-side semicircle wave, a.k.a. "the windshield wiper."
  2. Next, the jumping-up-and-down with the palm facing out, possibly moving slightly forward and back. I term this the "Omigod it's N*Sync!!!!" wave.
  3. Finally, when visual confirmation has been achieved, the come-hither whole-arm motion, or "guiding the airplane."

People waved as they walked down the ramp into the theater. I felt like a papparazzo at the Academy Awards.

I am a relative concert novice, vis-�-vis Adam. So he and I conferred on protocol and so on. He had told me earlier that earplugs would be good to bring, and so I did. It's eerie looking at a huge crowd and not hearing it. Perhaps this isn't really happening,, one says, not knowing which sense to believe. Also, I asked whether there would be moshing. "You can't mosh to 'What You Wish For'!" he responded. I disagree -- where there's a will, there's a way -- but, in any case, people did not mosh to Guster.

They did smoke pot, though. Evidently I should have expected this. The fumes were much worse at the Ozomatli concert in the Greek a few years back (I had to leave), but certainly concertgoers openly smoked marijuana in the pit. I saw pot smoking, with my own eyes, for the first time! Yay?

A band of some sort opened for Guster, and it was fun.

Guster. I enjoyed the concert. Many of us sang along to several songs. I danced. During "Demons" I thought of lies that I regret (I'm sorry), and was sad.

Yes, the drummer is amazing. I don't have the words to day how awe-inspiring he was. Wow!

The lead singer made mention of the classical architecture of the Greek theater. "Didn't Yanni or John Tesh or somebody play the Parthenon or the Coliseum? Well, if we were a cooler band, we would so bust out with a Yanni cover right now ... I don't even know any Yanni songs..."

Later, when we booed their impending exit: "Et tu, Berkeley? ... I feel like I should be saying, 'Oh, Prometheus,' ... I don't know."

After Guster played, some of us left the pit and sat in the bowl. Adam and Rachelle and I didn't really enjoy John Mayer's act (he should quit smoking; his voice is to Tom Waits's as Christian Slater's is to Jack Nicholson's), and left after several songs. I enjoyed his speech more than his music. Excerpts:

"Let's hear it for homeostasis!"

"You ever think of something that really bums you out, and then you're just walking around bummed out, and then you can't remember the thing that originally bummed you out?...That's what this song is about."

He also rambled for a minute about how cool we were, since we were the sort of people who stayed on the back patio during parties. He developed a deck-based taxonomy of party coolness, which was much more interesting than the song that followed. You see? I'd watch him do stand-up, but not sing.

A lighting technician tried really hard to enhance all the bands' music with psychedelic color patterns, but as I sat in the stands, my favorite lighting effect was the sight of random camera flashes in the audience. Pretty!

I found it a lot easier in the stands to see the whiteness of the crowd. White! I can't recall the last time I've seen more white people at once. (Well, maybe in St. Petersburg.)

One of John Mayer's songs was a Police cover ("King of Pain", I think), and another song was one that seemed to sample from "Walking on the Moon", and that I wished were "Walking on the Moon" instead of what it was. Adam noted that "he sounds like Dave Matthews covering the Police."

After the show, Adam and I went to Caff� Strada and walked most of the way home together, and discussed our summers and upcoming birthdays. We also saw Jade on the street, which was cool. I wish I lived even closer to Adam and Jade. Maybe I can look for a place in that area when I move next month.

Overall, a great and exhausting evening. Tomorrow: Whales!