Despite its hipster aesthetic, This American Life is one of my favorite radio shows. It’s quirky, compelling, and utterly human. You can imagine how excited I was when I heard about their live show, recorded in front of a studio audience at the Chicago Theatre and broadcast in realtime to movie theaters across the country.
The original event sold out immediately, but Jon, Vanessa, and I managed to grab tickets to the encore performance. It was a blast. Seeing the speakers added another dimension to the experience, without detracting from the stories themselves. They also took advantage of the extended format with video and animated shorts, as well as unscripted, behind the scenes commentary that made the show feel even more intimate. We loved it.
The week after that, Cynthia and I caught hometown bluegrass legend Toshio Hirano at his usual Monday night stomping grounds, Amnesia, in the Mission. He’s been a regular there for years, belting out rough-hewn, heartfelt American folk ballads in his signature Japanese accent. It’s surreal, to be sure, but he’s so earnest – and so good! – that you can’t help but enjoy it.
Before Amnesia, on a whim, we grabbed dinner at Beretta, and…damn. It may have been partly because we weren’t expecting much, but I haven’t been that pleasantly surprised by a restaurant in a long time. The pizza was the main event, but the eggplant caponatina and the polenta stole the show. Not to mention I found two new varietals, Primitivo and Negroamaro, that I love. Too bad you missed it, Nathan!
Other highlights included great symphony performances, the California Academy of Sciences’ Nightlife (we’re going again soon, let me know if you’re interested!), Clara’s book launch, a talk at CodeCon with Dan, and good company, good wine, and a very good cause at Wine to Water.
Here’s to another great couple months!