Posts Tagged ‘review’

Introducing the “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – What It’s Like to Ride an Amphibious Vehicle on the Bay

Monday, July 14th, 2014

IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:

Taking the Kids: Quacking up and around the city by the bay

I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco - it starts at 7:30 PM.

Here’s Captain John:

Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:

So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.

So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…

…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…

…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…

…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.

I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.

So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:

And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.

This was the late-starting 7:30 PM sunset cruise so things were getting darker as we made our way past AT&T Park:

You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.

This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.

Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.

Looking back at the Bay Bridge through Doris and Don Fisher’s Cupid’s Span skate park / tourist hiking platform – plenty of oohs and ahs at this point here:

Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…

…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:

These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?

And there’s your trip:

So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.

And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.

If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.

This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.

 

Law School Chancellors Reviewing 16-Year-Old Movies: Frank Wu of UC Hastings on Ronin (1998)

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Here it is, apropos of nothing, from Frank H. Wu, Chancellor & Dean of UC Hastings College of the Law on the HuffPo.

But we’re not talking about the recent film 47 Ronin, non non. We’re talking about plain old Ronin, from when you were in elementary school, Gentle Reader.

Now the thing about Dean Frank is that he’s new in town. It’s unfortunate he’s already embraced certain corrupt local institutions, such as the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. Granted, he sometimes needs to deal with such entities to get his job done, but he doesn’t display an awareness of the fact he’s living in the most corrupt big American city west of Chicago. For instance.

No matter, I entirely agree that Ronin is worth your time. (And I’m shocked that its Rotten Tomatoes score is down in the ’60s. This is one of the best films you can see with a rating that low.)

You oughtta watch the whole thing.  

“The University of California’s Hastings College of the Law (UC Hastings or Hastings) is a top tier public law school in San Francisco, California, located in the Civic Center neighborhood. Founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings, the first Chief Justice of California, it was the first law school of the University of California…”

A Press Release from Fantasyland: “PG&E Chairman Tony Earley Asks Board for Independent Review of Company Actions Related to Line 147″

Monday, November 11th, 2013

PG&E Chairman Tony Earley Asks Board for Independent Review of Company Actions Related to Line 147 - Earley says ensuring company’s credibility is essential”

“It is important to understand that, as the Administrative Law Judge in the proceeding acknowledged, this was not a safety issue but rather an issue of regulatory compliance.”

UH, SO WAS WHAT CAUSED SAN BRUNO MERELY AN ISSUE OF “REGULATORY COMPLIANCE” AS WELL? YOU SEE, PG&E, PART OF YOUR PROBLEM IS YOUR BEHAVIOR BEFORE SAN BRUNO BUT  THE _OTHER_ PART IS YOUR BEHAVIOR _AFTER_ SAN BRUNO . YOU PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK THAT YOU’VE FIXED EVERYTHING. YOU HAVEN’T.

In this proceeding, the CPUC Safety and Enforcement Division said that all public safety issues were addressed by PG&E’s operational actions. In addition, I strongly believe that the employees working to correct the records associated with Line 147 were trying to do the right thing. “However, it is essential to PG&E’s future that our conduct be above reproach at all times and that we maintain credibility with the Commission, our customers and the public.

THIS ASSUMES THAT YOU HAVE CREDIBILITY WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS AND THE PUBLIC. YOU SEE, YOU CAN’T MAINTAIN SOMETHING UNTIL YOU HAVE SOMETHING, RIGHT? YOU’RE THE WORST BIG UTILITY IN AMERICA, RIGHT? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT?

“Accordingly, I have asked the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors to independently review Commissioner Ferron’s assertion of ‘deliberate and calculated dishonesty‘ by PG&E and his assertion that actions of senior management ‘were a clear attempt to conceal or obfuscate the facts on important matters involving the public’s trust …’. These are very disturbing statements.

NO NO NO NO, PG&E. HIS STATEMENTS ARE NOT “VERY DISTURBING”  - THAT’S JUST HIM TRYING TO DO HIS JOB. NO NO, IT’S _YOUR_ BEHAVIOR THAT’S DISTURBING. IT’S YOUR MALFEASANCE AND NONFEASANCE WHAT’S DISTURBING.

I have asked that the Audit Committee assessment be conducted expeditiously such that we can report back to the Commission, employees and the public with confidence that the assertions have been thoroughly reviewed and that appropriate actions, if merited, have been taken.”

IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU THINK THAT YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG, PG&E. WHY NOT INSTEAD SAY, ” OH YES, WE DIDN’T FILE ON TIME AND  WE SHOULD HAVE AND YADA YADA YADA ANDWE’RE SORRY?” YOU KNOW, WHEN IT’S APPROPRIATE, WHICH IS OFTEN? AND ISN’T THE CPUC SUPPOSED TO BE THE PARTY THAT DOES “REVIEW” INDEPENDENT OF PG&E? IT SEEMS AS IF YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD WAIT AROUND ON YOU ALL TO SEE IF YOU ALL WILL ADMIT TO _ANY_ WRONGDOING.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California – www.pgecurrents.com. SOURCE PG&E Corporation

WELL I GUESS HYDRO ENERGY STOLEN THROUGH BRIBERY A CENTURY AGO IS “CLEAN,” BUT IN SOME WAYS IT’S NOT, PG&E.

OH, AND NOW YOU’RE GETTING SUED BY SOME OF YOUR SHAREHOLDERS?

“The lawsuit, filed by shareholder Hind Bou-Salman, names numerous past and present PG&E executives and board members, including former Chairman of the Board and CEO Peter Darbee as well as his predecessor Thomas King and current PG&E President Christopher Johns. It claims that hundreds of millions of dollars that were to be used for pipeline assessment, maintenance and record keeping was instead used to buy back stock, improving PG&E’s bottom line and giving bonuses and stock options to the executives. Bou-Salman, a Millbrae resident and PG&E stockholder for 23 years, wants PG&E executives to be held accountable for the millions of dollars the company has spent settling lawsuits and paying fines stemming from the 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno. She filed the suit on behalf of other shareholders.”

OH WELL.

PR Misstep from the America’s Cup People: Comparing Andrew Simpson Death to Famous Manslaughter Case

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

IMO, this recent statement from Larry Ellison Person Stephan Barclay* is a misstep, but you make the call.

Check it:

“For example, following the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994, a number of measures were introduced, such as better cockpit protection for the drivers. Grooved tires were introduced in 1998 instead of racing slick tires to reduce cornering speed. Safety measures continued to be introduced into the 21st century, with a number of circuits having their configuration changed to improve driver safety.”

All right, I can understand why the Larry Ellison PR people want to compare America’s Cup 2013 to a popular sport like F1 car racing. Right? Because broadcasters actually pay money for the rights to broadcast F1, you dig. (Compare this with Larry Ellison’s America’s Cup, which needed mucho begging of NBC to agree to broadcast some of the matches for free.)

But mentioning Ayrton Senna is not a good move IMO because, from the beginning, it was investigated as a manslaughter case and, in the end, was determined to be a case of manslaughter.

Read all about it.

And, you know, people said the same things about Senna’s sport and Simpson’s sport, about how they are  inherently dangerous and whatnot. But that didn’t stop a manslaughter investigation in Senna’s case, now did it?

So where’s our manslaughter investigation?

Oh, just a “review” and let’s carry on? OK fine…

*Or, as CW Nevius spells it, repeatedly, in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, Stephen “Barkley.” Hey Neve! How’s that  new paywall doing for you? Oh, that badly, huh? Miss all those commenters already? Sure you do!

PRADA Makes a Mockery of the America’s Cup Safety Review Committee – Foiling Past Larry Ellison’s Paper Tiger

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Here’s the latest from the Larry Ellison People:

We appreciate the vote of confidence Mr. Bertelli, president of Luna Rossa Challenge, gave to the America’s Cup continuing as planned this summer on San Francisco Bay,”

Uh no. What you’re getting from Mr. Bertelli is NOT a vote of confidence.

In fact, it’s the opposite.

Let me show y0u. The Larry Ellison Safety Review Committee, which, of course, is reviewing, not investigating, oh no, never investigating, perish the thought, the safety issues created by, can you guess, anyone, anyone, that’s right, Larry Ellison, issued this statement last week:

“…teams have been asked to suspend all sailing in AC72 and AC45 catamarans until the middle of next week.”

Hey, how do you say “fuck you, Larry Ellison,” you know, en Italiano?

I think you say it like this:

Click to expand

Hey, is the SFPD doing a possible homicide investigation right about now? I think so. Think on that, Larry Ellison People. Think on that while trying to figure out how the very same “America’s Cup Family” that has brought us, already, the worst AC in history, is going to investigate itself, I’m sorry, review itself in a fair an impartial way.

Hey, doesn’t the Safety Review Committee have a whole mess of conflicts? Would you like me to list them for you? (Pillow Talk: “Hey Honey, do you think…”)

And that Artemis “Big Red” AC72 _didn’t_ fold up, as reported, “like a taco shell?”  So how did it fold up? Like a chalupa? Oh, what’s that, it didn’t fold up at all? Is that what you’re saying?   

The former Big Red upon San Francisco Bay, as seen last year, a ticking time bomb that went off this month, more expensive than some of the jetliners that flew above it, and more expensive and about as tall as some jetliners are long. And yet if you were killed flying to Vegas there’d be a big big investigation, right? And what’s the response from the Larry Ellison People? It’s if you want to make an omelette, you’re going to have to break some eggs.   

Now let’s hear from an AC72 crew member:

“I hope like hell that whoever survives this thing and wins it changes the boat class to anything safer than these God-forsaken death traps.”

Now’s the Time to Get Your Tickets for the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker – Great Seats Avail – Starting at $20

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Our excellent San Francisco Ballet‘s excellent production of The Nutcracker is back again for 2012.

And the reviews are in:

S.F. Ballet Reigns With Nutcracker

Tis the Season

Two ‘Nutcracker’ versions convey tradition

S.F. Ballet presents the classiest ‘Nutcracker’ of all

But all the fun is leaving us on December 28th, 2012, so the time to act is now.

And I should say that you’ll be able to get seats for just $20 and great seats are still available but those great seats will cost you a bit more.

But this show is a must-see, a great annual San Francisco tradition, so what are you waiting for.

And there’s the snow – lots and lots and lots of snow. You won’t believe how much snow:

Click to expand

All right, see you there!

Facebook 

Twitter

OMG, It’s “War Horse” at Our Curran Theatre – A Spectacle – Positive to Enthusiastic Reviews – Ends Sept. 9th

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

I don’t know what you’re looking for in a play, but how’s this?

2011 Tony Awards:
  • Best Play
  • Best Direction (Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris)
  • Best Scenic Design (Rae Smith, winner)
  • Best Lighting Design (Paule Constable, winner)
  • Best Sound Design (Christopher Shutt, winner)

In addition, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of Handspring Puppet Company won the Special Tony Award for War Horse.

So yeah, War Horse at our SHN Curran Theatre is a puppet show based on a children’s book, but it looks amazing.

Speaking of which, here’s SFPD horse “Hammer” meeting SHN horse puppet “Joey” the other day in Golden Gate Park – check the video:

Click to expand – more deets on this equine experiment from Kavin Fagan here

And, the reviews:

Miracles abound in the electrifying “War Horse per Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle

A theatrical coup” per long-time San Francisco critic Janos Gereben

It’s “spellbinding” per Karen D’Souza of the San Jose Mercury News

War Horse earns its stripesper Ken Marks of KQED

War Horse is the one touring show that shouldn’t be missed” per Cy Ashley Webb of the Stark Insider

Four stars out of five per Albert Goodwyn, SF Performing Arts Examiner

It’s a great show. You (and your kin aged 12 and up) ought to go see it.

And oh, BTW, if you don’t already have tickets for The Book of Mormon, you know, the Best Musical of the Century (already!) per the New York Times, well, it’s time to start freaking out. You can’t buy tickets now because the only way to do that is to get a subscription for the 2012-2013 season (you know, Lion King, Wicked, etc.) but here’s the catch: SOLD OUT, baby! Already. So you’re going to need to move move move when individual tickets go on sale, whenever that will be. BoM, which is, fundamentally, a “love letter to religion written by an atheist,” however foul-mouthed it may be, will only be here for five short weeks. Every last show will sell out, just saying.

Forget About the Google Bus, ‘Cause the “Soogle Bus” is Almost as Good! But Don’t Read the Racist Yelp Reviews

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Here it is, as promised, the Soogle Bus:

Click to expand

But uh oh, here’s what you’ll find these days on the Yelp:

“I’ve never even been on one of their buses, but I observed one of their drivers this evening on Hawthorne Street driving aggressively, honking the horn continuously at the car in front of him and overall behaving like a jerk.

“Although the shuttle and driver were booked for 8 hours, the shuttle driver refused to drive at points of the evening! At the end of the night, the driver tried to ask for more money than was agreed upon based on an old quote the company had given. I had to pull out my laptop to show him the email that his boss had sent me to prove that I did not need to pay him more.”

“Horrible.  This is NOT a real travel/ tour service. They constantly ask for more money and CASH. They are disrespectful and RUDE. They throw litter around, and stand around and smoke. They speak almost no English.”

And that doesn’t include the reviews what were taken down or the ones currently on the “filtered” page.

Poor Soogle!

OMG, Les Miserables Debuts, Once Again, at the Orpheum Theatre – Standing Ovations – A Really Big Show

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The debut of the 25th Anniversary production of Boublil & Schönberg’s LES MISÉRABLES was a huge success at our Orpheum Theatre last night.

Man, this show is big.

(So, as I said yesterday, get your tickets at SHN now - they’re not getting any cheaper and this musical leaves us on August 26th, 2012.)

Now here’s Emily L’s review from the Orchestra Section’s Row U:

“Extraordinary musical! Les Miz is a beautiful story of a man’s life struggles, portraying bourgeois issues such as poverty, child abuse, prostitution and other political corruption in 1800 France. I was instantly enthralled from the very first scene of the show. This cast is amazing and captivating in every way. The voices went with each characters’ every movement and the visual sets were stunning. The orchestra seating was a special treat as the sound resonated throughout, spot on with the actors. In 2 hours, Les Miz will bring out smiles, pains, laughs, cries, ‘aww’s, and cheers – it’s a roller coaster ride definitely worth riding at least once!” 

So there you have it.

Les Miz reminds me of that other famous, long-running show, Phantom of the Opera, in a way. But guess who says Les Miz is “far superior?” It’s Steven Winn of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Vive ‘Les Miz’: Pop opera returns to S.F.”

Now let’s hear from Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi, who also caught yesterday’s debut:

“Les Misérables @shnSF. Entire cast deserved standing ovation, but WOW -Javert @AndrewVarela525 & Jean Valjean @Peter_Lockyer - mesmerizing!”

And here’s Diane Dwyer of NBC Bay Area:

“Just saw #lesmiserables‬ @shnsf at the Orpheum – perfection – standing ovation .. Highly recommend it!”

All right, see you there!

“Cameron Mackintosh presents a brand new 25th anniversary production of Boublil & Schönberg’s legendary musical, LES MISÉRABLES, with glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. This new production has been acclaimed by critics, fans and new audiences and is breaking box office records wherever it goes.

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, LES MISÉRABLES is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The magnificent score of LES MISÉRABLES includes the classic songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “Master Of The House” and many more.

For more information, visit: www.lesmiz.com.”

This could be you:

 

OMG, Onegin at the San Francisco Ballet is Fantastic! A Must-See! But There are Just Four Performances Left

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

If you’ve never seen ballet before,* this is it. This week is your last chance to see the debut performances of Onegin from our world-class San Francisco Ballet in our world-class War Memorial Opera House.

The plot is super simple – it’s easy to follow along. So, as Sean Martinfield points out, you shouldn’t expect a bunch of twists and turns and “resolving climaxes.”

No matter, this production is VERY IMPRESSIVE.

Get your tickets here for tonight or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday. And then it will be gone, before you know it. And then you’ll have the rest of this full-spectrum season to consider.

Vitor Luiz & Maria Kochetkova in Onegin – Photo © Erik Tomasson

Oh, the reviews are in:

Mary Ellen Hunt in the San Francisco Chronicle;

Ann Murphy in the San Jose Mercury News;

Saturday Matinee;

ART Hound; and

Odette’s Ordeal (Wow, there’s a lot of stuff here. Is Teri McCollum going to see four shows in this run? Wow.) 

All right, see you there! 

TUESDAY, 1/31

Onegin: Vitor Luiz; Tatiana: Maria Kochetkova; Lensky: Gennadi Nedvigin; Olga: Clara Blanco. Conductor: Martin West. Performance begins at 8:00 pm.

WEDNESDAY, 2/1

Onegin: Davit Karapetyan; Tatiana: Vanessa Zahorian; Lenksy: Taras Domitro; Olga: Dana Genshaft; Gremin: Quinn Wharton. Conductor: David LaMarche. Performance begins at 7:30 pm.

THURSDAY, 2/2

Onegin: Pierre-Francois Vilanoba; Tatiana: Sarah Van Patten; Lensky: Isaac Hernandez; Olga: Courtney Elizabeth; Gremin: Tiit Helimets. Conductor: David LaMarche. Performance begins at 8:00 pm.

FRIDAY, 2/3

Onegin: Ruben Martin Cintas; Tatiana: Yuan Yuan Tan; Lensky: Jaime Garcia Castilla; Olga: Dores Andre; Gremin: Damian Smith. Conductor: Martin West. Performance begins at 8:00 pm. 

* And if it turns out you don’t like what you see, then you don’t like ballet. And that’s fine, at least you tried. And how much money will you be out, like double the cost of going to see Ernest Goes to Camp II 3D at the Metreon? Something like that.