ago I moved all of my worldly possessions to Bush Street in the back
of a pickup truck. A year earlier I had moved into an apartment on
20th Street via Yellow Cab. And while I pride myself on my elementary
algebra skills, I'd need a drafting calculator to figure out how I
ended up with a 40-ft. truck full of stuff to move into the new house.
I suppose we all collect things. Here's a small collection of items
before they get packed away, too, like so much brick-a-brac.
Kitty Burns, who operates the San Francisco Vampire Tour on Nob Hill
was sad to see the Sky Bar at the Marines' Memorial Club close to
the public last week. The room is now a members-only bar. Burns had
been taking visitors to the Sky for the past few years as her alter
ego, Dracula's girlfriend Mina Harker. Now where's a tourist to go
for a Bloody Mina?
While "Heart of the City" normally reserves memorial space for dearly
departed bowling alleys, greasy spoons, and movie houses, the recent
loss of two great San Francisco characters must be acknowledged here.
Mike Tappe was the proprietor of Tappe's Sutter Street Bar and Grille
for 50 years. Mike was good friend who seemed interested in maintaining
a welcoming "Cheers" type of place where Tenderloin locals were right
at home with the English and German tourists who dropped in from the
Carlton Hotel next door.
About ten years ago, Mike started giving a free drink to anyone who
came in with a lottery ticket that had no winning numbers. After a
time, the gimmick was discontinued. "Why, Mike?" I asked. "Too successful,"
he said, "Who wants to go to a loser bar?"
Over its many years, Tappe's has emerged as a cultural landmark as
well. Rod McKuen and Armistead Maupin both dined there at separate
times. Jonathan Winters is a regular whenever he's in town.
Tappe died earlier this year after a long and storied life. For a
most appropriate toast to the droll tavern owner, I must repeat his
final word to me as I last left the man behind the bar several weeks
ago: Tootaloo, Mike, tootaloo!
Phillip Horvitz lived a brief, wonderful life. The 44 year-old performance
artist, dancer and director died of heart failure on his way to the
west coast from New York March 30.
Horvitz, who moved to New York in 1996 after taking San Francisco's
art world by storm with a series of successful one-man shows, was
schedule to appear at a benefit last Sunday at the Jon Sims Center
for the Arts on Mission Street. Horvitz was the Sims Center's first
artist in residence.
His most noted work was the solo show, "Yes, I Can," a version of
the life of Sammy Davis Jr., in 1993. "Yes, I Can" sold out for weeks
at the legendary Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint on 16th Street. Phillip
was a profoundly intelligent and creative spirit who will be deeply
missed by those who knew and worked with him. His contribution to
my own solo stage work, "Popcorn in the Morning," in 1994, infused
the piece with a kind of grace and movement that only Phillip could
have brought to it. I was grateful for his assistance and for his
In closing, and in honor of Horvitz, here are a few upcoming events
that surely deserve not be overlooked as spring fever descends upon
the City by the Bay.
Temptation is a show that's small enough to be moved on MUNI, but
it's big on great performances. Directed by Brian Katz, it's a Faust
tale with a twist. Bored with his research on conduct at office parties,
a mid-level scientist enlists a stranger to uncover secrets of the
past. What unfolds is a complex story of temptation, sexual games
and things you can't get away with in the office, even in San Francisco.
Temptation runs through April 17 at the Off Market Theatre, 965 Mission
Street. Visit custommade.org for more information.
The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards show comes to the Yerba Buena Center
for the Arts Tuesday, April 26. Nancy Karp of the Nancy Karp Dancers
will receive the Izzies' Lifetime Achievement Award. Scheduled performers
include New Style Motherlode, Amy Seiwert & Ethan White, and Carola
Zertuche with David McLean on guitar and vocals by Nina Menendez.
Visit VoiceofDance.com for more information.
The Theatre of Yugen presents its version of Ernest Hemingway's The
Old Man and the Sea for three weeks beginning April 29. Yugen's stylized
interpretation brings the Japanese Noh tradition to Hemingway's text.
Glass installation artist Kana Tanaka and the Bay Area puppeteer known
as Max contributed works to the show's set design. More more information,
call 621-0507 or visit theatreofyugen.org.
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