Round X - My Continuing Adventures As A San Francisco Entertainment Journalist


This month:


ACT's production of "The Beard Of Avon", a new play by Amy Freed (Mick LaSalle's wife!)

BAD COMPANY (again!)


Unsung Heroes and Zeros!
And a few anecdotes about my "Almost-Famousness (again!)


Greetings, loyal and devoted entertainment junkies ! Hope 2002 has been treating all of you well so far. This issue marks exactly one year since I unofficially came on board as Kimberlye "Almost Famous" Gold (since last month was actually the delayed  December issue) and I hope you have been as entertained by my ranting, I mean reporting, as I have in my attempts to entertain and inform you! I will continue, in my bizarre, I mean, unique fashion, to bravely carry on, using the SF Herald name to break down whatever doors I choose to bring you all the news that I see fit to print (Hey, Chris Hitchens, use me to get pissed off!!)  Thanks to all who showed up for my host/featured performer duties at Nickie's Open Mike Night (460 Haight St. 415-621-6508)) on January 23. A great time seemed to be had by all, nobody bugged me too badly whining "When am I going on?", and I couldn't have asked for a more attentive audience for my featured slot.

I'll be doing it again on Wed. February 27, 9pm - 1:30 am (hosting). "But when are you playing
again, Kimberlye??" I deeply feel all of you asking. An absolutely wonderful new place, I am thrilled to report! Actually,  it's the grand opening of the new hot restaurant and bar owned by one of the Herald's favorite clients, the utterly delightful and oh-so-charming Francois Alvarez. He has closed Mr. Ralph's Caf˙ and  has moved his whole operation across the street to the former Francisco & Molly, now known to one and all as ZEBULON,  at 83 Natoma Street (at 2nd St.) 415-975-5705!!  Check out our "World's Most Corrupt Restaurant Critics" review in this month's issue. Yours truly will be making her musical debut there on Friday, March 15, from 7pm - 10pm, and if all goes well, this could turn into a once-a-week lovefest! So please come down, drink, eat and show your love!

FYI: This month I had fully intended to include my concert review of the reformed, original members of Concrete Blonde at the Great American Music Hall, January 24,  a review of their new CD, "Group Therapy" and my interview with lead singer Johnette Napolitano. But to fully express how life changing I have found this CD to be, (their first in 8 years!) and  how utterly cool, profound and ingratiating this talented artist proved to be in our interview, I've opted to save it till next month and give Johnette and the band a proper feature treatment (like I did with Paul Rodgers and Bad Company last year). Meanwhile, to any music lover who is over 25 years old and has been around the block more than once: open your mind, heart and ears,  get your ass down to the nearest record store and buy "GROUP THERAPY" - now!!!!  Cheaper than a shrink and much more fun, baby!! Plus you'll enjoy my piece so much more...   Since I  already covered lots 'o ground this month - and have been asked to take up less space - to make more room for advertisers ($) and Harris Rosenbloom's sex life (?), let's get a move on, lil' doggies...

"Avon Calling!" "The Beard Of Avon" - a new play by Amy Freed - American Conservatory Theater, SF, January 16, 2002

Ghostwriting, pseudonyms, and battles over authorship and copyright infringement have plagued Hollywood and Broadway for decades. Somebody's always stealing somebody else's stuff and trying to put their name on it, being sued for doing it, or if it really sucks, they just slap the name "Alan Smithee" on it and disassociate themselves completely. All in the name of what is hip, cool and green, my friends. For those non-historians among us, this practice supposedly goes back centuries (back to the bible?) to the alleged cover-up of who really wrote the collective works of that ultra-prolific dude, William Shakespeare. Except back then it was un-cool to be a playwright, so the in-crowd of the Elizabethan court needed a front to dish out their guilty literary pleasures. The contention is that at least one ultra hip, dashingly decadent, bi-sexual dude, the Earl of Oxford, Edward DeVere, used an almost illiterate, wanna-be actor Willie S. as a puppet to hide behind, and other respected luminaries such as Francis Bacon and Queen Elizabeth herself may have followed suit! Horror of horrors! The shame, the deceit!


The Bard Himself

 This subject is tackled to much laughter and thought provoking effect in Amy Freed's new play, "The Beard Of Avon." Freed (who is married to SF Chronicle film critic and our pal Mick LaSalle), is a critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright for "Freedomland" in 1998. She has proven herself somewhat of an "authority" on this subject, a "super sleuth", if you will, whose mission it is to rake over the coals many of  the hottest icons known to wield paper and pen (or plume). From Edgar Allan Poe to Sylvia Plath, (Ryan Adam's influences -  should we be asking questions, Amy?) she's cleverly knocked 'em all off their historically high literary horses. Interspersing contemporary psycho-babble into Shakespearean dialogue, ("I have a most pernicious deficit of my attention's ordering"), Freed has nailed this subject to the proverbial wall with dead on performances by Matthew Bolston as babe-in-da-woods Will Shakespeare, Rene' Augesen as his in-need-of-attention wife, Anne Hathaway, a delicious turn by Marco Barricelli as "hot-to-trot-no-matter-what-ya-got" DeVere,  and exhilarating,  perfectly paced staging by director Mark Rucker. A minor distraction: a few of the supporting players in the company slightly resembled "Backstreet Boys",  but given the current crossover climate of pop music and acting,  maybe they were...



"Bad Company Likes My Company!"  Bad Company at  Konocti Harbor Inn Resort & Spa, Kelseyville, CA, January 19th, 2002

When the drummer and original member of one of the most famous and influential rock bands in history goes out of his way to make sure you can cover their show, what does a fledging rock journalist do? a) politely decline b) say you'll have your people call his people c) get the hell in your car and  get the hell  up there!!! The correct answer, my friends would be "C -ya"  so I grabbed  SF's hottest new artist Laurie Jacobs (who's previous concert experience included those hard rockers Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond), shoved my "Almost Famous" baseball cap on my head, an overnight bag, and my favorite redhead in my little red Mazda 323 and took a 3 hour tour up north. Simon Kirke,  the mensch (coolest) of all drummers,  (see  under my columnist link  to hear more on this subject) was such a prince and gentleman, he enlisted Bad Co.'s mgt. to hook us up with a room at the Inn, ladies and gentlemen! And only to cover the show and hang out! Really! Nobody tried to hit on us! (well, in the band, anyway, but I'm getting ahead of myself...)

The boys from Bad Company, whose company I didn't really mind.

After a very pleasant, scenic drive with no mishaps, we arrived around 5pm, took in the glorious Clear Lake view, and got out to check in. Many 30/40/50 something baby boomer/ aging rocker dudes and dudettes must have had the same idea, because there was a long line already waiting in the lobby. We finally got up to the desk, and lo and behold, we were registered under Bad Company and Simon Kirke. We were  with the band,  man! And not as "band-aids"! (you've all seen the movie "Almost Famous",  right??) We were "Press", baby! Our room was just beautiful, and as soon as we got in, Simon phoned to make sure we'd gotten in all right and said he'd see us after the show.  Mensch again! We got dolled up and went to get our tickets and passes at Will Call. As we approached, this big, beer-bellied, bearded, salt 'n pepper-haired biker dude was waiting for his tickets. He had on a tight black T-shirt that said: "If You Are What You Eat, You Can Be Me By Morning". He told us today was his 50th birthday and said to my flame-haired friend, "Red hair and blue eyes - you're hot!" Then he turned to me and said, "She's hot!" Go, Laurie! We were escorted to our seats on the side of the stage in the VIP section, where Laurie pulled something out of her giant bag she'd brought and promptly began stitching a pillow cover !! Desperately wanting to appear "cool",  I asked her did she have to do that now,  and she replied, "Idle hands are the devil's playthings." My hot, red haired, blue-eyed date was Martha Stewart, Betsy Ross, and Dr. Laura! The tour manager came out to check on us and make sure we "had everything we needed",  (I could have used a drink,) like we were special guests from, yep, Rolling Stone, or something! 

Ah, to be young and bad again...

The opener was this boring,  mediocre, solo singer/songwriter who didn't even play acoustic guitar (he had to have a guitar player) named Christian Turner. (Hey guys, how come no one asked me, a much more interesting choice?? You supposedly love my!@#$% music!) Ah well...

Thankfully, Bad Company hit the stage shortly after and delivered a powerhouse hour plus set  that was even better than the one I reviewed last June. They were recording a live CD and DVD which added to the excitement. They have a very solid new bass player, Jaz Lochrie, from Paul Rodgers' solo band, who replaced member since the 90's, Rick Wills. The band was tight as a drum, and speaking of drummers,  beat for beat,  you'd be hard pressed to find a better rock drummer on the planet than Simon Kirke. And not because he hooked us up! Ask any drummer in any genre of music, and I'll bet they'll concur. And he sings and plays guitar, which he did during on a lovely version of "Do Right By Your Woman" as a duet with Paul. And speaking of singing and Paul Rodgers, I said it all last year, and I'll say it again: there is a reason why they call this guy "The Voice". Looking relaxed, in a long sleeved shirt over jeans (what, no painted on silver pants and muscle shirt?) he sang all the hits like "Feel Like Makin' Love" (which got an immediate standing ovation)  and added a couple more obscure songs like "Burning Sky"  and some scathing blues, with guitarist Dave "Bucket" Collwell in fine form. We went out in the house to watch and Laurie's Birthday Biker Boyfriend came up to us and repeated his mantra, "Red hair and blue eyes - you're hot!" (I'm planning the wedding)...

Special guest "star" sitting in on two songs: my "buddy" Neal Schon
, guitar player from Journey! (see under my columnist link for back story on this guy) After the show, we waited for the band to sign autograph,  posters, etc. and alas, Paul was spirited away before I could say hello and ask him how he liked my interview w/ him in last July's issue. Bummer! But the rest of the band was so happy to see us and met us in the bar for a drink and a chat, where Laurie kept exclaiming "I've never been a groupie before!" as she resumed her pillow stitching. (Yeah, that sewing thing  really gets those rock stars goin'!) Bucket and Simon had never been given copies of the Bad Co. issue (bad  management people!)  and sat on either side of me, "Howe-ling"  with laughter over the Brian Howe stuff. Bucket said to me "I always knew you were one of 'the good ones!'" Priceless! Neal Schon was seated at the table with some young blonde, and I decided to try and be a polite journalist and strike up a conversation with him about our meeting back in '89.

He looked blankly at me, yawned right in my face, and I realized he was so drunk, I might as well have been speaking German - backwards! Shortly after, the assistant tour manager led him away. I asked Bucket what was up, and he told me they'd polished off a bottle of Petron' Tequilla backstage - each!. "But you're fine!" I exclaimed. "I'm a professional!" Bucket beamed. Simon told us he was so
pleased we came "I'm always happy to accommodate 'the press'!" and bid us goodnight. Laurie met some guy called "Quinn" (who's first name must have been "The Mighty") who engaged her in deep conversation (he must have needed a button sewn on). I danced to some scary cover band with the new bass player, Jaz, a cheery  Scotsman, who must have had some of what Neal and Bucket had. The other lads (and assorted lassies) went to party on in Bucket's room, and Laurie and I soon went back to our own (alone, thank you!).The next morning Simon called to make sure we were safe 'n sound,  had a good time and to say goodbye. He should write a hand book for musicians: "How to Behave Like A Proper Rock Legend & Gentleman" (I've got a few folks in mind to hand it to!) I went for a killer morning walk, breathed in the crisp, clean, Clear Lake air and thanked God, Bad Company, and the SF Herald for a 24 hour rock 'n roll fantasy...

Hot off the presses: (Sunday Datebook section of  the SF Chronicle!) "Scotland, PA", a  70's "period piece" starring Maura Tierney from "ER" opening February 15, features, FIVE Bad Company songs on the soundtrack ! Slap me five (times) - "Feel Like Makin' Luuv", indeed!!

"Her Something's All It's Cracked Up To Be  - (& Then Some!)" : a review of Nikka Costa's CD "Everybody's Got Their Something" and her show at The Usual, San Jose, January 31, 2002

I guess I've been blessed lately. It's just not that often that new artists come along who truly move and inspire me. Like Macy Gray (whose praises I've sung in more than one column), there is something about taking that old school sound and mentality of '70's soul music and mixing it up with what's hip and happenin' right now that just rings my chimes, baby! The industry has labeled it "neo-soul" (i.e., soul music with a hip hop and pop influence that is actually good) and boasts such recent success stories as Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys and India.Arie, all of whom have been nominated for/won American Music Awards, are up for Grammy awards, and  graced the cover of  Entertainment Weekly together. Yeah, those chicks are cool - extremely talented, even - but none has lit my fire and moved me down to my bone marrow like the sassy-assed, fire-crack 'n soul baring  hoochie mama Nikka Costa.

I first saw this  fierce lil' spitfire perform "Like A Feather" on the final Chris Rock show on HBO last  year, throwin' it down all over that stage with that wild red mane, "plummer-butt (pants-slung-so-low-why-wear-any-at-all) pants" and a voice she stole from Chaka Khan, Aretha, and God knows who else,  and my reaction was "What the fuck was THAT - and where can I git me some??!!" The fact that she was of dubious ethnicity (white, even?) proved that if Chris Rock dug her scene, there was a scene to be DUG, y'all! Daughter of famed Big Band leader Don Costa  and goddaughter of  "The Chairman Of The Board" himself, Frank Sinatra, (!) it would be easy to write this chick off as hype, if it weren't for the fact that she totally has the goods - and the songs! Her CD, "Everybody's Got Their Something" is just chock full of 'em, like the  afore-mentioned track, the title track and half a dozen others just as powerful. Not just to groove to,  but to rock your socks off, man!

These tracks will have you swayin' and banging your head throughout! But the even better news is that there are beautifully executed messages in each of these twelve songs, whether it be thoughtful and uplifting, "So Have I For You",  scathing, "Hope It Felt Good" (don't diss this chick, man!) quietly heartbreaking, "Nothing",  romantic and heartfelt, "Just Because" and  my favorite, the deeply poignant closing track, "Corners Of My Mind",  particularly on repeated listenings. Note to Ms. Costa: many of your promo shots and photos inside this CD do look like a "1-900-hot chicks" ad.  Sex may sell - but may detract from the true artistry you possess. You might wanna tone it down just a tad...  But having said that - young, raw talent with an old (school) soul is the shape of things to come, and y'all need to come 'n git you some!...

 As you can now well imagine, I was SO looking forward to seeing Nikka Costa live'n in color. I opted to check out her 1st Bay Area  show at The Usual in San Jose on January 31 because a) my friend Brenda's boyfriend's brother Dave Farling, a super nice guy, owns it and b) the date she was at the Fillmore, February 2, was Ground Hog Day:  my mom's first wedding anniversary without my dad, which would have been their 44th (Headline read: "Muskrat Love Would Keep Them Together"). Unfortunately, my "good-daughter" duties prevented me from being able to fully enjoy what was probably a better show. Unbeknownst to me, there were two opening acts,  (in San Jose on a "school night", not a great combo) Koffy Brown (who we missed, due to my unfortunate wallet misplacement - sorry, G.M.!) and "Mystic", a local female hip hop artist who had a "scratcher DJ" on stage and  sang to tracks. She must have a pretty big following, because many of the mixed age/multi-ethnic crowd were singing along to one of her songs that kept repeating "the light, the light, the light" and there was a story about her in last week's SF Chronicle Datebook.  She was okay, but to be honest, I didn't pay  much attention, as my peak was ebbing, much to my dismay...

Nikka and her nine-piece kick-ass band finally hit the stage after 11:30 PM. Unfortunately, the long wait and late hour  had partially kicked mine, but I still gallantly tried to get my groove on. She looked great, with all that hair, a long sleeve, white "Prince-esque" shirt and guess- what-kind-of -pants, but not too outrageous, which suits her (you should see some of what she's not wearing in those CD pictures!). Her young, very multi-ethnic band (Newsflash! Osama Bin Laden was sighted - playing drums for Nikka Costa!!) was very reminiscent of Macy Gray's line up: horns, background singers, scratch/synth/keyboard dude, bass, guitar, all stellar players. Setting herself apart from the typical diva, Nikka doubled on electric and acoustic guitar on several of the tunes, always a welcome level to add. The mix could have been better, but it was obvious this chick was nailing every vocal note on the several letter- perfect renditions of songs off her CD, "Everybody's Got Their Something", throwing that hair all over the place and stalking the stage like a caged animal. Mid-set, an extended version of the title track, in which she introduced each member of the band and let them show their stuff, proved to be very effective, as was a cover of Sly & The Family Stone's "Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself".

What wasn't quite so entertaining, however, was her extended banter between songs, which tended to lean toward  "jive-tacky" (coin that phrase!),  even though she seemed to be having a ball doing it. My illustrious publisher refers to this as "sounding like a wigger"  - his "term of endearment" for a white person trying too hard to sound black, which drives him nuts .At one point she spoke bitterly about some guy she claimed some of the songs were inspired by and encouraged the audience to chant on the count of three: "FUCK BOB!" More than once. Charming. Hell, I'm just attributing this to youth - hopefully she'll outgrow it. Her music certainly transcends it. One point she made, however, was right on the money. She complained about  radio programmers trying to pigeon-hole her into a format, querying, "Are you 'rock', are you 'hip/hop', are you 'R&B', are you 'Neo-Soul', etc., and she exclaimed, What the FUCK is 'NEO-SOUL??'" (see above CD review for my definition). Touche', little Nikka. Now shut up and sing. We stuck around long enough to hear the first encore, the beautiful "Corners Of My Mind." She'll be hanging around in mine for a good, long while...


Unsung Heroes 'N Zeroes: This 'n That from Here 'n There


Dakota Moon - "A Place To Land" - Elektra Records

These African American hotties opened for Macy Gray last month and I was so impressed I asked them to send me a CD and press kit. Turns out they're the ones responsible for that NBC promo you can't get out of your head, which is the opening and title track of this CD. (Trust me, if you watch NBC, you've heard it. And I bet you thought it was a white band.) Last issue I described them as "Living Colour lite meets "N Sync black".) Turns out I was right on the money. (That's why they pay me the "big bucks", baby!) Corey Glover, lead singer for the real Living Colour, co-wrote "Don't Give Up On Me",  one of the best songs on this CD (write more songs with him!) - and certainly the one with the most balls. .While the CD as a whole is highly listenable and very catchy, (good Walkman running music!) lyrically a few of the romantic songs are a little on the cliche' side. The overall message throughout, though, is an uplifting positive one, and the production is so sonically pristine, it almost has a contemporary Christian feel. Not that there's anything wrong with that. God can be an effective marketing tool. They may have  a tough time finding their niche, however,  because they are an African American band who has blurred the lines of rock, pop, and R&B genres - and you know how tunnel-visioned  radio programmers are these days (see above review). But they're charismatic, talented dudes who caught my attention - and getting  TV exposure can't hurt . It'll be interesting to see where they land next...


David Allen Baker - "Ten For The Road"

  This guy is from Texas, via stints in Nashville, NYC, and currently residing in LA, where he has enjoyed a stint filling John Phillips' shoes in the current line-up of the Mamas and Papas, chosen by the man himself before he died.. (Sounds like an "Almost Famous" story to me -actually, David is a part of mine, having sung background for me in NY and LA, and I did the same for him in Nashville.) So maybe I'm a little biased, but make no mistake about it, this guy is a star that somebody should have wished on years ago. He still looks great, he still sings and writes his ass off, and  songs like "If I Knew What Lay Ahead", "Mile Marker 38" and the beautiful  "Best Made Plans" and "Hurry Sunday" (certainly Valentines to his wife) are hits waiting to be heard. Not every song is a perfect gem (I actually like some of his older pop songs better), but this guy could sing the phone book and I'd buy it. The production is radio-ready, crisp and clear as a bell. If Americana/country-flavored pop stuff is your bag, you need to stick this one in it now!


Ted Ekman -

Acoustic based, singer/songwriter who I bet has listened to a lot of Dave Matthews. Kind like "Creed"/"Pearl Jam" lite with a heavy Stevie Nicks-esque vibrato that I found distracting after a few songs. Works for Stevie, doesn't work here. Lose that vibrato, dude - it takes away from some pretty decent material that should be heard.


Paul H. Taylor -

Jimmy Buffet/Eagles/ -ish stuff with lyrics that borderline on cutesy some of the time, but the songs are pleasant enough. However, the vocals are mixed a little hot and his pitch is consistently a little sharp - which made me have to turn it off after a couple songs. With "Autotune" (a recording device that instantly corrects the tuning of all voices and instruments) so easily accessible these days, there is just no excuse for this. Spend a few bucks and re-mix it, man!


Okay, ladies, gents, and assorted variations thereof.  See ya next month, one way or another, like Blondie...



To read other articles by Mizz Gold, click here!


Kim can be emailed by clicking here!