Sunday Espress Editorial Clint

Sunday Espress Editorial ClintWhat a tremendous weekend for the show. San Francisco Symphony was definitely the it scene, inducing anything but acedia. First, there was Final Fantasy; music performed by the SFS accompanied by footage from the video games. To see and feel the energy in Davies Symphony Hall thanks to the rabid fan base was a rush. Last night, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, at least for this Hitchcock and Horror movie fan. SFS performed Bernard Herrmann’s score to Psycho as the movie was projected onto a gigantic screen floating above the orchestra. It was spine-tingling good. It was unforgettable. It was definitely one of the highlights of 2010.

Sunday espresso… pull up a chair. Cup some joe. And let loose. What’s said here stays here.

Yelp for Laughs

Here’s something to do next time you’re trying to kill time, maybe waiting in line at Starbucks, or, like Loni, sitting in the passenger seat while I zip us back down 101 from a night out in San Francisco: Yelp for Laughs. And by that, I mean read the worst reviews you can find.

How does it work? It’s like spinning the big wheel. Just pull up Yelp and look for the worst reviews for the nearest venue of ill repute. Seek out the 1 stars. Middle of the road are ho-hum and good reviews are usually sickening (unless they’re on SSC of course).

For example, as we passed through Menlo Park, Loni pulled up reviews for the local United States Post Office. Reviews, not pretty. But quite humorous… maybe:

The mail delivery here sucks it so hard. Seriously. They suck it. I have been at my address for almost 7 years now and can’t recall one day of decent mail service.

Next up, after a quick refresh of the Yelp app, it was the post office in Sunnyvale. Funnier this time, but only if you don’t work for that USPS location or are a paying customer… then maybe not so much:

Terrible post office. They have my mail delivery hosed to epic proportions.

Missed wedding invitations? Check
Missed baseball tickets? Check
Missed Playboys? Check

I hate this post office. May it be swallowed by the Earth and brought to Satan, where it belongs.

Elvis and New Media

Would the real fake Elvis please stand up. Recently in Hawaii, I attended the Independence Parade in Kailua. Despite the humidity, and sprinkling rain it was enjoyable taking in the local sights, as they celebrated their town, non-profits, and local community organizations. Even Elvis was taking part, shaking his hips, tossing candy to the kids lined along the streets. So we wrote about it briefly here on SSC, posted some photos. Then island drama.

Little did we know, that there was a real fake Elvis, on the other side of the Island in Hilo. We only discovered this when some disgruntled Hawaiian readers wrote in to SSC:

Hi.. I liked the pictures of the 4th, but who is the clown impersonating Big Island Elvis?

We were there and saw Big Island Elvis in his Cadillac convertible. Everyone was cheering for him and pleased to see that he was able to drive over here form Hilo to be with our celebration.

If you have any ALOHA in you, You owe Big Island Elvis an apology.

Still your fans,



It’s a shame that no mention of the REAL BIG ISLAND ELVIS that was in the parade.

He’s done quite a lot for this Island with his charity concerts. Seems there’s something very wrong here.


Yes, what kind of clown would impersonate Big Island Elvis?

At least they’re “still fans,” and there is no profanity. But it demonstrates the nuance of local culture, and how easy it is ruffle feathers. And here we are thinking we’re doing well to promote the region, and share the good times. It frustrates at times because we spend significant resources (time and money) to produce videos and try to put a good natured spin on our adventures. It’s an innocent thing; still, I’ll leave the apology to Loni since it was, after all, her article.

Is Walla Walla “half as fun, twice as smart?” – Speaking of ruffling feathers, then there are the people of Walla Walla. Don’t dare suggest they’re not the brightest lot. Not that we ever did. Instead, they confused one of our fatuous tag lines, “Twice as fun, but only half as smart” from a few videos we did (again, all in good fun, ultimately helping to bring some tiny bit of additional exposure to their beautiful town and wine region). They thought we were suggesting that the people of Walla Walla were twice as fun, but only half as smart. And, by the way, what’s so bad about that anyways?

To be fair, the video cut was not the best. Loni opened the segment in front of a Walla Walla sign, the video then cut to her saying the tag line. We re-cut it to make it clear: StarkSilverCreek (i.e. not the nice, but insecure people of Walla Walla)… “twice as fun / half as smart.” Part of the irony, at least in our small part of the world, is that I came up with that tag line to disarm people… hey, we’re just having fun! We’ll never be like the San Francisco Chronicle or San Jose Mercury News. And we never will take ourselves too seriously. Oh well, I try. One thing: We’re not changing our tag line.

Thanks, at least, to the WW tourism organization for (a) sharing our videos and content, and (b) taking the time to properly understand the tag line, and realizing it’s in reference to us—it’s us, not you!

There are far more juicy stories I can’t write about involving SSC. You can ask me over drinks. It reinforces the power of new media, and sometimes surprises me how far a single expression or term (or lack of) can impact meaning, and send certain people and groups into tizzies. I don’t blame them; sometimes it’s just a comedy of errors.

I will briefly mention two more since the caffeine has me going this morning:

Hollywood Movie Star “very upset with StarkSilverCreek” – I’m not naming names. But imagine a top 10 movie star, mostly in his prime in the 80s (and a superb actor)—also, funny enough, an ice hockey player in his spare time. The things I know! Earlier this year we found out through a series of urgent, hell-to-pay texts, emails and voicemails I received that he was “very upset” with something I wrote (or in this case, actually didn’t write). It amounted to a single word. But if you knew the context you’d probably agree too. Fair enough, so I made the change. And that was that. But, for a few days, his people, their people, and just me, were frantically trying to figure out the issue. Then how to respond.

The dead living – more recently we ran a story that suggested someone was dead, when in fact, they were still alive. Ouch. That one came to us from a reputable news source (via press release) and we merely passed on the message, which unfortunately contained the error. Still, it’s our responsibility and we’re accountable. More emails. Frantic checking. And, ultimately, adjustments and corrections to make things right (or at least the best we can do).

It used to be about once a month that something edgy, funny, heartwarming, depressing, exciting or interesting happened because of SSC. Then it was once a week. Early in 2010 it became a daily ritual. It was at that point we realized that we were either continuing to grow, or had jumped the shark.

Theater Tweets

Stroke of brilliance alert. The SF Playhouse “Pluggers” project has a full head of steam, and is bringing along with it a mile long train of controversy. At least once during the run of a show, the innovative theater house holds a “Pluggers” night which allows you to tweet during the show, something typically forbidden.

Although I applaud (half out of my chair even!) them for experimenting with social media, I’m not so sure it’s really that effective in generating interest in a theater or particular show (but SF Playhouse would know better of course). But this I do know: it’s tremendously effective at generating conversation about the very idea, and at getting SF Playhouse continually mentioned. First it was Berkeley Rep that posted the question, “Should tweeting inside the theatre—during a performance—be encouraged?” on their Facebook page which generated over 55 comments. Then Broadway World picked up the discussion, and along with it plenty of heated discussion. Talk about a polarizing question.

There’s so much more to write about on this topic that it warrants a separate article (and no doubt, years worth to come as we all figure out the right place for social media in our lives, and businesses), and at least a glass or two of Chard.

Word of the Day (I use once again it’s in today’s column, somewhere.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear