June 27th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Jim Cranna

Decided to eat breakfast out and have something rather more substantial, so went to a nearby café, and had sausage, egg, hash browns, toast and jam and two cups of coffee for about $2 each.  By now, as we had spent most of the morning in bed, it was about 12, and as the workshop began at 1, we took our usual wander (and usual route) downtown.  We did stop off at the Cable Car museum.  There wasn’t much to it, and a lot of what there was was very technical, but there were lots of interesting photos, and it was free, so we could hardly ask for more.  We got to the Spaghetti Factory at 1 and found 2 guys playing crib, and a girl watching.  The guys were Jim Cranna, the guy taking the class, and Bill, a friend, and the girl was a member of the Flash Family.  Quite a few more people turned up tho’, and the class got underway.  It was a long class, lasting all afternoon, and was very enjoyable, both in the doing and watching.  Neither of us were shown up, either, despite the fact that there were people there who were paid improvisers, at least some of the time.  It was really straight impro – no games, just 2 or 3 people on stage, with the name of an object or place as a target.  At the end we all formed a circle and massaged the neck and back of the person in front.  Then we went to a bar and managed to get a bit drunk, Jim getting really very drunk, drinking Glenfiddich + beer chasers.  Next stop was the US café, where Jim bought us both lunch – Val had a hamburger and I had a huge steak – and then Jim + one or two went to the movies, while Val and I hung around with one or two members of Spaghettijam.  We went with them back to the Spaghetti Factory and played crib, Val + I being remarkably successful.  Thus, we were able to while away a pleasant couple of hours, by which time it was time for the show to start.  Yet again, we were admitted as guests – terrific – but unfortunately the show itself was disappointing, tho’, like most improvisation, it had its moments.  John Elk was there, and we spoke to him afterwards, tho’ he was a bit of an egotistical shit, and not very helpful.  I thought he had been good in the show tho’, tho’ Val disagreed.

No mincing my words as to my opinion of John, a trait which, I believe, will be more in evidence as time goes on – I do find myself to be somewhat judgmental, even (or even especially) on first acquaintance.  Though I am pretty sure my assessment in this case was pretty accurate.  This entry does also point out 2 aspects of life that affected both of us: one a desire for comedy in all situations – I do like to laugh – the other a lifelong passion for cards in general and crib (or cribbage, to give it its full name) in particular.  Still going on, forty years later, comedy and crib both.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    –And you’re not bad at backgammon, too!

    I remember the Spaghetti Factory, but not Spaghettijam. Conjures up the picture of spaghetti covered in raspberry jam. In the East Bay, where I was living when you were staying in SF, we had Dance Jam, a place where people went and danced all night, lots of it contact improv, which I did in those days. Lovely living your trip with you!

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