Kate Berlant is an artist’s comedian
Kate Berlant interview by Kevin L. Jones, SF Chronicle Datebook, 2/9/19

When critics discuss Kate Berlant’s comedy, they use terms typically saved for high art: avant-garde, surrealist, postmodern, experimental. But Berlant says she prefers the term “silly.”

“I’m such a ham,” Berlant says. “I literally make faces and cross my eyes onstage.”

The intellectual and lowbrow sides of Berlant’s life come together in her comedy. Her stream of consciousness take on stand-up has her firing off academic jargon and punctuating one-liners with facial expressions that make Jerry Lewis look nuanced. In a way, she’s created her own type of silly.

But no matter how you describe her humor — avant-garde wackiness? — there’s no denying that Berlant is funny. [Link to full interview]

Includes interview quotes from Jamie Zawinski of DNA Lounge and Talent Moat’s Tony Bedard regarding his new gig booking in the East Bay at the Ivy Room. [Read more]

Memphis Garage Punk Band Lands at Make-Out Room
Dave Pehling, KPIX-CBS, 10/10/18


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the most popular garage-punk outfits to emerge in the past decade from the hotbed of Memphis (home of noted underground imprint Goner Records, which holds it’s unhinged annual Gonerfest every fall), Ex-Cult got it’s start in 2011 when five musicians from various hardcore, psych and indie-pop backgrounds first came together... [READ MORE]


One of the more celebrated post-punk bands from Australia to exert an influence on American alternative rock during the ’90s, the Scientists bring their first ever U.S. tour to the Chapel in San Francisco Sunday night... [READ MORE]


If the Hemlock’s Walls Could Talk: Looking Back at 17 Years of Shows
Ned Raggett, KQED Arts, 8/23/18

On Oct. 6, the Hemlock Tavern, the longtime Tenderloin rock bar, will celebrate its 17th anniversary. But the occasion is bittersweet: the celebration is also a goodbye party, as the venue is slated for demolition and will close its doors—at least in this iteration—after its last show.

The Hemlock has, per the estimate of its longtime booker, Tony Bedard, hosted around 15,000 bands since opening in 2001. Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom, Beach House, Reggie Watts, Ty Segall and Parquet Courts are just a few of the high-caliber indie rock and pop acts that cut their teeth on the Hemlock's intimate stage.

The Hemlock staff has always had an ear for the weird and obscure. Other memorable performances included the exploratory acoustic guitar work of the late Jack Rose; the heavy and beautiful droning feedback of Liz Harris’s Grouper; and, in an especially memorable combination, Captain Beefheart sideman Moris Teper alongside U.K. alternative icon PJ Harvey. [READ MORE}


Backstage Heroes: Hemlock Tavern Booker Tony Bedard
Hiya Swanhuyser, KQED Arts, 6/10/15

The Hemlock Tavern on Polk Street is an international destination for music — “unconventional, not necessarily commercial, artistically adventurous music,” says the venue’s booker, Tony Bedard. For the past 13 years, Bedard has been in charge of which bands step onto the Hemlock’s small back-room stage, a fact as surprising to him as it is necessary to anyone who loves independent music. [READ MORE]