Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Art of Baseball Shines in SF!

For the 13th year of the annual exhibition, the George Krevsky Gallery has assembled an All-Star lineup of Baseball Art Rookies and Seasoned Baseball Art Pros.

Every year, I make sure that I get to see the baseball art display at George Krevsky Gallery in San Francisco. This year, they’re highlighting new exciting artists while showing respect to the seasoned veterans who’ve contributed in the past. The show is running until June 19, so there’s still plenty of time to see it.

"Rookies" on this year's team, despite their prominence as exhibiting artists, include: pop icon, Mel Ramos; Russian born painter, Valentin Popov; multi-media artist and poet, Naomie Kremer; works on paper artist, Michael Scoggins; infra-red photographer, Robert Hartman; AT & T Park muralist, Tom Mogensen; screenwriter and illustrator, Barry Gifford; and Bay Area Figurative artist, Gordon Cook.

"Pros" returning to the lineup include: Baseball Hall of Fame artist, Arthur K. Miller; nationally exhibited San Francisco painter, Stanley Goldstein; iconic LA artist, Raymond Pettibon; visual storyteller, Dana DeKalb; New York painter, Louis Grant; and mixed media printmaker, Stacey Carter.

George Krevsky Gallery
77 Geary St. 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: (415) 397-9748

Fax: (415) 397-9749

Tuesday - Saturday
11 am - 5:30 pm

A Week of Celebrities

What a week. First, I ran into Vince Neil, the lead singer for Motley Crue (bottom shot). And on Thursday, I interviewed Tammy Nelson, the lead role in Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest continuous music revue in the history of the world!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Words for the Finest French Food in the Bay Area: La Folie

Legendary La Folie Owner/Chef Roland Passot knows French food and he creates a piece of artwork every time one of his plates hits the table. Fine dining could be wasted on me, because I have a naïve, untrained palate. I can’t often tell the difference between pork and chicken or duck and turkey. I know my barbecue and comfort food, but fancy high-end cuisine is kind of a mystery to me. We only get to eat at places like La Folie for very special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries. So, when I do have a fine dining experience, I’m basically a fish out of water.

We knew almost instantly that La Folie was going to offer a charming complete dining experience. With cotton-candy clouds painted on sky-blue walls, La Folie has an atmosphere that exudes class and luxury. Passot’s passion for French fine dining is evident in every aspect of his restaurant—from the professional service, the extensive Franco-California wine list, the amazing small bites between courses and a wide range of rare vegetarian menu offerings. This is Passot’s dream restaurant and we enjoyed being part of his vision.

We decided to go with La Folie’s 4-course plan ($85 per person) and we were pleasantly surprised and beyond satisfied for everything we ate. Some of the more notable items include La Folie’s Confit of Kurabuta Pork Belly with Boudin Noir, Quince Puree and Pickled Cipolini Onions (I could live on pork belly if I could.); Warm Edam Cheese Souffle with Fromage Blanc Sorbet, Crispy Bacon, White Sesame Tuile (You have to order it right away, because it takes time to prepare this amazing soufflé. My only complaint here is that there wasn’t enough of it.); Niman Ranch Lamb Loin, with Carrot and Medjool Dates, Potatoes “Fondante”, Lamb Shoulder Crepinette (I love my lamb so rare I can feel the pulse and this one fit the bill.); Goat Cheese and Fourme D’Ambert Terrine with Baby Pickled Beets, Toasted Walnuts and Frisee Salad (La Folie loves veggies and this dish proves it.); Dungeness Crab Salad Napoleon on Crispy Pineapple Chips, Grapefruit and Pomegranate Gelee (The Gelee solicited glee!);and Seared Day Boat Scallop with Parsnip Puree, Celery Gratin and Lobster Vanilla Sauce (Everyone does scallops, but they can easily be overcooked. La Folie prepared them perfectly.)

If I’m giving stars, La Folie receives all five and more. When it comes down to the food, this place is adventurous without showing off too much. We had a great first year wedding anniversary meal and although the evening wasn’t cheap, we left La Folie exceedingly happy, pampered and anxious to return for another special occasion in the future.

La Folie
2316 Polk Street
San Francisco, Calif.
(415) 776-5577

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ed's Sports Corner

Let’s Get Lefty in the Hall of Fame!

I went to Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant the other day, ordered an O’Doul’s and sat down to interview Tom O’Doul, Lefty’s cousin. Is that triple déjà vu or what? Right now, there is a movement to get Lefty elected to the Hall of Fame. The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to people who were ambassadors to the game and have promoted the game of baseball during their lifetime. Frank "Lefty" O'Doul did this and was certainly an ambassador, mentor and promoter of the game during his lifetime. If you would like to help in our letter writing campaign to induct Frank "Lefty" O'Doul into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, please send letters to: BUCK O'NEIL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM, 25 MAIN STREET, COOPERSTOWN, NY 13326-1330.

If you’re not familiar with Lefty, here are his stats—11 seasons, .349 lifetime batting average, averaged 91 RBI and 190 hits each season and led the National League in batting average twice, in 1929 and 1932. Here are some excerpts from my recent interview with Tom O’Doul:

Benefits of a famous cousin: One story I love to relate is that Lefty always came to my opening days when I was playing Little League. In 1954, opening day was approaching and my dad told me, “Cousin Frank’s coming to your opener.” And I thought, that’s cool. So he shows up in a Cadillac with Joe DiMaggio. I’ll never forget the moment, because everyone’s mouth just dropped and stay opened. There was a buzz in the air. But, they were gone five minutes later. I lived off that moment for the next five years, at least.”

Lefty’s early days: “He never made it past the 7th grade and he would always push me to finish school. He had to drop out to work as a butcher. His father, his grandfather and his uncles were all butchers. If he hadn’t made it as a baseball player, he would have been a butcher.”

His relationships with other great players: “Lefty got along with everyone, including Ty Cobb, which wasn’t easy from what I heard. He loved Babe Ruth and they spent a lot of time together. They both had that great sense of humor, so that’s probably why they got along so well.”

The world famous Lefty O’ Doul’s Bloody Mary: “It’s from an original O’Doul family recipe and they’ve served it there since day one. The O’Doul’s drug of choice has always been alcohol. Lefty drank bourbon and water and beer. My uncle loved being in bars and talking to people in bars, so opening his own restaurant/bar in his hometown was a logical progression.”

Why Lefty loved Japanese baseball so much: “Probably because the way they played the game. I think he liked the purity of it. He appreciated their dedication to the game. And they were extremely pleased to learn from the “Great American”. Lefty was the one who brought Babe Ruth to Japan. They were dying to see Babe and he brought them on his first tour there in 1934. He did three tours to Japan total—in ’31, ’34 and ’49. In 2002, Lefty was chosen to be in the Japanese Baseball of Fame.

Harding Park Hits the Top Muni’s List at #10

Harding Park was recently named #10 on GolfWeek magazine’s annual list of the 50 Best Municipal Courses in the country. Harding Park’s Manager Rodney Wilson is obviously pleased to be on the coveted list and cites several reasons why his course scored so high, he said. “People say playing golf is expensive, but if you can compare it to attending other sporting events, it’s very reasonable. We have rates like $46 per round for SF residents who play during the week and seniors who can play for as little as $31 at certain times. We renovated the course in 2003 and it’s in great shape. We’ve hosted several pro tournaments and we’re going to have the Charles Schwab Cup Championship here this year and in 2011. If the pros play here, that must tell you something.”

Ask a Bartender

The World Cup is happening this month, so we searched for those bartenders who really know their soccer. Each of these mixologists discussed which teams they feel will contend and/or pretend when the world’s finest convenes in South Africa.

Mike English, Perry’s on Union: “I’ll give you four teams I like in order: 1.) France 2.) Britain 3.) Germany 4.) Argentina. I believe you’ll find the eventual champion from that list.”

Kevin Corrigan, The Blue Light Cafe: “Soccer’s not my game, but our cook Hugo Bustamante knows his stuff. Hugo’s picks are Spain vs. Argentina in the Final, but watch out for surprise teams like Paraguay and Portugal.”

Derek Brennan, Mad Dog in the Fog: “Spain has to be the favorite. Other teams that should contend are Brazil, Argentina and Holland. Brazil is absolutely loaded with talent and they should go far. Wild cards are Denmark and Ivory Coast. I’d actually like to see an African nation win the World Cup, because I like their attacking styles.”

Neil Holbrook, Kezar Club: “Spain is the favorite and usually the favorites win in the World Cup. They’ve got tons of experience, but the way the draw ends up can be a factor. Italy can also be very good. Honestly, as long as Britain doesn’t win it, I’ll be happy!”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Guido the Therapy Cat of San Francisco

Therapy dogs are popular and I encounter them all the time in the city, but cats that perform therapy are fairly unique. So, when I had a chance to see an Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) cat in action, I seized the opportunity. And I can tell you one thing—this feline walks the walk and meows the talk when it comes to therapy. His name is Guido and he definitely has a connection to human beings that is real and he knows it.

Guido is owned by Judi Basolo, a commercial real estate sales and leasing agent in the city. She’s his handler, his agent, his media liaison and a full-time manager for this special cat as he performs therapy work throughout the Bay Area.

How did Basolo adopt this four-year-old cat or was it the other way around? “Guido obtained me in 2006,” Basolo said. “I went to Maddie’s SF SPCA to find Guido! That day at Maddie’s in the midst of kitten season, I was surrounded by hundreds of kittens, and this striped little cat stuck his paw consistently out of the cage, like ‘Hey look at me over here!’ The rest is history!”

When did Basolo first recognize Guido’s innate ability to help humans? “A dear friend that lives in Pacific Heights told me she was feeling seriously ill,” she said. “She stopped leaving the house and was not feeling her normal self. So I tossed Guido into his kitty backpack for the first time ever! When we got to her house, she didn’t look good at all and I was ready to take her to the hospital.”

Suddenly Guido jumped out of his backpack and surprised the sick woman on the bed, Basolo said. “Suddenly my ill friend came to life and Guido accompanied her for breakfast that morning and at that moment, I realized there was something for Guido’s future. Guido was roaming around her apartment as if he was on the job. I saw his attitude change almost instantly and I knew right then therapy was going to be his career.”

Once Basolo recognized that Guido could provide significant therapy to people who needed it, she took further steps to introduce her special cat to the world. “A few weeks after that miraculous visit, I talked to the great people at Animal Assisted Therapy and found the San Francisco SPCA’s program, which is run by the wonderful Dr. Jennifer Emmert. Guido had to go through a battery of tests and I learned that only particular pets perform well in AAT work. Guido passed the test and we were official and ready to provide therapy.”

Guido’s paws hit the ground running and pretty soon the accolades and awards started coming his way. A major highlight in Guido’s therapy career took place in 2008, when Guido was honored at Herbst Theatre with The Purring Cat award by Pets Unlimited for his work in Animal Assisted Therapy!

It was a big night for Guido and his owner in more ways than one, Basolo said. “At the reception after the award ceremony, a woman came up to me and said ‘Your cat has inspired me to get my Labrador into Animal Assisted Therapy.’ Well, it’s amazing that a little cat could inspire a dog to do this work, but that’s the magical rewarding side of what we do.”

One of Guido’s regular therapy sessions takes place at The Arc of San Francisco, an organization that provides a primary resource for over 500 people with developmental disabilities in the Bay Area and to empower their clients to make the most of their abilities--learning new skills, holding productive jobs and living ordinary lives with dignity and pride in our community.

When I went to The Arc for one of Guido’s weekly visits, I almost instantly got a distinct feeling that he knows what’s he’s doing and enjoys it. To see the clients greeting Guido and interacting with this cat is amazing. Experts say that continual exposure to pets can help people to live healthier lives, and after sitting down with Guido one morning and watching him work, he has made me a believer.

Being the owner of a popular therapy cat with a jammed schedule is a job in itself, Basolo said. “Guido goes to fundraisers, store grand openings and benefits for his favorite causes. In many cases, he gets invited instead of me! For the past two years Guido has appeared at Saks Fifth Avenue with Jan Wahl benefitting Pets Unlimited. The people want to see Guido and I’m just his chauffeur in most cases.”

Basolo is proud to say that Guido has his very own publication. “The Guido Gazette is sent out each Monday to every continent on the planet. He’s in his fourth year and he’s never missed a deadline. He’s got feline fans everywhere, and the most common note Guido gets is from people who are commending him for his Animal Assisted Therapy work – it amazes people worldwide. He continually amazes me and I live with him!”

(Photo credit:

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Now Dat's Funny!

Dat Phan is the original winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and is a headlining comedian touring live throughout the U.S. He’s made numerous TV and movie appearances, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Family Guy as a voiceover and Cellular. Dat was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated with his mother to San Diego, California when he was a small child. After 9/11, Dat realized that life is short, so he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a comic. He had to travel along the dreary path of open mics in order to gain valuable stage time, but it paid off on August 5, 2003, when he was named the funniest person in America. Dat took the risk and auditioned for Last Comic Standing, which was an unproven experimental comedy show at the time. And the rest as they say is comedy history. I talked to Dat about his career, his future and the process of being funny. Dat’s culturally insightful comedy inspects ridiculous stereo types and shares his experience of being a regular American guy with a Vietnamese heritage.

When he got the call to be on Last Comic Standing: “I was living under a desk in West Hollywood. It was a closet that I shared with another comic. I was shocked when they called me to come in to try out for the show. The chances of me getting on a TV show and winning it is like one-in-a-million. I had only been doing comedy for six years at that point, so I was basically considered an open mic-er or maybe a feature act once in awhile.”

How he won Last Comic Standing: “I think I won for two main reasons. First, I earned the trust and the hearts of the majority of America, for the most part. Secondly, I decided to shotgun the punch lines to the audience. So, even though I was competing against other comics who had more than 20 years experience; they were using a headliner’s structure, where it takes about 60 seconds to set up a joke. But, I was trained to tell jokes in a rapid fire style, where I use very short minimal setup before getting to the punch lines. With every joke, I wanted to get to the punch line in 30 seconds or less. It was like using a machine gun against a rifle and it worked. It’s like martial arts. Multiple hits in a short time is always more effective.”

How winning the show has changed his life: “I’ve been headlining now for six years and I have grown tremendously as a comedian. One of the main things that has really changed is that now I have a team of co-writers and collaborators. I give them an idea and we develop it into a joke, and then they watch me do it on stage and provide feedback. They’re kind of like a comedy pit crew. I’m able to afford those of resources now and it’s great. Before I didn’t even have a laptop when I started and now I have my own writers.”

Incorporating music into his act: “The theories behind comedy and music are completely different, but I’m working really hard right now at introducing comedy into my act. If you try to fuse comedy and music and it’s not done right, it can be volatile. I’ve written some songs that are similar to things done by The Flight of Conchords. It’s good music, it’s funny and it’s also original. That’s the direction I think I want to go into, but with a Vietnamese twist. So stay tuned.”

Dat Phan will be appearing at Tommy T’s in Pleasanton June 23-27. To find out more about Dat Phan, visit For information on great upcoming events in the Bay Area, visit