The International Room of the Cathedral Hill Hotel — base of operations for this year’s AAN West conference — was mildly abuzz with excitement. Attendees were just getting warmed up on Friday evening. This was only the welcome reception, after all. They had their drinks and dispersed without much incident.
Saturday evening cocktails, hosted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, were a different matter entirely. AAN peeps filled the Olive Bar, an urban-fabulous but oh-so-tiny art lounge a few blocks from the hotel staffed by some ridiculously good-looking bartenders. Hurray!
As Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” played and the bar’s central disco ball cast dancing lights across the room, conversations touched upon “art curators in New York”; the “woeful activism phase” in journalism; and the relative merits of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The Clash.
Meanwhile, a venerable member of the San Francisco Bay Guardian kindly offered his surplus drink tickets. Asked where an out-of-towner should go to eat, he responded like any hospitable San Franciscan would. He said it depended on one’s dining preference: “Gay, straight, bi or transvestite?”
Got to love San Francisco.
It was an erudite editor who best summed up the night’s directive when he said, without hesitation, that he was basically there to “get hammered.” When this reporter nodded solemnly and took out her notepad, he smiled.
“You can quote me,” he said, “not for attribution.”
Samantha Campos is the associate editor of Maui Time Weekly.