Culture vulture

Liar’s dice and other diversions
I’m not fond of working on the Sabbath, so I move mine around and take it where it falls, depending on my work schedule. Observing one day of rest and reflection out of seven seems a necessary part of any so-called civilization, but having which day that is mandated by any authority higher than personal choice seems contrary to our great country’s celebration of individual freedoms.

Which sort of explains why Saturday was spent luxuriating in bed and nursing a bee-stung finger between snacks and Benadryl-induced naps and occasional prayers of thankfulness for not having to be at work that day; which in turn sort of explains why I wasn’t finished with this week’s work till 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon and feeling sociable and justified in a rare Sunday-afternoon visit to my favorite tavern.

Taverns are at least as important as churches in a civilized society, and this establishment, especially on Sunday afternoons, is a hallmark of civilization for like-minded souls and, perhaps, a few good-natured reprobates. There were football games droning away on the over-the-bar TV sets, but nobody was paying them any attention. The action was on the bar: liar’s dice, aces wild, a buck ante.

Being bereft of both the inherent dishonesty and arithmetical acuity necessary to a good liar’s dice player, I normally sit on the sidelines admiring the finesse of the real players, but it was Sunday, I’d just gotten off work and a pint of Sierra Nevada’s excellent Octoberfest was beginning to warm the blood. I anted up and joined the game. Camaraderie increases 10-fold once one joins the game. Between the muffled clash of seven dice cups and the calls of “eight threes” or “12 sixes” from the row of friendly participants, words were exchanged, notes compared. Be on the lookout sometime in future months for a Jonathan Richman record featuring backup vocals in phonetic Italian by Dave “12 Pack” Sorenson and Roger “Father-in-Law” Montalbano. Who knows, maybe the next time the legendary Jonathan graces a local stage he’ll have these two hometown legends in the choir.

Thunderbirds on the horizon—Aaiiieeeeeeee!
That’s right folks, the Thunderbird Theatre Company, that tireless theatrical collective of Chico expatriates and sympathetic denizens of San Francisco, has just completed its show’s four-week run in the Bay Area and is bringing its latest production up here to the place of its members’ birth, or origin, or where they met each other working in coffee shops or auditioning for shows or something like that. A Thunderbird Night of Terror takes over the Blue Room on Friday and Saturday nights only, so if you appreciate absurdist comedy based in B-movie, pulp-fiction and pop-culture references, don’t sit around twiddling your fingers complaining that nothing sophisticated, arty and hilarious ever happens in this town. Just go the Blue Room; everything will be fine. Trust me: Having seen every previous Thunderbird show, I can wholeheartedly testify that the shows are worthy of whatever effort is necessary to get to them.