Culture vulture

Courtesy Of Thunderbird Theatre Company

Life’s labor listed
I like Labor Day. The concept of honoring and commemorating the value and necessity of work by giving workers a paid holiday lends our society a reassuring sense of economic fair play. Of course, with the demands of the newspaper business being what they are, I won’t actually be taking the day off, but still I honor the good intentions of the people who designed and designated this holiday for the common man, despite the fact that the creation was essentially a political ploy meant to mollify angry workers at a time in U.S. history when the federal government had become increasingly violent in the suppression of the labor unions that were striving to create guidelines for fair treatment and equitable pay for the laborers who sustained the economy.

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, called it “the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed … that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it. Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day … is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.”

So while you’re enjoying the holiday, Culture Vulture encourages you to raise a glass to the working man. Because, after all, somebody worked to make that glass and the stuff that’s in the glass and everything involved in the incredibly intricate process of getting that glass into your hand, and they deserve at least a toast in acknowledgment of that work.

Avast, ye lubbers!
There’s a Jolly Roger cresting the horizon, and beneath it a ship load of scurvy knaves, winsome wenches, bodice-ripping heroes and sexually ambiguous servants. Did I mention beguiling heroines, scheming scoundrels, adventure on the high—very high—seas and yes, pirates!

That’s right, it’s time once again for the annual boarding and pillaging of the Blue Room by those Bay Area rapscallions, the Thunderbird Theatre Company. For its sixth-year outing the troupe has conceived an original melodramatic pirate comedy entitled Lusty Booty, the tale of a virginal heiress, Isadora Spankbottom, beset by her own hormones and a phalanx of suitable and unsuitable suitors.

The Thunderbirds never fail to deliver the absurdist topical humor, pop-culture-referential comedy and surreal shenanigans that were the hallmark of the original Blue Room—probably because the founders of the Thunderbird company were veterans of the Blue Room scene before they moved to San Francisco and realized they’d go nuts if they didn’t cook up a wildly comedic play once a year to counteract the seriousness of living through the buildup and bursting of the dot-com bubble.

Culture Vulture heaaaarrrrrrtily recommends Lusty Booty. And you should also go to the show.