Who doesn't want to recapture some mongrel carefree vacation sensation in a silly-shack adult Disneyland of thatched straw?
I get rummy and restless, and a clutch of drinkers nearby watches raptly as I manage to make barfly magic and balance a saltshaker on its tip, bolstered only by a teeny mound of grains, for 20 minutes until a barmaid stomps by in a huff and it falls. "Now that's amazing," the bouncer gathering glasses around me says. The tiki gods are smiling.
GOOD TIMES, OLD TIMEY You can't toss the tikis out with the tepid bathwater, and you can't count out bluegrass and old-time music with hoedowns like the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival around. Affiliated with the Northern California Bluegrass Society, the completely volunteer-run, nonprofit eighth annual shindig runs from Feb. 1 to 10; showcases up-and-coming locals such as the Earl Brothers, Circle R Boys, Squirrelly Stringband, the Deciders, Jimbo Trout and the Fishpeople, the Crooked Jades' Jeff Kazor and Lisa Berman, and the Wronglers (with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival founder Warren Hellman); and closes with a square dance at the Swedish American Hall. This year's fest also shines a light on a slew of Portland, Ore., combos, summing up a West Coast scene that's younger than those in other parts, publicity volunteer Elizabeth Smith tells me. "I think that there's an interest in roots music that's pervasive in the Bay Area," she explains. "If you go back and look at the hippie scene in San Francisco and the fact that folks in the Dead were involved in bluegrass, you can see an evolution over time." Old times don't have to mean bad times. *
Tues.Thurs., 5 p.m.midnight; Fri.Sat., 5 p.m.2 a.m.; Sun., 310 p.m.
1305 Lincoln, Alameda
Daily, noon2 a.m.
4401 Piedmont, Oakl.
SAN FRANCISCO BLUEGRASS AND OLD-TIME FESTIVAL
See Web site for info