By Chris Roberts
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
By Mike Billings
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Sherbert
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
Let's face it, our world is going to hell quicker than you can say, "Abu Ghraib prison scandal." With the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, not to mention the breakup of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, what would make the world a much better place is if it were like a big, extravagant musical. Think about it, life would be great if it were like a Broadway spectacular. For no apparent or explained reason, ordinary people would burst into song. Everyday people like you and I would croon our inner feelings to the world. No one would even notice our self-indulgence and lack of talent. Just look at the crap musical Rent, the Abba extravaganza Mamma Mia!, or anything by über-genius Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I think life shouldbe like a musical. Wouldn't that be fun? Yippee-skippy! That's just what I'll do. Yes, for one glorious fall afternoon, my life will be my very own moderately budgeted Broadway extravaganza.
In the past, bursting into song in public was limited to the insane, karaoke bars, and those on Pier 39 pegging themselves as street performers (aren't buskers just beggars with guitars?). That was, until now. Yes, I decide to go around my beloved city of San Francisco and spontaneously belt out Broadway numbers at my discretion, and see if curious bystanders react in the same fashion as in West Side Story. It will be a delightful musical romp that's all the rage! The critics will be clamoring for more! "I give it four stars!" one very famous critic will say. Infiltrator -- the Musical! will follow one young man's journey in search of truth, happiness, and love for his fellow man, and if you're not careful, you just might learn a little something about yourself. I shall use popular songs to convey my emotions. It'll be just like Oliver, only different somehow (and not involving orphans or anyone named Oliver for that matter).
San Francisco is an ideal location for my self-made musical based upon my life. Why? San Francisco is a musical kind of town. Though it might be a bit of a challenge to get anyone here to react to my musical proclivities. There're very few other cities where a man can walk down the street, wearing nothing but a salmon and a top hat, riding a unicycle, and no one bats an eye. With a hell of a lot competing for people's attention, a man conducting his own musical of his life has got to kick some ass, not to mention exhibit, with perfection, flamboyant jazz hands (the classic Bob Fosse move of fingers spread and extended, shaking vibrantly).
I'm at the corner of Powell and Market at the cable car turnaround -- a tourist haven and ideal location for the opening scene of Infiltrator -- the Musical! It's also a good thing that I'm avoiding my own neighborhood. I don't want neighbors to secretly refer to me as "that singing guy."
In preparation, I do a few vocal warm-ups.
I look a bit crazier than usual. I have a black eye from an accidental head-butt, received during a weekend soccer game. But that doesn't hamper me from breaking into a George Gershwin tune right by the cable car queue of tourists.
I got rhythm
I got music
I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more?
Unfortunately my opening number is a mere whispering interpretation of the classic and beloved Gershwin number. So far, the musical version of my life is less than a success, despite the fact that I exhibited well-timed jazz hands.
I got rhythm
I got music ...
I merely look like a grown man moving his lips with some sort of neurological condition in his hands. It's enough, though, to get the attention of a pair of elderly German tourists with fanny packs. They look up from their San Francisco guidebook. Aaaah, yes, people reacting to my offhanded and irreverent behavior, obviously well-cultured fans of the form of American entertainment that is the musical.
"Excuse me," says one of the German tourists.
"Ye-e-e-e-s!" I sing.
"Do you know where North Beach is?"
Damn! They simply want directions. I must try harder! MUST TRY HARDER! In order to give them directions, I tell them in the form of a rendition from one of their country's favorite musical artists. That's right, Nena, of "99 Luftballons" fame.
Floating in the summer sky
Take the Kearny bus to Broadway,
Look for all the Italian restaurants ...
I move my hips along with the words, adding my now-trademarked jazz hands.
They give me that "what a peculiar man" look. Maybe I should have sung my second choice for German musical selection, "Deutschland Über Alles."
I make my way up Powell Street on this gorgeous, warm day. There's a healthy sea of shoppers and tourists sauntering along the sidewalk. Just the kind of day that makes one spontaneously burst into ... a song! Yes, another Gershwin classic, from the folk opera Porgy and Bess.
It's summertime, and the living is easy ...
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