Not Just for Tourists
Every San Franciscan has a list of local activities they haven't done that the average visitor to this city probably has. For us, that was Beach Blanket Babylon, the North Beach musical revue famous for its huge hats and culture-skewering whimsy. The show comes recommended by seemingly every travel guide, as well as local newspaper critics. But BBB is one of those things, like going to Alcatraz or eating clam chowder in a bread bowl, that a self-respecting San Franciscan probably wouldn't be inclined to do on their own. This is a mistake. The story follows Snow White on her search for love across the world and the pop culture universe. Along the way we encounter hilariously rendered versions of seemingly every major figure in the pop canon: Prince, Elvis, James Brown, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Adele, Tina Turner, even Nicki Minaj. The BBB script must get rewritten constantly, because there were lines in a recent production referencing events that only took place a week ago. And they were funny. Not tepid, and not stand-up comedy-level risque, but somewhere in between. In fact there were few moments during the 90-minute show when most of the audience wasn't laughing. So yeah: BBB might seem like one of those S.F. activities only tourists will enjoy. It's definitely not.