December 4, 2011
Better than: Watching 60 Minutes
Author, actress, playwright, and satirist Amy Sedaris flew in from New York to host an evening to benefit the now 3-year-old nonprofit status of San Francisco's Roxie Theater, which was bedecked in Christmas stockings, lights, and oversized peppermint swirls.
When approached with the idea, Sedaris told the crowd, "The first thing I asked was how much does it pay and when can I leave?"
Patrons were greeted with delicious nibbles including egg salad on toast, bacon and potato focaccia, and fava beans in cabbage leaves, all from the Mission's charming Bi-Rite Grocery. An open bar featured cocktails made for the evening: Dusty Rabbit (vodka, tonic, mint), the Cupcake (vodka, soda water, lime, cranberries), and the Craft (vodka, cranberry juice, lime).
The formal part of the program began with a screening of Sedaris' short YouTube videos filmed in support of her Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People book that feature dangerously absurd projects such as the hot dog rake.
She asked for volunteers to help demonstrate a couple of live crafts, none of which we'd suggest ever attempting at home. One involved filling a stocking with hard beans, sticking sewing needles through it, and using it as a stress pillow for your eyeballs.
A question-and-answer session revealed that she counts pig flick Babe and heroin un-chic drama Maria Full of Grace among her favorite films. She got inspiration for Jerri Blank's facial expressions on Strangers With Candy from cohort Paul Dinello's dog. And, she has a persistent tendency to refer to Martha Stewart as he.
Sedaris also lugged big bags of her own personal handicrafts to sell, repeating the mantra of "Everything must go!" She brought what she said were the only things she knows how to make: Potholders, pill boxes emblazoned with a choice of Jerri Blank or Jake Gyllenhaal as Jesus, and cat-shaped cozies that will fit either a roll of toilet paper or the notorious marijuana vaporizer known as a Volcano ("if you stretch it!").
Sedaris hinted that she's working on a hospitality-oriented program for television, and if this craft event of the season was any indication, it will instantly be the liveliest one out there.