Alternative Title: The Week San Francisco Became Los Angeles
I'm acutely aware there are countless people who would have loved to stand in my shoes Saturday as I toured the NFL's numerous San Francisco private parties. The Media, the glitz, the stars, the free booze, the swag, the private entrances, all of it made to look so beautiful; to make everyone involved feel like they're part of something big. And have no doubt, it's pretty fucking big.
But you know what it also is?
It's pretty fucking awful. All of it.
Lets start with the whores.
There were just so many it's hard to pick a specific starting point. Being that it's the Bay Area, I'll begin with Bob Weir (Grateful Dead). As I entered the massive Fort Mason Pier I immediately took notice of the massive digital screens displaying tie-dyed imagery. They were hard to miss. Then I took notice of all the people scurrying about below the screens and thought to myself, "Does anyone here even know who Bob Weir is?"
The answer? Yes. About 40 of us.
After a buddy grabbed me a Trumer Pils, I made my way up to the front row. It was about as difficult to arrive there as it would be to get to the bottom of a water slide. None of my friends came with me, but I found a couple of like-minded fans who were listening to the music. Bobby looked quite whorrible. But even worse was his performance.
He opened up with "Hell in a Bucket", which I found to be quite humorous, as I'm sure he did too. When he took the check for this event, he had to know hell was officially his resting place.
My laughter from ithe rony of the song selection quickly faded and turned to near-tears. His singing and playing were so bland it made sense that no one in the crowd gave a shit he was on the stage, or that he wasn't the guy tuning the instruments for the real band.
For a brief moment I started to sing along with Bobby to show some others that I was cool enough to know the words, but also that maybe Bob would see me for a brief moment and think 'thank God someone knows who I am. But then quickly embarrassment befell me as I realized that admitting I know these lyrics to what this dude is attempting to sing is actually quite sad. At this point, no one wanted to admit knowing that guy. Slowly I started backing up.
I casually said to the guy next to me, himself dressed in the day's preferred outfit of designer jeans, button up short, no tie, sport coat, and sneaker-shoes which need cost at least $250, "I can't believe he's actually doing this. So embarrassing." I waited for approval.
"Yeah, but I guess $250,000 for 30 minutes is a good gig if you can get it."
"Who is he again?"
I looked all around me to see if anyone else had a similarly distressed look on their face to match my emotions, but in truth, most people were all smiles. Especially Amber and Samantha from the Bachelor, who were dressed as if they came off the Bachelor in Paradise beach. If I didn't know who they were I'd have thought, "Whores." And I mean that in the truly professional sense - like actual prostitutes. I mean, shit, there were hookers EVERYWHERE. I'm convinced the NFL gave pimps a steep discount for event tickets because it was hard not to get eye-banged by a group of cake-faced girls recently up from San Diego trying the damnedest not to tip over forward.
In the case of the "bachelorettes" I just thought, "Desperate." But if you're going to be so, this was a perfect place to wear that look.
Before I made my way outside the venue to the patio area, I noticed a group of 4 girls push their way past the 3 dudes standing in the front row. They positioned a phone perfectly in order take a selfie with Bobby playing over their shoulders. The circle of whorribleness was moving toward completion.
Not more than 30 minutes later Bobby comes roaring past me with a guy holding his elbow. Head down and determined not to mingle with the people who just ignored him for the better part of 30 minutes, there wasn't even a fist bump to the guy who said, "I loved the Other Ones documentary!"
As my friends and I commented on whether he would fall down if not being escorted, the gaggle of girls from the front row nearly fell out on to the patio right in front of us, giddy as can be. I looked at them and said, "HEY! Did you guys just see Jerry Garcia?!?"
"OH MY GOD! I TOLD YOU! THAT WAS JERRY GARCIA!"
"OH MY GOD, I TOUCHED HIM!"
"Yeah, that must have been awesome for you. You look like you really love frozen yogurt."
(Giggles, laughters, oh-my-gods-all the way down the pier - "I TOLD YOU!")
Before heading back indoors I noticed tons of bottles, cups and assorted drinks left right along the railing of the pier, moments before they would end up being blown into the water. No, no, this was not your parents' San Francisco, I assure you. The people here expected the trash to be fished out of the bay for them.
I grabbed what I could and loaded stuff into a box, and then a moment a later a very intelligent woman said to me, "Are you really picking up trash?"
Then I stopped, and not because of her, but because, "Fuck this city" I thought. "Fuck this whole place right now."
I went to the bar to grab one more Trumer Pils, handed the 50 year old-ish short gray-haired bartender a $50, and he said, "Thanks. Appreciate it." Then he began to walk away.
"..." He looked back.
"Hey, sir, uhh, can you come here?"
"Are the drinks comped?"
Smiling, "Yeah, of course."
"Oh, wow, I didn't know that. You gotta give me that back." Reached my hand out, but also didn't want to seem like a cheap douche in front of this guy next to me who was probably a left Tackle for the Chiefs back in '89.
Slightly surprised, the bartender was, but he forked it over.
I gave him a $5 bill. Then wondered, "People are giving this dude fifties and it's not even a thing."
As I made one final pass through the room I noticed nearly everyone had purchased hats, beanies, sweatshirts, pants and tote bags. Strange, I thought. But then was told by my buddy Hafty, "It's all free, dude!"
You've never seen me move faster. Full on whore mode. Get while the gettin' is good!
"Hi, sir, what can I get for you," asked the skinny as a bean-stalk half-Asian girl with "WHEELS UP" cap on her head.
"Uhh, what can I have?"
"Anything you want," as she waved her hand at the display board.
3 sweatshirts, 3 hats, and a tote bag would do. I would have went for more, but I just didn't.
A friend comes over to me and asks, "Dude, what are you going to do with all that shit?"
"I don't know. I'll probably just give it to some homeless people when we get back to your hotel."
He nodded, "That's a good thought."
On the way out the door I see Tommy Lee, Chuck Liddell, Baron Davis, David Diehl, JJ Watt, Jim Plunkett, Alex Rodriguez and a number of really massive black dudes with diamond watches the size of sun dials. Nearly all of them there to whore out some item, be it a Sharpie marker or just themselves (apologize in advance to the dude who was there for charity - and Chuck who is awesome and took a photo with my buddy).
We left the building only to see what looked to be a limo fleet larger than the one parked at the UN when the President appears.
Caught a Lyft. Gave the guy some swag.
Upon arriving at the St Francis Westin in Union Square, I was immediately overwhelmed by a perfume scent that can only be described as "Stripper." If you've spent time in Vegas, you know the smell.
My buddy runs into Mark Cuban, who he somewhat knows. When he gets back over to check-in where I'm awaiting on another friend he tells me of this. I said, "Go get me a ticket for tonight's concert, dude.!
He went back, but Mark was gone. I called another friend who said he had 2 for me, "VIP." Ooooooh...more free shit!
My one friend bails and the other heads up to shower. I grab my tote bag of swag and head over to the Park Central to get the two passes. As I walk through the city, down Geary and over to Kearny, I start looking around for people I can give some of this gear to. I've been here hundreds of times, and of course, there's always someone. Every night after my wife used to leave work at the restaurant she would bring food to people right in this area, so it was a good place to start.
But not on this day. Nope. On this day the city would be scrubbed clean of anyone who didn't have a place to sleep. And the city made sure on the days leading up to "the BIG GAME", the few places they did have would not be available to them. "Where did they all go," I started to wonder. Then Rudy Giuliani's ugly mug popped into my head.
I then changed course and walked up Market St for a bit in the hopes of finding SOMEONE to give some warm Superbowl-related swag to. I mean, if you're going to find some homeless people in San Francisco, Market St is the spot, right? At least I thought that would be the case. Nope. Not-a-one. Anywhere.
In the back of my mind I started envisioning some city employees blasting fire hoses at homeless encampments. And while that did not happen (as far as I know), I couldn't help to think the drama was probably the same for those people the city removed.
'Greg Gopman would be proud of his city today.'
I meet my friend, who works for an entertainment company. He's in full work mode, as orders are coming in for tickets and passes. "This guy wants to know what eight thousand will get him?"
"Tell him to hold."
I stood there trying not to bother anyone in this boiler room. My buddy looks up, "Whoa! When did you get here?"
I smiled, and reached out my hand, "Your busy. We'll talk later."
He said, "Yeah. Crazy. These are VIP."
"You're the man. Thanks."
Took a dump.
On my way back to the St Francis I saw a slightly-crazed looking guy wondering Geary with a drill in his hand. While slightly intimidated by this dude, he seemed like a good target for some gear. I stopped him and asked, "Hey, you want some of this free Superbowl stuff?"
"Sorry, man, I'm working." He bolted to the other side.
I turned and noticed he was actually piecing together some NFL SB50 banner which had apparently been torn down, or never went up. I assumed this late in the game, "torn down."
Eventually the swag ended up in my buddy's room. Where it is now I can't be sure. Hopefully Maria gave it to her kids.
Back in the hotel lobby I was almost stunned by the number of hookers floating around the place. I couldn't imagine what the bar at the Clift Hotel looked like, since that place is teeming with whores on a random Tuesday.
Met up with my friends at the bar, had some drinks, and then headed off to Cuban's AXS TV / DirecTV party, featuring RUN DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snoop Doggy Dawwwwwg oh awwwg bow wow...
But while en route we decided to "OMAHA! OMAHA!" and meet some friends who were meeting clients at Alexander's Steakhouse in SOMA. Nice place.
After chatting up some nice folks, tossing back a glass of wine someone handed me, we were told our table was reserved for another group, and we had to leave it.
And by "group" I mean 2 pimps and 8 high end prostitutes. Yep. No lie.
A guy I just met decided to walk over to them and engage in some comedic conversations. Within 20 seconds one of the pimps was actually eye-raping his soul, and told him to get lost. So he did.
Back with us he said, "Man, that's pretty much a table of hookers."
"It sure is."
Onward we went...
In the car I noticed all of this meter lanes closed off everywhere. The city made sure that the NFL employees, players and media had their own lanes to travel everywhere quickly. Was good thinking, but it caused traffic for nearly everyone else.
Realizing we hadn't actually eaten, we "OMAHA" again, and hit up La Corneta for some tacos. Scarfing down as much food as possible among people who would have jumped all over the swag I wish I brought with me, we listened to a mariachi band.
15 minutes later a buddy picks us up, as I gave him my extra pass.
The city made available an old ass warehouse in the Dog Patch section, which probably hadn't be used in 15 years. It was quite memorable for one of my buddies because within 10 minutes he had to leave due to an allergy attack. As cleaned up as the place was, dust was everywhere, which could be seen clearly when the stage lights hit the room.
Picture the forum where Batman fought Bain and lost. That was basically the room we were in. Thunderdome-esque.
I made my way over to the Peroni sign for some good Italian beer, but was soon told by the bartender, "Those signs are just for looks. All we have is Miller Lite."
"Perfect. Tastes great."
After spitting out the first sip I quickly realized why this beer is actually "less filling."
You can't take the can. Cans are dangerous. And cause a different debris than the cups which get thrown everywhere.
Me and my boy Thad had higher level wrist bands which enabled us to ditch the first level peons for some second level chicken tenders, tuna tar tar, and dust coated shrimp cocktail. We scarfed.
I scanned the area, and quickly noticed a number of slightly higher class whores all around me, intermingled with the only attractive women in the room, who were the 40-50+ wives of men who actually brought them with. Second level whores were better looking than the ground floor.
Sidenote: If you're married, that's how you want to do this event because if there's no woman on your arm, the big-breasted eye fucking will be relentless. And it was.
Never saw the third floor action.
RUN DMC's music filled the air, as throngs of people in sport coats and True Religion jeans took out their iPhones and filmed their way to ecstasy. It was as if they had been transported into one of Bud Light's "Up for Whatever" ads, and these people were certainly up for whatever (as long as they could film how much fun they were having on their phones).
RUN did not disappoint. They took me straight back to 1989, which was perfect for this crowd. You were either living your youth, or just realized that the guy from Run's House actually sings.
I noticed a couple of large black men standing side stage and said to Thad, "That must give the artists the feel of the studio, where there's always like 5 or 6 people doing jack shit."
At this point another friend says to me, "7 other bands actually turned us down for last night's party, so we got Joe Jonas. Can't imagine how many people said no to this."
Another friend weighs in, "$250,000 for 30 minutes? It's good work if you can get it." Yes, that happened, again.
The moment Run ended I was standing outside the main concert area as people moved toward the Peroni signs. My friend Seth and I stood in the waaaay back, watching this all go down.
"Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah...it's the motherfuckin' Snoop..."
"Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah...it's the motherfuckin' G..."
"You motherfuckas ready to get down with the double G?..."
Luck must have befallen Seth and I because we were standing right under an until that moment unnoticed DJ booth, which was 15-20 feet above us. Craned our necks backward. We were now front row for Snoop Dogg's DJ set, and the crowd came running toward us.
We were so close that we started moving the other way to avoid the rush, and to get a better perspective.
At first we were both smiling ear to ear because the idea of Snoop Dogg sneaking up an audience out of left field to start throwing down was both hilarious and exciting. That quickly passed.
The moment the crowd swelled into an area no bigger than half of a basketball court, just in time for Snoop to finish his joint (which he held high), the "show" was half way over.
People were excited. Except those actually expecting a Snoop Dogg show, what they got instead was Snoop on his MacBookPro DJ'ing HIS OWN SONGS. And. ANNNND. HE HAD A FUCKING MICROPHONE.
So rather than sing his songs to the crowd, he instead decided to just play his songs off a computer.
"It's good work if you can get it."
We started to wonder if they actually paid him less to DJ, or if he just said, "Fuck it. I ain't singin."
Either way, it sucked royally after 5 minutes. Unless, of course, you were filming this whole affair and were still "Up for Whatever."
After rendezvousing with more friends, now swelling our fractured group to about 15, we all laughed about the absurdity of this whole thing. It was nice to see everyone I know dressed in t-shirts and jeans, recognizing full well they were still in San Francisco; not LA or NYC.
We drank a bit, and then made our way over to the stage once we heard Flea's bass begin to rumble.
People scurried quickly. Tits bounced. Seal walked past me with 2 girls who in the dark were maybe half as cute as Heidi on her worst day.
"Yeah, he apparently loves the NFL."
Worth noting, the top floor was now filled with celebs none of the proletariat could get anywhere near.
Thad and I went over to the side stage, and he said to me, "We play a game. Pick up your phone and see how many phones you can photograph filming in one picture."
He got 10.
I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Instead I focused on the band, which proved to be a mistake.
Flea's gut was hanging solidly over his waist, and the hairs on his chest seemed to be trending silver from blonde. Not a great look. Wish I had that confidence.
They opened with a song I've heard a hundred times but don't know the name of, but that I would have assumed they'd have opened with if you played me 10 of their other songs I don't know the names of. It was pretty good. I prefer 'One Hot Minute.'
"What do you think these guys get paid?"
"I don't know."
Another guy, "I heard they were like the 10th band asked to do this..."
Chad Smith still looks like Will Ferrell.
We walked away, making way for some super-duper high end hookers, hoping to maybe catch Flea's eye as he made it over to side stage. May have worked out for them. I'm sure someone paid them.
Things quickly went down hill, as my buddy didn't notice a protruding rusty steel beam coming out of the floor, rammed his shin into it, slicing it completely open, and then falling face first only to be saved a set of broken teeth by his now severely sprained wrist that rests inside a splint.
So that was fun. The only benefit was it got me the fuck out of there.
Both of us limped out of there, him with blood coming down his leg, and me injured by all I had witnessed the last 10 hours.
I caught a Lyft at double the price, which seemed like a bargain.
Every visitor kept saying "Uber" everywhere we went, so Lyft seemed like the much better call.
I checked my phone in the car. Uber was 3x.
(Edit: Looked up and saw Chip Kelly having a good time, and no joke, the sun was coming through the window and shining right on his ass. I was not able to get a photograph in time, but it was quite fitting.)