San Francisco Improv Festival Wrap Up

Get Up went to San Francisco August 6 – 10 to perform at the San Francisco Improv Festival. We had a great time. Great weather, great shows, great houses, and great friends.

Even though I’ve been to San Francisco many times before (my brother lived there and my sister went to UC Santa Cruz) I still ended up filling each day with things to see and do. To be honest, I probably burned the candle at both ends a little too much, walking around all day and then freshening up and going out and doing shows at night.

We also had a great time getting to know Shaun, Hans, Clay and the other San Francisco Improvisers as well as the guys from Jet City Improv in Seattle. One of the things that is different about SFIF is that it runs 7 weeks long and each weekend features 2 improv troupes, who perform a double bill for 3 nights. So you meet less people and see less shows, but you get more quality performance and hang out time with the people there.

Here’s a little more play by play.

Thursday August 7th
Yummo. Every little restaurant seemed to be so yummy and cool. Here’s me, in my new Get Up shirt, pretending to read the paper at breakfast in the Sir Frances Drake Hotel.

After breakfast, I went for a run (more like interval training with all the stoplights) and then we met up with William Hall, who took us to The Dog Patch, a up and coming part of town I’d never been to. We sat out near the water and talked improv and teaching. William is an accomplished improviser and a true devotee of all things improv.



The one thing I had forgotten to pack was my makeup! Aye! So we spent the afternoon at Sephora getting makeovers for the show.

That night we did a folktale kind of show–a little bit of small town magical realism for this town that was once slow, but is now fast, but then gets slow again. It was a fun show and it was a big honor to have Tim Orr from 3 For All in the audience. There was a great photographer and videographer on staff, so we got some great pics.

Here’s some highlights.

Friday August 8th
We went to Berkeley, one of my favorite places in the country. Great weather, perfect level of density and liberalism, and a great college campus. We met Sara’s friend Bruce there and got laughed out of Alice Water’s restaurant, Chez Panisse, when we asked for a table for 3 without a reservation. So I took this picture outside the restaurant as if I was so full from all the good food.

We ended up at a lovely South American restaurant and then walked around campus, ending up laying in the sun on the quad. Oh, college days! Here was the view from my spot of lawn.

That night’s show was probably my favorite of the three. It was set in the ancient middle east and involved allegory, women’s lib, and dancing. Some of my favorite things. Here’s a highlight reel:

Saturday August 9th

In the morning we went to the Farmer’s Market at the Embarcadero and it was totally awesome. Tons of booths and unlike Austin, it wasn’t just soap and cheese and knitting. You could really do your weekly grocery shopping there, staples and all. I had this awesome huge peach and a pastry that was kinda like a little pizza with goat cheese, peach and prosciutto.

Can you see how much I’m loving this?

Then we met up with Shannon, Lacey, Emmit and their friends at Golden Gate park.

We went inside the Conservatory of Flowers and saw some cool butterflies and orchids in the greenhouse.

Then we went to the de Young museum, the new modern art museum in the park. The architecture was really interesting and there was a lookout where you could go up and see a panorama of the city. This is me being Modern Art.

I’m pointing to Texas on this painting

We ate a late lunch, and then hauled it back to Union Square to get ready for the show. The show that night was a French Revolution seductive political intrigue story, kind of like Dangerous Liasons. One more round of highlight photos:

A big thanks to everyone in Get Up and the festival making it all so funzies.

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About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.

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