December 29th, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s official: the next Ask Dr. Hal! Show will go on the boards on another Saturday (no Friday bookings are yet available) on January 18th, the first show of year 2014. The all-new show will feature some exciting new guests, who will variously perform revealing burlesque turns and euphonious musical acts–  negotiations are now proceeding. Still at The Dark Room Theater at 2263 Mission Street between 19th and 18th Streets, start time will once again be 10 PM. Admission price will remain five dollars. Watch this space for new developments!

ADH’s Dr. Hal to Proctor Shibari Drawing Session

December 5th, 2013

On December 11th, Dr. Hal will be the “Featured Artist” at a sketch session devoted to the
Japanese visual arts tradition of Shibari. Attendees will be drawing from models, as in other art
but with a difference. The models, beautiful and breathtakingly
unclothed, will be expertly trussed up with tightly tied ropes, in positions which, though
undignified in the extreme, are nonetheless said to be strangely arousing and highly provocative.

During the session, Dr. Hal will be walking around the room,
supposedly looking at your sketches and giving art tips. All interested artists are invited to
the group and create life drawings– emphasis is on the unique poses, physical tension, and
eroticism that is expressed in the revealed, bound human form…

Shibari Sketch
encourages a collaborative atmosphere wherein painters, rope artists, and models
can explore the aesthetics of BDSM imagery together.  The art of life drawing provides a kind of
meditative focus, they say, that allows the bondage to happen at a contemplative pace. An on-site
Audience is invited to watch the scene, and has the opportunity to purchase the original drawings.

Remember, Christmas is right around the corner! What better gift for Dad than your painstaking
of a beautiful, nude girl writhing in rope bondage, offered up to the merciless eye
of the viewer?

Each Shibari Sketch Session consists of a “Featured Scene” that is a center-stage
modeling session,
with expert rope artists and unforgettable models.  Additionally, this session
includes a “Sketch Salon” that is open to all rope artists and models and encourages spontaneous
creativity and collaboration as well as the opportunity to practice the arts more informally, to say
the least.

At The Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St between Washburn and 10th, San
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at 8:00 PM. Cost: $20.00 regular, $15.00 students.
Tickets at door only. Event, needless to say, is for adults (18 and over).


November 12th, 2013

The Ask Dr. Hal! Show for November is on a Saturday, November 23rd– at The Dark Room Theatre, 2263 Mission St. (between 19th and 18th streets). Curtain time is 10 PM, with doors open at around 9:45 PM. Admission $5.00.

Featured guest performers for the show include Linda Robertson, violinist and tale-spinner, who, fresh from her last visit to her native England, makes a triumphant return to our stage.

Poet Rusty Rebar, who monthly co-ordinates Sunset Poetry in Sausalito, will provide a brief opening benediction.

Whitman McGowan, poet and performer, has been a figure in the S.F. Bay Area’s avant community for years. Featured in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Magazine, he also appears (as does Dr. Hal) at the Dragon’s Breath Fire Festival in Point Arena, California, among may other venues. He promises a musico-poetic interlude for Ask Dr. Hal!

Pete Goldie anchors us to the world of Astronomy with his long-running, perennially popular Space Science Report.

Sherilyn Connelly handles the I.T. needs of the show; she brings up congruent imagery from the Internet to project in real time during the performance.

Without KrOB, the show would be unspeakably less than it is; his soundscapes and provoking visual acuity further enliven the proceedings on our stage-wide screen. In addition, KrOB judiciously selects a favorite animated cartoon to initiate the show, as well as a special edit from his almost infinite collection of Monster Movie Moments– culminating in a profound result…

Jim Fourniadis, both dramaturge and author (The King Lives), who manages The Dark Room, steps into the rôle of Show Host to replace John Hell –though previously advertised, Mr. Hell,  who famously hosted the Power Tool Drag Races with Dr. Hal back in the day, was unaccountably called “downstairs” to take care of pressing business (sinner squassation) in the Infernal Regions. Jim, however, will keep matters well in hand; he too has a history with Ask Dr. Hal! as a prior Host. Now he brings his mordant wit and judicial impartiality to keeping the show’s ever-more-disorderly ducks in a righteous row.

Professional question-answerer Dr. Hal is in training for what may be his greatest challenge yet. Audience tip: Pre-prepare your questions! Get them ready before you come in to the show– and we will accommodate you.

Special Mystery Guests are promised, but at present not yet finalized; they may include a famous local Performance Artist from the Eighties whom we count as a National Treasure. And, perhaps, another often-controversial artist, known for her ability to stir up excitement (among other things) also may be among us– let’s wait and see for now…

Admission is only $5.00. Yes, you read it right– Five Dollars. Where else can you receive two hours plus of recondite entertainment for a price which would be inadequate to buy anything other than a bacon-wrapped hot dog (often available alfresco directly outside the venue from a colorful street entrepreneur). These viands have even been known to tempt gourmand Pete Goldie; perhaps they can satisfy the Inner Man (or Woman) within YOU. In addition, questions recognized by our Show Host as being of exceptional quality are often rewarded, at once and in situ, with a mind-numbing shot of deliciously horrible high-test Fernet Branca, the Miracle Liquid.

Come one, come all. Comfortable seating on risers. Two bathrooms. Doors open circa 9:30-9:45. Rated Best of the Bay in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. An Entertainment tradition since 1998. Be there!


October 14th, 2013

Yes, it’s that time again. The Ask Dr. Hal! Show will go on the boards at San Francisco’s Dark Room Theatre, 2263 Mission St. between 18th & 19th streets– YOUR PLACE for recondite entertainment in the Mission. For a mere, inconsequential FIVE DOLLARS, YOU can… ASK DR. HAL! But that’s by no means all, friends. This show is top-loaded with top-notch talent– some of the best entertainers whoever came toddling down the pike. Behold– we’ve got Kate Willett, comedy sensation! Rusty Rebar will declaim to the lute-like accompaniment of lovely Madeline Tasquin! Spy Emerson plans to send her act in by Western Union! And there’s so much more, O best beloved– from Pete Goldie’s Space Science Report and Sherilyn Connelly’s IT Illustrations-on-the-spot to Juan Rapido’s historic hosting and KrOB’s towering technical effects. Bardic Recitations, Monster Movie Moment, Krazy Kartune, Free Fernet Shots (for good queries) and 2-Minute Dance Party… the fun never stops, never flops. Come one, come all. Doors open at 9:45 (after the D.R.’s presentation of FIREFLY); show at 10 PM. What’s not to like? (That’s a Rhetorical Question.)

ASK DR.HAL! To Feature Eric Cash, Spy Emerson, Bitter Water, Whitman McGowan

September 12th, 2013

 by Bendt Fluntley
SAN FRANCISCO– Returning from Burning Man, Dr. Howland Owll once more springs into
this Saturday like a Pogo Stick in Lunar gravity.
Yes, supported
by a crackerjack assembly of the Bay Area’s top performance talents, the Show
yet again at San Francisco’s Dark Room Theater. A show that somehow– we know not
how– will be recorded and available in the nearby future as a podcast on RadioValencia.FM.
Once again, as before, the September 14th iteration of the award-winning  Ask Dr. Hal! Show in
its newest home at The Dark Room, San Francisco’s enduring redoubt of wit and unpretentious
will present a complex, multi-tieredperformance unprecedentedly FREE of charge,
harking back
to the old-time days of the Odeon Bar, when none paid to cross the threshold.
It will start with an animated cartoon selected by KrOB. This will probably be a better cartoon
than you have seen in a long time, perhaps even better than you’ve ever seen. This is a fact.
The Ask Dr. Hal! Show is proud to feature the band Bitter Water, the music of Dave Evans and the
vocals of Kelek Stevenson.
-about-town Eric Cash has volunteered to step in for a raucous, roistering rhodomontade.

Famed poet Whitman McGowan will bring the thunder.
Spy Emerson
will contribute comely color & commentary– beware the hidden sting.
Sherilyn Connelly will plumb the sea of I.T. for Thee (and me).
KrOB’s sub-and-super-liminal projections overwhelm the mind’s protections.
Puzzling Evidence
will  cover us with exclusive on-site documentation for his Online Video Empire.
The whole megilla will be set in magnum motion by RadioValencia.FM‘s own Juan Rapido, Left
Coast Host.

(Although emoluments in envelopes will still power the answers and responses from Dr. Hal,
this stipend
will henceforth derive purely from the participation of an already seated
To speak more narrowly, if by this point redundantly, for mere attendance, no fee
need be paid.
At The Dark Room, 2263 Mission St. between 19th and 20th, less than four blocks from
B.A.R.T., Showtime is 10:00 PM, with doors open for this performance at around 9:45.
In the current, monthly run, Ask Dr. Hal! takes place following whatever show is head-
at the popular avant-garde theater, in this case GODZILLA, which should begin
around 8:00 PM.



KrOB Helms Mammoth Show; Rents Castro for Jonathan Demme Concert Film Tribute– LIVE appearances by Toshio Hirano, Legendary Xtra Action Marching Band

September 12th, 2013

Jonathan Demme’s first four performance films — featuring Talking Heads, Neil Young, Robyn Hitchcock and the late monologuist Spalding Gray.

KrOB’s FILM FARM proudly presents these intimate, phenomenal and rarely seen documentaries in 35MM at San Francisco’s legendary Castro Theatre, all-day Saturday, September 21st, 2013.

The afternoon show will start off at 2pm with “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” (2006), a touching concert film shot in Nashville during a time that Young was facing his own mortality, in the form of both his own father’s death and his own (successful) battle with a cerebral aneurysm. The A.V. Club says of the film, “[Young] sounds simultaneously wary of death and newly aware of how sweet life can be. It’s hard to film icons like Neil Young as anything but icons, but Demme’s film gets past the legend, zooming in on Young’s aged, heroic face and finding an artist as human as the rest of us.”

“Heart of Gold” will be preceded by the short documentary “Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story,” (Directed by Oscar Bucher | 20 min. 2009) about San Francisco’s own yodeling Jimmie Rodgers acolyte Toshio Hirano, and a short solo set by Hirano in person.

Starting at 4:40pm, the second afternoon feature is the criminally underseen Storefront Hitchcock (1998), in which Demme gracefully captures the mercurial oeuvre of English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock performing a riveting solo concert in a (literal) storefront in New York. Salon calls Storefront Hitchcock “so compelling a concert film that it’s easy to forget the chances [Demme] took in making it.”

The evening show begins at 7:30 with Swimming to Cambodia (1987), the first — and greatest — filmed document of Spalding Gray, as he tells mostly true tales of barely surviving the filming of Roland Joffe’s “The Killing Fields”, with a brilliant score by Laurie Anderson. The late Roger Ebert commented, “This is a monologue that has been polished during many hundreds of hours on the stage, and although he makes it sound fresh, he is so familiar with it that he can gallop through a tricky passage with the confidence of an auctioneer. Like a good preacher, some of his power comes from the sheer virtuosity of his speech.”

Then, at 10:00pm, Our Feature Presentation… Talking Heads at the top of their game! Filmed 20 years ago today, give or take a month, Stop Making Sense (1984) has been declared by Rolling Stone and countless others as one of the greatest rock movies ever made — and from the moment David Byrne says “I’ve got a tape I want to play,” you’ll understand why. Beautifully shot by Jordan Cronenweth.

“Stop Making Sense” will be preceded by the Extra Action Marching Band short film “The Burning Wigs of Sedition” (Directed by Anna Fitch & Simon Cheffins | 10 min. 2010), followed by a live performance by the marching punk-rock marauders themselves.

KrOB has been called “San Francisco’s Best Audio and Visual Collagist” by SF Weekly, describing him as “a man following his vision so tenaciously that San Francisco ought to be famous for housing him.” His Film Farm series has brought strange and usual movies to unpredictable places throughout the Bay Area since 2003.

Toshio Hirano is a time and continent-jumping troubadour. He grew up in Tokyo, coming of age when the American folk revival was also hitting Japan, but a chance listen to a Sunday afternoon radio program introduced him to the sound of southern Appalachia. Fast-forward through moves to Nashville and Austin, to marrying an American woman and starting a family, and Hirano is now a popular proselytizer of country legends — particularly his yodeling hero, Jimmie Rodgers — at various venues throughout San Francisco.

The Extra Action Marching Band is a collision of Big Band and ecstatic turmoil. Despite their name, they rarely march, but rather shimmy, crawl, mob and charge. Trumpets pounce like eagles and tubas drip ass-bouncing blurps from fat fingers. Drums shudder under wild eyed and white knuckled drummers, and through it all winds the flag team; glittering and sinuous creatures who masterfully pulsate pom-poms in a hypnotic fantasy. The listener is hoodwinked, soaked, and savaged into giddy abandon.

Neil Young: Heart of Gold & Storefront Hitchcock
Saturday, September 21, 2013
The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.
Doors open: 1:30pm
Show: 2pm

Swimming to Cambodia & Stop Making Sense
Saturday, September 21, 2013
The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.
Doors open: 7:00pm
Show: 7:30pm

For more information, visit http://www.castrotheatre.com.


August 17th, 2013


Opening at The Dark Room for Ask Dr. Hal!’s next iteration on Saturday, September 14th, 2013, will be Bitter Water, a band featuring singer Kelek Stevenson and musical partner Dave Evans.

Kelek, known as a spectacular dancer from the Extra Action Marching Band who has also delighted many eyes with her numerous public performances, will present her lyrical side as she joins Ask Dr. Hal! to start off  September’s show.

Come on time to see and hear Bitter Water!

Other featured entertainers:

Action Poet Whitman McGowan and girlFriday Spy Emerson.

Not to mention (so we won’t) Surprise Mystery Guests. Sometimes they surprise us more than they do anyone else…

Next ASK DR. HAL! Show? SEPTEMBER 14th!

August 11th, 2013


There will be no Ask Dr. Hal! Show in the month of August, because the enormous, time-consuming Burning Man Arts Festival tends to exhaust everyone’s (including Dr. Hal’s) capacity for the extra energy, spiritual and physical, which must be brought into play to produce any kind of a theatrical production. Those who are going to Burning Man may see Dr. Hal’s Burning Man Fashion Show on Saturday, the Day of the Burn (as always) in Center Camp Café on the Main Stage, 6:00-7:00 PM, an annual event. And those (few) who can’t get enough of Dr. Hal in live performance may see him on the Second Stage in the Café from 12:30 to 12:45 PM on Tuesday as he does a one-man performance.


In September, however, there will be another Ask Dr. Hal! at The Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission St. in San Francisco between 19th and 20th streets, at 10 PM. This date is the only one the participants could all agree on, though it’s said to be slightly inconvenient, at the very least, for some (including, again, Dr. Hal). And as before in this run, the admission will be FREE.

WHY THE 14th?

Observant readers, or those who are consulting a calendar, will have noted that the 14th of September is a Saturday, not a Friday. What gives? Well, it so happens that the phenomenally popular Dark Room Theater is booked solid for all Friday nights during the month. Hence our one-time-only hop to Saturday night for this special presentation. And those shows at the Dark Room are always pretty damn good. We at ADH recommend them without reservation.


Friends, we have a great show planned. Featured will be poet- performer Whitman McGowan and Girlfriday Spy Emerson, for starters. And we’re working on signing an act seen only once before in the long, tatterdemalion history of Ask Dr. Hal!  It’s an act featuring one of the most captivating, memorable performers ever seen at Bay Area attractions. More on that when we can announce it for sure; negotiations are now proceeding.

In addition we have the ineffable talents of KrOB in our service, the snark of Sherilyn Connelly, the scientific authority of Pete Goldie, and the question-answering facility of headliner Dr. Howland Owll. We will be hosted by the mordant John Hell of RadioValencia.FM fame, unless he can’t make it (the poor chap’s getting married a week afterward), in which case jocund Jim Fourniadis will once again ably handle the hosting, as he did for an enthusiastic audience in July.


All the features for which our show is renowned will be present, oiled, cleaned and ready to rumble. All, that is, except the simulcast on Radio Valencia.FM. That, unfortunately, we can’t do, since the show will be on a Saturday rather than a Friday at the same time the radio show usually broadcasts. [Listen to the Ask Dr. Hal! Show Live on Radio each Friday night from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM the next day.]

And so, if Dr. Hal doesn’t perish on the “Playa” in the 110-degree heat and alkaline-poisoned sandstorms of Burning Man, and if he returns whole in body and spirit, you can absolutely depend on there being another show in September. That’ll be on the 14th, remember. A Saturday night. Start thinking of your questions. Mark your calendar!

ASK DR. HAL! SHOW is still FREE July 26th at The Dark Room

July 22nd, 2013

by Flentley Budd
SAN FRANCISCO– Returning from X-Day, the harrowing Church of the SubGenius TM festival
in the Ohio Valley, and from sojourning in upstate New York with a side trip to Manhattan’s stone
canyons, Dr. Howland Owll, chewed by insects, stricken with back pain and dental difficulties
and struggling with a deteriorating hard disk in his computer, nonetheless springs into action this
Friday “as springs the trampled herbage of the field.”
Yes, a spanking brand-new show, in which, to the best of our knowledge, no actual spanking
shall transpire (this time) is about to go on the boards at San Francisco’s Dark Room Theater.
A show that will be simulcast on RadioValencia.FM– and thus available in audio form as a
downloadable, listenable podcast.
Once again, as before, the July 26th iteration of the award-winning Ask Dr. Hal! Show in its
newest home at The Dark Room, San Francisco’s enduring temple of wit and unpretentious
entertainment, will present a complex, multi-tieredperformance unprecedentedly FREE of charge,
harking back to the old-time days of the Odeon Bar, when none paid to cross the threshold.
Or how about at 12 Galaxies, Robert Levy’s place. That used to be free, too, eh?
There is precedent, that’s what we’re saying.
It will start with an animated cartoon selected by KrOB. This will probably be a better cartoon
than you have seen in a long time, perhaps even better than you’ve ever seen.
RUSTY REBAR will launch the programme with a brief poetic invocation, characteristically terse,
playful and mordant. Mr Rebar’s work appears in the new book,
HEARTFIRE: the 2nd Anthology
of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, edited by Jack Hirschman and Agneta Falk.
RICHARD MORRISON III will then take the stage with his sitar.
The instrument descended
from Central Asia to North India during the time of the Delhi Sultanate. The first prototypes
were invented in the 13th and14th Centuries, when the Persian patrons of music and poetry
encouraged innovation in Indian art. It is actually named after a Persian instrument called the
seetar (meaning “three strings”). It is said that the great Sufi, Hazrat Amir Khurso, whose genius
fountained forth in music and poetry, created the arena for its development. The sitar flourished
in the 16th and 17th Centuries and arrived at its present form, more or less, in the Mughal period
of the 18th Century. And for many of us, its sound will always be associated with thoughts of the
Beatles, Ravi Shankar and LSD.
JAMES ZEALOUS will join Mr. Morrison and directly connect us with the tradition initiated by
Hazrat Amir Khurso, by speaking the verses of Mawl n Jal l-ad-D n Muhammad Rumi, also called
Mawl n Jal l-ad-D n Muhammad Bal, but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi. A
13th century Persian (Tadjik) poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. Rumi (a descriptive name, to some
pejorative, even, in his own time, meaning “the Roman,” since he’d lived in Anatolia, which had
been part of the Roman Empire until the Seljuq conquest two centuries earlier) was a Sufi also, a
mystic exponent of metaphysical Islam. Just like Hazrat Amir Khurso back in the Middle Ages of
ancient Persia, Morrison and Zealous will bring to you, in the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the
Compassionate, a poetic embodiment of Sufism gilded with the glory of the ancient harmonic
support of the sitar. About 10 minutes.

JIM FOURNIADIS then appears, to perform the opening monologue and host the show. He will
start things rolling by introducing our specialist in Science and Astronomy– time for Space News.
PETE GOLDIE will present us with tales of new worlds, previously unknown and unsuspected.
Have you heard about a new moon of Neptune being discovered the other day? An actual moon–
not a Shepherd Moon? Maybe you haven’t been tracking on this? Well, you’ll hear about it here.
We don’t choose to wallow in unrelieved ignorance at Ask Dr. Hal! Come in, and for FREE, learn
about something. To learn is self-transformative. It infuses life with meaning. Intellectual growth
means growth into a newer person. People who don’t, or won’t do that are finished– by definition,
old. If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying, after all. And you won’t just hear about it–
KrOB will be making sure that you see it, flashed on our screen. KrOB, throughout Ask Dr. Hal!
will be curating the sonic and visual landscape for your delectation and amusement. He’ll also
provide the mind-shattering Monster Movie Footage we all riff on at Ask Dr. Hal! There isn’t space
here to delineate everything KrOB will do. And despite this there’s another image displayer who
will be at work in tandem with KrOB throughout the evening. We also benefit from her services.
SHERILYN CONNELLY will illustrate what Dr. Hal says with adroit precision and droll vision.
Because Dr. Hal is next. Following Pete Goldie, he’ll come out and answer your questions.
DR. HOWLIN’ OWLL is going to perform. Amazing, astounding. SEE a moderately well-educated
person. HEAR him quote poetry, which until quite recently was something most literate people were
able to do. MARVEL at his uncanny ability to give rational answers to questions hurled from the
audience, even those whose meaning may be unclear to the asker, even those which are intended to
be deliberate jamming of intelligible discourse. ENJOY his curious mien of grief-stricken horror,
stemming from having to walk down the street and look into the faces, if they raise them from their
personal electronic Distraction Boxes and devices, shuffling along with heads bent over them, of
people who have never read Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Hal might even recite something from Alice–
you never know.


June 24th, 2013

The Ask Dr. Hal! Show team and The Dark Room Theater’s Jim Fourniadis have determined that the next live show will transpire Friday, July 26th at the Dark Room, 2263 Mission, at 10 PM.

We expect that once again the show will also be presented as a radio broadcast on RadioValencia.FM for those who aren’t able to attend. Watch this space for news about ancillary acts and guest performers.

Dr. Hal is about to take his midsummer out-of-state trip to Wisteria, Ohio and points East on official Church of the SubGenius business, possibly to do a show in Manhattan, perhaps at The American Museum of Natural History as was done last year. Unfortunately, the hard dates are not known at present.

But when these events are behind him, Dr. Hal will be present and accounted for on Friday, July 26th.