Faves and raves by Allen Klein
YEARS IN THE CITY: 39
NEIGHBORHOOD: Midway between the Upper and Lower Haight
OCCUPATION: Speaker and author
SELF-DESCRIPTION: As the world’s only “jollytologist,” I show people how to find and use humor in their not-so-funny stuff.
FAVORITE PLACE TO SEE A LONDON SHOW WITHOUT GETTING ON A PLANE
Sundance Kabuki Cinema
WHERE: 1881 Post St., at Fillmore Street
WHAT: Next best thing to seeing the show live
INFO: (415) 346-3243, www.sundancecinemas.com/kabuki.html
The National Theatre of London has been broadcasting some of their best shows for very limited showings in movie theaters around the country. Coming up: the five-star-reviewed “Frankenstein.”
FAVORITE PLACE TO LAUGH
The Marsh San Francisco
Where: 1062 Valencia St., between 21st and 22nd streets
What: Great performances by Charlie Varon, Marga Gomez, Geoff Hoyle and others
Info: (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org
I don’t frequent comedy clubs for my punch lines, because they are often raucous and filled with laughter based on put-downs. Instead I like to get my laughs at this small theater, where monologists joke about their own lives and life’s real punches.
42nd Street Moon
Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St.
What: Yearly salon with Broadway headliners
Info: (415) 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org
I’m a New York City transplant and a Broadway musical nut, so this theater company gets my Broadway juices flowing with their excellently done productions of rarely performed musicals.
FAVORITE PLACE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS
Buena Vista Park
Where: Buena Vista Avenue and Haight Street
What: Great city views
The best and perhaps least-known thing about this park is the gravestone remnants lining the drain gutters; several are faceup so you can make out a partial word, name or date.
FAVORITE DOWN-HOME RESTAURANT
Where: 700 Haight St., at Pierce Street
What: Turkish coffee and almond honey cake
Info: (415) 896-4172
Excellent inexpensive Syrian food. I’m talking about wraps for less than $5 that could serve two. My favorite is rotisserie chicken with garlic paste, which goes great with an eggplant, artichoke and sun-dried tomato salad.
FAVORITE PLACE FOR A SPIRITUAL LIFT
Unity of San Francisco
Where: 2222 Bush St., at Fillmore Street
What: Various weeknight classes and inspiring services
Info: (415) 474-0440, www.unitysf.com
The inspiring, thought-provoking, not-so-religious lessons mixed with magical music and friendly, welcoming folks gives me a high that carries me through the rest of the week. I particularly like their emphasis on abundance and prosperity.
FAVORITE WINE BAR
Corkage Sake and Wine Shop
Where: 1302 Fulton St., at Divisadero Street
What: Sake-tasting classes
Info: (415) 567-6503, www.dajanigroup.net/establishments/corkage-sake-wine-shop
Incredible selection of sakes with a very knowledgeable owner who advises what to buy and maybe even offers a taste. Right next door to Tsunami Restaurant, which has some of the best sushi in The City.
FAVORITE PUBLIC PLACE TO LEARN (AND SOMETIMES LAUGH) A LOT
Jewish Community Center
Where: 3200 California St., at Presidio Avenue
What: Presentations, many with receptions afterward
Info: (415) 292-1200, www.jccsf.org
Arts & Ideas at the JCCSF sponsors a series of presentations by outstanding authors, scholars and entertainers. Recently, I learned a lot with Geneen Roth and Harold Kushner and laughed a lot with Dr. Ruth, Rita Rudner and Joan Rivers.
FAVORITE PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH
Alamo Square Park
Where: Hayes, Scott, Fulton and Steiner streets
What: Watch the tourists, walk the dog
This is a great place to watch busloads of tourists from all over the world stopping here to enjoy the line of elegant Victorians against a background of skyscrapers.