(Yacht Rock creator J.D. Ryznar with the Yacht Rock merch --that's fake John Oates there on the shirt)
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008
Photos and words by Jennifer Maerz
San Francisco rarely turns down the chance to host a dress-up party involving booze and music. So it should have come as little surprise that the Rickshaw's Yacht Rock fest last night was filled to the gills with smooth music connoisseurs gathering to watch the Los Angeles-based internet sensation on the large screen.
While most of the crowd was in civilian clothes, a few handsome sailors donned seafaring caps as they sipped their beers -- or the Koko cocktail specials. This was, after all, a special screening of the behind the music parodies of acts like Loggins & Messina, Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, and all those other soft hits makers of decades past.
To bring the appreciation in style, the night started with DJ Roscoe 2000, who spun inoffensive '70s singles from the stage.
The room started to fill more as a half dozen acts from the Channel101.com show arrived, including Yacht Rock host "Hollywood" Steve Huey, who I cut off in this photo below (he's on the far right) while trying to take a photo of his lady pal.
But ah well. So Yacht Rock co-founder J.D. Ryznar took the stage and introduced a couple of his cohorts, like the fake Michael Jackson and the fake John Oates, who were very unrecognizable without their bad wigs and falsie mustaches. But after letting us know the gang was all there, the lights went down and the screenings really began -- back to back episodes of Yacht Rock.
Watching the series in a group -- while drinking -- was the best. You didn't have to worry about getting back to work on your computer, people laughed and clapped at all the funny parts, and best of all by the end of the night you were caught up on all the catch phrases, from "What a fool believes" to my favorite, Oates' diss of calling dudes "California Vagina Sailors."
The shows go by quickly, and when it was all over, Roscoe took to the decks again and the sailors got their smooth moves on.
With all this buildup, I couldn't wait to see what would come next: live covers of "Rich Girl?" Full length renditions of the Caddyshack and Footloose soundtracks?
Nope, it was Cocoon: the Movie: the Band, featuring "Steve Guttenberg," two "guitars" repurposed from Guitar Hero, a couple latex face masks, and the actual movie Cocoon (with Steve Guttenberg) playing in the background. It was a concept that started out funny -- but unlike Yacht Rock it didn't quite stay that way. The band's cover of "Out of Touch" was sorta hilarious in a terrible sort of way, but the cover of a Guitar Hero song ("Hot Bird"?) was more on the kinda terrible side of things, and it felt like things were headed downhill from there.
Most of the Yachting types left as the band started, and I decided to sail home on a high note as well. If there's one lesson to be learned from Yacht Rock it's that the funniest skits are kept nice and short, so the crowd is always left wanting more.
By the way: You can watch all the Yacht Rock episodes here.
Critical bias: Earlier this evening, in a phone call home to my dad, I learned that my father once took guitar lessons from Jim Messina. I asked my dad what he thought of his teacher: "I can't really remember," he said, "but I think he was very nice."