The economic crisis hasn't been kind to solo performance artists like Candace Roberts, who two years ago traded her Mission District apartment for a self-indulgent form of homelessness.
Now, she works as a pet sitter, flitting from house to house in a rapidly gentrifying city, composing lyrics about a ballooning housing market that -- ironically -- seems to sustain her.
"I call it the Golden Handcuff," Roberts says of this proto-sharing economy model. "It allows me to focus on writing music, and not have a day job that I hate."
By poaching the resources of others, Roberts gets to stay in the city and pursue a fulfilling, if low-paying career in cabaret. She's held down a monthly residency at Martuni's Piano Bar for four years, and she regularly presents house concerts or guest-stars at burlesque and variety shows.
And now, she's releasing a new music video.
Called "Not My City Anymore," it's an old-timey lament about a city corrupted by tech booms, filmed at the Gold Dust Lounge (another near-casualty of downtown development) and funded via the social media platform Kickstarter. Roberts pantomime-fellates a white collar worker, while a chorus line of Barbary dancers, politicos, and city planners flutters around her.
She's been pimped 'til she's dry, to the highest bidder, Roberts sings, personifying the city as a woman defiled by tech barons and real estate developers. City Hall bureaucrats clink their glasses behind her.
It's only the latest in a series of sanctimonious, high-minded, and increasingly imaginative anti-gentrification songs by cash-strapped locals, many of them fretting that a full-time career in the performing arts is no longer possible.
Actually, there are ways to do it, as Roberts proves. One need only to have a little entrepreneurial spirit.
Candace Roberts will hold her music video release party on Wednesday, June 25 at 7 p.m.