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Friday, January 8, 2016

Dispatches from SF Sketchfest: Opening Night

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 12:30 PM


Dispatches from SF Sketchfest
will run throughout Sketchfest (Jan. 7-23). These recaps and previews are designed to fill you in on what you've missed and let you know what's coming next!

The 15th annual San Francisco Sketchfest got underway on Thursday night with Mystery Science Theater 3000 alum Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Bridget Nelson, Michael J. Nelson, and Mary J. Pehl as they gathered at the Castro Theatre to shred a slew of incredibly awful and dated short films in "Rifftrax: Night of the Shorts VI." They were joined by guest riffers John Hodgman (The Daily Show), Adam Savage (Mythbusters), Paul F. Tompkins (Bojack Horseman), and Sketchfest co-founders Janet Varney and Cole Stratton.

click image PHOTO BY @BBAMOK
  • Photo by @bbamok


The pleasure of hearing David Hegarty, the long-time Castro Theatre organist, kick-off a show will never wane. Watching first-time Castro Theatre patrons revel in his craft is always a joy to behold.

Taking the stage, Bridget Nelson nearly lost her footing on a rather antiquated and clearly challenging staircase. Paul F. Tompkins later replicated Nelson's struggle when he joined the Rifftrax gang, and John Hodgman elevated the joke by repeatedly attempting to walk into the roped-off area that protected the performers from a drop into the pit where the Castro's organ resides. 

One short, "One Got Fat," will live in my nightmares forever. It depicts two school-age children, all wearing wire tales and alarmingly creepy monkey masks, as they attempt to bike nine blocks to a park to eat lunch. By the time they reach the park, only one of the children has survived, as the others succumb to a wide-array of increasingly fantastic demises brought about by their lack of bicycle safety. Watch it here if you don't enjoy sleeping in peace. 

While Rifftrax does pre-script their material, there was an unforeseen chance to see the performers' quick wits in action when the evening's final film, a post-WWII Batman serial called "Robin's Wild Ride" suffered a DVD malfunction that inspired some improvised banter while the technical difficulties were attended to. Watching the Rifftrax crew and their guests exaggeratedly repeat jokes they'd made moments earlier was especially entertaining. 

Coming Soon

Teen Witch: The Peaches Christ Experience
Friday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m., Castro Theatre
If you've never seen a film presented by Peaches Christ and her incredible posse of drag queens, you can fix that tonight when Ms. Christ brings original Teen Witch stars  Robyn Lively, Josh Miller, and Mandy Ingber to a show that will feature a screening of the film and some deliciously wicked drag reenactments of its finest moments.

Hook: 25th Anniversary Screening
Saturday, Jan. 9, 11:30 a.m., Castro Theatre
Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-o!  Perhaps an underrated classic, Steven Spielberg's re-imagining of the Peter Pan story showcases Robin Williams as an elder Pan forced to reignite the child within himself to do battle with Dustin Hoffman's delightfully campy Captain Hook. This 25th anniversary screening of Hook will feature original Lost Boys Rufio (Dante Basco) and Don't Ask (James Madio) in conversation with the Alamo Drafthouse's Henri Mazza. Props will be provided, and costumes are encouraged.

An Afternoon with Alan Arkin: The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming 50th Anniversary Experience

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2 p.m., Castro Theatre
Yes, film tributes (and the Castro Theatre) rule the weekend, capped off with an appearance from legendary actor and funnyman Alan Arkin. Arkin will sit down with Ron Bostwick to discuss his career and the film The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, director Norman Jewison's classic Cold War farce.

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About The Author

Zack Ruskin

Zack Ruskin

Zack was born in San Francisco and never found a reason to leave. He has written for Consequence of Sound, The Believer, The Millions, and The Rumpus. He is still in search of a Bort license plate.

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