What Happens In SF Stays in SF

Jeremy’s Wild and Wacky Week in San Francisco: A Quiz

Question One

True or False: The only entity Jeremy made out with all week was a French Bulldog named Noe.

Question Two

After Wednesday’s performance, yours truly encountered some serious stomach issues which made Thursday not the unbelievably delightful day it might have been. Looking back on what he ate the day before, which do you think was most likely to have caused these issues:

a) Beef with BokChoy lunch in Chinatown;

b) Medium to extremely rare burger from hotel room service just before concert;

c) A bun comprised of: yellow bean paste, preserved egg, ginger, and squash which was ostensibly dessert after lunch in Chinatown, obtained at one of the oldest bakeries in the district;

d) nausea at the ennui of hipster life.


If you were feeling ill and had to play a concert that same evening, which of these therapeutic foods would you choose to settle your stomach:

a) chocolate macaroons and filter coffee from Blue Bottle;
b) thin-crust spinach pizza;
c) gallons of Coca-Cola Classic;
d) all of above.

Question Three

If you buy some rather tight-fitting, expensive jeans in Hayes Valley and then the very next day you put them on and the fastening snap breaks almost immediately, do you a) cower in humiliation and accept karmic retribution for your hipster purchase?; b) go immediately to the gym and start in on Atkins?; or c) brazenly return to the shop and claim the jeans were defective?

Question Four

Jeremy’s obsession with Blue Bottle Coffee is well known. If a cup of filter coffee costs $2, and he is staying at a hotel not entirely within walking distance of Blue Bottle, how much do you think Jeremy is willing to spend on round-trip taxi costs to get his morning coffee?

a) $8
b) $14
c) $20

EXTRA CREDIT: Calculate the cost of flying roundtrip from New York City to San Francisco to get Blue Bottle coffee. Factor in AirTrain fares, therapy resulting from the aggravation of the AirTrain, carservice costs when the AirTrain fails, and burritos obtained at the JetBlue foodcourt. Multiply this by 100. Write out a check for this amount to the Jeremy Denk Needs Coffee Charity, LLC. Drop it at the Starbucks at 93rd and Broadway.

Question Five

The opening tutti of Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto is rather long. (This pianist takes revenge for this during the cadenza heh heh.) You stride out there, all blustery and full of confidence, and then the orchestra just keeps on going, doing Beethoven’s C-major-ish version of the Energizer Bunny. What do you do to pass the time?

a) Breathe deeply and imagine the forces of harmony moving in great tectonic plates;

b) Glance meaningfully at orchestra members, which may irritate them;

c) Fantasize about gnocchi from Union Square Cafe (don’t forget to come in!);

d) Wonder what the piano will sound like, since you haven’t been able to try it out for hours;

e) Reminisce over Noe’s redolent saliva.

Question Six

A tentative question from a housekeeper at the Huntington Hotel, a sort of trembling “do you want me to clean your room now?,” seemed to imply a quiet, desperate climax to an ongoing battle through the week. How would your average housekeeper, in a fine hotel, in the 21st century, react to a pianist in a room who scattered clothes everywhere with lustful abandon and treated roomservice carts, pizza boxes, and minibar remainders with fervid nonchalance? The area which she deemed “cleanable” shrank each day until there was a mere corridor through the room, a corridor in crisis, as it was eternally threatened by chaos. So, too, Beethoven’s “purple” excursions at times in the first movement of the First Concerto, which stand in dire, magnificent contrast to the kind of simple columns of tonic and dominant which anchor the structure. Compare Beethoven’s desire to create and evade harmonic difficulties with Mr. Denk’s tendencies in the Huntington Hotel. Put your observations in the form of a concerto-allegro-with-narrator, and send the score to every performer whose email address you possess. Trust me: they’ll love it.

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  1. Posted October 9, 2007 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Ok; I have a question for you. If you’re obsessed with Blue bottle Filter Coffee, why don’t you just order a sealed bag of their blend every once and while, sent to your New York hipster pad, and get the spiffy filtercoffee machine and grinder they have, and make it at home? It seems like you’d be saving yourself oodles of money in no time.

    Question One: True.
    Question Two: b) Medium to extremely rare burger from hotel room service just before concert;

    Burgers are usually the culprit, and most room service dens keep a little jar of e coli on their table to spice things up a bit.

    EXTRA CREDIT: a) chocolate macaroons and filter coffee from Blue Bottle;

    All of the above is just too much. I could be wrong.

    Question Three: c) brazenly return to the shop and claim the jeans were defective?


    Question Four: c) $20

    What? You didn’t pick your hotel on the basis of how close it was to Blue Bottle?

    EXTRA CREDIT: Sorry; too rich for my blood. I guess I’m getting a B.

    Question Five: d) Wonder what the piano will sound like, since you haven’t been able to try it out for hours;

    Well; that’s what I’d do. I do that even in those moments when I “stride out onto the stage.”

    Question Six: I think you’ve overestimated the importance of rhetoric in Beethoven.


  2. Posted October 10, 2007 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Question One: “True or False: The only entity Jeremy made out with all week was a French Bulldog named Noe.” TRUE, or this would have been an altogether different post.

    Question Two: What made you sick? a) Beef with BokChoy lunch in Chinatown. I’ve only been seriously food poisoned twice in my life anywhere in the world, and both times it was in San Francisco’s Chinatown, during lunch.

    Question Three: Of course you return the jeans. If you have buyer’s remorse before you can even wear the damn things, go make a scene, and be sure to tell them that you’re a world famous pianist while you’re at it. Divas don’t deserve to be treated this way! And Atkins isn’t good for you.

    Question Four: What Steven said above. You should have stayed in a hotel in the neighborhood and you could have hung out in the hipster alley only a block away from Davies Hall and been ennui’d and energized to you heart’s content, and maybe kissed by somebody other than Noe. As for your actual question, remember Oscar Wilde’s dictum. You don’t want to be one of those people “who know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

    Question Five: It is obviously ALL OF THE ABOVE: tectonic plates, meaningful glances, gnocchi, professionalism, and dog slobber.

    Question Six: What Steven said, even though I’m not sure what it means.

  3. Posted October 10, 2007 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    1) guessing true.
    2) b.

    Extra credit: should be c. Spinach will not settle your stomach, and chocolate doesn’t help much either.

    3) c, totally.
    4) c.
    5) a. or b.
    6) n/a

    What do I win?

  4. brent
    Posted October 10, 2007 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Q.1. True. I’m sure this was an issue more of choice than opportunity. .
    Q.2. b) Have to blame the burger. extra credit c) the coke if it was luke-warm and flat; that really works.
    Q.3. c) Give ’em hell, Jeremy.
    Q.4. c)$20.00 extra credit: Check’s in the mail, although I advise you not to make Blue Bottle coffee too available to yourself. Much of your enjoyment might be in the lack of easy access to that brew. As much the chase as the catch.
    Q.5. This is a trick question, right? You NEVER “stride out there, all blustery and full of confidence.
    Q.6.I’m imagining something a la Steve Reich here. Maybe a simple melody taken up by two instruments, let them get a little out of phase and see what happens.

  5. suzanne
    Posted October 11, 2007 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    for scientific purposes, how, exactly, does one preserve egg?

  6. Posted October 13, 2007 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    I’m skipping the quiz! C’mon, I just played the concert of my life!!! Jeremy!!!!! If you were at the Huntington you could have easily walked to BLUE BOTTLE! And the only reason answer to number 1 is “true” (well, hell, everyone else seems to think so…) is because you didn’t meet ME! ME!! Who could send you pound after pound after pound of your very own Blue Bottle exactly when you needed it. Maybe even, when you were on tour. (You do know the man at the heart of Blue Bottle was once upon a time a clarinetist? Ah yes, he and I go way back…) And as for what to do during the orchestra’s long winded intro? I sure hope your mind was at Union Square, dreaming of gnocchi… Or not. Just as I did not fantasize one iota for Veloce or ‘ino or MarieBelle or anything New York during my MEDICALLY INTERRUPTED INTERMISSION tonight!!! Wow! Ambulance! What a concert!

  7. Ryder
    Posted October 15, 2007 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s not as hip as the alley on Linden St, but Blue Bottle is also served at the Velo Rouge Cafe in the Richmond and Saturdays at the Ferry Building Farmers Market…

  8. Posted October 15, 2007 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Long winded intros are best endured by reading Balzac

  9. Posted October 25, 2007 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    i am sitting here in cultural anthropology (which is a wonderful class, but hard to stay awake at 8 in the morning) and catching up on reading your blog. so … quiz! here goes …

    question #1: yes. i am so sorry. *kiss* now you’ve received a san francisco kiss from a female human.

    question #2: i have to go with the beef with bokchoy.

    question #3: it’s all about number C. take it from a woman … it’s always the article of clothing’s fault, never yours. 🙂

    question #4: ah, jeremy. i wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is c) 20. and i don’t even want to think about the extra credit right now

    question #5: c. it’s all about food. period.

    question #6: picture of said room?

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