So as I type this, the 29th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (which I used to just call "Jewfest" but now qualify with "Jewfest North" to distinguish it from the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival) is playing (probably just about finishing) it's opening night film, HEY HEY, IT'S ESTHER BLUEBURGER, and I'm not there. I was briefly. Here's how today went.
First, it was a madhouse at work. Won't bore you with the details, but I will say I got there shortly after 7 am and stayed until about 5:40 pm. The only relevant point there is that I got out of work way too late to make it to the kickoff party at 6:00 (I work in San Jose, with no traffic it's an hour to SF. During rush hour, no chance). But I raced home and catch the BART and Muni to the Castro theater about 25 minutes early for the film (7:35, film starts at 8:00). I had a opening night ticket and all-festival pass waiting for me at will call. The will call line is halfway down the block. Orders of magnitude longer than the ticket holder line (for all I know, most ticket holders already went in). No problem, I knew they wouldn't start the movie people still on line for will call. And opening night is assigned seating. Not great, since they won't give me front row center (although I did e-mail their support line a week ago...and got no answer). Still, I had to wait in the will call line for a half hour before getting served, and it was kinda cold (I think I'm finally losing my Alaskan blood) and starting to drizzle. Then the lady who served me thanked me for being patient. I know she meant well, but this is my new pet peeve--if I have no choice but to wait, don't thank my for being patience. Say, "Thank you for not having any fucking choice but to wait".
So as I said, opening night at SFJFF is assigned seating (I'm not sure why, but it sure doesn't prevent it from being a clusterfuck). Normally this pisses me off through the opening comments, while I lurk in my seat eying myalways empty front-row-center seat. As soon as the lights go off, I bolt right down there, sit, and enjoy the movie. Well, that doesn't work so well if they stick you in the balcony. And I know I ordered early enough that wasn't my assigned seat when I ordered. Because the will call line was so long and moved so slow, they opened up the day-of ticket sales counter to take some of the will call patrons. So (I assume) instead of getting the ticket originally assigned to me, I got the shitty balcony corner seat that would be assigned to someone who walked up and tried to buy a ticket 5 minutes after the movie started. I complained that I can't see from way back there. They said I could try to sell my ticket to someone in line, but of course there was no line of ticket buyers anymore, just a will call line (that was still nearly as long as when I got there). So I walked back to BART, crumpled my ticket up and threw it out on the way there, and returned home.
HEY HEY, IT'S ESTHER BLUEBURGER plays several more times in the festival, and I'll probably see it in Palo Alto a week from Tuesday. Still, I wish I hadn't wasted all that time getting up to the Castro and back for nothing.