Friday, February 26, 2010

San Francisco and Meeting My Favorite Comedian Dave Chappelle - February 2010

I was in San Francisco for work this past week. I haven't been in the Bay area since August 2007, so I was very happy to be back there, not only to see my friends, but also explore parts of the city I haven't visited before.

We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel right by the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The museum has a very modern entrance.

After getting settled in at the hotel, I went to the De Young museum at the Golden Gate Park. Since I'm a museum junkie, I decided that I'd make this a museum trip. I read about the De Young museum in Architectural Digest last year and had been wanting to visit.

Trees in the museum plaza.

It just so happened that the King Tut exhibit was going on at the De Young. I missed it when it was in LA several years ago, so I ended up checking the exhibit out here at De Young. I've always been fascinated with Egyptian art and history. The 3000+ years artifacts were very well preserved. They were breathtakingly beautiful. Aside from ancient Chinese arts, the Egyptian is the only other ancient culture that can rival in the level of sophistication in craftsmanship. I also ordered a silver pendant with my name inscribed in ancient Egyptian. I can't wait to get it!

I also visited the rest of De Young. They have a good collection of arts from regions like New Guinea,


and contemporary art.

I then went to the top of the De Young Tower to take in the panoramic view of the Bay.

You can see the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge from here.

The row houses in San Francisco reminded me of Amsterdam, but with different color scheme.

While at the De Young, I picked up a pamphlet for its sister museum, Legion of Honor. I found out there's a Cartier exhibition going on there, so I hopped over there.

I caught a photo shoot at Legion of Honor.

Lo and behold, there's a "The Thinker" statue by Auguste Rodin right in the courtyard at Legion of Honor. I've been on a quest to see as many "The Thinker" statues as I can. So far I've seen 2 at the Rodin Museum in Paris, 1 at the Rodin Museum in Philly, 1 at the Metropolitan museum in NYC, and 1 at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. I wonder where else in the world I can find more of this. :)

The Cartier Exhibit included pieces from his work from early 1900's to 1990's. There were tiaras, earrings, brooches, necklaces, watches, animal figurines, his famous "Mystery" clocks, you name it. The exhibit also included collections owned by Marjorie Post, William Randolph Hearst, Maria Felix, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and others. I saw Grace Kelly's 10.47 carat emerald cut engagement ring, which she wore in the movie "High Society." It was breathtakingly beautiful and blinding. I was blinded by all the blings after this exhibit.

After seeing the Cartier exhibit, I wandered around the rest of the museum. An organ recital had just started.

To my surprise, they have a good collection of Rodin's work.

Then, I noticed they have my favorite Rodin sculpture, "The Kiss!" I was elated! If you read my May 2009 blog where I traveled to D.C., you'd know how I've been wanting to see this sculpture again after my first visit to the Rodin Museum in Paris in 2001. This bronze statue wasn't the full size like the marble one I first encountered in Paris, but this is bigger than the one in the National Gallery in D.C. I was so happy to see this statue again. :)

I also saw paintings from some of my favorite artists. Not a particularly good collection, but it satisfied my thirst. :)

Here's Degas.


I saw this sign in the Impressionist room and I'm so jealous! They are bringing my favorite museum in the world, Musee d'Orsay in Paris, here!

Picasso. I visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona in 2006 and learned a lot about his transformation over the years.

Van Gogh. I'm also on a quest to see all 5 of his publicly displayed "Sunflowers" paintings around the world. I saw 1 in the Philly Museum of Art, 1 in the National Gallery in London, and 1 in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I plan on going to Munich this July and will definitely see the one displayed in Neue Pinakothek. The last one would be in Tokyo at the Sompo Japan Museum of Art.

And Dali. I was able to catch his exhibit at the LACMA in 2008.

No trip to San Francisco is complete until you see the Golden Gate Bridge. :)

After heading back to the city, I walked around the area by our hotel (on Market Street). The Hearst Building is only a block away from the hotel.

I'm a damn tourist so I take pictures everywhere when I walk. LOL! Here's looking at O'Farrell street.

Market Street at night.

Later on that night, I met up with my good friend Darnell and his girlfriend, Tami. They took me to the coolest Cheesecake Factory I've ever been to. It's on the 7th floor of the Macy's building on O'Farrell. It has a patio overlooking Union Square.

Darnell and Tami. I haven't seen Darnell since 2007! We always have a blast hanging out and cracking jokes. I laughed so hard the last time we hung out that both my stomach and my cheek hurt. :D

Darnell and I.

Meeting Dave Chappelle

We started working the next day setting up the conference. There was an audition going on in the room adjacent to our office in the hotel. I had to run out and when I came back, I saw this guy in front of me in the hallway that looked like my favorite comedian Dave Chappelle. I walked past him. He looked at me and I looked at him.

I said, "Dave Chappelle!"

He said, "Yes!"

I shook his hand and said, "I'm a huge fan of yours! You make me laugh so hard."

Dave said, "Are you here for the audition?"

I said, "No, my company does technology conferences and we're here setting up. Are you with the production company?"

Dave said, "No, I just woke up and am just walking around." (I was 1 o'clock in the afternoon!)

Surprisingly, Dave walked with me and asked about what we do and the technologies we talk about. By this time, all the wanna-be actors/actresses in the hallway waiting for the audition were looking at me and Dave. They looked at me like "what is this crazy Asian woman doing talking to Dave Chappelle?" Ha! Dave was very interested in technologies.

I asked Dave if I could take a picture with him, he said yes. I went back to the office to grab my camera. When I walked in, I told my coworkers, "OMG, you're not gonna believe whom I just favorite comedian Dave Chappelle!" I was jumping up and down, literally, in the office like a little kid. I was starstruck for the first time in my life. :D

After I grabbed my camera and walked out into the hallway, I found Dave playing Beethoven's famous Moonlight Sonata on the piano in the hallway.

I watched him for a minute and said, "I didn't know you could play."

Dave said, "No I don't." (But he kept playing.)

I said, "Yes you do."

Dave said, "No I really don't." (LOL!)

I told him I got the camera, and he asked if he could see our office, so I took him back to the office. I told my coworkers, "Everyone, this is Dave Chappelle." Dave shook hands with my colleagues and met everyone. One of our EVPs took a picture of me and Dave.

Later on that afternoon, I ran into Dave again in the hotel restaurant while I was on lunch break. We saw each other from across the room and waved. I walked over to his table and chatted with him some more. He told me he had a show in Oakland the night before, and we talked more about what our company does. He said he saw the packets we put together for our attendees and they were very nice. I told my colleagues that we got Dave's stamp of approval. LOL! We also talked about San Francisco. I told him I went to see the Cartier exhibit and recommended it to him. I also told him I was seeing the King Tut exhibit. He said he saw a mummy when he was a kid but didn't appreciate it then. We had a nice exchange.

Then he asked me, "Do you smoke?"

Since I watched his shows, I immediately had funny images of him smoking flashing in my head, and I almost burst in laughter. I told him, "No I don't unfortunately...actually, not unfortunately, I'm proud to say that I don't smoke."

Dave said, "Have you ever smoked?" I said "Never, and you should quit because it's not good for you."

Later on, I thought to myself, "Wow, did I really tell Dave Chappelle to quit smoking? What are you thinking?! That's where he gets his funnies from!" LOL! So Dave, if you happen to read this, please don't quit. We love your funnies when you get highhhhh. :D

That evening, when I was heading downstairs to meet up with a former colleague for dinner, the elevator door opened, and there was Dave again. I kept running into him! We chatted again and he told me he had another show in Oakland that night and he said that I should come. Unfortunately, the show wouldn't start until 9:30pm, and I had to work early the next day. I was so bummed that my favorite comedian invited me to his show and I couldn't go!!!

I ended up running into Dave for the next couple of days while working. An attendee saw me talking to him and asked, "Is that Chappelle?" I said, "Yeah, he's like my new buddy here in San Francisco now." I was surprised this attendee knew of Dave because he is an older Caucasian man. I later found out at dinner that lots of people knew who Dave was. It's good to know that Dave has a large audience, Black, white, young, old...and clearly, this Asian. :D

The last night I was in the hotel, I ran into Dave for the last time. He chatted with me and my boss who was also from D.C. My boss didn't know who he was (or how famous he was) until then. She said to him, "I heard that you went to Africa and you stopped." Dave said, "Yeah, I had to get away from it." She asked him why, he said, "It's like you're a football player and you get tackled on the field, the difference with being in Hollywood is that you get tackled in the grocery store." I thought that was a brilliant analogy which summed up why he turned down the contract with Comedy Central.

When Dave was heading up in the elevator, he waved at me with one of his goofy funny facial expressions. I waved back at him with a goofy face too, while thinking about one of his famous funny lines, "I'm rich, b!atch!" It was too funny.

So there goes my Dave Chappelle encounter. This is an experience I'll never forget for the rest of my life. :)

That same night, the Denver Nuggets also checked in. They were playing the Golden State Warriors the next night. I was also lucky enough to have Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups walk past me in the lobby. I also saw the entire coaching staff running around with the game boards. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to stop Carmelo or Chauncey to take a photo. One of our attendees, who kept missing Dave Chappelle (and he was mad, haha!), ended up working out with Carmelo in the hotel gym. I told him that made up for his missing Dave Chappelle.

It rained for couple of days in San Francisco, but when it finally cleared up, it was gorgeous. Here's me outside of our conference area.

We went to a sports bar for our third night dinner. We ate at tables that were converted from pool tables. After dinner when most of the attendees went back to the hotel, several of us decided to play a round of pool. I love playing pool, but I suck BIG TIME. But what the heck, it's just for fun, so I played against my colleague, who sucked equally. Actually, she sucked more, because I beat her! :D

When I was leaving for the airport, there was craziness outside the hotel. As it turned out, the Nuggets were leaving also. There were some press and fans outside lining up. I came face to face with Chauncey Billups and another person much taller than him (I'm really bad with names unless I've seen you for like 100 times). I smiled and said to them "Good luck!" They nodded and said "Thank you." The Nuggets won the game later that night.

Overall, this was the best San Francisco trip for me EVER! I got to see the King Tut exhibit, Cartier exhibit, caught up with old friends I haven't seen in years, met Dave Chappelle, walked past Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, and beat my coworker in pool.

I'd like to sum up this trip in the word of Dave Chappelle, "Byaaaaaaahhhh!!!"

Chappelle's Show
Black Howard Dean
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDsBlack ComedyTrue Hollywood Story

You can view the entire photo album here:

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