SubZERO Festival

These past two weeks my shifts have tended to run an hour or two longer than usual due to a coworker being on vacation and simultaneously I went up to four days a week. While this means some welcome extra money in the bank it also meant that come the weekend my lazier inclinations were kicking in and I was looking at doing nothing at all if I could help it. Luckily Joe Price pinged me on Thursday night about the SubZERO Festival in San Jose and I had no real excuses to say no.

On Saturday afternoon we drove down to our friend Radar’s house in San Jose and found street parking on the block. She’s well situated near downtown so we headed over on foot with her and her friend Matt. She recommended The Craftsman as our first stop for a couple of drinks and some food. Immediately upon entering I noticed the art on the that I recognized from the Clockwork Alchemy art gallery, specifically a George Méliès tribute by Steamy Tech.

I figured I’d be tempted by the plentiful food trucks so I  only ordered a plate of croquettes with my beers. I quickly realized I’d miscalculated a bit since my breakfast had been nearly eight hours earlier. Oops. Still the beers and food were great and we had a nice time chatting with the friendly and knowledgeable bartender. I also noticed a stack of board games on the counter, apparently Wednesdays is Game Night which they encourage by offering a free bottle of beer to anyone bringing their own board game or Magic deck. Pretty swell.

After The Craftsman we wandered into the sunshine to check out the actual festival. The vendors were all artists and craftspeople and along with Steamy Tech’s booth I also saw a couple of other familiar faces from Clockwork. There were dance performers, a fashion show, a stunning body painting booth, and activities for kids plus two stages for music, one at each end.  We caught the very end of a fun pirate band called O’Craven and although I looked fondly at the food trucks we decided it was time to turn around and head up a block to meet up with Bryan and Mette.

The joined us and we headed to The Ritz, which seemed disconcertingly tiny until we realized there was a whole other space with a stage and dancefloor. The front room had a bunch of local artists on display because of the festival, which I guess a bunch of venues participated in this way. We had some beers and generally nerded out for a bit. I even got a little dancing in which was nice, though it was early enough in the evening that it was mostly just me out there making a fool of myself as usual. Eventually Kevin and Andy joined us and we all headed over to our third venue for the evening; the Back Bar. This was a fun divey sort of place which had a punk rock band called Kittenhead which I enjoyed quite a bit.

This was the only negative of the evening, and a minor one at that. At one point I noticed a guy watching me a bit to intently. I was on alert but even so he managed to rather weirdly stroke my forearm and hand as I moved out of the way for him walk past. I kept an eye on him from then on and both myself and Mette checked in on a woman he seemed to be bothering a bit later, luckily she said she was fine and he wandered away from her not to long after. Eventually he walked by visibly weaving and I remembered that this is a problem with a known solution! I went to let the bouncer (a super chill dude I’d been chatting with earlier) know what the deal was. It always takes me way too long to remember that creeps are not a problem that club patrons need to handle themselves and that (good) venues are usually happy to be warned about potential trouble rather than having patrons leave due to discomfort. In any case the guy left on his own volition as I was talking to the bouncer so all’s well that ends well.

Able to relax now we watched show for a little while longer and chatted with a couple of the roller derby girls that composed the majority of the audience. By now Kevin, Andy, Radar, and Matt had all retired for the evening leaving myself and Joe Price plus Bryan and Mette. Although the band was good the audience was failing to match their energy levels and I was getting a bit restless so we popped over to The Caravan, which also had a pretty good band called Bad Acrobat playing, and then finally to Post street for a brief stop in at a bar whose name I’ve now forgotten but which had a couple of delicious late night food stands outside. I got chicken wings on the way in and a quesadilla on the way out and as we staggered off to find a cab I made a drunken Facetime call to John, who was barely awake. Joe got me back to the city and I was in bed by 5 a.m. or so, which felt pretty satisfying given that’s the time I set my first morning alarm on workdays.


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