Heather Gold at Comedy Girl Pride 2012 in Toronto, Ontario
A new face has joined the ranks of talented performers and artists that call Oakland home - a geeky, bright-orange glasses sporting face, to be specific.
Heather Gold is a ex-law student turned techie turned performance artist who, since last fall, is calling the East Bay home for the first time since 1995, when she lived in Rockridge while studying for the bar exam at University of California, Berkeley.
Oakland Local recently caught up with her to chat.
OL: What made you decide to move to Oakland?
HG: I couldn't afford San Francisco. [laughs] I wanted to be here a lot when I'm in the U.S. now. I tried really hard to find a place and I was like, this is not the same San Francisco I left - on a lot of levels. I knew a lot of lesbians moved to Oakland and bought houses like a long time ago.
OL: What are your favorite places in Oakland so far?
Brown Sugar Kitchen. It's the best waffle you've ever eaten in your life.
OL: What are some of your other new Oakland pastimes?
HG: I love running the trails up to Skyline and the Redwood and driving my motorcycle in the nice weather. I love the steam train in Tilden Park. [pointing at a small child across the room] I'm still waiting to get a kid that age so I can go to Fairyland. I tried to go, they wouldn't let me in. What's that place on Telegraph with all the art supplies?
OL: The East Bay Center for Creative Reuse.
HG: I love that place. You can get 4,000 toilet paper rolls there for a quarter! That's so awesome! Just knowing there are people that want to get the things out of there nearby makes me feel good. Kona Club is like my office. There's this other bar I sang in - I sing with The Oakland Soft Rock Choir - 355 , it's on 19th St. It's the sh--, that bar.
OL: So what exactly does 'interactive comedy' mean?
HG: That it's not just me.
OL: I mean usually - and I'm also basing this on an episode of "Louie" - comedy acts aren't supposed to break the fourth wall.
HG: I'm not like "Louie." I do a lot of spoken word stuff, I do storytelling. He's a classic comic, a by-the-book stand-up comedian. There's no fourth wall ever for me.
OL: So how exactly do you make your shows interactive?
HG: People come onstage, I talk with them, I talk with them in the audience. I might start with two or three people on the stage, but the whole room is going to have a chance to talk. I did a show at Gettysburg College where I got 20 students to come out in an hour at a campus where almost no one was out of the closet before I got there. That is more performance art-y. Depends who you're talking to. Depends on your background. I kind of don't give a sh--.
OL: So where did the idea to bake cookies during a routine come from?
HG: I was working on my first solo show while I was in residence at Jon Sims Center for the Arts. There were a bunch of things that happened, but one of the things was I didn't know what to do with my hands. I used to bake cookies all the time at home ... . One of my buddies, Darius, who I really write a lot of material with and for, would come over and we would write and try to make stuff up and bake. I had this vision all of a sudden of 30 Easy-Bake ovens with one cookie in each. I never did do that, but that was the first thing I sort of saw. It's great, I like doing it. I kind of stumbled into it not knowing what I was doing. I didn't go to art school. I didn't go to acting school. In that sense I am like comics, I mean comedy is a thing you just get up and do: stand-up.
OL: So what are you working on right now?
HG: I'm revising "I Look Like An Egg But I Identify As A Cookie" for the spring. Also, I'm developing a show called "Everything is Subject to Change." I have this subscription, this listserv, where you can pay to subscribe. So you get pieces as I develop them. Some will be video and audio and some are written. I'm basically writing with this little audience of people and their feedback about both what I'm gone through, and through a really huge life change.
Gold will perform the revised version of "I Look Like an Egg, But I Identify as a Cookie" at the Shotgun Players theatre in Berkeley April 8-9. Tickets go on sale Feb. 14. Find more info on the show HERE.
To subscribe to Gold's ongoing multimedia listserv project "Everything is Subject to Change," click HERE.
To keep up with Gold's various projects and performances, subscribe to her on Twitter, Facebook or subscribe to her monthly newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.