Would You Spend the Night at Alcatraz?


It’s no secret that in fall of 2008, the U.S. economy fell quicker than a closeted Republican at a Boy Scouts convention. Our bottomed-out economy has forced us to change. One of my favorite places to spend money is Target and, yes, I too, have had to change. I used to consider going into Target with reckless abandon, putting everything I liked in my cart and checking out with a whopping $300 bill, a hobby. No more.

I won’t even go into Target without my inner-financial lesbian, Suze Orman, by my side. And she is helpful. Now, when I move through the store, I hear her voice talking to me with every purchase I consider-“You don’t need that cinnamon spice candle, put that money in your Roth-IRA. Do you really need that new Lady GaGa CD? And for the last time stop wasting your money on shade specific foundation; it doesn’t make your penis look any bigger.”

We are all making adjustments and I find it oddly comforting that not only do I have to change my budget, but our federal, state, and local governments do as well. I don’t mean to by cynical but as a Californian, I sense that my financial adjustments are going to take effect much quicker than the ones that at the state level. There are already some really odd ideas being discussed. I was recently reading that the folks in charge of the California State Parks, in an effort to increase revenue, were tossing around the idea of allowing people to pay to spend the night on Alcatraz. This would start in 2011 and run between $300-$500 a night.

I thought that sounded pretty reasonable, until I found that did not include cellmates, which, for me, defeats the point. In truth, they are going to loose many of the gay tourists on this one. I could never spend the night in an abandon federal prison- roughing it for me is a night in the Holiday Inn (I don’t mean to sound elitist but what kind of place has acrylic curtains, no mini-bar, and combines the shampoo and conditioner in one?) I think the only way this might work is with some good advertising. Perhaps a big billboard outside the Wharf Hilton with a picture of a prison cell that reads, “Too Comfortable?” or “Good Enough for Madoff? ”

It makes me wonder what ideas the folks at the California State Parks shot down before thinking that overnights on Alcatraz were a good idea-The Manson Family Murder Mystery Dinner, The California Wildfire Experience, The Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Tour? Okay, so that last one would be too hard to secure repeat customers. The most amusing thing about this whole idea is the thought of tourists from Middle America coming to San Francisco and then going home and showing off their vacation pictures. I can just picture a proud mother narrating to her neighbor, “This is little Billy at Pier 39, and this is him at Ghirardelli Square. And here’s when Billy spent the night on Alcatraz, now in this picture, Dante is officially making Billy his bitch.”

Image Credit: TheDreamSky

About The Author

Ryan Kasmier is a gay, San Francisco-based stand up comedian and performer, but his comedy is very straight friendly. Seriously, some of his best friends are straight. Ryan can be likened to a feisty little Italian sausage because his wit, unique humor, and tongue-in-cheek style, are all tightly packed into one small person. Ryan’s comedy is largely biographical and his incredulous tone and observational stories are filled with sarcastic jokes that catch the audience off-guard and send them into hysterics. Ryan won first place in the 2009 Battle of the Bay Comedy Competition. His energy, large array of topics and ability to draw in audiences make him a popular host. He regularly plays various Bay Area comedy venues including The Clubhouse, Harvey's, and The Russian River Resort. Clips of Ryan’s work as well as a schedule of performances can be found at www.funnyryan.com.

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