Leave Milpitas…Alone!

Rooster T. Feathers is the award-winning comedy club on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. It’s been there for 30 years. I used to go quite a bit and always had a great time there, but for some reason I hadn’t been in over ten years. It’s been obvious that Rooster’s deserves some time and space in this blog because it’s one of the exceptionally unique venues on El Camino. Happily this month brings not one, but two opportunities to make that happen.

CIMG0091From out of the blue a friend, Charles Ellis, sent me an invitation on Facebook to attend his stand-up comedy debut at Rooster’s on Wednesday, February 16. His comic aspirations were news to me; I knew him because he was my barber. This was just the kick I needed to get back to Rooster’s. Most Wednesdays they hold a New Talent Showcase, voted Best Open Mic Night in the 2010 Metro Newspaper Reader’s Poll. I headed over after work and ordered a Calistoga sparkling water and some chips and salsa to satisfy my two-item minimum.

My friend assumed the stage name “Charles Goodnight” and appeared in a lineup of over a dozen funnymen (and woman) ranging from rank rookies to seasoned pros. Charles did a good job for his first time out, striking an edgy attitude and delivering a mostly improvised stream-of-consciousness set about observations and personal topics. He radiated a lot of confidence and presence and got a positive response from the audience which was supportive of everybody. My constructive criticism to him afterwards is that the routine lacked a steady flow of coherent content; he would start a thought then abandon it. I recommended he keep wood-shedding, writing material ahead of time and sticking to it. He shared with me his plans to keep doing comedy, so I think preparation and practice is his key to continued growth and success.

Leaving MilpitasThat was February 16. Exactly one week later, February 23—three days away as I write this—there’s another show at Rooster’s I look forward to seeing. Local DJ and comic Sandy Stec is headlining there, performing for the first time a one-woman show startlingly called, “Leaving Milpitas.”  Her story is compelling. A couple years ago a relationship went sour and ended up driving her so deep into debt she had to move back in with her parents in Milpitas, where she grew up. She feels stuck now, not fully living her adult life and longing for her own space. This is an inner purgatory she’s trapped in but she is using the city of Milpitas as an allegory for her torment. Her new blog, LeavingMilpitas.com, is a tongue-in-cheek account of her gripes. She set a goal to save up $10,000 towards moving out by May 26, 2011, her 30th birthday.


Stec has released some Leaving Milpitas web videos which are very funny, and has developed the standup routine she’s debuting Wednesday. I’m looking forward to the show but I’m nervous too.  I’m afraid I might get defensive. In her videos she pokes fun of Milpitas’ shortcomings—the famous smell, the lack of night life, and general status as the butt of much Bay Area teasing. I don’t live in Milpitas but I work there and spend a lot of time there and even blog about it, so I’ve grown to identify with the city quite a bit. At last week’s show at Rooster’s the headliner coincidentally happened to poke fun at both Milpitas and Hayward (where I tweened and teened) and managed to tick me off. Up your nose, Jack; it’s an East Bay thang, you wouldn’t understand. The difference though is that that guy was from San Francisco, an outsider. Sandy’s an insider so when she laments that Kohl’s is the only place open late enough for her and her girlfriends to hang out, I know it’s coming from a loving place.

It promises to be a memorable show. Tina Allen Gallo is hosting and Joe Klocek is featured. You should call or visit the Rooster T. Feathers web site for tickets before they sell out. Expect a lively caravan of friends, family, and fans to trek down SR-237 from Milpitas to El Camino Real Wednesday night. Milpitians will be in the house, ready to support their own and able to take a joke.  We know Milpitas is a great place to live, and when Sandy reaches her goal and moves out it will still be a great place for her to visit.

Sandy Stec: Leaving Milpitas

Wednesday Feb 23, 2011 8:00 PM
With Special Guest Joe Klocek from Comedy Central and Tina Allen Gallo
Reserved Seating $12.00
Rooster T. Feathers
157 W. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Info & Reservation Line: (408) 736-0921

One Response to “Leave Milpitas…Alone!”

  1. Beth S says:

    Great post! I work at Roosters and we all know it’s a hidden treasure right on El Camino Real. Sandy’s show should be fun! Hope to see you there.

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