heather gold on stage
Comedian Heather Gold (Photo/Sorrell Scrutton)

Comedy by and for women who are ‘Hollywood old’

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Are you a “Hollywood old” woman? If you’ve turned 30, you are.

A comedy show especially for women over 29, “Yarn: Storytelling with Heather Gold and Friends,” will be held at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on July 12, and it’s open to everyone — but “Hollywood old” women might have a special appreciation for the humor.

Heather Gold, a self-proclaimed “Hollywood old” woman herself, organized “Yarn” to offer a comedy platform to female performers who might not otherwise get the attention given to younger women and male performers. She titled it “Yarn” to associate the event both with knitting and feminine warmth, aiming at an older female audience that wants something mature but still entertaining.

“It’s a shidduch [arranged marriage] between performers and audiences who didn’t have each other,” Gold said.

“Yarn” is being presented in connection with the exhibit “The Art of Rube Goldberg.” An engineer and artist with Bay Area roots, Goldberg was known for drawing complicated machines that performed simple tasks. Similarly, “Yarn” will be “convoluted and complex,” according to Gold.

The evening also will feature four other Bay Area performers, Cintra Wilson, Betsy Salkind, Virgie Tovar and Julia Jackson.

Each woman will do a 20-minute set, with subjects ranging from getting off anti-depressants, to being fat, queer, or middle-aged and still having a roommate. Like these topics, the performers are eclectic and interesting. Gold has performed at South by Southwest, SF Sketchfest, Google and NPR. Wilson has authored several novels and contributes to Salon magazine, while Salkind has written for “Roseanne” and created the one-woman show “Anne Frank Superstar.” Tovar is a body image specialist whose online course “Babecamp” helps women “break up with diet culture.” And Jackson has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was a semi-finalist in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition.

Comedy is my Judaism.

Not all of the performers are Jewish, something Gold believes is a strength of the show.

“I think one way to help people have less reservations about going to Jewish things is to have some non-Jewish stuff,” she said. “Comedy is my Judaism.”

She says she is looking forward to performing at a Jewish venue whose staff is “excited about cutting-edge culture.”

“The Contemporary Jewish Museum is an organization that really treasures working with living artists and supporting local talent,” said Gravity Goldberg, CJM director of public programs and visitor experience. “Someone like Heather Gold is very much that, so it seems like a really great relationship that we should experiment with.”

The comedy presented in “Yarn” will be “funny, engaging and heartwarming, all things that in my experience feel very Jewish,” Goldberg said.

Gold expressed similar excitement about the show.

“We have this generation of women comics,” Gold said. “There is still a gold mine of un-invested in, underappreciated, incredibly unique voices that deserve a great audience.”

And emphasis on audience is a key part of “Yarn.” Gold hopes to hear additional stories from the audience, as she has done in the past. This approach meshes well with one of CJM’s core missions, to engage the public with its programs.

“Who doesn’t love a good story — from anybody?” she said.

“Yarn,” 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12 at the CJM, 736 Mission St., S.F. $15. thecjm.org/programs/340

Hannah Jannol
Hannah Jannol

Hannah Jannol is J.'s summer 2018 intern.