The Emperor and 80 of His Subjects Walk Into a Bar
On a crisp, clear afternoon in San Francisco yesterday, about 25 of us gathered under the Christmas tree in Union Square, where we were met by Emperor Norton (as portrayed by the excellent Joseph Amster, of Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine).
We were there to kick off The First Annual Tannenbaum Toast to the Emperor, whom — we believe — called for a grand Union Square Christmas tree at some point during his reign, planting the seed for the 133-year-old tradition.
Shortly, the Emperor led us on a casual procession to the legendary House of Shields (1908). We quickly made our way inside, and were grateful to be welcomed by the warmth and beauty of this fabulously restored bar.
Over the next hour, we were joined by another 50 or so people. With all of us gathered up in the mezzanine — and lubricated with the good cheer of what, no doubt, was the bar's record number of Boothby cocktails (the official drink of the afternoon) for such a short span of time! — I made some some introductory remarks, and we were ready for the moment to which all of this had been leading.
Emperor Norton declared a Proclamation that he had composed for the occasion, then led us in the First Annual Tannenbaum Toast.
This was followed by more Boothby cocktails.
At this wonderful event — attended by much laughter and much good conversation — The Emperor's Bridge Campaign made many new friends, extended its reach and built more goodwill for its vital mission of having the entire Bay Bridge named for Emperor Norton.
Many thanks to the Emperor; to Countess Lola Montez, for adding an extra touch of royalty to the proceedings; to all who were able to join us; to Eric Passetti of The House of Shields; to our patient and industrious bartender, Monika; and to the Web sites who shortlisted the Toast in their events listings last week.
We definitely will do this again next year — but we hope to see everybody on the Campaign trail between now and then!
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