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A Friday Ode to Elvis Costello

Photo: James O'Mara

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I just had to shelve the post that you were meant to be reading right now. (My sincerest apologies, new Hayes Valley eyewear boutique.) Why the last-minute switcheroo? Because I absolutely feel compelled to type these words: Elvis Costello is the coolest.

I just got back from the Nourse Theater where Mr. Costello waxed nostalgic for about 80 minutes, about his life, his family, his first time in San Francisco circa 1977 wherein he stayed at the posh Howard Johnson hotel in Mill Valley and, yes, his music. As part of the brilliant City Arts & Lectures series, Costello (née Declan Patrick MacManus), in conversation with Dan Stone of Radio Silence, charmed the pants off the packed audience.

In between reading excerpts from his new memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, the English singer-songwriter regaled us with funny stories about one of his first jobs as a data-entry clerk at Elizabeth Arden, touring America for the first time—and that infamous Saturday Night Live appearance. Other tidbits he shared? His talented musician dad once performed for the Queen Mum and his 8-year-old twin boys went crazy over an old vinyl record by Little Richard. (The digital version, not so much.) There were touching moments, too, including the story of  his beloved father's passing.

But, hands down, the best part of the night came at the end, when Elvis did what he does best—sung and played the guitar. His acoustic rendition of Everyday I Write the Book? Beyond moving...literally chill-inducing.

And I'm out.

Um, except check us out on Monday to find out where to buy a really cool pair of glasses.