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BA of the Week – Magician Ash K, The Pretty Good

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Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit — probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week? Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

This week’s Broke-Ass is magician and a funny man. I’m actually convinced that he and his manager are the same person, but his manager Kevin always tries to disabuse me of the notion. Anyways, here’s a little about who he is:

San Francisco’s 2nd funniest comic magician, Ash K the Pretty Good (aka Ashkenazi the Pretty Good), hales from Balka (a very small country East of Poland), and has lived in the San Francisco Bay area for some eighteen years. While living in Sonoma County, he met his future manager Kevin at a gig a mere month after arriving to America. They took an instant disliking to each other, and provide unintentional entertainment to colleagues.

Check out his site here.

Name: Ash K.

Age: 44

Occupation: Entertainer

What neighborhood do you live in?: Knob Hill, knaturally

What are you listening to these days?: On a dead people kick, mostly. Bach, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard. Living folks include the SF Symphony’s recordings and performances, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (try saying THAT three times fast) and lots of Stevie Wonder this week.

Best money saving tip: When I go to put one of my tuxedos on, I can’t remember which one was the brand new, $1,500 tuxedo and which one was the one I got for $75 at one of the used clothing stores. You probably won’t either.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Bad coffee and your mom.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: Either the piano, or calculated over time, the services of my idiot manager.

How’d that feel?: The former felt like: “I hope I still like this thing 20 years later” (I do): the later is like continuously scheduled minor surgeries.

Favorite cheap eat: Burritos. Does anybody seriously answer differently in this town???!!!

Favorite dive bar: I’m on team “Wounded Liver & Soul-in-Repair,” so I hang out at coffee houses on Polk like the Royal Grounds at Vallejo, the Boulange near there, the Fourth Wave, and the 5T over on Van Ness. Do I get a croissant for trying to answer?

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: Marie at the old Boulange felt sorry for me when I dragged myself in at 5 am one day and bought breakfast, which was quite the deal. Also not useful, but amusing. Hmmm. Oh yeah! The Symphony, Opera & SF Jazz Fest tickets are WAY cheaper than athletic events & more intimate. Also, GoldStar Tickets has great deals frequently for many live performances.

Favorite free thing to do: Museum days & walking in this town. San Francisco is one of the great cities of the world, folks. Trust me: I’ve lived in several of them.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: Apple stock & a Tesla, simultaneously. Magicians do stuff like that all the time (bend the rules and do freaky, independent things with their hands. Not like that, you pervs.)

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Mu.

Do you own my book?: I have given three copies to new arrivals. Doesn’t everybody?

Best hangover cure: Don’t drink. In the old days, I’d stay hydrated and wonder why I was doing this to myself.

Are you a hipster?: Nope. I’m hep. (NOT Hep-C). One more parenthetical aside: (“I’m Hip” is a cute song – go download Mel Torme’s version (dead white guy).


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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.