The Yelp Manifesto, Review #1
As an unpaid Yelp reviewer with plenty of free time on my hands, I often read the Chronicle, especially the wine and food columns written by Esther and Soleil. The Press is also a convenient online resource for discovering new winemakers and tasting rooms and for for planning weekend getaways.
I hold these women in high regard for their proven abilities to produce creative, compassionate, and expertly written columns on a regular basis. And it is courageous of them to cover under the radar food spots and spotlight new generations of natural winemakers, as well.
In fact, I would like to meet personally with both of them to discuss our shared interests in food and wine and to solicit their opinions on a multimedia screenplay I have written and created entirely on Yelp and have made available for reading for free, along with embedded YouTube links to a free soundtrack and free high resolution images of actual places that I have visited for hiking, dining, wine tasting, and other adventures. It’s called “Driving Miss Moblee,” and it is a Sideways meets Driving Miss Daisy wine buddy road trip adventure that is far superior in plotline, dialogue, and wine content to Netflix’s recent fiasco, “Wine Country,” which focused on Napa whereas mine includes many other fascinating locations in Sonoma, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the city of Santa Cruz. It is also funnier with more profanity and better nudity but no sex.
In the hands of the right development team and director, this very screenplay that you could be reading on Yelp right now will help all of us end the Sideways curse and make Merlot great again. This is something Esther and I share in common, so I have been using my Yelp account to reach out to her for help in polishing this creative but amateurishly produced work of Yelp online art into a commercially successful masterpiece.
Now, because I am an ex-academic living in the Bay Area with no actual ties to the movie making powers that be, I am using the Chronicle’s official Yelp page to make my plea directly to her, in full online public view. I simply would like her, as an award winning wine writer and expert on the things I have written about, to read it online and let me know if there is even a scintilla of hope to turn this dream into something real. Because I could really use the money.
I also want Esther and her colleagues at the Chronicle who write about food, wine, and culture for a living to realize that Yelp is the closest thing we have in this country to a democratic online cultural maker’s space, one that is far more amendable to user creativity and experimentation that Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Some of our members are creating online multimedia masterpieces with lasting cultural value. I believe that Driving Miss Moblee, which spreads itself out over 18 individual, linked reviews, is such a masterpiece, and one that could very easily be adapted into a fascinating California wine country film in the right hands, such as those of Alexander Payne. It would make history, and Yelp can win, too.
So, if any of you at the Chronicle who monitor this Yelp page know Esther personally or feel that she would be willing to take a few precious hours of her time to read, listen, and view a movie that is, after all, about her, could you please do so for me?
Otherwise, I feel that I as a Yelp-based culture maker am being disrespected and not taken seriously, and I do not think that this the impression that you at Hearst Media wish to make. Otherwise, we will never end the Sideways curse and make Merlot great again, which many of who are lovers of high quality wine sold at fair prices wish would happen sooner rather than later, and Hollywood ain’t doin’ it, so maybe we Northern Californians should just go on and reinvent the wheel by ourselves, like Elon Musk did at Tesla, by tapping into the vast pools of underemployed talent in the Bay Area who spends thousands of hours annually creating free public art on Yelp.
While we may lack money, power, and connections, Yelp Elites like me have many followers and friends, and we all watch movies when we are not on Yelp, and they have already cast a ton of votes for my screenplay, and they are a good cross section of America. So, there you go.
Remember, too, that the numbers will always be on our side. Not yours. So why not work with creative, hard working people like me, or the Sideways curse will never be broken. And how cool would it be if Netflix or Apple TV+ were actual to produce the first full length feature film whose screenplay was created entirely on a makers space consumer rights forum as fun to use as Yelp? Act now, before it’s too late.
I also apologize personally to Esther and to her Chronicle colleague, Soleil, for my earlier shenanigans and rants on Yelp. It’s been a long few days, I have not had a lot of sleep lately, but I have been drinking some really, really good wine. And none of them were a Pinot.