Skip to content

Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad

Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad graphic with drawings of a rear view mirror with three white teslas

Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 8:00 PM - Sunday, March 17, 2024 4:00 PM (PST)


This production was awarded the 2023-24 Rella Lossy Award, honoring the best new full-length script of a play by an emerging playwright in the region.

DIRTY WHITE TESLAS MAKE ME SAD is a new performance work written by Ashley Smiley about the regentrification of San Francisco and the displacement of Black folks from their neighborhoods. The story unfolds over the last few days in the life of Sloosh in her hometown of San Francisco. Hearts aren’t left in San Francisco they’re stolen, bipped straight from the ribcage. No one understands this more than Sloosh, an AfroFranciscan suffering from the realities of hyper gentrification in the City she was born and raised in and she has 72 hours to do… something before her life drives off packed into a U-HAUL. Centered in the Bayview Hunters Point area of San Francisco, the last place one can turn 360 degrees and see a Black citizen at every turn, Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad is a story about a San Francisco native desperately seeking God, herself and a way to stay. This project is one of the recipients of the prestigious Gerbode Foundation Theatre Commission Award, and has more recently been honored with Theatre Bay Area’s Relly Lossy Award for New Play 2023. This play is especially exposing and exploring the Black born and bred beings of San Francisco, visioned by a Black artist and resident, born and bred in San Francisco. With this inside/outside perspective, Smiley comes from the past of a Black San Francisco, but is truly a play of the future. This elegy for Black San Francisco is framed inside the multiple meanings of its amazing title-

Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad. Like the play itself- the title is honest and hilarious, while resonating poetically and politically. The Dirty White Teslas are the unkempt, uncared for luxury items, revealing a ubiquitous and mobile representation of the new money privilege interloping everywhere in San Francisco. In the play and in the real San Francisco streets- Dirty White Teslas are also the sales name given the mixed and massively potent fentanyl pills, an even more devastating dosage causing deaths to San Francisco residents. Smiley has created a living poem and prayer attacking both of these destructive forces working against San Francisco Black folx, while populating with lives and loves for this Black San Francisco.

Grounding us in the story is the character nicknamed Sloosh, a 29-year-old queer AfroLatina born and raised in San Francisco. She still lives with her mother, and aside from feeling the millennial shame of that, she’s also unsure of where to go in her life. Dirty White Teslas become the ultimate symbolic insult to those not part of the wealthy scene- a symbol of success not even sufficiently cared for by their oblivious owners. Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad explores millennial manifestations of faith. In Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad the protagonists’ quest is revealed for what it truly is- a false justification for experimental self-medication in the face of despair. Her future is made even more impossible by the constant changing of the only place she’s ever known, her home of San Francisco. In an always-evolving world between traditional values and cutting edge technology, social values, and access to an easy life, the main character struggles to survive the search for her identity.

Buy Tickets


$30 - $75

Magic Theatre
2 Marina Blvd Bldg D, 2Nd Floor
San Francisco, California 94123 United States
Event Contact
Sean San Jose
Send Email
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 8:00 PM - Sunday, March 17, 2024 4:00 PM (PST)
Wednesdays - Saturdays at 8 PM Sundays at 4 PM
San Francisco
Powered By GrowthZone