Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blood sucker

The new Elton John musical “Lestat” was a big disappointment. I have seen many musicals in different stages of development: readings, workshops, first and second productions. It always amazes me when a musical has this much money thrown at it and it is this bad. I think the music is the big problem. It is dull, tedious and unexciting. I was expecting something grand and melodramatic like “The Phantom of the Opera”. Even the B-grade musical “Jekyll and Hyde” was more interesting and tuneful. The story also needs work too. The wacky and wild “Batboy” had more pathos and dramatic tension.

The money did buy nice sets and a great cast. Hugh Panero, a former Phantom, looked and sounded great as Lestat. Allison Fisher as the child Claudia nearly stole the show. If only they had songs and dialogue worthy of their talent.

Not since “Wicked”, has a big-budget musicals trying out in San Francisco done well. “Mambo Kings” didn’t make it to Broadway and “Lennon” limped there for several weeks before closing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

About Last Night

Wednesday night we saw a dated, pointless production of David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”. The play is more of a one-act, screen play outline. The play was written in the 70’s and is cynical view for four people in their twenties looking for love and sex. The homophobic and sexist jokes don’t hold up well. The laughs are as forced and cruel as racist humor. This was the second disappointing show in a row from American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Last fall, ACT presented a badly cast production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.
Rob Lowe
The play was made into a much better movie in 1986 called “About Last Night”. It starred Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins. The movie featured several nude scenes of the very pretty Rob Lowe. The play could have used some gratuitous nudity.

Last Sunday, we took the two grade school kids to see “The Sound of Music” for the first time on the big screen. There is a local movie theatre that shows classic films in a beautifully restored theatre. There is a balcony, pipe organ with an organist that plays before and between films, an old movie poster collection on display in the lobby and a movie drape that opens and closes each film.
Christopher Plummer
I don’t think I have seen “The Sound of Music” on the big screen since I was a little kid. I don’t remember Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp) being so handsome and dashing. The actor playing Rolfe had a wonderful sexy voice (“Sixteen Going On Seventeen”).
Tonight we are off to see Elton John’s new musical based on Anne Rice’s “Lestat”. It has received mixed reviews in the press.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Healthy New Year

At the beginning of last week I turned 48. Birthdays are getting old . . . they are not as fun as they use to be.
It’s been a week since I had my last two wisdom teeth pulled out. I still get little headaches and pains from it. That part isn’t too bad. A couple of Tylenols takes care of discomfort. The worst thing is how awful my breath has become. I can cause dried paint to peel. I can melt lead. People avoid walking into my office. Even E will only throw me kisses from afar. I am gargling and brushing and rinsing but nothing is working. The dental office says my mouth is healing nicely.
The bad odor is just part of the healing process and will eventually clear up. When I went back for a checkup on Friday, I saw the nurse and not the cute oral surgeon. The nurse teased me about the comments I made in recovery last week about how handsome the surgeon was. Apparently I was going on and on about how cute he was.
The best health news is that I’ve been able to lose just over 20 pounds over the last four months. And I have been able to keep it off through the holidays. My plan for losing weight was quite simple…just eat less. Thankfully E was very supportive and helpful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2005 Theatre Roundup

We attended 81 plays, musicals and operas last year. This beats our previous year’s record of 76. Most of the performances were in the Bay Area. However, we did spend an intense week at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh where we saw 25 performances in six and half days. Here is our list of favorites:
My list:
1 The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? - Edward Albee, A.C.T.
[Subtitled: Notes toward a definition of tragedy. A modern American tragedy in the ancient Greek style.]
2 Parade - Alfred Uhry, Jason Robert Brown, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
[Musical based on the trail of Leo Frank in 1913, Atlanta wrongly accused for the murder of a child. Best show we saw at the festival.]
3 The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Part One & Two - Charles Dickens, David Edgar, California Shakespeare Theater
[Outdoor marathon production, 6.5 hours in one day/evening. Great cast.]
4 Golda's Balcony - William Gibson, at A.C.T. (Tovah Feldshuh)
[One woman show of Golda Meir, Israel’s blunt and impassioned prime minister from 1969 through '74.]
5 Well - Lisa Kron, ACT
[A look at wellness in the individual and community. Bring your Mom.]

E’s list:
1 The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Part One & Two - Charles Dickens, David Edgar, California Shakespeare Theater
2 Parade - Alfred Uhry, Jason Robert Brown, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
3 Dolly West's Kitchen - Frank McGuiness, TheatreWorks
[Beautiful but improbable love story involving two gay soldiers that take place in a small Irish town during WWII.]
4 Nuts Coconuts - Jordi Milan, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
[The story of the ‘Gibraltar Follies’ variety theatre company. Don’t be late! Is it a (gay) revue or deconstructionist theatre? Great fun watching the set being struck.]
5 The Overcoat - Morris Panych, Wendy Gorling, Nikolai Gogol, Dmitri Shostakovich, ACT (CanStage, Toronto)
[Wordless play adapted from Gogol's story. A cross between a silent movie and a modern dance ballet.]

Our Favorite Gay Plays
Dolly West's Kitchen - Frank McGuiness, TheatreWorks
[Beautiful but improbable love story involving two gay soldiers that take place in a small Irish town during WWII.]
Take Me Out - Richard Greenberg, Best of Broadway
[Talking baseball in the shower. Professional pitcher comes out to the team.]
Lilies - Michel Marc Bouchard, A.C.T. M.F.A. Program with Theatre Rhinoceros
[A lyric and erotic play where inmates re-enact a tale of an impassioned love between two young men Also a 1996 movie.]
Beautiful Thing - Jonathan Harvey, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
[Story of sexual awakening of two lads in Southeast London. Also a 1996 movie. Excellent cast]
Mambo Italiano - Steve Galluccio, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Coming out story full of love & loss, family and guilt. Also a 2003 movie.]

Monday, January 09, 2006

Golden Girl

Golden Girl Bea Arthur
Saturday night we had our gayest evening yet. We bought half-price tickets to “An Evening with Bea Arthur” at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. We first met a friend for drinks and dinner at Bambuddha Lounge. It is a very trendy, small plate, Pan Asian restaurant not far from the theatre.

The theatre holds just over 900 people. When we got to the theatre door it became obvious that the sold out performance was going to be a drama queen love fest. It was kind of thrilling being in the same room with roughly 880 gay men. Bea Arthur is very well know for her TV roles in “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” during the 70’s and 80’s. I loved hearing about her stories during her Broadway years in the 60’s. She was the original matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof” and starred opposite Angela Lansbury in the original “Mame”. For being 83 years old, she put on a wonderful show.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rapture...eating cars

Thursday I had my last two wisdom teeth pulled. My mouth and jaw are sore. This painful procedure is interesting for two reasons. This was the first time I have had laughing gas and was put under anesthesia. I was not aware of the work going on in my mouth until it was over. It was also interesting that the oral surgeon was a young, handsome, hunk of a man. I have never had erotic thoughts about my doctor before. It reminded me of a recent play E and I saw at New Conservatory Theatre Center called “After Dark”. Both characters joke about lusting after a good-looking dentist and having non-essential dental work done just to be close to him. But in my case, I’m not having any more teeth pulled. However, the post-operative instructions say: “Do not use a straw, drink from a bottle or spit for 2 to 3 days following surgery. Doing so may result in dislodging the clot and promote bleeding.” I may ask him when I go back for my check-up next week if it is safe to start sucking again.

And speaking of sucking, owning cars can suck can too. In the last two weeks we’ve had to replace a bad alternator in one car and a bad battery in our other car. Then my daughter calls last night from college complaining that her car isn’t working right. Ugh! And now our refrigerator/freezer is not staying cold. The repairman has tried replacing the motor three times and none of the new motors worked. They were all defective. No ice until next week. Yeah, Happy New Year.

If this entry sucks, I blame the Vicodin.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Soggy Shoes and Popcorn

We’re back from spending two weeks on the soggy Monterey Bay coast. Our house is right on the dunes and even though we had some nasty weather with a couple big rainstorms, high tides, flooding and mud slides, we luckily had no problem. We didn’t even lose our electricity. The first week was a private and cozy week for just E and I. (see previous entry) The second week was all family. Three of our six kids, one set of parents and an aunt and uncle stayed for a week. E said it seemed like all he did was go the grocery store, cook meals and play board games with the kids. One set of kids was with an ex-wife.

We only saw four new movies the second week. We had seen six the previous. We took the kids to see “Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Producers”. “Narnia” was entertaining in a “Lord of the Rings” type of way despite the heavy-handed Christian allegory. I thought “The Producers” started kind of shaky but by the end I was falling out of my seat laughing. “Memoirs of a Geisha” was a pretty movie with some hammy acting. Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” was a strange film. Sexy Eric Bana in TROY It is a very compelling and suspenseful historical story with an excellent performance by the sexy Eric Bana. The strange part is a psycho-sexual over lay on Eric Bana’s character. For example, every time he is having sex with his wife, it is implied he is having angry visions of the horrible massacre of the Israeli Olympic athletes. This doesn’t make sense. He didn’t witness the murders and it doesn’t relate smoothly with his own demons regarding the assassination and violence he saw and committed. It left me with the impression of bad editing.
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