Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snowbirding to an anti-gay state

Join Travelpride and Be Part of the Most Exclusive All-Gay New Year's Celebration Ever...Finally, the answer for what to do for New Year's! Leave the chaos, crowds and cold weather behind and spend it in the company of 150 newfound friends in the warm Caribbean. Our holiday cruise will take you to some of the exclusive yachtsman's ports rarely experienced by the large mega-cruise ships.For the holidays we are going to be “snowbirds”. We are leaving the cool and wet Northwest and traveling to where it is warm and sunny (fingers crossed).
Christmas morning we fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stay for several days at the gay resort Pineapple Point Guesthouse. We then fly to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and board the 150 guest “Wind Spirit” ship for a gay New Years cruise of the Caribbean.

This is my first visit to Florida and the Caribbean. When we planned the vacation almost a year ago, we talked about that both locations do not have gay friendly laws or supportive politics. The conditions in the Caribbean have been well documented in the travel press. Out Traveler describes the region as: “Generally speaking, the gay-friendliness of each Caribbean island is tied to cultural heritage, meaning French or Dutch equals friendly; Spanish less so; and British even less, though of course this is completely different in the United Kingdom itself.”

In the tradition of Old World Florida comes Pineapple Point Guesthouse. Situated in the heart of gay Fort Lauderdale, the Victoria Park neighborhood is within walking distance of vibrant Las Olas Boulevard, and central to the city’s wealth of gay bars, restaurants, and shopping.More troubling to me is Florida's anti-gay stance on adoption ban, marriage equality, safe schools, workplace anti-discrimination laws, and hate violence. Several times we have discussed the possibility of canceling our Florida trip. But we decided to go ahead with it. There are so many good and supportive people and places in Florida we felt it important to experience it first hand. However, until Florida changes its oppressive and hateful laws, we will not bring our kids to Florida. (No Disney World, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens, etc.) We have heard and read of too many horror stories of GLBT families being treated as second class citizens by state and its institutions. Unfortunately, the laws and politics of Florida are anti-family, repressive, and cruel.

We will be back in early January 2008!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Festival of Lights

Mom with Baked AlaskaThis season of Latkepalooza ends tonight with last night of Chanukah.

Last Friday, my parents came over for Shabbat dinner and to light Chanukah candles with us. We surprised my Mom with a special treat for dessert. Her birthday was at the beginning of December. E spent three days putting together her birthday extravagance. He made Baked Alaska for the first time. It is a dessert made of ice cream, cake and topped with meringue. Wednesday he made a white cake from scratch. He let it cool and then froze it. On Thursday, he softened chocolate ice cream and then spread it as a layer on top of the cake and put it back into the freezer. Friday he made the meringue and then covered the cake and ice cream with it. The entire dessert is then placed in a hot oven just long enough to firm the meringue. It is quite an indulgence.
Two Chanukiyahs

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy Chanukah

For six of the eight nights we are hosting dinners with family and friends. E has the most delicious collection of latke recipes. He prepares two different kinds for each meal. This season we will be serving the following latkes with homemade applesauce:
  • Potato Latkes
  • Carrot Latkes with Tomato Sauce
  • Wild Rice and Vegetable Latkes
  • Root Vegetable Latkes
  • Cheese-Rice Latkes
  • Tuna Latkes
  • Apple Latkes
  • Sweet Potato, Carrot & Apple Latkes
  • Crispy Cod and Potato Latkes
  • Spinach Latkes
  • Ricotta Silver-Dollar Latkes

A directory of latke recipes can be found here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Weather alert

Originally uploaded by guydads
Hawk grounded by low, dense fog. Waits for clearance at the front of the university.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

November theatre reviews

November was another busy month of theatre. Between E and I, we saw 14 productions. Two of them were operas, two we saw on a trip to Sacramento, and E saw one Broadway show in New York City.

While in NYC on business, E had time to take in only one Broadway show. Luckily it was one of the shows that did not go on strike.
Kevin Chamberlin and Matthew Montelongo in The Ritz by Terrence McNally at the Roundabout in NYC5*, The Ritz - Terrence McNally, Roundabout Theatre Company
[Gay bathhouse farce. When straight garbage man hides from the mob in a bathhouse hilarity and chaos ensue.]
While E was in NYC, I attended a local university production.
5*, The Mineola Twins - Paula Vogel, Stanford Drama Department
[The story of identical twins, opposite in moral and political temperaments, battling their way through a relationship that spans several decades.]

Earlier in the month we did a weekend trip to Sacramento to check out the theatre and gay scene there. Write up here.
5*, A Skull in Connemara - Martin McDonagh, B Street Theatre
[Did the gravedigger's wife die when he was drunk at the wheel or as a result of a deadly blow ?]
5*, Whistle Down the Wind - Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jim Steinman, California Musical Theatre
[A study of childhood innocence and simple faith follows as three children discover a fugitive in their barn and believe that he is Jesus.]

During one week we saw the best and worst operas of the San Francisco fall season.
2*, Macbeth - Giuseppe Verdi, Carlo Rusconi, San Francisco Opera
[Based on Shakespeare's play. Production marred by bad direction and a lame pop-art, post-apocalyptic set.]
Misha Didyk (Ruggero) and Angela Gheorghiu (Magda de Civry) in Puccini's La Rondine, SF Opera5*, La Rondine (The Swallow) - Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami, Alfred Maria Willner, Heinz Reichert, San Francisco Opera (great singing by soprano Angela Gheorghiu)
[An operetta that tells the story of a worldly woman who falls in love with a naïve younger man. Beautiful Art Nouveau set.]

One Sunday morning we woke up and realized that we had absolutely nothing planned for the day, so we got on line and booked tickets for an afternoon and evening show in Berkeley. Both theatres are next door to each other.
Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman returns to Berkeley Rep to present the West Coast premiere of Argonautika, an exhilarating new adventure based on The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts.5*, Argonautika - Mary Zimmerman adapted from the "Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts", Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Puppet, circus and improv techniques meet Greek drama in epic journey of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece.]
4*, Sex - Mae West, Aurora Theatre Company
[1926 bawdy comic melodrama of a woman of the night trying to become respectable. Made Mae West a star.]

Other shows we say in November:
4*, The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde, ACT's Master of Fine Arts Program
[Jack and Algernon one-up each other with insane antics to win the hearts of their beloved ladies.]
3*, One Touch of Venus - Kurt Weill, Ogden Nash, S.J. Perelman, 42nd Street Moon
[Confusion runs rampant when a long-lost statue of Venus is accidentally brought to life, and falls in love with a mild-mannered barber.]
Deputy File (Anthony Fusco, center) ardently woos a newly empowered Lizzie Curry (René Augesen) as her younger brother Jim (Alex Morf, left) watches hopefully in A.C.T.’s production of N. Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker. 5*, The Rainmaker - N. Richard Nash, ACT
[The arrival of a rainmaker named Starbuck sets off a series of events which enables Lizzie to see herself in a new light.]
5*, The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison, Lydia R. Diamond, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
[Based on Morrison's novel. Amazing bare stage production. In her eleven years, no one had ever noticed Pecola. But with blue eyes, she thought, everything would be different.]
Jim Brochu is Zero Mostel in the Zero Hour, at NCTC5*, Zero Hour - Jim Brochu, New Conservatory Theatre Company
[One man show about the humor, outrage, politics and juicy backstage lore of Zero Mostel.]
Oliver! - Lionel Bart, Charles Dickens, Peninsula Youth Theatre (E didn't see)
[Musical is based upon Dickens' Oliver Twist. Youth production.]

Ratings Legend:
5* - Loved It – would see it a second time.
4* - Really Liked It – strong production but not worth seeing a second time.
3* - Liked It –good production but something is lacking or not clicking.
2* - Just OK – had at least one interesting element.
1* - Did Not Like It – waste of time.
No rating – A work in progress (reading or workshop), or children’s production.

Rating*, Show Title - Author, Presenting Theatre (comments)
[Synopsis or review]
TIP: Half-price tickets for many select performances, sporting events and family activities are often available on Goldstar Events. Areas include San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Boston, and Chicago.
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