Thursday, June 24, 2010

Father’s Day & Anniversary Weekend

GuyDads Jewish Wedding, Father’s Day, June 19, 2005

Last Saturday was our 5th anniversary of our big, gay Jewish wedding held on Father’s Day, June 19, 2005. (See here and here).

We celebrated with a busy weekend of events. Friday night we caught up with friends at an “ICU Friday LGBTQ” happy hour at a local bar/restaurant. Then we went to new gay play called “The Second Weekend in September” in San Jose at City Lights Theater Company. It is a variation of the play/film "Same Time Next Year" with a younger out gay man and a married man on the "down-low" that meet once a year for 25 years. It was surprisingly good.

Saturday was a full day in San Francisco. We started at the Legion of Honor Museum to see “Impressionist Paris: City of Light”. It is a companion exhibit to the Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay” at the deYoung Museum (see the men of d’Orsay). This exhibit explores various aspects of Parisian society and the French art world from roughly 1850 to the turn of the 20th century. We stayed for a lecture about the history of Paris and the European art scene.

Sisters' BingoAt 4pm, we hustled over to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s longest running alternative bingo in the San Francisco: Sisters' Bingo. This was our first time attending and we were marked as “virgins”. We had a great time and definitely would do it again. E even won a door prize for a 2-night stay at a resort in Guernville, CA.

After bingo we walked several blocks and met friends for dinner at Paul K’s, a modern Mediterranean restaurant in Hayes Valley area of SF.

Pride month edition of The Golden GirlsWe capped off the evening by attending the Pride month edition of “The Golden Girls”. The show mixes four well-known drag queens (Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin, and Pollo Del Mar), and two scripts of a campy TV show. You end up with some wild and wacky theater to laugh your ass off.

Pizza time at Patxi's

Sunday found us at the coast. We picked up the two youngest kids and took them the see “Toy Story 3” in Capitola. The movie was amazing. It was adventuresome, slapstick and funny. It was also a meditation on love, loss, impermanence, and mortality.Later that evening we met our second oldest son for pizza.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

From Palo Alto to Broadway

We were so excited about the Tony Awards last Sunday night. First the new musical “Memphis” won 4 awards including Best Musical and Best Book, Score and Orchestrations. “Memphis” had its world premier here in Palo Alto. Our local, professional theatre company, TheaterWorks, workshopped the show in 2002 at its New Works Festival and presented the first fully staged performance of the work on its main stage in 2004. Several of the cast members stayed with the show all the way and were nominated for Tony Awards.

The Memphis TV commercial:


Production number from the Tony Awards:


Secondly, we have our show tickets lined up for our 10-day trip to NYC in July. We have 15 shows we are going to see.
Fri: Next Fall (8 pm)
Sat: La Cage aux Folles (2 pm); My Trip Down the Pink Carpet (9 pm)
Sun: Fela! (2pm); Black Angels Over Tuskegee (7 pm)
Mon: American Idiot (8 pm)
Tues: Fences (8 pm)
Wed: Lend Me a Tenor (2 pm); Race (8 pm)
Thurs: Memphis (8pm)
Fri: Addams Family (8 pm)
Sat: Million Dollar Quartet (2 pm); Promises, Promises (8 pm)
Sun: Everyday Rapture (2 pm); TBA for evening show. Any off-Broadway suggestions?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

News of travel, kids and parents

After six and a half months recovering from colon cancer, our life is starting to get back to its normal, busy self. There are some concessions however. I take several hours in the morning to stabilize my colon activity (bathroom breaks). I can’t eat a large dinner and then go out to a play or other event in the evening.

Nevertheless, we have taken a couple short trips. Over Memorial Day weekend, we flew to Palm Springs and stayed at an adult gay resort. The first night there, we attended Palm Springs’ gay theatre, Thorny Theater and saw the comedy “PS, Your Cat is Dead”. The second night we met good friends for dinner. [Picture of me at Georges’ Alibi in Palm Springs]

The first weekend in June was spent at Silverado Resort in the Napa Valley. One of E’s clients hosted an executive team and spouses along with us to celebrate a business accomplishment. [Picture of E looking at the view from Artesa Winery]

Our youngest son just graduated from middle school, celebrated his 14th birthday and got a couple kittens.

The next oldest son (21) is doing excellent work in college. He took a several years off from school after a difficult freshman year to work full time. He is now working part-time and going to school part-time and making killer grades. This summer he is taking a course in bartending.

The oldest daughter consoled herself after a breakup with her boyfriend by buying a used motorcycle, a Kawasaki Ninja 250. Although, the dads are not very thrilled of the purchase, she is an adult in her mid-20’s.

Final family update is about my Dad (center in the picture). The Town of Los Gatos honored him for his volunteer work. He was one of several Distinguished Seniors. I am very proud of him (and my Mom too). The both give large amounts of their time in helping various organizations and charities.

Monday, June 07, 2010

'Don’t Ask, Don’t Give'

Politically we both are strongly committed Democrats. However, we are not pleased how the party is ignoring, abandoning and delaying acting on LGBT equality issues. Our so-called “fierce advocate” of a president is all talk in front of a gay audience but otherwise shows little leadership and action to the cause. The same goes to our elected officials in Washington. They love the money, votes and volunteers from the gay community but when called to action, they “hem and haw”. They claim the time is not right, there are more important issues, LGBT people need to be patient. In other words, they are afraid to stand up for the rights of their LGBT supporters.

As we approach mid-term primaries and elections, various Democratic Party organizations are calling us to solicit money. I have made it very clear to them that we will no longer give a cent to any Democratic national committees or candidates until “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA – Defensive of Marriage Act are overturned. And when ENDA – Employment Non-Discrimination Act and UAFA – Uniting American Families Act is passed.

These four issues are critical to all LGBT citizens. I was surprised by the lack of knowledge the people running the phone bank had about these issues. I had to explain acronyms and terminology to them.

A quick recap why these items are crucial.

Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT): Empirical evidence fails to show that sexual orientation is germane to any aspect of military effectiveness including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment and retention. Comparative data from foreign militaries and domestic police and fire departments show that when gays and lesbians are allowed to serve openly there is no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness. When openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces there has been no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness. The U.S. military is capable of integrating members of groups historically excluded from its ranks, as demonstrated by its success in reducing both racial and gender discrimination.

Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): This hurtful and discriminatory law explicitly prohibits the Federal Government and all federal agencies from extending any federal marriage-based benefits, privileges and rights to same-sex couples and it authorizes states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. It is denying tens of thousands of legally married lesbian and gay couples across the country more than 1,000 federal protections they deserve. The federal protections of marriage include Social Security survivors' benefits, family and medical leave, equal compensation as federal employees, and immigration rights, among others.

Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): In 29 states it is still legal to fire someone because his or her boss thinks the employee might be gay. In 38 states it is legal to terminate employment based on a person's gender identity. Current federal employment discrimination protections cover the classifications of race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability. ENDA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to that list. As such, ENDA would prohibit public and private employers, employment agencies and labor unions from using a person's perceived or actual sexuality or gender identity as a reason to fire them or to not promote them, or as the basis of making other employment related decisions.
The bill exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees, as well as religious institutions. This change will not apply to uniformed officers in the military and it will not be applied retroactively.

Pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA): This law would allow LGBT citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their foreign national partners for residency in the United States. Under current law, no such sponsorship is available. An estimated 36,000 face imminent separation or exile because of discriminatory immigration policies.

There are a few accomplishments that should be noted:
- Passed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.
- Lifted the HIV Entry Ban effective January 2010.
- Extended limited benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
- Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability -- the first positive federal LGBT legislation in the nation's history.
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