Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You gotta give ‘em hope – Harvey Milk

My very talented husband has been a member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus for almost a year. He has recently taken on a leadership roll with the group as the production manager for a new arts initiative to honor the legacy of Harvey Milk.

This last November, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus launched a global call for submissions from artists of all types (composers, lyricists, poets, essayists, dancers, visual artists, etc.) -- particularly those 35 years and younger in age -- to help honor in 2013 the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, the first gay elected politician who plowed ground for so many to follow.

Please spread the word. Invite friends, students, family, acquaintances to go to this website, to watch the videos & then to create/submit. "DEAR HARVEY, WE'VE GOT HOPE!!"

Check out this message by Harvey Milk's nephew, Stuart, as he describes his support and excitement for "Dear Harvey, We've Got Hope." Spread the word. Send to poets, musicians, artists, singers, actors, and writers. This is a cutting-edge opportunity to be a part of a collaborative, global creation of a new piece of performance art. HOW EXCITING!!!

“I ask for the movement to continue, for the movement to grow, because last week I got a phone call from Altoona, Pennsylvania, and my election gave somebody else, one more person, hope. And after all, that's what this is all about. It's not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power — it's about giving those young people out there in the Altoona, Pennsylvanias, hope. You gotta give them hope.”
 -- From a tape recording to be played in the event of his assassination, quoted in Randy Shilts’, The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

“And the young gay people in the Altoona, Pennsylvanias and the Richmond, Minnesotas who are coming out and hear Anita Bryant in television and her story. The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.”
 -- A version of his staple "Hope Speech," quoted in Randy Shilts’, The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

Sunday, December 25, 2011

When Holidays Are Gay!

Vintage ad spotted on 

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Ambassadors perform the Home For The Holidays concert finale on tour at a church in Santa Cruz, California on Sat., December 17, 2011. Songs performed include "We Are Lights" by Stephen Schwartz, "Silent Night" and "Peace, Peace" by Rick & Silvia Powell. The SFGMC Ambassadors as shown are 100 of the 275 singers in the Chorus.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gay Travel Destinations

At the beginning of December, the Community Marketing, Inc. came out with their Gay & Lesbian Tourism Report for 2011-2012.

[A full PDF report can be found at the following link: []

Of the 21 locations listed, we have been to 62% of them as a gay couple in the last 9 years. Not a bad percentage. We have discussed visiting Key West, New Orleans and Hawaii and will most likely visit them in the next couple of years.

In all the cities we've visited, we try to support the gay community by staying at gay owned or managed bed-and-breakfast, inns or resorts. We make a point to patronize gay stores, theatres, restaurants, and other establishments. An excellent resource of finding places is the website and phone app,

Top 21 Leisure Destinations (not including business travel)
1)    New York City, NY – 8 times
2)    San Francisco, CA – live 40 minutes away, visit 3-5 times a week
3)    Las Vegas, NV – 1 time
4)    Chicago, IL – 1 time
5)    Los Angeles, CA - 3 times
6)    Washington, DC – 3 times
7)    Ft. Lauderdale, FL – 5 times
8)    Palm Springs, CA – 3 times
9)    Miami, FL – passed through many times, not stayed
10) Boston, MA – 1 time
11) Orlando, FL - none
12) Philadelphia, PA - none
13) San Diego, CA – 1 time
14) Seattle, WA - none
15) New Orleans, LA - none
16) Atlanta, GA - none
17) Key West, FL – none (rescheduled when I got sick. hope to visit Dec. 2012)
18) Hawaii – not as a couple, visited separately before we met
19) Napa, CA – 6 times, live 90 minutes away
20) Provincetown, MA - none
21) Sonoma, CA – 4 times, live 100 minutes away

I find it interesting that Napa and Sonoma are even on the list and listed separately. First, they are both in the wine country, part of the Napa wine region, 45 miles north of San Francisco. The two towns are very close (15 miles apart) and almost indistinguishable from each other. Both are just a day trip for anyone visiting San Francisco. Other than several nice gay-owned B&B's and a couple gay/gay-friendly wineries, neither place has a gayborhood or strong out GLBT presence. There are no gay bars or restaurants and very few community services or events. I find the communities to be little more then tolerant, conservative, straight-acting environments.

The more interesting community that embraces the GLBT visitors and locals is the more rustic Russian River and Guerneville area that is 75 miles north of San Francisco and 55 miles northwest of Napa. The Russian River area has several gay resorts as well as a number of upscale gay-owned boutique properties. There are also a couple gay bars and the community supports quite a few GLBT events.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Have yourself a gay Hanukkah

May a little miracle touch each of your lives as many of us light the first candle of Hanukkah tonight. E & I send best wishes to all our friends around the world and hope that the freedom victories we celebrate will soon occur again throughout all the oppressed spots of our world. Happy Hanukkah.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011-2012 most produced plays

One of the recent fall issues of American Theatre magazine reported the 10 most-produced plays in national theatres this year (2011-2012). The Top Ten List (which has 11 plays because of a tie in the number of productions) omits holiday themed shows (such as The Santaland Diaries and A Christmas Carol) as well as works by Shakespeare. We have seen 9 out of 11 :
"God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza. Two sets of parents meet to discuss their child's fight but they become increasingly childish resulting in chaos.
"In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)” by Sarah Ruhl. It concerns the early history of the vibrator, when doctors used it as a clinical device to bring women to orgasm as treatment for "hysteria."
"The 39 Steps" a farce adapted by Patrick Barlow from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock.
"Next Fall" by Geoffrey Nauffts. A story about two gay men in a committed relationship with a twist, one is devoutly religious and the other is an atheist.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" adaption of the Harper Lee novel by Christopher Sergel
"Spring Awakening" is a rock musical adaptation of the controversial 1892 German play by Frank Wedekind. Music by Duncan Sheik and a book/lyrics by Steven Sater. The musical boldly depicts how young people navigate the thrilling, confusing and mysterious time of their sexual awakening.
"Race" by David Mamet. It follows three attorneys, two black and one white, offered a chance to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black woman.
"August: Osage County" by Tracy Letts. Riveting family drama of drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, death, family dysfunction, sexual harassment, aging, generational change, racism, incest, infidelity, and ultimately love.
“Clybourne Park”
by Bruce Norris. Takes Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun", of a black family moving up to an all white neighborhood, as a jumping off point for a clever refocusing on the politics of race, class, and real estate gentrification.
A 9th play is performing locally beginning in March 2012. We hope to see "Red" by John Logan. It is about the artist Mark Rothko and it plays this season at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
The one play we have not seen and doesn’t seem to be playing in the Bay Area is Donald Marguillies' "Time Stands Still." The play revolves around a woman photojournalist who has returned from covering the Iraq war after being injured in a roadside bomb, and her reporter ex-boyfriend who is swamped by guilt after leaving her alone in Iraq.
Now, where is it showing??

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fall Record

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
This weekend starts 2.5 weeks of vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida over the December holidays. Our fall has been very busy as shown by the sparse posting. Here is a quick recap of some of the activities since our month in Scotland back in August.

SEP: Long weekend trip to Ashland Oregon where we saw 6 excellent plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. While there we participated in Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk. Ran into my college roommate and his wife and had dinner with them and the producing director of the Marin Theatre Company.

Jeff Pevar on right
The surprise of the weekend was visiting a local dive bar and enjoying an incredible evening of music performed by several session musicians. The best known of the group was Jeff Pevar. He has recorded and/or toured with Crosby, Stills and Nash, Donald Fagen, James Taylor, Marc Cohn, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Webb, Rickie Lee Jones, Dr. John, Carly Simon, Kenny Loggins, Meat Loaf, Phil Collins, Richie Havens, Odetta and many others.

mother and son
NOV: Weekend trip to Tennessee to visit E’s family in Paris, TN. Saw the musical “Memphis” on it’s national tour in Nashville.  And we spent a day antiquing in Hazel, KY with E’s mother.

Glendeven Inn, Mendocino, CA
NOV: We spent a long restful (at least for us) Thanksgiving weekend in Mendocino, California at the lovely, gay-owned bed-and-breakfast, Glendeven Inn, We hiked for 3 hours along the scenic coast in an area called Spring Ranch on Thanksgiving day. We then had a delicious 5-course dinner at nearby Little River Inn. On Friday we met friends in town to celebrate one of their birthdays. Saturday we did a 10-mile hike in the Van Damme State Park & Pygmy Forest. In the evening we attend a play at the local community theatre, Mendocino Theatre Company.

Other Activities:
In September we did the San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour with our 2 youngest kids. We also visited the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to see: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris; Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; and The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy.
In October we visited the Contemporary Jewish Museum to see: Houdini: Art and Magic. Check out my earlier tribute to Harry Houdini.
SantaCom in San Francisco
And by accident we found ourselves in the middle of the SantaCon celebration in San Francisco at the beginning of December. It is a mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in the North Beach area of San Francisco.

We attended several fundraising dinners: Horizons Foundation's Gala Dinner and Casino Party (guest speaker George Takei, and the SF Gay Men’s Chorus; San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' fundraising gala: Crescendo 
and the BayLands FrontRunners anniversary dinner.

We also did a day hike in Arastradero Preserve/Foothill Park with friends on one of our few weekend days.

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
Much of December was busy with E’s rehearsals and performances with San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Their holiday show was called Joyous, Jolly Jingles and E performed it in Santa Rosa, San Francisco and Lafayette, CA before we left for our Florida trip.

All of this was in addition to our theatre schedule. We saw 11 plays and operas in September. 12 plays and operas in October and another 9 in November. By the time December is over, we will have seen another 8 performances.
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