Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Song and Celebration

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Symphony Hall, April 2011Last week was all about food, song and celebration. The busy week began on Monday (the first night of Passover) with the tech rehearsal in Davies Symphony Hall with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. We decided to postpone our traditional first or second night Seder until Saturday, the sixth night.

Thursday’s concert with the Gay Men’s Chorus was Eddie’s first time singing publicly with a group in over thirty years. It had been a dream of his for several years to get back to his first love of singing. Music had always been a part of his life throughout his youth. Even during college and post-graduate work he was involved in various groups. However, once he moved out West, his singing days went silent until earlier this year when he auditioned for the chorus at the last minute.

The sold-out performance on Thursday was awesome. The 250, all male chorus sang incredibly beautiful, contemporary numbers. Different male choruses around the country had commissioned most of the music in the last 20 years. The concert, called simply, "Words", featured several SFGMC videos, an exquisite hand-picked chamber orchestra provided by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and made full use of Symphony Hall's glorious Rufatti Organ. It also included soloists and ensembles pulled from the chorus.
Here are two videos to give you a taste. The first welcomes the new Artistic Director/Conductor, Dr. Tim Seelig, (who is from Texas). It is called "Tale of Two Cities," and it is funny & fun.



Gay Passover Seder
Our gay men’s Seder was a great success too. Eddie spent the two days after the concert cooking and preparing. He out did himself again by preparing an elegant, multi-course, gourmet meal.
The menu included:
- Trout roulades stuffed with sole mousse,
- Roasted veggie soup with 3 kinds of matzah balls,
- Pecan-crusted chicken breasts stuffed w/ smoke turkey & leeks,
- Matzah polenta w/ sherried mushrooms,
- Squash ratatouille,
- Tomato crisps,
- Strawberry mousse
- Coconut/almond cake infused w/ liquors.

Memorable readings from our gay Seder can be found at these previous entries:
The meaning of the Gay Seder Plate:
Remembering the Stories of Gay Jews in the History of GLBT Liberation:
Readings for a Gay Memorial Candle and a Retelling of the Ten Plagues:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

420 Friendly

This music video about "toking" is a hoot. It is almost surreal. I remember watching “The Lawrence Welk Show” at my Grandmother’s house when I was a kid in the ‘60’s. I always thought it’s “champagne music” was for “squares”. The Welk Show was known for their conservative, family-friendly format. I have no recollection of this song, “One Toke Over the Line”, being performed. Be sure to watch it all the way to the end for an explanation from host Lawrence Welk.


This song actually has a very interesting history. It was originally by the folk-rock duo of Brewer & Shipley. Their website recounts the story:
'One Toke Over The Line' became a Top 10 hit in 1971, and was largely responsible for introducing Brewer & Shipley to the masses. While the record buying public was casting its vote of approval by buying the single, the (soon to be disgraced) Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, labeled Brewer & Shipley as subversives, and then strong-armed the FCC to ban "One Toke" from the airwaves just as it was peaking on the charts. Brewer & Shipley landed on Nixon's Enemies List, a badge of honor they wear proudly to this day. Even in the midst of all the fuss about the drug related lyrics, Lawrence Welk featured "One Toke Over The Line" on his show in 1971.
The FCC began a campaign to rid the airwaves of songs that “tend to glorify or promote the use of illegal drugs such as marijuana, LSD, speed, etc.” Some of the songs pulled by radio broadcasters during this time included:
One more video in honor of today being 420. Riki "Garfunkel" Lindhome and Kate "Oates" Micucci sing about the perils of obtaining medical marijuana in California.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Men, Music and Record Players

[Updated] Earlier this week I saw a blog entry on Joe My God that this Saturday is “Record Store Day,” a celebration honoring the dying retail business. I’m a former record store employee. I worked at two different places. I was a buyer for the UC Davis student record store, Zapple Records, and my first job out of college was at Rainbow Records in San Jose, both looooong gone.
I recently posted an entry about listening to records naked. While doing research about that topic, I came across a series of images that I’ve collected and will share of famous men and their record players.
Check out the sequel at Men, Music and Record Players on Repeat.

The inventor of it all, Thomas Edison; Opera star Enrico Caruso

The King of Rock-and-Roll, Elvis Presley, loves his 45's and LP's

Artist Andy Warhol, stereo spokesmodel; "Glee" actor Chris Colfer

Actor Clint Eastwood relaxing at home; Actor John Cusack from film "High Fidelity"

The Beach Boys spin their hits in Times Square; Laurel and Hardy drop their Victrola in the street.

Superman recuses a portable turntable; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's stereo setup

Cool film actors Humphrey Bogart on set; Steve McQueen at home.

TV actor from "Have Gun Will Travel" Richard Boone; Bandleader Lawrence Welk's car turntable.

Musicians Johnny Cash; Roger Daltrey from The Who

France's version of Elvis Presley, Johnny Hallyday; The "man in the chair," Bob Martin of the Broadway musical "Drowsy Chaperone"

Linus van Pelt of "Peanuts"; Fred Flintstone of "The Flintstones"

Actor Marlon Brando enjoying his music; Paul Roberson, singer and political artist, asks who let the dogs out?

Athlete Michael Jordan in his college dorm room; Rock on James Dean, movie star.

Musician and inventor Les Paul; Singer, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte

Scratching with hip-hop DJ, Grandmaster Flash; Aaaaaayyyyyy! Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) starts the jukebox at Arnold's.

Boxer Muhammad Ali listens to vinyl; Movie star Gary Cooper on set.

Silent move comic Buster Keaton with sons; Rock Hudson's musical bachelor pad.

Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix listens to the Blues; Poet and songwriter Rod McKuen.

12-time oscar nominated actor Jack Nicholson; Sean Connery as James Bond loves vodka and vinyl.

Syd Barrett, founding member of the band Pink Floyd; Morning disc jockey at TV's WKRP, Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman), spins the disks.

American actor Anthony Perkins chills to music; Sly Stone played a critical roll in development of soul, funk and psychedelia music.

Marc Bolan from the glam band T. Rex; Classical conductor Herbert von Karajan.

Relaxing with Frank Sinatra, singer and actor; Co-founder and chief executive of Apple, Steve Jobs.

American's oldest teenager, Dick Clark.
Imagine John Lennon's record player.
English rock guitarist Jeff Beck
Gregory Peck actor
Thing from "The Addams Family"
Cartoon legends, Calvin and Hobbes
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones
Robert Plant, vocalist and lyricist from Led Zeppelin  
Chewbacca, the Wookiee from "Star Wars"
Basketball legend, Earvin "Magic" Johnson 
Silent movie heartthrob,  Rudolph Valentino
1950's movie star and teen idol, Tab Hunter
1960's country music singer, Red Sovine
Singer-songwriter and poet, Bob Dylan
English rock guitarist, Eric Clapton
Former 'N Sync boy-bander and
actor, Justin Timberlake
Christian Slater acting in movie
Pump Up The Volume

Elton John listening to his hits
Another Elvis Presley record player
Emile Berliner invented the disc record
Jack Kerouac, beat novelist and poet
Swingin' hits with old blue eyes, Frank Sinatra
Artists Keith Haring and Angel Ortiz
Sexy soul singer, Marvin Gaye
Actor William Shanter
Archie Andrews, star of Archie Comics
Questlove from the band The Roots
Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss film director 
Paul Weller from the bands The Jam
and Style Council 
Serge Gainsbourg, French singer/actor
Check out the sequel at Men, Music and Record Players on Repeat.
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