Sunday, December 25, 2005

Movie marathon

E and I spent the last week at his family beach house between Santa Cruz and Monterey. It rained for most of the week so we had to spend most of the time playing inside. :-)
We also went to a lot of movies too.

The first was to see “Brokeback Mountain”. We really, really, really wanted to love “Brokeback Mountain”. Needless to say, we were very disappointed when we saw the film last weekend. We both had been married for 20 years before we met. After we first met, we both wanted to have a “fishing buddy” as portrayed in the film. Instead, we fell in love and decided to have a life together.

We didn’t identify and care enough for Jack and Ennis, the two lead characters. Their mumble and grunt line delivery was hard to understand. The understated time shifts were annoying and hard to follow. But most importantly, it was hard to believe these two guys had more than a f*ck-buddy relationship. The film showed very little intimacy, closeness or foreplay. We also found it to be unbelievable that their first sexual encounter was a wham-bam, fully clothed b*tt f*ck.

Much more enjoyable and politically relevant films we saw were “Good night, and Good Luck” and “Rent”. “Pride and Prejudice” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” were fun and entertaining films. The surprise film was Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”. It reminded me of seeing the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for the first time, a classic movie done in a grand and swashbuckling style of old.

Happy first night of Hanukkah.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Kids and holidays

It is a busy time with kids and shows. Quick roundup and review:
Oldest son is visiting from Washington, DC. He just took his LSATs and is working on his law school application essay. Oldest daughter just turned 21. We had a wonderful time with her and three of her girl friends in San Francisco. We don’t hear much from Number Two Son even though is attending the closest college where he is a sophomore. Hopefully no news is good news. The high school senior son just decided to move back in with Mom. He has been living with us for about nine months. He decided he missed his old house/room too much. I am concerned about how that will go. There is not as much structure and support there. The two grade school kids that live with my Ex-wife are excited about Christmas and Hanukkah coming and all the presents they are getting.

E and I are spending most of the next two weeks at the beach house. The first week is just for us. We are planning on seeing lots of movies. The second week is for family. We will have three kids, my parents and E’s aunt and uncle.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Birthdays, parties, and plays

The first week of December is packed full of birthdays. Both our mothers have birthdays at the beginning of the month. My oldest daughter’s was at the beginning of the week. My baby turned 21 years old. It feels so strange to have adult children. We are going to celebrate this weekend.
My younger kids were with us last weekend. We played games and did art projects at the local art center. We also all attended a wonderful holiday/birthday party in San Francisco hosted by a delightful and charming gay couple.
Monday night we saw a disappointing Stephen Sondheim review. Other then the multitalented 12-year-old girl who stole the show, the rest of the cast and production were very second rate.
Wednesday night we attended a wonderful performance of “Into the Woods”. It is being done by TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. Excellent production and cast. We are going again the following week and take E’s oldest son.
E and I are spending this weekend at our favorite bed and breakfast in San Francisco, the Parker Guest House. Friday night we are going to see semi-staged productions of “Oedipus Rex” and “The Nightingale” by Stravinsky at the San Francisco Symphony. Saturday we entertain my daughter and three of her friends at the Museum of Modern Art and a musical at 42nd Street Moon, “Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd” and then off to a celebratory dinner. Sunday is gay theatre day. First is play, “After Dark”, at New Conservatory Theatre Center, the best gay theatre company in SF. Then we are going to see “Bent” at Theatre Rhino, the oldest gay theatre in SF.
We also have tickets for Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays” next week. We are taking E’s old son to as well. He is back from Washington DC where he is now living and working after finishing college.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Thanksgiving pictures

Thanksgiving table
Great day at the beach

Thanksgiving weekend pictures taken by our friend Chris C. It was a beautiful come and go weekend at the beach.

The hosts kissing and dancing
The Hosts: kissing and dancing

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day – Remembrance

David A Delong
My best friend died of AIDS October 15, 1987. David A. DeLong was 36. He was a noted member of the San Jose theatrical community and a prominent activist in local gay causes. I worked with him for almost five years at San Jose Repertory Company where we both held a number of administrative positions.
David grew up in Columbus, Ohio and moved to California in the early 80s. In San Jose he was involved in many gay community issues, helped start a gay newspaper, “Our Paper” and directed a critically acclaimed production of “Streamers”, a play about a gay soldier being harassed in an Army barracks during the Vietnam War.
I miss our lunches where we would drive around town in his Triumph TR8 convertible to distribute marketing materials about the theatre to all the gay owned business. I miss the double dates he and his partner and my then wife and I would go on. Together we would attend theatre, go out to dinner, and dance in gay clubs. We even went on a camping trip together. I miss our long talks about theatre, politics and our significant others.
David, or “D.A.D.”, loved his initial acronym. It fit him well. He was a kind, compassionate, loving man.

I also remember today, David Lemos, another wonderful and talented man I worked with at the theatre company. He was the co-founder and was the first artistic director of San Jose Repertory Company. He went on to write and direct “Remember My Name”, a theatre piece about the AIDS quilt for the NAMES Project. He died in 1995 at 38.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving Gays

We hosted a Thanksgiving weekend at E’s family beach house south of Santa Cruz, California. Eleven guys for Thanksgiving dinner. Fourteen guys visiting over the four day weekend. It was like running our own Bed and Breakfast that included three meals a day. Everyone had a great time. We played board and card games, sang show tunes, listened to the new Madonna and Streisand CDs, watched “Some Like it Hot” and a Robbie Williams concert on the DVD, ran on the beach, drank lots of cocktails and wine and ate very well. Besides the turkey day fixings, we had pesto pasta on Wednesday evening, lasagna on Friday night and three homemade soups on Saturday.

Our Thanksgiving menu started with Appetizers:
Red Pepper, Walnut & Raisin Dip
Smoked Trout Dip
Assorted Nuts & Cheeses

Apple Soup with Spiced Croutons

Main Meal:
Four-Mushroom Stuffed Fennel
Grand Marnier Sweet Potatoes Stuffed in Oranges
Five Root Vegetable Medley, Caramelized (Garlic, Golden Beets, Turnips, Baby Carrots, Cipollini Onions)
Holiday Brussel Sprouts
Mixed Rice Stuffing with Squash and Sausage
Cornbread Stuffing with Cherries and Chestnuts
Giblet, Wine Gravy
Mustard-Herb Marinated Turkey (24 lbs.)
Zinfandel Cranberry Sauce
Mama Strasbourg's Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake with Pomegranate Sauce
Apple Pie ala mode
Date & Cranberry Cake

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Weekends are not for resting

Last weekend was another busy one. Friday night we were invited to Shabbat dinner. Some dear straight friends of E invited us and another straight couple over for nice evening of food and conversation.

Saturday began with a 6 mile run and then coffee with Frontrunners, the GLBT running group. We then changed into some nice clothes for a day and evening in San Francisco. First was a matinee performance of a seldom done comedy called "The Butter and Egg Man" by George S. Kaufman. It is about a hick from the sticks who becomes a Broadway producer (1925). It was done by the Young Conservatory students at ACT. Cute show.

Next on the schedule was dinner and opera. We met Huston at a restaurant near the SF War Memorial Opera House. Huston is only the second blogger we have met in person. What a fun and charming man. Some younger, 30-something "daddy" should rope and land this guy. The opera is was Beethoven’s "Fidelio". Out of the dozen operas we have seen so far, this rises to be one of our favorite top three or four.

We traveled back to SF on Sunday morning for a tasty brunch with a couple we have gotten to know at the GLBT synagogue in the city. Then we went to the Castro and shopped for a couple of hours. I can’t repeat here all the things we bought, but let’s just say Hanukkah came early. That evening we had another wonderful meal with a new couple that are in the process of moving in together. It was a fun day but one note for the future. We have to take better maps/directions, addresses and phone numbers of where we are going. This would avoid much angst the driver and passenger experienced trying to locate and navigate to the different addresses.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Religious news I like seeing

From Yahoo News, November 21, 2005
Jewish leader blasts anti-gay religious groups
SUMMARY: The leader of the largest branch of American Judaism blasted conservative religious activists Saturday, calling them "zealots" who promote anti-gay policies akin to Adolf Hitler's.
Methodist Church apologizes for anti-gay rulings
SUMMARY: The largest Methodist church in Minnesota held a service of protest Sunday to make a statement in opposition to two anti-gay rulings last month by the denomination's highest court.Gay man's ordination defies church
SUMMARY: A Presbyterian congregation has ordained a gay man who refuses to embrace celibacy despite the denomination's ban on sexually active homosexuals joining the clergy.

It is a start. Religion doesn’t belong to bigots.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Church business

I just read a review of a new play at Marin Theatre Company called “Splittin’ the Raft”. The SF Chronicle calendar section lists it as: “The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass' descriptions of slavery are interwoven with Huck and Jim's trip on the raft from Mark Twain's “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in Scott Kaiser's curiously confounding and compelling new play.”

The paper gave it a fairly good review. I’m not sure if we have the time to go see it. But it did pique my interest in Frederick Douglass. I have not thought about him since high school history class. I spent a few minutes yesterday looking him up on the internet. I read through a lengthy but inspiring speech of his.

Later I saw an anit-gay news story about an ecumenical meeting of Catholic priests who support a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. It reinforced for me that American churches have changed very little in the last 140 years. The same arguments and justifications against gays and same-sex marriage were used by most American churches (particularly what are today “Red State” ones) to justify slavery. It is in the Bible. It is part of God’s plan. Blah, blah, blah.

Here are two separate paragraphs from Frederick Douglass’ speech that he gave on July 5th 1852. I feel the same outrage and anger at today’s American churches for their lack of support of gay rights or their hostile attack of them. They are still bigoted organizations that have never learned from history.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

You don’t have to dress up for opera

We haven’t worn our tuxes to the opera yet. Usually we are attired in slacks and a sweater or dress shirt and jacket. We did wear our penguin suits to a party last month for the Horizons Foundation Gala. Two sophisticated gay fathers

We have been to the opera a couple times this month as well as to several plays. Here is a quick recap:

The opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini. Strange story but beautiful singing by Catherine Naglestad who played Norma. The story takes place in ancient Gaul. Norma is a Druid high priestess who has been shacking up with the Druids sworn enemy, a Roman general. In fact, she has two kids by him. But now the general is shagging her assistant and Norma is pissed. Much operatic melodrama ensues. Ugly set. Ancient Gaul looks like the lumber aisle at Home Depot after a long weekend.

The Force of Destiny by Giuseppe Verdi. The most enjoyable thing about this opera was the strong male singing, especially Vladimir Kuzmenko. The story begins when the boyfriend accidentally kills his girlfriend’s father when he drops his gun on the floor and it goes off. You are then fated to sit there for almost 4 hours for the tragic story to conclude.

Terrence McNally's new play, Crucifixion premiered at New Conservatory Theatre Center. It is a gay murder mystery involving Catholic priests. The mystery itself isn’t all that interesting but the naked actors make for an enjoyable performance.

Miss Liberty is a rarely produced musical by Irving Berlin. This musical is about finding the woman who modeled for the Statute of Liberty and making a celebrity of her. A problem ensues when they discover that they found the wrong woman. We always enjoy going to 42nd Street Moon to see obscure and lost musicals. They always do a staged concert production. There are no sets and minimal props. But there are some costumes and choreography.

Next up…Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera. We see it Saturday.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Shopping News

E is a very happy and excited man. His most favorite men’s clothing store in the whole world, Jos. A. Banks, just opened a new store in town. In fact, it is within walking distance of our house. E has been a loyal customer to their store in Washington, DC for years. It is just coincidence that his oldest son went to college there. Don’t you love the smell of new clothes? A couple years ago E bought me a new leather jacket from Jos. A. Banks. It is a black aviator jacket with a plush lamb mouton collar. It is a warm, beautiful jacket.

Guy Dads at TwoGrooms
Last winter and spring when we were planning our wedding, we had a hard time finding the right cake top decoration. We wanted to have two grooms on the top of our wedding cake. All we could find were single piece, bride and groom figurines. Quick look on line and we found the internet site Two Grooms. What a wonderful and diverse site (along with its Two Brides site) for all things needed to plan your wedding or ceremony. The company was founded by the mother whose daughter was planning her same-sex wedding. She said she approached her daughter’s wedding as a "commitment to normalcy". She soon learned it is really "a commitment to equality".
We sent the company a picture of our cake cutting with their two grooms on the cake. It is now part of rotation of happy gay couples on their home page.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her

Cameron Diaz
When “sweeps week” meets “mid-terms”, crazy things can happen.
Cameron Diaz lectures about “sustainable building projects”.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Wildlife on the run.

Lunchtime run
Three or four times a week I go running at lunchtime. I usually do four to five miles at a time. The most common route for my workout is the foothills above where I work. The place is filled with interesting wildlife if you keep your eyes open.
Scary Halloween picture
Last week I saw two fist sized tarantulas walking along the trail.

Guydads’ “Wild Kingdom” list of lunchtime critters:
Three Mule Deer
One coyote, saw twice
Many Blacktail Jackrabbits
Thousands of squirrels
Half a dozen gopher snakes, but no rattlesnakes.
Lizards from a half-inch in size to eight inches.
California Quails, doves, swallows, hummingbirds, Great Blue Herons, egrets,
crows, owls, swifts, woodpeckers, jays, wrens, mockingbirds, sparrows, finches,
Red-tail Hawks
A hawk with a snake in its beak.
No mountain lion sightings. Many others have seen one in the area. In fact a mountain lion was shot in a residential area in May of 2004.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Opera novice

Before I met E., he use to have season tickets to the San Francisco 49ers’ football games. Gratuitous body shots
He had season tickets for years and saw many of the big games when Joe Montana and Steve Young were the star quarterbacks. The last few years the team has sucked. Two years ago we decided not renew the tickets. Instead we would try opera. We both saw our first operas two and a half years ago when we were on vacation in Vienna and Prague. We were amazed and entranced by the experience. We’ve been to countless musicals and plays but never to an opera. Two years ago this fall we bought tickets to the San Francisco Opera. We signed up for their new Rainbow Series. Although is seems redundant to have “Gay Night at the Opera”. Nevertheless, it is a lot of fun. The opera company has hosted special pre-show talks and private wine & cheese parties. At intermission they served Champagne on the rainbow lit balcony above the Opera House entrance. We’ve received a lot of fun, free swag too: CDs, note cards, extra tickets, etc. It has been great to be courted as new subscribers needing special treatment. It sure beats sitting in the hot sun or pouring rain watching Niners lose.

So far we have been to 10 operas. Listed in the order that we saw them: ranked 1 to 10 where 1=most liked, 10=Least Liked.
4 - Dalibor - Friedrich Smetana, Vienna
7 - Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Prague5 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, Prague8 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
1 - Billy Budd - Benjamin Britten, San Francisco Opera (Will at DesignerBlog has a great entry and some hunky pictures of Nathan Gunn who had the lead in the show as “the new, slimmed down, buffed up, frequently stripped to the waist male opera star”.
9 - Le Grand Macabre - Gyorgy Ligeti, San Francisco Opera
6 - Eugene Onegin - Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, San Francisco Opera
3 - Così fan tutte - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, San Francisco Opera
2 - The Italian Girl in Algiers - Gioachino Rossini, San Francisco Opera
10 - Doctor Atomic - John Adams, San Francisco Opera

The last opera on the list, Doctor Atomic, we just saw last weekend. It was a newly commissioned opera. What a disappointment. It is in desperate need of rewrites. The source material is interesting has lots of possibilities. It is the story of the scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, key players of the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb. Unfortunately, it was three hours of no action and no melody, just static tableaus of Oppenheimer and the bomb and Minimalist musical soundscapes. The tension consisted of Oppenheimer and the other scientist singing (?) about how bad the weather was.

We have several operas yet to see this season:
Norma, The Force of Destiny, Fidelio, Madama Butterfly, The Maid of Orleans, and The Marriage of Figaro.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Gotta love teenagers

Gay or straight, parenting teenagers is one hard job. Sometimes seems like you can never get anything right. Last week on Yom Kippur, our rabbi gave the following blessing to all teenagers. As parents of two teenagers and two recent teenagers now in their early twenties, both E and I could identify with the sentiments. We were very touched by the blessing; we both had tears in our eyes by the end of it.

    If you are a teenager…if you are 13 to 19 years old, these words are for you:
    ...(B)ecause Yom Kippur is about asking forgiveness, and we want to ask yours. For underestimating you; for expecting too much of you. For not remembering what it’s like to be your age, or for not understanding that it’s different nowadays to be your age. For times when we talked too much, or were too busy to listen. For times when we weren’t around and you needed us. For times when we were short-tempered or short-sighted, or couldn’t manage to be the parents you needed us to be right then. For times when you were sad and we didn’t know how to help. For wanting you to be naches machines, whose success makes us feel better about our own lives. For not accepting you as you are. For our own failures of integrity, when we couldn’t live up to the behavior we ask of you.

    Forgive us for being sentimental about you and worrying about you so much.

    Believe us when we say we are trying to do our best. We know it isn’t always good enough.

    And believe us when we say that even if you sometimes drive us crazy, we value and respect the very qualities that sometimes drive us crazy. Your ability to reason and think for yourself. Your challenging of authority. Your resistance to being managed and nagged. Your need to be independent. Your impatience with hypocrisy. Your desire to change the world. Your wacky sense of humor, even at our expense.

    All of those are signs of your strength – of the men and women you will be, before too long. Forgive us when we forget that sometimes.

    We know you are figuring out who you are and what you’re going to do with your life. We’re also trying to figure out who we are and what to do with our lives. Today, on Yom Kippur, we’re honest enough to admit that. Today, on Yom Kippur, when nothing matters but the most important things in our life, we want to tell you that YOU are what matters to us – more than anything else could ever matter – and that you can trust us, always, and that we love you, forever.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Coming Out Anniversary

I came out four years ago on Labor Day. It had been a very long journey. I spent my teenage years in asexual denial. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in girls. I tried not to think about why guys were more interesting and fascinating to look at and fantasize over.

When I got to college I was determined to make a conscience effort at heterosexual dating. I met a wonderful woman that lived across the hall from me in the dorm. We dated on and off through college. She was the only person I dated and had sex with in college. After graduation we decided to get married because it seemed like the thing to do. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with MS. At first the disease wasn’t too severe and the doctors said it would probably be OK to have a child. We did but her condition got worse. At age 28 she was confined to a nursing home and died at age 30.

I was devastated and scared of raising a 5-year-old daughter on my own. I remarried almost immediately to the second women I ever dated in my life. We had two more children. Towards the end of my thirties this second marriage began to erode. Other then the children, we had very little interest in each other. I soon discovered the Internet and the world of “married men looking for married men”. The years of denial, repression, and self-hating started to wear away. At first, I told myself I was just experimenting and testing my sexuality. Then I gradually asserted that I was I slightly bisexual. Finally, after I met E and we started to talk about a future together; I knew I was truly gay.

E and I came out within two weeks of each other. We came out in a big way. For a variety of reasons everyone knew within a couple of weeks. All our families, friends, social acquaintances, work associates, and synagogue members heard the news and gossip. We were ready to be ostracized by everyone. But miraculously that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, we still felt isolated and on our own. Fortunately, we had a gay friend that came to our aid early on and introduced us to other gays who had been previously married. It was a great relief to know we weren’t the only ones.

The best thing we did was to join several gay organizations. We got involved with a GLBT running club and a GLBT Jewish social group. We started attending a gay synagogue in San Francisco when we could. E joined the board of a nonprofit social service organization that has a huge outreach into the gay community. I volunteered to assist the gay employee organization at work. Being active and involved has made a world of difference.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Six Kid Recap

Oldest son got his first post-college job in Washington DC. The job relates to his degree and pays well. In the meantime he mulls over applying to law school.

Oldest daughter has decided on a major and career goal. Her studies have turned around and she is excited about her college classes.

Next son was able to bum around all summer in his coastal college town. He now has a part time job teaching Jewish Sunday school.

High school son is in the process of applying to colleges. He works weekends at a local hamburger diner.

The nine-year-old son has started to take tennis lessons and is playing fall baseball.

The first grade daughter has recovered from breaking her wrist when she fell from the school’s new monkey bars. She also has her first loose tooth.

Monday, October 03, 2005

L’Shana Tovah

Have a good year 5766. Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah. May this be a sweet year for all.

As expected Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the marriage-equality bill last Thursday. He said the people or the courts should decide. What a copout. “The people” don’t support or look out for the rights of a minority. “The people” would have never voted out slavery, or extending civil rights to blacks or Asians, or even allowing mixed marriages. After all, this is all against the word of G-d. It takes true leadership to stand up to a majority and do what is right and fair for all.

But then on Saturday the Governor signed legislation that will strengthen current law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians against discriminatory business practices. This is the first and most significant LGBT civil rights
bill the Governor has signed into law this year.
Politics is such a dance…couple steps forward, couple steps back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Gay letters to the editor

I’ve turned into quite an out activist! The preceding letter was one of a dozen I wrote and sent to various newspapers. It ended being printed in two newspapers. The day after it was in the Palo Alto Weekly, it also appeared in its rival, the Palo Alto Daily. So far, no adverse feedback. Several people at work that I have not explicitly come out to have said they saw my letter. I thanked them for mentioning it and added how important the issues are to me. There are probably a dozen others who saw it but are too polite to mention it.

I don’t believe the governor will sign the marriage-equality bill that the California legislature put on his desk. His ratings (poll numbers) are slipping and he wants a second term. However, I am very concerned about several proposition ballot measures that are gathering signatures for next year’s election. Not only would they ban same-sex marriage but it would also eliminate domestic partnership rights. “Voids and restricts registered domestic partner rights and obligations, for certain same-sex and heterosexual couples, in areas such as: ownership and transfer of property, inheritance, adoption, medical decisions, child custody and child support, health and death benefits, insurance benefits, hospital visitation, employment benefits, and recovery for wrongful death and other tort remedies.” If passed, this would be a hateful and bigoted law. It would make “out” gay people second class citizens. The scary thing for me is that in every state that this kind of law is put to a popular vote it passes. Minority rights have never been a popular vote getter.

Meanwhile, in the local Jewish press, the battle of the letters still goes on. First back in July, The J (the Jewish news weekly of Northern California) printed our wedding announcement. In August, they printed a wacko letter from nutcase who compared our announcement to pornography, Arab terrorism and bestiality. That was followed by four letters that supported us, our family and our marriage. After two more weeks, The J printed another letter from a reader who said shame on The J for printing the wacko letter in the first place. The writer said it was not an example of balanced coverage. In a snarky comment, the Editor replied homosexual weddings are controversial and illegal in California and banned by traditional Jewish law. This lead to another barrage of letters to the editor. The J selected one that pointed out that same-sex weddings are not illegal; they just are not recognized by the state and that many things are banned by traditional Jewish law such as interfaith marriages. The editor also added a final comment. They apologized for offending the GLBT community and wished E and I a mozel tov and a happy life together.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Days of Equality

A couple weeks ago the California legislature (both houses) passed the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act". The legislation protects religious freedom while ensuring equal treatment under the law for same-sex couples by allowing them to marry. This bill would remove the discriminatory barriers to equal protection under the law by returning the relevant California Family Code statutes to gender-neutral terms, as they were from 1850-1977. Governor Schwarzenengger has said he will veto the bill when it lands on his desk in the next couple days.

The HRC and Equality California have urged people to write letters to local newspapers. Today mine was printed in our local weekly newspaper, Palo Alto Weekly:

    Equal-rights awareness
    I am a gay Californian. My same-sex partner and I are proud parents to six kids. My spouse, E---, and I were married in a religious ceremony on June 19, 2005, in Los Altos Hills.
    Our wedding was performed by the head rabbi in our synagogue. It was a celebration of family and faith. The wedding affirmed the groundbreaking stand Reform Judaism has taken that same-sex unions are holy and valid.
    Although we consider ourselves spiritually married, we lack the legal rights and privileges given to opposite-sex, married couples with children. We are second-class citizens in the state.
    Early this month, the California Legislature passed a historic marriage-equality bill. The courage and integrity that our representatives have shown is especially moving. There is real harm in denying same-sex couples the right to marry. For the sake of all Californians, our governor must stand on the right side of history by signing this bill.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Date Out

Last Saturday night we decided to have a special date night. We were going to celebrate the anniversary of our “coming out”. I came out Labor Day weekend three years ago. E came out two weeks later just before Yom Kippur. We walked downtown to find a nice restaurant to have dinner. We tried to go to a new Italian restaurant but it was booked and had at least an hour wait. We then decided to see if we could get in to Café Fino. We had eaten there a couple times but not for many months. At 7:00 pm there were a several people at the bar but we were the only ones there for dinner. Nevertheless, they were scheduled to have a jazz trio start at 7:30. We figured it would probably fill up soon. The place is like a small, dapper supper club from the 30’s or 40’s.

We started with cocktails. E had a dry vodka martini and I ordered a Cosmopolitan. For Starters E ordered a Caesar Salad and I had the Caprese. We ordered a nice bottle of Chianti to go with our pasta meal. E ordered Putanesca (anchovies, Calamata olives, capers in spicy tomato sauce) and I had the Pasta Limon (chicken and spinach with pecans and sage). It was delicious. For dessert we ordered coffee and Cherries Jubilee. It was prepared table side on a special cart with a burner on it. The maître d' prepared it in a grand, showy fashion. Flames everywhere! After that we sipped port. All the while we listened to the jazz trio. They mostly played Gershwin, Berlin, Porter and Rodgers and Hart tunes. The pianist had a beautiful Mel Torme type of voice. We stayed for all four band sets.

We were going to leave around 10 pm but a couple came in that E knew. They were on the town celebrating their 22 wedding anniversary. They insisted we share a bottle of champagne with them. By this point we were feeling no pain. E and I even got up and danced together with the half dozen straight couples on the floor. We pretty much closed the place up and then walked home.

We were signed up to run a charity 10K the next morning but we blew that off and spent the morning in bed.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Kid Daze

Who could guess they would turn out that way!
Why can't they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids?
What's the matter with kids?
What's the matter with kids today?
--Kids from Bye Bye Birdie
The high school kid (HSK) came home Monday night after visiting some friends. He made it in by his curfew time of 11:30. He ran up stairs and slammed his bedroom door. This behavior is not too unusual. He has done it on occasion. An hour later he wakes us up with retching noises from the bathroom. The kid is drunker than a skunk. While holding the toilet, puking rum into the bowl, he denies that he is drunk or even had a drink. He doesn’t know what we are talking about! The next morning he still denies it. What is it with these kids that they just lie, deny and argue?
E spent a good part of Tuesday talking to the parents of the other boys involved. Everyone seems to be at a loss of what to do. Most of the boys have been grounded for previous infractions. HSK and his friends have enough grounding time to last well into their twenties! In addition, many of the kids have been told not to interact with each other because of the bad influence of the other.
The good news is that E has made contact with the other parents. Most of the parents are concerned about the same things…the welfare and safety of the kids. There tends to be a lot of hesitancy for the parents to talk amongst each other. Hopefully this group will now stay in contact when the issues come up again.
There is one thing E and I don’t understand. When we were kids and got caught doing wrong by our parents the first thing we usually did was to burst into tears and start blubbering we’re sorry. There was no denying or arguing. What happened to that?
In other kid news, the ex-wife calls Tuesday morning. The youngest kid (6 yrs) has fallen off the jungle gym at school and broken her wrist. She is doing OK and will have a cast for several weeks. However, she is the daring and adventuresome one. Can’t wait to see what she is going to be like as a teenager.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Vacation Theatre Beat

During our 200 mile trek across Northern England, we did not have an opportunity to catch any shows. However, amongst the ruined castles, abbeys and priories, we did visit one theatre. In North Yorkshire, in the town of Richmond, we visited the Georgian Theatre Royal. It is Britain’s most complete Georgian playhouse. The theatre dates back to 1788. It was just recently restored to how it looked in the early 1800’s. The theatre tour we took was fascinating. The legendary English actor Edmund Kean started his life on stage playing in this theatre. It also displays Britain’s oldest set of stage scenery, known as ‘The Woodland Scene’. It was painted on canvas, probably between 1818 and 1836.

Edinburgh’s International Fringe Festival. According to their website, the festival presented 26,995 performances of 1800 shows in 247 venues. We only saw 25 of them in 6 ½ days:
Theatre Productions
A Swell Party - Cole Porter, John Kane -Musical revue of Cole Porter's life; very well done.
Almost There - Foteini Georganta - Three person comedy about love, jealousy, death and moments that change your life.
Apocalypse the Musical - Heather Newton, Ernest Merry – Wacky and campy musical. A tale of milkman falling in love with a whore set against the backdrop of the end of the world. God and Satan bet the house.
Beautiful Thing - Jonathan Harvey - The story of sexual awakening of two lads in Southeast London. Also a 1996 movie. Excellent cast.
Bus! A Jazz Musical - Tim Norton, Ned Bennett – Musical drama that occurs during the British General Strike of 1925. Similar in scope to ‘Ragtime’.
Corpus Christi - Terrence McNally - Passion play told with a gay twist. Good college cast.
Dark Horse, Indiana - Eric Barry, Punch Theatre - Gay world where heterosexuality is outlawed. Coming to New Conservatory Theatre in SF this fall.
Mikey the Pikey – Joel Horwood, Ben Rous - A “chav” musical of the young, urban poor. A modern day British ‘Grease’. A hot topic; there were over a dozen productions about chavs at the festival.
Nuts Coconuts - Jordi Milan - The story of the ‘Gibraltar Follies’ variety theatre company. Don’t be late! Is it a (gay) revue or deconstructionist theatre? Great fun.
Out on the Fringe - Philip Giorgi, Stephen Hancocks, Heather Weir and various contemporary composers - A musical conversation about gay life and love. Done by the same company that did the Cole Porter show but not as well.
Parade - Alfred Uhry, Jason Robert Brown - 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. Hopes to move to London.
Shakespeare for Breakfast - William Shakespeare, Judith Quin - Classic characters vie to win on a Survivor type reality show. Fun and witty.
Songs for a New World - Jason Robert Brown - Tedious selection of songs about choices and new beginnings.
The Bicycle Men - Skullduggery Theatre Company - Funny musical tale of an American trapped in a small French town with a broken bike.
The Fix - John Dempsey, Dana P Rowe - Political musical about the rise and fall of a polished but dysfunctional American politician and his almost First-Family. Good material.
Tomfoolery, The Songs of Tom Lehrer - Tom Lehrer - Musical revue with Kit and the Widow, and Dillie Keane. Songs just as relevant today as they were 40 years ago.
True West - Sam Shepard - Drama of two brothers, a screenwriter and a drifter/thief, who can’t get along.
Twelfth Night -The Musical - William Shakespeare, various contemporary songwriters, Rhythm Shakespeare Co. - Snippets of contemporary songs interspersed. Plus a live mermaid and Shakespeare at the keyboards! Very enjoyable.

Other type of performances
All Wear Bowlers - Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford - slapstick absurdist comedy by two film clowns who fall off the screen.
Caesar Twins and Friends - Acrobatics and cabaret show by two hunky brothers. One jumped off the stage and onto my lap. We were the only gay couple in the front row. We were surrounded by women who could play the lead in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo - The music and marching of the massed Pipes and Drums of the Scottish Regiments and the Massed Military Bands. Bagpipes galore.
Kiki and Herb – Comedy act of a washed up (drag) chanteuse and her life accompanist.
La Clique Un Spectacle Sensuel - Late night circus cabaret of strange and sultry performers.
Out of the Blue - Oxford male a cappella group. Great harmonies and song selections. Wish I bought one of their t-shirts.
Rigged - A joint modern dance concert by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Gay Wedding Announcement and Complaint

Wedding Announcement
Before we left on holiday, we sent our wedding announcement to several local papers. It was printed in the Bay Area Reporter (a GLBT weekly newspaper in San Francisco), the San Jose Mercury News (one of the top ten newspapers in the country), The Los Gatos Weekly (my old hometown paper; my parents still live there; and the first time they have published a same-sex announcement), and The J. (the Jewish news weekly of Northern California). All the announcements were very similar with a picture and a write-up of the service. While we were gone The J. printed the follow letter to the editor:

    Road to insanity?
    Reading the Aug.5 lifecycles announcement of Edwin Jones and Edward Reynolds on their “marriage” and effort to destroy the traditional family: Congratulations on your friendship and union and success in obtaining legal benefits.
    But married you are not.
    Marriage by definition always has been between a man and woman since the institution was developed in prehistory to create a family of mother, father and children. It cannot be changed because a selfish minority of people want to do so (yes, Edwin and Edward, you are selfish because you have abandoned your children in every possible way.)
    J. was a family publication; it no longer. That photo and accompanying article are pornographic. What will J. endorse next? Guns for Arabs in the name of equality? Compassion for Nazi murderers who were “only doing their job”? Celebrate the “marriage” between a Muslim bomber and his camel?
    Please do not continue on your suicidal road to insanity. Write and do what is correct, not what a tiny minority dictates.
    name withheld by GuyDads (I don’t want to give him more personal credit), Lodi, CA

The next week’s issues had four letters of support towards us, our family and our marriage. Two were written by people who attended our wedding. The two other letters were written by people we don’t know.

We are a bit surprised that The J. published the attacking letter, but maybe the staff felt that publishing an extreme reaction, the ridiculous stance would be even the more evident.It will be interesting to see what further reactions, if any, occur. We hope some other same-sex marriage is soon in The J. again just to show that we are not the only "selfish" ones out there.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Family Wedding Photo

GuyDads and kids
Taken at our wedding in June. The GuyDads family: E and I and our six kids.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things I Learned in England

We are back from our 3 week vacation in England and Scotland. The first two weeks we did England’s Coast to Coast Walk from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. The term “walk” is a misnomer. It is a challenging and strenuous hike. We did 10 to 20 miles a day, for 14 days with no breaks. The mountains, crags and fells in the Lake District were amazing. The countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and Moors was beautiful.
Our third week was spent at the Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. It claims to be the world’s largest performing arts festival. In 6.5 days we saw 25 productions.
This was only my second trip to England. E and I went to London 2 years ago and saw 8 shows in a week.

I am still learning about all thing English.

  • Look RIGHT when crossing the street.

  • When ordering a sandwich, a pickle is not the same thing as a gherkin. I learned to love Branston Pickle.

  • Pudding is not the same glop the Bill Crosby sells. Instead they are sweet cakes called: Spotted Dick, Jam Roly Poly, Bread and Butter Pudding, Syrup Sponge, and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

  • For breakfast, I like “normal coffee” not “regular” and “brown toast” not “wheat toast”.

  • Beer…mmmmmmm. We drank lots of it, trying every different draft we came across.

  • The English can’t plumb a decent shower or flushable toilet, but the heated towel racks are awesome.
  • Learned to love accommodations labled "ensuite".

  • The English also don’t believe in building trails with switchbacks. One goes straight up the mountain and straight down the other side.

  • The exchange rate for dollars to pounds sucks. There are no shopping bargains. One dollar equals about .55 pounds.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Summer Holiday

We (E and I) are off on vacation for the next three weeks. The first two weeks is an adventure hike across northern England. It is described as: “England's classic "Coast-to-Coast" walk is one of the top ten walks in the world. It's 190 miles of sheer hiking pleasure, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, and takes in three national parks: the Lake District, where England's highest mountains are found; the long green valleys of the Yorkshire Dales (of James Herriot fame), and the sometimes bleak but often dramatic landscapes of the North Yorkshire Moors.”

The third week is spent in Edinburgh where we will take in as much of the Fringe Festival as we can. Interesting fact: Last year’s Fringe 2004 was the biggest ever festival to date presenting 25,326 performances of 1695 shows by 735 companies in 236 venues!
Back at the end of August…

Friday, July 22, 2005

Picnics and Penguins

another gay dad
Last week we took our two young kids to two picnics on Saturday. The first was a brunch with the local GLBT running group. Later that afternoon we attended my work’s GLBT staff and alumni picnic. We were still not done eating snack food. That evening we munched popcorn while seeing the nature documentary, “March of the Penguins” at the movie theatre. I love penguins.
Sunday we took the kids to the SF Zoo for the day and saw their penguins.
We were out every night this week...three dinner parties, a Giants baseball game and a local production of the musical “Brigadoon”.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Vacation Request

In two and a half weeks, E and I leave on an adventure vacation. We try to do at least one a year. Since we have been together we have done a hike in the Alps on the Haute Route to the Matterhorn, a bike ride down the Oregon coast and another bike ride through the Czech Republic. This year we are doing England’s Coast to Coast walk from St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. It is a 190 mile, 15 day, hike from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. We are hiking with a group from July 30 to August 15.
After the hike we are spending a week in Edinburgh (Aug 15-21). We are staying at one of the gay owned Bed and Breakfasts in the city. Our goal is to take in as much of the Fringe Festival as we can. Any suggestions or advice on how to do the Fringe Festival or what not to miss in Edinburgh? This is our first time to Edinburgh and the Festival. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Activity recap

Last Wednesday night we saw the play “Dolly West’s Kitchen” by Frank McGuinness at TheatreWorks. It was an enjoyable but very improbable story. It is three love stories that take place in a small Irish town during WWII. One of the stories is a touching tale involving two gay soldiers.
Thursday night we finally saw the San Francisco Giants win a game. It was against Cincinnati Reds.
Friday night it was back to SF for dinner with friends at Sauce. We all had the same meal. For Salad: Asian Pear & Spiced Cashew Salad, baby lettuces, spinach & strawberry vinaigrette; Main Dish: Pan Seared Halibut Cheek, baby carrots, English peas, herb risotto & beurre blanc. Wine: a bottle of Pinot Noir.
After the meal, E and I then walked a couple blocks to New Conservatory Theatre Center to see “What’s Wrong with Angry” by Patrick Wilde. It is a nice coming of age play of two British school boys that explores the social taboos surrounding teen homosexuality. It was made into the movie “Get Real” several years ago.
Saturday morning we were up at the crack of dawn for a bicycle ride. The last time we were on our bicycles was over 11 months ago when we did a bike tour from Vienna to Prague. We have not been on a bicycle since. Today we were signed to do either a 50-mile or 62-mile ride for the American Lung Association through the scenic rolling hills of the San Francisco Peninsula. E did all 62 miles. I only did 50. I got a flat tire at one of the rest stops. E went ahead and did a 12 mile loop while I changed my tire and waited for him to return. We were exhausted at the end. The last 12 miles was flat but it was cycling straight into a strong head wind. That night we stayed home and had a nice romantic dinner.
Sunday we took E’s two teenage sons to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. We spent the day riding roller coasters, bumper cars, Ferris wheels, and carousels. The boys also went on many of the other thrill rides. It was a beautiful sunny day at the beach.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Friday, July 08, 2005

Make some pride news at the parade

San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Leah Garchik, led off with the following item this morning:

"The Stanford Marching Band, which runs this way and that instead of marching in precision formation, got kicked out of the Pride parade for slowing down the action. The band wasn't a registered participant, but marched along with several gay and lesbian groups from Stanford. Ed J., who with his husband, Eddie R., was with a Queer University Employees at Stanford contingent marching near the band, says a parade monitor with a "cold, hard heart," warned the musicians three times, then called in security to barricade the street and force them out of the lineup. The monitor must have been a Cal grad, says Jones, noting the irony of tight control of a parade about freedom.

The band's Michael Priest said the band has issued an apology to parade organizers, and is hoping that time heals this wound. "We hope to be back next year."


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Poppin' Fourth

Our Fourth of July weekend was packed with activities. We were exhausted by Tuesday morning. Saturday morning I shuttled my two young kids back to their mom while E went for a run. We met friends for coffee and then headed to San Francisco for the day. We visited two excellent exhibitions at the main public library. I would urge anyone in the SF Bay Area to spend an hour to see them sometime in the next month.

"Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945": Presented by US Holocaust Memorial Museum (part of Smithsonian). Through reproductions of some 250 historic photographs and documents, this exhibition examines the rationale, means, and impact of the Nazi regime's attempt to eradicate homosexuality, leaving thousands dead and many more lives shattered. 6th Floor, Skylight Gallery; through August 18.
"Out at the Library, Celebrating the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center": Great exhibit of the Library's own collection of gay and lesbian literature and historical documents. Lower Level and 3rd Floor, through October 16.

We had dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant called Santorini near Union Square. We both had the Pomegranate Chicken (marinated roasted chicken infused with pomegranate sauce served with roasted garlic mashed potato and vegetables). It was delicious but a little salty. Latter on in the evening we were dying of thrust.

From the restaurant we walked to the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre to see “Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte”. It is a funny drag show parody of the Bette Davis movie “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”.

Sunday we went to a pool party hosted by a member of our running group. That evening we saw “War of the Worlds”. Monday we were back in the city to see the Giants lose again. After the game we saw “Batman Begins”. We both thought that “Batman” was better than “War of the Worlds”.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Independence Weekend

I was very pleased to read that United Church of Christ "acted courageously to declare freedom" when it passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage on Independence Day. According to the AP story, “The resolution calls on member churches of the liberal denomination's 1.3 million members to consider wedding policies "that do not discriminate against couples based on gender." It also asks churches to consider supporting legislation granting equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and to work against laws banning gay marriage. The endorsement by the church's rule-making body Monday makes it the largest Christian denomination to endorse same-sex marriage. The vote is not binding on individual churches.”

It is about time Christian denominations wake up about this issue and act in a more God like and loving way. I hope this spurs on several other churches to take a similar stand. Two of the liberal Jewish movements, Reform and Reconstructionist, have supported it for years. (The Conservative movement can’t reach a consensus and the Orthodox movement sees it as an affront to moral values.)

In March 2000, the Jewish Reform movement adopted a resolution by an overwhelming vote stating, in part, that "the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual." It does not compel any rabbi to officiate at such a ritual and it does not specify what ritual is appropriate for such a ceremony. Nonetheless, the historical and religious significance of this resolution is indisputable. For the first time in history, a major rabbinical body has affirmed the Jewish validity of committed, same gender relationships.

The Jewish Reconstructionist movement has also come out strongly in favor of same-sex marriages, both civil and religious, claiming that just as the love between heterosexuals is celebrated, "so too we celebrate the love between gay or lesbian Jews." Reconstructionist rabbis are not required to perform same-sex ceremonies, however most do.

Our wedding was performed by a straight rabbi in a large suburban synagogue. Seventy percent of the guests attending were straight. It was the same ceremony any other Jewish couple would receive. We just don’t have an official civil license that is recognized by the state. One of the reasons we decided to have a wedding without the legal recognition was to demonstrate that a commitment of Faith and Family was not reserved for the religious right or those of only conservative beliefs. Both our straight and gay friends have commented on beautiful the service was with our families so involved in it. The reception party was a breakthrough as well. No one had ever danced with so many other gay and straight couples on the same dance floor at the same time.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Dad Reminders

We have had our three youngest kids living with us full time for the past two weeks. Usually the 6 and 9 year old are here every other weekend. The 16 year old is with us full time.
Things to remember:
When the 6 year old says her tummy hurts and she feels like she is going to throw up, she is not bluffing. Wait a half hour and see what happens. Do not get in the car.
Remember to remind the 9 year old to go to the bathroom every few hours. He is pee shy but not in the usual way. He is too shy to say he has to go to the bathroom.
Constantly reminding the 16 year old that he has a curfew (midnight) and he can’t spend all night playing poker whenever and wherever he wants.
Other than that, we love having kids around.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Brief weekend honeymoon and pride

Last weekend was spent in San Francisco. The kids were with other relatives. E and I drove up after work on Friday. We stayed at a friend’s house in the Castro. Four of us went out and had a terrific small plate dinner at Bambuddha Lounge in the Civic Center area. Afterwards, we walked over to the Opera House to see “Così fan tutte” by Mozart. It was “Out at the Opera Night” which meant free champagne at intermission for all the gays out on the balcony. It was a fun opera.
After a day of shopping and walking around the Castro, we went to see the San Francisco Symphony on Saturday evening. They were doing a semi-staged concert version of Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing” and “Let ’Em Eat Cake”. Although some parts of the shows were dated (US political satire of the 1930’s), much of it was amazingly relevant to today’s politics.
Sunday morning we marched in the Gay Pride Parade. See previous entry about how to get thrown out of a gay parade.

Monday, June 27, 2005

How to get kicked out of a Gay Pride Parade.

Sunday we marched in San Francisco Gay Pride Parade with a group from Stanford University. The Stanford Marching Band was “marching” with us. “Marching” is in quotes because they don’t really march, they scatter. The band runs from one spot to the next and then plays a quick song. They are either running or playing. When they are playing they are loud and rocking. Crowds love them. Groups marching in units in front and behind us loved them too. There was love and music everywhere except in the cold, harden heart of the woman parade monitor. She did not like that the band could not stay contained as a unit in one box like group. She gave the band three warnings and then they were out. (She must be a UC Berkeley graduate.) Police were called in. The band had “marched” less then half of the parade route. A dozen police and security people barricaded the street in front of the band. Nobody was allowed to proceed until the Stanford Band was forced off onto a side street and out of the parade. If the band refuses to leave they were told that they would be arrested. After a brief standoff, the band yielded. The parade route was now safe for the Pride march to continue.

This was so absurd and bizarre. The band has a history of being controversial, outrageous, and sometime offensive. But they weren’t that at the Pride Parade. They were just being exuberant and enthusiastic.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The wedding schedule with program notes

1:00-1:45 Pictures with Ed & Eddie and with our kids
1:45-2:15 Pictures with rest of wedding party
2:15-2:30 Pictures with parents, siblings, other family
2:30-2:55 Gather in Conference Room for Ketubah Service
- Wedding party, family, witnesses & spouses/dates. The ketuba (“that which is written”) is the traditional marriage contract that has joined Jewish spouses for more than 2000 years. Written in both Hebrew and English, ours documents the date and place of our wedding, bridges our ceremony to the beginnings of Jewish traditions with Abraham and Sarah, and underscores the promises of caring and provision we are today making for one another.
2:15 Greeters in place
2:30 Piano music starts
2:55 Wedding party in hallway
3:00 Piano music starts for wedding itself

- Groomsman escorts Eddie’s Aunt & Uncle to seats
- Groomsman escorts Ed’s Father & Mother to seats
- Rabbi greets congregation and sets the scene
3:10 Procession begins to piano music:
- The Chuppah supporters (8 friends) come down the aisle
- Our two Groomsmen come down the aisle
- Our two Best Men come down the aisle
- Ed escorted by his two daughters and one son walks down the aisle
- Eddie escorted by his three sons walks down the aisle
3:15 Service under the Chuppah
- Rabbi greets and welcomes us
- Jewish music as Eddie & Ed circle one another seven times. We circle one another as a physical gesture of becoming ‘one.’ This circling symbolizes the unity of our marriage.
- Ed and Eddie’s two oldest children pour 2 cups of wine for blessing
- Erusin (Bethrothal). We will share the first cup of wine. Wine is associated with celebration in Judaism, and the sharing of the first cup symbolizes the great joy we share together today. Our first cup of wine will be drunk from the kiddush cup of a dearly departed friend.
- Personal remarks by Rabbi. Rabbi reads letters we wrote to each other.
- Soloist sings “With You” from Pippin by Stephen Schwartz
- 7 blessings read by wedding party. The Sheva B’rachot (Seven Blessings) moves us from the beginning of time to the end of time, weaving the joy of this moment into the continuum of history. They celebrate the blessing of a loving companionship, and they imagine a time when joy and singing will be heard in the streets of Jerusalem and around the world. The Cantor will chant each in Hebrew, and those on the bima will recite the English.
- Nissuin (The Nuptuals). The ceremony now moves from betrothal to marriage. A second Kiddush is recited over wine with a first-time used Kiddush cup we will hereafter use on Shabbat in our home as a constant reminder of the vows we have taken.
- Kiddushin (Ring Ceremony). We exchange rings as an acknowledgement of the mutuality of our bonding. In Jewish law, a verbal declaration is not legally binding for a marriage; there must be an exchange of some object of known value.
- Ed and Eddie read “Love Stories We feel especially connected to and strengthened by two stories of our tradition, those of David and Jonathan and of Ruth and Naomi. We are inspired by the unparalleled commitment, sacrifice, and love that they recount. During our ceremony, we will offer this reading with gratitude that the stories are a part of our tradition.
- The Reading of the Ketubah. Together we read it again before the whole congregation.
- Wrapping in Tallit by a friend and blessing from Rabbi.
- Breaking of the Glass. When we break the glass at the end of the ceremony, we once again call upon Jewish tradition which informs us that even in times of greatest joy, we must remember that the world is still broken and in need of healing and repair. Our hope is that our marriage will last as long as it would take to piece together the broken bits of this glass.
At the sound of the glass breaking, it is customary for everyone witnessing to shout Mazel tov (“Good luck”) and for there to be joyous music and clapping.
- Recessional
3:45 Service Ends

- Yichud. After the recessional, we will have a few minutes of privacy to reflect on the significance of this day and of our joining. We will re-enter the world as a couple united in love and commitment, joining all of you in the outdoor patio.
3:45-4:30 Outdoor Reception (Champagne/Wine offered, passed hor’dourves and bar open)
4:30-8:30: Seudat Mitzvah (Celebration). Jewish law considers it a religious imperative to rejoice with the married couple. Everyone will be invited to join hands, dance, and have loads of fun. And please, eat, eat, eat!
4:30 Doors Open to Social Hall; "Manhattan Towers", six piece band begins playing
- People find their table. Each table has a musical show name and is decorated with props from that musical done by TheatreWorks.
4:45 Horas, chair lifts, Jewish dancing.
- Salads delivered to tables as guests dance
5:05 Salad course begins
- Motzi (blessing of bread) by friends
5:30 Dance set of Motown, classic rock and show tunes
5:50 Main course begins.
Entres served as guest are seated.
6:30 Toast. Eddie & Ed called up to dance. Everyone else invited to dance floor.
7:30 Cake Cutting; dessert served
- Eddie & Ed welcome everyone and thank them.
7:40 Final dance set begins of more Motown, classic rock and show tunes
8:25 Last Dance
8:30 Party Ends

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Last Wednesday evening E and I went to see “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia” by Edward Albee at ACT in San Francisco. It was an amazing production. We came out feeling shell-shocked and not quite knowing what we just saw. Nevertheless, it was brilliant. It explored the tension between the comic and tragic, and the real and the absurd. We’ve been talking about the show for days (mostly when we were tired of talking about the wedding).

Thursday we had a lunch meeting with our wedding coordinator to review the details. E had a seven-page schedule prepared of what is happening when from 1pm on Sunday afternoon to 8:30pm that evening. E is a very organized person and pays lots attention to detail. After Thursday’s evening meal, E finished the table cards for the sit down reception dinner.

Friday I took off from work. We picked up our tuxes and ran a bunch of errands during the day. That evening we had Shabbat dinner with our six kids. We started the weekend in a peaceful and joyous manner.

Saturday: Hair cuts for my three kids. My oldest daughter (20) ends up spending 6 hours at the hair salon having 5 dye jobs trying to get her hair presentable. E runs around getting a suit fixed for one of his boys. That evening we attended the rehearsal dinner for wedding party and family. Several long time friends of E host the party for us. Close to 50 people were there for a lovely California evening. (It threatened to rain earlier that day!) Towards the end of the evening we staged a quick tech rehearsal, jumping from cue to cue, of the following day’s wedding. We then passed out thank you notes to everyone in the wedding party. We celebrated the close of the party and the end of the Sabbath with a Havdalah ceremony under the oak trees in their backyard. It was beautiful.

Sunday morning started with a breakfast of bagels. At 10 a.m. we got a call from one of the couples in the wedding. A close relative was gravely ill and they could not attend. Another couple graciously offered to stand in their place. By 12:45 we were all dressed and ready to leave for synagogue for pictures with the photographer at 1pm.

Next entry, the wedding!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Words of welcome from our wedding program:
We are overjoyed that each of you is here today to share in this celebration and consecration of our love and our lives together. Our wedding is not just a private affair. In Judaism, it is so important to affirm our commitment in the context of a history and a community – both of which give real meaning and direction to our lives. What you will witness today is a combination of many traditions which generations before us have used to assert their love before God, family, and friends. You will also hear and see some modern additions that we believe are in keeping with our tradition while also defining our own unique relationship in 2005.

While we follow the footsteps of many Jewish couples before us, we also know that ours is a less-trodden path as a same-sex couple. Today we want to commit publicly our bond and love in the company of you, our friends and family, who have supported us in so many ways these past three years. We also want to affirm the ground-breaking stand Reform Judaism has taken that same sex unions are holy and valid. Finally, we want to proclaim by our and your presence that we all stand together in the belief that loving couples and families are of many sorts in America. Further, we today defy any so-called morality group to define for us what they see as the ‘only’ way for marriage to occur. May the time be not too distant that our state and federal governments understand and act to assure the fundamental right to marry for all Americans.

Mozel Tov!
At 3 pm on Father's Day Sunday, June 19th we were married in a Jewish wedding ceremony. More details and maybe pictures to come.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Menu for the wedding reception

Stuffed Grape Leaves
served warm and poached in lemon juice
filled with rice, lemon zest, mint, chopped apricots, and pine nuts
plattered on carrot curls

Endive Spears
with lima bean hummus

Goat Cheese Croustade
on walnut baguettes with fig tapenade

Coconut Crusted Chicken Morsels on Bamboo Forks
offered with plum mango chutney

Fatoush Salad on Romaine Hearts
a middle eastern specialty
cut romaine strips, diced cucumber and tomatoes,
scallions, mint, parsley, and simac
tossed with toasted pita cubes, Israeli feta, and a lemon mint vinaigrette

A Basket of Distinctive Breads
moroccan olive bread, potato rosemary,
cracker bread, and lavosh with za’tar

Filet of Salmon Wrapped in Bok Choy
poached in a miso-ginger marinade
offered with a mango papaya salsa in a radicchio cup

Basmati Rice and Rose Lentil Pilaf
tossed with scallions, toasted pine nuts, chopped apricots,
minced red peppers, and parsley

Chef’s Choice of Market Vegetables
braised in sesame oil and shallots

Grilled Vegetable Polenta Tower
layered with veggies, caramelized onions, and fontina cheese,
topped with a Portobello mushroom and carrot ribbons
offered with a sweet pea coulis and roasted red pepper coulis

All entrees decorated with herb salad and a “surprise” garnish

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Love Stories

We are going to read the following to each other in our wedding ceremony.

As we join together our lives, we feel especially connected to and strengthened by two stories of our tradition, those of David and Jonathan and of Ruth and Naomi. We are inspired by the unparalleled commitment, sacrifice, and love that they recount. We offer this reading with gratitude that the stories are a part of our tradition.

And the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
Naomi said to Ruth: Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods. Return after your sister-in-law.
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
But Ruth said: Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, and even his sword, and his bow, and his girdle.
Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.
And Jonathan, the son of Saul, delighted much in David.
Thus may God do to me, and worse, for death alone shall part us.
Then Jonathan said to David, Whatever your soul desires, I will do for you.
When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to dissuade her. So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem.
And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
So Boaz married Ruth and God enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son. Naomi took the child and placed him on her lap; she became his caregiver.
And they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
The neighbor women named him, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David.
And the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
Sources: I Samuel 18: 1, 3-4; 19:1; 10:4; 20:17; 20:41. Alternating with Ruth 1:15-18 and 4: 13-22. Inspired by a reading created by a member of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco.

Other gay Bible stories can be found at this blog entry:

Monday, June 13, 2005

Less than a week to go

We have nearly 200 family and friends who will be participating in our wedding and its celebration next Sunday. About 180 of them are staying for the catered sit down dinner. There are 18 tables of ten and each table is decorated with props from a different musical or play. A six piece band will have the guests on their feet dancing to Motown, classic rock and show tunes.

When we sent out our invitation we requested no gifts. However, if people should desire to honor our union with a contribution, we suggested one of the following:
- Facing History and Ourselves, Summer Institute Scholarships (teacher training program):
- Jewish Family and Children Services, LGBT Project:
- Congregation Beth Am, Kulanu Fund (LGBT outreach):
- TheatreWorks, New Works Initiative:

Additionally, we encourage all to offer support in the form of a membership to the Human Rights Campaign, a national, nonprofit organization of 500,000 members dedicated to protecting the rights of GLBT individuals and families: At the receiption we will have a table set up with information, brochures and posters from the above non-profit organizations.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mr. Fabulously Interesting

I love Toby’s (Vividblurry) short piece about his Dad banging on his bedroom door to wake him up. Toby has perfectly captured one of those quintessential times between a son and a father. Our 16 year old son suffers through this every morning. And just because it is the weekend, is no excuse to spend all day in bed. Unfortunately, the 16 year old has not learned how to cover his tracks yet. He has been busted with alcohol and marijuana paraphernalia several times. He is grounded and lost his car privileges for the Summer.

Like Toby, our oldest son, 22, just graduated from a college in Washington DC. He is coming home in a week for our wedding. I think we will give him a break and let him sleep late.

I find Toby’s blog to be fascinating and enjoyable. It gives me a better appreciation of my own kids.

His critics, especially gay guys in their mid to late twenties, baffle me. If they were straight, they would be Republican Soccer Moms writing letters to the editor complaining of homosexual fornicators teaching their children in school.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Theatre and dance

While watching the Tony Awards, E and I decided we HAVE TO make a yearly trip to New York City to see shows. We already see about 40 to 50 shows a year in the Bay Area and we want to start attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival too. Somehow we will figure out a way to do it.

Our large suburban Reform synagogue had a party Saturday night with 400-500 guests. In the social hall there was a dance band playing to a large group of couples dancing. The band was playing swing, soul and classic rock tunes. As far as I could tell, we were the only gay male couple dancing. Soon we were joined by two lesbian couples. Nobody had a problem. I didn’t see any stares, whispering, shaking of heads or abrupt leaving of the dance floor. It is nice to feel normal in mixed situation like that.

Friday, June 03, 2005

California gay marriage bill dies

The California State Assembly rejected legislation to legalize same-sex marriage yesterday. There is a drive on to put a constitutional ban on gay marriage before voters next year. All the hateful, anti-gay legislation around the country drives me nuts. These people don’t remember history.

The Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935 deprived German Jews of their rights of citizenship, giving them the status of "subjects" in Hitler's Reich. The laws also made it forbidden for Jews to marry or have sexual relations with Aryans or to employ young Aryan women as household help. (An Aryan being a person with blond hair and blue eyes of Germanic heritage.)
The first two laws comprising the Nuremberg Race Laws were: "The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor" (regarding Jewish marriage) and "The Reich Citizenship Law" (designating Jews as subjects).
Those laws were soon followed by "The Law for the Protection of the Genetic Health of the German People," which required all persons wanting to marry to submit to a medical examination, after which a "Certificate of Fitness to Marry" would be issued if they were found to be disease free. The certificate was required in order to get a marriage license.
After the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, a dozen supplemental Nazi decrees were issued that eventually outlawed the Jews completely, depriving them of their rights as human beings.Source:

After the American Civil War most states in the South passed anti-African American legislation. These became known as Jim Crow laws. The term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites, as members of a caste of subordinate people. This included laws that discriminated against African Americans with concern to attendance in public schools and the use of public and private facilities. The Reconstruction governments removed the bans on interracial marriages, but many southern states reinstated these laws after 1876, and some states even wrote anti-miscegenation provisions into their state constitutions. Some states passed so-called miscegenation laws banning interracial marriages. These bans were, in the opinion of some historians, the "ultimate segregation laws." They clearly announced that blacks were so inferior to whites that any mixing of the two threatened the very survival of the superior white race.

It doesn’t take much imagination to replace Jew or African American with Homosexual and then you have the views of today’s Republican legislator or “born again” minister.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

End of May

Memorial Day weekend was another kid’s weekend. I had my two young kids for the three day weekend. My oldest daughter (20) was around for much of the weekend before she left for a summer session at college. On Saturday we bought dresses and shoes for both daughters to wear to our wedding. For both the six-year old and twenty year old, the shoes cost twice what the dresses cost. We got lucky with the dresses, they both were on sale. Sunday we took the two young ones to see the SF Giants lose another baseball game. Monday was a BBQ and pool party at my parent’s house. We had an early birthday celebration for my son. He turns nine next week.

Tuesday night E made a special dinner for the two of us. He had a new recipe he wanted to try out:
-- Herbed goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts with a port cherry sauce
-- Garlic Brussels sprouts, halved and seared
-- Fresh corn, lightly in milk
-- Young Romaine with crudités and oil & vinegar
-- 2000 Russian River Zinfandel
It was a terrific meal.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Four Day Weekend in Washington DC

E’s Number One Son (NOS) graduated last weekend from George Washington University with a double major. The guy is a smart kid.

We flew out on Thursday morning on a cramped United plane. We meet E’s aunt, uncle and ex-wife in DC. They also flew to DC from the SF bay area. The first night we all had rooms at a gay-owned, straight-friendly bed and breakfast not far from Dupont Circle. The William Lewis House is a cozy, Edwardian-style furnished, restored Victorian house. The Washington Blade just had a nice write up in its print edition. This was E’s third time staying there, my second.

Our long weekend visit was very different than our previous one six months ago. Back then we had lots of time to ourselves to visit museums, attend plays and hit the gay bars and dance clubs. This time it was about entertaining family and friends. I felt so lucky and fortunate to be a part of this new family. We (I, E and E’s ex-wife) hosted several meals that included many of NOS’s college friends and old family friends.

NOS always introduced E and I to his friends as “his Dads”. He even insisted that we go drinking with his buddies. Of course they were straight bars and The Dads paid.

Befitting any good family event, there was an abundance of eating. We had good lunches at Bertucci’s and Sette Osteria. Thursday night dinner was with family and college friends at Mimi’s American Bistro. Not only was the food good, but that night the singing waiters were cute and talented. Friday night was at a Malaysian restaurant called Penang. We had 16 people. Most were old family friends of E and his ex. Everyone had such a great time that most of us decided to meet again for brunch the next day at a hotel restaurant. Saturday night’s dinner was at Odeon Cafe where NOS had worked one summer. It featured old fashioned Italian food.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Weekend of kids and dinners.

We had six kids for Shabbat dinner on Friday. My two young kids (6 & 8) were with us for the weekend. My 20 year old daughter was also around. She has been staying at my parent’s house before going back to college for summer classes at the end of the month. And E’s high school age son is living with us now. They were all expected for dinner. Midday my older daughter calls and asks if she can bring an old friend from high school. Then a half hour before dinner, E’s son calls asking if his friend can come to dinner. Fortunately there was enough for all. E and I felt truly blessed as we lighted candles and said the blessings over the wine and bread at the beginning of the meal. It is great that the kids feel so comfortable to have their friends over.

Saturday night we were invited to a dinner party with four other gay couples at a house that looked like it came out of the pages of Sunset Magazine or Architectural Digest. We are trying very hard not to have house envy.

Sunday afternoon we picnicked in the park with another gay dad couple and their kids. Later that night we attended a benefit dinner for a teacher training organization called “Facing History and Ourselves”.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Show roundup

We have been to nine theatrical productions in the last six weeks. At the beginning of April we saw “Crowns” by Regina Taylor. It was the last show of the season at TheatreWorks. The show featured rousing gospel songs surrounded by an oral history of "hattitude", the story behind the hats that African American women wear to church. It is based on the book Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.

The following week we organized a small group of people for an intimate evening of “living room theatre”. Tony nominated actor and local resident Gerald Hiken performed excerpts from the writings of Marcel Proust, W.H. Auden and Gertrude Stein in his living room with dessert afterwards. It was a wonderful and charming evening.

We saw a touring production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” in San Francisco. It was produced by the Theatre Royal Bath and the Peter Hall Company in England. The best things about this production were the lights and the forest set. They were beautiful. However, I’ve seen Shakespeare performed better locally.

The last week of April we saw three new works at TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival. These were workshop readings. The best was Firoozeh Dumas’ “Laughing Without an Accent”. It is her one-woman show from her book Funny in Farsi. It is a very funny account of what it was like to be from Iran and grow up in American suburb.“The Funkentin Rapture” by Lee Summers and Ben Blake is a funk musical about love and a secret recipe for a dish called catfish surprise that is going to rival KFC’s chicken. The show needs to invest in a good editor with a sharp pencil to make a number of cuts.The final show had the strange name of “Piece”. It is by Scott Alan and Tara Smith. I would describe it as a memory musical of a woman at four stages in her life. The show seems ready for a full stage production. The music is very beautiful and touching.

Two weeks we saw the out of town tryout, “Lennon” in San Francisco. It is the John Lennon story that mostly focuses on the Yoko Ono years. The production had great singing but the structure and book of the show was disorganized. The point of the show appears to be: Imagine that there is a John Lennon in all of us. Give John Lennon a chance. All you need is John Lennon’s love.

This week we saw a strong production of Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” at A.C.T. and a fun semi-staged concert version of “The Boys from Syracuse” by Rodgers and Hart at 42nd Street Moon.
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