Thursday, February 22, 2007

Weekend with Phyllis

A very dear friend of E’s came out from Washington DC to visit us this last weekend. Usually she is seen in the company of “A-list” politicians and celebrities, but this weekend she had a grand time with the GuyDads.

Friday night we took Phyllis and E’s oldest son to North Beach Restaurant for a terrific old style Italian meal. Then it was a short walk across the street to Beach Blanket Babylon. The show as usual was hysterical. The best number was the “Leader of the Pack/Dreamgirls” sequence. Nancy Pelosi dressed in leather and on a motorcycle roars onto stage with her “pack”, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Diane Feinstein dressed in Poodle Skirts.
They are stopped by Condoleezza Rice and her boys, George and Dick. A show stopping sing-off happens between Condi and Nancy as they belt out "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls. Condi stops the show with:

"And I am telling you, He’s not going,
He's the best man you'll ever know,
And no way, I'll let him go.
No, no, no, no way....I''m livin' without him
Not one minute without him, I don't wanna be free
We're stayin', and you, and you, and you, you really bug me."

Saturday afternoon was a visit to Filoli Center, a turn of the century mansion estate that is now run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In the thirty years it has been open neither one of us has ever been there before. Even though there was not much in bloom on 16 acres of formal gardens, it was still beautiful. The house and gardens have been used a lot by Hollywood. About two dozen films and TV shows have been filmed there including, "Heaven Can Wait", "Dying Young", "The Wedding Planner", "George of the Jungle", "Rent" and the TV show "Dynasty".

Saturday night we brought my parents along with Phyllis to see Theatro ZinZanni located at Pier 29 on The Embarcadero in San Francisco. This 3-hour performance is like a combination of Cirque de Soleil and old European cabaret. You also get a five course gourmet meal too. It is kind of pricey but you get great a dinner, an amazing and unbelievable entertainment in a setting where the service is classy. It is something to be experienced!

Sunday afternoon found us back in San Francisco yet again. We were there to see a compelling performance of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” by August Wilson at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. That evening we went to the Empire Plush Room in the York Hotel to see jazz vocalist Paula West. She is known for her eclectic taste in music selection. The jazzy cabaret arrangements of Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”, Hank Williams’s “Honky Tonkin”, the traditional Celtic tune, “Loch Lomond” were outstanding. Her set also includes many standards from the Great American Songbook as well. Most of the amazing arrangements were by her piano accompanist George Mesterhazy.

Monday was a road trip to Santa Cruz. We visited E’s middle son. He is a student at UC Santa Cruz. We finally saw the house he is living at this academic year and took him out for lunch. After dropping him back at his place, we did a leisurely drive around the campus and then up the coast to Half Moon Bay. Our final dinner with Phyllis was at Lavanda in Palo Alto.

Tickets for Beach Blanket Babylon, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and Empire Plush Room are often available on Goldstar Events for half price.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Night at the Oscars

Sunday night is Academy Awards show. Since we do not have TV hookup, we have to go some where to watch it. For the last several years our favorite place to be has been San Jose Pride Presents… “A Night at the Oscars”. Unlike the San Francisco’s Academy of Friends Gala, you can actually sit and enjoy the telecast. And it is a fraction of the cost and the proceeds still go to a good cause. There is still time to get your tickets.
San Jose Pride's Night at the Oscars party
Sunday, February 25th 4:00 PM
Event Begins with Cocktail Reception hosted by Comedienne Jennifer Lin
Hotel Valencia, 355 Santana Row, San Jose, California
- Live Entertainment
- Full Sit-Down Dinner
- No-Host Bar
- Silent & Live Auctions

* Ticket Information - Ticket cost: $75 per person. Table for 10: $750
Tickets may be purchased credit card, debit card, PayPal or eCheck.

More about “A Night at the Oscars” - San Jose Pride is proud to present the 79th Annual Academy Awards ceremony with Ellen DeGeneres.
This year's “A Night at the Oscars” event is being held in the luxurious surroundings of Santana Row's Hotel Valencia and will be hosted by comedienne Jennifer Lin. Jennifer is well-known for her numerous appearances and interviews on TV and Radio as the Asian Poster bride for marriage equality. Born in Taiwan and growing up in Ohio, she learned most of her English by watching Brady Bunch reruns.

* About San Jose Pride - The annual 2007 San Jose Pride Celebration takes place on June 9th and 10th 2007. This year’s theme, “Stronger Together,” reflects the celebration of breaking boundaries and generating new respect for all throughout the greater LGBT community. For information, contact, 408-916-8607 and visit the web site:

This black-tie affair consisting of live entertainment, auctions, fine food, and of course fabulous company is one not to be missed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WeHo Weekend

Last weekend E said he had the best birthday weekend ever. We had a get-away-weekend to West Hollywood. Neither one of us had been there before but it met our three most important travel criteria: It’s got to be Gay, Cultural and have opportunities for Shopping!

San Vicente Inn-ResortWe flew to LA on Friday night and rented a bargain of a car. Drove to WeHo to the place we picked out on the internet: the gay, San Vicente Inn-Resort. The place wasn’t quite as lush as the webpage makes it but the location was perfect and the bed was comfortable.
Their marketing materials boast the following amenities:
  • 20 Man Steam Room (reality is that it can hold 6 sitting, 3 standing)
  • Redwood Sun Decks (true)
  • Clothing Optional (true)
  • 10 Man Hot Tub (8 would be more than cozy)
  • Heated Pool (Not. It was clean, functioning and unheated)
  • Workout Area (true but it is the size of a small walk-in closet)
  • Conference Room (didn’t see or look for it)
  • Lush Tropical Private Gardens (true)
  • Yoga Studio (didn’t see or look for it)
Our spartan room at San Vicente Inn
Nevertheless, we would try staying at the place again. Next time we would request a room not on the street and visit during a warm spell. The weather was cool with occasional showers.

After checking in, we checked out the gayborhood. We ended up having drinks and dinner at The Abbey. We were surprised how good the meal was. Birthday wishes
Later that evening and into the early hours of Saturday morning, we found ourselves at Micky’s bar on Santa Monica Blvd. We watched the many go-go boys dance for dollars on three stages. Later we spent a couple hours dancing on the dance floor having a great time. It was such a blast; we did it again late Saturday evening. By then we worked up enough courage to ask our favorite go-go boy (man!) to have a commemorative birthday picture and hug.

We saw two fantastic shows while in LA.
Mahagonny at LA Opera
Saturday night we attended Rise and Fall of The City of Mahagonny (pronounced ma-ha-GONE-nee). It is an opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht performed by the Los Angeles Opera. It featured Broadway divas Audra McDonald and Patti LuPone. Directed by John Doyle who recently did the revivals of Company and Sweeney Todd on Broadway. Synopsis: “Old West boomtown rises from the desert to become a razzle-dazzle mecca for lust, liberty, and the pursuit of pleasure. Cash is king, sin is "in", love is always on sale, poverty is punishable by death, and anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” It is very easy to see the influence this show from the early 1930’s had on Kander and Ebb’s musicals of Chicago and Cabaret.
Steven Fales in his show Confessions of a Mormon Boy
The other show we saw was Confessions of a Mormon Boy. It is a one-man autobiographical confessional of Steven Fales, a former Mormon who came out after marrying and fathering two children. Both E and I identified with many parts of his story. It was funny, moving and inspirational.

Columbian mammoth from tar pits
We also walked from West Hollywood to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and back. A pretty 5 ½ mile stroll. In addition we spent a couple hours touring the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum. We packed a lot of activities into two days.
Beverly Hills...swimming stars...

Monday, February 05, 2007

I Think I Shall Never See A Blog as Lovely as a Tree

Saturday was "Tu B'Shvat", the Jewish version of Arbor Day. “Tu Bishvat, or the "Birthday/New Year" of all fruit trees, is a minor festival seemingly tailor-made for today's Jewish environmentalists. In fact, there is an ancient midrash (rabbinic teaching) that states, "When God led Adam around the Garden of Eden, God said, 'Look at My works. See how beautiful they are, how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil or destroy My world--for if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you'" (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.13).”

We celebrated it by spending it out doors in a beautiful San Francisco day. First we noshed on some bagels from Noah’s and then drove to the San Francisco Zoo. We wandered around the African Savanna section to see the giraffes and zebras. Then we spent time checking out the gorillas, monkeys and lemurs. Interesting fact: there is chicken wire wrapped around the trees in the Savanna area where the giraffes live. This is to keep the giraffes from licking all the bark off the trees and destroying them. We watched several giraffes lick the wooden siding of their barn.
San Francisco Zoo
African Savanna at SF Zoo
After lunch we drove up the coast to just past the Cliff House to hike the “Lands End Trail.” The trail begins at a cypress tree grove above the Cliff House and Sutro Bath ruins. It winds along the rocky, rugged cliffs where the Bay meets the Pacific. Across the channel you can see the Marin headlands. There are many twisted and contorted cypress trees along the trail frozen in recoil from the relentless wind. The kids had fun finding walking sticks along the trail to carry and play with. They also counted the trail steps in one steep section…all 127 of them!
Start of Lands End Trail
The Golden Gate Bridge
Playing on the trail
As the poet said, "only God can make a tree" - probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on. ~Woody Allen
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