Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marching about town

A quick recap of the last couple of weeks. We have been busy with a variety of things. I already covered the first weekend in March. The rest of the month consisted of the following:
Attending 5 more plays:

  • 1) Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy done by a small community group called Theatre Q . It was a 25th anniversary production and tells the story of Arnold, a drag queen in pre-AIDS New York as he faces three important challenges: searching for love, wrestling with love's complications and defining family for a Jewish gay man. I was amazed how well the play’s themes still holds up and how much better I liked it than the movie. I am sure that 25 years ago the issues presented on stage were shocking and outrageous. Today they are just part of the news chatter. I would love to see a professional production of it sometime.

  • 2) We say a youth production of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. A child of a close friend and gay father was performing in it. The kids did a wonderful job.

  • 3) Trying by Joanna McClelland Glass was at TheatreWorks. This was an audience pleasing 2 person play about FDR's attorney general, Francis Biddle, and a young fresh-faced secretary there to help him finish his memoirs. The night I spotted the cast of San Jose Repertory Theatre’s next production, Nixon’s Nixon, attending as well. The next day I sent a note to Leah Garchik's column in the San Francisco Chronicle. She then printed the item: “Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger went to see FDR's Attorney General Francis Biddle in "Trying'' at TheatreWorks. Ken Ruta plays Biddle in this production, and David Pichette is Nixon and Peter Van Norden is Kissinger in San Jose Rep's soon-to-open "Nixon's Nixon.''

  • 4) We attended the touring production of Altar Boyz at the Orpheum theatre. It was part of the Best of Broadway series. Its a gentle satirical send-up of boy bands and Christian pop. It was cute but the theatre space (the Orpheum) is much too big and the production was lost in the cavernous hall.

  • 5) We went to the Marin Theatre Company to see The Good German by David Wiltse. It is a play we have talked for days afterward. Although the play is set during WWII, the commentary is really about the politics and ethics of today.
NOTE: Tickets for many of these shows are often available on Goldstar Events for half price.
Other stops around town.
Head of EQ, Doug Spearman & two Guy Dads
We attended a fundraiser for National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California. The celebrity guest was Doug Spearman from the TV series Noah's Arc.
We also danced the night away at Jewish Family and Children's Services Spring Gala Dinner.

We also saw Blue Suede Shoes at Ballet San Jose and went to San Francisco Symphony to hear Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah.

E as photographerFamily events included a niece’s wedding in Crockett, CA, opening day of little league and half dozen small dinner parties.Little League AAA

One of our favorite places to dance in San Francisco is Fresh at Ruby Skye. They have a monthly T-Dance usually on the third Sunday of the month. It starts a 6 pm Sunday evening and finishes by midnight. We love it because it has all kinds of men: young and old, twink to bear. It is great fun to dance for hours with hot, sweaty guys. And one does not have to stay out all night to do it either. Fresh @ Ruby SkyeUnfortunately, we have not been able to make it to the T-Dance in over a year and a half. Finally, we went in March. The music, dancing and the energy were pretty much the same but there was one noticeable difference. At any one time, at least 10% of the guys on the dance floor were standing there looking at their cell phones. Some people can’t be disconnected for a moment.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Passover will soon be here. Time to start cleaning out the pantry and drinking up the beer.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Insert phallic pun

The University is doing tree trimming (or topiary designs) on its majestic palm tree lined entrance drive. Each tree is getting its shag of dead fronds neatly trimmed and manicured. It just calls for witty comments about shaved balls or circumcised crowns.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Letter to the editor on Marriage Equality

I sent a letter to the editor of the San Jose Mercury News last Thursday. I was responding to their front page story about public acceptance of gay marriage. The story headline was “Gay marriage: How comfortable are you with it? More Californians oppose it than back it, but margin closing.

The Mercury didn’t print it in their newspaper but they did post it as the lead letter in “Additional Letters to the Editor”. Here is text of my letter:
Dear Editor,
Marriage equality is enviable. The cherished American belief that “all men are created equal” still holds true. It just takes time to become a reality. Originally it meant only white, free, male landowners were entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But over the last 200 years the concept has been expanded to include most minorities and women. One day soon gay men and women will have the same rights as heterosexuals.

In 1948 for example, California was the first state to effectively repeal the anti-miscegenation statutes. A poll taken at the time showed that less then 5% of the public were in favor of the decision. Nineteen years later, 1967, the activist judges of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously the state laws prohibiting interethnic marriage were unconstitutional. It took until year 2000 for the last state, Alabama, to change its constitution. Even then 40% of the voters were against it. It has always been challenged that racial intermarriage would be a threat to the holy and scared institution of marriage. A judge in 1965 said "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
I suppose it should not be surprising that the same conservative and religious bigots are still around using the same old arguments today. In time, same-sex marriage will just be latest evolution of the institution.

E--- J---
A proud, gay married father
Palo Alto

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another weekend in SF

We spent another full weekend in San Francisco. It was very similar to the one we did in January. Again we stayed at Inn on Castro. It is now our favorite Gay Bed and Breakfast in San Francisco. It has a great location, nice rooms, and an excellent breakfast, all for a good price. We have already made a return reservation to go back in a couple of months.

We had tickets for four shows and a museum exhibition. We started Friday evening with an early dinner at Catch, an excellent seafood restaurant on Market near Castro. We then hiked 3 miles to the theatre district up by Sutter and Mason. (We both love walking a city.) SF Playhouse was doing another Stephen Adly Guirgis play. Last year they did a terrific production of his “Out Lady of 121st Street”. This year they did “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train”. It is outstanding. It is a cage-rattling drama that explores religion and beliefs, justice and righteousness, personal responsibility and social options. It must be pure joy to be an actor doing a Guirgis script. Stephen Adly Guirgis writes great dialogue. The whole play just snaps and sizzles. Also, SF Playhouse is one of the best small theatres in the Bay Area. Their budget and resources may be a tiny fraction of what ACT or Berkeley Rep has, but they make up for it with great show selection and passionate acting.

Saturday matinee found us at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. They are premiering a new play based on Virginia Woolf’s landmark novel “To the Lighthouse”. We didn’t have high expectations for the show because the reviews in the local papers and the NY Times were mild at best. The production turned out to be pedestrian exercise in trying to dramatize a novel where there is no plot, story, or compelling characters. At the end of the show, everyone politely clapped and said, “hmm, that was interesting.” The best part of our trip to Berkeley was lunch at Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse.

That evening we attended the newest opera by John Adams. “A Flowering Tree” is full of lush, romantic music and features a dreamlike folktale. It was so different from his pervious political operas with their modern, austere music (Doctor Atomic, Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer). The opera was a semi-stage performance at the San Francisco Symphony with John Adams conducting and Peter Sellers directing.

Sunday was packed with a brunch at noon with friends and then a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see their exhibition “Picasso and American Art”. The show highlights how Picasso influenced “some of the best-known American artists of the modern era, including Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, and Max Weber — artists who directly and openly interpreted Picasso's style, appropriated his palette, or used his work as a point of departure. Picasso and American Art assembles nearly 150 pieces by these and other Americans alongside the works that inspired them, offering unprecedented insights into Picasso's pervasive impact on a country he never visited.”

Final outing for the weekend was a 5 pm show at Encore Theatre to see a very funny, dark comedy called “American Suicide” by Mark Jackson. It is a satire of a hapless man that finds himself ensnared in everybody else’s expectations of what they can gain if he kills himself. Jud Williford (the hapless man) and Delia MacDougall (an executive director of the Theatre Communications Group) are just two of the standouts in the well cast production.

NOTE: Tickets for many of these shows are often available on Goldstar Events for half price.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Turning 21

middle son and dad
Happy 21st Birthday to our third kid! E's middle son hits the big one today. Three of them are now 21 or older. Only three more to go…and it is going to be awhile until the youngest one is there. Their ages are 24, 22, 21, 18, 10, and 7.
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