Friday, February 20, 2009

Oscar hype

We are eagerly waiting for the Oscars on Sunday. This year we have seen all the nominated films in the top categories: Best Picture, Leading and Supporting Actors, Directing, Writing and Music. We enjoyed the majority of the pictures. Standouts for us were “Milk”, “The Wrestler”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, and “Waltz with Bashir”. But we are baffled why “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” got so many nominations. It was not that good.

Watch this clip: The Curious Case of Forrest Gump

UPDATE: I want to remember these two acceptance speeches.
Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter for “Milk”: “…When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk"

Sean Penn, Best Actor for “Milk”: “…For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, and, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”

Finally, “Waltz with Bashir” was robbed of Best Foreign Language Film. It should have won. It is innovative filmmaking combined with a compelling anti-war story. It is documentary that is animated in a graphic novel style. The story follows the filmmaker/soldier struggling to recall suppressed memories from his involvement in Israel's 1982 war with Lebanon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weekend entertainment

Our friend Phyllis was here for her annual extended weekend with “the boys”. I am sure she left Tuesday morning feeling exhausted. (I know we are!) We went almost non-stop from Thursday evening through Monday night.

SF Playhouse presents Landscape of the BodyThursday we attended SF Playhouse to see a disappointing "Landscape of the Body" by John Guare. This is the third Guare play we have seen in a year. If we never see another of his plays, it would be too soon. His play Six Degrees of Separation was OK. It is one of his best known plays based on a true story. There is a well know film of it too. A few weeks ago we walked out of ACT’s production of Guare’s “Rich and Famous”. “Landscape” was not as bad as “Rich and Famous” but all his plays are dated in a 1970’s NYC humor that comes across today a mean and boarders on anti-semitic, racist and homophobic. However, we did had a wonderful dinner at Cafe Andre in the Rex Hotel on Sutter Street.

Teatro Zinzanni - Vertical TangoFriday night we returned to another fabulous dinner theatre treat at Teatro Zinzanni to celebrate everyone’s birthday! This was our fifth or sixth time attending. The show changes every 3 months. The spiegeltent is turned into a Casablanca style club, where espionage, dirty deals and secret missions take place. Highlights were the couple that performs a sensual and athletic vertical tango. The improvisational performer and comedian Kevin Kent was outstanding too. The five course meal, as always, was excellent as well.

Wine country tour with Extranomical ToursSaturday found us doing another wine tour of Sonoma and Napa valleys. We visited Viansa, Cline Cellers, Grgich Hills, V.Sattui, Hopper Creek wineries. The tour was with Extranomical Tours and we booked it on Goldstar for half price. The tour guide did a wonderful job selecting interesting and enjoyable group of wineries. The four other couples we met on the tour were great fun as well. We ended up purchasing almost 3 cases of wine and joining 2 wine clubs. We recommend and would do another Extranomical Tours.

Reynolds's Electric Cable-Operated VibratorSunday was a day of theatre in Berkeley. In the afternoon we saw “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)” by Sarah Ruhl at Berkeley Rep. Ruhl is one of my favorite new playwrights. She writes in a witty style similar to Paula Vogel. We saw her play “The Clean House” over a year ago. We missed Berkeley Rep’s acclaimed production of “Eurydice” last year. In a few weeks we will see “Dead Man's Cell Phone”. “The Next Room” is a *touching* look at one of the first electrified appliances during the Victorian age. [The photo is a Reynolds's Electric Cable-Operated Vibrator. It was on display with other electric and hand-crank vibrators in the lobby of theatre. It is similar to one used in the performance.] The evening play was "Betrayed" by George Packer at the Aurora Theatre. It was a riveting study of Muslim translators working for US forces in Iraq.

Monday we started off by going to the movies. We attended the early show of the Israeli film “Waltzing with Bashir”. It is nominated for Best Foreign Film. The movie is an amazing and clever piece of cinema. A real documentary but filmed as an animated graphic novel. We finished our weekend by seeing Sally Kellerman at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco. She is best known for playing Major "Hot Lips" O'Houlihan in the film version of MASH. She is also an excellent singer. Unbelievably, she is 72 years young and has a strong, smokey voice. She sang for a solid 90 minutes.

Sally Kellerman with GuyDads

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love Poem for Valentine’s Day

E wrote this love poem and read it at our legal gay wedding back in October 2008. He recited it to me during the ceremony. It is a beautiful and loving poem and I am glad to share it with all:

"Sometimes I catch my own breath,
Gasping desperately for needed air
As I suddenly realize how much I love you.

"Sometimes I trip on a stone not there,
Stumbling as an awkward puppet
As I lose myself thinking about you.

"Sometimes I grin at inappropriate times,
Puzzling passersby at my apparent joy
As I remember how it is to be with you.

"Sometimes I wipe my eyes of tears not there,
Crying silently in my heart, mind, and soul
As I feel so deeply how you have touched me.

"Sometimes I stop all that I do and look to heaven,
Thanking God with fervent prayer
As I know how lucky I am to have found you.

"Sometimes I just hold my breath as long as I can,
Choking out all other outside world and life
As I hold you close to me in my dreams.

"Sometimes, all times, every time I simply sigh,
Relishing every moment we have spent, every word we have spoken
As I realize yet again how much I love you”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Gay Dad

Eddie baby
Happy birthday to my husband. He is 50-something years young and is still as cute as his baby picture.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Owl in the Library

Mill Valley Public LibrarySunday afternoon we were in Mill Valley and ran an errand to the Mill Valley Public Library. E and I were walking around main floor admiring the beauty of the library. The library building is set in a grove of large and old trees. It is like being in a lodge in a forest. It is one of the most beautiful small city public libraries we have seen.

Suddenly there was a commotion at one end of the building. Looking up we saw a beautiful white owl sail the length of the room to the other end. It was like a scene out of a Harry Potter movie. Owl in the rafters of the Mill Valley Public LibraryThen we heard the dull thud as it hit the window. Patrons were scrambling to try to help the owl get out by opening all the available windows.

We left the library because we had a play to catch. Once outside, we saw the owl escape through one of the open windows. It sailed out into the woods. I am glad it got out safe. My daughter (who took the pictures) said this was the second time the bird had found its way into the library.
Read the recent news story in the Mill Valley Herald.

We went on and saw a wonderful production of “My Children! My Africa!” by Athol Fugard at the Marin Theatre Company. It plays through February 15th. Go see it.

Friday, February 06, 2009

5 hits and 1 miss

We have seen six shows already this year. Five of them were really good and one was a stinker.

ACT stageThe worst show was from the largest and most acclaimed theater in the area. Almost any objective ranking would list American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) as the premier theatre company in the Bay Area. It has a Tony award, has its own theatre building, an endowment, and operates a highly regarded conservatory program that offers a master of fine arts degree. Danny Glover, Annette Bening, Denzel Washington, Benjamin Bratt, and Anika Noni Rose are among the program's well-known graduates. Their productions have big budgets, beautiful sets and costumes, and highly regarded actors. But their choice of plays and ability to pull it off is never consistent. They hit an all time low this year with a revival of “Rich and Famous” by John Guare. The show is an unfunny, dated 70's comedy about an unsuccessful playwright. It is full of sexist, homophobic and racist stereotypes. It is the first show we walked out in the middle of with a dozen others audience members. Didn’t anyone during rehearsals or previews realize that they were staging a comedy that not only wasn’t funny but was extremely offensive?

Macbeth with Blyther Foster and Craig MarkerThe Wonderful Shows: We saw an outstanding production of “Macbeth”. Performed by Shotgun Players and featuring one of our favorite Bay Area actors, Craig Marker. The production featured young, sexy actors in contemporary dress. Since we have been together, Eddie said that he never needed to see another production of the Scottish Play. He made an exception with this one and said it was the best.

We saw two very good revivals. The first was the musical, “Zanna, Don't” at the New Conservatory Theatre Center. It is a charming story of a high school matchmaker that is determined as ever to make sure everyone in town, guy and guy, gal and gal, guy and gal, is happily paired up in this musical fairy tale.
The other show was the classic screwball comedy, “Twentieth Century” by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. It is based on a play by Charles Bruce Milholland and was recently adapted by Ken Ludwig. It was done by our local company, TheatreWorks. The plot is about an on-the-outs impresario needing a hit show with a mercurial silver screen starlet.

The other two shows were incredible. The are written by two new west coast playwrights. The first was “Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party” by Aaron Loeb. It was presented at San Francisco Playhouse. It is done in 3 acts that look at similar events from different points of view. At the start of the show the audience votes on the order based the titles of the acts: Power, Liberty, and A House Divided. The plot revolve around a son coming out in a conservative family and a "Star is Born" mentorship between an aging "good ol' boy" Republican and politically raising, conservative black woman who take each other on in opposing sides of a court battle. A grade school teacher is on trail for teaching that Lincoln was gay.
TIC at Encore TheatreThe other is “T.I.C. Trenchcoat in Common” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb at Encore Theatre Company. The story revolves around a moody and angry teenage girl. She starts to publish a blog with video about her new T.I.C. (Tenant-in-Common) apartment building and living with her gay dad. Creepy and funny murder mystery develops.
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