Saturday, November 27, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I'm in Las Vegas celebrating turkey day with my family. Thursday morning I woke up around 4:00 am and took Samtrans to the airport and flew to Los Angeles. From there I rode with my sister's family to Las Vegas. They have a Winnebago renamed "Pappa's Bus" by my 3 year old niece. The traffic was rough and the freeway was actually closed at one point for an accident. We made it around 6:00 PM in time for a pleasant family dinner.

I'm not a big Las Vegas gambling fan, I prefer Red Rock Canyon over the casinos but there's something for everyone in the sin city.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Friday evening was looking like a very quiet evening. I was planning to take in a movie probably Brother to Brother which is showing at the Lumiere Theatre. But around 5:00 Pm I received a call from a friend who had several events on her plate and wanted to see if I was interested. We ended up at the Berkeley Black Group it's a Black Theatre group in Berkeley where we saw a play written and produced by Ishmael Reed, "Who's who in the Touch Love Game." It's a piece about four Black Republicans who work for a Right Wing Think Tank with a philosophy similar to the Heritage Foundation or Manhattan Institute. Their institute is planning to downsize and they only need one Negro to promote their ideology about race, who will survive? The most humorous character is Wad Connerly an obvious play on Ward Connerly our beloved unfavorite negro opportunist. Connerly is portrayed as an illiterate, money grubbing slob whose sly like a fox.

The play's writing was very rough and the production really wasn't ready for prime time but it was enjoyable. The Berkeley Black Group Theatre was spacious and they didn't mind if you brought food inside. It gave the place a very community theatre feel.

Afterward we went to Ashkenaz, a Berkeley dance club, and saw Maria De Barros the God daughter of Cesaria Evora the barefoot diva of Cape Verde.
The dance concert was nice De Barros music is an interesting mixture of African, Latin, and Cape Verdean sounds. This was the second time saw her this year. This concert was more enjoyable because I didn't spend the evening comparing her to Cesaria but enjoyed her sound and style. We weren't pulling any guys that night but we had fun dancing. Ashkenaz is a great place to go and dance the evening away.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Monday might was a bust theatre-wise. We arrived at a closed and dark theatre, the play had ended last week. Oh well, mis-read the website. How embarassing and disppointing, hopefully I'll get another chance to see 69 Tales.

Trying to make amends I suggested we find a place for a drink. We ended up at the Tunnel Top at hip comfortable bar on Bush Street. The Tunnel Top is located near the Stockton Tunnel and sits above The Green Door Massage Palor.

The bars is my kind of dive, no-cover, friendly service, reasonable priced drinks, DJ spinning music even on a Monday night. No theatre but good conversation and music is always a pleasure.

Inside the Tunnel Top

The Tunnel - Let's just say it was a little unclean - you can skip the Tunnel go straight to the TOP


Monday, November 15, 2004

Haven't seen it but I'll be there tonight

69Stories: One Pervert's Tale
Exit Theatre
277 Taylor - San Francisco

It's Monday night let's start the week right by supporting the arts!!


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Saturday in San Francisco felt like spring, it was actually sunny and for San Francisco standards warm. I had plannned to go downtown to checkout a condo available under the city's limited equity program and do a few chores. I ended up staying out the whole day, getting a few things done but primarily enjoying the sun and walking the town.

After viewing the Condo, I walked to the Embarcadero. I took this shot while walking under the Bay Bridge. The palm trees feel false to me in the City, they're the classic symbol of a tourist spot.

The work horse of the Bay Area: The Bay Bridge

Walking to the Ferry Building - one of my favority public art pieces
the giant bow and arrow "Cupid Span". The Ferry building is in the background.

After another stop at the Main Library in Civic Center - (sorry no pics) I made my way to the westside of the city, hooked up with a friend and we headed to Baker Beach.

Baker's beach is located in the Presidio, it has views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the crowd is usually more mellow than Ocean Beach. It's a nice place to hang. The vibe was very nice that evening, the fog didn't roll and folks were out on the beach enjoying the sunset. It's getting dark so I'm going to head home. My feet are a little tired - but I'm feeling good.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Work is so slow today, everybody is off or leaving early. I'm still chillin at my desk - it's a great day for housecleaning or maybe a better term is desk cleaning.

FRUGAL ALERT: The Marsh Theatre is offering FREE or PAY WHAT YOU CAN Tickets for TRAIN STORIES . It's a wonderful solo piece performed by Wayne Harris, the piece is challenging don't make to many assumptions wait til the end - you'll appreciate the writing and performance. Get out and support the arts, call the theatre in advance (415) 826-5750.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Sunday I was under the weather, maybe it was the soy chocolate, organic wine or possibly MSG in my dinner but when I woke up my head felt like it was recovering from a hangover. Headaches for me are rare but it lasted the whole day.

That evening, I went to the San Francisco Jazz Festival's Fats Waller 100th Birthday Celebration. The SFJazz Festival is the premiere group presenting Jazz Headliners in San Francisco. The organization uses several venues in the City, this program was at Davies Symphony Hall which is very good because the acoustics are wonderful .

Stride Piano and Ruth Brown are what brought me to the concert, I saw Ruth Brown several years ago and I was hoping for a chance to see her again. She won't be singing her hits tonight but seeing her perform is a treat.

I've been reading a little about Stride Piano players and curiosity about the performance drew me in. I was hoping to see some exciting Stride playing but there wasn't any showboating that night. There were three wonderful musicians, Dick Hyman, Mike Lipskin, and Jay McShann. Seeing and hearing Jay McShann , 9o year old play the piano was inspirational.

The concert was a presentation of Fat Waller's compositions Ain't Misbehavin, Honeysucker Rose, and The Joint Is Jumpin to name a few. The evening included video clips of Fat Waller and I couldn't help but notice how the images of Black culture haven't changed. Girls dancing wildly, men drinking booze and being frisked for weapons some things don't change. Our marketing has hasn't changed one bit.

In second half of the program Ruth Brown accompanied the musicians singing more Wallers songs.

A few pics below- of the evening.

Davies Symphony Hall (inside - during intermission) I almost got kicked out for taking this pic. It's hard to believe you can't a take picture during intermission .... but a usher who wasn't very cordial informed me very sternly.

Davies Symphony Hall at night


Monday, November 08, 2004

What's a self respecting San Franciscan to do the Saturday after another dismal election? Find the "choir to preach to" so the world doesn't look so mean, I headed over to the GreenFestival, a two day mega convention showcasting green-progressive consumer products, activism, and education. The event was crowed, interesting and fun, I tasted my first soy chocolate - hate to be wrong but yuck! I'm down for supporting free-trade chocolate and products but leave the soy chocolate at home. The soy milk is ok,. The convention featured speakers, I had planned to hear Dennis Kucinich but a scheduling conflict with sleep made me unavailable.

There were many products I wasn't familiar with like green burials, you're buried without embalming fluid, casket or head stone but with a GPS device to allow family members find your resting remains.

After the festival, I went to Cafe Soma, a South of Market cafe and meet a friend we strolled downtown, hopped on Muni, the 30 Stockton and went to Chinatown for dinner and book shopping for North Beach. Now, this was all very cool except I had planned to take a nap because I was meeting another friend a see a Midnight movie.

I didn't get my nap but I made it home changed and was ready to walk to the Bridge Theatre to experience the PURPLE RAIN SING-A-LONG. We left around 10:45, it's a good 30 - 40 minute walk and when we arrived at The Bridge there was already a line around the block. People were playing Prince songs from cars and dancing in line. This was before we even entered the theatre. The show was sold-out and we haven't purchased our tickets. Well, the Purple Prince was giving us blessings that night we got one ticket free and buying a second one was easy - we got our tics and made the show.

Inside people were partying in the isles, I tried to take some pictures but my cheapie camera doesn't work well in the dark. Around midnight the host of the night Peaches Christ and friends did a selection of Prince inspired skits. They were campy and well done the audience loved it. Afterward Purple Rain hit the screen now 20 years old, watching a 80's club film dates me but listening to Prince's songs, I was struck how they're still sound good.

Watching a midnight movie is the one film experience where heckling is expected (if you're funny). There was singing, heckling and cheering for his Purpleship.

Afterward, we walked home safely, we took back the night. It was great to feel comfortable walking home, the Richmond is a safe neighborhood but I wouldn't try it too much.

pics soon .....I hope


Sunday, November 07, 2004

Haven't written for a couple of days, I've been under the weather with sinus problems or something but I gotta blog. Friday evening, continued my theatre run by visiting the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre to see Looking Over the President's Shoulder, a solo piece starring Larry Nelson. The play is about Alonzo Fields the African-American who was head butler in the White House under four American Presidents Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. Nelson plays Alonzo Fields telling us his story, perspectives, and his impressions of the Presidents he served.

The play is well written, it takes you through the administrations with ease and you get a sense of Fields. But I wasn't happy the Larry Nelson performance, he flubbed his lines several times and lacked intensity. What's always striking about solo performance is the actor's energy; while Nelson was obliviously competent he lacked a certain spark. At the end of the performance during the applause the lights were dimmed as they were brought back up I could see Nelson quickly lowering his hand, he was yawning, that was a first! Maybe the election results still had him up at night.

I would love to see the play again with another actor. Last note, tickets were purchased at Theatre Bay Area we were able to get discounted tickets, gotta maximize that dollar. With my maximize dollar I can continue to support the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, their next play is a joint production with the Bekerely Repertory Theatre, Polk County a Blues Musical written by Nora Zeal Hurston and Dorothy Waring. I've enjoyed Nora Zeal Hurston for so many years I'm really excited about this play.

The pictures below I took while walking to the theatre. I was on Powell Street, the heart of downtown, always bustling with people, cable cars, and cars it's a lively. I always enjoy waslking the street feeling the energy and people watching. This brother had parked his Art Car on Powell Street, no simple feat. We chatted and I hope to see him around the City sometimes.

Local Art Car on Powell Street

One more shot Local Art Car on Powell Street


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

All Saints Day, Dia de Los Muertos, and Election Day 2004. I have to admit positive energy wasn't in the air today. Maybe San Francisco was collectively holding it breath. Possibly my own skeptic feelings were dragging me down. Whatever the season, I felt nervous after I voted and the feeling became more intense even before I started watching the news. Because of the election I decided to skip school tonight, I knew I wouldn't be able to focus on Jazz.

Since this evening was Dia De Los Muertos I went out with a friend to see the procession and altars in the Mission District. The crowd was smaller than usual but lively. In San Francisco Dia De Los Muertos is a Euro adult/family activity, few Mission Latinos participate in the procession. However, the dancers, vendors an artists are more diverse.

Below are a few pictures from the evening

Celebrators the dancing dead

Aztec-est Altar Dia De Los Muertos

Altar San Francisco Dia de los Muertos

After viewing the altars and processions we headed over a friend's house. I was hoping this would be a pit stop, I wanted to check out a few political parties or maybe visit the Castro, there was supposed to be a giant screen on 18th Street. But we didn't make it, my compatriots seemed satisfied to eat junk food, watch some cable political satire and mumble some political hyperbole about Kerry's last minute win.

It was a little sad. Dia de los Muertos was quite appropriate.


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