Thursday, August 07, 2003

The Laramie Project

Acme Theater Company in Davis is presenting "The Laramie Project", a theatrical presentation of the reactions of Laramie, Wyoming residents to the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who hailed originally from out-of-town. The various interviews give local color to the show, but the real punch of the show is towards the end, as people gather for the funeral, when the vicious denunciations of the gay lifestyle by a hellfire-and-brimstone street preacher are met with determined street theater: lesbian 'angels', of all things. The show was really well done (remarkable, given the late hour of the performance I saw: 11 p.m. - 1:35 a.m., and the discomfort surrounding my fall, previously mentioned in this blog).

Several friends were in the show: Julia Robinson, who played (among other characters) the emergency room doctor who attended both the victim and one of the perpetrators (unknowingly, at the same time, in separate rooms); Jocelyn Price (under-used in this show because of rehearsal conflicts); James Henderson, who played the mountain biker who found the gravely-wounded Shephard; and Ian Rothman who helped tie the show together as quasi-narrator.

Interestingly enough, I found the show brought back warm memories. I once spent a weekend in the Snowy Range outside Laramie, doing snow experiments, and I once interviewed for a position at the University of Wyoming. The Snowy Range was mentioned several times in the show, and the motel I stayed at, the University Inn, was also mentioned.

After the show, I talked to Jocelyn Price, and mentioned an incident that once happened to me on the streets of Phoenix, when I was nearly gay-bashed. Instantly, waves of empathy, concern, caution, reserve, and sympathy crossed Jocelyn's face, like brilliant hues on an artist's palette (she is SUCH a wonderful and expressive actress!) I was surprised by her reaction, and then I realized she MAY have thought I might be "coming out" at that instant! No, no, no, I'm not gay, but you don't have to be gay to be gay-bashed!

On the night in question, in 1982, I was attending a ballroom dance convention in Phoenix at a hotel on North Central, when I decided to take a break and walk on the sidewalk outside. I was a graduate student at the University of Arizona at the time, and didn't have much money for newer clothes, so I was wearing old skin-tight 70's-era Angel Flight bell-bottom slacks. I'm certain, to some people, I looked gay enough. On the sidewalk, teenagers passing by in jeeps menaced me with words. I'm certain they would have followed up with deeds, except North Central is one of the busiest streets in the entire city of Phoenix, even at 10 p.m., when I was out there. So, I never faced Matthew Shepard's fate, but I felt the menace nevertheless.

The show finishes this weekend. See it if you can!

Davis Fiasco

Well, the planning commission meeting on Tuesday night didn't go as well as hoped. Still, I'm optimistic that only a two-month delay will result from the August 6th debacle.
Gerald Ford Redux

Tuesday night, I went to an 11 p.m. performance of "The Laramie Project", by Acme Theater Company, in Davis. These high school students did an excellent job (review to follow)! Returning from the second intermission, at about 1 a.m., I was descending the house-right steps when I stumbled and fell headlong down the steps. The audience of 60, or so, sat aghast for a few seconds, but I did my best to play it cool - I calmly picked myself up and returned to my seat with a smile. Jonathan Rothman (whose son, Ian, is in the show) made a couple of stale Gerald Ford jokes, just to see if I was still conscious. Today, I'm nursing the aching thumb and skinned knee, just glad that the damage wasn't even worse!

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

My friend says:

Happy Hiroshima Day! Boy, I almost forgot! I need to dig out my plastic model of the Enola Gay!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

What Blair and Comrades Really Think

Spin, spin, spin.....
The Future Governors of California

Yesterday, I turned in some of my petitions with recall signatures at the Sacramento County Board of Elections. Even though it was just Monday, the small lobby was crowded with future governors of California. We were a bluff, hale, hearty self-confident group of folks, bumping into each other like Michelin men, wishing each other good fortune. I even started a round of hand-shaking. It was as if we were at a NASCAR rally, or sizing up quarter-horses at the State Fair, or playing golf. Going over to the Secretary of State's office this morning, I met one of the group again, a fellow named Leonard Padilla, father of Julie Padilla. At first, I couldn't remember who Julie Padilla was - I thought it was bail bond ads on TV - but after leaving the office, I now remember I've seen her name before, running in local political races, and generally getting praise in the media for her stands, despite lop-sided defeats. (My feeble memory for names, which has bedeviled me since age 38, is going to be a real handicap if this thing takes off.)

I really like the professional and friendly folks at the Sacramento Board of Elections. These days, I'm sure they are glad they work for the County, though, rather than the State.

"Seabiscuit" and the Shock of the New

Last week, I FINALLY saw a movie for the first time in months - "Seabiscuit", which I highly recommend. Because David McCullough narrates portions of the movie, parts have a feel of a PBS documentary, but the story is stirring, and the pictures of California are beautiful. I thought better of seeing a movie like "Tomb Raider", because I anticipated a video game/dungeons sort of feel, and I wasn't interested in that. Except that before "Seabiscuit" was shown, there were about 30 minutes of ads that had strange little 2 or 3 minute dramas, that seemed to me to be a cross of TV and video games, with their strange sensation of being able to change the outcome by changing a decision here or there. Perhaps these ads are standard now - given that I rarely go to movies these days, how would I know? - but it was the first time I had seen them, and I got a weird crawling sensation, as the hair rose on the back of my neck, that something new had entered the world, some new TV/video game hybrid unlike anything in the past. What did Alvin Toffler call it - 'the shock of the new'? Anyway, it was pleasing to enter the horse story and make that shocking new stuff go away for awhile.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Davis Planning Commission

Tomorrow night is the meeting of the Davis Planning Commission, when DMTC's application to have a conditional use permit for building the new theater at 607 Pena will be considered. I'm not worried - I think things will go well. Still, it'll be nice to have that out of the way.
Dithering Dinosaurs

The asteroid approaches, yet there is a difference of opinions about what to do. The mammals know just one thing - scramble!