Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wednesday Night At The MGM Grand

Spent time alternating between blackjack and dancing at Studio 54 And Tabu. The gambling was just horrible, as it often is - continual losses ($565 or so). The dancing was better though.

When I first arrived at Studio 54, there were very few dancers, oddly enough - maybe ten or so. Enthusiasm was low at Studio 54 on a Wednesday night stretching into Thursday morning. So, management sent out the girls to do their fun trapeze act. After awhile, the dancing picked up, and the energy level escalated.

Didn't make any new friends or have any particular zany adventures this time, but I did enjoy myself.

(Left): Projected image from the ceiling onto one of the low tabletops at Tabu.

The music seemed unfamiliar to me at Tabu - energetic but practically from some unknown genre. So I asked the DJ what he was playing. "We play progressive House music," he said patronizingly. "No, no, what are you playing?", I insisted. He said it was 'The Drill,' by "The Edge." I will have to locate that.

The girls do their Cirque du Soleil inspired act at Studio 54. Like the Cirque girls, they rose from the floor on chrysalis-like body wraps, but they are considerably more hemmed-in by the numerous racks of lights above the dance floor than the Cirque girls would be. So they pose a lot, which works just fine for me!
What Plummets In Vegas, Stays In Vegas

John and Mike explained what happened (paraphrasing):
John: We had come out of the bicycle convention and we were walking on the sidewalk on The Strip in front of the Wynn Casino, when we looked up at the escalators people use to get to the pedestrian walkway across The Strip. There was this guy, probably a fellow biker, about 20 years old, who was going up the escalator, but on the outside: his hands were on the rail, but he was stepping along the outer metal flange. I looked away briefly, then *bang!* he fell from the top, 20 feet onto the sidewalk, right in front of us.

Mike: He fell on his side. He didn't move at all for at least 20, maybe 30 seconds, until he started moaning slightly, as his friends gathered around.

John: If we had been back in Oklahoma City, I would have rushed over and said "Oh my God! What happened? Can we help?" But here in Las Vegas, you wonder if this sort of thing is normal, people falling from great heights onto the sidewalk. So, we stepped past and let his friends call the ambulance.
So, what happened? Looking at the top of the escalator, at where the plexiglass barrier would prevent you from continuing further, it would seem like child's play to simply push oneself up and over the handrail and jump back onto the escalator. But if one hesitates, for whatever reason, then you have to start moving your hands over each other, interweaving them, to continually maintain contact with the handrail. It would be be altogether too easy to let go of the handrail altogether for an instant, and if one's weight is also back - if one isn't already standing erect - then you'll fall!

I can see the temptation. It looks SO easy! Looks may be deceptive in this case, however. Not the first time in Las Vegas that looks deceived.

Friday, September 29, 2006

My Trip To Las Vegas - Brave Man In A 21st-Century Transportation Dystopia

Just returned from a whirlwind two-day trip to Las Vegas to see my old college friend, John Wright, who was in town briefly himself to attend the Interbike Bicycling Convention. My head hurts, my feet hurt, I have no money, and I'm SO sleepy - gee, it sounds like tech week at DMTC!

I had three unexpected tasks just before leaving, yet I still managed to make the uneventful Wednesday midafternoon flight (slow traffic helped). Because of poor planning, I left two tasks unarranged: I had no room, and I had no transportation. Fact is, I couldn't decide whether or not my visit was so brief that my usual practice, a car rental, was pointless. Finally, at the Las Vegas Airport, I decided to rent a car, but there were none available: too many big conventions in town. Stymied, I took an ALC shuttle bus to the Strip instead. I sat in the stifling back of the bus, next to a wizened little Jewish man from New York, who assured me that things in Las Vegas just weren't the way they used to be.

Our bus bounced like a pinball from one side of the Strip to the other, from the Rio to the Imperial Palace, to Caesar's Palace, to the Flamingo Hilton, eventually ending up at the Riviera, where John Wright was staying with his bike shop employee, Mike Boyd. At the Rio, I watched a young, harried, apparently-tardy woman employee use her econo-car to nearly bowl over a torpid jogger struggling in the unexpected 90-degree warmth. At Caesar's Palace, we parked in the driveway directly under the upraised tail of a rearing faux-marble stallion. So uplifting!

At the hotel, I discovered they had no rooms: too many big conventions in town. Fortunately, John and Mike just then arrived from their convention, and John offered the spare bed in his room. Whew!

Transportation along The Strip is aided by the presence of a frequently-scheduled, double-decker city-sponsored bus service called "The Deuce." Like all things with card-related names in Las Vegas, sometime The Deuce helps, and sometimes it doesn't.

After dinner with John and Mike, I boarded The Deuce, bound for the MGM Grand for the evening. Shortly after boarding, the bus driver announced to the lower-level, standing room crowd that there were more seats upstairs "for the brave." Never having been on a double-decker bus before, I started with anticipation towards the stairwell. A woman said "Look! A brave man!" People laughed, and started applauding. I pumped my fist in the air to encourage them. When I arrived upstairs, they were applauding too. So silly!

Returning from the MGM Grand, at 5 a.m., the bus was only somewhat-less crowded than it had been earlier. A man in a sleeveless T-Shirt groused about unnecessary air conditioning.

On Thursday morning, I headed back down The Strip again, intending on getting off at Flamingo Rd. in order to thenceforward walk across Interstate Highway 15 to the Gold Coast Casino, where I was going to meet another old college friend and Las Vegas resident, Ira Gershin, for lunch at the buffet - all the time he could afford on a busy workday. Gabbing with a fellow rider, I missed my stop, and ended up at Tropicana Ave. Knowing now how slow The Deuce's return trip could be, I decided to walk to my destination, 2.1 miles, which I made in time, but only because I had an hour to do it.

Flamingo Road has a pedestrian walkway across I-15 on its northern side. I, of course, elected to cross on the primitive, exposed, and dangerous south side. Homeless folks bummed cash from the turning traffic. Assorted trash was everywhere, including a squashed pigeon. The saving grace was a humble honeybee gathering nectar.

After a pleasant lunch, I returned the same dangerous way back, this time to see the Titanic Exhibition at the Tropicana. I took two detours. I crossed the street to The Palms, and held the door open as two glamorous women, and one beefy guy entered. Beefy guy uttered into his cell phone 'you are too quick to admit that.' My curiosity piqued - you are too quick to admit what? - I followed the glamorous trio through the casino, but broke off when they entered a cafe. Later, I detoured to try and figure out the purpose of an obscure building, unmarked except for a street number. Seemed like a sensitive place - even the trash bins were surrounded by razor fencing. Was it an exclusive strip club, maybe? I was going to ask the homeless guys, but they had headed off to Del Taco with their 'earnings.' The highlight of the return walk was a car slowing to make a turn. A pretty woman rolled down her passenger-side window and spat just in front of me. Did I look homeless too? Or was it something she ate? Maybe the squab was squashed pigeon? Who knows?

After the Titanic exhibition, and another half-mile or so of walking, I tried to return to the Riviera on The Deuce, but rush-hour crowds had utterly overwhelmed the bus line. Entry was NOT possible. So I frantically hoofed it back through the mob along The Strip, 2.5 miles, from the Tropicana to the Riviera, in an hour. The Deuce was so slow that even on foot I kept pace with it, northwards, nearly as far as Flamingo Rd. Ohmigod! So much walking (2.1 x 2 + 0.5 + 2.5 = 7.2 miles) and the day was not over!

Southbound Deuce was better, as John and I traveled towards the Mandalay Bay in order to see "Mamma Mia." Still, the three-mile trip took an hour, and we counted ourselves lucky. Fellow "Mamma Mia" goers on the bus were getting increasingly-agitated that they might miss the show, despite their best efforts.

After the show, the northbound return trip on The Deuce was just the worst! Thousands of people were being dumped onto the streets from multiple shows all at the same time. The bus driver was crabby and exasperated with the swarm of people he evidently considered stupid, particularly those going up and down the stairwell while the bus was in motion. At one point, several people entered the bus through the exit door, and melted inconspicuously among the packed passengers without paying. The driver threatened to halt the bus altogether until the miscreants paid. The threat was hollow, though: we were barely-moving anyway. John, who is known for his patience, began muttering darkly about how Las Vegas was one big Rube Goldberg machine run amok.

This morning, since the ALC shuttle bus return trip to the airport had to be arranged on the hour, I arose at 5:20 a.m. in order to make the 6 a.m. appointment. Since there were so many no-shows on this driver's appointed route, I ended up at the airport at 6:30 a.m., a full three hours before my flight time. What was I going to do with all this extra time? Fortunately, while buying a newspaper, the morning rush-hour security-screening lines grew from outrageous to darn near Brobdignagian, so now I knew for certain how I was going to spend my time. Amusing TSA videos on an endless loop, featuring well-known Las Vegas celebrities, advised people how to avoid security delays. I wished to throttle these celebrities. A chagrined woman cut lines in order to try and make her flight - I felt for her embarrassment. An unexpected gap in the lines gave me a moment's rest from claustrophobia just when I began muttering darkly about how Las Vegas was one big Rube Goldberg machine run amok.

Las Vegas has a very weak government. Much of The Strip itself is outside the city limits of Las Vegas, and within the amorphous, obscure boundaries of the Township of Paradise, where business rules. Transportation issues have been privatized and corporatized, to the detriment of many, many people. As the decades pass, the federal government is apparently adopting the same kind of approach.

Sad, but one must make one's compromises: Next time, despite the assault on the public weal each additional vehicle represents, rent a car!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


John's annual bicycle convention is being held in Las Vegas this week, and he asked if I wanted to meet him there, just like we both did in 2003.

Does a ball roll downhill?

So, the blog will take a brief hiatus. I hope to report back late on Friday.....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Approaching Victoria Crater

Mars Rover Opportunity is close enough to Victoria Crater (which has about 0.6 of the diameter of Meteor Crater, Arizona) that it can see the rim. Oh joy!
Garrulous Clarifications

W. in South Carolina (a high school and college classmate of mine) asks for some more detail regarding some blog entries here:
  • I don't remember that shooting at West Mesa HS. Tell me about it.
  • Why do you think California's per capita electricity consumption has flattened, and the US consumption has been rising?
  • I heard "Air America" is bankrupt. It never ran here, so I don't know much about it. Have you listened to it? Why do you suppose it failed?
What I recall of the West Mesa shooting was that there had been some kind of romantic rivalry going on, and one student waylaid the other in the gym, shooting him in the abdomen, and severely injuring him. But all of this happened before we arrived on school buses to school, so there was no panic at the school. Instead, what I recall - just about the only thing I recall - is the presence of marksmen on the roofs. Unsettling. Wish I could recall what year that happened. The students were from the area of the school, and not the North Valley, and involved no one we knew. It was a harbinger of the black/Hispanic race brawls that started troubling West Mesa the year AFTER we graduated.

The benign California climate helps keep per capita energy consumption low, in general, compared to the rest of the country. New air pollution laws and regulations are probably indirectly responsible for the flattening that started in the 70's. Heavy, electricity consuming industries closed down, one by one, and moved offshore. And the construction of large power plants, particularly coal-powered plants, stopped. California incrementally adopted a different model of power production. Instead of few, large coal-powered plants (the Tennessee Valley model) California adopted many, smaller power plants, most natural-gas powered. Electricity is transported shorter distances, and hence there are fewer losses due to resistance. My suspicion is the California model is more efficient. It's not necessarily the best model (California is far from the Texas and Alberta natural gas fields, and the California gas pipeline infrastructure is inadequate, particularly near San Diego), which is leading to high prices for natural gas, but I suspect it's also leading to better use of electricity.

In the 2001 power crisis, certain that all hell was breaking loose, I quickly outfitted my house with the newly-available compact fluorescent bulbs, and got rid of almost all incandescent bulbs. I was trying to instantly reduce my power consumption, to avoid what seemed like inevitable sky-high electrical rates. Amazingly, my power consumption immediately dropped 45%! Enough people did that statewide that power consumption was depressed for several years, and only now is increasing, mostly in response to higher population.

Interestingly, Sacramento has two Air America stations, both on AM. I've heard these reports that Air America has failed, but I've also heard Al Franken boasting on Air America that the predicted failure hasn't transpired. I have no idea which is correct. Air America has struck me as quite underpowered, available on the broadcast band only on AM, so if it's failing, it could simply be one star's salary (Franken's) and inadequate advertising revenue. In place of ads, sometimes you hear campaign messages on behalf of quixotic crusades (e.g., Impeach George Bush) and so you know that they're starving for revenue. The radio talent is uneven: Al Franken and Randi Rhoades are great, but the recently-fired Mike Malloy was far too brittle and unfunny for my taste. I think there's a market for Air America, but it will require some staying power, a bigger collection of stations, and maybe some better talent. The same could have been said about conservative radio about 20 - 25 years ago.

W. adds:
Are you saying that the compact fluorescent lights are saving you significant money? How much per month? How many bulbs? I imagine the light looks "fluorescenty"?

BTW, I hadn't heard about the race troubles at WMHS. What happened there
In 2001, when I ditched all the incandescent bulbs I feasibly could from the house, the monthly electrical bill fell from $55 to about $30 (~ 40 to 45% drop). It's been creeping up lately - I'm keeping more lights on - but the drop was startling. The number of bulbs changed was about fifteen, so changing one bulb could mean nearly two dollars a month in savings.

What made the compact fluorescents appealing, beyond cost, was that they do much better color rendering than they used to in the past - the engineers have been busy improving the product - so, while they weren't quite as warm and sunny as the incandescents, they were perfectly satisfactory for almost all purposes. The color isn't fluorescenty or clinical. My only complaint was that when they first came on, they seemed a bit dim, perhaps requiring a warm-up. But like I say, the trade-off was more than satisfactory.

In 1975 and 1976, there were several brawls at West Mesa, between blacks & Hispanics. I remember reading about it in the paper. Since we weren't there anymore, and our remaining friends weren't the brawling types, I had no firsthand information on what had happened. What worried people at the time was the unexpected racial component to the fighting.

W. adds:
Al Gore's movie "Inconvenient Truth" is making people think here in South Carolina. Since it came out, many fellow conservatives who are not scientists have been asking me what I thought about global warming, do I think it's real, etc. Quite different from Fahrenheit 911, which I don't think impressed anybody at all around here who wasn't already anti-Bush.
I think Michael Moore is a brilliant propagandist, but he plays fast and loose with the truth at times. I could see how that would be off-putting to people. The worst that can be said about Al Gore is he is practicing bait-and-switch: addressing global warming may not succeed, but it might improve air quality instead.

I've often thought that there is nothing about global warming theories that would be, a priori, offensive to conservatives. Oil people, in particular, have always worried about resource depletion. (People I know), as conservative as they get, and utterly sarcastic about greenhouse gas regulatory schemes, nevertheless seem to be quietly dabbling with investments in Norwegian deep-sea CO2 sequestration.

The auto people are the ones to worry about. They are hard-wired to the lizard brain of the American consumer, the most irrational pack of humans on the planet.
People Who Can't Remember S***

Keith Drum describes a world where no one remembers even the basics about how things happen. Wasn't it FDR who said that, in the political world, nothing happens by chance? Rachel Morris describes how White House staffers have been trying to figure out where the Talk Radio kerfuffle regarding illegal immigration came from:
Staffers listened to hours of talk radio and found that the obsession with illegal immigration on talk radio had appeared virtually from nowhere.
Appeared from nowhere? Give me a break! KFBK's DJ Mark Williams, in Sacramento, started on the illegal immigration bandwagon almost immediately after the California Recall Election, in October 2003. By November, 2003, it was a staple of Sacramento Talk Radio - the next enthusiasm, after the California Recall. It was a meme consciously placed on the air waves by the usual suspects of the California Right - Howard Kaloogian, et al.

Appeared from nowhere? You bet your fat A it came right from right-wing central!

It's getting harder to blame her though:
Well, I know you're getting tired talking to the cops, especially after I fell asleep in the shed the other day, so when she pulled up in the drive way, I high-tailed it out the back way, out the walkway into the front yard. But she followed me, and started throwing things at me from the front yard. So, I went around the corner and parked my bike at the curb - one street corner is just as good as another when you're homeless - but she followed me, and stared at me, and I figured she'd called the cops, and if she threw things at me again and hit me, I'd press charges (although I wouldn't actually do that), so I just moved on.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Letter To SARTA

Juan Ramos sends the following letter to SARTA. I reply:
Your opinion is widely-held among many people, maybe even a majority, and it's odd that SARTA takes little action on it.

It was great seeing you last night! That's what the Ellys do best - bring together everyone in one place, even if only for a night. - Marc
Here's Juan's letter:
In the fall of 2000, I attended my very first Elly Awards Ceremony. After enduring four hours of assault to my eardrums from the screaming audience majority under the age of 18 and a very sore bottom from the dreadful wooden seats at Luther Burbank High School auditorium; I decided to write a letter to SARTA. Just to make sure I was taken seriously, I also included a check for $500.00. I strongly suggested that two separate ceremonies be held: One for youth, high school and college productions, essentially educational theatre. And one for community theatres only. This would allow the youth element to thrive in their . . . youth at their very own ceremony and in the process bring much needed dignity and sophistication to the community theatre element, allowing for things like a pre-ceremony cocktail hour, silent auction, etc. Much to my surprise my letter was published in the SARTA newsletter and SARTA was set to have two separate ceremonies in the fall of 2001. Sacramento Bee Theatre critic Marcus Crowder read my letter and thanked me for voicing some of his concerns regarding the ceremony. Unfortunately for all of us, 911 put an abrupt halt to that and justifiably so. The unity and support was essential to our healing, so it was consolidated back into one ceremony.

I attended the 2006 Elly Awards Ceremony only because I was a nominee. Not an uncommon reason to attend, I suspect. I had not attended one since my first experience in 2000. Although a more streamlined version in a more appropriate venue, some of the same problems still exist and a new one has been created. The youth and education categories again brought the ceremony to almost four hours. This was particularly hard in my case because my partner is in a wheelchair with two fractured ankles and his elderly mother also had problems sitting for such a long time. I noticed several empty seats after intermission. Despite the attempt by the presenters to extol the audience to hold their applause until after all the nominees were announced, it was pretty much a hopeless cause halfway through. The loud audience response was very appropriate and not a problem for me. It's good to see and hear support groups cheer on their winners, that's part of the overall excitement.

I was however, particularly bothered by the fact that community theatres were grouped with community colleges in the same categories. Although not so much an issue in the Drama and Comedy categories, it was particularly evident in the Musicals category. Of the 11 awards given, community colleges received 7. This included all of the technical awards, choreography, costumes, direction, musical direction and overall. I find that totally unfair. It comes down to the fact that every area community theatre struggles financially, because they rely totally on volunteers, their respective patrons and audience members. Musicals in particular require extra financial resources to cover the added demands of lighting, set design, costumes and musicians. Community colleges have a reliable source of income plus directors and technicians (professsionals) who are paid to do their work. The actors and technical assistants for the most part are students who are doing it for school credits and in my experience even non-students have to enroll for at least one credit if they are cast. Several exceptional local community musical theatre productions were also conspiciously absent from the nominations this year, I believe in favor of community college productions. Please don't tell me that there is a shortage of local community theatres or community colleges to warrant separate categories because I know that is not the case. Community colleges compete with each other in sports, they can compete with each other in theatre awards. Local community theatres also need to compete with each other to creatively enrich and stimulate their respective productions and audiences . . . on a level playing field. This is an inbalance that needs to be addressed.

Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion for what it's worth. Thank you for the vital and essential services you provide to the local theatre community. Thank you for the Elly Awards.

Juan Ramos
2006 Elly Awards (aka Chelsea Baldree's Big Night)

Left: Chelsea Baldree on her big night! Chelsea won in the Child: Young People's Musicals category, for both Leading Actress (in "Crazy for You") as well as for Supporting Actress (in "Godspell"), both at Magic Circle Theatre.

(just as a technical aside, it's interesting how colors are rendered by a digital camera - Chelsea's dress was turquoise, but with so much gold in the background, the color came out here as lime-green.)

Courtesy of MikeMac, here is the link to the full list of nominees and winners.

The Crest Theater was filled to overflowing with the various theater groups, with the seating turf informally divided - El Dorado Musical Theater here, Woodland Opera House there, etc. When favorites won, the screaming girls carried the pitch to 'Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show' levels. I sat with the DMTC crowd. Monique McKisson was in fine fettle. After letting out a big whoop during applause, she said, "I am so NOT vocal! (was that my outside voice?)"

The show got off to a good start, with Sonny Sorrels from Lambda Players, discussing his utter surprise at winning. "I hated my character," he said. "The challenge grew every night." He also described his performance as 'shitty.' Everyone loved it!

Strange things happened. Paul Tomei won for Costume Design for "Much Ado About Nothing" at El Dorado High School, but apparently he had rented his costumes from a theater in Ashland, Oregon. Kelly Daniells won an Elly Award for Supporting Actress in "Nunsense" at the Woodland Opera House, but since no one from there leaped to grab it, RSP's Bob Baxter grabbed it instead, and plugged for "Mamma Mia" in Las Vegas. The Solano Community College representative mused aloud about the irony of getting a nomination for Lighting Design for a show entitled "Wait Until Dark." Cathy Rasmussen, who won for RSP's "King Arthur," talked about her previous two Elly Awards, one for playing a mole and another for playing a mouse.

Many friends won. Hail Ketchum-Wiggins. Emily Jo Seminoff (twice), on her 18th birthday. Denise Miles, Stephen Hatcher, Michael R.J. Campbell, etc., etc.

DMTC got only two awards (Robert Coverdell, for Supporting Actor in 'DMTC's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and Emily Jo Seminoff for Supporting Actress, Child: Young People's Musicals, in "Fiddler on the Roof, Jr."), but SARTA handed out many others Sunday night.

There were three musical presentations: the Prologue and Epilogue to The Acting Company's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," 'Snuff That Girl,' from San Joaquin Delta College's "Urinetown," and 'Beautiful Candy,' from City College's "Carnival." Very good presentations!

Buffee Ann Gillihan and Kaitlin Flint both glittered as they did the plaque tote thing. There were several groups of co-presenters, including a girl from St. Francis I took a dance class with just the other day: Karissa Meagher. Michael R.J. Campbell and Stacy Johnson were very funny as they 're-enacted' a supposed brawl from when they both won the Elly Award for Set Design last year.

At intermission, I started wandering the Crest Theater with my bucket of popcorn, engaging others in conversation. S. & B. from Magic Circle expressed a common complaint, one frequently-expressed at DMTC, that the educational awards category made the evening too long. 'They should schedule it at a different night, or a different time, like they do with the technical awards at the Academy Awards. Also, colleges shouldn't be included - they have huge budgets compared to community theater, and are really in a different league altogether.' I heartily agreed, and expressed my best wishes.

Then, I wandered over to the Natomas Charter School area with my popcorn, and talked to Chloe Condon and friend. I congratulated her on her nomination for 'View from The Bridge,' and expressed the opinion that I was glad the educational category was being so well-represented tonight, and how supportive SARTA was of schools in general.

Afterwards, I felt a gnawing uncertainty about my statements, which, to the disinterested observer, might seem to be - contradictory? - but the feeling soon subsided. You learn many things in theater - the importance of consistency, hard work, emotional expression - but the most important thing you learn is: the importance of principles.

There were disappointments too, as there always will be on a night like this. Dave Lack didn't win for Set Design for RSP's "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Dark Castle" - Juan Ramos deserved Set Design and Leading Actor awards for "The King and I" - etc., etc. *Sigh* What can you do? Sometimes the Ellys seem like a roulette wheel. Next year, I place all my bets on 'Red.'

Monique McKisson, Juan Ramos, and John Hancock. Both Juan Ramos and Marguerite Morris were nominated for "The King and I" (as well as Steve Isaacson for direction). I'm happy that John Hancock was out and about, though - his road has been a long one, and his mending continues.

Sacramento City College presents 'Beautiful Candy', from "Carnival." I really like that show, and I was happy that City College had such a large, colorful cast. Nevertheless, Monique chastised me: "it's not 'CAR-ni-val,' it's 'Car-ni-VAL!" Then she did that guttural French thing, that "cho-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o."

El Dorado Musical Theater wins big. Debbie Wilson, Jeanette Caruso, and the gang.

Walking to the Crest Theater, I met Jeanette Caruso for the first time, and we talked about theater. She occasionally ushers for DMTC, and, disoriented by the bright lights of downtown Sacramento, she first mistook me for Steve Isaacson. I laughed and said that was because Steve and I have nearly-exactly the same eyeglass prescription. A fun, involved person, with a talented daughter (Lauryn). I will have to get up to see an EMT show soon!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"West Side Story" - Second Weekend

Left: Lieutenant Schrank (Mike Jones) gives the Jets a piece of his mind.

Second weekend of shows. Friday seemed to lack some energy, most notably during the 'Mambo.' Chino (Nick Peters) got a foot and/or ankle injury during the opening number, and limped around the rest of the evening. Ryan hit Henry a bit too hard on the head in the Krupke number, and afterwards, over at Applebee's Andy brained himself on a low-hanging light fixture. According to Steve, long-time community theater players David & Lori Holmes showed up for a final hurrah before moving to New Mexico (Rio Rancho???), where David will be managing a Verizon Wireless store.

Saturday was more energetic, but suffered a strange problem: the bass player decided, on a whim, that she was going to play drums during the Krupke number, and the odd percussion knocked the singers completely off-beat. Embarrassing! David Ott's family all showed up, though, which was great.

On Sunday, the bass player was let go. A reasonably good show, although Tony was a bit off the music at times. In the frightening near-rape scene in Doc's shop, Anybodys (Chloe Condon) got a bit excited and slapped Anita (Amanda Morish) in a breathtaking wayn - that realistic-sounding slap sounded real for a reason.

Talk to the hand!

Some pictures from Sunday's show:


Bernardo (right, David Ott) knifes Riff (Robert Coverdell).

Tony (Colby Salmon) and Maria (Chelsea Baldree) in the "Somewhere" ballet.

Tony (Colby Salmon) and Maria (Chelsea Baldree) in the "Somewhere" ballet.

The big windy time we had of it on Thursday and Friday complicated things, particularly with the terrible wildfires in Yolo County. It was hard to sleep too: branches brushing across my window became demons in my dreams, and the air filled with resuspended dust that had gathered on the tree leaves over the rainless prior six months. Cloudy the Rabbit liked the storm, though, because all the thrashing of tree leaves shook loose an entire salad of goodies into the back yard for her comestible entertainment.

The only notable story I had was something I saw driving to work, about 10 a.m., on Friday. As I was driving past a bus stop at 21st and Capital, a man standing under the bus shelter abruptly darted into 21st Street, just as a huge branch fell very close him from a large tree. A very close call! Hope my reflexes are as good as his when the big lumber comes for me!