Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Pictures

Susana sent these gems via E-Mail (the last one is for Lauren):

Andrew McKnight Concert, November 19th

This is the second concert in DMTC's series (the first concert, by Dave Nachmanoff, was great!):
Award-Winning Shenandoah Valley Songwriter Andrew McKnight to Perform for Davis Musical Theatre Company’s Benefit Concert Series

Storyteller and Guitarist Weaves Humor and Poetry with Stellar Songcraft

Date/Time: Sunday, November 19, at 7:30 pm

Venue: DMTC’s Hoblit Performing Arts Center, 607 Pena Drive in Davis, CA

Tickets or (530) 756-3682; $20 General, $15 Students and Seniors

DMTC Contacts: Ben Wormeli, Vice President, DMTC Board of Directors, (530) 400-7369; or Steve Isaacson, Co-Founder, Co-Producer of DMTC, (530) 902-2404

Artist Info: Includes free streaming songs from his four CDs, two radio interviews and high-resolution digital photos for your use at the Publicity Page. Please email to schedule an interview or for additional information.

Davis Musical Theatre Company (DMTC) is pleased to announce the continuation of our new concert series, Keep the Music Playing in Your Community – Concerts to Benefit DMTC, with wonderful folk artist, Andrew McKnight.

Since permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, singer, writer and guitarist Andrew McKnight's musical journey has traced over a quarter million miles of blue highways and small towns across the country, crafting his cinematic vignettes of Americans and their landscapes in music, poetry and prose in between 125 performances each year and on four critically acclaimed CDs on the
local independent Falling Mountain Music label (

That impressive discography includes his latest Beyond Borders, a finalist for the Independent Music Awards 2005 Americana Album of the Year as well as the Washington Area Music Awards Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

Beyond Borders includes his song “Good Things Matter”, Winner of the 2005 Great American Song Contest, Acoustic/Folk category.

Wherever McKnight takes the stage, audiences are at once spellbound and relaxed by his entertaining stories delivered with just the right touches of down home humor, causing one concertgoer to label him "equal parts Robert Frost, William Least Heat-Moon and Jeff Foxworthy!" He has shared those attributes in a wide variety of performance settings, including the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the Kennedy Center and the National Theatre in DC, Appalshop Theatre, Mountain Stage NewSong Festival, Chattanooga Riverbend Festival, Baltimore's Artscape Festival, and the nationally syndicated public and satellite radio show River City Folk.

A longtime advocate for preserving American landscapes and heritage, particularly at home in northwestern Virginia, several of McKnight's songs are rooted in Appalachian history and culture, including the haunting Civil War ballad "The Road to Appomattox" and "Company Town", which leads off the 2004 compilation CD Moving Mountains: Voices of Appalachia Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining.


  • "blends wry and romantic stories with keen tuneful observations in a delicious mix of folk, blues and bluegrass... a man not to be missed!"- The National Theatre
  • "As a singer and songwriter, McKnight is a marvel...brings a deep truth to his words and music that resonates with an irresistible charm...His voice itself is one that you can literally listen to for hours, savoring its mellow sound like a fine mountain wine." - Times-Standard, Eureka CA
  • "covers abundant and fertile ground, musically and lyrically, though it seems unfair a gifted songwriter should also possess such a fetching voice and hot chops"- KUT FM "Folkways", Austin TX
  • "Pick your favorite poet or balladeer and McKnight will equal them with an Appalachian soul"- Victory Review
  • "this brilliant guitar player brought those (Blue Ridge) mountains with him...Relating story after story and song after song, often combining his interest in geography, history and a keen eye for the human spirit, Andrew presented a night overflowing with fantastic original material which could only be rated with Blue Ribbons, 5-Stars and a couple of thumbs up."- Tidewater Friends of Folk Music
Keep the Music Playing In Your Community – Concerts to Benefit DMTC

In addition to six Main Stage productions and four Young Performers Theater productions per year, DMTC now also presents these benefit concerts with these goals:

To raise funds to support DMTC Main Stage Productions, Young Performers Theater, and the new Hoblit Performing Arts Center to keep the performing arts and arts education alive and well in Davis and accessible to everyone. DMTC is a non-profit 501(c)3, all volunteer community theater company with a 21-year history of excellence in artistic achievement, community service, and youth education.

To support talented local, regional, and touring artists, raising public awareness of their great work and keeping their music playing too.

To enrich the community by providing affordable, outstanding musical entertainment in a family-friendly environment.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Poledancing For Tots

Sounds like Dan Ackroyd's sleazebag toy and Halloween costume salesman character from "Saturday Night Live" went off to England to make a fortune there:
Tesco has been forced to remove a pole-dancing kit from the toys and games section of its website after it was accused of "destroying children's innocence".

The Tesco Direct site advertises the kit with the words, "Unleash the sex kitten inside...simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go! Soon you'll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars".

The £49.97 kit comprises a chrome pole extendible to 8ft 6ins, a 'sexy dance garter' and a DVD demonstrating suggestive dance moves.

... Dr Adrian Rogers, of family campaigning group Family Focus said yesterday that the kit would "destroy children's lives". He said: "Tesco is Britain's number one chain, this is extremely dangerous. It is an open invitation to turn the youngest children on to sexual behaviour. "This will be sold to four, five and six-year olds. This is a most dangerous toy that will contribute towards destroying children's innocence." He added: "Children are being encouraged to dance round a pole which is interpreted in the adult world as a phallic symbol. It ought to be stopped, it really requires the intervention of members of Parliament. This should only be available to the most depraved people who want to corrupt their children."

Tesco today agreed to remove the product from the Toy section of the site, but said it will remain on sale as a Fitness Accessory, despite the fact that the product description invites users to "unleash the sex kitten inside".

... The pole dance kit is the latest item to fuel allegations that major retailers increasingly sell products which "sexualise" young children such as T-shirts with suggestive messages.

In recent years Asda was forced to remove from sale pink and black lace lingerie, including a push-up bra to girls as young as nine. Next had to remove t-shirts on sale for girls as young as six with the slogan "so many boys, so little time." And BHS and others came under fire for selling padded bras embellished with a "Little Miss Naughty" logo and t-shirts with a Playboy-style bunny that said "I love boys...They are stupid."

Tesco last night denied the pole dancing kit was sexually oriented and said it was clearly marked for "adult use". A spokesman added: "Pole dancing is an increasing exercise craze. This item is for people who want to improve their fitness and have fun at the same time."
DMTC First Annual Garage Sale Festival Event

"Tradition!" is important at DMTC, and we start a new one here! From the DMTC Newsletter:
7:00 AM TO 1:00PM
DMTC-Hoblit Performing Arts Center
607 Pena Drive
Davis, California 95618


Garage Sale Items Needed
Pre Ticketed Sellable Items
(Priced to make money, but sell quickly)

Food Items Needed

Baked goods – wrapped & ready for sale
Hot Dogs
Hot Dog Buns
Can Soda
Bottled Water

BBQ Items Needed

Borrow a BBQ Grill
Lighter Fluid
BBQ Utensils

Other Items Needed:

BoUnCe HoUsE
Face Painting Material

Drop Off Donations
M-F 4:30 - 10:00 PM Oct. 30th - Nov. 3rd
Donation Receipts will be available

Immediate response is needed.

Kindly email as to your gracious donations, time, or other concerns.

Thank You in advance!

Please note * No major appliances- if they do not sell we do not have any source to donate them to. Thanks.
Becca's Article Is Out!

Left: Thursday night, October 19th, at the Crest Theater in downtown Sacramento, after the screening of "The Day Arnold Schwarzenegger Kissed My A**". Tanned, rested, ready, (and sexy, if I may say so), the Class of 2003 reunites!

Left to right, former gubernatorial candidates Gerold Gorman, Lorraine (Abner Zurd) Fontanes, Cheryl Bly-Chester, and Marc Valdez. Photo taken with Ab Zurd's camera (but by whom? Becca?), and provided by Ab Zurd Fontanes.

Here's the link to Becca Costello's column regarding the Sacramento preview of 2003 California Gubernatorial candidate Lorraine (Abner Zurd) Fontanes' movie "The Day Arnold Schwarzenegger Kissed My A**".

Sorry, that's "The Day Arnold Schwarzenegger Kicked My A**" (we'll have to wait for the sequel for the former).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Quizzical Meaning Of Bankruptcy

I've been baffled why, if Air America is bankrupt, it continues uninterrupted on the air. Apparently RealNetworks continues to keep Air America going, even as creditors lodge claims against it. I don't understand how these things work, but there you are....
The Purpose Of Music

Last night, watching the 1967 television series "The Prisoner" on DVD (episode: 'Hammer Into Anvil'), there was a delightful slogan on display as No. 6 (Patrick McGoohan) perused the record selection in The Village's music shoppe: "Music makes for a quiet mind." Mind control so delightfully obvious!

Yet, I remember a time, in my childhood, when that sentiment was actually quite widespread, that the sole legitimate purpose of music was to induce a state of calm. My father, for one, insisted upon it. The use of that slogan in "The Prisoner" was so ironic - in the 1960's, I'm sure many Britons shared my father's opinion. That explains so much why the advent of rock-and-roll was so disturbing - music was being used to produce an altogether different state of mind. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, among many others, railed against Elvis Presley throughout the 1970's for exactly that reason. Just like I'm sure his father railed against jazz music....

We'll never make that mistake again! Or will we?

That's why I like musical theater - it soothes the inner demons!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Research Findings

Science marches on:
Researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University say most men are always thinking of sex.
Actually, all I can think about is researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University - nekkid!
Where Electricity Comes From, And Where It Goes

Via Junkcharts.
I Am French, And I Am Here To Microwave You!

When travelling overseas, keep expectations low:
AROUND a dozen Japanese tourists a year need psychological treatment after visiting Paris as the reality of unfriendly locals and scruffy streets clashes with their expectations, a newspaper has reported.

... Already this year, Japan's embassy in Paris has had to repatriate at least four visitors - including two women who believed their hotel room was being bugged and there was a plot against them.

Previous cases include a man convinced he was the French "Sun King", Louis XIV, and a woman who believed she was being attacked with microwaves, the paper cited Japanese embassy official Yoshikatsu Aoyagi as saying.

"Fragile travellers can lose their bearings. When the idea they have of the country meets the reality of what they discover it can provoke a crisis," psychologist Herve Benhamou told the paper.

... Bernard Delage of Jeunes Japon, an association that helps Japanese families settle in France, said: "In Japanese shops, the customer is king, whereas here assistants hardly look at them ... People using public transport all look stern, and handbag snatchers increase the ill feeling."

A Japanese woman, Aimi, told the paper: "For us, Paris is a dream city. All the French are beautiful and elegant ... And then, when they arrive, the Japanese find the French character is the complete opposite of their own."
Go Make Pluto Stand In The Corner

Yeah, they would, wouldn't they?:
Teachers See Educational Value in Pluto's Demotion
Money, At The Half-Century Mark

Wasn't it Herbert Hoover who said (paraphrasing):
In America, if you aren't a millionaire by the age of forty, you just aren't trying very hard.
And that was back in the 20's, when a million dollars really meant something!

Well, I turn fifty this week, but I know, if I just apply myself, I can reach that magic number before retirement.

And fame too! MikeMac, as usual, has some fine insights on the subject.
Sonny Bono, Statesman

Actors know things that politicians sometimes don't. Regarding Newt Gingrich:
Bono was the only one at the beginning to warn Gingrich that his arrogance and unchecked will to power would be his undoing. "You're a celebrity now," Bono said. "The rules are different for celebrities. I know it. I've been there. I've been a celebrity. I used to be a bigger celebrity. But let me tell you, you're not being handled right. This is not political news coverage. This is celebrity status. You need handlers. You need to understand what you're doing."

Bono saw the dramatic events unfold before him through the prism of his own dimmed star. He had had it all with Cher and lost it, staging a recovery in the Palm Springs oasis as a politician, which to him was a secondary level of celebrity. Yes, the beat went on, but he had heard it before and louder. That was the insight he imparted to the new Speaker that was instantly ignored.

Gingrich gloried in his rhetoric about "the revolution." He had little use for the experience of the older and wiser song-and-dance man. Instead Gingrich, a failed professor, described himself as a world-historical figure, leader of a universal transformation.

Monday, October 23, 2006

(Un)Helpful Advice

From Gabe:
Remember, Botox and Boomer begin with the same letter!
This Year's Political Campaign

Time to 'cut and run' from 'stay the course.'
"Gypsy" - Magic Circle Theater

Left: Lenore Sebastian as 'Mama Rose.'

On Friday night, we went and saw the second-to-the-last performance of the seven-weeks-long run of "Gypsy" at Magic Circle Theater in Roseville. Fine show, particularly with Lenore Sebastian starring as Rose. The early part of the show, with the various kid's acts, has always struck me as rather chaotic, but as soon as the main characters appear, the musical slows down and gains depth.

Jennifer Schmelzer did a good job with Louise, particularly when playing the young, gawky Louise, but the transformation into the star, Gypsy Rose Lee, seemed strained. It's hard to make that shift, into the sultry siren. Part of the trouble was physical - at one point, Schmelzer didn't manipulate the curtain carefully enough, revealing undergarments (thus erasing the nakedness fantasy). Part of the problem is that I'm not sure Schmelzer felt comfortable in the role. Not everyone does - stripping is an art all of its own, after all.

Paul Fearn did well with the acting challenge of playing Herbie, Rose's lovable and doting companion. Not much singing is required, but rather, a tremendous presence of character.

Of the three strippers, the one who stood out best was Lindsay Grimes (Tessie Tura) - brassy, funny, profane - a natural!

Kody Roza (Tulsa) was a fine dancer, perhaps not challenged to the maximum of his capability by choreographer Stephen Hatcher, though.

Left: Final bows, Friday night.

Afterwards, at BJ's Restaurant in Roseville, we had a convivial time. We discussed the perennial conundrum of what is the most appropriate thing to say to performer after a show. Someone once told Paul Fearn after a show: "You should have been in the audience!" (I related this perplexing compliment also at Andrea St. Clair's blog, but I repeat it here because it's just so damned cute.)

Lenore Sebastian unwound after her taxing performance. What was it like to play a role that was basically owned by Ethel Merman on Broadway in the 1950's?

"It is a very demanding role - you are basically onstage for nearly two hours straight," Lenore said. "Ethel Merman must have been something of a freak of nature, to belt the way she did." And to keep it up, for hours at a time, for the length of a Broadway run!

Coincidentally, on Saturday night, on DVD, I watched the 1963 movie "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," starring, among everyone's favorite TV and movie stars of the 1960's, Ethel Merman. Wow! She was so LOUD, and she wasn't even trying! Think what she could have done in the cramped confines of a Broadway theater, putting some lung power behind her megaphone voice!

In "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," as the furniture mover Mr. Pike, Jonathan Winters was Phil Silver's nemesis, but he also bumped repeatedly against Ethel Merman's character, Mrs. Marcus. His verdict in the movie? "Listen, anything you got to say about your mother in-law, you don't have to explain to me. You know what I mean? Like if she were the star of a real crummy horror movie, I'd believe it." And, in fact, in "The Valley Of The Dolls," one of the characters was a transparent (and really scary) send-up of Ethel Merman!

Merman was given this fine line (it should be my epitaph - what to say when a Pollyanna perishes):
Now what kind of an attitude is that, these things happen? They only happen because this whole country is just full of people, who when these things happen, they just say these things happen, and that's why they happen! We gotta have control of what happens to us.
Some jokers from Magic Circle taking liberties with the Holy Icon of the 70's.....
Vegemite - A Difference Of Opinions

I suppose this means war between Australia and the U.S.:
THE United States has slapped a ban on Vegemite, outraging Australian expatriates there. The bizarre crackdown was prompted because Vegemite contains folate, which in the US can be added only to breads and cereals.

Expatriates say that enforcement of the ban has been stepped up recently and is ruining lifelong traditions of having Vegemite on toast for breakfast.

..."I was flabbergasted." Paul Watkins, who owns a store called About Australia in San Antonio, Texas, said he had been forced to stop importing Vegemite six months ago. "We have completely stopped bringing it in," he said. "(US authorities) have made a stance and there is nothing that can be done about it."
Australian Jaws

Add to the checklist of what not to do in Australia - swimming in canals. The Gold Coast isn't far from Brisbane, where I hope to be next month:
IF there was ever any doubt about the number of sharks in Gold Coast lakes and canals, here's the proof.

Robbie Hughes caught a 1.5m bull shark this week while fishing from his fifth-floor apartment - six storeys above the water if you include the car park. ... Last season, Mr Hughes landed 12 sharks from his at Varsity Towers balcony over Lake Orr, while more than 80 got away.

... Mr Hughes first began fishing off his balcony after he noticed large schools of sharks swimming below. "We thought we might as well take advantage of the fact we live just over the water and can sit back in the lounge and fish for sharks," he said. "We literally sit in the lounge room with the rods set up and play the PlayStation, waiting for the bites."

... Bulletin fishing expert Paul Burt agreed the Coast's canals were bursting at the seams with deadly bull sharks. "They are not out there in their hundreds, they are out there in their thousands," he said.

During the 2002- 2003 summer, two swimmers, Beau Martin and Bob Purcell, were killed by bull sharks as they swam in the canals around Burleigh. Earlier this year, Sarah Whiley was mauled to death by bull sharks as she swam off Amity Point at North Stradbroke Island.

Mr Hughes said he believed it was only a matter of time before someone else was taken. "It's inevitable with the amount of people that swim in the canals and the number of sharks there are," he said. "Not enough people are educated about them and a lot still don't believe it. When you tell them about the sharks they just laugh and think you're taking the micky. "But when you catch a shark they really freak out and are gobsmacked by the whole thing."

Mr Burt said bull sharks and whalers were the most common sharks found in Coast canals, with the bull sharks the most aggressive. "They are unpredictable beasts. They are nasty bits of work. The bull is the one you really have to be careful of."

... Despite calls for culling and netting canals, Mr Burt said the only way to tackle the problem was through educating people. "We've got hundreds of kilometres of canals. If you put a net in one you can't do the other 500, it's just impossible," he said. "You might get a handful out of one canal but that's only a handful. If you do our canals you then have to do the Brisbane, Logan and Northern NSW rivers because they are in every creek and river. Public awareness is the key."

A Gold Coast City Council spokeswoman told The Bulletin yesterday the council would not erect warning signs at canals and waterways this summer because it was too difficult. "We have 480km of rivers and streams and 770ha of lakes and dams on the Coast. Sign-posting all of them is simply not feasible."
Gotta Love That Dick Morris Tool!

Boy, it's sure loud in that Right-Wing Noise Machine:
But the GOP base is the best informed group of voters in the nation, with educational levels consistently higher than their Democratic counterparts'.
Rappelling Spider

In Sunday ballet class, we solemnly studied the cockroach as it lay on its back waving its legs in the air. "I hope I don't step on it," Jennifer said. "That would be really awful!"

"Ah, that's nothing," I said. "On Saturday, as I stood on a tall ladder clipping hedges, I inadvertently flung a big, web-covered spider into the bridge of my glasses. The spider then fell towards the ground. The webbing stuck to my glasses, though, and I got an all-too-vivid view as the spider rappelled back up towards my face!"

But not all are repelled by vermin. Last night, while Sparky walked behind me, I heard lots of squeaking, also behind me. Sparky had found some sort of debilitated mouse on the sidewalk, and sensibly enough, tried to carry it home in his mouth....