Saturday, January 05, 2008

One A.M. - "Faces"

Quiet, innocent fun (except my ears now hurt).

Friday, January 04, 2008

kylie vs dead or alive

All that's missing is Dannii....

Sat In The Dark, Eating Pretzels

Skillz 2007 Rap Up Video: DAT DIRECTOR'S CUT

Saying farewell to 2007....

Sucks To Be Us

It looks like tonight's premiere show of "La Cage Aux Folles" will be cancelled, because power has been out all day at DMTC's Hoblit Performing Arts Center. Davis is in PG&E Territory, which has been the hardest hit by today's storm (SMUD still has Sacramento more-or-less under control).

We'll see about tomorrow's show!

Can't Get No Sleep

Winds are screaming outside, trash cans are migrating along the alley, salad-like junk is being stripped from the trees, transformers are popping, and I had to bring my mailbox inside because it had been blown onto the lawn.

Oh yes, and it's raining too......
"La Cage Aux Folles" Formal Premiere Tonight!

Here are some images from dress rehearsal last night:

Left: "La Cage Aux Folles" - Ryan Adame as 'Zaza', and Tim Stewart as 'Angelique.'

Left: "Birds" - Tim Stewart.

Below: "Birds" - Ryan Adame as 'Zaza', Brad Bong (obscured), and Marissa Tidrick.

Left: "Birds" - Tim Stewart, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick, and Brad Bong.

Tim Stewart as 'Angelique.'

Left: The Can-Can. Left to right - Catherine Williamson, Kris Farhood, Andrew Read.

Left: The Can-Can. Left to right - Kris Farhood, Tim Stewart, Daryl Clark, Andrew Read, Brad Bong, Catherine Williamson, Marissa Tidrick.

Left: The Can-Can. Left to right - Kris Farhood, Tim Stewart, Daryl Clark, Andrew Read, Brad Bong, Catherine Williamson, Marissa Tidrick.

Left: The Can-Can. Clockwise from left - Marissa Tidrick, Daryl Clark, Kris Farhood, Catherine Williamson, Daryl Clark, Brad Bong.

Left: The Can-Can. Clockwise, from left - Daryl Clark, Brad Bong, Marissa Tidrick, Andrew Read, Catherine Williamson, Kris Farhood, and Tim Stewart.

Left: The Can-Can. Left to right - Time Stewart, Kris Farhood, Daryl Clark, Catherine Williamson, Brad Bong, Marissa Tidrick, and Andrew Read.

Left: The Can-Can. (This is harder to get right) Left to right - Kris Farhood, Brad Bong, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick, and Andrew Read.

Left: "Dishes" - Jacob (Nic Candito), Georges (Martin Lehman), Anne (Kris Farhood), Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell), Messr. Dindon (Michael Manley).

Left: "Dishes" - Jacob (Nic Candito), Georges (Martin Lehman), Anne (Kris Farhood), Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell), Messr. Dindon (Michael Manley).

Left: Georges (Martin Lehman), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell), and Albin (Ryan Adame).

Left: Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell).
Japanese Food Problems

That's some weird stuff:
Five people died in the Kanto area on Tuesday and Wednesday after choking on sticky "mochi" rice cake, it was learned Thursday.

In Tokyo, a total of 13 people were rushed to hospital on New Year's Day and the following day after choking on mochi, according to the Tokyo Fire Department. Two of them -- a 59-year-old man from Ota-ku and an 83-year-old man from Adachi-ku -- died on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

A 71-year-old man from Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, a 76-year-old man from Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture, and another man living in Yokohama also died after choking on the bubblegum-textured rice cake.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Kumari Fulbright's Very Bad Day

"Remotecontrolled" counsels caution before condemnations.
"No Country For Old Men" Review

From Gabe: This review requires registration to view, but it's well worth it - very poetic, and it nails the essence of the Coen Brother's movie perfectly. A sample:
In an opening voice-over narrative, Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), a third-generation police officer, looks back to the old days, when many of his predecessors, like his grandfather, never wore a gun. This seemingly random observation cuts the boots out from under the western myth that the “wild west” was tamed by the settlers. According to a conventional reading of American history, these larger-than-life men used their six-shooters to create a Garden of Eden out of the howling wilderness and set the nation on its irreversible trajectory of progress. It’s not so. Old-time outlaws never conducted multimillion-dollar drug deals outside town and for some unexplained reason killed all the witnesses with automatic weapons. Today no officer would ever think of appearing on duty without his gun.
On The Ease Of Tampering With Voting, By Computers

Friend Doug Hikes Into Arizona's Superstition Mountains....

...And finds pools with neck-deep running water!
Camera Phone Assists Rescue

Uses of technology:
PHOTOS sent from the mobile phone of a hiker lost with two teenagers in a Victorian national park were instrumental in rescuers finding the trio.

...Mr Valentine, an experienced bushwalker, raised the alarm at 5.30pm on Wednesday by phoning Halls Gap and Stawell police, prompting an air and land search. When his photos came through Grampians National Park ranger Andrew Dennis realised they were searching in the wrong area.

Early yesterday mobile phone contact resumed, and the group was finally seen by a helicopter.

"It was quite an adventure," Mr Valentine said. "When I was trying to describe where I was I thought, 'Well, take a photo and see if I can send it to someone'."

Inspector Martin Dorman said the area was very rugged, and without the use of the phone it might have taken them several days, rather than half a day, to find the group.
Kylie's Bored - and That's A Good Thing

Wasn't it William Baker who was urging her to avoid wallowing in the past, some time ago?
POP princess Kylie Minogue is set to tone down her raunchy dance routines during her next concert tour.

The Australian songstress, whose famous outfits include a pair of gold hotpants, is believed to now favour a more futuristic look.

And her planned image change is not the only thing that will be different when the KylieX2008 tour opens in Paris in May.

..."And she's bored of singing early hits like I Should Be So Lucky and Better the Devil You Know.
Modern Celebrities As Artworks

Left: Kylie Minogue

Photoshopping fun!
If the renaissance took place in modern times, and the models were famous pop culture celebrities, what would the artwork look like?

The rules of this contest are thus: You are to substitute any modern celebrity, actor, or popular culture figure for the model of a painting or other form of artwork

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Awesome Paris

Richard Abowitz hearts Paris Hilton:
Paris arrived by striding onto the cushioned seat at the table. The crowd loved it. And Paris danced and danced on her seat for a long time before she sat down for the first time. She was there to dance, not to sit. And sitting was primarily done to sip her drink and then she was up again dancing. The crowd loved watching her, and a handful of media were allowed to stand in front of her, photographing every pose.

I was standing above and to the side of the fray remembering why I believe Paris Hilton is the greatest professional party-goer in the new Vegas nightlife. I am not smirking. When Paris Hilton is in a nightclub, she is not only having fun, she is acting out her fun to entertain the entire nightclub. I have often expressed my amazement at the money celebrities get to host events. But I do not doubt that they deserve to get paid, because the truth is that names sell tickets. And LAX is built out of a series of exclusive spots that people will spend thousands to own for a night in exchange for a view of Paris and Nicky Hilton. Some tables at LAX had reservation packages costing $20,000 for New Year's Eve, if you could get one. Whoever can spend that much money to look at the Hilton sisters probably deserves to have less money.

And when you live here, you are very aware that there are so many jobs created by places like LAX, Pure, Tao, the Bank and the other clubs that simply did not exist before the nightclub scene hit Vegas just a few years ago. A union server at LAX can support a family while working only three or four nights a week. That is the part people tend to forget when focusing on the decadence of the Vegas club scene.
La Niña Clearly In Command

It took nearly forever to arrive, but with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) at a hefty value of +14.9, La Niña now seems solidly in charge:
A La Niña event is firmly established in the Pacific, strengthening over the past month and contributing to the enhanced eastern Australian rainfall since November.

Cooler than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) now extend further west along the equator than at any time since 2000, while warmer than average SSTs surround northern Australia. The December 2007 Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) of 14.4 is the highest monthly SOI value since April 2006. Trade Winds remain enhanced and cloudiness continues to be suppressed along much of the central equatorial Pacific; both indicators of the now mature event. While sub-surface temperatures remain cooler than normal in the east, some warming has occurred in the western regions.

Although some computer models suggest that the event is nearing its peak, most continue to indicate the persistence of cool Pacific Ocean temperatures, consistent with a La Niña, until at least autumn 2008.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Blithe Australian Drink Drivers

Some traditions die hard:
State Traffic Support Branch Superintendent Paul Doyle said police were continually amazed at the stupidity of some motorists.

"Your amazement is reinforced constantly," Supt Doyle said.

"There is this group who continue to flaunt the road rules (and) think that the road rules actually don't apply to them, when the fact of the matter is having a licence and being allowed to use the road network is a privilege and it should be treated as such."

....Almost certainly never existed in New Mexico - how could they keep their secret in such small, close-knit, rural communities, for centuries? But a modern belief in Crypto-Judaism could be very powerful indeed!:
In his 2005 book "To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico," Hordes suggests that many crypto-Jews found their way to the northern frontier of the Spanish colonial empire.

There they continued to observe their religion behind locked doors, blending publicly into the monolithic Catholic culture and teaching their children that revealing their true identities could mean death by the Inquisition.

"They were invisible," Hordes said.

But the very same secrecy that protected Judaism in the Spanish Southwest eventually doomed it. The people had no synagogue, no Torah, no connection to global Jewish culture. By the 20th century, Hordes concludes, all that was left were a few suggestive customs and a vague sense that somehow, they were Jewish.

For Sonya Loya, there's nothing vague about it. Growing up Catholic in Ruidoso, Loya was intensely spiritual. But she never identified with Jesus or Christianity.

"I never felt whatever I was supposed to feel when I was Catholic," Loya said.

Loya began observing the Jewish Sabbath, Shabbat, six years ago, about the same time that she learned about the secret Jewish past being uncovered by Hordes and other scholars. She was thrilled at the possibility that she might actually have Jewish heritage, that a faith her ancestors lost over centuries was inexplicably welling up inside her.

"I believe that what drew me back home to who I am is my Jewish soul," Loya said.

In 2004, she went to her parents, asking them to bless her conversion to Judaism but expecting the worst. Perplexed by their daughter's rejection of Catholicism, they had often reacted badly to such pronouncements.

But this time it was her turn to be perplexed. Not only did her father give his blessing, Loya said, but he revealed that he had known since childhood that he had Jewish ancestry. An uncle, returning from World War II, had seen the family name among a list of concentration camp inmates.

"I'm still discovering a lot of these things from my own family," she said.

...Like Hordes, folklorist Judith Neulander was fascinated by stories like those of Sanchez and Loya when she first came to New Mexico in the summer of 1992. And Neulander, too, heard accounts of grandfathers donning shawls before they prayed and grandmothers carefully draining every drop of blood from chickens after slaughtering them. But hearing the stories for herself, she grew increasingly uneasy.

..."All of it just doesn't really hold up when you examine it carefully," said Neulander, who is now co-director of the Jewish Studies Program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

She concluded that the notion of a Jewish heritage must have been brought to the Southwest by evangelical Protestant missionaries from one of several small sects who considered themselves descendants of a lost tribe of Israel. Though rare today, such Christian groups follow many Jewish traditions while believing in Jesus, and consider themselves the world's only truly chosen people.

"There were probably many more sects like this in the early part of the 20th century," Neulander said.

The debate isn't just academic. People like Loya and Sanchez are constructing their religious lives around the assumption that their ancestors were Jewish: "You'll never have proof," Loya said. "You have these bits of evidence . . . like bread crumbs."

...So, if there were never more than a handful of Jews among the first Southwesterners - if any - and they never left any visible impact on the culture beyond a few odd customs, why are people so eager to resurrect them?

"The notion that you're somehow indomitable, that there can be such a thing as a miraculous survival, is so comfortable, so buoyant to the spirit, that it's very hard to let go," Neulander said.

The crypto-Jew saga is one of cultural survival against the odds, a life-affirming counterpoint to the genocidal reality that Jews have faced throughout history. Those who embrace a crypto-Jewish identity see themselves as heirs to a legacy of survival against tremendous odds.

And what of the scholars like Hordes? Neulander accuses them of being seduced by the age-old fantasy of discovering a lost tribe.

...The crypto-Jew story injects fresh mystery into this increasingly humdrum world. In fact, the crypto-Jew phenomenon probably tells us more about life in the Southwest today than it does about what happened there hundreds of years ago.

But that doesn't matter to people like Sonya Loya. Having "felt Jewish" for most of her life, the crypto-Jew story gives her the authority to embrace the heritage of her choice.

And as she and others continue to spread the incredible survival story of the Southwest's Jewish colonists, it almost becomes a religion itself.
Law-Breaking As Theater

Left: Arizona Daily Star photo obtained from

What happens in Tucson had better stay in Tucson:
A University of Arizona law school student and former beauty queen has been indicted on charges that she and three others held her ex-boyfriend captive for 10 hours while torturing and robbing him.

Kumari Fulbright, a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Raner Collins, was indicted in Pima County Superior Court Dec. 18 on five felony charges: armed robbery, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Fulbright, 25, and three men are accused of tying up a 24-year-old man with plastic cable and duct tape Dec. 8 and holding him captive at two residences, one on the North Side and the other in Midtown, according to court documents.

Court documents say the four suspects pointed pistols at the man, threatened his life and stole his wallet, cell phone, briefcase and $500 to $600 in cash.

"(Fulbright) specifically bit him several times while he was bound, stuck a butcher knife in his ear and said she was going to kill him, pointed a pistol at him," the documents say.

After eight to 10 hours, according to the documents, the victim was able to grab Fulbright's gun, the gun went off and he ran out of the house screaming for help.
Police said the man's injuries were consistent with his story.

A search-warrant inventory filed in court indicates police found an expended bullet at a home in the 1200 block of East Knox Drive along with .45-caliber ammunition, plastic gloves, marijuana, the victim's wallet and briefcase, and a book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

...Fulbright ran in the Miss Arizona contest and was named Miss Pima County in 2005 and Miss Desert Sun in 2006.
New Year's Day With The Hendersons

Left: Alec, Jon, and Neil blow out the house with "Amazing Grace."

Theater and Scottish communities mingle in Dixon's back of beyond.

Left: Duncan MacMartin on fiddle.

Left: Chris Petersen sings a song from "A Christmas Carol - The Musical."

Left: Pam Kelly sings "Think Of Me," from "Phantom Of The Opera."

Left: Cirrus uncinus grace Dixon's New Year's sky.
The Reverend Mother Joseph

Left: During the day, Joseph attends to the makeup needs of Sacramento's creme de la femme at "Sephora", in Arden Fair Mall.

During the night, Joseph attends to the makeup needs of a far more diverse clientele in Sacramento's various underground drag, metal, and goth communities. An interesting career - and apparently he is an ordained minister as well!

Joseph, and his friend Ashley, have provided, and continue to provide, valuable and much-appreciated makeup advice to the cast of DMTC's "La Cage Aux Folles." I'm looking forward to the day when both of them, and their friends, can come see a show!

Left: I thought Arden Fair Mall's Christmas Tree was unusually pretty this year...
New Year's Eve Opening

You just knew that this opening would be different than most. I know I was nervous about dancing on a public stage, for the first time, in heels. I didn't want to trip and turn an ankle, like I did at the end of Act I, Sunday, during dress rehearsal, falling onto the concrete as I exitted into the stage right wing (but nevertheless managing to narrowly avoid an injury).

From the moment we turned and faced the audience Monday night, you knew we were having an impact. I could hear people laughing, which can express (or hide) a number of emotions - shock, surprise, even amusement. Whatever it was, it was all there!

The rapid pace of the show caused lots of problems during scene changes in rehearsal. On opening night, most of these changes went reasonably well. Nevertheless, the brakes simply will not function on the rolling platform we use, which causes a serious hazard for the dancers.

Some people faced any number of distractions. Apparently a friend of Daryl's, trying to be helpful, placed his wig into a microwave oven, setting it afire, and forcing Daryl to take valuable time in order to secure another wig. He turned his ankle early during the show, which was the first of the injury scares we had. Nevertheless, it appeared his injury was not all that bad (or at least not as bad as it could have been).

The second injury scare was more serious. Monica felt something pop in her leg during the Can-Can dance number in Act I, forcing her into the stage left wing in extreme pain. She gamely soldiered on as Marie Dindon in Act II, but how quickly she can recover as a dancer hasn't been established. At rehearsal Wednesday night, director/choreographer Ron Cisneros will have to make appropriate decisions based on the latest information.

We made a number of errors during the show, but based on the overall favorable reaction of the audience, we did OK, nonetheless. This year's New Year's Eve Gala offering, Jerry Herman's "La Cage Aux Folles," seems to have gotten a more-favorable reaction from the DMTC audience than last year's Jerry Herman New Year's Eve Gala offering, "Mame."

Based on my need to get my false eyelashes on and off as rapidly as possible, in order to switch sexes as well as characters, from Cagelle to Messr. Renaud, and back again, the Reverend Mother Joseph suggested the use of very large, easy-to-handle false eyelashes. These eyelashes were a minor hit in the dressing room. Catherine, in particular, seemed awestruck, likely provoking future eyelash ambitions of her own.

It was great seeing Lauren and MikeMac in the audience, plus Katherine Coppola as well. The dinner afterwards was catered by Ludy's Barbeque in Woodland - always a good choice! Dancing afterwards was fun!

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Gala, Tonight!

"La Cage Aux Folles" at DMTC!

Left: Jean-Michel greets Anne. Left to right; Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi), Messr. Dindon (Michael Manley), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell), and Anne (Kris Farhood).

Left: "Dishes." Nic Candito, airborne!

Left: Maman (Ryan Adame) and Anne (Kris Farhood), meet. Sitting, Monica Parisi and Michael Manley.

Left: Choreographer/director Ron Cisneros.

Left: Playing paparazzi in the wings with the Dindons.

Left: The Can-Can. Left to right, Kris Farhood, Monica Parisi, Daryl Clark, Brad Bong, Andrew Read, Catherine Williamson.

Left: (Jacob) Nic Candito departs; Albin (Ryan Adame) remains.

Left: "In the French Foreign Legion." Left to right, Georges (Martin Lehman), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell, Anne (Kris Farhood), Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi), Messr. Dindon (Michael Manley).
Kylie Gets OBE

The Queen takes notice:
KYLIE Minogue, whose battle with cancer has inspired millions, gets an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List published today.

The Australian performer is joined by Michael Parkinson, the master of the TV chat show, who gets a knighthood.

The Order of the British Empire recognises service to the arts and sciences, public services and work with charitable and welfare organisations.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just When You Thought It Was Safe....

To go to the mall:
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Dozens of girls fought -- possibly about a boy -- outside a mall on Wednesday, and the brawl ended with mall security officers using pepper spray and police using Taser guns, authorities said.

It happened outside an Applebees at Independence Center and involved about 20 to 30 teenage girls, police said.
Rehearsing "La Cage Aux Folles" For DMTC's New Year's Eve Gala

So little posting, so much going on the last several days! Cramming these rehearsals has taken up every available moment! I haven't even sent out Christmas cards yet!

Left: The Can-Can. Cagelles, left to right, Brad Bong, Monica Parisi, Catherine Williamson, Marissa Tidrick, Daryl Clark, Kris Farhood, Tim Stewart, Andrew Read.

Left: An awkward meeting of the families. Left to right, Jacob (Nic Candito), Georges (Martin Lehman), Albin (Ryan Adame), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell).

Left: "Dishes." Top row, left to right, Jacob (Nic Candito), Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell), Georges (Martin Lehman). Bottom row, left to right, Anne (Kris Farhood), Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi), Messr. Dindon (Michael Manley).

Left: Cagelle Brad Bong.

Left to right: Marissa Tidrick, Daryl Clark, Brad Bong, Martin Lehman, Andrew Read, Tim Stewart, and Catherine Williamson.

Left: The Can-Can. Left to right, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick, Andrew Read, Catherine Williamson.
Applying Analytical Skills To Changing A Tire

These days, I have a slow leak in my right rear tire. Instead of getting it fixed, like a sane person, I fill up the flattening tire every two days, so, I spend lots of time near an air hose these days.

Yesterday, I pulled into a space near an air hose at an AM/PM just as calamity struck. The fellow changing a tire in the space next to where I was pulling in saw his car slip off the jack and the car came crashing down onto the tireless wheel. He barely escaped serious injury.

Defeated, he asked, "Do you have a car jack that works?" But I wasn't having any of that. The jack looked fine. So why did the car slip off of it?

"Aha," I said, "one must put the emergency brake on first before jacking up a car." The fellow smacked his head and said, "Oh yeah, I forgot!"

I quickly got my air and took off before I would have to do his tire changing for him.....