Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Singing In The Rain" Opening Night

Things seemed to work pretty well last night!

Having a smoothly-running backstage apparatus can make the rest of the show run better. Things worked rather well on opening night!

There were a few flubs and misunderstandings that made me laugh, however. After soaking up the water on the stage left behind by staging the title number, I tossed towels into the washer in the Costume Shop and put in on 'spin dry'. As Jean came into Costume Shop, I told her I put the towels on 'dry'. She panicked: she thought I had tossed the dirty towels into the clothes dryer, where she was drying Rand's suit.

During the scene change after the 'Moses' number, we quickly rushed onstage to clear the set. During the number, a heap of crumpled newspapers is dumped on Adam Sartain. Thomas (I think) rushed over with the trashcan to help clear the stage. But because he was in a hurry, he didn't want to set the trashcan down, or to set himself down on the stage. Instead, he kneeled while holding the trash can, which inadvertently inverted the trash can. As quickly as we threw the crumpled newspapers into the trash can, the crumpled newspapers tumbled back out of the trashcan onto the stage. It was like a mini-vaudevillian skit, that scene change! And, of course, looking back over my shoulder as the lights came up, I noticed we failed to clear one crumpled newspaper!

I was in the wrong place to accept the long board coming offstage during the "Make Them Laugh" number. Dan and Gerald quickly dumped the board in the wing behind the black curtains. I picked up the board to clear it, wheeled around with it, and nearly took out several sopranos standing in the wing. I swear, just like vaudeville and the silent pictures!

But gotta keep that stuff to a minimum.....

Picking Up The Pieces In San Bruno

Interesting comment at the Daily Rotten (probably through SF Gate comments):
"Be glad PG&E spent millions to defeat hypothetical public power initiatives, instead of fixing fifty-year-old pipes or whatever... Officials said 38 homes had been destroyed, with many more damaged... Four people are reported dead... Some residents told reporters they had smelled gas in the neighborhood in the days preceding the explosion. Like BP before them, PG&E has launched their own internal investigation."
I wonder if there had been some minor, undetected damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that slowly got worse with the years. Right now, who knows? Nevertheless, PG&E has spent too much trying to crush public-power initiatives (with the game-changing, California-constitution-changing Proposition 16 that barely failed to pass in the last election, or the successful 2008 effort to prevent Yolo County from defecting to Sacramento's SMUD) and way too little on maintenance of powerline right-of-ways (which prevents forest fires), and the like, and it would be no surprise if they were lacking on the gas-pipeline-inspection job too.

Public power works best for consumers! The 2001 California electricity crisis demonstrated that private utilities look after themselves first when times get hard. This explosion may yet reveal the same, general pattern in other arenas. Hooray for SMUD, and related public power utilities in the state, like those in Roseville and Los Angeles!

At SF Gate:
Representatives of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said they did not know what caused a 30-inch, high-pressure gas pipeline to rupture at about 6:15 p.m. Thursday, setting off a firestorm that destroyed 37 homes in the Crestmoor neighborhood west of Interstate 280 and badly damaged eight others. Scores of people were treated at hospitals, and at least three were in critical condition Friday.

Officials said they had no estimate yet on the financial cost of the disaster. But the personal cost was immense.

The San Mateo County coroner identified two of the dead as Jacqueline Greig, 44, and her 13-year-old daughter, Janessa, whose house at 1670 Claremont Drive was destroyed.

Greig worked for the California Public Utilities Commission for 21 years and was a member of its Division of Ratepayer Advocates. She also was listed as a member of the natural gas committee on the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.

"It's really unbelievably ironic," said Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for TURN, an independent advocacy group for utility customers.

Marcel Hawiger, an advocate with TURN, said he knew Greig for a decade.

"She has been a tireless and wonderful advocate for consumers for many years. I'm just devastated - this is such a tragedy," Hawiger said.

Greig reviewed data that PG&E used to justify gas rates and reviewed energy projects to see if they were cost effective. One of the projects she was involved with was how PG&E went about charging for inspection of transmission pipes.

"She was such a nice person," Hawiger said, "She was always such a pleasure to work with."

...PG&E was at the center of the investigation into how its pipeline failed. The pipe was a main transmission line that fed off to smaller distribution lines, which then branch into homes.

When it blew up Thursday evening at Claremont and Glenview drives, it left a 30-foot-wide crater. A large section of the pipe was hurled from the ground, "indicating great magnitude," said Christopher Hart, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

It took crews at least a half-hour to shut down the gas flow to the broken line.

Geological reports registered a shaker of 1.3 magnitude at the time of the explosion, which officials believe was from the pipeline detonating.

Several residents have said they smelled gas in the neighborhood in the days before the explosion and that PG&E trucks had been in the area. Utility President Chris Johns said he could not confirm that, but that PG&E was checking its records.

...Haag said the devastation was like nothing he'd seen in his 31 years as a firefighter.

The explosion damaged a water main in the area, making it harder for firefighters to fight the blaze, Haag said. Firefighters had to skip over hydrants and lay longer sections of hose, he said.

"I lost count of how much hose I drove over last night," Haag said. "You're not supposed to do that, but sometimes you can't avoid it. Adapt and overcome, that's our motto."

Among those promising to investigate the blast are state legislators, and the San Bruno Police Department is treating the area as a crime scene - another reason residents were not being allowed back in.

"Until we know what caused it, we want to preserve anything of evidentiary value," Telford said.

Some residents were losing patience. Many who took refuge at a nearby shelter had no idea what happened to their homes.

Attack Ad Exposes New Innovations In New Mexico Politics

I must agree, Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez's attack ad is sure different. It forges new ground, in some ways: go after your opponent's supporters. But, hey, it's New Mexico politics - always innovative!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kelsey Barney - "Pool Party"

Here is Kelsey Barney, from Sacramento's Rainbow Festival 2010. I gave her veto power over posting this video, but can't seem to contact her. Nevertheless, I remain prepared to yank this video if she doesn't like it. But I know I like the video. She's a real sweetheart, has lots of energy, and a great future ahead of her!

Breaking Bad Season 2 Bloopers


Hard Sell At The Dentists'

Two years ago:
For preventive dentistry, there is nothing that beats a Nightguard! You really need one too, the way you are grinding your teeth at night. Only $600.00!
Last year:
You are really grinding those teeth at night. You need a Nightguard! The records show you used to have one back in the 90's. Only $550.00!
You know, you really crater-in on those teeth at night. You really, really need a Nightguard! Only $530.00!
(Now, if only my teeth can outlast my determination....)

Massive San Bruno Fire

I'm sure everyone is thinking the same thing right now: what the hell happened?:
SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- A massive explosion on Thursday sent flames roaring through a neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco, destroying more than 50 homes and leaving at least one person dead.

The utility company that serves the San Francisco Bay area said one of its gas lines ruptured in the vicinity of the blast, which left a giant crater and sent flames tearing across several suburban blocks in San Bruno just after 6 p.m.

"If it is ultimately determined that we were responsible for the cause of the incident, we will take accountability," Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said in an e-mailed statement.

Flames hot enough to crack a fire engine windshield incinerated 53 homes and damaged 120 others as crews continued battling the blaze into the night. At least one person was confirmed dead in the blast, San Bruno Fire Chief Dennis Haag said.

An estimate of the number of people hurt or unaccounted for wasn't immediately available. San Francisco Bay area hospitals reported receiving about 20 injured patients - several of whom were in critical condition - but they anticipated getting more.

Witnesses said the explosion shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet in the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety and rushing to get belongings out of burning homes.

After the blast, flames reached as high as 100 feet as the fire fueled itself on burning homes. Between 150 and 200 firefighters were at the scene, Haag said. Planes and helicopters flew over the neighborhood dumping water.

The blaze had spread to 10 acres and was 50 percent contained late Thursday, said Jay Allen, spokesman for the California Emergency Management Agency.

San Bruno Fire Capt. Charlie Barringer said the neighborhood was engulfed by the time firefighters arrived, even though the fire station was only a few blocks away. He said the blast took out the entire water system, forcing firefighters to pump water from more than two miles away.

Haag said firefighters initially had trouble getting close enough to the ruptured gas line to shut it down because of the flames.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I Am Assistant Stage Manager (Stage Right) For DMTC's "Singing In The Rain"

But it doesn't mean I know what's going on. I came in late, and thus have little understanding of how the show flows. I have the sense that I'm not really needed for much - everyone largely has the show under control - but that I do help ward off bad juju from affecting the show. I'm sort of like a superstitious amulet; an anti-black cat crossing your path; a being of divine (though limited) good power. Sort of a back stage Druid, casting good luck spells.

Go away, bad juju! Go away!

Tropical Storm Forecast For Tampa

There are indications that a new tropical storm is developing that might impact Florida, in general, maybe about 7 to 9 days from now. It would approach from the SE, likely have a “J” name, and pass through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and skate along Cuba’s north shore before blowing up into a hurricane and threatening Miami. Don’t worry: it won’t sneak up on you. With a path like that, there will be screaming the entire way.

Facebook Narcissism

Yesterday, I was talking to K. and telling him how I had been trying and failing to reach someone on Facebook. K. said "The important thing to remember is that most people on Facebook don't have very much else going on in their lives, and that's why they are there. This friend of yours must have a real life going on." I didn't say anything, but then I thought of all my theater friends, whose lives are chock-full of activities from dawn to midnight, and who still manage to cram in a full life on Facebook as well. I thought K. was clearly wrong.

Myself, I'm more of a Facebook lurker. I have enough trouble keeping up with this site without getting too involved with Facebook as well. Like Betty White says, "it sounds like a huge waste of time."

It can be, of course. It doesn't have to be. It depends what you make of it.

Yet, theater people tend to rate a bit higher on the narcissism scale than your average Joe, so who's to say Facebook isn't a part of that syndrome as well?

I tend to think of Facebook as a apartment-building-like warrens, and blogs as solitary ranches. Take your preference. They each have their charms.

This site has one feature that Facebook has trouble incorporating. On Facebook, one can say "Look at me." On this site, I can say "LOOK AT ME!" It pleases the theatrical impulse better, but only if I can manage to attract readers. That's the thing that slays about Facebook: your friends are your readers. Your audience is already there, and you can choose your audience too. So maybe "Look at me" resonates better in a full hall than "LOOK AT ME!" in a nearly-empty hall.

It's important to remember that the theatrical impulse is different than the narcissistic impulse. "Look at me" is different than "Love me, as I love myself."

And now there is another kerfuffle regarding Facebook and narcissism on the Web:
As if to validate the suspicions of your above-it-all friends who claim they can't be bothered with the superficial world of social media, news out of Canada's York University declares that the crappier the self-worth, the likelier a person is to be Facebooking. In a study of 100 18-25-year-olds entitled "Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook," undergrad psychology student Soraya Mehdizadeh found that "individuals higher in narcissism and lower in self-esteem were related to greater online activity," especially the "self-promoting" variety that "appear to attempt to persuade others about one’s own positive qualities." Is your profile picture a little too good? Are your interests a little too clever? Guess your parents didn't love you enough.

For a small study by an undergraduate student, Mehdizadeh's findings made big headlines around the world – because who doesn't revel in a story about how terrible the kids today are, with their Internet and all? Or as the UK Telegraph summed it up with a smug, told-you-so explanation, Facebook is "a haven for narcissistic people because they can establish a large number of hollow 'friendships' without having to establish a real relationship." And you thought everybody was just there for the Farmville.

...Study author Mehdizadeh, who tellingly boasted to the Star newspaper this week that "To be honest, I don't use Facebook much," certainly seems to have stacked the deck against those who do. In her paper, she editorializes the medium as "a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication."

...People "self-promote" on Facebook? Isn't that a big part of Facebook's raison d'etre? And while critics have been squirming over the private life as public spectacle nature of online communication since the early nineties, it's only part of the story. ... Because connection, as most of us know, is not a one-way adventure. And in a world of trolls and plentiful ugly behavior on and offline, presenting one's best self hardly seems much of a moral failing. Sounds more like a reasonable aspiration.

Highway Fatalities

Jerry writes:
There were "only" 33,808 highway fatalities last year.
Two nights ago, at about 1 a.m., I saw a semi-truck trailer weave halfway-off the travelled way of I-80 on the Yolo Causeway before the driver became aroused enough to correct the error. Fatigue can kill!

Tropical Storm Hermine Remnant Passing Through Oklahoma

It's funny what happens with former tropical storms....

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Good Dancing

Courtesy of Noel, some serious biometric analysis:
Scientists say they've carried out the first rigorous analysis of dance moves that make men attractive to women.

..."When you go out to clubs people have an intuitive understanding of what makes a good and bad dancer," said co-author Dr Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University, UK.

"What we've done for the very first time is put those things together with a biometric analysis so we can actually calculate very precisely the kinds of movements people focus on and associate them with women's ratings of male dancers."

..."We thought that people's arms and legs would be really important. The kind of expressive gestures the hands [make], for example. But in fact this was not the case," he said.

"We found that (women paid more attention to) the core body region: the torso, the neck, the head. It was not just the speed of the movements, it was also the variability of the movement. So someone who is twisting, bending, moving, nodding."

Movements that went down terribly were twitchy and repetitive - so called "Dad dancing".

..."In animals, the male has to be in good physical quality to carry out these movements. We think the same is happening in humans and certainly the guys that can put these movements together are going to be young and fit and healthy."
I'm seriously discouraged about the hands part, though. I put some work into that....

And I remember reminding Jetta about the time when she watched one of Pepper's classes, where I was aerobicizing. She blew soda out her nose and remarked how it was one of the funniest things she had ever seen, comparing me to a dancing Woody Allen.

It's probably those damned hands again....

Brad Bong's On The Cover Of "Outword"!

Q.: So when did the theater thing first grab you?

A.: In high school, at Sac High, I played Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls, and I also played the rabbi's son in Fiddler On The Roof. That's when my grades began to slip a little, after I started performing. I didn't care about my other classes as much as Drama.

Get 'Em While They're Young

What do the Jesuits say? Get them by age six and they're yours for life (see footnote):
The government of the eastern German state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania took the unusual step last month of ordering anyone setting up a children's day-care center to pledge their support for Germany's democratic constitution. The move followed a number of cases in which neo-Nazis had tried to take over the running of a kindergarten, influence teaching in nurseries or get recruited as teachers.

...Concern is also growing that in some thinly populated regions there may be enough neo-Nazi parents to secure a majority on parent boards.

...NPD spokesman Klaus Beier said on Tuesday that the party wasn't actively lobbying its members to become kindergarten and nursery teachers. "But of course it is quite natural and normal that NPD members and sympathizers should want to get involved in these areas. Kindergartens and schools should be politically neutral but unfortunately they are being instrumentalized by left-wingers," Beier told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

...Analysts doubt whether the neo-Nazi scene is pursuing a deliberate long-term indoctrination strategy. They say the debate about extremists in kindergartens is detracting from the far bigger problem of toddlers being influenced by their own far-right parents.

..."Right-wing extremism has become embedded in eastern Germany since the 1990s and has a stable voter base."

...Analysts said far-right views remain endemic in the east because decades of authoritarian rule until the fall of the Berlin Wall had made the region fertile ground for right-wing ideology. The problem was compounded by East Germany's education system, which failed to instill a sense of national responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis.

..."Many people -- normal citizens, not just youths -- view racial ideologies as common sense," Wagner said. "The view that races are embroiled in a battle for survival is widespread. It's social Darwinism. People view strangers as a potential threat that must be driven away."

[Footnote: Gabe asks: "Are you part of an anti-Jesuitical cabal? Why bring Jesuits into a comparison with Nazis? That's not very nice! (on the other hand, a comparison with Marxists may be more apropos, etc., etc....)"

I apologize to the Jesuits for the Nazi reference. I have offended against the recommendations of the Facebook group that Giorgio was promoting recently, 1 Million Strong to End Inappropriate Analogies to Nazism in Public Debate. Even as I was typing the reference, I thought I had exceeded the boundaries of good taste. My only point is that young people (age six, and younger) are particularly malleable for ideological purposes, and people have been exploiting that malleability since the dawn of the human race.]

Christchurch Insomnia

Christchurch aftershocks seem to be migrating east into the city limits:

Red markers: on Saturday
Blue markers: on Sunday
Yellow markers: on Monday
Green markers: on Tuesday
Purple markers: today

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

"Move Your Body" - Caroline Lund

Sacramento's Labor Day Rainbow Festival, 2010 (see footnote):

[Footnote: Gabe says "And what is this I see? Mmmmmaaarrrccc! This is NSFW! But then I suppose that depends on what kind of boss you have. I tell you, I've had bosses who were really into that stuff! And some people HAVE accused me of being a refugee from a past century!"

Once again, I apologize for having crossed boundaries of impropriety. Like Gabe, I too am a refugee from a past century; namely, the late, lamented 20th Century. But unlike Gen-X Gabe, I come from that unrecognized generation that immediately followed the Baby Boomers: too young to get drafted into 'Nam, which separates us from the Boomers proper. I very much believe William Faulkner's dictum "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Gabe's Gen-X past concerns his generation's struggle to escape the legacy of the Boomers, with their insatiable, narcissistic demands (I know, I know - I feel their insufferable weight too; I mean, who do you think paid for the excesses of the Boomers? It wasn't the Boomers, but rather, the WWII generation and the immediate post-Boomers!) Thus, the interest in new Orthodoxies of all sorts amongst the generation that came of age around 1990. My generation's struggle was of a different sort - coping with the Boomers' immediate aftermath. And our experiences are different, of course, from today's generation, dealing with the New Depression.

So, whereas today's generation might say "shake it like a Polaroid picture" (even that phrase is a few years out-of-date now) the Gen-Xer's might say "throw a blanket over it," whereas my 70's generation would say, "shake it, baby, shake it!"]

We are all refugees from the conflicted 20th-Century, and just like William Faulkner says, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Everybody, get on the floor, let's dance!
Don't fight your feelings, give yourself a chance!
Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty. ]

Like Matthew Yglesias Says....

It's worthwhile quoting Matthew's post, in full. I am so glad I cut all ties to TNR in 2004. It has become a pretty wretched rag!:
Peretz: Muslims Are Indifferent to Human Life and Therefore Unworthy of First Amendment Protection

New Republic Editor in Chief Martin Peretz:
But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

I for one am thrilled that the First Amendment gives Peretz the right to offer his racist views up for public consumption, but it’s unfortunate that a number of very good writers seem to see no problem with the fact that their work goes out under a masthead nominally edited by this character.

State Theater in Woodland Closes

Troubled days:
At the State, Morgan and his staff of film geeks offered movie facts gleaned from trivia books kept behind the counter. Engaging patrons well beyond the "would you like butter on that?" level, the State crew sometimes dissuaded customers from seeing a particular film.

"We (would) tell them our honest opinions," said Justin Keith, 25, who worked for four years at the theater before Morgan reluctantly let the small staff go in August.

"They were always super-informative, about what (film) was worth it, and what wasn't," said Kelly Azevedo, 25, a longtime customer.

Through such personal attention and ticket prices lower than those at Woodland's other theater – a five-screen Cinemark multiplex – Morgan drew enough business to afford first-run Hollywood films, despite lacking the clout of the chains.

Then the recession hit, followed by changes in film-viewing habits. Woodland residents skipped hometown theaters for Sacramento screens with 3-D and digital projection, Morgan said. Or they rented DVDs for $1 at supermarket kiosks.

"We have become that kind of instant society, where everyone wants everything under one brand-new roof," Morgan said.

Morgan could barely afford to fix broken seats, let alone buy an expensive digital projector.
It's hard to run a movie theater these days that makes money. There has to be some value-added feature that makes the experience worthwhile. For my money, it's hard to beat Wanaka, Otago, South Island, New Zealand's Cinema Paradiso as a model of what a movie theater should be like in these dark days. All the sofas and comfy chairs!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Feeling For The Folks In Christchurch

Below: Foot bridge over the Avon River, Avonside, Christchurch.

I do so want to go back for a visit, but it's going to be a long time before the infrastructure is all straightened out. It is cold right now too, and rainy and windy.

It's funny how Mother Nature can so quickly strip the smile off the happiest place on Earth:
The earthquake that devastated a city in New Zealand tore open a new 11ft faultine in the Earth’s surface.

The 7.1-magnitude quake which hit Christchurch, the country’s second-largest city, destroyed about 500 buildings and caused an estimated £930million of damage.

But hundreds of lives were saved by tough building rules, it was claimed. Only two injuries were reported.

The quake was caused by the continuing collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates, said Professor Mark Quigley, of Canterbury University.

‘One side of the Earth has lurched to the right ... up to 11ft and in some places been thrust up,’ he said. ‘We went and saw two houses that were completely snapped in half by the earthquake.’

The quake cut power across the region, roads were blocked by debris and gas and water supplies were disrupted.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said power was back to 90 per cent of the city and water supply had resumed for all but 15 to 20 per cent of residents.

Portable toilets had been provided and tanks of fresh water placed around the city. Mr Parker said it would take a long time to fix fully some core services such as water and sewerage. ‘Our first priority is just people,’ he said. ‘That’s our worry.’

The fact that no one was killed was put down to the timing of the quake and strict building codes.

‘New Zealand has very good building codes which mean the buildings are strong compared with, say, Haiti,’ said Professor Martha Savage of Victoria University in the capital Wellington.

‘It’s about the same size quake as Haiti, but the damage is so much less. Though chimneys and some older facades came down, the structures are well built.’

The Anglican Dean of Christchurch, the Rev Peter Beck, added: ‘Thank God for earthquake strengthening ten years ago.’

Prime Minister John Key said it was a miracle no one was killed. He put that down to the building codes and because the quake happened just before dawn on Saturday.

‘If this had happened five hours earlier or five hours later there would have been absolute carnage in terms of human life,’ he said. Parts of the city look like they’ve been put in the tumble dryer.’

...Schools across the region will remain closed for the next two days to allow time to check whether they were safe.

Roger Bates, whose dairy farm at Darfield was close to the quake’s epicentre 19 miles west of Christchurch, said the new faultline had ripped up the surface across his land. ‘The whole dairy farm is like the sea now, with real soil waves right across the dairy farm.

‘We don’t have physical holes (but) where the fault goes through it’s been raised a metre or metre and a half.’

"Singing In The Rain" - DMTC - Tech Week Starts

Left: Christina Rae has been spending time in the kitchen.

Left: Dance ensemble.

Left: Wendy Young Carey as Lena.

Left: Adam Sartain and the orchestra.

Home Improvement Continues

On the outside, eastern wall of my bedroom: scrape, scrape, scrape.....

Suddenly, I realized I had a fatal misstep on the back porch steps. The wood broke on one of the supports, setting up a massive tripping hazard for those who didn't know it was there. Instead of keeping it a secret, I tried to secure it with screws....

The Disco Diva And The Blogger

Left: Rainbow Festival, 2010!

Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to drop in on Labor Day's Rainbow Festival at 20th & K Streets, and every year something else comes up. This year, I decided to go ahead!

For me, the main attraction was disco diva Caroline Lund's performance. I posted her "Move Your Body" video on this blog just a few days ago. What could be better than seeing an artist on their way up in the world of dance music?

So, at about 4:30 p.m., I paid my $10 entrance fee, and there I was, looking at the various booths near 20th & K Streets!

I started looking at merchandise for sale at one table. Just then, I was caught in a crossfire: two women, on either side of me, broke out water pistols shaped like phalluses and started firing at each other with abandon.

Well, that doesn't happen every day!

Left: Green Cross. Funny!

Wandering along, I saw Keith's J Street Wellness booth, and I inquired about medical marijuana (I've got that prospect of surgery on my foot to look forward to, so I might as well cover all the bases ahead of time). Keith started explaining the policy regarding doctors' prescriptions, but then got distracted by the approach of several women (me no think he's gay).

I bought a bottle of water and got a free hot-pink shopping bag.

Left: Some of the dancers from Face's in-house Sunday-evening performance revue, "Dragalicious", came into the street to perform.

Left: The MC.

Waiting for Caroline Lund to take the Main Stage in the intersection of 20th & K Streets, I saw two women behind the stage dressed in exotic performance clothing. The white woman was clearly warming up for a performance; the black woman was sitting down and texting. Was that Caroline Lund? I didn't know: I'm a newbie fan (one week elapsed, so far) and I'm not sure what she really looks like in person.

Left: Cool Beans.

A lesbian-themed band called something like "Cool Beans" took the Main Stage. So, I was rockin' out with the lesbians. Good band. One of the singers was wearing a "Beaver Fever" T-Shirt. Lots of tattoos.

Shortly after 5 p.m., after an interlude featuring 'Andy' and dancers, it was time for the main show! But instead of Caroline Lund, the first woman I had noticed came on stage. Her name was "Kelsey" and she sang and danced. She seemed to be at ease, pleasant and affable. I caught her first number on my fancy video camera.

Then it was time for Caroline Lund (the second woman I had noticed). Excellent show, with dancers! The Modesto native sang "Move Your Body," plus other songs, with several exotic backup dancers (apparently from Sacramento).

At one point, I had trouble. Someone wanted to wheel a folding table across the front of the stage. Not wanting to stop filming or take my eye off the stage, I took a step backwards without looking, totally unaware that someone had parked a baby stroller directly behind me. I tripped and flailed, and flailed, and flailed, and certainly took everyone's focus off the stage for several seconds as I fought, fought, fought for balance. I didn't fall, but it was a very close thing!

A nice show. Nevertheless, I was a little disappointed by what I thought was the fairly-small size of the crowds. Since this is my first time here, I don't know if it's usually small, or not. The economy? Too many entertainment alternatives? Everyone is packed into Badlands getting smashed on a hot afternoon? Quien sabe?

Afterwards, I wanted to say a few words of thanks to Caroline Lund. Just then, "Kelsey" came over.

I couldn't resist complimenting "Kelsey" on her fantastic eyelashes. Ever since I got those lovely electric-blue false eyelashes for 2008's 'La Cage aux Folles' at DMTC, I've been in love with long eyelashes, and Kelsey's pink-and-black eyelashes were the longest and lushest I had seen since 2008. She got excited: a fan!

I explained that I had been filming the performances. She said, "Ooooh, how do they look?" I answered that I didn't know: I had only just filmed them. I explained that I had caught only her first number on video. She replied:
Oh that's too bad! I was hoping you had caught the second number. That's the one we've been pushing; you know, to move me on up! Besides, I think my vocals were a bit weak on the first number, etc., etc.
As she spoke, a wave of deja vu hit me; a tsunami of deja vu, actually. It took me a few seconds to analyze the feeling. "Kelsey" the disco diva sounded exactly like the musical theater divas we have at DMTC, or, for that matter, over at Runaway Stage Productions (RSP), or Civic Theatre West!

Later, I learned on the Internet that "Kelsey Barney", who lives in Los Angeles now, came directly out of the Bakersfield community musical-theater scene. So, indeed, she is directly-comparable to some of our Sacramento musical-theater divas. She reminded me a bit of Amber Jean Moore, except more amiable, and not as scary/fierce as Amber can get, when she's busy murdering a jealous lover, or whatever she sings about when she's on stage over there at RSP.

The Fabulous Kelsey Barney as ROXY!

Arguing With Myself MySpace Video

So we talked about Kelsey's performance. I told her not to worry about the vocals: festivals aren't the best showcase for vocals anyway - you get whatever you get. I told her that her face was her best asset: strikingly large eyes; large mouth - makes for a memorable performance! (I should have mentioned the eyelashes again). She filed away that information for future reference.

She started talking about her record company's gay-friendly approach, sending her up to this Gay Pride event, and her own gay-friendly manner, and I'm wondering why she's even bringing up gay-friendly anything in conversation, and suddenly it occurred to me she had jumped to the conclusion that I was gay.

So, a question: Just because I spend all my free time doing musical theater, and have loved gay-oriented House and Disco music for decades, and paid $10 to attend a gay festival, and am carrying a hot-pink shopping bag; is that enough information to jump to the conclusion that I'm gay?

On second thought, don't answer that question....

So skipping past the matter of sexual orientation, we talked about matters I couldn't quite follow. She was talking about Palm Springs, but I was looking at her eyelashes, and so all I recall is that there are interesting people doing interesting things in Palm Springs.

I promised I would clear any video footage I took past her first before posting....

Oh, and yes, Caroline Lund briefly shook my hand and said 'thanks for coming!"

That Mysterious Truck Is Back!

That refrigerated semi-trailer with the TRU operating 24 hours a day is B-A-C-K! It's still lurking around the cemetery!

Is it full of bodies waiting to be interred? Or is it ferrying bodies away, to parts unknown? And why just on weekends?

I'll get my house painted just in time for Halloween, only to be besieged by restless, undead zombies!

Labor Day Weekend

Paint, paint, paint, paint! Then paint some more!

A Vote For The Incumbent

Preparing to spend the day painting my porch, I heard a knocking at the door. It was a canvasser for Sacramento School Board challenger candidate, Paige Powell. I asked the canvasser what did he see as the problem with incumbent Sacramento School Board candidate, Ellyne Bell.

"She's trying to close down Sacramento High School, and its college prep program," the canvasser said. "Ellyne Bell spends her time caving in to the unions' demands. She doesn't care for the students. Paige Powell is the only one of the candidates who has been a teacher, and who understands the students' needs."

I didn't tell the canvasser that I actually know Ellyne Bell, but not in her role as school board member. I used to take Sunday morning ballet with Ellyne, in Pam Kay Lourentzos' class (I've had to take a sabbatical this year). I never discussed school board matters with Ellyne. Instead, I knew Ellyne as a fellow dancer.

I asked the canvasser for a Paige Powell campaign flyer. He produced a flyer with a picture of the candidate that I took a dislike too. In the photo, Paige Powell seemed to be dressed like a teacher. Powell didn't seem to have Ellyne's whimsical and fun-loving sense of fashion.

It's my experience that politicians have a terrible - utterly dreadful! - sense of what performing artists, and artists of any and all sorts, really need to do their art. Politicians instinctively try to rope artists into political campaigns that have nothing to do with art. The modern American fetish over test scores has nothing to do with learning and everything to do with setting up educational fiefdoms and carving out budget turf. I see politicians - all politicians! - as guilty in this regard, until proven innocent.

The only saving grace is if the politicians are actually engaged in art forms of their own. Then they learn, on their own, what artists really need.

Ellyne Bell is a dancer. She's paid her dues. She "gets it."

And as far as unions are concerned, I've always considered it a plus to be able to work with unions.

If Ellyne Bell is considered to be anti-Kevin-Johnson in some way, so much the better. The "strong mayor's" instinct is to make people buckle to his will. What is the role of art in that? Art suffers in that kind of environment. Learning too.

I thanked the canvasser, saw him off, and somehow managed to lose the flyer.