Friday, November 09, 2018

On A Wavelength Far From Home

Dinner With Bruce Warren's Sister

Nancy Shappell, from North Dakota.

Jasper and Teddy Play

Ooh, I Got Mentioned In The Review

That never happens:
This show really rises or falls on the talents of Annie and in Katarina Detrick (in her first lead role) DMTC has a winner. She sometimes tends to be shrill, but she is a belter of the first order, and they probably can hear her out in the parking lot when she sings “Tomorrow.” She also is a good actress and professionally handles the dog Sandy (Cleopatra Graves) who is more interested in running into the audience, with tail wagging, than behaving herself on stage, despite the treats Annie kept in her pocket. Detrick never missed a beat and eventually got the dog under control.

Perhaps the moment that most impressed me was when billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Gannon Styles) is letting Annie know how she has wormed her way into his heart. The intense look of real love on her face as she watches him was just beautiful to behold.

Styles, with a solid theater background, is new to DMTC and what an addition he is. He gives great warmth to the character of Warbucks and has a great voice to boot.

Warbucks’ secretary, Grace Farrell, played by Chris Cay Stewart, is a warmhearted woman hiding feelings for Warbucks, and a great friend to Annie. Stewart also appears as part of the ensemble in some scenes, where her beautiful voice is easy to identify.

Rachel Hoover, a Davis native who performed more than 30 shows before she went to college (including some with the former Sunshine Children’s Theater), is a spectacular Miss Hannigan, the harridan who runs the orphanage where Annie was dropped off 11 years ago as an infant. She’s enough to scare anybody, and her musical numbers, particularly “Little Girls,” are outstanding.

Christopher Murphy, another DMTC newcomer, makes an impression as her brother, Rooster Hannigan, as does Bridget Styles as his girlfriend Lily St. Regis.

The orphans — Kiera Chang, Chantelle Holt, Vivian Li, Lexy Hutcheon, Sage Sigmon and Katherine Berdovskiy — are well- rehearsed, in good voice and perform their dances professionally. Each girl also has her moment to shine in the spotlight.

What I love about DMTC shows are the little unexpected “gems.” I found three under that category in this production. Amaralyn Ewey is great as the fresh-faced star-to-be, newly arrived in New York. There never was a better role for Marc Valdez than that of Franklin D. Roosevelt. But especially outstanding was Jan Isaacson’s performance as the silent sound man for a Gert Healy (Amy Woodman) radio broadcast. She is just perfect.

With familiar tunes like “Easy Street” and “Tomorrow,” in addition to a score of other fun songs and a cast of adorable little girls and funny bad guys, this is a show that will appeal to everyone, and DMTC makes it fun for all ages.

The Situation in Paradise

Bad times.

The view from space:

LaToya, Jaimee, And Marcia Do A Dance Challenge

Dancehall PowerUp Choreography - "Gym" Ding Dong

I missed video night because of my theater schedule, but these are my Jamaican Dancehall peeps (LaToya Bufford, Dancehall PowerUp instructor).

Holidays Approach

The Habit

Traveling on their 3-month American tour, Daniel from the UK and Michael from the Netherlands stayed with me at my house on the crazy, crazy weekend of October 27-28th.

Bon voyage to them on their grand American tour. Surprisingly, I didn’t get any photos of them, but I did get a photo of this burger joint, The Habit, on Howe Avenue. Making a point to eat here seems quirky, but it just means we think alike. Cuisine is an important part of travel.

Turn Verein Oktoberfest 2018

On Saturday October 13, 2018, I paid a first visit to the Turn Verein Oktoberfest.

Housesitting Gabe and Eleanor's Dogs

I'm so far behind on posts. Here's housesitting Blue and Molly last weekend in October.

DMTC's Halloween Skary-Oke 2018

I helped judge the costume contest on the evening of October 27th.

Traveling on their 3-month American tour, Daniel from the UK and Michael from the Netherlands drove up from Cupertino and met me at the theater. They videoed me singing ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All." (The song was featured in "Better Call Saul, Season 4, episode 10, 'Winner'). When Dan and Michael couldn't get a motel room, I hosted them at my house:

Catastrophe, And Not Far Away Either

Just up the road. The air here is full of smoke. The refugees start arriving now:
Yesterday, tens of thousands of residents fled their homes in Paradise, California, north of Sacramento, escaping a fast-moving wildfire driven by high winds that swept through their community. Within 24 hours, the Camp Fire has burned more than 20,000 acres, and has virtually destroyed the town. Thousands of homes and other structures in Paradise have been consumed or badly damaged by the blaze. As firefighters struggle to gain control of the Camp Fire, several other wildfires are threatening other parts of the state, including the Woolsey Fire near Malibu, which has just prompted evacuation orders for some 13,000 residents.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Knock, knock, knock! “Who’s at the door, Jasper? It’s probably the Jehovah Witnesses again, or maybe it’s the Mailman. Remember how he gave you a dog treat and tried so hard to be your friend? Or maybe it’s that sweaty Verizon guy again. Let’s see….”

I opened the door. It was a CHEERLEADER! “I’m with Edward Jones, and I’d like to advise you regarding your finances,” she said.

Hmmm…. Since when do financial advisors drum up business door to door in this neighborhood? I’ve lived here 23 years, and I’ve never seen this, but I don’t pretend to understand this place. Well, better to just roll with it. Things have been discombobulated since the Great Recession. And besides, her distinct, nasal Southern California accent is mesmerizing. Certainly the prettiest woman to come here since, maybe, forever.

“Were you a cheerleader in high school or college?” I asked. “Both,” she replied. “Lots of flips.” So we discussed degrees of financial risk and compared notes on health clubs and travel destinations.

When she left, Jasper was sad to see her go. “See, Jasper, there was nothing to worry about. She wasn’t interested in my immortal soul. She’s just interested in all my money.”

My Two New Books About "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul"

I’m happy to announce the availability of two new books.

The first book is a 5th edition update of “A Guidebook To 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character,” updated through the recently-finished Season 4 of “Better Call Saul.”


The second book, “'Breaking Bad' Signs and Symbols: Reading Meaning into Sets, Props, and Filming Locations,” aims to understand some of the symbolism embedded in the backgrounds of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul." Vince Gilligan and crew have hidden coded messages in the backgrounds of scenes. Elements of Albuquerque architecture are used as ideograms, and when strung together, can tell stories of surprising sophistication.

A series of tables are used to isolate how certain architectural features are used: Pueblo Deco Arches, Gentle Arches, Bell-Shaped Lamps, Parallel Beams in the Ceiling; Five-Pointed Stars; Octagons, etc. In particular, daylighting innovations that were pioneered or promoted in Chicago are examined: Glass Block Windows, Luxfer Prismatic Tile Windows, and Plate Glass Windows.

Like many cities in America’s Great Plains and Mountain West, Albuquerque obtained much of its architecture directly from Chicago via the AT&SF railroad and Highway 66. In “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” Albuquerque is used as a stunt double for the City of Chicago.

Certain symbols advance the plot - foreshadowing symbols like Pueblo Deco Arches, or danger symbols like bell shapes and stagger symbols. Other features, like Glass Block Windows or Parallel Beams in the Ceiling, tell stories about the legacies and corruptions of modernity, particularly those deriving from Chicago’s “Century of Progress” (1833-1932).

Most stories appear to be tributes to the film business – favorite actors, directors, TV series, and movies. Stories include: The Legacy of El Chapo; Tributes to Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”; The Badger Comes To Entrap; The Five Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe; The Legacy of London's Crystal Palace; and an Homage to Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner.”

At the least, watching the backgrounds provides an alternative understanding of the television shows. Instead of wondering whether or not Jane will accept Jesse’s invitation to watch his big-screen TV, one can wonder instead about whether Jesse’s ceiling will be visible (because that would be bad).


Took My Emotional Support Dog To The Polls

He’s got the separation anxiety, so I’ve got to support him. They were dog-friendly!

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Noticeable One

Current mood.

This morning, I finished proofing my two latest books, the 5th edition update to "A Guidebook To 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character," and my new book, "'Breaking Bad' Signs and Symbols: Reading Meaning into Sets, Props, and Filming Locations." The rest now is all marketing!

Plus, I'm playing FDR in DMTC's "Annie." Ten more performances. Grab the limelight while I can!

Missing Persons is an amazing band. Helped define the 80s. I suspect there are connections between the band and the origins of "Breaking Bad." Dale Bozzio is amazing too: likely the direct model for Lady Gaga.