San Francisco (week 4)

Tuesday

We have reserved a Zipcar today, so will be trip out to Stinson Beach and Muir woods!

Breakfast, writing, getting ready and out we went!

Car was short walk away and was lovely, even had a handbrake and a joy to drive!

Fog hid the goldengate bridge as we drive over (spooky) and hit the 101 highway to Pallookaville well not quite, it was a foggy, sunny, blue sky, foggy drive, we had a quick stop at Muir ‘overlook’ to look at the stunning view, of, er, well fog actually, at least it was warm.

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Popped into the ‘toilet’ and although it looked fine from a distance, on closer inspection you could see that basically it was a hole in the ground beyond the actual ‘toilet’

So drove on and hit Stinson, just as the fog rolled in, was odd to be on a beach with fog moving really fast like smoke in the breeze, seemed like a battle between the sun and the fog going on

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Moved onto the ‘town’ looked at couple of places and decided to go with Breakers, both had breakfast things with eggs, yummy!

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Went to look at the ‘shops’ in truth, there were only 3, one of which was only open at weekends

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Back in car to Muir Woods, which was excellent, made me feel alive, charged and full of energy, incredible experience, bit similar to when we first came to San Francisco, did the shops et al

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Drive back to San Francisco, enjoyed driving the car, home

Rest and then out to Americano (cue the song) for pizzas, like the starter of sprout and artichoke fritti and the pizzas were yummy too, esp the one which combined goats cheese, lemon, chilli and caramelized onion, mad!

Picked up tickets for LCD sound system film next week and train back to apartment, tired!

Wednesday

Up, breakfast, writing, out to Haight, which turned out to be lovely, and brought in a day of contrasts

Paul bought coat in first shop we went in, then we went for great bales in ‘cafe for the people’, had a mooch down the road and then we and bought CD’s in the amazing amoeba records, which is great shop and sells loads of great music, bought loads of stuff for spacedogsradio

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Back on bus, dinner (goulash) and out to the the theater (darling) for My Fair Lady, where to start?

This is what was in the press release:

The San Francisco Playhouse has re-invented this classic Broadway musical to fit their intimate stage. By stripping the show to its core, casting much younger actors as Higgins and Pickering, as well as a street tough Eliza, our production aims to stir more romantic heat, while desanitizing our mis-conceptions of what was a very gritty London of 1912. Performed by a cast of 11 actors with two pianos, this My Fair Lady will return to Shaw’s original purpose while honoring the glorious score.

This is Paul’s review

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Just in from My Fair Lady at the SF Theatre. Everyone on stage had graduated from the Dick Van Dyke School of Acting – with honours! Ominously the director welcomed us at the beginning of the evening to a “preview” and invited us to fill out a form in the programme with our tips and suggestions as “we are still working on how best to tell this magnificent story”. We both looked at each other and said “They are not ready are they?”.

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Curtain up. Actually there was no curtain. Lights up. Here we are in Covent Garden or us it a mausoleum/graveyard from a previous production? Actors arrive on stage but have forgotten to bring their accents with them. The woman playing ELiza Doolittle, Monique Hafen, is stunningly devoid of charm and like the rest of the cast uses an international accent that travels from Ireland to India on to Australia and the US of A, where A doesn’t stand for America. “With a little bit of luck” she occasionally lands in London

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Worse than the wandering accents is the costume design by Abra Berman. “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely” if the individual costumes matched to the characters that wore them? . The dreadful costume design goes a long way to undermining the credibility of the whole piece with all the costumes seemingly from different time periods and styles. Elisa’s father looks like he has wandered off the set of a school play, dressed in a thin cloak with rainbow colours and a scarf. He really looks like a dust man and nails that character by delivering his lines with camp relish.

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The scene with the elocution lesson is suddenly and surprisingly tense, as it seems certain that cast and audience are in real danger from the uncontrollable oil lamp on stage with its ever increasing flame. The tangible fear in the eyes of Professor Higgins and Eliza unsettles the audience until Colonel Pickering helpfully ad libs that maybe the flame should be put out and Higgins should start over. The audience unclench their buttocks and with relief on their faces the actors cautiously movethe scene on, tentatively blowing at the reduced flame.

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Credit where credit is due though. Richard Frederick and Johnny Moreno just about hold the show together as respectively Colonel Pickering and Henry Higgins. Eliza is the real black hole which they cant compensate for and the supporting cast also don’t make their jobs any easier. Freddy annunciates – every – line – in – his – songs – using – his – hands – and – wide – eyes – to – summon – up – an – image – for – every – word. “On – the – street”, bend knee, crouch down, wave hand over stage floor, “where- you – live”, raise arm, point to front door, increase craziness in eyes, and gurn! His singing voice is fine but the delivery is so below amateurish that you find yourself staring in disbelief.

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Another ‘mouth falling open moment’ for the audience is at the Ascot races where the direction inexplicably requires the cast to fall in to poses of simulated sexual assault and unintended buggery. We are perplexed by the sudden change of tone, which is wholly at odds with the music and words, and shows no understanding of how the humour should work in this scene. To avoid any further confusion a helpful glossary in the programme translates English to American e.g. Dustman we will all note is a Garbage Collector. But when Eliza shouts “move your bloomin arse”, there is no equivalent translation “move your mutherfuckin ass”.

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The publicity for the show is so far removed from what is before our eyes that the Theatre really should be made to issue a further set of translations. “This classic Broadway musical is reinvented into a fresh new production designed to fit the intimate SF Playhouse Stage.” should read “The classic Broadway musical is unrecognisable in a murderous production clumsily staged at the cramped SF ‘Theatre”.

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“By stripping the show to its core, the power, brilliance and humor of the original pour forth with new life ” should be read as “By following the script in a totally pedestrian and unimaginative way, the brilliance and humour of the show both have the life strangled out of them”.

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“Foregoing elaborate sets and extravagant production numbers, this My Fair Lady will focus on Eliza’s emotional journey.” was clearly “With not enough money to do justice to the script, and foregoing direction, imagination, design, costumes, dancing and accents, this My Fair Lady focuses on the inanimate features of a very wooden Eliza.”

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So take a bow director Bill English. His programme notes stated that “presenting this chamber version with a young, passionate Higgins, a tough, determined Eliza and two pianos has been one of the great pleasures of my life”. So at least someone enjoyed their evening. Well done Bill – “You Did It”. “I Could Have Danced All Night” but not on Audrey Hepburn’s grave. Bill – “Just You Wait”.

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Hense to say, we left during the interval, went to the Hyatt for cocktails, but not as good as usual, so we left after one, off to Blush in Castro for cocktails, but they didn’t do any so we left, off to Mollies for bottle of wine we wanted, but they didn’t do it any more…..

Home, wine, writing, bed

Thursday

Spent the day mooching round the apartment, out to post office for stamps and Mollies for food stuff

Had a go at looking street and contemporary

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Great image

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Delish tea with organic purple carrots, sweet potato mash with fig balsamic vinegar and free range chicken! Food joy!

About to leave to gig it with Howard Jones!

Passed by the Milano hotel and we wondered if its possible to have a mint Milano in the hotel Milano?

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Got to the venue, long queue and big bird!

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Howard Jones was great, fogotten how many songs by him i knew and the crowd loved it, sound system was great too

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After there cab ot bar for night cap of Taquilla Fix and well spicy it was too

Friday

Spent the day mooching round the apartment

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Slightly frustrating in trying to find visual software that is free/ cheap and able to download (and work) on computer, found 2 that looked good, but both had same final error

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Made eggs Benedict for lunch, its a complicated thing to put together, will deffo make again, with a little less lemon!

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Out to Dolores Park Cafe to see Katharine Cole/ Kitty Rose sing her songs, and she was fab, great energy and using great effect on vocal to give harmony, clearly love what she does

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Got CD and Paul got it signed

Back to the apartment, writing, found software for visuals that works and with itunes, so happy about that, will be able to put together a show now

Saturday

It’s all abit colder and cloudier than expected, right now sat in the sun taking in the rays

This evening we have hired a car and out to Cabolt to an observatory to look at the stars, watch films, go shopping

Just in after nightmare journey on freeway back to apartment, journey to observatory wasn’t great, drivers were very ‘moody’

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;Saw Saturn through telescope, was amazing, though I did think someone had drawn image on black cardboard

Looked round exhibits

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Saw a film on the ‘time of maya’ or something like that, bit dull and kind of interesting if you like been given tons of information about a culture in 15 minutes, but the seats were comfy and lying back in the dark, was so tempting to fall asleep

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After that had expressing and twix (nice) which reminds me made a very delish carbonara for dinner! Yumalicious

Wonder round exhibits

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Back to watch another film, ‘takes of the moon’ bit dull again and really they need to pep it up it were all be asleep (maybe just me then?)

Quick last look at Saturn, but Uranus not in view

Journey back, jeepers, lots to cope with, low gas, journey taking almost 2 hours instead of 30 minutes, taking forever….

This from a website kind of sums it up

I was stuck on the bridge from 9:30pm to 11:40pm on the evening of Saturday, July 14, a little over 2 hours. I had driven past a notification that there was an “accident” and to use alternate routes to SF but there was nothing about all 5 lanes being closed to clear the asphalt.

It was horrible last night. And I want to see the company that was responsible for transporting the asphalt sued or at least shamed.

A white diesel truck hauling 2 dump trucks carrying the asphalt was responsible for the spill, apparently a car had cut off the truck as it was approaching the S-curve.

More likely, the truck was going way too fast, and lost its load trying to navigate/slow down in time for the stupid S-curve.

The white diesel truck with the 2 dump trucks filled with asphalt was an accident waiting to happen and should be sued for having put the public at risk.

What was it doing driving at 8:20pm on a Saturday night?

It ruined my Sat night and that of thousands of other drivers who thought the traffic going across the Bay Bridge would be light but found a sig-alert instead, having to spend 2 hours in brutal parking lot type conditions just sitting and going 1 foot a minute.

I called the CHP and found out that the SF log number from the CHP is: 1956 dated July 14,2012 and there is no info about the driver, or the name of the company that hired the driver and the trucks to carry the asphalt.

idiots!

Anyway, home now, wine, bed soon, active day tomorrow

Sunday

Up, spot of breakfast and out for the day, left the apartment feeling great, passed a dog on lead and unfortunately it wanted to attack me with claws and teeth, luckily there was barrier of my wallet to stop main force, but am slightly bruised and was upset, the owner didn’t do anything though which afterwards did bug me

Onto Trace for brunch, it used to be XYZ which we loved esp when we had a booth, it all seemed a bit too square (design) and cold (design)

Monday

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Had at go at playing with some ideas for logos for spacedogsradio shows

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