Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Pampering Begins Here

Yay, it's my "weekend"! So what, might you ask, will I do with my mid-week days off?

Well, in about an hour I am taking myself to the spa. On this visit, I'm indulging in a facial instead of a massage, body scrub or healing treatment. Nutty, I know, but my pores will appreciate it. The facial will come after I've worked up a good sweat on the spa cardio equipment, lounged in the sauna and steam room and luxuriated by the pool. I may even be completely decadent and order a poolside lunch. Just because I can.

Do you think it would be okay if I moved into the spa? I wonder what rent there would be like...

After the spa, I'm going to dinner at Street (yum) with Ann Marie, and then I'll be meeting Helen for cocktails. Helen and I have a lot of catching up to do. She just broke up with her boyfriend (again) and wants to share the details.

Tomorrow I have my singing lesson in the afternoon, followed by band rehearsal in the evening. Fake Band is playing a show in just over three weeks, and then we're going on tour. Well, not exactly, but we will be performing in L.A. on March 2nd. We're rather in demand for a fake band. Please come see us if you're in San Francisco or Los Angeles. Or don your bell-bottoms, jump into your VW bus and drive west. We certainly would welcome some Grateful Dead-style groupies.

Then on Friday it's back to work. I love my job, but the idea of a fresh work week seems very boring to me right now.


I have just returned from my luscious spa day, and I must say: I think the facial is my new favorite spa treatment. I'd had a facial before, but it was nothing like this one. First of all, the spa version is not so much a facial, as it is a self esteem boost. My aesthetician kept telling me how wonderful and well-balanced my skin is. I'd never thought of my skin as all that great, but I'll take the compliments. In addition to this ego-building, skin-soothing goodness, I was treated to mini shoulder and hand massages, and I got to wear those weird, electric hand-warming glove thingies. And the products the aesthetician used were beautiful and have left my skin all soft and radiant.

The only rub is that after the facial, they managed to talk me into buying some of the aforementioned products, and they were not exactly cheap. But I am so happy, I don't care. In fact, I think I have happiness bursting from my newly-cleaned pores.

If I were wealthy, I'd go to the spa every week. Maybe every day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Free Money!

Well, not exactly, but it sure feels like free money.

You know the feeling when you discover a twenty in a coat pocket? Yes, the money was always yours, but because you'd forgotten about it, it's like a free bonus. Well, I have the same experience whenever I visit the dentist. The policy at my dentist's office is that the patient (in this case, me) pays them, and then they bill the insurance company so that the patient may be reimbursed. Invariably, I forget about the expense incurred at the office and am pleasantly surprised when I get my insurance check.

This happens to me every time. You'd think I'd wise up, but I never do.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I had a dental cleaning and x-rays on December 14th. And even though I had to confirm with my insurance company just about a week and a half ago that I have no other dental coverage, I still managed to forget all about the cash I had coming my way. So how nice was it for me to open my mailbox yesterday and find a check! My dentist is a little pricey, and my insurance company sucks, so I only recovered about a third of what I'd spent on the appointment, but still. It's like a gift from the universe. I think I'm going to treat myself to some high end hair products and some final going-away cocktails with Jack tomorrow night.

Remember I told you it was Schleevin's birthday yesterday? Well, all I did was send him a Hallmark e-card and call to wish him well, and this is the little thank you note I got:

Be a better friend. Try it. I defy you. Not possible. Thank you so much, Sassy, for my hilarious card and my super sweet message. You're the best, plain and simple.

How cute is he, gushing over an e-card and a phone message? Maybe all of his other friends forgot about him. Admittedly, the e-card I sent him was pretty funny. It was an animated screaming banshee's birthday party. That sounds dumb, but it had me laughing out loud. And my phone message might have been a little over the top. Instead of just saying "Happy Birthday," I asked if he was aware that yesterday was National We're Thankful Schleevin Was Born Day, and I went on to describe all the celebrations. What can I say? I like birthdays.

I also like old friends. I've probably mentioned before that I've known Schleevin for about 25 years... since the fall of 1981. He's one of several childhood friends with whom I'm still in active contact; the others being Anne, Kristie, Omar and Gabriella. I've said it before on this space, but it bears repeating: there's something so comforting about people who have known you for a long time. It's like having extra siblings, but you got to choose these people. I also have several friends from college I keep in touch with, but with the exceptions of Paul, Denise and Kara, they all live far away, so I tend to talk to them less frequently.

Speaking of Omar, he and his wife Diana had a wedding reception in New York last night. Sadly I couldn't go because I work weekends, and oh yeah, I live here in San Francisco, but I bet it was fun. They actually got married in Colombia back in October, and now they're expecting a son. That's super weird to me because I still think of Omar as my high school classmate and drummer of our band (well, I was only in the band a few weeks).

These people and their grown up lives. Why can't they all be stunted and permanently stuck at 25 like I am? It's fun here, believe me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Looking For Something Light and Cheery?

Then perhaps you should consider taking yourself to the Marsh Theatre for Dan Hoyle's one-man show about... wait for it... oil and politics in Nigeria.

Oh, yes, this show is a veritable walk in the park. Okay, all joking aside, my friend Emily and I saw Tings Dey Happen last night, and it is very good. Dan Hoyle is clearly a brilliant actor. In fact, the former Fulbright Scholar is probably just plain brilliant. I will say, however, that as far as political one-person plays go, I enjoyed Heather Raffo's Nine Parts of Desire much more. I saw that show last year at Berkeley Rep.

But back to the play at hand. Holye plays so many characters in Tings Dey Happen, I didn't even bother counting them. And the show is held together by the comic relief of a "Stage Manager." Hoyle does rely just the teeniest bit too heavily on accents and voices, though, and as a result, his work occasionally crosses the line between acting and imitation. Case in point: a malaria-inspired dream sequence featuring Graham Greene and Richard Pryor. However, I neither deny the veracity of any of said accents nor the fact that they are necessary in a play based on real people who live on the other side of the globe.

My very favorite part of the show is the self-reflective moment when Hoyle, as the Stage Manager, acknowledges that most western plays and movies about Africa center around Caucasian visitors.

By the end of Ting's two hours, I was worn out. I didn't even have the energy to head to the Knock Out to see Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen afterward. I had probably missed Tippy, anyway, but nonetheless. All I could do was hop in a cab and return home for a rendezvous with my couch. At risk of sounding like an ignorant American, I will admit that this play did not inspire the joy in me that most theatre does, but I am certainly glad I saw it. Thanks for the ticket, Emily.

And that brings us to the present. Today is a positively grand day: it is Schleevin's 37th birthday. Granted he is not here to celebrate (he lives in New York and Los Angeles), but in his honor I am going to indulge in exercise at the Fancy Gym, take myself shopping for linens and then go to work. That Schleevin certainly knows how to throw a birthday party, doesn't he?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

And We Had Dinner At the Mall

I have had the greatest day ever.

It actually started last night when I met Tom at the Rickshaw Stop to see the very talented Bart Davenport. I had never been to the Rickshaw Stop before, and I discovered it to be delightfully random. It's in a completely random area; the door is not marked; and there really are a couple of rickshaws in the place.

Who knew?

Well, probably a lot of people because the Rickshaw Stop is celebrating its third anniversary. So okay, I'm a tiny bit of a Jane Come Lately on this one. In addition to Bart Davenport, a duo called Bramble and Briar performed. I only caught the end of their set, but I really liked what I heard. They were so cute and just emanated happiness. Two other artists played, but I didn't like one of them, and we left before the other took the stage.

Because it's my life, I, of course, ran into people I know at the show. One was the (recently) ex-girlfriend of a musician I'm acquainted with. She's young but a lot of fun, and it was nice to see her. I just hope my musician-friend was/is not too sad about their break-up. I get the feeling he may have been, at least for a little while. I also ran into Phelps, with whom I went to high school in L.A... back in the Stone Age when I was actually in high school. God, I'm old. Anyway, I've run into Phelps at shows before, and his wife, who skipped the occasion last night, even told him beforehand that she knew he'd stumble upon someone he knew. And she specifically mentioned me.

I love that my reputation as a Gal About Town precedes me.

Even after a fabulous Bart Davenport set last night, I got up early enough this morning to make it to the gym before my singing lesson. Yes, I exercise every day, but often I only have time to take a run. Words cannot describe how incredibly nice it was to engage in a proper resistance training/cardio combo for my workout this morning. Not to mention that I positively love my gym. I feel better just walking in there, so I really need to make more time to luxuriate in it.

My workout accomplished, shower taken and lunch ingested, I then made my way to the East Bay for my singing lesson with Best Friend. We spent the first hour chatting, so we only had 30 minutes for actual singing. I think that's the danger of taking voice lessons from a friend, but Best Friend's teaching is worth the risk. After singing, I let BART propel me back to the City where I met my sister, the famous Fabulous Patti, at the Merchant Wine Bar in the Ferry Building. Once we'd had our fill of wine and pastries, we went to the fancy Westfield Shopping Center, home of Bloomingdales in San Francisco.

And that is where I purchased the most fabulous coat in the world.

I've been looking for the perfect coat since October, and tonight I found it! Plus, it was on super-sale. I'm not going to lie; it was still expensive. However I'll take whatever savings I can get, and my perfect coat was almost 50% off. You'll be seeing this coat a lot, believe me. Finding the perfect coat can leave a girl famished, so FP and I hit the food court for dinner.

Yes, we had dinner at the mall.

Lest you think we indulged in Hot Dog On a Stick or something equally nauseating, I will assure you that the Westfield Shopping Center is not your ordinary mall. To that end, we were able to enjoy dinner at the Slanted Door. Inside the mall. If you don't live in San Francisco, this may mean nothing to you. If you do, you know what a coup it is for this restaurant to have a satellite location in a mall. And it was delicious.

How much would you pay for a day like this? Wait, don't answer, because there's more! I then went to Erin's birthday party in Russian Hill. There I got to see not only her, but Helen, Simon, Kenneth, Evan, Liz, Doug and Jack, in one of his last San Francisco appearances. Jack is moving to New York on Wednesday. Yay for him, but oh, well, for the rest of us.

Live music, exercise, singing, cocktailing, eating and shopping. The last 24 hours have featured virtually everything I could ask for. I suppose having sex with my dream man would have made it even better, but no day is absolutely perfect. And I have to have something to work toward, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Silver Lining?

Tonight's post begins with a statement of fact: I am not fat. I know it, all my friends know it, even God knows it. I am the size of a real person, so no one is going to solicit my services on a catwalk, but nonetheless I am not fat. To the right is a recent photo of me wearing a size 6 Betsey Johnson dress as a means of illustration. No, I don't wear a size 6 in every style of Betsey Johnson dress, but whatever.

Okay, it's possible I have a bit of a fat ass. And hips. But thanks to the popularity of Beyonce and J.Lo, it has, once again, become acceptable for women to be decently-endowed on the backside. I'm no fan of either Beyonce or J.Lo, but I owe them a debt of gratitude for that.

I'm saying all this so you don't think I have some skewed perception of my body when you read the rest of this post.

As I have written before on this space, I have gained quite a bit of weight over the last year and a half. You see, four years ago, I was the thinnest I had ever been. And I mean "ever." I was an overweight child and teenager, hence my knowledge that I am not currently fat. I lost a big chunk of weight during college and became quite the slender, if curvy, girl. And I would remain that way, give or take a few pound fluctuation, for the next 11 years.

Then, in the fall of 2002, I went through a teeny, tiny post-break-up depression. Not only did I get dumped (for which I now thank God), but in the aftermath, I learned that the guy in question was a complete lunatic. Honestly. We hadn't gone out that long, but we had been friends for a couple of years before the dating shenanigans began. So it was quite a surprise to learn that he was (is) an absolute mental case whom I couldn't even keep as a friend.

Believe me, such a revelation would kill your appetite, too.

I dropped almost 20 pounds during my blue period. Once this became clear to me, I figured I would gain it all back the minute I got my appetite back. However, as luck would have it, I started, through work, a free personal training program at the gym just as my appetite returned. So I lost a few more pounds and found myself the thinnest I had ever been. My friend Schleevin even expressed some concern after seeing a photo taken of me during that time, but I was perfectly healthy. Just really skinny. And I stayed that way through all of 2003 and 2004, rendering virtually all the clothes in my closet useless because they were too big. Not being a Rockefeller, only slowly was I able to replace my wardrobe with a few pieces that actually fit. But throughout the two years, I collected an array of appropriately-sized pants, tops and dresses. However, I was also smart enough not to throw out any of my pre-sadness/personal trainer clothing. I knew the weight could creep back at any time.

I will pause and tell you that, in all seriousness, I learned something very valuable during those two years. Being thinner does not mean being happier. Being a fat teen was no fun, but in my adulthood, I had all the same issues when I was really skinny that I'd had when I was curvier. And more than a few times in 2003 I found myself thinking, "At least I could eat more before..." I also fell into some slightly obsessive thinking about food during those two years. It was nothing really bad, but it wasn't terribly emotionally healthy either.

But back to the tale at hand. Flash forward to the present day, and I find myself with a different job. One that does not engage in any promotions that allow me to have a free personal trainer. I do still exercise a lot but not nearly as efficiently or effectively as when a trainer was cheering me on. Plus, my current job very often features snacks. Delicious snacks like pizza. Yummy. And workplace snacks aside, I just allow myself to eat more these days. A lot more. So between mid-2005 and now, I believe I have gained enough to put me close to my pre-fall of 2002 weight.

I won't lie, it has been a little hard to accept my expanding waistline. Not so hard that I stop eating, but hard nonetheless. But here is where the silver lining comes in. I was getting dressed the other morning, and I pulled out a skirt I had bought in 1998. I bought it from a fairly conservative store, so the skirt is not out of style. I put it on and discovered that it pretty much fits again. I began trying on several skirts I had retired during my super-skinny period and while still a tiny bit too big, they can be worn again.

So the silver lining on my weight gain is that I can re-introduce clothing I haven't been able to wear for almost four years. It's like a whole new wardrobe! As for the clothes I bought in 2003 and 2004, virtually all those tops, skirts and dresses still fit. Yes, I have about six pairs of pants that do nothing but laugh when I look at them, but what are you going to do? I now can get re-acquainted with clothes I once loved and restart my affair with them.

Okay, maybe I'm stretching here, but a girl's gotta find some way to look at the bright side of weight gain.

So that's how I am justifying my eating habits this evening. I was supposed to go cocktailing with my friend Katie tonight, but she was felled by an illness very much resembling food poisoning. Needless to say, we both thought it best that she take a raincheck. Tomorrow I have to work, even though it's supposed to be my day off. But then I'm going to dinner with Jack and Wendy before taking in Bart Davenport at the Rickshaw Stop. On Thursday it's Erin's birthday party, and on Friday I'm seeing a play at the Marsh before possibly catching Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen at the Knock Out.

So it's probably for the best that I'm staying in tonight. I'm 37 and need to sleep like it at least a couple nights a week.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

These Boots Are Made For Walking

Not that I necessarily believe the words I write here to be incredibly profound and deep, but I admit this post may be a little bit fluffier and... well, materialistic... than most. January is dragging on at a glacial pace, so I have come up with ways to deal with my winter blues. And yes, for the record, I know the Bay Area has had significantly less rain than normal so far this year, but it's still winter. It's been cold; the days are short; and no lack of rainfall will make up for the fact that January sucks.

Anyway, I've found that one cure for the doldrums is to sing. No matter how good you are or aren't, singing is a guaranteed pick me up. And providing your neighbors with the entertainment, if you'd like to call it that, of your melodious warbling is just an added bonus. I live in an apartment building, and while the walls between units are very well insulated, the doors are not. So I'm certain anyone who may be out in the hall when I free my inner chanteuse is well aware of every note. Plus, I practice with a Walkman, so all anyone else hears is me. The songs I'm working on for the fake band are one thing, but I can only imagine what any unsuspecting neighbor thinks when I'm doing my exercises. Being serenaded by a string of a capella "mee-oh"s, "kee-kay"s and "nee-ah"s must be delightful.

Well, this is urban living; it's almost required that your neighbors think you're a freak.

Looking for another guaranteed way to perk up a boring winter day? Shop. For shoes, specifically. No amount of boredom, seasonal affective disorder or cabin fever can quash the joy to be had when purchasing shoes. Today, I hit the jackpot. I bought myself two pairs of Franco Sarto boots and a pair of pumps for only $200, total. Yes, $200 is $200, but when was the last time you got two pairs of boots and a pair of shoes all for that price? They are all extremely cute and have sturdy heels, which is important for me since I walk everywhere. And two of the three pair have three inch heels, making me super tall when I wear them. I love that.

January-Shmanuary, I have new boots.

In case you were wondering, Chris' birthday poker party yesterday afternoon was quite fun. Unfortunately, I could only stay for a couple of hours before needing to go to work, but perhaps that was for the best, given that I stink at poker. I can't bluff to save my life, and I bet conservatively when I should be aggressive and aggressively when I should show restraint. So needless to say, I always lose. But it was still fun, with excellent company and all the cupcakes we could eat while we played.

We're very lucky Chris was born 33 years ago.

My final musing this Sunday evening is on Favorite Bar... and the fact that it may lose its most favorable status. When I began frequenting Favorite Bar just under four years ago, it was a popular, but not overly-crowded, diamond of a spot with an accessible retro-eclectic vibe. In other words, it was perfect for me. A couple of the bartenders were also musicians and huge music lovers, and they would bring in cd's of actual interesting music to play during their shifts. Well, those dudes haven't worked there for over a year now. No, that's not Favorite Bar's fault, and I believe the former bartenders are happier with their current work lives, but still. To replace them, very nice, but significantly less creative bar-keeps have been hired, and the bar's soundtrack is provided almost exclusively by satellite radio now. I still hear some gems while I'm in there, but it's not the same.

I have remained a loyal FB denizen nonetheless, but there are some more changes in the offing. Specifically, some mention of a flat screen television, Super Bowl parties (okay, that can only happen once a year, but that's more than enough) and new neon for the sign out front to drive in more business. The rather small Favorite Bar is already far more crowded on weekend nights than when I first started going there, and it's in a fairly trendy neighborhood. How many more customers do they need?

Not to sound like an old curmudgeon, but Favorite Bar is evolving into something that can't hold a candle to what the joint was "in my day." So it might be time to promote Favorite Bar 2 to the top slot and limit my Favorite Bar visits to only the most random of weeknights when I can be assured the crowd will be small and the flat screen tv won't completely ruin the atmosphere. If I wanted a sports bar, I'd hang out in the Marina or on Upper Polk Street.

Well, I still have new boots.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Thin Line Between Love and Haight

My weekends have become a little boring. That's likely because I work Saturday and Sunday nights and generally retain my weekend days for chilling out and getting things done at home. So I miss some obvious evening socializing opportunities and spend a lot of the daytime alone. Not so much today because in a few hours I'll be headed to Chris' afternoon birthday poker party, but usually it's nothing but me-time. Not that I'm complaining. Given that I spend most of my week running around non-stop, I appreciate the down time.

However, Friday nights are a different story. Since I don't have to be at work until 5 p.m. on Saturdays, I can do whatever I want Friday evenings with no fear of being overly tired the next morning. Last night I grabbed dinner in the Haight with Jack, who is moving to New York at the end of the month. All of my friends are funny, but Jack may win the prize for consistently being able to reduce me to tears due to laughter. One time, I actually paid him a dollar for a joke because I was convinced he should make money for being so funny.

That sounds lame, but it's true.

Anyway, we giggled and guffawed over North African food at Massawa for the first part of the evening, after which we wandered over to Favorite Bar 2 for cocktails and live music. The band at Favorite Bar 2 was pretty good, but their mics weren't turned up enough. So it was hard to hear the vocals. They were entertaining just the same. While still at dinner, Jack and I got to talking about what we each had expected when moving to San Francisco. I've already written about my own expectations on this space. As for Jack, he told me that while planning his migration from the East Coast, he seriously had anticipated that he would stumble upon bikini-clad "hot Asian chicks" sunbathing in Golden Gate Park, who would call him over as he jogged by so they could tell him how cute they found him to be.


Now, Jack admitted to me his perception of what San Francisco life would be was, in fact, pathetic, and I generally dismiss anything he says about women. But on more than a few occasions, he has insisted that, when it comes to the opposite sex, all men think just like he does. Really? Do all of you boys believe that "hot Asian chicks" don bikinis to sunbathe in one of the foggier parts of the City just so they can step off the pages of a porno magazine and hit on passing men? If so, I have many more questions.

Obviously, Jack has gotten over his Golden Gate Park fantasy, and he now is genuinely looking forward to meeting a bunch of "sarcastic, hateful" women in New York. Whether that's any more realistic, it's an expectation better suited to his personality. I love Jack to death, but I also wish the women in New York luck.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 13

The Pillowman at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

To avoid repetition that could fast become tiresome, I had specifically intended not to blog about the play I just saw. After all, how boring would it be if all I wrote about on this space was music and theatre. And music and theatre. Oh, and exercise. But then some more music and theatre. Yes, I love music and theatre, but I have other interests, too.

Then I actually saw The Pillowman, and... Oh. My. God. This play is amazing. It's so good; it's so good; it's so good. Did I mention it's really good?

Be warned, The Pillowman is not for the faint of heart. To call it a dark comedy would be a decided understatement. It is more like a back hole of a comedy. But as disturbing the subject matter is, and it is disturbing, this well written, brilliantly acted piece elicits some very sincere laughs. In fact, it elicits quite a few of them. It's also rather long, but it is so engaging, you really don't notice the length. Plus, The Pillowman features an actor whom I recognized from... wait for it... Jersey Girl. Yes, that Kevin Smith movie that no one saw. But I saw it on cable, and it wasn't nearly as bad as the critics claimed. Besides, it's not Kevin Smith's fault Bennifer was grossly over-exposed. Anyway, the actor in question, Matthew Maher, is really good. As are all the Pillowman performers.

A guy sitting right in front of me did have some kind of medical emergency in the middle of the first act (I think it was a mild heart attack), but really, I don't think that was any reflection on the caliber of the play.

My evening of culture actually began about an hour and a half before the curtain when Carolyn and I arrived in Berkeley. As we exited the BART station, we noticed a woman busking near the escalator. Was she singing Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan or even The Beatles as she played her guitar? Oh, no. This very bold chanteuse was treating us to an eyes-closed, no holds barred version of "Like A Virgin" by Madonna. I'm no Madonna fan, but anyone with the guts to wail "Like A Virgin" anywhere outside the shower certainly deserves a dollar.

After making our donation to the arts, Carolyn and I found ourselves at Jupiter where we indulged in pizza and beer. And Caesar salad. And garlic cheese bread. It was all delicious. Once at the theatre, we proceeded to run into approximately 1000 people we know. I have a feeling that between the two of us, Carolyn and I know everyone in the Bay Area. Or at least everyone who might be at Berkeley Rep for opening night. And I think they all enjoyed the play, too.

Go see The Pillowman. I won't lie, it could give you a nightmare or two, but it will be well worth it.

Okay, evil confession/dirty old woman update: The other day, I ran into the 23-year old I've been semi-crushing on. He is just so pretty. So very pretty. Is it wrong that I really like it when he hugs me? Don't bother responding to that question; I already know the answer. What am I thinking? He is a man-child, not to mention an unavailable man-child (I imagine his girlfriend would be thrilled to read this). I am so wrong.

Monday, January 15, 2007

In The Name of Love

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

There were a plethora of MLK celebrations and commemorations around the Bay Area today. Admittedly, I didn't attend a single one of them, but they were the focus of a good portion of my work day. Yes, I had to work today. Given the industry I have chosen, I always work on MLK Day, as well as virtually every other holiday. The way I look at it, however, the work of Martin Luther King contributed to the freedom I now have to choose whatever I career strikes my fancy. So it's all good.

In fact, if you think about it, it wasn't so long ago that a woman like me... biracial with an Ivy League education and a relatively high profile job... was quite the rarity. So thank you for that, Martin.

All the events today were a far cry from what MLK Day was like when I lived in New England. For the four years I was in college, we were always on break in January, so I was in L.A. (or Scotland, as was the case my junior year) for the holiday. But the four and a half years I lived in Providence after graduation provided me with quite the education. I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone from New England or anyone who currently lives there, but as I recall, every MLK Day brought with it a lovely and oh-so enlightened debate as to whether the occasion was a valid holiday. I specifically remember said debate gracing the front page of the Providence Journal at least one year. In that article, of course black people were arguing in favor of the holiday, white people against it.

Nice, huh? Very unifying and very much in the spirit of the day, I'd say.

Before you write that tale off to bad, sensationalized journalism, I'll tell you that I knew at least a few people who fell on the side of seeing MLK Day as just a way to placate some politically correct minority. And they weren't afraid to vocalize that opinion. One guy I worked with referred to it with much disgust as a "total non-holiday." Don't be too surprised, this was a man who carried a hard cover copy of Rush Limbaugh's book in his briefcase. Maybe it's because I'd always had the day off from school and never thought to question its validity as a holiday, but for the life of me, I couldn't fathom what was wrong with honoring a man who fought peacefully for equal rights and love among people. Especially if you got a day off from work or school to do so.

In all fairness, this all happened more than a decade ago, so maybe things have changed in Rhode Island since then. But we're talking 1994, not 1954, for crying out loud. While we certainly have more than our fair share of bigots and morons in the Golden State, is it any wonder I fled back to California ten years ago?

I'm also reminded today that I had the opportunity to visit the Martin Luther King Birth House and Museum when I went to Atlanta with Tom and Chris during our trip to the American South a few years ago. And I'd say I left that museum a slightly changed woman. Seriously. Being an intelligent, thinking person, I absolutely hate that we humans so narrowly define each other, especially when it comes to ethnic minorities. People of color aren't really allowed much individuality, so I have spent most of my life on my individuality soap box. No, I don't like rap music; I watched Friends religiously and viewed not one episode of Moesha; and I will defiantly call myself biracial or even mulatto instead of black not only because that's what I am, but because it is, in my opinion, a significantly different experience than being just one race. Any one race.

Anyway, as I was surrounded on that September, 2003, afternoon by the multi-media exhibit which took the civil rights movement off the pages of history books and brought it to life, I was awed. This wasn't just about Martin Luther King; it was about men, women and, most impressively, children who put their comfort and safety on the line to affect change. And for the first time in my life, at age 33, I felt not like an individual, but like a part of something bigger. And, half-white or not, I felt so proudly connected by ethnicity to all those who went through what they went through so that we who followed could have more opportunity and equality. The world is a better place when we relate, as opposed to separate, so if you ask me, we all owe these people a debt of gratitude.

Then I took a look at the museum guest book where visitors, mostly school kids, sign and thank Dr. King for all that he did before he died. And I admit it, I cried. The museum also features images of lynchings and a small exhibit about Emmett Till. Those were both too much for me to take, and if you don't know the story of Emmett Till... well, I'm not sure I'd recommend you look it up because it is pretty horrifying. I would, however, highly recommend you pay a visit to the Martin Luther King Birth House and Museum the next time you're in Atlanta.

All that said, after work today, I indulged in my 15-year MLK Day tradition of playing U2's "Pride" on my stereo and wailing along with Bono. Before you get indignant about the fact that the members of U2 are a bunch of white guys, I'll remind you that the day is about unity. Besides, I think the Irish know a little something about oppression.

Love each other, my friends. Some people die so that we may stop and do so.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 12 (Followed By a Trip Uptown)

Elastic Future's The Greek Play at Root Division

I think Elastic Future may be my new favorite small theatre company. The brilliant minds that brought you the Pixies play last year now take on ancient mythology in The Greek Play. My friend Carolyn, who plays Cassandra in a stand out performance (yes, she's my friend, but she really is very, very good), actually undersold this show to me. She described it as weird, so I didn't think I'd like it. But it is actually a rather enjoyable show, and I wouldn't even call it weird. There is a lot of sex in it, but there was a lot of sex in ancient Greek culture, wasn't there? Besides, sex isn't weird. At least not the sex I'm familiar with. Anyway, one scene plays like ancient Greece meets Studio 54, but that just shows you inspired the piece is.

Plus, there is free wine for the audience. And the play is performed in an art gallery where you can sit on pillows while you watch. I opted for a chair, but that's because I was wearing a skirt and high-heeled boots. The guy who plays Agamemnon has the best part, in my opinion. He just sleeps on a couch while the audience gathers and during the opening scene of the play is stabbed by Clytemnestra. After that, he gets to watch the action until he returns as one of the walking dead later on.

By the way, is it wrong that after seeing this show, I now totally want to be the goddess Athena?

After the play, Carolyn and I took a walk up the street for drinks at the Uptown. I have been to the charmingly divey Uptown several times before, but I have a tendency to forget about it. Probably because it's on a slightly scary block in the Mission. Hey, no place is perfect. Carolyn and I caught up over Trumers in pilsner glasses while the Uptown's excellent juke box serenaded us. That's right, another bar with a great juke box. Once I heard the melodious sounds of "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" by X and "Skin Deep" by The Stranglers, I was in love. The Uptown has officially been named one of the best places on earth in the Sassy Travel and Socializing Guide.

Good live theatre, stimulating conversation and an outstanding soundtrack. All in all, I'd call that a successful Friday night.

Today, I am doing virtually nothing. Well, I'm doing this. But after crafting this post, I intend to recline on my couch for a couple of hours before I go running and then head to work tonight. I lead quite the life, don't I? I'd like to share this wonder-life with someone, but do you think I'll be able to find a theatre-appreciating audiophile who will leave me to lounge on my couch when I want to and then busy himself while I work occasionally unusual hours? If you meet that guy, feel free to give him my phone number. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

January Ennui

Have I mentioned recently that January is the longest and most boring month of the year?

That's kind of a trick question because I know that I have, but man, this particular January is really long. It's only the 10th, and I feel like it's been three months already. Cold temperatures, short days, the rainy season. I mean no disrespect, dear January, but you are dismally tiresome.

So let's focus on something to look forward to. I'm planning to go back to Hawaii to visit Diva Mommy at the end of March. I just have to secure the vacation time and make sure I can afford it, but the planning should begin now. Okay, the thought of Hawaii has perked me up a little bit. I'm also going to see Stella at the SF Sketchfest with Paul, Denise and Ann Marie tomorrow, and I'm thinking of seeing my friend Carolyn's play on Friday. Those events should both be really fun. Okay, maybe January isn't so bad. No, it is... but even boring months have some highlights.

To amuse myself and hopefully you, I'm going to do a little "meme" I borrowed from Terry. A meme is some sort of blogger game, and this one involves music. You put your iPod on shuffle and each song that randomly comes up represents a certain part of the film version of your life. And if you read my last post, you know that the film version of my life will star either Gloria Ruben, Lauren Graham or Sonia Braga in the title role. Or some genetic combination of all three; now that actress really would look like me.

Anyway... here comes the iPod meme to create the Sassy film soundtrack. I'm cutting the number of categories because sometimes these memes can go on forever. Brevity is likely better.

Opening Credits: "Los Angeles" by X. Very appropriate, considering I grew up in Los Angeles. Well, Pasadena, but same difference.

Falling In Love: "We Are Each Other" by The Beautiful South. A song about a couple so close they border on dysfunction. Or perhaps they sprint across that border. I don't think I've had this relationship yet, but that doesn't mean it isn't on the horizon.

Fight Song: "Baby, Oh, No" by Bow Wow Wow. Well, this song is really about a girl's insecurity in the midst of a crush she has, but fights are often fueled by insecurity. So okay. And I have felt this particular brand of insecurity many, many times in my day.

Break Up Song: "Magic" by Olivia Newton John. Well, I think just about any guy would immediately break up with me once he found out that this song is even in my iPod. It's a guilty pleasure, and one of the first 45's I ever bought back in the day. That would be 1980. So please don't hold it against me.

Mental Breakdown: "Only the Lonely" by The Motels. Loneliness could make anyone crazy, so that one fits.

Flashbacks: "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by The Beatles. This song works on a couple of levels. Not only could it bounce happily through a flashback film sequence, but it reminds me of many a childhood glory day singing along with The White Album either at home or at my friend Gabriella's house.

Happy Dance: "The Happening" by The Supremes. Oh, hell yes. This is my favorite kind of song: upbeat music paired with downer lyrics (the song is about getting dumped). That kind of dichotomy actually does inspire a happy dance in me. And on the occasions I have been dumped, it generally has been by some loser guy I shouldn't have wasted my time with in the first place. So that is happy.

Final Battle: "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles. Well, maybe not a battle song, per se, but Eleanor does end up dead in the end. Not to mention one of the best Beatles songs ever.

Death Scene: "There She Goes" by the La's. I've heard this song is actually about heroin, but the lines "She calls my name, pulls my train/No one else could heal my pain/And I just can't contain/This feeling that remains" would fit in a death scene.

Final Credits: "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements. Well, this song certainly would be better for the Alex Chilton bio pic, but I'd be okay with the lyrics "Children by the millions scream for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round" playing during the final credits of my film.

Hmmm... that was kind of a fun little game. And some of those random songs are eerily appropriate.

Okay, I'm away to brave the cold air as I make my way to a Brown alumni event. Those are usually pretty dull, but perhaps this one will be interesting. It can't possibly be more boring than the month of January, overall.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Maybe She Could Play Me In A Movie

Last night a cab driver paid me a lovely compliment; he told me I look just like Sonia Braga. This is her to the right.

Personally, I don't think she looks like me at all, but it's always fun to be told you resemble a celebrity. Below is a photo of me, should you wish to compare and contrast. I have been told before that I look Brazilian, so I suppose the comparison to a Brazilian actress isn't out of left field.

Perhaps if they ever make a movie of my life Sonia Braga could take the lead role. I used to say that Gloria Ruben (Jeannie Boulet on ER about ten years ago) would play me in the Sassy bio-pic because we have similar features, and she also has freckles. But her skin is darker than mine. Then I decided that Lauren Graham (Lorelei on Gilmore Girls and another be-freckled actress) could portray the complex and fascinating character that is me. But she is probably too pale.

So maybe Sonia would be the best compromise, even though I would have never thought of her, myself. Now that I think about it, my friend Karyn from college, whom you may have seen on MTV, Vh1, fX and TLC over the years, could type into the role of me. She doesn't really look that much like me, either, but we have the same hair and a similar skin tone.

Of course, any movie about my life would be slightly on the dull side, so whatever actress plays me would have to spice things up just a bit. The film would have a really cool soundtrack, though. Everything from the Beatles and Monkees to the Go-Go's and Bangles to the English Beat and Specials to the Beautiful South and X to Tippy Canoe and Bart Davenport. Okay, now that I've considered the music, I can't wait for this film to be released.

These are some amazing thoughts I'm having this morning, aren't they?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Lessons of the New Year

Not yet a week old, 2007 seems to hold some valuable lessons already. I'll share a couple of nuggets with you.

1. Never underestimate the wisdom of strippers. There is a small clothing store on Grant Avenue in North Beach apparently frequented by the neighborhood strippers. (If you are not a San Franciscan, I'll tell you that the historic North Beach is home not only to charming shops, delicious restaurants and the legacy of the Beat poets, but one of the city's more prominent red light districts.) In fact, I believe strippers even get a discount at this particular boutique. The narrow-minded snob in me would immediately dismiss any store that holds an appeal to strippers as skanky, but much of the clothing offered is actually very cute. It's funky but accessible with a vintage feel. Plus, it's super cheap. Now, you do get what you pay for, so I'm not talking the best made clothes in the world, but the pieces are well worth their prices. Today I bought the cutest black and white polka-dotted dress that looks like something out of the late 40's or early 50's. I'd pay at least $100 for a dress like this at any of the other clothing stores I patronize. My price in North Beach: $41, tax included.

Those strippers really know their stuff.

2. The definition of "compromise" in the male vocabulary. Some of the recent drama endured by my fake band has given me some new insight into the minds of men when it comes to negotiating conflict. I absolutely hate gross generalizations of any kind, so I will say right now that I am not talking about all men here. In fact, I am not even talking about all the men in Fake Band; just one or two. Okay, maybe three. And keep in mind, I am the only woman in Fake Band, and there are six men. We had a recent argument (referenced on this space a few posts ago), and I learned that to some men compromise means this: I won't do what you want, but I will offer you the opportunity to do what I want. That sounds fair, right? And to think they were surprised that I continued to argue with them. I will say that even though I do not believe all men think this way, I have related the fake band fight story to a few of my female friends who are/have been married or in rather lengthy relationships, and suffice it to say that none of them were the least bit surprised by the boys' behavior.

I'm going to remember the fake band fight the next time I'm moping about being single.

One bit of wisdom that I have held for several years now but continues to be true is the knowledge of how much fun can be had at Favorite Bar. Terry and I met there last night for a cocktail or four, and it was, of course, an excellent time. We didn't stay late enough to be annoyed by the Friday night amateur crowd, thank goodness, because I had to scoot to a party at Jack's place across town. Jack is moving to New York at the end of the month, and this party was one of several opportunities to celebrate with him for the "last" time. It was very fun, though, and I got a chance to see my friend Wendy, whom I don't think I've seen since early September.... when Jack had several going-away gatherings before leaving for a two-and-a-half month trip to Asia.

Tonight I would be at my friend Doug's 30th birthday party, but I am instead at work. Ah, what are you gonna do? I have to pay for those new dresses somehow.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Toasting Twenty-Oh-Seven With Talent

Happy New Year!!! I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

I had the best time at Beth and Eli's New Year's Eve party and talent show. I knew it would be fun, but it turned out to be one of the greatest parties I have attended in a long time. Jack, Jason and I escaped the madness of San Francisco and arrived at Beth and Eli's place in Berkeley at about 9:00. There were drinks and a veritable mountain of delicious snacks to tide us over until the talent show began at about 10. Acts in the show ran the gamut of talents. One woman sang; another drew a picture with her foot; and a third told the tale of visiting her father at his trailer park in Arizona while her talent show partner riffed on his guitar. There was also a puppet show, magic, a trio lipsyncing to some Queen song and another guy playing the guitar that came with Beth and Eli's new car. Yes, their car really did come with a guitar, and the guy played it while it was plugged into the car for electricity.

If you're confused by that, I'm afraid I can't help you. You'll have to ask Volkswagen for an explanation.

Don't think for a moment that this writer and her friends just sat on the sidelines while all this was going on; both Jack and I participated in the talent show, as well. What I did was basically just a variation of my job, but it was well received. Jack made a tremendous contribution, though: he danced like a White man. When I told my friend Jane about it this afternoon, she immediately assumed that Jack is not Caucasian. In fact, he is, which is probably why he was able to bring such a level of expertise to his display. Jason took a photo of Jack in action, which I'd post if I had it, but unfortunately, I don't. So you'll have to use your imagination on that one.

The parties and holidays all over, it is now January, the most boring month of the year. But I always feel a little optimistic at the beginning of a new year, and 2007 is no different. I'm even thinking about a couple of resolutions, even though I'm not very good at them. Last year my only resolution was to visit the spa at least once a month, and after January I didn't go back until July. If I can't even keep a commitment to go to the spa, I'm clearly not the resolution type.

Nonetheless, I'm going to give it a whirl.

First, I intend to stop the gluttony. I am hardly fat, and to say I want to lose weight would be really cliche. But I have been overindulging in the food department for... oh, the last year and a half or so. And believe me, while, again, I'm hardly fat, the gluttony definitely shows. I have good exercise habits, and my eating should match them. I will have to start this particular resolution after today, however, because we ordered pizza at work, and I ate two huge pieces, even though I was pretty much full after one.

Huh. We'll see how I do on that one.

Second, after the super fun experience of the fake band, I want to make sure I keep some kind of creative outlet in my life. With all the drama that has surfaced recently, who knows how long the fake band will last, but even if (when?) we implode, I want to keep singing. If you can call it that, anyway. Or perhaps I'll revisit the acting world. I just want to do something creative. The fake band has reminded me that there is much more to life than work and cocktailing.

And finally, I'm going to break some patterns I have that keep me from reaching my full fabulousness potential. That's a bold statement, I know, but I'll bet you I succeed in this one. If nothing else, it will likely be easier than eating less...

And of course, since I didn't do such a good job with my spa resolution last year, I'll have to continue that one. I think that goes without saying.