Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer In the City

Summer 2008 has arrived and already has brought some good times.

Spring went out like a lion this year with a heat wave that began in the middle of last week. On Friday, the last day of spring and first night of summer, the mercury topped 92 degrees in San Francisco. In case you don't live here, I'll just tell you that the City rarely reaches such temperatures. The rest of the Bay Area was even hotter with fires breaking out all over the region.

My sister Fabulous Patti visited this weekend, and on Friday night, she and I went to the Latin American Club for cool beverages with Terry, Joey and Phil. I'm not sure I've ever been so hot in a bar, but we made the best of things as we sipped margaritas and pear ciders. The stagnant air and continued hot temperatures made the evening a little bit unbearable, but I love hot weather. So I'll take a heat wave anytime.

It was still fairly toasty on Saturday afternoon when Fabulous Patti and I took in Shanghai San Francisco, an interactive theatre piece my friend Valerie is in. Shanghai San Francisco is part walking tour, part play, and it begins at Coit Tower, marking my second visit to the landmark in the eleven and a half years I've lived here. Because San Francisco is the size of a postage stamp, I quickly learned that Valerie is not the only person I know in this show. My downstairs neighbor Jamie is also in it (who even knew she was an actress?), as is Glenn, a guy I took a very intense acting class with just under ten years ago. They say it's a small world, and if you live in San Francisco, you'll definitely believe it.

The sea breeze kicked in late Saturday afternoon, making for a very comfortable night. After swinging by Sebastian's birthday party at the Hi Dive, FP and I made our way to the Napper Tandy to join Valerie, her boyfriend and some friends of theirs for karaoke. Here is what I learned about doing karaoke when you're recovering from bronchitis: don't. However, if, like me, you are intrepid (read: foolish) enough to soldier on with a compromised respiratory system, I recommend picking a very low song.

Honestly, I wasn't planning to sing at all, but it took all of ten minutes for me to want to belly up to the microphone. So I chose "Stay" by Lisa Loeb, thinking I could handle such a simple melody that is free of any really belty notes. Well, not so fast. Normally I sing "Stay" quite well, but given that I currently am operating without an upper register to my voice, things went differently this time. "Stay" isn't even a terribly high song, but what remotely high notes there are just faded into an asthmatic wheeze. Having learned my lesson, I chose for my second number The Pretenders' "Back On the Chain Gang," which is just the teeniest, tiniest bit too low for me. I must say, I've sung that song dozens of times, including with Fake Band, but this was the best I've ever done. One mildly higher note during the key modulation was a little dicey, but otherwise, I pretty much nailed it. So I've learned not only to avoid high or even mid range songs while recovering from an illness but also to avoid imitating Chrissie Hynde unless I've recently had bronchitis.

Life is about learning, right?

The heat wave completely broke and the fog rolled back in just in time for me to attend an outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park today. Brr. I shivered the entire time, but the free snacks and drinks alongside the tunes kept me warm inside. I certainly found myself wishing every Sunday could include free music in the park. But now here I am back at home, where it's warm, and where I will snuggle on the couch in front of Oceans Thirteen before hitting the sack.

If every summer weekend proves to be like this, I'd say it's going to be a mighty fine season.

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