Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good Morning, San Francisco

Spent this morning at San Francisco's venerable talk radio station, KGO, as a guest on the Ronn Owens show for a debate on Proposition 87.

It was a pretty spirited debate for an hour.

For a short time you can hear the show by clicking here and scrolling down to the 10:00 a.m. broadcast: http://www.kgoam810.com/Article.asp?PT=Archive&id=49920

Sitemeter Update: How cool is it that this blog's site meter registered a record number of visitors during the month of October -- more than 725. I love looking at what key words bring visitors here. Kitty Carlisle Hart's still bringing them back.
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Here's KGO's Ronn Owens -- Rasta Ronn -- having fun in his Halloween costume. Posted by Picasa

Saturday night I went to see "Sister Act -- the Musical" at the Pasadena Playhouse. I loved every minute of it and I'm confident it will find it's way to Broadway and be a big success.

It's a new musical based on the famous movie. You know the story -- sexy, black lounge singer is stashed in a convent by the Philadelphia P.D. to protect her from her criminal boyfriend. Major clash of cultures at the convent. Singer begins to work "under habit" with the church choir. Choir gets some soul. Perhaps too much soul. Major showdowns. Redemption.

For me, knowing the story made the musical that much more fun. You could see where it was going.

And this production has great fun with so many different great stereotypes from the 70s.

Get a ticket if you can. Posted by Picasa

Back in the Saddle

Putting my sick bed in the rearview mirror, I made my way this evening to the Salvation Army Hall in Modesto for an elections forum on three ballot measures hosted by the local conservative talk radio station.

The station's morning host will play portions of the forum on his show over the next week. The station's local listeners were thrilled to look at issues on the upcoming ballot.

I know I owe you some information on the two performances I saw over the weekend -- but I'm afraid that will have to wait another day.

Tuesday morning I'm up early to prepare for a one-hour live debate on KGO-AM in San Francisco at 10 a.m.

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This arch Welcomes All to downtown ModestoPosted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

System Shutdown

Finally paid the toll for my frantic activities over the last couple of months when I got real sick on Thursday.

It hurt to swallow, I couldn't talk right, had no appetite and all I wanted to do was sleep, sleep, sleep. Which is exactly what I did from Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m. almost straight through to Saturday morning at 10.

But I'm feeling much, much better now and ready to go charging into the new week.

Before I got sick I agreed to speak to a Junior Statesmen 1-Day Conference -- Decisions 2006 -- being held at USC on Saturday afternoon. Friday night I thought I might have to cancel, but when I woke up Saturday morning I could tell I'd be feeling well enough to go.

The students seemed interested in what I had to say about the upcoming elections or were courteous enough to appear interested. It was definitely a light-headed, out-of-body speech from my point of view. Maybe I'm more entertaining when a little delirious.

I'll have to update you tomorrow on a couple of great shows I saw this weekend. I wasn't about to waste my theater tickets. I was just sick, not dead.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

1 Day, 4 Cities

Wednesday I started out in San Francisco.

I flew to LAX and spent some time in my West Los Angeles office.

Late in the afternoon I went to Pasadena for a meeting.

Finally, I drove to Bakersfield where I'm spending the night to do some radio in the morning.

All this and not a single picture to post!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bears in Hibernation?

Spent this evening at UC Berkeley participating in a debate on Proposition 87.

About 25 students turned out. That's a respectable number, except the room was way too big.

25 people in a room for 40 seems successful. 25 people in a room for 250 does not.

I learned basic organizing skills as a Freshman at USC. Don't they teach that anymore?

But still, it was great to be with 25 students interested in the issues enough to sit through a 90 minute debate on a ballot proposition.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday is Dysfunctional Family Day

Went to see the new intensely funny and disturbing film, "Running with Scissors" tonight.

Annette Benning MUST win the Oscar for her performance as a crazy mother who "gives" her son to a psychotic psychiatrist and his looney family. (Hopefully Hillary Swank will cut her a break this year.)

It's based on the real-life story of Augusten Burroughs, who survived a childhood with a crazy mother and a emotionally distant father. Not sure why the movie touched me so deeply.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Caterwauling to the Back Row

Went to the Brentwood Theater this afternoon to see "Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins."

Starring Judy Kaye (who was nominated for a Tony for this performance), it's about a real-life New York City socialite whose operatic performances became the toast of the town in the 30s and 40s.

Jenkins was absolutely convinced she was blessed with a beautiful operatic voice. Audiences showed up to watch her make a fool of herself.

The show is, of course, very funny (because the singing is so bad). But ultimately the message is about the importance of having confidence in your own ability -- regardless of the evidence to the contrary.

Judy Kaye -- who in real life has a truly beautiful singing voice -- plays (and sings) this role to its awful perfection.
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Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Sweet Song

Went to the Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles tonight to see Lynn Redgrave's new one-woman show, "Nightingale."

It's an outstanding tribute to her maternal grandmother and tracks the course of her life from 1904 to 1973.

Redgrave plays several different people -- men and women alike.

One of our greatest actresses, it's amazing how she keeps the audience in the palm of her hand throughout the evening.

I wonder why she doesn't have more movie roles?

Oingo Boingo: Still Not A Sit Down Concert

Went to the Greek Theater tonight to see a concert with a curious title: "Johnny Vatos' Tribute to Halloween with members of Oingo Boingo." (Vatos is the drummer in the photo above.)

In other words, Oingo Boingo without Danny Elfman singing.

I've been an Oingo Boingo fan for a long time. I can remember the exact night I last saw them perform -- January 19, 1993 (the night of my 30th Birthday). I went with GeezBob and Beth Fujishige to see them at the Universal Amphitheater.

So I was very excited when I heard about this reunion.

Oingo Boingo peaked in the late 70s and early 80s. This means tonight's audience was mostly in their 40s and 50s (and beyond). Surprisingly, the crowd spent most of the Oingo Boingo set on their feet. Some even jumped up and down to the music.

It was fun to watch the crowd. I was a little worried that some would lose their grip on their walker and break a hip. But as best I could tell everyone made it through the concert without any injuries.
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One hit wonder Dramarama ("Anything, Anything") opened the bill. Posted by Picasa

One hit wonder X ("Livin' With a White Girl") was the second band to perform. Posted by Picasa

This young man (I didn't catch his name) sang lead vocals --- the spot that used to be filled by Danny Elfman. His high energy antics were great fun to watch. In fact, the show sagged during the few minutes in the middle of the set when he wasn't on stage.

He started with a modified Boy Scouts uniform with a giant lobster in his backpack. Posted by Picasa

The Oogie Boogie Man taunts Santa ClausPosted by Picasa

Some people took the Halloween theme seriously and wore costumes. At least I think they were costumes. Posted by Picasa

This was my first time ever in the Greek Theater -- an outdoor amphitheater nestled in Griffith Park in Los Feliz.

There was one moment near the start of the concert where I felt like an old man. I smelt something and turned to my friend and said, "skunk." He quickly informed me it was the Mary Jane. Oh, yeah. Posted by Picasa

The window on the right only sells small Diet Cokes. If you want a large Diet Coke you have to walk three steps to the window on the left. That's so stupid. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Toothpicks In My Eyelids

Last week when I was in San Mateo my friend, Jennifer Raiser, strongly recommended I see "Travesties," Tom Stoppard's 1974 comedy currently playing at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco on Geary Street.

I spent the last two days in San Francisco at a conference and had Wednesday evening free, so I decided to take Jennifer up on her recommendation.

I guess this proves Jennifer and I have different tastes in theater. I'll have to ask her how the Second Act turns out, because I walked out at the intermission (something I haven't done in about 10 years).

Stoppard is known for his verbally dense plays (think three-dimensional chess). I've seen a couple that I really liked: Jumpers and Arcadia.

But I found "Travesties" painfully boring and had a hard time just making it to the intermission.

The play imagines what would have happened if British Ambassador Henry Wilfred Carr, Lenin, Dadaist Tristan Tzara and James Joyce crossed paths in Switzerland during World War One. As if that weren't enough, the play has a structure parallel to Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Most of the dialogue and allusions went right over my head. And I still don't know why some of the scenes repeated (with different outcomes).

Once intermission came I asked how long the Second Act was. When the House Manager told me, "55 minutes," I replied, "Good luck with that," and walked out the door. (I had told myself I'd stay if the Second Act was 50 minutes or less. Once a rule is laid down, it must be observed.)
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Typical Tuesday

Today was pretty much what you'd expect for me three weeks before Election Day.

I was up early for a morning appearance on a News Talk radio station in Palmdale.

Then I went to California State University Northridge to tape a debate on Prop. 87 at the television studio in Manzanita Hall. (For those of you in Los Angeles: this debate -- On Point -- will air on Public Access Channel 36 on Sunday, October 22nd at 4:00 p.m.)

Next it was off to LAX to fly to San Francisco to participate in a conference for the next two days.

At LAX I saw Rupert Grint (photo above), the red-headed co-star of the Harry Potter movies. I had a chance to chat him up while waiting in line at the gift shop (I was buying newspapers). He seemed delighted that I knew he has a new movie out. (Or was he acting?) And now that I talked to him about it, I feel obligated to go see "Driving Lessons," which also stars Julie Walters and Laura Linney.

Later at LAX I bumped into my friend Brian Seveland -- also a red head -- but since Brian doesn't have a new movie coming out I didn't take a picture.
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Free Mickey

In January, 2005 the Walt Disney Company gave a free admission ticket to everyone who attended the Orange Bowl.

I tucked my voucher away in a drawer and didn't think too much about it for the last 22 months.

But recently I noticed it would expire on October 31, 2006 and with nothing on my schedule last Sunday, off I went.
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Halloween decorations are up, for the first time ever, at DisneylandPosted by Picasa

This "truck" on Main Street sells the best Corn Dog this side of Springfield, IllinoisPosted by Picasa

One of the changes at Disneyland is the fascination with pin trading. There's even a place on Main Street where people spend all day trading pins. Posted by Picasa

The Disneyland Band on Main StreetPosted by Picasa

A horse-drawn trolley car on Main StreetPosted by Picasa