Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tonight I'm in Lompoc, along California's Central Coast.
I'm pleasantly surprised by the Embassy Suites Hotel. Not only does it have a quirky charm, it's a hotel that seems to work. I needed to print out some documents and I used the hotel's internet printing system. Minutes later I went to the front desk and my documents were waiting for me. Sometimes it's the little things that matter the most.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Did you miss me?
For the last two weeks I've been running all around California and haven't stopped for a moment. I haven't been blogging, but I have been taking photos and collecting stories. So let's catch up.
I spent last Tuesday night in Bakersfield and finally made it inside the Crystal Palace -- Buck Owen's restaurant and country-western nightclub.
Dinner was tremendous, especially the chicken fried steak.
But I couldn't take my eyes off Buck Owen's Stutz-Bearcat automobile mounted on the wall behind the bar. What a great way to set the tone for the evening.
Two weekends ago I was in South Lake Tahoe for my sister, Garnet's, wedding. (This was also the last time I blogged.) I had a chance to walk through the very modern Mount Bleu Hotel and Casino. For decades this location was a Caesar's Palace but a couple of years ago it was completely redone.
I spent last weekend in San Francisco at a Board Retreat for the Junior Statesmen Foundation at the Mark Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill. My room had a terrific view. The hotel's public spaces are beautiful but the guest room I was in and the entire second floor was surprisingly run down.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Unfortunately the room I was assigned at the Mark Hopkins was directly over the hotel's front door and the noise from the front of the hotel and the street was so loud I couldn't sleep well. The two windows of my room can be seen either directly over the middle arch or the arch on the right surrounded by white marble.
After the Board Retreat ended I crossed the Bay and made my way to the Berkeley Repretory Theater to see two different shows.
In the afternoon I saw the new rock musical "American Idiot" with the music of Green Day. Green Day's American Idiot CD is one of the few punk rock CDs I own and I've probably listened to it 75 times since it came out four or five years ago. I really enjoyed how they turned it into a stage musical -- punk rock with jazz hands.
It tells the story of three young men who try to escape their boring hometown -- Jingletown. Difficulties befall all three as they journey not only to the big city but into manhood.
Even though I've listened to the CD many times I never really could understand the lyrics until I heard them performed this way.
I'm confident this show will transfer to Broadway and when it does I'm also certain Tony Vincent will win a Tony for his performance as St. Jimmy -- the nefarious drug dealer. You can't take your eyes off him for one second while he's on stage.
In the evening I came back to the Berkeley Rep to see "Tiny Kushner," a collect of five one-act plays by Tony Kushner. I'm a big Kushner fan and loved the flights of fancy these plays take. Kushner is one of the most imaginative and political playwrights out there and he lets the fantasies fly here. One play has Laura Bush reading a book to children -- dead Iraqi children killed by the U.S. invasion of their country. Another features Dr. Arnold A. Hutschnecker -- Richard Nixon's psychiatrist. A third features Geraldine, Queen of Albania. Witty, insightful and a complete trip!
Last night I went to the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center to see the Donmar Warehouse production of "Parade." Some have hailed this show as the best theatrical presentation of the year in the Southland.
I haven't seen everything that's out there but thought "Parade," with a book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown was excellent and very moving.
It's not the light fluff some expect from musical theater -- it tells the true-story of a Brooklyn-born Jew in Atlanta at the turn of the last century wrongly-accused of murdering a young girl. The show touches on racism, mob mentality and the desire of some to get elected to office.
The cast is super-stuffed with talent including T.R. Knight (Grey's Anatomy), Michael Berresse (Kiss Me, Kate and [title of show], Charlotte d'Amboise (A Chorus Line), Christian Hoff (Tony winner for Jersey Boys) and provides a break-out opportunity for Los Angeles-area, young actor Will Collyer.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
My sister, Garnet Green, got married on Saturday. I understand our father (seriously) suggested his dog should act as the ring-bearer.
Though that idea didn't make it past the committee, Bentley did get to pose in some of the post-wedding pictures. So all of Ken Green's children participated in the happy occasion one way or another.
And who knew Dad was such a fan of "The Jeffersons"?