Friday, November 30, 2007

So, I could run down the list of stuff Bonnie & I have been up to, but let me first say - holy cow, it's November 30. Only 30-some days left, then we have to start all over next year. Let's hope next year has some upswings.

So, here 's our recent events (counting backwards) :

27th - I went to a chamber concert at Berkeley City Club : Edmund Welles Bass Clarinet Quartet I've always found bass clarinet cool (we have a bass clarinet player in Colossal Inertia, and there was one with us in El Fay) - to see 4 of them playing jazz, gospel, rock was fanastic!

Thanksgiving Day was busy - we were looking for a place to volunteer our services to - it seems that most places want to be coordinated beforehand, so there was no place to fit us. But Bonnie saw a news segment in the morning on a family that just cooks meals out of their house in Oakland, and has a team of volunteers delivering. So, after the gym, we headed over there.

It was a bit chaotic, with folks running around and folks waiting for meals to take. We were going to offer to run a delivery, as we had a commitment for an early dinner, so we waited for the next round to be ready, started serving up some dishes. While we were there, we saw two local TV news personalities, and it was an interest study in contrasts - Frank Somerville was there in shirt and jeans, so urban I didn't even recognize him at first. Then a roving reporter came by, and he was all buziness. He got some soundbites from the the mother, father, and her brother, then he got on the line to dish up. But he was pretty much just holding the spoon, giving his report, and only serving when on-camera. He did stay a few minutes later after the camera was turned off, but only a few. I realize, he was working, and he was doing good by giving them promotion, but it was kinda funny at the time...

Thursday afternoon, we went over to Bonnie's friends (Green & Root) for a hodge-podge of folks that didn't have big family gatherings to go to. It was lovely - very communal & homey, and great food that people brought! Also wonderful to talk to a smaller group, these are people who show up to many related gatherings, but we don't spend much time with them individually.

In the evening, we went and saw "This Christmas" - a black family gathering in LA on Christmas, dealing with rivalries and family tensions. Well written and well-acted, if a bit too much coincidental misery to go round (I call it the 'Party of Five' syndrome). I don't understand why everyone was so keen on family though... Sure, they're people you can always rely on, but they're people you shouldn't want to spend THAT much time with, am I right? 3 stars.

Well, this post is going on for a longish while, I'll wrap up with a few specific things & make a separate post about the weekend hanging out with (& meeting some more of) Bonnie's family. There's that word again, but this was a positive weekend!

Back in Northern Cali - a friend from jobs of old came into town for a visit the weekend before Thxgiving! Raine, whom I'd worked with at Tippett and on Kong, she's back at Weta these days. Her and Ben T came in from Wellington (via Florida). Great to see her, one of the folks I would hang out with and not talk about work, those are too few :). We've played music together, too - I borrowed her cello while she was travelling once. Oo- she also was able to pick me up the new Phoenix Foundation disc, so I am stoked and very grateful.

Got to attend an advance screening of "Beowulf", which I was looking fwd to. Except it was a quagmire of ineptitude : the projectionist team couldn't make the 3d projection actually work in 3d. After several false starts, they let the movie play while they fiddled with it, so the audience had to watch 15 minutes worth at varying levels of polarization, stereo convergence, and focus. Then they shut it down, and ran it back to the beginning, which was too much for me - I left, along with 2/3rds of the crowd. A troop of monkeys would've been more effective... I ran into my friend Joe there, and got a ride back to East Bay from him after stopping at Bi-Rite Creamery (gourmet, organic ice cream near Dolores Park)... yum.

The day before, I caught up with ex-PDI coworker, basketball afficionado, and Detroit tranzplant Dan Kirksey - we see each other in passing at the gym, and play some hoops now n then, but it was chance to hang out at a sports bar in San Carlos, and get caught up on life things, so that was good. And we got to see the Billups-less Pistons come from behind to take down the Warriors in Oakland. Bittersweet, I'd like to see Oakland do well, but Detroit's got to keep winning some games! Since then, the Warriors have gone 8-1 to get over .500, Detroit's lost to sad sad teams like the Knicks and Chicago... It's a long NBA season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free4All Museum Day

So, the most exciting thing I did this weekend was... museum crawl! Downtown San Francisco offered all their museums free4all to the public, all day on Saturday, Nov 10. It was sponsored by Oracle OpenWorld07, (I'm sure as some recompense for them getting to close the streets for a week), and co-organized by the Yerba Buena Cultural Neighborhood organization. I got an early start - getting onto BART at 10:30 (Bonnie had paperwork to do with Nicole that day). The musuems & galleries I visited - ones I've been to many times before : YBCA, the SF MOMA, Cartoon Art Museum, though the Academy of Sciences was closed due to a power outage (PG & E, you bastards), and several museums I've never been to : California Historical Society, Museum of African Diaspora; California Pioneers Museum; SF Camerawork; LBGT Archives; and Museum of Craft and Folk Arts. The highlights at each :
* YBCA - always exciting to see how this place changes every few months.A smaller venue with lesser-known artists, they seem to try harder than than their compadres at the MOMA. One exhibit had a photo series with an explosion, bullet-time style.
* SF MOMA - I didn't get into the special exhibits of Eliasson - lines were too long. It was the last museum I went to, so I was bushed... Though there was a neat Joseph Cornell collection.
* Cartoon Art Museum - Edward Gorey's Dracula! Nuff said. They were selling the 'Dracula Toy Theatre', which was a paper 3d-stand up of the sets and characters from Gorey's set design. Also, they had the works of Mary Blair, an art nouveau commercial designer, and early Disney animator.
* California Historical Society - special on camping in California
* California Pioneers Museum - one room on the Gold Rush, one on the history of minor league baseball.
* LBGT Archives - a look at lesbian folk music, and an exhibit on gays in the military. References to the quote "The Army gave me a medal for killing 2 men, and a discharge for loving one."
* SF Camerawork - artsy photo projects, one on 'flat daddy', and a youTube kiosk...
* Museum of African Diaspora - some interesting display kiosks about the dissemination and evolution of some musical styles, dance, fashion, and other cultural institutions. Also ones about food (don't see much diaspora connection there). Then the odd part - 2/3rds of the entire museum was taken up by the "What the World Eats" photo exhibit. Interesting, but odd...
* Museum of Craft and Folk Art - I've tried to get in here several times, but its always closed... finally got in there, but it was rather disappointing - only 1 room. But a few interesting ones - an anvil suspended on a plate of glass, a glass-blown sculpture looking like bubble wrap.
All in all - an exciting day & worthwhile to traipse around the city.