Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Long March Home

A million people gather blocks away at City Hall, where soon I'll join them with friends and strangers. They'll wear rainbow shirts and leis and colorful clothes, and drink drinks, and listen to music, and nibble fried meat on a stick. Corporations will ply us with brochures, while we wave at celebrities in convertible cars. But it wasn't always that way.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sharing Big Joy

Art is often a collaborative process, even writing, which is often considered more of a solitary act. My own literary solitude was given a friendly, communal pinch in the butt as I met and hung out with many artists who have inspired me along the way.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to see the new biographical documentary about poet and filmmaker James Broughton. Big Joy, directed by Stephen Silha and Eric Slade, enjoyed a rousing welcome at its sold out premiere as part of Frameline's SF International LGBT Film festival. 

A sold out audience enjoyed a thorough exploration of Broughton's life and art. What's so fascinating is how his life and art coincided with several major cultural scenes, specifically in Bay Area. A member of the San Francisco Renaissance in the post-World War II era, Broughton's experimental poems were part of a group of artists who paved the way for the Beat poets and the North Beach artists who included Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti (whose City Lights Bookstore is celebrating its 60th anniversary today). As Broughton entered into a male relationship, his freeing philosophies inspired the Radical Faerie movement.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blue Monday: (Your thumbs are too short to box with George)

'Blue Monday' is not just the title of a New Order song.

It was also a failed musical written and composed by George and Ira Gershwin.
That's something I learned, because I was listening.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre is hosting the last performance of musical biography chameleon Hershey Felder and his Gershwin Alone solo show, a biographical song and story performance woven as neatly as the famous music duos music and lyrics.

Hershey Felder brings his hit show to Berkeley Rep 
His mingling of biographical events recreate the composer's life while sharing many of his best work, and a few unusual gems.

 The evening's sing-along was a hoot, with one gentleman getting up onstage as Ethel Merman.

But what was most fascinating, was my view.

(I have to thank the press staff at Berkeley Rep yet again!)

Amazingly, through his finale of a muscular solo performance of 'Rhapsody in Blue,' I had a direct view of Felder's hands at the keyboard, and was starting to remember the chords from the work.