Theatre: Spring 2015

Though I’ve seen Into the Woods many times, and also saw Conner’s showcase of Sondheim titled Marry Me a Little, the breadth of my Sondheim exposure was limited, so I was pleased to finally see another, A Little Night Music, at A.C.T. in San Francisco. It was my favorite of the season, though Trouble Cometh at San Francisco Playhouse and Rapture, Blister, Burn at CapStage were close seconds. Twelve plays for the season.

  • 2015-05-30 ACT: A Little Night Music (Stephen Sondheim)
  • 2015-05-29 Green Valley: VerteFe Cabaret
  • 2015-05-28 Big Idea: Coriolanus (William Shakespeare)
  • 2015-05-16 SF Playhouse: Trouble Cometh (Richard Dresser)
  • 2015-05-15 Green Valley: Dogfight (Benj Pasek & Justin Paul)
  • 2015-05-14 CapStage: The Homecoming (Harold Pinter)
  • 2015-04-30 Celebration Arts: Best of Enemies (Mark St. Germain)
  • 2015-04-19 New Helvetia Theatre: Opening Doors
  • 2015-04-16 B Street B3: Buyer and Cellar (Jonathan Tolins)
  • 2015-04-11 SF Playhouse: Stupid Fucking Bird (Aaron Posner)
  • 2015-04-10 Big Idea: 33 Variations (Moises Kaufmann)
  • 2015-03-26 CapStage: Rapture, Blister, Burn (Gina Gionfriddo)


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New Helvetia Theatre and R Street

NewHelvetiaTheatre_logoThis evening I attended New Helvetia Theatre’s Opening Doors, which is somewhat ironically named, as it is the closing show for the venue on R Street. Founder Connor Mickiewicz and several friends performed numbers from musicals, a revue of favorites and shows never done. The evening was remarkable, silly, sad. With the passion that Connor and friends have, I am sure Connor will find a new home for his vision. Every seat was full, and a second show was added, so there is a lot of support for Connor and the type of theatre and musical theatre he is so committed to. I don’t necessarily think this is a loss for the arts community in Sacramento – Connor is is still here, and his productions will be back.

But it is a huge loss for R Street. R Street is presented as the happening arts and social district of Sacramento. Two years from now, five years from now, everyone will be saying R Street is great, but what it really lacks, to make it click, is theatre. And it won’t be easy to recreate it. Successful theatre is generated by a mix of driving passion by one person or a small group of people, and a large portion of magic that may or may not happen. Will any theatre actors, directors, producers feel welcome on R Street, when they were driven out? I realize that the loss of lease for New Helvetia was the act of a single developer, not the work of the developer community, but I am very, very surprised that the developer community did not recognize the potential loss and come to the rescue. Nor CADA, the agency which has led redevelopment of R Street with the city. Nor the city.

Our community is poorer today than it was yesterday.

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Cedar Mesa and Butler Wash

pool in Kane Gulch

pool in Kane Gulch

This spring break I spent several days in southeastern Utah with my friend Jeff. Jeff wanted to explore native American ruins and see new areas, and I wanted to see new areas and just be on the Colorado Plateau again. Though I’ve been to a lot of places in southern Utah, hiking, backpacking, and river running, I’d never done more than drive across Cedar Mesa and had not been in Butler Wash. The native Americans of the area are sometimes called Anasazi, but that name calls up the discredited idea that they disappears, so Ancestral Puebloans is better since is recognizes that they migrated many times and are now in the Rio Grande Valley and Hopi Mesas.

We started at Goosenecks State Park outside Mexican Hat, but discarded it as a camping place – great view but no water, no shelter, and a fee. We headed up the Moki Dugway on UT 261 to Kane Gulch Ranger Station where we got information about day hikes and permits. We then hiked upper Owl Canyon, a precipitous downhill into the beautiful canyon, with a few ruins. Next we hiked the top several miles of Kane Gulch, down to the Grand Gulch Primitive Area boundary, where the canyon really starts to deepen. Most unusually, aspens are scattered out through the upper canyon, something usually found at a higher elevation. Kane Gulch is the primary entry point into the primitive area. We camped the night off Deer Flat Rd east of Natural Bridges, in the wash of upper White Canyon.

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ADT: Foresthill to Folsom, spring 2015

unnamed creek below Foresthill

unnamed creek below Foresthill

This spring I re-hiked the American Discover Trail section 4, Foresthill to Auburn, and part of section 5, Auburn to Folsom. My purpose was to create a GPS track for ADT-4, which I had already tried twice and failed to do. I used my new iPhone 5C to create the track, but I hadn’t yet figured out how to maximize battery life, so it ran out about 2/3 of the way through. So I returned yet again to finish off the last 1/3 to Auburn. I’ve glued the GPS tracks back together using Adze on my Macintosh. Of course any time out on the trail is time well spent, and in re-doing this section, it has come to seem quite familiar and is now a favorite.

The ADT splits from the Western States trail just downstream of Ruck-A-Chucky campground, and then rejoins at the Mountain Quarries Railroad bridge. The ADT goes up on Foresthill ridge and then gradually descends back to the confluence of the Middle Fork and North Fork American River. Part of the route is along (new) Foresthill Road, part along (old) Foresthill Road, and the trail itself is partly on (old, old) Foresthill Road. The walk along Foresthill Road is quite unpleasant, with traffic whizzing along at 65 mph or more, and even the less trafficked (old) Foresthill Road is not pleasant. I looked for an alternative route to (old) Foresthill Road, but unfortunately there is not one. Several possible trails start off but then veer away. I will explore more in the future to see if there is a bypass for Foresthill Road. If you want a more natural experience, stick with the Western States trail, which descends and crosses the river, possible only at moderate to low water, of course.

I had been calling the river between the confluence and Folsom reservoir the American River, but apparently it is traditional to call this section the North Fork American River, all the way to the junction with the South Fork American River, now under Folsom reservoir.

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Winter 2014-2015 Update

Wouldn’t it be easier to date things, and follow the seasons rather than arbitrary calendars, if the year changed on the Winter Solstice? Then I’d only have to write Winter 2015, rather than trying to distinguish between last year and next year by writing 2014-2015. Yes, it is something I think about only once a year, but I’ve been thinking about it my entire life.

Life is busy as ever:

  • Sunday Streets San Francisco has started up again, and this year I’m volunteering as a captain for several of the events. It makes for longer days, but more service. March 8 was Embarcadero.
  • I have started spending time with my friend Lea again. Though we’ve kept in touch over the years since about 1984, we haven’t spent much time together since. Fun!
  • On winter break in southern Nevada, I rode with Joe Herbst to an area he calls Valley of the Kings, off North Shore Rd in Lake Mead NRA, visited friends Pitchfords, Donna, Howard, Jeff, Lance & Lorelle (and Vicki and Gus), and of course spent time with my family for the holidays.
  • For circle dancing, I attended the Gwyn Peterdi circle dance event in Oakland, Big Heart Tribal Gathering with teachers from all over northern California, two regular dances in El Cerrito, and an afternoon dance in Davis. For contra dancing, I attended the Contra Carnivale weekend in San Luis Obispo, and five regular dances in Sacramento. And one historical dance, the PEERS Victorian 12th Night Ball.
  • I did only one backpack trip, from Foresthill to Auburn on the American Discovery Trail.
  • I’ve been participating in the Food Literacy Center book club, which makes sure I devote at least some time to book reading instead of just keeping up with professional reading.
  • I saw nine plays, most in Sacramento but two in San Francisco.
  • As stated in my Fall 2014 post, I’ve been tidying my possessions, freeing myself of things that no longer bring me joy. Unfortunately I slowed down before I was finished and have stalled, but I will get back to it. The items I have left are those which didn’t easily fit into a category. I just gave away my old backpack to a friend, and that felt good.
  • I attended the Davis-Boulder Active Transportation Mini-conference in Davis, and helped Elle with a Traffic Skills 101 course.
  • For Sacramento Beer Week, I visited two breweries that were new to me, Yolo Brewing in West Sacramento (not far from Bike Dog Brewing) and Oak Park Brewing in Oak Park. Unfortunately the “week” was busy with other activities and I only made my favorite Track 7 Brewing twice, and next favorite New Helvetia Brewing once.

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Theatre: Winter 2014-2015

Though I’ve seen a few play multiple times, most particularly Into the Woods, I had never seen a play in two different theatres over a short period of time. Last fall I saw Ideation at San Francisco Playhouse, and then this season at Cap Stage. The performances were somewhat but not remarkably different. Actor Carrie Paff played Hannah in both! Two favorites this season, Tree at San Francisco Playhouse, for the though provoking staging and deep feeling, and In The Heights for the incredible energy of the story and dancers. Nine plays for the season.

  • 2015-03-13 Green Valley: In the Heights (Lin Manuel Miranda)
  • 2015-03-11 STC: Julius Cesaer (William Shakespeare)
  • 2015-03-06  City Theatre: The Cradle Will Rock (Marc Blitzstein)
  • 2015-02-15  SF Playhouse: Tree (Julie Hebert)
  • 2015-02-05  Cap Stage: Ideation (Aaron Loeb)
  • 2015-01-23  Geery Theater: Love Letters (A. R. Gurney)
  • 2015-01-22  Big Idea Theatre: Cloud 9 (Caryl Churchill)
  • 2015-01-04  SF Playhouse: Promises, Promises (Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, Book by Neil Simon)
  • 2015-01-15  B Street B3: The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence (Madeline George)


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Fall 2014 Update

Keith Haring art at FAMSF de Young

Keith Haring art at FAMSF de Young

Note: slideshow at bottom of post

My life is so busy that two things are true: 1) I can’t remember what I’ve done the previous season, except for a few highlights, without consulting my calendar, and 2) I’ve fallen way, way behind on my ideal of posting a seasonal update four times per year. My last time was Summer 2013.

  • I’m back at work as Safe Routes to School Coordinator at San Juan Unified, as of August. Funding is still flakey, but I’m still getting work done, and still enjoying it, particularly the bicyclist lessons.
  • I attended the Harvest Moon contra dance weekend in Santa Barbara, which is a weekend full of dancing and seeing friends from all over who come for the same reason I do, high level, high energy dancing and good friends, including Teralyn. This is my favorite contra dance weekend, though others come close. I also attended the 12-hour TDOGS Twirl contra dance in Hayward. Unfortunately, my energy didn’t quite hold out the entire 12 hours.
  • A lot weekends were spent in San Francisco and the bay area, five just this quarter. I go for dancing (sacred circle dancing, historical dancing, and contra dancing, mostly), museums, theatre, bicycling, hiking visiting friends, eating good food, conferences, etc.
  • I attended two Sunday Streets events in San Francisco, volunteering with both Sunday Streets and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Freedom from Training Wheels program, which is probably the most fun I have, seeing kids make that first successful balance, and then pedal, without training wheels.
  • I was lucky to find out at the last moment about the San Francisco Tweed Ride, and join them. A great group of people to hang out with, and ride, and drink beer at the end. They take costuming much more seriously than I do. I then finished the day off with SFBC’s Winterfest, a huge gathering of bicycle advocates. Some of the same people, and more beer.
  • This year I have a membership in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), which are the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park and the de Young in Golden Gate Park. I saw the Houghton Hall exhibit at the Legion, art and objects from an English country manor, with a tie-in to Downton Abbey, and the exhibit of Keith Haring at the de Young, a remarkable collection of advocacy art.
  • I assisted two League Cycling Instructor (LCI) Seminars, in Rancho Cordova and San Francisco, and helped Elle instruct a Traffic Skills 101 in Sacramento.
  • I repeated my backpack of the American Discovery Trail section 8, from Walnut Creek to San Francisco, this time keeping an accurate GPS track.
  • Some Wednesdays I’ve been joining Claire Bromund and her compadres for wine at various Sacramento wine bars and restaurants. I’ve also been frequenting my favorite breweries, first Track 7, followed by New Helvetia and Bike Dog.
  • I attended Walk California’s Best Foot Forward Summit, helping develop a strategic vision for the organization and all its partners. Intense, but worthwhile.

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