This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
It is often hard to pick my favorite play or musical from a season, as I strongly enjoy nearly every one of them, but I have to say that Motown: The Musical stood out above the rest. It was so full of good energy and good memories for me (I’m of that age when Motown was what we listened to). The acting and singing were superb. Eleven plays for the season.
- 2014-12-11 New Helvetia Theatre: Marry Me A Little (music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, conceived and developed by Craig Lucas & Norman Rene)
- 2014-12-10 Sacramento Theatre Company: Kate (Rick Foster)
- 2014-12-05 Big Idea Theatre: Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Briandaniel Ogelsby)
- 2014-11-20 New Helvetia Theatre: I’m Getting My Act Together (music by Nancy Ford and book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer)
- 2014-11-06 Cap Stage: Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy, adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson)
- 2014-11-01 San Francisco Playhouse: Ideation (Aaron Loeb)
- 2014-10-30 Green Valley Theatre: Rocky Horror Show (music, lyrics and a book by Richard O’Brien)
- 2014-10-03 City Theatre: The Uninvited (Tim Kelly, from the novel by Dorothy Macardle)
- 2014-10-02 Big Idea Theatre: Exit Interview (William Missouri Downs)
- 2014-09-27 SHN Theatres: Motown, The Musical (a book by Berry Gordy)
- 2014-09-26 SHN Theatres: Pippin (Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson)