PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – This month’s comic book, “The Instrument of Death”, reminds me fondly of my favorite musical, “The Phantom of the Opera”. This vid clip is taken from the Lon Chaney black and white version dated 1925. The musical and movie are based on the French novel entitled Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. Enjoy!


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SUMMER SOLSTICE

SUMMER SOLSTICE – Twice per year, the planet literally tilts on its axis, from one extreme to another. Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, important in terms of culture (Saturnalia, Christmas, Hogmanay, New Year’s). But, summer holds a special significance as the longest day of the year. I was born in summer, it’s a season of long lazy days, catching fireflies in a jar and running through sprinklers, under prismatic cascading water droplets. Imagine Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream–in the realm of Fairyland, prancing around the woodland at dusk–under the light of the moon. It’s something I’ve been told more than once about my writing. And, I love hearing it, because that’s what I strive for! I hope to create stories with a sense of magic, as if they were being told around a campfire, on the shortest night of the year. 



IN COLD BLOOD

In Cold BloodIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

IN COLD BLOOD – Can you imagine the torrent of creativity, where two writers are confined to a Kansas motel room, penning what eventually became a sensation: “In Cold Blood”? All these years later, the vanguard non-fiction novel, endures not only for the story it tells. But, also for the creative process by which it was birthed. Many years earlier, Truman Capote and Harper Lee were next door neighbors, children that grew up side by side, in Monroeville Alabama. Truman stayed with cousins and “Nelle” had a father who was an attorney who owned the town’s newspaper. “In Cold Blood” details the murders of the Clutter family by killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith. Capote and Lee interviewed case investigators and locals taking thousands of pages of notes. Was the book as factual as Capote’s staunch assertions? Probably not, but who cares? The book is regarded even today as the definitive example of the true crime genre. However, Capote was bitterly disappointed that he did not win the Pulitzer. Soon thereafter, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (by Harper Lee), on the other hand, did win the Pulitzer. It was an overwhelming smash success. But, it’s said that was too much for her to handle. She never wrote another book. Which is yet another interesting facet to the mystery of Truman Capote and Harper Lee.

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VAUDVELLIANS

VAUDVELLIANS – This is a review of “The Vaudevillians” featuring Jinkx Monsoon previous winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Logo. By the time you read this review, “The Vaudevillians” will be long gone, from San Francisco. However, based on what I’ve seen, you’ll still continue to be able to catch the show, from coast to coast. I have to say my expectations were surpassed in every way imaginable. To call this show cabaret is a gross injustice. While it does feature live music, it’s so much more than that. The premise centers around a pair of resurrected vaudeville performers (Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales) who were frozen for a century and have now been defrosted. The husband/ wife team claim to be the original writers of much of today’s pop/ rap music. WTH? I know, right? It sounds convoluted. But, the beauty of the show–besides formidable talents as a songstress and playwright–is Monsoon’s comedic timing. There was a portion of the show where she wandered into the crowd and started messing around with the audience. This may sound blasphemous, but I was reminded of the comedic talents, of the late great Lucille Ball. Yes, she was that good. As a side note–it showed at the Verdi Club, a very cute little theater which I hadn’t even known existed–after two decades in the city. I hope to see shows there more often because I really enjoyed myself. To sum it all up, do yourself a favor, go check out “The Vaudevillians”!


GETTING AROUND SF

GETTING AROUND SF- The recent Muni “sick-out” pretty much caused the city to grind to a halt. Sure, it’s only 7 by 7 square miles. But, I challenge you to walk up and down unforgiving hills after a long workday. So, in the spirit of get-up-and-go, here are a few ways to navigate the hellish nightmare that we just lived through. 
  1. Bike share- Members electronically unlock bikes with a smart card/ credit card and there’s a lot of stations along Market Street.
  2. Zipcar/ van – Wheels by the hour or day with gas and insurance included.
  3. Walk – Just be careful to use crosswalks, pedestrians become roadkill in SF, all too often. I’ve had my share of close calls! Seriously, walking in a city this small is often practical. 
  4. BART – Impractical for many due to limited stops, but if you’re lucky, it’s the fastest way to get around the bay. Hence the name rapid transit. 
  5. Yellow Cab – It’s hard to beat! Make a one minute phone call, then a car pulls up to your door, and takes you wherever you want.