Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
A big group of us made it to Sunnyvale Community Player's outstanding production this Friday - and we were all so glad to be there! The entire thing was very "Gaslighter" like, making me very envious of the folks having such a fantastic time on stage
The show starts out with ushers at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, introducing us to the life of an usher and big hits from the 1930s, winding up with an introduction to the the second act, a Marx Brothers Comedy, A Night in The Ukraine.
We were greeted by the entire cast in the opening number, full of energy and great spirits. I thought their usher costumers were very cute, but found myself a bit perplexed by the subtle differences as Act I progressed. Why did Mike Rhone have a gold strap hanging over his shoulder? Head usher, I guessed, but they all had a different number of bands between their brass buttons on their chest, which I couldn't figure out. Personally, I would've loved to have seen actual costume changes during Act I to better fit the song each person was singing. Yes, it would've meant quick changes - but my years at the Gaslighter say it would've been possible. I suppose remaining in their usher costumes is probably how the show is typically done.
The sets were really neat, with rotating doors and a clever "ankle stage" (thanks to John Whenger for explaining this all to me during intermission!)
We were all very impressed by the amazingly talented cast, as they all spread their wings during Act I. In particular, we were very impressed with Aaron Weisberg on the saxophone! Wow! Bariton, Alto and Tenor saxes! Teri Weitze was a wonderful hoot when she sang "Nelson", and Molly Gazay was mesmerizing with her rendition of "The Best in the World". Keith Pennings never ceased to amaze us with his piano playing *and* ukelale playing! Kristin Brownstone did a delightful job with "Too Marvelous for Words", as well.
Geri Carlson Sauls did it again, with a fantastically choreographed "Famous Feet", and a bringing down the house "Doin' The Production Code".
One of my favorite numbers was "Japanese Sandman" featuring Mike, Anna & Molly.
If musical reviews are not your thing, you are sure to enjoy the second act, A Night in the Ukraine! This is where Teri Weitze really comes alive as Mrs Pavlenko, a wealthy widow. She did a masterful job of being thoroughly disgusted with her staff and visitors, putting on a wonderful sour puss whenever it was needed. Keith Pennings, as Carlo, played wonderfully off of Kristin Brownstone, as Gino (the silent Marx brother). These two lit up the stage with their constant joviality and horsing around. "Gino's Harp Solo" was incredibly funny!
Mike Rhone did a wonderfully sappy "hero" as Constantine, who falls in love with Nina Pavlenko, played by Anna Traina. They were both perfectly syrupy sweet as they fell in love over some dropped papers. Of course, foibles led to heartbreak, which brought us to the delightfully silly "Again" sung by Mike & Anna.
Aaron Weisberg did steal the show as Samovar (Groucho Marx), with clever appropriate come backs to the audiences occasional groans, bouncing around with unbounded energy and an excellent sense of comic timing.
This was such a fun show - everyone in our group had a wonderful time. We found ourselves singing songs from the show when many of us got together again on Saturday night. We had a blast! There's just one more weekend for this show - and I can't recommend enough to get out there and see it!
Monday, November 5, 2007
We had a blast! There are lots of pubs & dive bars near Caltrain stations, which we've seen every time we've taken the train up to San Francisco from Mountain View - so on Saturday, 11 of us hopped on the 11:19AM train from the Mountain View station and got of at 4th and King in the city.
We arrived just in time for a fantastic lunch at the 21st Amendment. The beers were tasty and the food was hot and delicious. We hoped to get another pretrain beer at the Hotel Utah, only to find they were not open at 2:30PM on a Saturday. No hours were posted, either, so I don't know if they were supposed to be or not. (checking their website: they are not open on Saturday afternoons - bummer!)
When we arrived at the train station, we noticed an announcement saying the southbound train would be leaving 15-20 minutes late, so thinking we had 45 minutes 'til the next train left some of our group went off hunting an open bar. I got nervous when I saw the northbound train arrive only about 5 minutes late (especially since it arrived at the platform marked "next train"). So instead of going to the bar, we all just picked up travelers for the train (some got coffee, some got beer). It turns out, the sign was out of date & had been a message left up for the 2PM train which was running late! Our train left right on time! *whew*
We hopped off the train Burlingame to drink beer at the Steelhead Brewery Co. The one bartender was a bit frazzled, but we got all our beers and pool balls in a timely manner and had a very fun hour hanging out in the relaxing pool hall portion of the bar. Amy & I split a beer sampler, which was a fun way to try 8 beers without over doing it. :-) When it was time to get to the station, we were all a bit disappointed. After seeing all of the other bars & restaurants near this train station, we really could've spent all day in Burlingame!
We wandered back on to the train, bypassed San Mateo, and got off in Belmont, meeting up with the 12th person from our group and headed over to Ausiello's Tavern. We had even more fun here with the tasty pitchers of micro brews, peanuts in their shells, shuffleboard and darts. It turns out that our visitors from Boston are very serious about the rules for darts (cricket), and there were no "do-overs" for really lousy shots. As it was, we still had a close game (though they ruled with the points). We were having so much fun, we decided to stay at this stop for 2 full hours. Of course, about 10 minutes after 5:43 left Belmont, our group got antsy and started asking when the next train was going to be. Another round of beers settled the natives until we could catch the 6:43 out of town.
We then went on a hunt of dive bars in San Carlos. Our first choice, which will remain unnamed, was filled with people smoking cigarettes. As we had several folks with asthma in the group, not to mention nobody wanted to smell like that, we gave it a miss. We then popped our heads into Sneakers, which looked like fun - but were told we would have to wait 10 minutes just to even think about ordering drinks. We were on a schedule! No way were we going to spend 10 minutes of our already dwindling hour just waiting to step into the place! So, we settled on the Carlos Club - arriving mere moments after happy hour ended. No $2 PBRs for Paul, then! The beers were good here and service was quick - Karaoke didn't start 'til 10, though, so we had to leave without singing our hearts out. :(
Next stop was in Redwood City at the City Pub! Our group of 12 was promptly seated, and beers were quickly brought out. The eccentric menu proved to have something for everyone. I loved my crab cakes & heard great things about the turkey burgers. Yum! While they are not a brewery, they did have a large selection of micro brews which we all enjoyed. As we realized this was going to be the last stop for our San Jose couple, we attempted to get them a quick shot - only to find out that the City Pub does not have a license for hard liquor. Ah, well, it was probably for the best!
Our last stop was at the San Antonio station, where we wandered through back roads (led by our Mountain View native) to Fred's Place. It is one of our favorite local dive bars in Mountain View. A large selection of beers on tap, good drinks & friendly bartenders. Always a good way to cap the evening (and walking distance home for the remainder of the group).