Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

  • Music:

Sound and stage

I emerged from my blue funk of the last month or so to start attending concerts and such again.

Last Friday zyxwvut and Beth invited me and boyziggy to see the Shotgun Players perform The Miser.

I quite enjoyed this play, which though written by the French Moliere was more in the Italian commedia del arte style. Farcical larger-than-life characters, bold acting, breaking the fourth wall, etc. The set and costumes were perfect and the (over-)acting was very fun to watch. Plus, it was pay-what-you-can, and in the lovely Julia Morgan theatre (or "redwood sauna" as the title character actor quipped after the show).

The Zuckerfolk didn't seem to enjoy the show as much as I did (EZ's laughter is very pronounced and noticeable when he's enjoying himself, generally ;-) ), but they had just recently seen another play that broke the fourth wall. Still, I think I will keep Shotgun Players in mind to check out in the future. I don't often see non-musical plays, but I have enjoyed several of Impact Theatre's performances also, even if I only initially went because my ex's cousin was one of their playwrights.

Yesterday I watched a free noon concert of the cover band Pulse in my office building.

This concert was part of our "staff appreciation week", where we get to shake the chancellor's hand and be served cookies by him to keep our minds off the fact that we haven't had a cost of living increase in over two years. (UC has to save all that money for the top brass. But I digress.) I was on vacation during the cookie event (oh boo hoo, I'm sure they weren't vegan anyway) so I made sure to come to this.

The dominant feature of this concert was that it was loud. I wish Ziggy had been there; he often jokes that he should chloroform the sound guy and take over at some concerts, and this would have been a good candidate. I sat in the fourth row and should have immediately moved to the back as several of my fellow audience members did. But I didn't want to be rude, as there were so few in attendance (it wasn't publicized well, unlike the excellent free Luciana Souza performance I went to a few months ago).

So this Pulse band played mostly 80s (and a few 70s) cover tunes. Songs I remembered and enjoyed included "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", "Sledgehammer", "Roxanne", and "Peg". Both lead singers were good (at least one works at UCSF); the male singer was very cute even if he was wearing an Izod shirt (trying to get into the period, I suppose, but those little alligators...). They also performed an interesting instrumental rendition of the jazz standard "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", which I much enjoy singing, though I never envisioned the melody being performed by electric guitar instead of sax or voice.

Last night I invited zyxwvut, Beth, and boyziggy to see Josh Kornbluth give a talk at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco.

I was introduced to Josh when EZ and BZ gave me a copy of Red Diaper Baby a number of years back, which contains three of Kornbluth's monologues. I admit I let it sit on the shelf for awhile, but when I finally opened it I laughed out loud continually (the only other author I can think has made me do that is Douglas Adams). When I learned that Josh was co-writing the 2002 San Francisco Mime Troupe show, Mister Smith Goes to Obscuristan, I was elated. Of course, Ziggy had not even heard of the Mime Troupe then, much less Josh Kornbluth, but he landed a job as their sound engineer and got the opportunity to work with him. Then later we watched Kornbluth's Haiku Tunnel movie at the Zuckershack; it was very true to the monologue and a lot of fun to watch.

Last night's talk was not a performance, but ostensibly a discussion of how being Jewish had influenced Josh's life and work. Raised by communist atheists, Josh basically described himself as a "bad Jew", though he still felt a strong Jewish identity and connection to other Jews. He went on scholarship to a Christian high school, and his mother advised him when he had to make the sign of the cross, to say to himself "There - is - no - God". (An audience member asked him during the Q&A period if he intended to teach his own son this heresy, causing Josh to almost choke on his coffee.)

The talk was quite entertaining. About thirty minutes into it Josh suddenly recognized Ziggy (we were sitting about halfway back) and said "Oh hi, how are you doing? Haven't seen you much since the Mime Troupe show." Then he saw me sitting next to him and said "Hi, remember we met on that corner..." I was quite flattered that he not only spontaneously interrupted his public talk to greet us, but also remembered (confirmed afterwards) that he met me on the corner of University and MLK in Berkeley two years ago as Ziggy and I were leaving an Indian restaurant there.

We talked with him for awhile afterwards. EZ was quite interested to get improv tips from Josh, and will follow up with him via e-mail. I enjoyed pointing out that a writer Josh referenced in his talk and liked, Garry Wills, was my professor in a Religion and Politics class at Northwestern back in '89 or thereabouts.

P.S. I really like the album in my current music, below (or above, depending on your friends-style). I have Ziggy to thank for it.
Tags: josh

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