Through Two Peepers in Tune with the Times

July Around San Francisco

July we got more than usual of our usual July weather of morning & afternoon fog. But we had some sunny days & I made several trips into even hotter weather.

My friend Ken S drove me over to the E.Bay for the annual HIghland Games at Dunsmuir House. It was a beautiful sunny day & the house & grounds looked lovely. As usual, it was a very popular event but we managed to find a parking spot.

I went back to Oakland on another hot sunny day to see Terry P. We went to Jack London Square & had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. It has a great atmosphere. Our booth was an old brass bed. Prices are reasonable & the quantity & quality of the food is good. For $8.50 I had a 3 course dinner. Excellent salad, large freshly baked loaf, 2 kinds of butter, baked chicken & pasta, spumoni ice cream. Terry also had a delicious blackberry Italian cream soda.

Early one morning Bob C took me on a shopping spree. We started at Safeway on a foggy Diamond Heights. Then Trader Joes in SOMA where I found some great Welsh cheese. Then we drove south to a Sizzler & had the senior salad bar which was still a good deal at 5.99 & included a free beverage. Sizzlers don't exist in SF anymore.

The Polk St Fair lasted 2 days & had excellent sunny weather. There were live bands, arts & crafts & lots of free food samples. This year they had an attractive poster again. It is never a major event like some of the other street fairs but a very pleasant one.

Another sunny day I met up with Bill T in Berkeley. We had lunch at a Brit style pub Raleighs. We had asparagus soup & club sandwiches on delicious home-made bread. We were there to buy tickets for "Carman" the Matthew Bourne ballet in October. Sure to be a sell out.

Had a very tasty brunch with Bill H at Doidges on Union St. It is a very popular old time place with a dining room which reminds me of an old fashioned English tea room. I had oven baked eggs which was something different but not cheap.

Films:

Le Placard. A French farce about office politics by the director of "La Cage Au Folles". There were several familiar faces in the cast & the comedy was very low key. I found it very entertaining.

AI. One of the summer's blockbusters. The special effects were stunning. The plot was numbing. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl & she's his mommy. AI apparently stands for Artificial Incest.

3 30's Movies at the Castro. All great fun.

Three on a Match. Betty Davis, Anne Dvorak, & Joan Blondell. It was very topical with wireless phones, a recovering stock market, juvenile crime & drugs propelling the plot.

Let Us Be Gay. Norma Shearer, Marie Dressler & Hedda Hopper. Gowns by Adrian. Based on a play & it showed.

Female. Ruth Chatterton as a female director of a large car factory. She treats her male employees as playthings until George Brent comes along. Her luxury house had an organist on the wall of the lobby. That's really living.

Legally Blond. A modern attempt at a screwball comedy. Not bad. Holland Taylor has the right style. But it is only one step above the current teenage films.

Theatre:

Cat & the Fiddle. By Jerome Kern. A concert version at 42nd St Moon. Charming costumes. Good performances. Lovely music. But the book was a bit clunky. Filmed as "The Love Parade". Songs inc. "She Didn't Say Yes".

Trojans & Amazons. A concert by the SF Gay Mens Chorus with guest star Sharon McKnight. Everything from modern classical to pop. Good but I enjoyed their show music concert better.

Sweeny Todd. An all star concert version with George Hearn, Patti Lupone, Davis Gaines, Lisa Vrohman, & Neil Patrick Harris. All the principals gave tour de force performances. It was fully staged & dramatically lit, backed by the SF Symphony Orchestra & a huge Organ. Fortunately it was captured on film & Stephen Sondheim was ecstatic.

Barbary Coast Cloggers. Traditional step dancers. A local all male troupe celebrating 20 years of performing. A guest star Ira Bernstein out tapped Fred Astaire & Michael Flatley in a gravity defying performance.

I finished off the month with a trip to Sacramento & Reno. I took the bus to Sacramento. Vic B met me & we had lunch at Eppys a local chain. When I arrived the breeze seemed cool but later it got pretty hot. Maybe 90 degrees. Fortunately Vic's house stays very cool.

Next morning we drove to Reno. It is a beautiful scenic drive. We arrived at 1 pm & checked into the Silver Legacy which is quite elegant with a Victorian theme. I had got a great rate of $29 plus tax. We went to the Victorian Buffet for lunch. $6.99 is a bargain for the lavish high quality selection of food. Salads, fruits, fresh carved meats, desserts all to die for. We showed our usual restraint but it wasn't easy not to over indulge.

We were there for a free concert in the evening by Davis Gaines. So we strolled over to the park to check the lay of the land. We lucked out as he was there rehearsing. So we got 2 concerts. In the afternoon we had him almost to ourselves. In the evening there wasn't an empty spot. He was backed by the Reno Jazz Orchestra. He did a program of pop standards but all in his own unique style. We ran into Richard K & chatted with him at the interval.

We also found time to check out some of the new luxury hotels & catch a couple of excellent acts at Circus Circus. A Russian balancing act both clever & funny. A female Asian with a decorative acrobat act featuring lit chandeliers.

Not a bad month at all.

Love,

Michael


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