Buried Child at Magic Theatre

On Friday, Syche and I saw Buried Child at Magic Theatre. I have been excited to see this production since last January, when I had the awesome opportunity to volunteer with Magic’s “An Evening with Sam Shepard.” He read a bunch of his prose, and their Artistic Director announced they would be opening this season with Buried Child. This, actually, got me to subscribe – Magic has an awesome Under 30 subscription… for about $95 I’m seeing all five plays this season.

When I was 18, in my very first college class, I met Syche and we were assigned to read Buried Child, and I didn’t really get it. Since then I have obviously had a lot more life experience, and I think, more importantly, I have seen/read/helped to create way more theater. I loved it. (Also, it is a play with so much more of everything when performed… I laughed a lot last night, and that humor didn’t come through in the printed version.)

It is still disturbing and challenging and… weird. But just great. It was such a treat to see a magnificent production of a magnificent play. The whole cast was great, especially Rob Gnapp as Dodge and James Wagner as Tilden. Beautiful set, too.

It was also personally cool to get to see this show with a good friend who I have now shared ten years of life with. That’s the fun part of getting old.

(Cross-post from my tumblr RinSquared).

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Rock the Vote

Today is National Voter Registration Day. Go register! It is super easy and very important.

The Fifteenth Amendment (Amendment XV) to the United States Constitution prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

 

The Twenty-sixth Amendment (Amendment XXVI) barred the states or federal government from setting a voting age higher than eighteen. It was adopted in response to student activism against the Vietnam War

This post isn’t designed to tell you who to vote for, but that it is everyone’s responsibility to take an active part of the American civil discourse by the simple act of voting. As they say, we live in turbulent times, and to get your voice heard you must vote!

And, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the direction our country is heading.

Voting Time Commitment:

  • 2 minutes to register online
  • One hour to research issues and candidates (can be broken up over a few weeks)
  • 20 minutes to vote

All in all, pretty easy and very worth it.

So, go now, and register: http://www.rockthevote.org/

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Now that I have blathered on about registering, and, hopefully, you are only reading this next part after you have done so, I want to talk briefly about my history with voting. I truly have never understood friends or acquaintances who didn’t believe in it, or felt their vote didn’t matter. And I don’t mean that derisively, I have just never, ever understood.

And I think that has three causes:

  1. my grandfather
  2. my mom’s polling place when I was a kid
  3. SI and the 2000 presidential elevtion

My grandfather, Adolfo, was an immigrant from the Philippines. He moved to the US in the 50s, and always held his American citizenship dear. Like many immigrants, he voted in every election and he always told my father, and later me, that you didn’t have to vote, but if you came to dinner on Election Night and hadn’t, then you had to find food elsewhere. He said it with a wry sense of humor, but was very serious about it at the same time. We lived at my grandparents’ house from when I was 5-8 years old, and I remember that voting conversation every year (and sometimes more than that when there were serious primaries).

My mom voted in the Outer Sunset until we moved to San Bruno in 2000. Her polling place was in the 40s on Judah and was possibly someone’s very large garage. I only have vague memories of the building, but I vividly remember the children’s voting booth. While my mom checked in and went to vote, I got to go to my own booth, made just my size, and push through the little circles on the paper. I don’t know if it was a replica ballot, or just paper… I’m not sure if there were real names on it. But I know that I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. Voting was super cool at age 6.

So, with those two experiences, I thought voting was a) necessary and b) fun. High school confirmed both of these things. I was on the high school debate team – Lincoln Douglas, baby! – and was preferally aware of politics during my first two years. At that point, I didn’t have super strong political beliefs – they were developing but still in infancy – and the JSA hosted a mock debate for the 2000 Gore/Bush election. I remember thinking that the seniors who were debating were so smart, cool, interesting – and I wasn’t really differentiatating between the sides. I just loved that they cared and could have a pretty intense debate about these candidates.

And then 2000 got crazy. How after that election could anyone think one vote didn’t matter? Every vote mattered, and we had the hanging chads to prove it. That election cemented my belief in the importance of the American political system and the stupidity of the electoral college.

So, thanks to my Grandfather, my mom taking me with her to go voting (probably mostly out of convenience), and whatever teacher or student who organized those debates in 2000, I was super stoked to vote once I turned 18. And it ended up being a whopper! The 2003 fall election was the Recall Election for Governor Gray Davis. I remember studying hard about the recall, and the possible candidates. I had been at UCD for only a month or so, and I already knew my freshman year roommate and I did not agree politically. I posted a sign that said “Friends Don’t Let Friend Vote for the Recall” and she posted one for Schwarzenegger…. you win some, you lose some…. But voting remained interesting, important and pretty cool.

So, register, and if you are at all passionate about it, educate your children (or your friend’s children!) young. And, I truly believe it doesn’t need to be about specific politics, although I think those conversations are also important. Voting is the right and responsibility of all Americans regardless of your point of view or political party. Let’s get out that vote!!

On a love of Book Clubs

This past weekend was really lovely. I celebrated my one year anniversary of being back in California by going all over the Bay Area – seeing my dad’s show in Orinda, visiting friends in San Rafael, spending time in Pacifica for the gym and at Syche & Drew’s – and by doing some serious yard work with my parents. (I should probably be doing more of the latter, as I have fully enjoyed a year of living rent-free. Thanks Mom & Dad!)

As you can see in the screen shot above, I also spent part of Sunday in a Google Hangout with Book Club, Both Coasts. I love the moment that Joe caught with this picture, as we are all laughing so hard! (Does anyone remember this part of the convo? Was in reference to traveling in our minds with a Mouse God?)

This moment was an important part of my anniversary weekend, because last September I worried A LOT about my friendships – how would I integrate back into the lives of folks on the West Coast? And how would I maintain friendships with people now living far, far away?

Surprisingly, for … 97% of people it has gone well. And really, book club has helped a lot. Nothing I’m saying here is new – but  I’m a big fan of book club, or any scheduled gathering of friends. It means you get to see people you care about at least once a month, in an organized fashion, and with book club, you get to have serious conversations while still open to tangents and gossip. I know, even when work is really crazy or friends are popping out babies, I will get to see these friends once a month at the bare minimum. So, go book club!

However, as I approach year 2 of my California life, I may be at a point of critical mass. How many book clubs is too many?

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99% Invisible: a Podcast & Kickstarter Recommendation

As I blogged about last fall, Pop Up Magazine Issue #5 was one of my most favorite things, and especially Jon Mooallem’s tale about poor Billy Possum. Fortunately, that tale was then re-told and expanded a bit for Episode 40 of 99% Invisible, a great podcast by Roman Mars about design, architecture and the 99% Invisible activity that shapes our world.

This is the tale of two toys with two very different fates. The Teddy Bear, named after the charismatic president Theodore Roosevelt, was a sensation in the early twentieth century. …. So the powers that be went on the search for the next cuddly companion that America’s children would adore. It was completely logical that they looked at the next president for inspiration, Roosevelt’s handpicked successor, William Howard Taft. In 1909, the toy makers of America placed their bets on the Taft presidency’s answer to the Teddy Bear: the Billy Possum.

I was so happy to have this story show up in another medium. I loved it and wanted to learn more. And, as an added bonus, I learned of the wonderful 99% Invisible, now a staple in my podcast rotation.  The show is incredibly smart, often joyful, and a wonderful way to learn about parts of our daily lives that are often ignored.

UN Plaza, San Francisco, CA

I recommend, especially to my San Francisco readers, to listen to this episode: 39X- The Biography of 100,000 Square Feet

In the center of San Francisco, there is a plaza with no benches. Its central feature at the entrance of the plaza is a unique fountain that was designed by Lawrence Halprin in 1975.The water shoots out at various angles, from inside a sunken pit, filled with large granite slabs. It’s a design that kind of pulls you in and invites you to take the steps down to the water and climb in between the hulking stones. And that’s part of the problem.

After you listen and fall in love, head over to the kickstarter for the third season of 99% Invisible, and pledge a little bit of money to help a great show. As of the writing, there are 49 hours left to go, and your money in whatever amount will allow the show to continue on, and be even better.

This first in a series about supporting media & art that you love. A little goes a long way, and allows individuals to connect with a larger community. (Crossing one off of my “meant-to” blog posts mentioned here).

A blog post in lieu of other blog posts

Friends and me at Hendry Wines a couple of weeks ago. One of many things I meant to blog about….

OK, so I have this friend, and she has a great blog.

Why is it great? Well, she writes well, has a good sense of humor, talks about interesting things and isn’t afraid to have an opinion. But, I honestly think that is only 50% of why it is a great blog. The other 50% is because she posts very regularly.  She wrote four times in July, actually a small amount for her, but still once a week. When you go to her blog, you know you are likely to see a post, and be entertained.

Now, me on the other hand? I think I have an ok blog. I am still trying to find a good balance from being enthusiastic over stuff, and talking too much, and also writing about whatever is interesting in the moment, and not just when something is amazing. But my number one problem is I do not do it enough, and I do not blog on a consistent schedule. I’m a little bit better at keeping my tumblr going, but that is mostly because of reblogs.

I’m trying to change that, but it seems unlikely.
So this post is a round up of things I have meant to blog about, basically since January.
Some may end up being posts of their own eventually, but most will not. As it is kind of a ramble, I will put it behind a tag.

2012 Things I Meant to Blog About:

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Art in Transit – Literary Journeys

So, as per usual, I have a million half-written blog posts. But today, like a month ago, what is actually getting me to blog is transit-related-art.

Last week, I noticed an interesting ad in the Montgomery BART station, or what I thought was an ad – this illustration had wolves running through a snow-filled BART train. Upon looking closely, I noticed that the person in the foreground was reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild. And indeed, the poster was not really an ad, but an artistic interpretation of reading on a train, and imagination taking hold.

I meant to research what these were or who had done them, but forgot until I saw a second one this morning:

Pretty neat!!

Not only does this capture one of the joys of a daily transit ride, but the books are all from Bay Area authors. So, when I got to my desk today, I did a little poking, and learned a little bit more about the posters.

The full article is available on the BART blog here.  The posters are created by artist Owen Smith, and are the third in a BART public art project.

Smith took the broad mission of the poster art program – providing riders with the opportunity to enjoy original artwork while traveling through the BART system – and pitched an idea inspired by literary icons with Bay Area connections.  The series “Literary Journeys” depicts BART riders immersed in books by Dashiell Hammett, Jack London and Amy Tan, with scenes from the books coming to life in their imaginations. “I love the idea that there could be something interesting and different to look at while you are waiting for a train,” Smith says.

 

Smith’s art posters – like the previous two series – contain no explicit messaging, which is an important concept of the series.  “If it’s a little mysterious, that’s OK,” he says.

Gina DeLorenzo, a member of BART’s communications team who manages the poster program, said train stations provide “a unique gallery setting” for Smith’s art. The posters, 60 in all, are placed in unused advertising spaces throughout the BART system. “We want the artist to really think about the rider experience, and then bring to it their own interests and interpretation,” she said.

I recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the posters as you go about your daily commute. I haven’t seen the last in person yet, so I will be searching for it over the next few weeks. I think this is a great project – a simple way to bring some joy to the daily commute.

12 Weeks in Photos – Part 3

Peering in close at the Academy of Sciences

Continuing my look back at my first twelve weeks home in California. Previous Parts here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Although this blog will continue to have photos, I have launched a new daily photoblog as part of my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions. Please check it out and let me know what you think: RinFocus.

Week 9 (November 9-15):

Fort Funston and Ocean Beach

Fort Funston – a constant in my photo adventures. The dog just loves it there, and the landscape remains interesting.

Fallen Fence in Ft. Funston - it is amazing how the sand dunes move

Week 10 (November 16-22):

Claude, the Albino Alligator - Academy of Sciences

Kate, Alex, Mike and I ventured to the Academy of Sciences for Nightlife. I went, primarily, to see the Kepler Project show, which was a bit of let down. But the Academy itself is always wonderful.

A surfer at Rodeo Beach in Marin

Rodeo beach is one of my new favorite places. I want to go often.

Week 11 (November 23-39):

Carolyn makes a hat!

The lovely table at my Aunt Mary's for Thanksgiving dinner

Week 12(November 30-December 6):

Mr. O'Golly (aka my dear father) guards the Steam Man at the Dickens Fair

Thanks for helping me to reminisce about these great first twelve weeks back home in the Bay Area.