Zachary Quinto at the Castro Theatre

Last night I went to San Francisco’s Castro Theatre to see Zachary Quinto “in conversation.” It was part of the California Independent Film Festival.

I was one of the first arrive in the non–VIP line outside the theatre. Once inside, I got a seat in the fourth row. A young Chinese woman sat next to me, and she could barely contain her excitement. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I told her I’d only seen Zachary Quinto in the Star Trek movies and Snowden. She’d seen more of his work, but neither of us watched Heroes.

Quinto was interviewed by Derek Zemrak and another fellow whose name I missed. They sat in comfy chairs on one side of the Castro Theatre’s shallow stage. When Quinto first sat down, his chair reclined back la-Z-boy style, which got a laugh. The rest of the hour-long interview he was thoughtful and serious, but he seemed very much at ease.

Quinto discussed his television and movie roles, particularly Heroes, American Horror Story, and So Notorious. He loves doing theatre, and he talked about his roles in Angels in America and The Glass Menagerie. When the conversation turned to Star Trek, he described his audition process and his relationships with the other cast members and Leonard Nimoy. He also shared his reasons for coming out and the LGBT+ organizations he works with, especially the Trevor Project and the Hetrick-Martin Institute. Then the discussion moved into some of the projects he’s involved with as a producer.

I met Tab Hunter a couple of years ago with his partner Alan Glaser at a screening of the documentary Tab Hunter: Confidential. It was interesting to find out that Quinto is working with Hunter and Glaser on a movie about Tab’s relationship with Anthony Perkins. It’s still in the early writing stages.

Quinto answered some questions from the audience, and then Zemrak presented him with the festival’s Maverick Award. We applauded and the interview was done. I waited with Leah, my new enthusiastic friend, in the foyer afterwards. Quinto signed a few autographs and posed for some photos. I took a photo of Leah and Quinto, then we went outside for a quick photo of him with his award. We watched him get into an SUV and drive away. I said goodbye to Leah with the promise of keeping her informed about other fun events in the city.

Now I need to finally watch Heroes!

Leah & Zachary Quinto

Derek Zemrak & Zachary Quinto with Maverick Award

 

(I would have taken more videos, but I forgot to charge my camera battery!)

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GLAAD Gala 2017

Saturday I was a volunteer again for the annual San Francisco GLAAD Gala. Like last year, I teamed up with Carrie to do guest check-in. We also pitched in wherever they needed us. I made sure to catch most of the presentations and speeches, and I had fun mingling at the after party.

This year’s guests/presenters included Sam Altman, Nancy Pelosi, Julia Michaels, CNN’s Don Lemon, Van Jones, Blair Imani, Leila Ireland, Zeke Thomas, Riley J. Dennis, Prince Shakur, Kat Blaque, Royce Mann, Katherine Langford and Tommy Dorfman. Ross Mathews was the charming host. Everyone was so inspiring!

Can’t wait til next year!

Me and Carrie

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Ed Sheeran at 16

Most of my life, I haven’t really enjoyed mainstream music. Maybe the odd song, or a band/artist years after they stopped being popular, but rarely anybody on the charts. That’s why it always surprises me when I do like someone popular.

I really like Ed Sheeran’s mellower acoustic music. He’s pretty hard to escape these days, but I’d somehow managed it. Then he showed up on Game of Thrones, and on my Britannia High DVD behind-the-scenes documentary. But really, it was the end credits song for The Fault in Our Stars that got me listening.

Britannia High (2008) was a UK television series about a performing arts school for teens. It only lasted nine episodes before being cancelled due to poor reviews and low ratings. I bought the DVDs from the UK because I’m a fan of Matthew James Thomas (Jez in the series). Hundreds of young performers auditioned for the show in 2007, including 16 year-old Ed Sheeran. I made a YouTube video of his moments from the behind-the-scenes documentary. I’m still learning to use Shotcut, so it’s a bit rough.

Note: there are other clips from Sheeran’s audition on YouTube already, but this is clearer and has more footage than I’ve seen there.

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The PDX Broadsides & Leslie Hudson

Yesterday was one of those days when I couldn’t do anything right. I almost forgot that I had a ticket to see the PDX Broadsides and Leslie Hudson perform last night. I’m glad I didn’t miss them.
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The Booksmith on Haight Street is one of the last brick and mortar bookstores in San Francisco, and they recently opened an annex where the Red Vic Movie House used to be. Called The Bindery, it has an intimate performance/event space at the back of the store. This was my first time there. I get the email newsletter for both locations, because they always have great events.
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I’d never heard of the PDX Broadsides when I saw the listing for their performance, so I went to YouTube and listened to their Game of Thrones song and a few others. A folk trio based in Portland, they perform music for nerds. Awesome! Then author Charlie Jane Anders (All The Birds in The Sky) tweeted one of their songs. Seemed like a good omen, so I purchased an advance ticket.
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I arrived at The Bindery early, and everybody was mellow. The performance space had two old leather sofas that seated two, or three if you know each other well enough. In between the sofas were chairs, with only three rows set up, so no bad seats. The back wall has a small bar, and the drinks were reasonably priced. It’s nice that they allow food from outside. I should have used my extra time to peruse the book recommendations around the store, but I didn’t bring my reading glasses. Next time I’ll know better.
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The first up was Leslie Hudson, a striking redhead from Stratford, Ontario. She’s a storyteller, as well as a singer/songwriter with a keyboard, and I enjoyed the introductions as much as her songs. Her first song was Sisters & Sinners, about biblical women at a pub on the crossroads of heaven and hell (hope I got that right!). Unmasked is a song about Mary Jane Watson (Spider-man), while Eleven Feathered Sons is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans. Hudson talked about prehensile hair and Medusa and love songs in the key of C in the intro to Entanglement; it was lovely and probably my favorite of her set list.
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Hudson also performed a song about Batman’s Poison Ivy (Welcome to Eden) and another one called Honey. I’m currently reading When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, and it’s about a girl nicknamed Honey. Her nemesis-es are four redheaded sisters, one named Ivy. What are the odds? I don’t usually recommend books until I’ve finished them, but I couldn’t help telling Hudson about it after her performance.
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The PDX Broadsides (Christian, Jessica, and Hollyanna) set up next. Jessica introduced us to her new keyboard, named after Rosalind Franklin (the double helix scientist). Christian played guitar. They had a few hiccups with the microphones, but they kept us entertained with banter while things got adjusted.
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I enjoyed all the songs they performed, mostly from their newest album, Trust Issues. Taking turns with lead vocals, the trio sang songs about Cold War spy cats (Acoustic Kitty), Westworld (Dolores), Star Wars (We Want Rey), Welcome to Nightvale (The Weather), mediocre love (I’ll Eat You Last), Japanese animated movies (Miyazaki Dreams), Conan the Barbarian (Best in Life), and Bitch Planet (Non-compliant). They made me realize that my wide-ranging interests are still rather limited, especially when it comes to comic books and graphic novels.
They finished with Jessica’s song called Nathan Fillion, and we sang along for the chorus (Please take off your pants!). The encore was Rocket Science, and then it was over too soon. I chatted a bit with Christian and Jessica before heading home. I also met Christian’s charming parents. It was their first time seeing the PDX Broadsides in person, just like me.
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I’m definitely going to keep listening and recommending them to friends and strangers. I hope both the PDX Broadsides and Leslie Hudson come back to San Francisco soon. I’ll be waiting.

The PDX Broadsides (Photo from their website, because I forgot my camera, too.)

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The A.C.T. Young Conservatory: Homefront

 

Growing up, I often went to see friends perform in musicals put on by San Diego Junior Theatre. JT is the oldest continuous children’s theatre program in the United States. I joined JT in high school, mostly working on stage crews because I can’t sing or dance. I got the role of the housekeeper in The Sound of Music only because she doesn’t have to do either. Living in San Francisco now, I miss seeing the kids perform, especially after attending  JT’s 60th anniversary celebration in 2008. Fortunately, there are talented young people performing here in the Bay Area.

Last night, I took a friend to see the A.C.T. Young Conservatory production of Homefront at the Strand Theater. The Young Conservatory is a professional training program for performers age 8 to 19.  This was the first time we’ve seen one of their productions, and it was also our first time at the Strand. It was a wonderful evening.

Homefront is a musical set during WWI. The three Kolemeir children are sent from Germany to stay with relatives in Vienna, Illinois, just before the United States joins the war in 1917. In Vienna, Curt Jensen has already enlisted in the US army and impatiently waits to turn 18. His sister Kathleen longs for Red Brady, whose twisted knee makes him unfit to serve. Instead, Red embraces the anti-German campaign at home, led by the former boyfriend of school teacher Gretchen Parker. The war may be far away in Europe, but it will change the lives of everyone in Vienna.

The A.C.T. Young Conservatory has many talented performers, so the lead female roles in Homefront are double cast. We attended the second performance, which meant six of the girls were doing the show for the first time with an audience. Everyone was great. Caroline Pernick (Emma Kolemeir) has a sweet face and an even sweeter voice. Kathryn Hasson is fierce as Else Kolemeir. Young Alex Cook (Horst Kolemeir) is vulnerable and affecting, and we were genuinely concerned for him in the second act. I have to confess, both Casey Schryer and Cole Sisser stole my heart as the Jensen siblings. We enjoyed all of the performances, and I’d like to go again to see the other cast.

I also enjoyed chatting with the mother of one of the cast members during the intermission. After the performance, there was a ‘second opening night’ reception in the foyer with cake and drinks. Everyone was invited, so I congratulated some of the cast while my friend enjoyed the refreshments. At JT we always got our programs autographed by the cast, and I was wishing they did the same here. (Yes, I really would get autographs if others were doing it. Even at my age!)

The German accents in Homefront brought back memories of my star turn as Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music. I tortured my friend on the way home with my favorite line. Just try saying “He never used to whistle for us when his wife was alive” with a German accent. It’s a tongue-twister!

Go see Homefront if you can. It runs through August 19th.

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Summer Reading: LGBT YA Novels

Happy Book Lovers Day!

I spent some wonderful summers as a kid reading books with specific themes. One summer was knights and squires, another was cowboys and horses, yet another was mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. In college, I read female authors in the summer to balance out the male-dominated required reading for courses in the winter. My last themed summer was black women writers, but that was years ago.

This year, I’m reading LGBT+ young adult novels. I’ve been exploring the nominees for the Lambda Literary Awards (Lammys) as well as the Stonewall Book Award. Some novels are from ‘best of” lists, usually tweeted by authors I followed after reading one of their books. There’s no particular order to my choices. It’s really down to what my library has available and what sounds interesting. Here’s what I’ve read so far, with my personal reaction to them. I always do my best to avoid plot spoilers.

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A Robert Fuller Banner

I’m still a member of Robert Fuller’s official fan group, even though I’m busy with other interests these days. A recent contest to create a new banner for the Fandom Facebook page presented a fun challenge. I got to use some newly-learned Photoshop tools, and I teamed up with my friend Jan. She provided some photos and some lively debate. We submitted several banners, none of which were chosen. That’s okay, because I get to share the best one here. A big thank you to my friend Pam for allowing me to use her recent photo of Fuller.

The biggest challenge was finding the best color photos with the different heads at just the right angle, and I wasn’t completely successful. At least one important role is not represented—I didn’t realize before that Fuller never once takes his hat off in Return of the Magnificent Seven, and the brim is almost always cut off at the top. The ears in the center photos of the banner were also a problem, and the end result is not as satisfying as I’d hoped.

Today is Robert Fuller’s 84th birthday, and he’s still going strong! Wishing him a happy birthday, with many more to come.

(l to r) Wagon Train, Emergency, Wagon Train again, Incident at Phantom Hill, Laramie, The Hard Ride, and Fuller now

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