Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

When We Rise: The San Francisco Premiere

As a volunteer with GLAAD, I received an invitation to attend the February 20th premiere of When We Rise, Dustin Lance Black’s new ABC miniseries chronicling the LGBTQ rights movement, focusing on the lives of several San Francisco activists. I invited a friend as my plus one and submitted my RSVP, although I wasn’t sure about an 8 hour marathon or the “first come first served” seating. Then my friend got sick, and the day arrived with heavy rain and 60 mph winds expected by the evening. Still, I braved the elements alone and headed to the Castro Theatre.

When I arrived in the Castro at 1pm, the doors to the cinema had just opened. At first I got into the wrong line, where the production folks were checking in. One of the young actors turned around and was very helpful pointing out the right line. I wasn’t sure any of the cast would be there, so this was a happy omen. My line went down the block and just around the corner of 18th Street. After I got there, many more folks arrived behind me. A friendly young woman with an ABC7 cap came by to explain what to expect. She assured us we’d all get in at that point in the line. We’d be checked in and given wristbands, which would allow us to come and go during the breaks. Everyone attending would also get a ticket for a free drink and a bag of popcorn.

I chatted with the guys around me, and there was some confusion about how much of the miniseries would be shown. Dustin Lance Black tweeted that we’d watch the whole 8 hours, but the numbering of the episodes is confusing. IMDb says there are 8 episodes, Wikipedia says 7 parts, but it’s being shown on 4 nights. Anyway, the ABC7 woman assured us we’d be seeing the entire miniseries, in four segments, with two 15 minute breaks and one 2 hour dinner break. The program would start at 2pm and end around 11:30pm.

There were still plenty of seats on the ground floor when I got in, but I headed to the balcony for a front row seat above. You don’t get a crick in your neck looking up at the screen there. Since we’d be spending a lot of time together, I introduced myself to several of the folks in my section. The young guy behind me worked as an extra in several scenes, so it was fun to hear to his stories.

Dustin Lance Black went up onstage with a microphone to introduce the first segment, saying that many of the activists depicted in the series were in the audience. He also pointed out that without the commercials, each segment was shorter than two hours. Zeke Stokes of GLAAD also spoke, and later in the day Roma Guy, Cecilia Chung, and Cleve Jones got up onstage to address the audience. We also had a song performed by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

During the screening, the audience cheered a lot—when familiar names were said, when well-known landmarks were shown, and when serious truths were spoken. The SF Chronicle says we booed the villains, but I only heard hissing.

Because When We Rise doesn’t air on ABC until next week (February 27th, then March 1st-3rd), I can’t share much about it yet. I never give plot spoilers anyway. I will say that the lesser-known young actors are terrific. These include Jonathan Majors, Adam DiMarco, Rafael De La Fuente, Fiona Dourif, Nick Eversman, Kevin McHale (familiar from Glee) and so many more. Austin P. McKenzie as the younger Cleve Jones had my heart from his first moments onscreen. I also really connected emotionally with Emily Skeggs as the younger Roma Guy. This kind of connection is crucial if the viewer is going to stick with these characters through a miniseries. I can’t count the number of shows I’ve seen where I appreciated the quality but didn’t care enough about any one character to keep watching.

During our first break, I met Emily Skeggs. It’s great to watch someone onscreen for the first time (whether it’s their first time or just yours), and then be able to tell them right away how much their performance has touched you. This is one of the reasons Twitter is so addictive, but doing it in person is so much more satisfying. I’m certain that many more viewers like me will be looking up these young actors and following them on social media. I was already doing that at the dinner break.

A tip for those folks looking at the cast lists online—at this point, the IMDb page is incomplete. Kevin McHale and Rafael de la Fuente, for example, are not yet listed. Wikipedia includes them and several other actors not listed on IMDb, but it’s not complete either.

At the end of the screening, all the folks involved with the production went up onstage. I left the balcony and came down to the front in time to video a bit of the song Oh Happy Day, and then it was done. I said hello to Dustin Lance Black and Tom Daley, then met Austin P. McKenzie (the kid’s gonna be a star) and Kevin McHale (such a charmer, that one!).

I came out of the theatre to find that the rain had stopped, but the wind was blowing hard. I rode the bus home with a couple of fellow viewers, and we talked about our impressions of the miniseries. I got home tired but still wired from the experience.

I’m looking forward to watching When We Rise again next week. It will be interesting to compare the difference seeing it on a small screen, without an audience, and with the ad breaks.

This miniseries will hopefully inspire viewers to read more about the activists and the history of this struggle for equality, understanding, and respect. There’s so much more to learn. The book When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones is a good place to start.

Thank you to Dustin Lance Black and everyone involved for making this miniseries. Thank you to GLAAD and ABC for the privilege of attending this amazing event.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/tv/article/LGBT-community-sees-its-story-told-in-When-We-10948675.php

https://ripplenews.com/watch/san-francisco/when-we-rise-shows-emotional-powerful-san-francisco-lgbt-movement-1s7r0o5h (This is a video of the premiere from local ABC7 news.)

http://www.sfchronicle.com/tv/article/When-We-Rise-a-story-of-past-struggle-and-a-10954771.php

Tom Daley’s video of the premiere:

San Francisco Women’s March

I just got home from the Women’s March in San Francisco. What an amazing experience! It was so hard waiting for our march when most of the others across the US happened in the morning. Ours started at 3pm with a rally at Civic Center, with the march down Market Street to the Embarcadero starting at 5pm. It didn’t quite happen that way—I ended up behind the stage, where we couldn’t see or hear, so a lot of us started down Market Street somewhat early. It rained most of the time, but nobody seemed to mind.

I didn’t see any violence or misbehavior. The mood was friendly and sometimes boisterous. I enjoyed seeing the men, children and dogs who joined in.

A big thank you to Summer, Emily and Alex, who ‘adopted’ me for the march. You’re awesome!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Chad Lowe

A week before Thanksgiving I had to go to the emergency room. The nurse practitioner resembled Chad Lowe, bringing back memories of  Life Goes On and the encounter I had with Lowe here in San Francisco. Once I felt better, I checked IMDb to see what Lowe has been doing lately, and now I follow him on twitter and Instagram. Since January 15th is his birthday, I’m sharing some wallpapers of his many roles—and looks—through the years.

The 80s

I remember watching Chad Lowe first in April Morning (1988), which aired a few days before I moved to England. It’s a TV movie about the first day of the American Revolutionary War. I was already a Rob Lowe fan, so I was curious about younger brother Chad. I remember being impressed by his performance. I wish I’d seen more of his early work, because some of it is now impossible to find.

1984-1989

The roles above are from Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac, Silence of the Heart, Spencer, There Must Be A Pony, Apprentice to Murder, April Morning, True Blood, the 1989 Oscar broadcast, and Highway to Hell. This last movie was released in the early 90s, but according to IMDb it was filmed in 1989. The watermarks are a necessary evil.

The 90s

Chad Lowe joined the cast of Life Goes On (1989-93) during the 3rd season as a love interest for teenage daughter Becca (Kellie Martin). I watched the series off and on during its four seasons, busy those years with moving to San Francisco and doing photography for a local band. I didn’t see all of Chad Lowe’s episodes when they first aired, but the ones I did see made a lasting impression. He played Jesse McKenna, a teen whose hook up with a college girl at a frat party led to HIV. When he transferred to Becca’s school, he was cool, mysterious, tortured, and irresistible. Becca fell for him, then learned that they could never truly be together. Their relationship struggle was interwoven with Jesse’s fight for survival and acceptance. The series didn’t shy away from the physical and emotional effects of AIDS. It was bravely depicted, beautifully written, and devastating to watch. Chad Lowe gave one of the best performances of his career. He was recognized for it with a well-deserved Emmy. I spent a recent weekend binge-watching all the Jesse/Becca episodes, transferred from old degraded video tapes. I was emotionally drained by the end. It’s a sin these two seasons are not available on DVD or streaming, apparently because of legal issues over the music used in the soundtrack.

1990-1999

The roles above are: Nobody’s Perfect, Life Goes On, Candles in the Dark, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Floating, In The Presence of Mine Enemies, Quiet Days in Hollywood, The Hunger, Melrose Place, Touched by an Angel, ER, and Popular.

2000-2005

Chad Lowe played a lot of dark characters during the next decade of his career. I was grateful to have Take Me Home: The John Denver Story to lighten my mood while assembling this set.

2000-2005

The roles above: Now and Again, Take Me Home: The John Denver Story, Acceptable Risk, Law & Order: SVU, Unfaithful, Hack, CSI Miami, Without a Trace, Medium, and Fielder’s Choice.

2007-2016

Finally, arriving at the present!

2007-2016

The roles above: 24, Bones, Ghost Whisperer, Drop Dead Diva, Pretty Little Liars, California Scheming, Entourage, Rizzoli and Isles, and finally, Comedy Central’s Roast of Rob Lowe.

So, happy birthday to Chad Lowe, with my thanks for all the years of entertainment (and good cries). I hope there are many more to come!

I also hope fellow fans will leave a comment below—be sure to share your favorite role!

Chad Lowe as Spencer (1985)

Spencer pilot (1985)

Notes

A special thanks to my friend Amy for sharing the hard-to-find movies with me.

There are quite a few roles not shown here, but every year with an acting credit on Chad Lowe’s IMDb page is represented. I only used my sharpest images. YouTube has Dare To Love, Fighting for My Daughter, and Captive (at the moment) but they’re in poor shape. Several titles that I own are the same (example below); I had to use publicity shots for Life Goes On and Silence of the Heart. Some movies didn’t arrive in time to use here. Some I just couldn’t locate. The hardest-to-find category include these: the after-school specials, Red Betsy, So Proudly We Hail, Siringo, The Others, Target Earth, Driven, and Suicide the Comedy. I’m listing them here in case other Lowe fans can help me locate them.

As Kippie Petworth (such a great name!) in An Inconvenient Woman (1991)

I’ve focused here on his acting, but Lowe is also a director. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work behind the camera.

Life in Pieces episode

Life in Pieces episode “Musical Motel Property Bingo” with guest star Andy Richter

The credits on IMDb overall seem pretty accurate, although he’s not in some of the season three episodes listed for Life Goes On.

I have to give a bemused shout-out to the girl at Lowe’s Wikipedia page who, despite various efforts to correct her, keeps “fixing” his TV credits.  All but two of them are so wrong they’re inspired. The edit history reveals that they’ve been far worse. I saved the December version:

Chad Lowe's wacky TV Credits from Wikipedia (circa December 2016)

Chad Lowe’s inaccurate TV Credits on Wikipedia (from December 2016). Only the first and last credits are correct.

Hello, 2017

I tried to revive the blog back in October, but I was foiled by everything from the US presidential election to my own lack of discipline. But it’s a new year, and I definitely need distractions from the horror of the daily news. Even as I write this, twitter has exploded over #GoldenShowers, and I can’t even bring myself to explore that right now.

Outside a rainstorm rages, with more water coming in the next week than California can deal with. We need the water, but we sure don’t need the flooding. And I might lose power any minute, so this has to be short.

Back soon!

This week's forecast

This week’s forecast

I’m Back!

After a 3+ year break, I’ve decided to start posting again.

Why?

The same reason I started this blog in 2010. Instead of driving friends crazy with my obsessions, I can share them here and find other fans with the same interests. Even when I’m the only one here, the blog keeps me open and searching for new things to post.

Why did I stop?

When I first began this site, I was doing lots of writing, which doesn’t come easy. I got better at it, but it’s less effort to play in Photoshop—enhancing screen captures, making memes, restoring old photos, etc. Unfortunately, when you share those online, you end up providing free content for Pinterest and Tumblr, not to mention the folks who think “google search” is some kind of a public domain free-for-all. (“I didn’t steal your photo. I got it on google!”) I also learned to edit videos, which sucked up all my free time. Finally, I became too singularly focused on one actor who already had websites devoted to him, so he didn’t need another one.

And now?

I’m trying to keep the focus wide. No more singular obsessions! (Until the next one.) I also want to focus more on local entertainment. I’ve missed some great stuff here in San Francisco, just because I was too busy moaning about where I’m not. The plan is to write more, Photoshop less, and watermark everything!

What’s new?

These days, I’m watching four different foreign soaps: EastEnders from the UK, Neighbours and Home and Away from Australia, and Shortland Street from New Zealand. That’s 19 episodes each week, but thankfully they’re only 20-30 minutes long. I love A Place To Call Home, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Janet King, Please Like Me, and Jack Irish (all Australian TV series). I’m also watching Poldark, Victoria, Outlander, Quarry, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Code Black, Lucifer, and Mercy Street.

I’ve added some new actors to my “favorites watch list,” and they include Marta Dusseldorp, Anna McGahan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Tveit, Jesse Lee Soffer, Christian Kane, Michael Fassbender, George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Nick Robinson, Alden Ehrenreich, and Matthew James Thomas.

I recently got a 7″ Kindle Fire, so that’s been a small revolution. Before now I resisted touch screens, tablets, and electronic readers. I’ve played a few games on the Kindle, watched a few videos, sampled all the features, and hey, I’m even reading books.

So, I’m finding my way around the blog again, trying to learn all the changes that WordPress has made to the platform since 2013. Let’s see how this goes.

One more thing.

If you’re a subscriber and you’ve forgotten why you’re getting this in your inbox, well, who can blame you?! If what entertains me now no longer entertains you, don’t feel bad about unsubscribing. Otherwise, thanks for sticking around, and be sure to let me know what’s new with you. We have a lot of catching up to do!

Armistice Day 2012

Today is Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I in 1918.  Also known as Poppy Day and Remembrance Day in commonwealth countries.  WWI began with bravado and confidence—most people believed it would last only a few months.  Four long, bloody years later, the world had irrevocably changed.

This point was brought home to me over the summer.  I attended a special screening of the silent documentary South, featuring the footage shot by Frank Hurley on Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition with the ship Endurance.   The screening was accompanied by live music and narrated with excerpts from Shackleton’s journal, read by actor Paul McGann.  The expedition began the week war broke out in Europe, on August 8, 1914.  Shackleton and his men were isolated from the world and its news when the Endurance was trapped and destroyed by ice.  When Shackleton finally made it to a whaling station in South Georgia two years later, the first question he asked was, “When did the war in Europe end?”  He was told the war was still dragging on, with no end in sight.  Many of his men, after surviving the hardships of the Antarctic, returned home to fight in the trenches of France.

They ask me where I’ve been,
And what I’ve done and seen.
But what can I reply
Who know it wasn’t I,
But someone just like me,
Who went across the sea
And with my head and hands
Killed men in foreign lands…
Though I must bear the blame,
Because he bore my name.

— Wilfred Gibson

Today is also Veterans Day in the United States.  To those who have served in the armed forces, we thank you for your service.


Troops recite the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony on an aircraft elevator on board the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, Nov. 6, 2012. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sponsored the ceremony during which 41 service members from 19 countries became U.S. citizens.

Photo credit for Becoming Citizens: US Department of Defense.   Special thanks to Shay for the World War I images.  The poem by Wilfred Gibson is “Back.”

San Francisco Halloween 2012

Every year, I take my camera to the Halloween block party off Central Avenue on Grove.  This year, I got there before the light left and the rain began.  What a great bunch of kiddies and doggies this year!  My thanks to the parents and dog owners who do such a great job with the costumes.

(Click on any photo to scroll through larger versions.)

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