Livermore: Bankhead Theater recovering well in second act after near-closure –

A year after it was threatened with foreclosure, Livermore’s Bankhead Theater is making a comeback

Source: Livermore: Bankhead Theater recovering well in second act after near-closure –

I wish

I just read that Richard Glatzer, the co-writer of Still Alice passed away, and was saddened by the news.  David, Donovan and I went to see the the film when they were visiting last month.  There were many moments in the film that David and I related to, and I heard an interview with Wash Westmoreland and his Husband, Richard on NPRwhile I was driving back from San Francisco.  There was something inspiring and hopeful about the way they continued working even while fight Richard’s ALS.

I wrote this over a week ago, but never finished or posted it.  Since then, I have been back to Palm Springs, and David and I performed at the SongShine performance of Carousel.  Did I ever mention on here that I have a new found respect for Leslie Uggams and her going up on the lyrics of “June is busting out all over”.  What a song!  Here is a clip from the performance.   David will kill me when he sees that this has been posted.  Or I think he will, perfectionist that he is.  The sad part is that I taped this from my lap and all you can really hear is my voice.  I was a sort of ringer.
Things are going well here in Livermore.  I am really (no, really) on the road to buying the Pickle House.  I think that I will be in by around the first or second week of May.  I am looking forward to having a real closet.  Simple joys.  We are also working on a Film Festival at the Bankhead and I may be producing some sort of play next spring.  That will be fun/terrifying!

A livermore story:  I was walking to the theatre tonight to see Ukrainian pianist, Stanislav Khristenko at the theatre, and as I turned the corner, there was a crowd of cowboys raising money for the Livermore Rodeo.  Did I ever tell you that the Livermore Rodeo is the fastest rodeo in the world.  We also have the longest burning light bulb in the world.  I get the light bulb, but I am not sure what the fastest rodeo even means.  Hopefully someone explains it to me.  I think I want to rewrite the lyrics to “The Farmer and the Cowman should be friends” from Oklahoma! to  “The Physicist and the Cowman should be Friends”.  There was also a half marathon today in town, and there were crowds and crowds of people.  I might add, that  by the look of many of them, they weren’t running a half marathon or even for that matter a quarter marathon.

Tonight at the theatre, there was a lot of talk about the Steinway and the work that I had approved to make it ready for this concert.  Stanislav gave the piano quite a workout! I can say that the work was a success, but still a work in progress.  I thought the concert was wonderful.

Hey old friends, how do we stay old friends?

It has been too long, I know.  I have been busy with the new job, which is going great.  Don’t want to rub it in to east coast friends, but the weather is sunny and warm most days.  We are in the middle of planning next season, which will be very exciting, I think.  It is a bit of a tightrope to walk – balancing while still trying to push the boundaries.  Just have to keep from falling.

David and I went to Ashland Oregon for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which was lots of

Joan and David waiting for the start of Pericles
Joan and David waiting for the start of Pericles

fun.  Saw four plays in three days – Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Guys and Dolls and Fingersmith.  All were really interesting, but all around, and this may not come as a surprise to everyone, Guys and Dolls was my favorite.  Not my favorite musical, but in the hands of Mary Zimmerman, it was pretty delightful.  I highly recommend a trip to Ashland, and we may even go back over the summer for another chunk of their season.  It was opening weekend, so there were lots of events, and Joan and Lynn were terrific hosts and kept us busy.  I was worried that David would get overdone, but he was very willing and able to keep up.

Theo eats and David peeks
Theo eats and David peeks

Before we headed to Ashland, we had a great visit from Alex, Claire and Theo.  It was a great time and Theo loved the pool.  We got haircuts, ate (maybe too much) and just had a terrific visit.  David and I are beginning to figure out when our next visit to Paris will be.  I think sometime in the fall.  I have been making regular visits to Palm Springs and David has been up to Livermore twice now.  He still hasn’t warmed up to the town, but I think when I get into a new house (I am in the process of buying a house in Livermore) he will feel more comfortable.  The lovely cottage that I live in now just doesn’t do if for him.  Mostly, it is the adjustable bed that he misses.  Hopefully soon, I will be in the new house.

The house was built in 1952, and it is perfectly located (I can see the roof of the theater

We all got haircuts that dat - Alex, David, Theo and me
We all got haircuts  – Alex, David, Theo and me

from the dining room) and it is in very good shape, but still retains a lot of that 50’s charm.  The Thermador oven and stove top are a trip.  Still trying to figure out if I want to keep them or redo the kitchen.  David and I had fun picking out colors on my last visit to Palm Springs while Joy was there.  I can’t believe that I didn’t take any pictures during that visit, but it was pretty short for me – only a day and a half really.

Well, I will publish this now, and will try to keep to at least a weekly schedule of postings.  I have missed our moments together!

By eight the morning fog must disappear

Alright, it was ten, but not bad.  Yesterday it was quite foggy in Livermore and a bit chilly, but at ten in the morning, the sun broke through and burned the fog off.  Once the fog had gone, I picked up my car, went to work for a while and then hopped in the car and drove to Palm Springs.  It was pretty foggy all the way through the central valley, but cleared up as I came across the pass into Los Angeles.  A bit of traffic, but I made OK time and it was so nice to see David!  We both went to sleep pretty early and got up early this morning.  He is doing much better and shooed me away when I tried to help when he was ready to shower.  To think that a month and a half ago he wouldn’t have thought of trying to shower by himself.  I have to say, I was a bit surprised when he came walking down the hall all dressed.  The only thing that he couldn’t do was tie his shoes.  I know, I know, velcro.  I will see if he will go for them.

We had his workout session with Bill at noon, and he really put him through the ringer.  I was worried because we had Occupation Therapy right after Bill was done.  David was fine though.  He laid down for about ten minutes and then we were off to OT.  There was an intern working with him today, and she played cards with David.  It was really pretty good to do.  He had to say the suits that he was playing and had to hold the cards in his left hand.  I now have the cards out and we will start to play more.

Sorry it has been a while.  Work has been great.  Lots to do and most of it is really great.  I have to say, it is nice to be back in my element!  David and Donovan come up to Livermore for a visit the first week of February, which will be lots of fun.

Nice is different than good

Merry Ramachanakwanzmas!  It has been quite a while, I am sorry about that.  The new job is great, and I am really enjoying the town and the folks who are there, but it has been quite busy.  I was there for a few days at the beginning of the month, and then back in Palm Springs for a week, then back for another four days, here for Christmas now, but heading back up north on Saturday and will be there for a while.  Not back in Palm Springs until mid January.

I will start with today, and pick up any interesting stories that have happened since last I wrote.  We got up this morning and David and I exchanged gifts.  David got me a beautiful scarf because he expects me to be cold in Livermore.  It will come in handy.  I picked up a few things in LA when we went to see a concert last week.  His favorite was the clarinet pin, which I thought was very nice too.  I added to that a violin pin and coasters to match some place mats that David bought last year from MOMA.  Then, we went to see Into the Woods at noon with Donovan.  I thought it was delightful.  Perfect casting and I particularly liked James Cordon as the baker and Emily Blunt as his wife.  Both very charming.  The princes were pretty funny too, but the cast, all around, was terrific I thought.  As with the original Broadway production, I loved Red Riding Hood.  I am a sucker for sassy little girls.

This evening we splurged and went to a new restaurant at the Ritz Carlton called The Edge.  Called this because it sits on the edge of a hill and overlooks the valley.  We had a delightful evening.  While we didn’t have a view of the valley, we were seated right in front of the kitchen.  That was a little dangerous because when David saw the lobster, he asked the waiter to change his order for lamb shank to lobster, which the waiter was pleased to do.  Great staff and a beautiful evening.

I was in Livermore for a couple of days earlier this week and made my first curtain speech before the Chanticleer concert on Tuesday night.  I had hesitated about doing it, but then thought, why not just do it and get it over with.  I walked out on stage and the audience started applauding, and quite enthusiastically I thought.  I started by saying that I hadn’t done anything yet and then introduced myself.  Even more enthusiastic applause and I said, “I reiterate, I haven’t done anything yet!”  I felt like I was home again.  The rest of the evening was great.

The odd thing was, last week I flew from San Francisco to Burbank (yes, beautiful downtown Burbank) and met Donovan and David at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to see Chanticleer.  What a spectacular building that was!  And the acoustics there are almost as good as the Bankhead in Livermore.  But the seats are better at the Bankhead!  On Saturday we participated in the Santa Paws 5K – I ran and David biked.  We were together on our way up the hill, but once we started back down, he left me in the dust.  David finished in 35 minutes, and I came in at 38 minutes.  I can’t lie, I didn’t run the whole way, I took a few walking breaks, but It was good.

I don’t want to make excuses for not writing, but I have been feeling pretty bad with a pinched nerve in my neck.  I finally went to a chiropractor in Livermore on Monday, and saw him twice that day and again on Tuesday.  I go back on Monday as well.  It gets a bit better with each visit, but is still very tender and sore.  Heat and cold and stretching and glad to have written this.

Merry Christmas and I will write before the New Year arrives!

Stonecutters cut it on stone

Yesterday we went to Indian Wells Tennis Garden and David played tennis.  Now David has a regular tennis outing every Monday with a group called Incight.  He also started riding a bike with a group on Saturdays and will join them on Sundays too.  Angie, who we know from the Stroke Recovery Center got David involved in this group.  On the 20th, we will be participating in the Santa Paws 5K for Guide Dogs of the Desert.  I will run (or maybe walk) and David will ride with his group.  I wasn’t there for the riding, but Donovan took him and by all accounts he had a great time.  Tennis was also fun, and while the video doesn’t show it, I was pushing

David riding with Angie who is in David's reading group.
David riding with Angie who is in David’s reading group.

him for a lot of the time.  The pushers are volunteers from the Palm Desert tennis team.  There were also some wheelchair players there, and I think it might be a fun thing to get involved in.

I was in Livermore last week, and met lots of folks.  It is still feeling very exciting and lots of challenges, but with such rewards it is all worth it.  I am here in Palm Springs this week, but head back up north on Monday.  Also doing a lot of work from here – calls and responding to emails and setting up meetings.

David getting ready to hit
David getting ready to hit

In Philly, Boston or Baltimo’e

Well, I promised some news, and some folks know this already, but yesterday at 4:30am, I got in the beetle and moved some of my stuff up to Livermore, CA to begin work as Executive Director of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.  I would have to say that they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Well, to be honest, the place was so intriguing to me that, while I don’t think I would have paid them to do the job, it would have been pretty hard to pass up at any price!

I am now sitting typing this in a delightful little cottage, a five minute walk from downtown Livermore, while David is watching Peter Pan LIVE! in Palm Springs.  I am only slightly jealous and look forward to watching it with him next week when I am back in PS.  David is going to stay in Palm Springs and while very nervous about this major change in our lives, has been very encouraging and supportive.  So, I arrived yesterday at about noon, took a look at this little studio cottage that is perfectly located and, while small, is really nicely appointed.  It also has the benefit of only being slightly less expensive than a NYC studio apartment.  The good part is that for this price, it isn’t up five flights of stairs!!  Once I get settled into the job and get a better sense of the town, I will start to look for something a little larger.

As I said, David has been great, and in some ways, my not being there, or the prospect of my not being there, has made him more independent and I think his speech is much better.  We have been going to Occupational Therapy, and Carla has taken him to his appointments while I have been here.  I will be working half time in December, but begin full time in January, so we have the benefit of a little bit of ramping up.  Next week when I am back in Palm Springs, we will finalize arrangements for David’s caregivers.  We interviewed an agency and some individuals and Donovan has been great about filling in and spending time with David.

The night before I left, we went to the McCallum Theatre to see A John Waters Christmas.  It was pretty funny, and even though the theatre seats about 2,000+, it felt like you were at a cocktail party with John Waters and he was just sharing Christmas memories and thoughts.  I will say, if you were thinking about it, don’t send John an email Christmas Card.  He doesn’t like them.  He would prefer that you bought cards at Goodwill and drew rude pictures on them!  I was disappointed that there was only one Divine tribute drag queen in the audience, but was happy that the audience, while mostly gay, was not completely gay.

Anyway, wish us both luck on this new adventure!  Yes, yet another new adventure!