Archive for the ‘at home’ Category

jumping clapping man ornament sighting!

My dear friend Jeff just shared the good news (and this photo) of his sighting of a jumping clapping man ornament on his Christmas Eve host’s tree! It’s kismet, I say. Enjoy…

It makes me wonder…are there polite applause mansitting man, sleeping man, or worse yet MIA man ornaments too?

Animated Holiday Greeting: from jcm to you!

Dear Readers & Friends,

 

Please click on the image or link below (and kindly turn up your volume) to enjoy my holiday greeting to you:

Winter Gifts


Many blessings & best wishes to you and yours!

NorCal (Less Tragic) Parterre Gathering: Part the Second

Casta Divas

The City* might have been fogbound and frigid, and parterre.com may continue to offer up the occasional chill (via the Comments’ peanut gallery…aka The Real Housewives of Parterre?), but there was plenty of warm sunshine and good cheer still to be found in Petaluma.

On Oct. 2nd, Batty Masetto and Frank hosted an intimate, operatic-themed sit-down early dinner on their veranda, beneath a glorious specimen of a redwood…with Norma conceivably worshipping Irminsul just a mistletoe sprig away. Emanating from their home were live Callas selections…but, of course! jumping clapping man sang along with his best Callasian coloratura runs and disembodied high notes, from Ophélie’s Mad Scene to Abigaille’s “Anch’io dischiuso.”

 

The masterful Cassata alla Melba, a multi-layered ice-cream dream.

 

Cher Public Shares

An attempt to urge a garden-side duet (“Mira, o Norma;” “Sous le dôme épais;” or at least the Barcarolle) from Ching (an operaphile and sometime Parterrian) was unsuccessful. Meanwhile SF Guy shared details of the treasures in his extensive video library (dvds cleverly transferred from dusty Beta videos), including the original mounting of the Hal Prince Butterfly that I’m opening in next Tuesday at SFO! It was televised via Great Performances, with Anna Tomowa-Sintow and Peter Dvorsky.

The food would have made Alice Waters salivate, and the English garden turned Ina Garten green with envy. It was fresh, divine, AND oh so very operatic! Kudos to our hosts for their inventiveness, culinary skills and generosity!

* referring to San Francisco, NOT NY, however difficult that may be for a New Yorker to swallow.


Menu

Preludio:

Trittico di antipasti:
• Il Signor Bruschetta
• Ciliegine alla Martina (“Madama Butterballs”)
• Carciofi alla Callas (vinegar and honey)

Atto primo:

• Spaghetti alla Norma

Atto secondo:

• Bracioline di maiale alla “Scotto”-dito
(based on a traditional Scottadito, meaning “finger-blistering” or “burnt fingers,” and meant to be eaten hot, with the fingers)

• Finocchio al parmigiano (fennel)

Finale:

• Cassata alla Melba


Genius, Batty, Genius!!! (Batty conveys his apologies to the Italian language.)

Our first meeting was Parterrians @ the Pagoda, this time Parterrians in Petaluma. There were whisperings of the next gathering being in Oakland. That’ll need some alliterative help. Wanna be on the guest list? Drop me a line. Until next time…

Identifying “The Good Guy Contract”

I recently read a revelatory article in Psychology Today by a Dr. Alex Lickerman (a Buddhist Physician). It is titled The Good Guy Contract. It spoke volumes to me about many of my own interpersonal stumbling blocks. It identified some of my challenges in ways I had never considered or heard verbalized before.

I’m hoping to use it as a spring board to work on finding ways to address some of the issues it pinpoints for me. And, before you think I’m touting myself as a Good Guy…trust me, it’s not an admirable or happiness-inducing habit…as you’ll read.

Perhaps this is all a bit too confessional, but there is some very valuable meat here that could benefit many other Good Guys…perhaps you? Although I encourage you to read the entire article, here are the most relevant highlights:

The Benefit of Tearing Up the Good Guy Contract


1. Stop suffering when people don’t like me. I can’t control how others respond to me, and being freed of the need to write Good Guy Contracts has freed me of the need to try to influence others to like me as well—which has freed up an unbelievable amount of my time.

2. Become an effective leader. If your primary concern is to please everyone, you won’t be able to make good decisions for the right reasons.I could never have taken on the leadership roles I have had I not eliminated my need to be a People Pleaser (another name for a Good Guy).

3. Establish more genuine friendships—friendships based on mutual interest, free of the underlying agenda in which I would use the goodwill of another to support my self-esteem.

4. Be compassionate. Freed of the need to be liked, I can now contemplate compassionate action motivated only by the desire to add to the happiness of another person and not by the imperative to sustain my self-esteem, making it far more likely my actions will be wisely compassionate, the importance of which I discussed in a previous post,What Compassion Is.”

5. Avoid explosive expressions of pent up resentment. Being unable to say no leads to resentment toward oneself that often gets projected onto others but that’s paradoxically rarely expressed (becoming angry at someone would violate the terms of the Good Guy Contract)—until it builds up to the point where it must be expressed and then often is in explosive and damaging ways.

6. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by too much responsibility. What a relief it’s been to be able to own what’s mine and not what belongs to others.

Read HOW to Tear Up the Contract —>

“When the River Meets the Sea”

Back in february, CJ and I performed with our friends inEMERGENCY Cabaret Relief: Haiti.” It was our cabaret debut together, and our first performance together since we met six years ago, in ROLT’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

We performed a song very near and dear to my heart, Paul William’s “When the River Meets the Sea,” from Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. This Jim Henson movie has been a family favorite since I can remember, and it’s spiritual questioning felt so perfect for the tone of this fundraiser.

I’m pleased to be able to finally share the video of our performance. Unfortunately, the source audio is not ideal, so please turn up your volume for the beginning, and be prepared to turn it down once the source volume increases:

“The 40 Year-Old Homo” Blog Roast!

Alas, it’s true…I’m a mere 2 weeks away from this notorious milestone. I aim to make it as whimsical and festive as possible. I welcome a blog roast here on jcm! So, fire away…hit me with your best shot! Whatchyoo got on me? Make Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin proud.

roast


def: noun. A facetious tribute, as at a banquet, in which the honoree is alternately praised and insulted.

What Defines Me?

I just discovered a colleague’s very stylish blog, and was inspired by her post asking What Defines You?,” and her subsequent personal list. As a bit of a Top 10 List addict, I was fast on my way to rounding up my own. I’ve left jcm off the list, as it’s eminently clear that this blog defines me, but that’s just too easy, eh? Here they flow, in random order:

My 7th Birthday Photo


This photo (May ’77, Cincy, OH) conjures up the warm, sentimental feelings of uncomplicated youth, and a loving connection with my family. Although my folks aren’t pictured here, their nurturing presence is all around (and on the other side of the camera). The Winnie the Pooh cake was likely by my special request. I love the retro feel of the old square prints, with rounded corners.

There is a simplicity to my memories of childhood, and of these such moments…no crowded party, or branded birthday theme (seemingly requisite these days), just closeness and joy. I’m so thankful to have the foundation that my upbringing provided me. Funnily enough, CJ has a photo that is almost exactly the same (parallel lives?). Now, just two months from my 40th bday, I suppose I’m a bona fide “adult”!?

“Peristeriona” Ceramic Vase


This vase holds all the memories of CJ’s and my beautiful around-the-world journey together…Hong Kong to Greece to Senegal. It was something I had dreamt of doing for decades, while I racked up frequent flyer miles!

We purchased this in a charming little shop on Sifnos, an authentic, less touristy Greek Island option that we both long to return to one day. The yellow and black colors call to mind the brilliant glow of the sun, and the contrasting shadows, on the traditional white structures and breezy hillsides.

CJ and I have the gift of travelling very well together, and our time on this island was one of our most special yet…divine food, a white-knuckle scooter ride through the hills, and lots of R&R by the sea.

Continue reading post —>

jcm Celebrates 1 Year!

104 Posts Later


In the midst of the buzz of the Vancouver Olympics, and following on the heels of Chinese New Year and V-day festivities, there is another notable, although perhaps somewhat smaller scale event occurring…jcm’s one year anniversary!

I take this moment to step back and survey the view on this first whirlwind year in the blogosphere. For many years I admired and enjoyed the outspoken thoughts of such bloggers and online community hosts as Malibran and the queens at Queer Opera Punks (now largely dormant), Aaron at AL&S, and La Cieca at parterre.com. Taking a page from their books, and a good dose of their inspiration, I launched jcm because I felt I too had something to say, with a unique perspective to offer, both informative and enlightening. It has proven to be a very satisfying creative outlet and communication tool for me.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and returning again! I’ve very much enjoyed connecting with you here…hearing reader’s perspectives, and getting to know other bloggers touting similar or parallel topics.

A Snapshot of Year I in Stats


Top Post:
The post with easily the most hits is Olympic Reigns Ending: Likelihoods or Naysaying? This issue clearly must have really hit a nerve with skating fans, and their searches!

Biggest Referrer:
AL&S
has been my biggest “Referrer”, thanks to Aaron’s “Blog Check” sidebar, noting the most recent post titles, and his periodic jcm post mentions.

Most Clicks:
The website link with the most clicks: Required Elements, in my “rink links” sidebar (with AL&S a very close second). The video link with the most clicks: the Duchesnays ’90 Worlds FD! Who’d-a-thunk-it?

Top Ten Search Terms (in descending order)
cheeseburger
Huh?! It was the nickname of my character in “Hair”: Berger
2010 vancouver olympics
— No surprise here!
drag me to hell
2009 Horror film directed by Sam Raimi
johnny weir boyfriend
Way more interesting (and elusive) than Evan’s latest
tara donovan
An American installation artist
michelle kwan
Only the most famous figure skater of the past two decades
adelina sotnikova
2009 Russian National Champion
no night is too long
2002 titillating BBC gay flick
elvis stojko
Really? People still care?
heidi melton
I’m very pleased people are getting Melton updates here!

Most Amusing or Curious Search Terms (in random order)
michelle kwan boyfriend
why did michelle kwan separate from lori nichol
johnny weir naked
johnny weir high heels
why did paris leave johnny weir
evan lysacek naked
evan lysacek gay
is yuna kim overrated
scott hamilton loves yuna kim
drag king workshop
hot glue and glitter
styrofoam
albino man
cow tipping

Some Overlooked Posts


Perhaps you missed these the first time around. They are some of my favs with just a few too hits.

Ode to “Home”
My musings on my apartment, and life in SF.

Know Thyself: Theatre as a Tool to Discovery
Just a bit about what theatre has taught me about myself.

The Best Things in Life Are Free
An international urban phenomenon dreamt up by an installation artist.

Pinch Me! A Diva Tale
My experience as Chauffeur for Anna Netrebko’s Violetta.

If music be the food of the soul…
My list of the most spiritually transformative classical music.

A Hip “Hop”: In Search Of
The tale of my self-guided SF art hop.

Schwanewilms. Schwane-who?
An introduction to german soprano Anne Schwanewilms.

What Next?


Who knows what bloggin’ the next year of livin’ will inspire. But, if it’s even half as enticing as what the past year brought, I’m sticking with this! Perhaps a new blog look is in order? We shall see.

I’ve periodically thought about specializing in one particular subject (ie: just skating, just opera, etc.), to try to attract a demographic or more followers, but that wouldn’t be true to me and my schizophrenic interests.

So, plenty of diverse events, shows, and life experiences linger, and just may inspire me to post: the Vancouver Games, Torino Worlds, the threesixty° production of Peter Pan, the SFO productions of The Girl of the Golden West and Die Walküre, my BIG four-ohhhhhh, and more!

Sending you love on this day.

On Valentine’s Day ’06, I  came home to the most wonderful, creative, and beautifully simple gift. My partner had gathered up all the coins in our piggy bank (well, really, just two mugs), and fashioned a message on our dresser.

It still resonates to me as the most memorable loving gesture, because it cost nothing (well, no more than $7.50 anyways), and was so truly sweet in its ingenuity. I share it with you now, to send out love to you on this day, however contrived by greeting card companies Valentine’s Day may be…or, even if you begrudgingly consider it Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.).

I wondered, is this too personal to share? Should I just keep it as a special memory only for us to share? Nah!…because, perhaps it’ll give you your own ideas of how to use loose change to craft a special message or artistic idea, OR inspire you to come up with other inexpensive/free gestures of love…which are really the best and most memorable in my book!

Here’s another free gift for this day, Arleen Auger’s beautiful recording of Donaudy’s love song O del mio amato ben.”

Sincerely, jcm

“The 12 Gays of Christmas”

Enjoy jcm & CJ’s Christmas e-card here!

Blessings to you!


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