Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Ghoulish Figure Skating Clinics

Hosted by the Elite Masters!

Announcing an ALL NEW series of clinics, just in time for Halloween. Young skaters take notice, these are offered ONLY at jcm. They’re positively nightmarish, frightful, macabre, and diabolical!

Triple Axe-L Murder: OFF your chances at scoring high! If you’re a skater with great promise, and otherwise perfect technique, this is the clinic for you. Led by Mao Asada and Stephane Lambiel. Johnny Weir will provide stylish merch.

Miki at Rostelcom Cup, Russia (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)Spooky Arms Clinic: Hide a lack of choreography with this deceptively difficult technique. Learn this creepy art of “wavy”, sewn-on looking arms, with Miki Ando and Plushy. See results quick!

Mummy Wrapped Leg: Find out how to do the horrendous and altogether distracting leg wrap on your triple flips, lutzes, and toes, with Yukari Nakano. Word has it Midori Ito may show up to offer some special tips.

B-Movie Horror Melt-Down: Horrify the audience with over-the-top techniques, from the new queen of the on-ice melt-down, Carolina Kostner. Featuring a primer in how to “pop” jumps and throw it all away in four minutes. Alissa Czisny is the emcee for the evening.

Guillotine Leg Take-Offs: Sever your chance of getting on the podium with a monstrous raise and swift downward drop of ye old leg, before your triple lutzes and flips! Sarah Hughes became an Olympic Champion doing it. Now, learn by Caroline Zhang’s example.

Linda Blair Head-Spot: Are your jumps or spins feeling too fast or just plain easy? Incorporate a head-spot, with help from its sole elite exponent, Kevin van der Perren. It’ll be positively hair-raising, and will help slow ya down! Sponsored by Emanuel Sandhu.

Death By Drowning: Sink your programs with famous Russian coach and Tsarina Tatiana Tarasova. Why look vibrant and full of life on the ice when you could adopt a cold austerity, and dark, melodramatic programs? And you thought you couldn’t fall through rink ice?! (Cue evil laughter.)

Devilish Behavior: Flaunt your cockiness with lackadaisical program endings, and faux confident hand poses and finger points. Be the next alpha male on ice, thanks to input from Plushy and Brian Joubert.

Zombie Face: Capitalize on the recent mainstream obsession with zombies, and suck all the life outta your own programs with Caroline Zhang’s new techniques in lack of facial expression. Find out how to act like you just don’t wanna be there.

Savchenko & Szolkowy, Trophee Eric Bompard (AP Photo/Francois Mori)Freaky Perfection: Acquire a frightening Stepford Wives’ perfection, with Kim Yu-Na. Assure that your strength is your lack of weakness, and make people wonder if you can possibly be real.

Ghastly Costuming: Why save your Halloween costumes for Halloween? Wear them all season long! Learn how to dream-up and “work” costumes that get talked about more than your skating! Savchenko and Szolkowy offer the first half in applying clown makeup. Next up is Johnny Weir, showing you how to imagineer your own corset and Skeletor rib set. Rounding it out, Ekaterina Rubleva will share fun with feather boas!

Disclaimer: This was inspired in part by some recent highly creative posts by Laura over at Required Elements. In the spirit of Halloween, everyone should be able to laugh at themselves, right? (Yes, me included!) So, I took advantage of this holiday to lampoon the quirks of some of the best skaters in the biz, and even some of my favorites. It’s out of love for them and the sport…otherwise it wouldn’t be half as fun. I hope you had fun! Any other clinic concepts I missed (especially in Ice Dance)?

40 Years of “Hair” Cast Alums at West Fest

One Big Hairy Family

There are a few musicals that participation in really welcomes you into a national family of cast alums…for life. Back when I did West Side Story at Broadway By the Bay, I remember getting excited about The Official WSS Website, which had a comprehensive register for all productions and performers internationally. Well, that only scratched the surface…

I just had the pleasure of experiencing my first real taste of this larger sense of community thanks to West Fest, the 40th Anniversary celebration of Woodstock, a free concert in Golden Gate Park. Today, for the closing act on the West Stage, 23 members from different national casts of Hair performed “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)”, and “We Are the World”. Enjoy more event details and posters here.

West Fest Poster Favorites

Since Berger doesn’t sing any of the solo verses in “The Flesh Failures” in the stage version, I was especially moved to be offered some of Claude’s passionate opening lines here. And, in “We Are the World”, was slightly amused to get the solos sung by the indisputable King (and a recent media Queen) of weed, Willie Nelson and Dionne Warwick! (I did not attempt a Willie impersonation.) Well, long-story-short, we ended up singing both pieces as group numbers, due to a producer’s misjudgment (a kind understatement!). But, that’s what hippie life is all about, after all…COMMUNITY! We clasped hands, stood arm-in-arm, and sang as one, from our hearts. The audience cheered us on, and fervently sang along, showing their shared love for Hair, and for the unifying message behind our second song.

Our new tribe came in from as far as New York, and as close as the Inner Richmond, SF (me). It included original cast members from NY, LA, Chicago, and Seattle. What an inspiration! Here are portraits of participants Walter Michael Harris, THE Walter from the Original Broadway production (at the tender age of 16!), and David “Pappy” Hunt, as Hud, from the same production.

Walter Michael Harris & David "Pappy" Hunt

And, here is Susan Morse (left) singing “Black Boys”, in Circus Magazine, ’69.

"Black Boys"

Hippie Life in Golden Gate Park

Never have I seen such a smorgasbord of homemade brownies, baklava, and other baked goods ;-), all around Speedway Meadows. Jefferson Starship offered up a great set midday. Their current lead singer, Cathy Richardson has CRAZY chops! I was mighty impressed. (Initially, when I first rounded the corner and realized it was J.S. performing, I thought, Grace must have gotten some serious vocal rest!)

It was an honor to take part in this celebration of both Woodstock and Hair. Little did I know my own Berger costume would get more mileage so soon. And, I had a hell of a good time hangin’ with our lovely and insanely talented cast — at rehearsal, the event booth, backstage (in the performer kasbah tent), and onstage. We hung our tribe photos and exchanged stories at the booth. I look forward to our next gathering or gig. Special thanks must go to Pappy, Walter, Jenny, Barbara, Kevin, Rana, and Tadg!

The stars seemed to align yet again when Walter Harris shared that his brother George was Hibiscus, the founder of The Cockettes. I was especially thrilled to discover this, since I’m enamored with the Thrillpeddler’s current production of The Cockette’s Pearls Over Shanghai, which my friends Valentine and Leanne Borghesi are in (Leanne also served as Associate Director). George Harris “was also the young man in the turtleneck sweater in the famous picture of the anti-war protester putting flowers into the gun barrels of the MPs during the October 21, 1967 march on the Pentagon.” (Wikipedia)  This act must have inspired the same gesture, by Claude, in the current Broadway production.

Let the sunshine in!

HAIR West Fest, 2009 Cast:

Walter Michael Harris (Music Director): Original Walter (“What a Piece of Work is Man”, Original Broadway Recording), Biltmore Theatre, NY, ‘68
Jenny Lee Ho (Choreographer): Crissy, Original SF, Geary & Orpheum Theatres, ‘69-‘70; National Dance Director, ‘70-‘71
David “Pappy” Hunt (Organizer): Hud, Original Broadway, ‘69; Original LA, ‘68
Tabitha Gaffney: Tribe (Koya Huye), Mountain Play, Mt. Tam, CA, ‘07
Tadg Galleran: “Don’t Put It Down”, Original Broadway; Original LA, ‘69-‘71
Janis Jobs: Jeanie, Miami, ‘70; Tribe, Seattle, ‘70
Rana Kangas-Kent (Hospitality): Jeanie (Koya Huye Tribe), Mountain Play, Mt. Tam, CA, ‘07
Jessica Marciel: Crissy (Jeanie understudy), Original LA, ‘69-‘71
Kevin Mason (Web Designer & Photographer): Woof, Margaret Mead, Walter, (Claude understudy), Original Seattle & Miami, ‘69, and Original Tour, ‘70; Over 500 performances!
Barbara Moore (Coordinator): NY Workshop (“Light Up Cross” Creator), ‘66; Original LA, ‘68-‘69
Susan Morse:
Sheila (+“Electric Blues”), Original LA, ‘69; Tribe,
Original Broadway, ‘69; “disinHAIRited” Cast Recording, ‘69
Alariza Nevarez
: [
Ozzy Osbourne, in “Zombies! The Musical”, Exit Theater, SF, current]
Richard Osorio:
General Manager, Original Broadway, ‘68; Original LA, ‘68; Las Vegas, ‘69; Tours
Helen Pollock:
Crissy, Original Chicago, ‘69, and Original LA
John Quinn: Tribe (Koya Huye), Mountain Play, Mt. Tam, CA, ‘07
Cara Robin: Original Broadway Production Coordinator, and Second Casting Director,
‘68; Tribe, Original SF & Boston, ‘68-‘69; disinHAIRited” Cast Recording, ‘69
Maggie Velasquez: “White Boys” (Muwekma Tribe), Stagelight Productions, San Jose, ‘07
Zia Wesley: Tribe, Original SF, ‘69; Original LA, ‘70 (stage name: Rhoda Seven)
Yvette Williams: Tribe, Original Chicago, ‘71; Crissy, Tour;
Bus ‘n Truck, LA, ‘72-‘73
Ariane Wolfe: Tribe (unofficial), Original SF, ‘69; Original LA, ‘70
Michelle Wynn: Sheila (Muwekma Tribe), Stagelight Productions, San Jose, ‘07
Paul Ziller: Berger (Ramaytush Tribe), ACLO, Alameda, CA, ‘09

(Cast, if you have any edits to this list, feel free to email me, or post in “Leave a Comment”!)

Dishin’ Up Surprises at Rostelcom Cup

Pairs’ SP

What a relief to see the old (yet new) “McBru” back!!! They appeared so relaxed and calm. Their 3T had great height, and is close to competitive with the best in the field. On an aesthetic note, I’d vote for Rockne to wear a single color/piece costume, as it would lengthen his line. His current two-tone top and tights ensemble instead accentuate his stockiness.

I was once again reminded that the gamine Yuko Kavaguti (of Kavaguti & Smirnov) is indeed THE most flexible contemporary ladies skater. Her extension appears unstoppable. Every position and even jump seems to be finished off with a spiral position or pointed foot. It is both beautiful, and yet coltish at the same time.

I was thrilled to discover that Pang & Tong’s SP music was from Bizet’s opera Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearfishers). I’ve never heard it used by a skater, and it was ripe for the pickin’. I’m, of course, a big proponent of using fresh operatic selections for skating programs (that of course excludes Carmen, Turandot, and much of Madama Butterfly). It is the tenor aria Je crois entendre encore”, sung by the character Nadir. Enjoy this most beautiful rendition of it, sung very idiomatically by the great french tenor Alain Vanzo. Amusingly, a pop recording of this aria was also made in ’05 by Alison Moyet (formerly of Yaz)

They proved to be in top form, even at this early phase. I hope they medal in Vancouver (just below Shen & Zhao, that is).

I have a new skater crush (which could land me in jail, as he was born the year I graduated from high school) on Alexei Rogonov, of up-and-comers Martiusheva & Rogonov. This team, new to the Seniors, has a beautiful aura and presentation. They have great “backs” (ie: posture), and she looks like a young Grace Kelly, and he a young Val Kilmer…well, sort of.

Men’s SP

It was so great to finally get to see Johnny’s new SP. Unfortunately, I do agree somewhat with Paul Wylie’s assessment that the sizzle was greater than the steak. BUT, in some ways I feel like this program presents Johnny in a light more true to himself than any before (ala pop star/diva-on-ice, or runway model)…that is, more flirtatious, and less restrained. I feel that Johnny was more passionate and told more of a story than he has for several seasons. The costume is certainly his most flamboyant to date, complete with man-corset. I love the daring black and hot pink color combo. However, the music itself (by di Blasio), which I believe is in part Plushenko’s old music (perhaps from his ’01-’02 LP?), resembles tinny elevator music. I didn’t see much of David Wilson’s stamp on this program, and it just doesn’t feel on the level of his programs for Yu-Na.

Speaking of “Plushy”…he layed out perhaps the most beautiful 3A I’ve ever seen (not to mention his 4/3 combo). It had a delay, before the set down. I suppose I have to learn to live with his wavy arms, as they are just part of his signature movement, and I’ve decided to surrender my previous judgement of him and welcome him back enthusiastically (not that he needs it). He offers a competitive excitement that I’ve missed, and I honor his chutzpah. Who else can sit out of this current COP field for four years, and come back like that? In the old days, when the bar was lower it was easier…now it’s close to miraculous.

My partner, CJ, was complaining that Plushy had “had his time”. I replied, “skaters aren’t like bread…they don’t have an expiration date!” Hell, my argument is always, if they can get back into fightin’ shape, it is their right, and our privilege to see things shaken up a bit!!!cow tipping

Also, amusingly, when Florent Amodio went down on his 3S, CJ called it “Salchow Tipping” (see right). BTW, it was great to see Florent on Senior ice. He has a lot of promise. And, keep an eye on that Artem Borodulin!

Ladies’ SP

Alissa is starting to put the sizzle back in Czisny again!!! She looked so composed, and yet so engaging. I was very proud of her for not rushing her jumps, and skating a nearly clean program. I hope this is a continuing trend!

Amber Wagner really has evolved into a very sophisticated and sexy skater. The details and nuance of her SP are notable. I felt she was a bit undermarked, especially as there were no visible mistakes. Perhaps her jumps were not as big or her glide as fast as Júlia Sebestyén’s (who staged a major upset, and is in first).

Many years back I often found myself rooting for Júlia. When she won her European title in Hungary, I was ecstatic. However, much of her glow wore off for me in recent years. Well, the joy and energy in her skating was visible again, and she looked positively renewed. Even her physical appearance and hairstyle are much more warm and “open” than in recent years, which offered a much less appealing (to me anyways), edgy, Euro-trash look.

Drag Me to HellMiki Ando’s SP is billed as the “Mozart Requiem”. Well, it’s really a musical mash-up, also incorporating what sounds like some generic horror movie soundtrack music. That was a disappointment. Perhaps I’m a purist, but Mozart’s Requiem doesn’t need anything added to it, and should stand on its own. On the whole though, I think the drama and severity of her program actually suit her style of movement and look. Having just watched my fifth suspense/horror film of the Halloween season, “Drag Me to Hell”, I kept expecting her program to summon up a demon (ie: the “Lamia”!). Cue evil laughter!

In the sea of the average Russian Seniors ladies’ skaters, Alena Leonova has won me over. No, I don’t consider her to be a real contender for an Olympic medal, I despise folk song programs (Americans don’t skate to Peter, Paul & Mary, or Woody Guthrie, why do singles skaters feel the need to explore their folk roots on ice? In ice dance, I know it’s often a requirement.), and her style is not very evolved, but she has the most infectious smile, and a genuine verve…shades of Slutskaya.

Signing off, for now…

The Golden Age of Yu-Na

Any More Superlatives Left?

So often in contemporary operagoing and opera critique there is a bemoaning of talent on the level of the famed “Golden Age”…at least the second Golden Age (‘60–‘70s). The first one was in the mid-to-late 19th century, but noone’s around to remember that, thank God! It gets rather tiresome, and it especially disrupts the explorations of people experiencing the art for the first time. If I am a proponent of such talk (and I know I periodically digress), just slap me.

So, what a relief it is that in the current skating world we have a talent so undeniably great no such critique needs to be endured. It’s not exactly a new concept to praise “PHENOM” Kim Yu-Na, but that’s because it is so justly deserved. Does one person constitute a Golden Age? In this case, yes!

I just finished watching her FS at Trophée Eric Bompard (not to mention her SP!). This girl LEFT OUT a triple flip and still ended up with a personal best AND world record final score of 210.03, beating Mao Asada by 36 points. The missed jump was no more than a hiccup, and had no impact on the overall program. (Imagine what her score would have been had she not skipped the flip!) Thankfully, her program and costume support her Tiger Woods-scaled perfection. David Wilson’s (choreo.) “Piano Concerto in F” LP (Gershwin) enables her to flirt with the audience, judges, and cameras (ie: benefiting us couch potatoes)! Honestly, it looks like only Jeff Gillooly could stop her from being Olympic Champion now.

The Joy of Skating

It is truly inspiring to experience the art and athleticism of someone who is so complete in every way. “The House of Orser”, as I like to call it, which includes both Yu-Na and Adam Rippon, clearly nurtures not only skating excellence, but also the joy of skating. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Both of these skaters were among the few singles skaters at this competition who really portrayed that spirit on the ice. And, congrats to Adam for being the only U.S. skater on any of the podiums! What a great way to start his senior intl. career! I loved his “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” SP. It had shades of Matthew Savoie’s “Mission” LP…with a real soul, and spirituality.

I can’t leave out Nobunari Oda, who gave 120% in both programs. It’s so good to see him back on top! His Charlie Chaplin LP has loads of character, and really tells a story, something that is getting lost in the demands of the current COP. And, Tomas Verner’s SP to “Zorba the Greek” was also effervescent, boyish, and charming (costume included…I want one!).

Yukari Nakano’s “The Firebird” (Stravinsky) LP deserves a big thumbs-up. Marina Zueva (choreo.) has actually selected a piece of music that is fresh in the ladies’ field, and created a real dramatic arc, with emotion inducing moments. Yukari’s exotic unitard also supports the uniqueness of the program, and accentuates her exceptional athleticism.

Let ‘Er Rip!

Since the television commentators can’t say it, I will! Tatiana Tarasova, however great a coach she may have been for Yagudin, is sinking Mao Asada (and, apparently wasn’t a great fit for Shizuka or Sasha either). BOTH her programs hang around her neck like dead weights, when her former effervescent spirit likely wants to “sing” across the ice. I feel as if Tarasova is trying to turn Mao into Russia’s Pride (since they don’t have a realistic female Olympic Champion), rather than celebrating what makes her special, and bringing out what would really allow her to thrive. It reminds me of a chef who takes a traditional dish and works way too hard to make it new or different, thereby rendering it unrecognizable, OR like a heavy-handed conductor who is so eager to leave an imprint on a piece of music that they rob it of its inherent attributes. Please, call Lori Nichol before it’s too late!!! Kim’s timing to peek is proving to be as good as Mao’s is bad, in this Olympic season.

Who kidnapped the real Caroline Zhang and replaced her with a fembot? Perhaps it was what the commentator referenced as her outlook on these earlier competitions as “practice”, but NONE of her former spirit was in evidence, and her face was utterly expressionless. It was as if she didn’t want to be on the ice. Any chance it could be attributable to Anne Patrice McDonough-style “stage mother”-related burn out? She did skate very cleanly, excepting one step-out on a landing. Dig deep Caroline, you are VERY special and highly skilled…don’t get bogged down by the COP and downgrade concerns so much so that you offer up a flatlined performance (worthy of a fast-forward on TiVo).

Pairs/Ice Dance Overview

Inoue and Baldwin landed their throw triple axel for the first time since 4CC in ’07. It was a beauty. I hope it gives them the needed kick in the pants to push themselves…I feel like they’re sort of going through the motions in the rest of their program, so if they’re going to beat out younger U.S. teams for an Olympic berth, they better really “bring it”, and proove they deserve to be there again.

I was horrified to see Savchenko and Szolkowy’s melt down. It was SO uncharacteristic, and I don’t believe they’ve ever done that before. But, perhaps it offered them some good learning, so they won’t “lose themselves” too much in their LP at the critical end of the season, leaving behind any details. I love their LP music (“You’ll Never Walk Alone”), but their costumes looked like they were ready for a Carmen Miranda or Brazilian Carnaval number!?

It was shocking to see Mukhortova and Trankov look as if they’ve spent the past year in pair’s therapy (“…and, Maria, how does that make you feel?”). Clearly they’ve successfully channeled their angst into their skating. Good for them. They do have a beautiful Russian classicism.

I was expecting Dubé and Davison’s “The Way We Were” LP to be on the level of Sale and Pelletier’s “A Love Story”, but I was let down. They have some great qualities, but there was very little story telling or one-ice flirting going on, for which the program begs. And, I didn’t get the feeling it is just early in the season…the program just didn’t seem to have that element at all, really.

In Ice Dance, I was only able to watch Virtue and Moir’s FD (“Symphony No. 5”, by Mahler), and it was/is an unqualified masterpiece. They will be nearly unbeatable in Vancouver. They embody passion, beauty, perfection, grace, to name just a few of their attributes. On the U.S. side, I have always been a Navarro and Bommentre fan, so I hope they can raise their placement as the season progresses.

Help give birth to a drag queen!

So, Halloween is just around the bend, and if the stars align, I’m aiming to make my drag debut. I sort of got trannied-up last year, but that doesn’t really count.

Although the birth of my drag persona should have been reality TV fodder, the best I can do for now is invite you to help pick my name. I’ve narrowed to a short list of the most appropos names I’ve come up with. Please submit your votes!

The names either play on my love of opera/singing, my horoscope (Taurus: the bull), my white skin, general drag puns, and/or my (sometimes) upbeat and playful nature.

If ya don’t know who Cunegonda is (I do a mean “Glitter and Be Gay”), thank heavens for Wikipedia…or, what a “fach” is, ditto!

A friend of mine came up with some amazing foreign drag names (as well as the third option in the poll). I HAVE to share them with you here, although I don’t think they are right for me, or my presumed drag persona.: Chesty Kumallova, Vaselina Alloverya, Marina Fishnetskaya, Lieselotte Sprekenzidoitch. And, although it’s tempting to be über-trashé, I’m passing on some other new gems I dreamt up, including Ismelda Fart, Anja Knees, and Amanda Doo, because that’s just NOT moi!

Ode to “Home”

The Comfort and Knowing of Time

Yesterday I was sitting in the family room with CJ, enjoying the autumnal vibe in the air, and the perfectly imperfect pumpkin and eccentric decorative squash we brought back from one of our favorite annual traditions, a roadtrip to Muelrath’s Ranch in Santa Rosa (hayride, pumpkin slingshot, haunted maze, and all!). I looked up at the ceiling and the walls of that room for the thousandth time, and I just had this deep sense of the longevity of my time in this neighborhood, this building, this flat, this “home”. We’ve shared over 4 years together in this home, and I’ve lived FIFTEEN years of my life here. That’s getting on a damn long run. My history here is nearly a teenager!


It’s amazing to think that my first (and only) roommate in this flat moved out a good 9 or so years ago, and to the best of my knowledge has lived in at least 3 different cities, and likely as many houses (not apartments/flats) since, and here I/we remain.

There have been times when I’ve had an itch to move out, ideally into a house, and in a more suburban hood (although still somewhat urban in spirit). We even spent some time looking at houses in Berkeley before my lay-off and CJ’s career reevaluation. And, there are many times when we bemoan our lack of space, especially storage. All of my non-Bay Area friends and family have long since been in houses, some very large.

Home As a Glimpse Into the Soul

I have periodically felt some sort of peer pressure to do the same…as if there are steps we must take at certain stages of our lives. But, there are no rules, and no requirements. We can create whatever life we long to create, barring some limitations, of course. And, thankfully, being gay actually gives us even more of a sense of this kind of freedom, because noone else is urging us forward, or expecting anything specific from the trappings of our life…which is in many ways is its own blessing.

I’ve often thought the circumstances of my life had kept me in this flat, but then realize it only seems so at first glance. Somehow, this cozy flat matches my/our sensibility so perfectly. I love to travel, indulge in local cuisine, saturate in theatre and entertainment. All that has continually proven to be more important to me than having a house. And, in this town, unless you’re loaded, you likely can’t have both!

I have a deep seeded feeling that you should only bite off as much of this world and its resources as you need. Yes, I take gratuitously long showers, and blow through way too many paper products (I ain’t no saint!), but other than that, I hope I only take my fair portion of what I need in life. I also like the communal feel of having neighbors just on the other side of a wall, not separated by a large yard or fence (perhaps a somewhat socialist view). I may not interact with them any more than someone in a ‘burb, but I think in that proximity there is a sort of intimacy…and, certainly in the sharing of a roof. I liken it a bit to public transportation. There is a leveling or equalizing effect of it…that all passengers are created equal. And, it’s enlightening to be around people from many different walks of life, even ones that smell bad, to remind you that we are all one. I haven’t been using public transport as often as when I worked on Market St., but I still do periodically.

Shadowbox made from Grandpa letterpress printing metal type drawers

Shadowbox made from Grandpa’s letterpress printing metal type drawers

In Touch With the Pulse of Life

That’s a big piece of what keeps me embedded in city life. You can look out your window at any moment and see people walking down the sidewalk, cars driving by, someone in the window across the street. That activity, and connection to the bustling heartbeat of life feeds me. I sometimes fear that a quiet neighborhood, a yard, and a fence would cut me off from that pulse.

CJ shares some of this view of the world, and the desire to connect to local community…in his quest for organic foods, weekly shopping at local farmer’s markets, much more regular use of public transport, and real commitment to composting.

We have also fallen in love with Golden Gate Park as our true backyard. Our traditional walk past The Conservatory of Flowers, the DeYoung, out around Stow Lake and back again is such a part of me, I would miss it terribly if I moved. And, although I really want a porch and garden, for now it continues to fulfill me, and is a lot less work!

And, everytime I sit down to blog, prepare a song for an audition, or take a long afternoon nap I realize that if I owned a house, some of these favorite past-times could be replaced by more housework, repairs, and/or projects.

“…but a house is not a home”

My life here with CJ has made this so much more of a home. I muse on all of our wonderful gatherings of friends and family, as well as the depth of our time here together, just the two of us, and now with the third member of our tribe, our cat Sammie. The framed “Bless This House” engrossed print from my Grandfather near our front door has so much more meaning as the years pass. Our time here has indeed been so blessed.

Although I often feel the call of life outside our home, and thankfully embrace and tackle that life with great fervor too, I also love and cherish the “nest” that is our home…the warmth (often heated like an “old folks’ home”, as CJ chides…YES, I like it on the toasty side!), the personal expression that it is (ie: art, interior design, tchotchkies, cookbooks, etc.), and both a haven from the world, as well as a reflection of that world…as we sometimes create our own challenges and barriers for each other in our own home. What couples don’t at times?

None of this is to demean how others create their sense of home, only to give thanks for ours, and honor what a true outward manifestation it is of our inner selves. Yet, it’s amazing how truly ephemeral home is (ie: Home is where you make it.”), because when we move on, this space will become a vessel for the next person’s dreams, and concept of what home is. And, wherever we move on to one day will become our new home.

I’ll let one of the soul masters tell it like it is!