Threes: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The prompt this week from the WordPress Daily Post is THREES.

Threes meaning: “three-picture stories.” Meaning, narrative.

QED, self thinks. After all, self has often thought that most of her pictures function better as a sequence.  Each photo like a still of a silent film.

But when she finally sat down this afternoon to select her three-picture sequence, she ended up choosing three pictures she took of a site (the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda) that don’t seem to tell much of a story. Shrug. Self will keep posting. Even when she’s in Seattle, attending the AWP annual conference for the first time in something like six years.

Below are pictures she took last summer, when she indulged in two Cal Shakes performancesRomeo and Juliet, on her birthday, with son and The Man and Jessika and Pepe and a small group of son’s high school classmates (Self still finds it hard to believe that Margarita Donnelly, who ended up publishing self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, was a graduate of that same school, Sacred Heart in Atherton, CA.  Back when it used to be an all-girls school!)

She saw another Cal Shakes production in August, this time with just one other person, Jessika Remolona (who’s expecting a baby this June! Woot Woot!): Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. Jessika and self brought enough bottles of wine to carry us through almost three hours (They let you take the wine inside the theater. You can actually drink during the performance. Which makes self feel like she is in the Golden Globes or something)

Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, July 2013

Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, Summer 2013

Close-up of the Theater Lights

Close-up of the Theater Lights

The grounds outside the amphitheater have very unexpected artwork.  Part of the fun of the whole Cal Shakes experience is having a picnic just before the start of the performance.

The grounds outside the amphitheater have very unexpected artwork. Part of the fun of the whole Cal Shakes experience is having a picnic just before the start of the performance.

Self loves Shakespeare.  She loves Shakespeare outside.

After she saw her first Cal Shakes play (Romeo and Juliet with Adam Scott playing Romeo.  Adam Scott) she could never watch Shakespeare in any other guise than outdoors.  In the summer.  With a bottle of wine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Object 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Various objects — er, emblems — from self’s recent past:

Gamboling Lizards!  Found these in the gift shop of the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Gamboling Lizards! Found these in the gift shop of the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe.  Thanks a bunch, guys! We were celebrating self's birthday by watching Cal Shakes' "Romeo and Juliet," July 2013

Picnic, July 2013:  Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe. Thanks a bunch, guys! We were celebrating self’s birthday by watching Cal Shakes’ “Romeo and Juliet.” Jessika accompanied self to Cal Shakes one more time last summer: to watch Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windrmere’s Fan.”  She and Pepe are expecting their first child this June.

Raincoat, Edinburgh, June 2012:  Self was spending the month at the Hawthornden Writers Retreat.

Raincoat, Edinburgh, June 2012: Self was spending the month at the Hawthornden Writers Retreat.

Beginning: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self chose to post about beginnings by listing New Year’s resolutions:

1)  Never forget:  This is a picture of the flowers she left on her Dear Departed Dad’s grave in Bacolod, in October. The flowers she left are a promise she made, to honor his memory in person, every year, in the city where he was born.

Self bought these flowers for the flower arrangement she left in the Bacolod cemetery where her Dear Departed Dad is buried.

2)  Self is posting this second picture to remind herself:  It is good to feel GOOD.

Life is good, especially when one starts the day with a free breakfast and fresh mango juice:  Self took this picture in her beloved Bacolod.

Life is good, especially when one starts the day with a free breakfast and fresh mango juice: Self took this picture in Bacolod.

3)  Before last summer, she hadn’t seen a Cal Shakes play in four or five years.  From now on, she will go every year.  This is a promise.

Cal Shakes in Orinda.  The play was Oscar Wilde's

Cal Shakes in Orinda. The play was Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan.”  Jessika R accompanied her, and we had much wine.  It was August.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus 5

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was . . . something about depth of field and aperture.

The English cemetery just outside Dharamsala:  Most of the graves belong to soldiers.

The English cemetery just outside Dharamsala: Most of the graves belong to soldiers.

Self loves stripes and colors, especially in summer.

Self loves stripes and colors, especially in summer.

Cal Shakes' "Romeo and Juliet," Sunday July 14, 2013 (Self is returning this Sunday, to see "Lady Windermere's Fan")

Cal Shakes’ “Romeo and Juliet,” Sunday July 14, 2013 (Self is returning this Sunday, to see “Lady Windermere’s Fan”)

At this point, self doesn’t even know why she thought these three were examples of “Focus.”

Because the first and last photos have great depth of field?  Because the middle one is an example of creative blurring?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways 3

Caught a production of Stories High Thirteen: SoMa edition — last Saturday at Bindlestiff Theater.  It was a great production.  Loved that all 4 plays were set in SoMa.

Aside from a regular stable of Filipino American playwrights, the place is also available for rent by other groups.  Artwork adorns the walls.  It’s a beautiful space, in pristine condition.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is:  Find Your Best Shot.

Lobby, Bindlestiff Theater, 185 Sixth Street, San Francisco

Lobby, Bindlestiff Theater, 185 Sixth Street, San Francisco

Still the Bindlestiff lobby, only from a slightly different angle

Still the Bindlestiff lobby, only from a slightly different angle

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Already Friday, the 2nd of August 2013

It is August already!

Self feels as if she blinked, and the world went into over-drive.

Brian Wilson signed with the Dodgers (WAAAH!), Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison (You lousy shmuck!  The word “Monster” is too good for you!), the darkest of her recent stories got to be her first acceptance of the year 2013, she got rejected (again) by MacDowell and the Sewanee Writers Conference, and she saw various wonderful exhibits, including the one on Richard Diebenkorn, at the de Young until Sept. 29.

She also:  celebrated her birthday in Orinda, at the Cal Shakes’ Sunday matinee performance of “Romeo & Juliet,” and afterwards got to utter words of praise to the actress who played Juliet, Rebekah Brockman, in person.  Juliet was walking with Mercutio, and self would dearly have loved to congratulate him on HIS acting, but since one of his memorable scenes was the one where he drops trou and moons the audience for about two minutes, she got all confused and wondered if he would think she was some kind of perv if she said something like, “Loved your xxxxx !”  So she merely addressed her remarks to Juliet.  Who was busy checking messages on her cell phone and said, “Thanks.”  (In addition to the play, which was fabulous of course, self ordered 50 pieces of lumpia shanghai for a picnic on the CalShakes grounds before the performance, and my did those go fast!)

The Picnic Grounds at Cal Shakes, just before the 4 p.m. performance of "Romeo and Juliet"

The Picnic Grounds at Cal Shakes, just before the 4 p.m. performance of “Romeo and Juliet”

Today, she had to get a new purse, since the one she’d been using for months got a nasty big hole.  She didn’t actually have to buy one, all she did was look in her closet, where she has a whole box of woven purses from Bacolod and Manila, which she buys over there for something like 50 US cents:

Made in the Philippines!

Made in the Philippines!

When she’s through with posting, she will get busy cooking menudo, and then bring Sole Fruit of Her Loins to the San Jose Airport, where he has rented a car to drive to San Luis Obispo today.  Oooh, this is the busiest summer in ages.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

STORIES HIGH THIRTEEN: SoMa Edition

Here’s a new performance coming up this weekend.  It sounds really, really interesting:

LIVING, LEAVING, WORKING, PLAYING in South of Market Inspire Four Mini-Plays

STORIES HIGH XIII:  THE SOMA EDITION at Bindlestiff Studio (185 Sixth Street, San Francisco)

August 1 to August 17

Thursdays to Saturdays

All shows, 8 p.m.

Here’s the official announcement:

Ongoing gentrification has transformed South of Market, and since opening in 1989, Bindlestiff Studio has witnessed every boom, bubble, and bust. Depending on where you stand, it can feel like SoMa is either benefitting from or being besieged by the changes.  Stories High XIII:  The SoMa edition explores life in this dynamic, ever-evolving corner of the city from four different perspectives:  1) a Filipino youth from the neighborhood caught shoplifting at Marshalls; 2) a starving artist pushed out by encroaching tech firms; 3) a non-profit organization fighting for SoMa’s cultural soul; and 4) a man’s (literally) scintillating experience at a porno-shop.

The show is a culmination of Bindlestiff’s long-running writing/directing/acting workshop series, Stories High.  Now in its 13th cycle, Stories High continues to foster new talent, expand artists’ skills, and champion fresh perspectives.

Stories High XIII:  The SoMa edition features four stand-alone theatrical pieces which were inspired by the writers’ real life experiences as residents, artists, activists, and patrons of SoMa.

  • “Gotta Love Them Immigrants!” by Dianne Aquino Chui
  • “The Last Unicorns” by Paolo Salazar
  • “Rally Fights the Man” by Cristal Fiel
  • “Last Night of the Tarantula” by Ed Mabasa

FOR ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE, go here.

Stay tuned.

Musings: Yesterday’s Cal Shakes’ Performance of “Romeo and Juliet”

Musing # 1:  The emphasis in this production was entirely on physicality:  No background scenery, barely any props, the thing to focus on was the actors’ bodies.  To project an air of urgency, the actors (only seven, all of whom remained onstage during the play’s approximately two-hour and twenty minute running time) had frequently to give the impression of running, without actually running.  Do you know how hard that is to do, dear blog readers?  The stage was not very large.  Self marveled at the scene where Juliet (played by a tiny little girl, with absolutely amazing expressiveness, whose name is Rebekah Brockman) has to run with a white sheet held high above her head.  And another scene where Benvolio (played by a woman — nice bit of non-traditional casting there) had to run towards the bodies of the slain Mercutio and Tybalt, and really this was when self realized that there is an art to miming running, miming running and then stopping short.  If one can just imagine a moving truck coming to a screeching halt, that was Read the rest of this entry »

The (Orinda) Hills Are Alive

The cast started walking onstage and self had to switch off her camera. But not before squeezing off one quick shot of the stage, the hills.

Cal Shakes' production of "Romeo and Juliet," July 2013

Cal Shakes’ production of “Romeo and Juliet,” July 2013

During the tragic death scene, which takes place in the mausoleum of the Capulets, a mournful mooing was heard in the distance.  At first, people looked confused:  was that the oddest sound effect ever?  When it dawned on people that an actual cow was doing the moo-ing, people broke out in smiles.

This lone cow kept up the moo-ing all through the Q & A that followed.

The Picnic Grounds at Cal Shakes, just before the 4 p.m. performance of "Romeo and Juliet"

The Picnic Grounds at Cal Shakes, just before the 4 p.m. performance of “Romeo and Juliet”

We were eight.  It had been four years since the last time.

The Picnic Table!

The Picnic Table!

Jessika provided the flowers.  We were early:  got there 45 minutes before the grounds opened.  The Man headed straight for the picnic tables and found one under a nice, shady tree.

Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe.  Thanks a bunch, guys!

Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe. Thanks a bunch, guys!

The play was great.  And not just because it was by the Inimitable Bard.  Because of the energy and physicality of the entire cast (seven actors; most playing multiple roles), the youth of the leads, the hills behind, the minimalist set and, yes, the mooing of the invisible cow.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Awesome! Fierce!

People, La Hagedorn sent around the latest review of Manila Noir, by Bookgasm.  Oh, how very nice to be noticed by a website with such an awesome name!  Everything’s positive, everything’s coming up roses.

Self is in a very celebratory mood, also because:

Sunday is self’s birthday!

Yes, dear ones!  Blog Mistress Kanlaon has reached ripe old age, and son has convinced self that the only way to properly celebrate is by returning to Cal Shakes to watch the current production of “Romeo and Juliet!”  So today self called over to the Cal Shakes Box Office and snagged the last four numbered seats, way in the last row.

Oh how self loves Shakespeare!  Especially when performed in the summer!  Especially when performed in the open air!  With bottles of wine!  (Which reminds self:  she must remember to bring the bubbly.  What’s nice about watching the performances at Cal Shakes is:  the grounds open two hours before showtime, and you can get properly soused, and by the time you enter the theater and the play begins, everyone is smashed, ergo it’s easy to get into the spirit of things.  Usually there is some form of singing/dancing with audience participation!  Like the last Cal Shakes performance self attended, A Midsummer Night’s Dream!)

Her first Cal Shakes play featured Adam Scott as Romeo.  Adam Scott, dear ones!

His head even then seemed a tad large in proportion to his body.

But he is still awesome.

After watching that performance, self was convinced that “Romeo and Juliet” needs to be acted by young people.  Only young people.  Because, after all, that play is tragic.  And tragedy’s always best when inflicted on the young.

Like that scene in 300 when Astinos or whoever the guy is who’s played by Tom Wisdom gets his head nipped?  Astinos wasn’t even old enough to have enjoyed the warmth of a woman, or so Gerard Butler’s character remarked, before they set out on the journey to defend the Motherland.  And that was why, when Astinos died, all the women in the movie theater fell to epic moaning.

Now, back to the ostensible reason for this post.

Budjette Tan sends over a blurry picture of La Hagedorn at the launch.  Describes La Hagedorn as “sassy and cool.”  Self is participating in the Manila festivities, vicariously.  The Man reminds self that the days when she would be able to give readings at will are over.  So what, she loves looking at pictures of the launch.  First of all, there’s Zack front and center, and she knows he knows how to wow an audience.  Zack is awesome!  Jessica is awesome!  Manila Noir is awesome!  Self is awesome!

RAWRRRR!

Self in "Awesome Mode"

Self in “Awesome Mode”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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