Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Enchiladas and Hammerstein

I am running out of blogging steam. We'll try to keep this one brief.

Nathalie came to visit this weekend!! It was so good to see her! It's funny, we have both gone on these crazy personal, emotional journeys, and yet, it seems like in so many we're still just the same old people as always.

Nathalie was going to spend the night and Alice (our dear friend all the way from France) was supposed to, as well. So I took it into my crazy head to make a Mexican dinner from scratch. I thought it would be simple and economical. A better option than going out to eat. I never claimed all of my ideas were works of brilliance.

I was kind of stressed about making the enchilada sauce. I had never before attempted it, and I could not get my mother's recipe in time. So I rolled the dice a bit. It actually was my favorite part of the meal. I think everyone was more impressed by the homemade horchata, perhaps because it is rare to find homemade horchata. It was all pretty darned good. It was all pretty darned messy, too.

Nathalie's friend, Karl, visited for a while, too. He showed surprising acumen for power cheese grating, and everyone in general was a huge help in preparing the meal; Brandon in particular, whose knifing skills I think would make my father proud.

After a lovely post-meal musing on dance, religion, and music in the darkened living room while listening to Sigur Ros and Alexi Murdoch, we ventured into the damp of the city to get some ice cream and watch the fog shrouded city. Nathalie just about died from the cold of SF.

Nothing of earth-shattering consequence was discussed that evening, but I think that is great. We have phones for conversation. Live interpersonal contact is for ... enjoying the intangible qualities of a person's presence. It was a wonderful night for me, being there with one my dearest friends and with this wonderful man I am seeing who makes me smile and laugh.

Saturday passed without much of consequence. I was pretty exhausted in general from lack of sleep and an early morning. We did hang out with Brandon's sister and her bf and friends for a bit. She is such a delightful person with infectious enthusiasm. I hope to get to know her better.

Sunday was the day I was really looking forward to. We were supposed to go listen to live opera in the park! We packed up a blanket, some fried chicken and other goodies and headed for Stern Grove.

Of course, it being Sunday, the babies of San Francisco who have been cloistered away all week by their nannies were out in full force. Brandon had to endure my constant ooh-ing and aah-ing. How he managed to endure it patiently I'll never know. But, you know, when you live in a world of nothing but adults, it is such a wonderful treat to meet these little beings of curiosity and mysterious drives.

It was also a pleasant surprise to take the subway to park. Something of a cognitive dissonance that actually seemed to really work in the confines of the city of San Francisco.

The grove was beautiful. A piece of California woods in the middle of the city. The air was pungent with eucalyptus. Particles of dew seemed to gently kiss my cheeks. I couldn't help but smile, both in revelry of the moment and in anticipation for the music to come.

The grove was packed! The NPR crowd was out in full force! Yeah! Mah peeps!

Everyone was picnicking on wine and baguettes and fruit.

We were soon joined by Brandon's friend, Mike. He was a pleasant person, although apparently to some he has a reputation for brashness. His friend, however, was another story. He was loud and talkative, making no effort to stifle his laughter. During the performances. I wanted to cringe.

Eventually one of our blanket neighbors (a pair of very classy lesbians?) asked Mike's friend to quiet down. He scoffed and seemed to flippantly refuse to quiet down even as he put on his shoes to depart.

I wish I could say I was sorry to see him go. He seemed like a nice guy, but rudeness and inconsideration are major sins in my book (much like sloth and apathy are to my parents (and to me, come to think of it)).

After he left, the experience was much more pleasant. When Mike did have to leave, I was sorry to see him go. He had some funny jokes up his sleeve, and apparently a tantalizing story about Brandon. Renato joined us, however, and I was glad for that. Renato is one of Brandon's best friends and he is this great combination of easy-going hippy and sharp-as-a-tack funny guy/intellectual. He's also really sincere and kind (both great virtues in my book).

The first performance itself was really good. It was a rendition of Summertime from Porgy and Bess. It turns out the whole concert was to be a selection of songs from American composers. It ended up being an afternoon of Gershwin and Rogers and Hammerstein. Which was fine, but I would have preferred an afternoon of Verdi and Puccini. I am not that into musicals. I know. Shocker. A gay guy not into musicals, but there you have it.

Like I was saying, the first performer was really good. Her rendition of Summertime was unusually haunting and ghostly. The main performer of the afternoon was a woman Mike and Brandon dubbed the 'crispy' lady. Picture a tanned out, buffed out Rue Mac Clanahan. Her voice was pleasant, but lacked some strength. Overall, though, it was a fun experience. The park was beautiful, the music was good and generally lively, and the people were some of my favorite people of San Francisco.

We ended the evening watching Across the Universe, which was pretty amazing in HD. I wonder if I would liked it was much if it weren't in HD. My favorite was Bono's performance.

Well, this ended up being a much longer entry than I had anticipated. I am off to work off some of those gummi colas and cookies and cream ice cream I ate over the weekend. Mmm. Ice cream sounds good.

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