Sunday Daytime

Sunday morning dawned overcast and cool, as is often the case in San Francisco.  Once Anita was awake, we headed over to Elite Cafe on Fillmore Street for breakfast.  San Francisco is a breakfast city, a city awake early enough to enjoy its eggs an endless variety of ways.

One our way over, we passed the Webster Street fire station where the fire fighters were out for morning ladder drills.

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Below, outside Elite Cafe

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Elite is a New Orleans style restaurant, specializing in Cajun cuisine.  For breakfast there were Bloody Marys, Arkansas scramble (eggs scrambled with bacon), corned beef hash, and beignets.  No pictures of the beignets, I’m afraid.  Ate them too quickly!

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On the way back to the car, we passed a beautiful dog with a rather interesting haircut.

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The results of some surgery?  Or just an overzealous groomer?

 

Saturday Evening

First off, apologies to the Xanga friends to whom I’m subscribed.  The first six days of my trip have been so busy that I am very behind on reading and commenting on your entries.  I’ll get back into the groove.

Spoke with Tawn this afternoon and he arrived in Verona in one piece as did his parents.  They went this evening to the house of their hosts, the Mamones, whose daughter is getting married this Saturday.  When I called Tawn, he was inside a shop and just stepping out.  “Arrivederci!” he said.  Cute, huh?

 

Updates

Before I write about Saturday evening, let me embed two videos I shot Friday evening at Martuni’s in SF.  Both are of Anne Marie singing.  The first is of “I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning” from Annie Get Your Gun and the second is of “Close to You” by the Carpenters.  Video quality is doubly poor: bad light and then a lot of compression.  Add to that a lot of ambient noise.  But it will give you an idea of AM’s wonderful voice and the fun we had.

And now, on to our show…

After returning from the East Bay on Saturday afternoon, I ran some errands to check off the shopping list.  Last stop: REI at Eighth and Brennan.  Inconvenient location for transit access and I ended up walking all the way back to Anita’s house at Church and Market.  You quickly come to realize that walking on hills uses different leg muscles than walking the flat streets of Khrungthep.  My shins were aching!

Below: Walking past the San Francisco mint, where your coins come from.

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No sooner had I returned home and freshened up then I had to head out to meet Chris and his new boyfriend Rob for dinner at Catch, a seafood restaurant in the Castro.  For years I have lamented the general lack of good dining in the Castro and Catch proved to be a nice exception to that perception.

Below: The intersection of Market and Castro Streets, ground zero of the gay community in SF, on a very cool and overcast early evening.

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Chris and I met on the CalTrain commuter rail in the days when I regularly commuted to Mountain View to conduct training classes.  It turned out that he lived just down the street from Anita and me (Tawn was also living with us at that time before he moved into his own place near USF) and he quickly became a special person in our lives. 

Below: Chris and Rob in front of City Hall.

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It was especially nice to see him again and after dinner, the three of us headed to the Herbst Theatre in the Civic Center to see GAPA Runway.  GAPA is the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, an organization dedicated to furthering the interests of gay and bisexual Asian/Pacific Islanders by creating awareness, developing a positive collective identity, and by establishing a supportive community.

Below: Me in front of City Hall.  how come I’m so much smaller than Chris and Rob?

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Runway, an event that can best be explained as the annual Miss GAPA and Mister GAPA pageant, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.  It is a fun time and I ran into many friends, several of whom I have not seen in many years.  I also understand that several other Xangans and boyfriends of Xangans were there.  Just a reminder of how tightly knit the community is.

Below: Jordan, Wilford, me and Jordan’s sister Angel.  Jordan was Mr GAPA 2006 and, as such, was both in full costume and also a judge.  Wilford was dressed in something classier but less flashy.  Angel flew up for the event from Arizona.  What a supportive sister!

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The event ran on quite long.  Longer, in fact, than the Miss America pageant.  There were many creative participants and a good time was had by all.  Sadly, by the time it wrapped up, I didn’t have the energy to go to the after party.

To give you some idea of what the event was like, here are a couple of videos from YouTube.  I didn’t take or post these, so no speaking to the quality or how risque they are.

 

Another busy day of vacation filled up! 

 

Saturday Daytime

There’s a little bit of repeat here since I didn’t have pictures ready to go a couple of entries ago.

Saturday morning Anita was still down in the South Bay so I woke up to an empty house.  After pulling on a sweatshirt I walked several blocks to Tartine, the Delfino-owned bakery and cafe at 18th and Guerrero.

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I previously mentioned about the French visitors who occupied a pair of tables next to me and helped my sympathize with Tawn.  The food was so good on the first visit that I made a second trip on Tuesday morning.  I’ll combine the pictures into this entry.

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The interior is always crowded and there is a large communal table that people – as the name implies – share.  Instead of numbers, they use letters.  Interesting, huh?

First dish: zucchini and tomato quiche

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Follow-up dish: morning bun on the left and bread pudding with peaches and olallieberries the size of your thumb on the right.  Remember – this was over two days, not at a single meal.

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Later in the morning I headed over to Oakland to meet Bruce and Howie for lunch.  The destination: Zachary’s Pizza.  Celebrating 25 years, Zachary’s deep-dish stuffed crust pizza is an amazing, amazing thing to eat.  Below, the College Avenue location, about two minutes away from Rockridge BART station.

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The pizza in question – double crust stuffed with spinach and mushrooms with a spicy tomato sauce on top.

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Moments before we dig in.  Bruce on the left and Howie on the right.

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Afterwards, we enjoyed the sunny afternoon for a bit before driving back over to the City.  What a treat!

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Next entry… Saturday evening and GAPA’s 20th Anniversary Runway show.

 

News from Tawn:

Tawn arrived in Paris Saturday morning and was enjoying his first day in the city of lights.  While Ryeroam was working Tawn explored the city and enjoyed a little petite dejuener at a sidewalk cafe.

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Here in SF.  The flight over was smooth, touching down at a very chilly SFO at five minutes past eight, Friday evening.  Once again, I am impressed by EVA Airway’s value.  Elite Economy has extra room and good comfort for the money.  Here’s a picture of me after boarding in BKK.

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Immigration was surprisingly swift.  I literally walked up to the agent with no wait in line.  Fortunately, I was a bit ahead of much of the crowd so some of that is just good luck.  The agent stamped me in before even scanning my passport; guess I no longer look like an illegal alien.

By 9:30 I had arrived at Anita’s house.  She left her key with Corey, her downstairs tenant, and so I had no problems getting in and getting settled.  After freshening up, I headed down to Martuni’s, a piano bar cum karaoke lounge, to hear Anne Marie sing.  More on this later as I have some nice pictures and some good video footage.

Afterwards, very hungry, I stopped at It’s Tops, a diner on Market Street that dates back to 1935.  Had two eggs over easy, two links of sausage, and three buttermilk pancakes that were so much better than any pancakes I’ve had in Khrungthep!

P1070921 Saturday morning (as I write) I am at Tartine, a cute little cafe on the corner of Guerrero and 18th in the Mission District.  I am sitting outside even though it is a little cool.  In a moment of supreme empathy with Tawn, who I assume has arrived safely in Paris, I am drinking my latte from a bowl and eating a slice of tomato and zucchini quiche.  To top it off, a group of French people (along with their local host) have arrived and are chatting in French and eating croissants at the tables to my left.  Tres chic!

 

SF International Asian American Film Festival opens March 13

As a reminder for those of you living in the SF Bay Area (or who might get yourselves to San Francisco for a good film), the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival opens on March 13th and continues through the 23rd.

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I worked with and for the festival for nine years, ending the year after I moved to Khrungthep.  Even then, when I was in San Francisco last September I met with the executive and assistant directors to serve as a sounding board for some ideas, and attended last year’s Bangkok International Film Festival as an industry guest on behalf of the SF festival.  They do such good work programming an incredible festival, as befits the oldest and largest festival of its kind.

Instead of recreating work that has already been done, let me direct you to Tony’s blog.  Tony is on the screening committee for the festival and his entry contains a good summary of several of the highlights of this year’s festival.  I hope you’ll have an opportunity to attend!

 

Things that come up during a move, part 1

Sudha Nui SF 2003 2 When you are packing and organizing in advance of a move, all sorts of things are rediscovered that you haven’t seen in a long while. 

Most of the time, that’s a sign that the thing you’ve rediscovered is pretty unimportant and you could donate it to charity.  Sometimes, though, the rediscovery is a good one and the thing is useful to find again.

In a box near the TV and stereo I found this small Fujifilm Instax picture taken of Tawn and myself and Tawn’s parents.  They were visiting him in 2002 and we went to Fringale restaurant in San Francisco. 

This was taken near the end of the meal, after we (primarily Khun Sudha and I) had consumed the better part of three bottles of wine.  Khun Nui had had just a sip and Tawn, the driver, had maybe a glass.

After Tawn dropped me off back at home – I was still living on Eureka and 21st I think – I could barely walk down the hall, having to use both hands on the wall to steady myself against the spinning.

The next morning, Tawn’s father reported to him that he had “almost” been drunk the night before.  That was when I realized I (or at least, my liver) would never be able to compete with my father-in-law.

The Festival Endeth

So after eight very intense days of film festival operations, it is over.  Just as a town in the aftermath of a tornado, my mind is a scattered mess.  It was a very fun ride, though.  Over lunch the day after with a former festival colleague, I came to the conclusion that something that I’m experiencing less of in Bangkok than I did here in the States is intellectual stimulation.

Through a combination of schedules and circumstances and just getting settled in to life there, Tawn and I don’t have a lot of people around us who are interested in things like films, theatre, books, lectures, travel, etc.  There are also very few people around us who are engaged in the arts, nonprofit organizations, or other causes that are driven by passions and convictions.  These few weeks here in SF reminded me of the sense of engagement and vitality that is largely absent in our lives right now.

Tawn and I have talked about this before and have considered ways to build more of this into our life.  Of course between full time jobs, studying, yoga, and visiting Tawn’s parents, I’m not sure where exactly the time comes from.  But as I leave San Francisco, while I do know that I’m glad I don’t live here anymore, I also know that there’s work to do to further develop my life in Khrungthep from being just a place I live with my husband to a fertile field where I can grow as a person at all levels.

Too deep…

Closing night party and film was at the Palace of Fine Arts, built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition.  The closing film was “Journey From the Fall“, the first major American film to dramatize the traumatic aftermath of the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese perspective.  While I wasn’t able to attend the film, working at the Kabuki for the last two shows, I had seen much of it during a jury screening earlier in the week.  It is emotionally powerful and I heard from audience members who had experienced the flight from Vietnam first-hand that it really did capture the experience very well.

The party was held in an adjacent space and was very well attended.  The audience awards and the juried awards were presented – “Water” by Deepha Mehta won the audience award for best feature while “Colma: The Musical” (see previous entry) by Richard Wong won the jury award for best feature.

Off to Kansas City this morning for a week with my family.

Volunteer House Managers and Interns (L to R):

 

Brian, Jay, Newton, Masashi, Mabel, Jackie, Ed, Paul, Chris, and me.

Me with Sabrina and Ryan

 

 

 

Left: L.A. Renigen and H.P. Mendoza from “Colma: The Musical”  Right: The cast and crew from “Colma: The Musical” with festival staff members after winning the jury award for best feature film.

Film Festival staff members: Mabel, Masashi, JC and me at the Palace of Fine Arts.