Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey


This morning I'm working on a freelance piece about the lost art of silence, drawing together some threads from sociology and gender theory, Buddhism and Transcendentalism, and yes, even a little Marlene Dietrich and Diane Keaton. Whew. It's fun and I'm really digging it. Deadline is this weekend so I need to get chugging on it.

Point is, in the process I've been revisiting a classic little piece by Jonathan Rauch that appeared in The Atlantic Online a few years ago, to widespread acclaim. "Caring For Your Introvert" is at once tongue-in-cheek hilarious and straight-up spot-on in terms of hitting on something that for the 25% of us who find other people exhausting and solitude rejuvenating is a daily fact of life. I know I've shared this with some of you in the past, but it's always worth a fresh read:

"Caring For Your Introvert"

As the odd bird in a family of extroverts, I was lucky to never have to pick up the (dreaded) phone or schmooze with the delivery man. Even as a kid, I was always the one out in the backyard by herself with a book. I do think this stuff is hard-wired, though to what extent, I'm not sure. Even though by the time I hit twenty I'd learned very well how to play at being an extrovert when necessary, I still find houseguests and long social weekends totally exhausting (all that talking!!). My little piece of advice for introverts unfortunate enough to be stuck mingling at cocktail parties or schmoozing at networking events: hard liquor. And lots of it.

(That's classic Greta Garbo above - she the iconic introvert, of course, famous for: "I just vant to be alone.")

Monday, June 25, 2007

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated

Oh man. Are we in the thick of summer or what?

Another stunner today, and I'm already brown as a berry from sitting in the midday sun for four hours yesterday as the Giants whooped the Yankees. Yes, you read that correctly. Our seats were killer - just a few rows back from third base, on the Field Level right there behind the dugout, right past the Press Box and the locker rooms. I managed to drag my eyes away from the back of Barry Zito's neck as he stood watching the game 10 feet away from me just long enough to keep tabs on the game. Not only did A-Rod have a ridiculous 11-pitch scrapple with Noah Lowry (including 7 foul balls; yes, 7), but Bonds stole some sneaky bases and the guys looked good for once. Two wins in a row and you'd almost forget they've been scraping the bottom of the barrel for a month.

So now that I am roughly the color of maple, I'm def. feeling the time of year. The City's crawling achingly out of its post-Pride Weekend hangover; planning for 2008 has already begun. There was a lot of chatter about the fact that Elizabeth Edwards was out to speak for one of the local LGBT center's fundraiser of some kind; this was a big first step in terms of recognizing the voting power of a big chunk of the SF populace. The local Dems seem pretty wildly split between Clinton and Obama yet, with Edwards not making the kind of splash they are, and it's hard to tell who's going to end up on top. I'm kind of concerned, to be honest. I'm nursing a secret hope that Al Gore will stealthily march toward November with a campaign up his sleeve and emerge as The Electable One come autumn, riding on that popular momentum of the post-Oscar fallout. Because who can quibble with a platform based on the fact that the planet's going to shit?

Sondheim's "Assassins" is playing here in the City, and I'm going later this week. If you don't know it, you should. Classic Sondheim pitter-patter rhythms, musically sound, and snarky and smart as hell. Pick up the soundtrack. It's worth it for the humor alone.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture


Well, then, this makes me feel positively reactionary.

Talk about taking anti-consumerism to the next level. Welcome to the "freegan" movement, a.k.a. Dumpster Diving 101. I appreciate the way these guys embrace environmentalism as the foundation of their platform. It's extreme, no doubt; but don't all visionaries appear freakish before eventually being embraced by the mainstream? I like their critique of bourgeois environmentalism; they're right, it's not enough to buy a Prius. Buying "green" still isn't sustainable. Buying less is. And making oneself "absent from capitalism," as one interviewee aims for, certainly isn't easy, but baby steps toward that process are definitely, well, hot.

"Not Buying It," via NYT

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Raw, idiom: b. Informal. in the nude; naked: sunbathing in the raw


Summer solstice. Longest day of the year, my friends! Get outside.

Unless you've been living under a rock the last month or so, you've probably caught wind of the fact that this summer marks the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. The Chron did a 4-part special a few weeks ago on that summer in 1967, and it's worth a read, even if it's just so that you know how to correctly reference the song "Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair."* Here's the goodness: www.sfgate.com/summeroflove

The Times fashion section once again shows its, er, "brilliance" with a corresponding article about how - shocker! - fashion is cyclical, which is why all the wannabe starlets lounging around on the streets right now are currently wearing boho fabrics and styles a la the kinds their mothers wore in '67. Profound, ground-breaking journalism at its best.

As for me, I've scored some unexpected tickets for the Yankees/Giants series this weekend, which should be sweet, since the ballpark is already sold out. The minor detail, of course, being that the Giants have been seriously pathetic of late: Zito's crumbling under pressure, the offense is non-existent, and we're only a half-game above the Nationals for worst record in the league. Sigh. Good thing there'll be sunshine and beer.

*My friend Sammy sings it a little differently, and much better, to my mind: "Be Sure to Wear [Nothing But] Flowers In Your Hair." Much more apropos, don't you think?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Random shit I wanted to post that has no feasible connection whatsoever to any definition of "rawness"


(Ok, it's clear by now that I'm not getting anything done today, right?)

Best Week Ever has a list of the 12 Manliest Movie Musical Performances Ever. Of course I read this with great interest. Duh - these are the swaggering men who populated my young life! My minor quibbles:

1) Richard Gere in Chicago? Seriously? No. Should've cast Jackman there anyway. Same re: Justin Guarini. That's gotta be a joke.

2) Where's Gordon Macrae? Hello, Oklahoma! That baritone still makes me weak in the knees. And I'll never forget the scene where he sits on the stove (B, I know you have my back there). Or at least Carousel - that "My Boy Bill" song on the rocks - yeah? He earned masculinity points just because that song was so damned hard to sing.

3) Howard Keel cannot be left out. That man was all male. That deep voice. "Bless Your Beautiful Hide." Whew.

4) Whoever wrote this is...dumb. All the references to being bruisers and using rufies? Come on. If Gene Kelly can be sexy in his calf-skin dance shoes, which he most definitely is, then being violent and shady really isn't necessary. You're trying too hard to be edgy. Get over yourself. But I do forgive you a little for including Sinatra.

5) Antonio Banderas in Evita? Maybe?

Props to them for the Christopher Plummer shout-out (definitely hot in an unexpected way on viewing TSOM as an adult). And Sacha Baron Cohen in Sweeney Todd?!? Who knew! What an inspired bit of casting. Can't wait to see that one now.

Random shit I wanted to post that has no feasible connection whatsoever to any definition of "rawness"

Ran across this just now and it made me smile. Kind of like PostSecret, this site collects random "found" examples of book inscriptions. What's more intimate than a few scribbles on the inside cover of a book, some mysterious stranger's handwriting there from some long-ago moment in time?

bookinscriptions.com

Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey.


Lately, instead of actually writing, I'm just reading a lot about OTHER people who write, which makes me feel infinitesimally better about the fact that I am not getting a goddamned thing done.

Spent a few hours the other day reading everything out there on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, who, if you weren't already aware, carried on a totally fascinating train-wreck of a love affair. Not only did Sylvia kick it with her head in the stove after learning that her estranged husband was due to be the father of a baby with his lover Assia, several years later Assia killed herself, along with her 4-year-old daughter with Hughes, by dragging a mattress into the kitchen and turning up the gas, as well. Sheesh. And you think you've got it rough. Hughes's revelatory poems about what had theretofore been a very private love affair with Plath, The Birthday Letters, were published a few years ago and he died of cancer just a few weeks after their publication. Couldn't live with the information made public? Felt he could finally let go after some kind of cathartic release, after excising the demons of his own guilt? Who knows. Feminists have long harangued Hughes for killing Plath's spirit, but when you read about these two you do realize that there were definitely two loony and brilliant players in the game. A fascinating story made human by the biopic starring Daniel Craig and Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003 - great period colors and art direction and costuming, if not the most original piece of work. Made with genuine respect and interest, though, no doubt.

So, there's that. And I'm sitting here going, well, maybe I'm not doing so poorly after all; I mean, at least my head isn't in the stove (yet), right? And don't I have almost 300 pages of shit that, well, doesn't suck? But then yesterday I was chatting with a novelist from New York - author of 4 books with number 5 on the way this fall, in town for a conference this week - and he was telling me how his first books (fiction) led him to his current subject matter, which is non-fiction about the publishing industry and how hard it is to make it as an author. That books are growing obsolete. That the industry is shifting heavily toward the digital. That it's a pretty impossible way to make a life.

So, sigh. What can you do? Make sandwiches for the kids before sticking your head in the oven. Carry on torrid love affairs that distract you from writing. Shift gears and write depressing books about how old-fashioned paper and binding is over. Distract yourself with music and yoga and sunshine. And blogging.

One morning several years ago I ran across a line from the writer Richard Rodriguez, on the subject of literature. He said: "There is only one subject: what it feels like to be alive." And I've gotta tell ya, at the end of the day: that's it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air


I've been reading a lot of yogic theory this week, so everything right now seems to be a confluence of silence and mindfulness and "being present" and whatnot. The City has been loud and bright and brilliant, what with the heat and the sunshine, and as a number of the big yoga gurus have noted, sometimes those are the best circumstances for cultivating silence and peace amidst the chaos. Today the heat wave has officially passed and we're back to the usual foggy cool June mornings that we expect around here. I like it.

So the particular "brand" of yoga I practice, Bikram, tends to be more athletic, very cardio-focused, often at the expense of some of the more mental and spiritual aspects of the practice. That's why I do it, of course - I need that intensity, and the sauna-like heat of the 105-degree room is killer for the mind and the body. But today with the chill and the wind again I was craving a good deep practice, some long 2-minute postures to really massage the internal organs and work some tension out. I've been wishing for a cabin in the woods somewhere with silence and big sky and lots of green and wind and water lately, and the deep yoga is a good solution for that this morning.

Given all this yogic stuff swimming around in the universe right now, it didn't surprise me at all to stumble across an article in the Times about some meditation stuff they're doing in a few curriculums in Oakland (and, randomly, in Lancaster, PA). The article isn't super in-depth, but it does hit on the good and necessary point that, given all the stimuli of kids' worlds these days, what with IM-ing and cell phones and video games and basically all these technologies that prevent kids from developing any kind of interior reality, cultivating mindfulness and just the ability to be still are really, really important. Here's the article. "In the Classroom, A New Focus on Quieting the Mind"

(Oh, and that's Cowface posture above. Great for opening up your hips and shoulders. Check Yoga Journal for more info.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Raw, Idiom: b. Informal. in the nude; naked: sunbathing in the raw

Well, let's see. I guess there's plenty going on. The Tonys were Sunday night - "Spring Awakening," fantastic. Paris Hilton is back in her basic jail cell, her unexplained "medical condition" apparently having eased a bit. It's Flag Day, which means everyone's rolling out the stars and stripes (*vomit*). And I've just read that Sondheim's "Company" revival will be closing July 1st, which means I won't be able to catch it when I'm in New York next month. Damn.

As for SF, it's hot. H-O-T, hot. High of 85 today and sunny. Recipe for a long run this afternoon. Which is convenient considering I've been swimming around in a kind of unsettled state that, loosely translated, means I can't seem to sit down and write for more than a few minutes, and if I do, I am convinced it's shit and it's already been written and what's the point, really, anyway?

In the meantime, SF is preparing for the Pride party next week, which means the City suddenly becomes a big hubbub of techno music and parades and leather chaps. This is fabulous. Hopefully the weather will stick.

Here's a link to something I heard about earlier this week. Crushpad Winery, here in the City, where you can make your own wine and label and whatnot. I met a cute couple the other day who'd received this as a wedding gift and so, on their first anniversary, they sat and drank their very own wine in celebration. Charming. If you've got an extra $5000 floating around, you definitely need to look into it. They're apparently having an open house this weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions


It's Sunday morning and the City's quiet and I couldn't sleep. Woke up 6ish dreaming of strange reunions and death and polyester leisure suits and "Crown Him With Many Crowns." You try falling back asleep after that one. There were 3 or 4 Mexican guys below the next-door bay window last night circa 2 am. Apparently it's a hot spot to chill after last call, because several nights a month I drift off to the lulling music of indecipherable Spanish and wake up to find the sidewalk strewn with two empty cases of Corona. One of these nights I'm going to head down and join them for a few. Could be a good time.

In the meantime, it's still early and the radiator is cranking serious heat (it's chilly in the City, no doubt, but it is also June...) and the air's so dry that my white hydrangeas here in the living room are getting crusty. Hydrangeas, by the way = smart choice. They last a long time, much longer than stock or alstromeria or tulips. Just in case you wanted to know.

I've been shaking a lot of martinis lately and the flipside of that is that during my off-time all I want to do is be quiet and sit still and write. The good (great!) news is that I've hit 275 pages in my manuscript and the final product should hover somewhere around 300, so with a week's worth of editing or so, the end is in sight. My goal to get this little baby to agents by July is very much going to happen. This is thrilling. And really, really scary.

I'm working on a few sections right now that are heavy on theory to contrast a lot of the narrative in the other chapters, lots of Buddhist theory on hungry ghost realms and desire and sorrow and cultural criticism stuff. In the process, I've been revisiting a work by one of my favorite early writers, Audre Lorde, called "Uses of the Erotic." It's one of those classic essays that's often assigned in college syllabi, but for good reason. Lorde was a black lesbian feminist writer and poet who died in 1992. Her stuff is mindful and angry, passionate and poetic. I actually just ran across another of her pieces from 1980 called "The Cancer Journals" chronicling her battle with breast cancer that is going to the top of my must-read list right away. She does a lot of rich writing on the erotic and its relation to the spiritual and the political. Here's a tidbit from "Uses" - give it a look if you are interested, as it's a quick read:

"...[Once] we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.

During World War II, we bought sealed plastic packets of white, uncolored margarine, with a tiny, intense pellet of yellow coloring perched like a topaz just inside the clear skin of the bag. We would leave the margarine out for a while to soften, and then we would pinch the little pellet to break it inside the bag, releasing the rich yellowness into the soft pale mass of margarine. Then taking it carefully between our fingers, we would knead it gently back and forth, over and over, until the color had spread throughout the whole pound bag of margarine, thoroughly coloring it.

I find the erotic such a kernel within myself. When released from its intense and constrained pellet, it flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience."


Yes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture


Yesterday was the first Tuesday of the month and that means one thing in Our Fair City: free museum day at several of the biggies around town. I'd already been planning to hit up the Vivienne Westwood exhibit at the de Young before it closes this weekend, so that pretty much sealed the deal right there. The place was definitely busier than usual, teeming with blue-hairs and starving art students, but in spite of the noise and the hubbub I kind of secretly liked it. It's nice to feel like there's actually life at a gallery now and then, a place where people gather, instead of some silent white-walled chamber where people are afraid to step too heavily lest it disturb the sleeping gods.

Anyway, so I ambled down toward Golden Gate Park wearing my best crazy-black-feather-boa'd-red-lipped artist ensemble (love those days, mmm). The de Young sits right by the Japanese Tea Garden, an imposing copper building with great outdoor patios and courtyards inside. The place has garnered raves for its architectural brilliance and I could instantly see why. When you're in the museum itself, you're constantly coming across little corners and coves where the light shines in, where you're suddenly overlooking a courtyard, where you're hit smack in the face with a tree branch that looks like it's so close you could touch it. There's a great wall of windows that overlooks the terrace and the sculpture garden, too. The ultimate effect is that instead of feeling trapped in a museum, you are constantly reminded that you're nestled in the middle of a vast park and you've just stepped inside for a moment. The light and the trees are as much a part of the experience as the art. I love this.

And while I'm on the topic, the cafe is stellar, as well - v. European, great food, excellent veggie selection, stylish, sitting in a big open airy space that opens up onto the terrace for outside seating. I inhaled a killer veggie hummus wrap out sitting in the middle of the sculptures in the sun and the wind and watched the little kiddies spinning around the art pieces out there. It was pretty much heaven. Great coffee, as well.

Anyway, onto the art itself. The collection is varied and not necessarily my favorite; the modern art corner was definitely the highlight for me, with several Diebenkorns and Thiebauds, a great Ruscha and a decent selection of Beat artists, along with some edgier new stuff and a cool Kiki Smith hanging installation. Other than that, they've got a big collection of Arts of the Americas, lots of clay pots and shit from 800 B.C. that honestly don't do a lot for me. The pre-20th c. American art is good, lots of landscapes and whatnot, interior decor as well, but again, I kind of breezed through that. The real gem for me was the Westwood exhibit down in the basement, which is moving on to the rest of its world tour after its only stop in the U.S.

Gotta say, Westwood's stuff made me just want to whip out the sewing machine and sew frills and buttons and weird shit onto everything I own. Her style is so ensconced in parody, completely whimsical and yet punk, very political, very aware of the role that clothing plays as "personal propaganda," so to speak. She and her various co-horts used so much historical and literary and artistic influence in creating their shit - I really understood the deliberacy of her designs on a much clearer level. She's hip now, very mainstream in Hollywood and whatnot, but the power of her legacy is definitely more that of the British Punk scene of the early 80s, a lot of the black and the rubber and the phallus-shaped buttons (yes, a whole line with phallus-shaped buttons) and the mini crinis and whatnot. Subversive and fun and historically informed, all corsets and sauciness and playful subversiveness. The message being - stop taking yourselves so goddamned seriously and lighten up a little.*

*I was so glad I wore my feather boa.

Anyway, that's my round-up. Several other unexpected excursions yesterday too, involving carnivorous plants, too much J.D. and shaggy-haired left-fielders for the A's, but we'll leave those for another day. The pics here are first of all, a piece from the Westwood exhibit (sweet!), along with a link here if you want to check out the site at the de Young (photo by Nick Knight, 1987). And secondly, a piece from the de Young collection that caught my eye because of its bluesy palette, the implied motion of the wind, and the lightness of the piece. It's Edmund Tarbell, "The Blue Veil," from 1898. Is it me or does that seem ahead of its time somehow?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor.


Last night I saw Judd Apatow's newest, "Knocked Up." It was - just as I'd expected - charming, funny, and sweet. Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy is lovely, and Seth Rogen unabashedly endearing, and Leslie Mann is great as the twitchily tense older sister. And at this point, between his Apatow work and his darker Neil Labute-style stuff, I pretty much want to have Paul Rudd's babies. He's great, per usual, in this one. And the soundtrack's solid, too. I just wish I hadn't read as many reviews beforehand as I did - kind of killed a few of the good jokes. So just go see it.

And then read this piece on Apatow from last week's NY Times Magazine. It's long, and sometimes a little dry, but revealing to a degree about a guy who's surely just cemented his place in the world of Hollywood comedy. I've gotta say, I appreciate the way this dude can weave some deep and dark wisdom into what looks ostensibly like light comedy. I found myself haltingly affected by a few of the lines in this film, and really appreciated the way he delved into Mann & Rudd's marriage to once again skewer a lot of the fairytale myths about notions of suburban bliss. Apatow complicates things in a way many screenwriters don't, and his characters show depth that you don't expect, and that's a persistently pleasant surprise. The scenes between Mann & Rudd in particular made me wince, because I've seen and heard those conversations amongst friends in real life...and nothing's easy, and no one's the guilty party necessarily, and yet everyone's a little miserable, and what can you do about that?

It'll make more sense if you see the film. But do, definitely do. If only for the charm of the scene where Rudd and Rogen are high on 'shrooms in a Vegas hotel room.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste


PET PEEVE: The Wedge.

So you're a forty-something suburban momma from the Central Valley. In anticipation of the big day trip to the City, you carefully select your most stylish and FABULOUS (read: sparkly, overmatched and uncouth) outfit to wow all those urban folks. You put on the push-up bra, rock the too-tight Old Navy v-neck along with some unfortunate khaki capris, throw on a few dated bangle bracelets and poof your hair up as much as possible. And then, the real kicker: you finish off the outfit with those hott new wedge espadrilles you just bought the other day. The ones with the lace-up thingie around the ankle. The ones with the 4-inch heel made entirely of fucking CORK. You squirt on a little overpriced heavy perfume, give the hair a fluff and take one last look in the mirror: DE-ammn, do you look good.

You load the fam into the SUV and roll up the interstate toward the Wharf. After sitting in traffic on the Embarcadero for six hours like all the other dumb nuts who drive in on sunny weekend afternoons, you finally park at some overpriced lot down by Pier 39, unload the kids and head off toward Alcatraz and the Hard Rock Cafe. Five minutes on, hobbling along the cobblestones, you realize you are a FUCKING IDIOT FOR WEARING THE GODDAMN WEDGES. And you spend the rest of the day trip bitching about how much your feet hurt in the ugliest shoes ever created.

I am sorry, I don't know what the deal is, but all of a sudden the Powers That Be have decided that ugly-ass cork-heeled wedge espadrilles are the way to go this summer, and I just have to say: NO. These are wrong. WRONG. So wrong they make my eyes hurt. Seriously, ladies. No one wears these well. They're cheap and ugly. They make you look like a) one of the prostitutes who hangs out on the corner of Larkin and Pine at 5 am, and b) like a fool when you're trying to stumble up a 45 degree hill on your frickin wedges. I don't care if you're 12 or 57; they don't look good, they don't walk well, and you look ridiculous. Unless you're Annette Funicello and it's 1959 on the beach, it's not working for you. Add the little ballerina lace-up things and you might as well just throw in the towel, 'cause it's over, sister.

The ads in this morning's paper had these things all over the place. Seriously? I mean, really?!?? People. Don't do it. Wear a nice little Audrey Hepburn ballet flat. Wear a classy peep-toe heel, a la Bettie Page. But just don't wear the goddamned wedges. Please. For the sake of us all. And especially your children.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions

So the SF Opera opens its summer season today, and of course it's not without a little drama. The season itself is heavy on the old standbys (e.g., tonight's opening production is "Don Giovanni"), but that's about where the traditional aspects end.

The Chron has an interesting article on the fancy-ass new technology they've installed in the opera house - all kinds of flat-screens and whatnot that will make the cheapie nosebleed seats seem a little less far away. I don't know how I feel about this - I mean, obviously, it'll be great to not need your opera binoculars every time you want to catch a glimpse of a face from up there - but at the same time, part of the lingering charm of opera is its absolute lack of reliance on things like microphones (no need for amplification is the hallmark of a TRUE singer, fer sure, no matter what those American Idol kids think) and television screens. The art comes down to the orchestral grandeur and the sheer projection power of those oh-so-trained voices themselves. I feel like these screens might be kind of distracting, too...

This David Gockley guy is new to the opera from Houston as of last fall and though the last season was still not his programming, we'll see more of his tastes this fall when his choices come into play. I noticed a few novelty quirks in the direction last season that I kind of loved and kind of hated. It's undeniable that he's making some great attempts to give a more populist spin to the local opera scene, however, and for that I definitely have to give him credit.

The other buzz going down right now is that they canned the woman who was supposed to star in Don Giovanni tonight on Wednesday after the final dress rehearsal. Holy drama. (Times article here) The added bit is that she's African-American, a local SF singer, and is being replaced by a (white) South African soprano. Oh gosh. Messy. We'll see how the reviews shape up, but if nothing else, the summer season is off to a dramatic start. We've got Strauss opening later this month, so look for a review or two in the next few weeks. Pretty psyched to have the divas going at it again after a few months of quiet from down Van Ness.