Matt Alber at Hotel Utah

On Friday night Thom and I went to see Matt Alber sing at the Hotel Utah. He looked and sounded great. We fell in love with his music back when his video for “End of the World” came out, with its unabashedly gay romance. (In 2009 when Thom and I had our wedding, we put his song “Walk with Me” on the CD favors.)

Matt Alber

He sang a bunch of songs from his CD Hide Nothing, including “Monarch,” “Field-trip Buddy,” “Walk with Me,” and “Rivers and Tides,” as well as other songs, both his own, like “The River,” and others’, like “Take a Bow” and a slow, soulful “Walking on Sunshine.” The Hotel Utah is a very small venue, and so it was packed and “sweaty” (his words) in there, but it was nice to see him in such an intimate space and hear him sing with just guitar or piano. He says he’s coming back to San Francisco this fall (Cafe du Nord next time), with a new CD, so I’m looking forward to seeing him again. Do check him out for heartfelt music and a voice you just want to curl up in.

Here’s the video for “End of the World,” which he sang and dedicated to his father for all his help and support:

Update: Matt Alber’s show at Joe’s Pub in New York on Monday, June 6 was webcast live and the video is now available online:


‘United We Love’

Last week our friend (and fellow marriage-equality advocate) Sean Chapin asked Thom and me if we would like to be featured in a music video he was making for a new version of his original song “United We Love.” We gladly said yes, and met up with him yesterday morning at Crissy Field in San Francisco to do the filming.

We walked around looking for good vantage points with the Golden Gate Bridge and finally came to Fort Point, which turned out to be a perfect spot. There were few people around and the fog was still hanging along the bridge, so it helped the dreamy mood that Sean was going for. We ran through a few takes and it was a lot of fun. Thom and I improvised our “conversation” — which you don’t hear of course — and it kept changing and getting more silly and absurd with each take. The final video uses our last take, and so we’re laughing so much.

Many thanks go to Sean for having created such a lovely song with its message of love and unity and for thinking of us to be a part of this video:

Last year in advance of our commitment ceremony, Thom and I mutually proposed to each other over Valentine’s Day dinner in Carmel. But now if people ask how we proposed, I think I’m going to whip out this video and say it happened like this. Haha. (Aside: How perfect is that pigeon that comes flying through the shot? I think it wants screen credit now.)

After the shoot as we walked back to the car, we saw Brian Wilson (San Francisco Giants closing pitcher, need I tell you) out for a run. Fear the beard! Sean, Thom, and I then wrapped up with brunch nearby at La Terrasse. A great day out in the City!


Idina Menzel with SF Symphony

Last night we went to see Idina Menzel with the San Francisco Symphony, and she was amazing. So funny, so charming, and of course what a voice! Here is the setlist:

Overture from Girl Crazy [symphony]

The Life of the Party (The Wild Party)
I’m Not That Girl (Wicked)
Love for Sale (The New Yorkers) / Roxanne
Funny Girl (Funny Girl)
No Day But Today (Rent)
Poker Face

Comedy Tonight (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) [symphony]
Send in the Clowns (A Little Night Music) [symphony]

Embraceable You (Girl Crazy)
Good Morning, Walker / I Feel So Smoochie
Look to the Rainbow (Finian’s Rainbow)
For Good (Wicked)
Defying Gravity (Wicked)

Tomorrow (Annie)

I wish I had brought my good camera with me, ’cause after the encore and during the several loud, cheering ovations it was a free-for-all with everyone’s cameras out. But we were sitting in the front row, dead center, so I can’t complain. When she sang “For Good,” unmiked and a cappella, it was like she was singing directly to us. Loved it. (I did have this fantasy that hubby Taye Diggs would show up and sit next to us, but he was at home in New York with their baby, Walker. Aww.)

In any case, I did just find a photo on Flickr (credit: T.J. DeGroat), and you can sort of make out me and Thom–we’re in the front row, towards the left of the picture, in the light shirts!

Idina Menzel @ Davies Hall

And there’s more! Here’s a YouTube video I found of “Poker Face,” where you can see us through the little square formed by the railings:

Idina’s tour continues on July 17 at Wolf Trap, and she’s coming back to California (Orange County) later this year.


Audra McDonald with SF Symphony

On Monday night we saw Audra McDonald sing with the San Francisco Symphony, and she was amazing, as usual. This isn’t a full-fledged review, but let’s just say the whole time she had me in a wonderful dreamy haze (alternating with cheering wildly). We had front-row center seats, so it was like she was singing just for us. Here’s her song list; it wasn’t listed in the program, so this is not necessarily complete or in order, only as Thom and I remembered them:

Gorgeous (The Apple Tree)
I Have Confidence (The Sound of Music)
It Might As Well Be Spring (State Fair) / Hurry, It’s Lovely Up Here (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever)
Will He Like Me? (She Loves Me)
Can’t Stop Talking (Let’s Dance)
Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe (Cabin in the Sky)
The Glamorous Life (A Little Night Music)
There Won’t Be Trumpets (Anyone Can Whistle)

Ribbons Down My Back (Hello, Dolly!)
Pure Imagination (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)
A Little Bit in Love (Wonderful Town)
I Wish I Were in Love Again (Babes in Arms)
Dividing Day (The Light in the Piazza)
Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
Old Maid (110 in the Shade)
I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady)
What Can You Lose? (Dick Tracy) / Not A Day Goes By (Merrily We Roll Along)
When Did I Fall in Love? (Fiorello!)

10,432 Sheep (The West Point Story)
Edelweiss (The Sound of Music)
Ain’t It the Truth? (Cabin in the Sky)

A few more notes:

  • The symphony also played The Carousel Waltz as a sort of entr’acte after the intermission.
  • Audra made good on her tweet in which she promised to sing the name of that Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, on a high A-flat. I can’t vouch for pronunciation, but it sure sounded pretty!
  • She told us that when she was a little girl, she auditioned with the song “Edelweiss” with her father accompanying her. (He died three years ago.) Last night she sang it unmiked, accompanied by guitar and violin. So beautiful and poignant.

For Audra’s appearances on PBS singing some of these and other songs, check out AudraMcDonaldFan‘s channel on YouTube.

We’re excited for a couple of upcoming “Summer and the Symphony” concerts: Pink Martini (we’re seeing them on June 2) and Idina Menzel (July 9). Ha, I guess it shows how little I blog anymore: my post about last year’s Pink Martini concert is still here on the home page!


Pink Martini with SF Symphony

A couple of weeks ago we saw Pink Martini with the San Francisco Symphony, and as expected they were amazing. We’d seen them here with the symphony in 2007, but this time I was on the ball when tickets went on sale, so we were sitting in the second row. It was great! And we ran into our friends Richard and Dennis at intermission, which was one of those “small-town San Francisco” moments.

Here’s the song list, as printed in the program:

Quizás quizás quizás (Farrés)
Tempo Perdido (Alves)
Sympathique (Forbes / Lauderdale)
Ebben? No andro lontana (Catalani)
Uskudar (Traditional)
Adagio from Concerto in F (Gershwin)
Pièce en forme d’Habanera (Boléro) (Ravel / Leyden)
¿Dónde Estás, Yolanda? (Jimenez)
Malagueña (Lecuona)

Splendor in the Grass (Marashian / Lauderdale)
Andalucia (Lecuona)
Sway (Gimbel / Ruiz)
Autrefois (Forbes / Lauderdale)
Praeludium and Allegro (Kreisler / Taylor)
The Flying Squirrel (Taylor / Lauderdale)
Amado Mio (Fisher / Roberts)
Il fox trot delle gigolettes (Lehár)
Carioca (Youmans / Eliscu / Kahn)
Aspettami (Forbes / Lauderdale)

For the encores, they did “What’ll I Do?” (Berlin) and “Brazil” (Barroso), and we joined in the conga line that went around the hall, led by bandleader Thomas Lauderdale. Fun!

After the concert, Thom and I went to Absinthe for a late dinner, and who should we see at the table across from us but Cloris Leachman! Apparently she was in town for the Pride parade the next day, in which she was one of the grand marshalls. (Here is Thom’s dark and surreptitious photo from over his shoulder.) On our way out Thom said hello to her as we passed her table, which turned into a conversation about the food, and then her manager (whom we later found out is one of her sons, I think?) started asking us what the local buzz was, if any, surrounding Cloris and her participation in Pride, so suddenly we were the voice of the LGBT community, heh.

And as we left the restaurant, we ran into Thomas Lauderdale, who was on his way in. I guess it was the place to be after the show.

By the way, Pink Martini will be back in the Bay Area later this year (tour schedule): Santa Rosa on October 1, and Mountain Winery on October 2.


Arlington, fo’ shizzle

I came across this Remy video today about Arlington, Virginia, and had to laugh:

Thom and I lived off Columbia Pike, so our closest Metro station was Pentagon City, but I totally remember all those places in Clarendon (“Clizzle dizzle”?) and Ballston. Funny stuff.

Speaking of Arlington, a few months ago a Flickr photo of mine (of an “I Voted in Arlington” sticker, from about four years ago) was used as part of the cover of this year’s Arlington County Profile, an annual publication of the county planning department. A staff demographer had contacted me about using the photo, and I said sure. She recently sent me a copy in the mail (PDF available). Neat!


Flight of the Conchords in Berkeley

Last week on Memorial Day we went to see our favorite (or the only?) comedy band from New Zealand, Flight of the Conchords, and it was fantastic. The concert, at the Berkeley Community Theatre, started late because apparently there were problems with fire alarms in a nearby building, but once that was settled, it was a solid couple hours of hilarity. Arj Barker opened with a great stand-up routine, and we’re definitely going to try and see him when he comes to Cobb’s in July.

Here’s the set list from the concert, in order:

Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor
Hurt Feelings
The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)
I Told You I Was Freekie
I’m Not Crying
Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros
Foux du Fafa
Tour Guide
Business Time

“We’re Both in Love with a Sexy Lady” goes in there somewhere, but I forget exactly where. I was taking notes on my phone and was probably overtaken by the aforementioned hilarity.

See also the Bay Guardian music blog for some photos.


Dueling country roads

I thought last night’s episodes of The Office were just OK, but Dwight and Andy’s dueling performance of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (to impress the new receptionist) was pretty hilarious. “In German! Das Leben ist alt dort…”

Aside: That song will always remind me of our vacation in 2007 to, of all places, the Philippines. A bunch of us were having drinks at the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay, being serenaded by a roving trio of guitarists. We talked to them a bit, and when they learned that Thom was from Virginia, they broke out into “Take Me Home, Country Roads”! Ha! We were all singing along; it was great.

Oh, wait, I just dug through my photos of that trip (which I still haven’t uploaded completely to Flickr!), and found one of the players: so it was two guitars and a bass. That’s my uncle and cousin in the foreground. Good times.

Taal Vista Hotel