Thursday, February 11, 2016

Iris Willow, Jersey Boys, Scoot, Paul Fericano, Dennis Dybeck, Kit Muldoon’s passing and an elegy poem for Kit Muldoon

Spending time with my daughter
(photo by Bert Fan)

SAN FRANCISCO … The nicest part of taking off for California to honor my old parish priest on his 90th birthday was spending time with my daughter Iris Willow and my son-in-law Bertrand Fan. As I explained last week, we decided to take advantage of city life and did three major theatrical productions – both the nationally renowned American Conservatory Theater’s Satchmo at the Waldorf in the ornate Geary Theater and the working-class Marsh Studio Theater’s production of Echo Brown’s Black Virgins Are Not For Hipsters in the Mission District. Both were extraordinary … But we tried our luck, decided to go for broke and paid $100 each to see a traveling version of a Broadway musical as well.

JERSEY BOYS … I’ve never made it to Broadway, although I’ve seen my share of musicals. But never as professional or polished a production as this. Watching it in the landmark Orpheum Theatre helped … I had a vague memory of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. But soon as I heard Sherry baby, it all came flooding back to me. That classic early Sixties sound. Part of my adolescent yearning. And that later hit, Big Girls Don’t Cry … These weren’t world-changing songs. But they were pop hits. It’s about that great American dream of success. And Valli does succeed. But the story is kind of a sad one. Yes, he and his buddies made it from street kids to pop sensations, but at quite a cost. Betrayals. Suicides. Huge disappointments. So, in the end, in spite of all the fame and fortune, it’s a bittersweet story … But nothing bitter about the production. It was fantastic music, dancing, costumes, staging, everything. What you’d expect from an amazing show like this … And it taught so many lessons as only theater can do. Making other people’s lives come alive in such pointed scenes that you can’t help talking away things in your own life from the dazzle of the acting and emotional avalanche of experience recreated … I’m hoping to go see more theater, locally, in Denver and back in SF, when I get back there. I can’t think of any artistic medium that moves me more than live theater.

(Photo by Iris Willow)

SCOOT … Maybe the most surprising and fun activity Iris and I had were renting electric motor scooters and tooling around the San Francisco hills, visiting friends, going to museums, taking in some of the great restaurants that seem to be as prolific as San Juan boletes in a good year. Scoot, the name of the service, uses smart phone technology to actually run the scooters. You get one at one site, drive it around, take it to a battery-replenishing site or park it and use another one. The smart phone keeps track of everything and takes the money from your on-file card. You don’t deal with people. Just machines. They have a range of 20+ miles, which works in SF, but maybe not in many sprawling cities … But we drove all around Golden Gate Park. Visited the new De Young Museum thanks to poet buddy Dennis Dybeck. Met up with poet Paul Fericano and sem buddy Kerry Yates and had a great lunch at Pacific Catch. Toured a couple museums, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum and a great show, Chasing Justice – artwork depicting the union organizing of some great Russian-Jewish activists in the automobile industry in the 1930s … Easy to park. Gasoline-free. We even found Vermont St. – the twisting roadway in Bernal Heights that’s as crooked as Lombard Street but without the tourists … If you’re adventuresome, let me recommend Scoot as the best way to tour San Francisco on one’s own.
Art, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Kit Muldoon, SETH at a performance in Denver

KIT MULDOON … Many in Colorado’s poetry community mourned the loss of this dear heart, who succumbed to cancer last week after a long illness. There was a memorial reading at the legendary Mercury Café in Denver, where she often read, including at the annual end-of-the-year Erotic Festival of Poetry. I got to read the poem below I’d written in her honor, as did Ted Vaca (who offered the near-homeless Muldoon a hospice room in his house with his family for the last six months of her life – bless him!), Jimi Bernath, Roseanna Frechette and many other of her poet friends. She will be missed.

Kit on Valentine's at the Merc (Photo by Andy O'Leary)


Picking Red

-for Kit Kalriess Muldoon

There it was. A red kerchief left
in the Denver Museum parking
lot. Unclaimed. Run over

Do I stoop to pick it up
& wave its dust aloft
into my floating world?

A gesture, maybe. Like Kit's
all in red, sharing
center stage with the Erotic

Or conjuring stone soup
for sodden poets in the San
Juan shelter of her worn van

Making more than just
do, with meager pickings
Making a feast. That's it!

That’s Kit, McRedeye sez
Making a feast of adversities
And for us, in our sadnesses

it’s picking up on the red
brilliance she’s left us

Not dead cloth left behind

1 comment:

  1. More fine scratch from the indefatigable, indomitable, irrepressable Bard of Wherever He May Be... let the Goodtimes roll forever. Imagine 20 miles a Scoot... a new way to keep Greeners within manageable reach. But not this one. He'll just grab another. Blowtorch Leo. Behold the reincarnation of Herb Caen, on steroids.


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