Friday, October 10, 2008

CD Pick of the Week: Acquaragia Drom
People, get this one. Rom Kaffe by the Italian band Acquaragia Drom. This is feisty Italian gypsy music featuring vocals, strings, horns, clarinet, accordion, and more. It’s crazy and fun, like the weirdest circus to ever come to town. You’ll peek through the shutters of your window as they pass through the streets, playing their music. And before you know it, you’ll be part of the parade. I liked every track, each one leads to some sort of surprise. These guys must be fabulous in concert.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Get out of our politics
Yeah, Mormons, I'm talking to you. According to this San Francisco Chronicle article, out of state Mormons are being recruited for a telephone campaign in support of Prop 8.

First off, I'm just pissed that non-Californians are trying to dictate our state politics. But I the only one who sees the irony in the Mormons (of all groups) trying to legally define what marriage is? This group was persecuted, exiled and, at times, killed for their non-traditional marriages. (Yes, I know that plural marriages was a long time ago and it is no longer part of the Mormon religion.) But the fact remains that, historically, one of the reasons why they ended up in Utah is because they got chased out of everywhere else because non-Mormons didn't like plural marriages.

And here they are, trying to inflict the same prejudice they experienced on another group.

People, don't vote for hatred. Don't discriminate against an entire section of society just because you don't "agree" with how they live. They're not asking for your approval, just looking for equality.

No on 8. Or don't you be coming back here...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Watch out for that pipe wrench!
In my ongoing attempt to embarrass myself in public, I will admit to liking the 80's A-Ha hit "Take on Me." And yeah, I like the video too. Which is why I found Take on Me: The Literal Video Version to be hilarious. (Thanks to Husband for pointing this out to me.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

In praise of Colma
One of the most pleasant film-surprises of the past year has been Colma: The Musical, a delightful independent movie filmed in, you guessed it, Colma. I recently saw it on the Sundance channel and Husband and I were both smitten.

It is a musical, with clever lyrics and delightfully inventive direction, not to mention some very strong performances. For me the stand-out was the incredibly talented H.P. Mendoza who stars as Rodel, a young gay man and aspiring writer with some serious family issues. Mr. Mendoza also wrote the screenplay and the music (don't you just hate people who can do everything?).

We finished watching it a few days ago and there are several scenes that really stick in my mind, including one beautiful number featuring couples waltzing in a graveyard and a solo number featuring Mendoza singing about his "happy place."

If you have the chance to rent, buy, or watch this one, I highly recommend it. It's especially captivating for those of us who grew up on the Peninsula and know exactly where (and what) Colma is.

Monday, October 06, 2008

So I'm searching my family tree. It's fascinating, and harder work that you'd think. So far I've hit dead ends on both my mother's and my father's side of the family. On my mother's side I'm hampered by the fact that her maiden name is maddeningly common and that her mother's family has a last name that nobody knows how to spell (seriously, I've tried every spelling I can think of to no avail). On my father's side I can trace his maternal side to the first ones to come to the US from France, but on his father's side I can't get past my dad's grandfather. But I shall keep searching.

It's peculiar how interested I am in my family history, considering how I'm not the most familial of creatures. But I really want to know where I come from. Unfortunately my father is dead and my mother's memory isn't too sharp these days so I'm running out of people to ask for details. We have some of them written down from years ago, but nobody has done anything to document it. So I am. It's both intriguing and infuriating that each new discovery only raises more questions. For example, I found a census with my great-grandmother (on my mother's side) on it. It says she was born in Canada (but doesn't say where), that her mother was born in Ireland (doesn't say where) and her father was born in Scotland (again, doesn't say where). The big problem is that the men in my mom's family have names that are the Scottish equivalent of "John Smith." Do a search for my grandfather's name and you'll likely find a thousand men.

I'm working on Husband's family as well. In actual fact his family tree is more interesting than mine (including a great-great grandmother with the glorious name of Araminta), but here too I can only get so far. It's an exercise in patience and research (I love to research things, but I haven't much patience) and I know I'll eventually make breakthroughs (at least I hope I will). I have no visions of tracing either family back to William the Conquerer or Charlemagne, but it would be nice to have more information about who we come from.