Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Conservatory Theatre Center Earns Kudos in SF Bay Times Best Theatre of 2007

Congratulations to Ed Decker and the crew at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco for earning kudos in the San Francisco Bay Times Best Theatre of 2007!

Take Me Out was listed as the numero uno play of 2007 in San Francisco Theatre and the current running Based on a Totally True Story is number 3. Several other NCTC shows received honorable mention, including The Big Voice, Jim Brochu’s one-man Zero Hour, Farm Boys, The Dying Gaul, and Wilde Boys.

You can read the SF Bay Times theatre listing here.

My discussion of Based on a Totally True Story is here. You still have a few days to check out it out! For tickets, visit www.nctcsf.org now.

NCTC has a great line up in store for early 2008 as well, including In Gabriel's Kitchen, the debut play of Salvatore Antonio, centering on an Italian-Canadian family's reaction to their son's homosexuality. For Gabriel, the youngest son, falling in love leads to decisions which cannot be reversed. For Gabriel's family, the subsequent loss of their favorite child means a silence of denial and the slow crumbling of a family built on Old World morals.



Other upcoming plays include I Am My Own Wife, and Mormon American Princess. Based upon the success of NCTC's lineup in 2007, these are sure to be theatre worth seeing in 2008!

Jeffery

Bid Adieu to 2007 with Good Riddance Day

Have you had enough of 2007 already? With only a few more days remaining in the year, it's time to assess the successes, failures, trials and tribulations of 2007!

This year was filled with highs and lows for me - I was let go from one employer after months of lay off speculation and found a new opportunity with a really great company that has potential. That was a win in my book. I had time between jobs to spend a week with my dad in Montana - that was another win. My employer paid for me to attend a meeting in Barcelona where I was able to spend additional time with friends before going to Paris to connect with Tom and friends - another win. This year was a roller coaster, but in the end, with the benefit of hindsight, it wasn't all that bad.

What's important is to bid good riddance to the trials of 2007 and focus on making 2008 an even better year!

Here's to a great 2008, devoid of Britney Spears' BS, Lindsay "LiLo" Lohan, and Paris "Poor Me" Hilton headlines. Also, resolution of the mortgage crisis, presidential candidates who focus on their own capability to broker real solutions and lead the country, and peace in the Middle East with the terrorists realizing that intimidation and violence are not the only means of achieving their political aims would be nice accomplishments for the year.

Peace and Happy New Year!

Jeffery

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Based On A Totally True Story at New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco

Based On A Totally True Story is a FUN new comedy playing at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco.

Benjamin Pither (center) plays Ethan, a neurotic, insecure comic book writer/playwright in the midst of making it big in Hollywood. His handsome writer boyfriend, played by Brandon Finch (left), is caught in the whirlwind as Ethan struggles to maintain his comic book writing career, manage his father's mid-life crisis and deal with a burgeoning screen writing career.

Micheala Greeley (right) provides comic relief in the intense, high strung, anxiety-fraught life of Ethan Keene, playing the role of Ethan's zany and demanding agent and producer, Mary Ellen.

Enigmatic British pop sensation MIKA provides a lighthearted soundtrack throughout the show, including a special closing performance by the cast. You can watch MIKA's debut video "Grace Kelly" from Life in Cartoon Motion below.


And...the Best Bubble Butt On Stage Award goes to....Benjamin Pither! Don't worry, Benjamin, I have a boyfriend and I'm not a stalker. In addition to being a VERY talented actor and an all around NICE guy, I think you have a great A$$ on stage. Oops...did I say that outloud?

Go see Based On A Totally True Story!
For tickets, visit
http://www.nctcsf.org

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Limited Engagement - Zero Hour with Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco

This is a really wonderful, dramatic, enlightening performance. You will regret it the rest of your life if you miss this opportunity to see Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel in Zero Hour. (Yes, that is a threat!)

I had the pleasure of seeing Jim's performance during a special benefit at NCTC a few months ago.  Admittedly, I was not very familiar with Zero Mostel prior to seeing Zero Hour.  However, afterward, I felt like I had been entertained and enlightened all in one evening.  

The performance was a thought provoking biopic covering the life of Zero Mostel from his early years through blacklisting during the McCarthy era to the height of his career in shows such as "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Fiddler on the Roof," and "The Producers."


Here is an interview with Jan Wahl and Jim Brochu discussing Zero Hour and the life of Zero Mostel.



Visit the New Conservatory Theatre Center at http://www.nctcsf.org for tickets and more great shows!

-Jeff

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mont Saint Michel, Normandy

Just a picture of me...
Mont Saint Michel, Normandy - North coast of France
(c) 2006 Jeffery A. Faris

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Judy Garland Sings Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, MIKA, Elton and More. Oh My!

If you happen to be in San Francisco in the next few weeks, check out Connie Champagne as Judy Garland in "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." It is a really fun show! Connie does an amazing job of portraying a modern repertoire in classic Judy-style.

In addition to covering Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, Elton John, MIKA -- Judy also performs hits from John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

The only non-Garland, post-Wizard of Oz, We're Not In Kansas Anymore, ruby red slipper, yellow brick road song she did not touch upon was something from the musical Wicked.

The show runs Fri - Sat - Sun through August 12 at the New Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.


http://www.nctcsf.org

Jeffery

Sunday, February 25, 2007

MIKA Relax (Take it Easy) from Life In Cartoon Motion

Took a ride to the end of the line
Where no one ever goes.
Ended up on a broken train with nobody I know.
But the pain and the (longings) the same.
(Where the dying
Now I'm lost and I'm screaming for help.)

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

It's as if I'm scared.
It's as if I'm terrified.
It's as if I scared.
It's as if I'm playing with fire.
Scared.
It's as if I'm terrified.
Are you scared?
Are we playing with fire?

Relax
There is an answer to the darkest times.
It's clear we don't understand but the last thing on my mind
Is to leave you.
I believe that we're in this together.
Don't scream – there are so many roads left.

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

It's as if I'm scared.
It's as if I'm terrified.
It's as if I scared.
It's as if I'm playing with fire.
Scared.
It's as if I'm terrified.
Are you scared?
Are we playing with fire?

Relax
Relax






Also, visit: Jeff's MySpace Page.

To learn more about MIKA, visit MIKA - Smart, Sexy, Rising Start Muscian from UK

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mika - Smart, Sexy, Rising Star Musician from UK

Check out MIKA on MySpace or on MikaSounds- a smart, sexy, rising star musician from the UK. MIKA was born in Lebanon and has spent much of his life in France and the UK. He brings a fresh, new sound to BritPop that is reminiscent of Queen and NYC's Sissor Sisters.

Mika's single "Grace Kelly" is at the top of UK music charts and is the #1 download on iTunes UK. His first album "Life in Cartoon Motion" was recently released in the UK and it is also at the top of the charts. It is scheduled to be released in the US on March 27, 2007.

Two singles, "Grace Kelly" and "Love Today" are available for download from iTunes in the US. The "Grace Kelly" video is awesome - check it out! There are some beautiful ladies that bring food to the party toward the end of the video - Mika said during an interview that they are family friends. I'll bet that there are other family members scattered throughout the party scene!

Musical talent is in the family gene pool. Mika's brother Fortuné provides backup vocal on "Lollipop" and "Any Other World" while his sister Paloma provides backup vocals on "Big Girl - You Are Beautiful" according to Discogs.

MIKA writes many of his own lyrics and music and he has a wonderful improvisational style and ability to create amazing sounds and effects, in addition to his singing, with his voice.

Show MIKA some LOVE by voting for him on AOL Music. He will be featured if he has the most votes by the end of March - GO VOTE NOW!

Here are some other people who are showing their LOVE for MIKA:

MIKA's Fan Club
Mika "Grace Kelly"
Pop Culture - Mika
Jumping on the Mika Bandwagon
Perez Hilton Valentine's Day Greeting from Mika

In fact, you can read ALL 10 of Perez's post here. Mika is that awesome!

J'aime les cheveux bouclés des Mika!

Jeffery in SF

( Photo Source: From Mika Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/mikamyspace )

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Armani and Ferragamo Discontinue New Merchandise Shipments to Macy's Stores - Customer Service Atrocious!


Armani and Ferragamo Discontinue New Merchandise Shipments to Macy's Stores - Customer Service Atrocious!

The consolidation and transformation of the Bon Marche, May's, and Marshall-Fields into Macy's is supposed to be a good thing, right? You have a huge retail merchandising conglomerate, Federated, that has tremendous purchasing power and influence over vendors. Theoretically, they can secure favorable deals with vendors and make a nice profit while passing savings along to consumers.

It appears that some major high end brands are pulling their merchandise from Macy's stores. According to two sales associates at the Macy's Men's Store in San Francisco, both Ferragamo and Armani are pulling new merchandise from Macy's stores. They didn't provide a rationale for the change, but my personal opinion is that it is because Macy's sucks. Rather than raising the bar with their multiple acquisitions and the consolidation of multiple retailers, they have lowered themselves to the lowest common denominator (in this case, the Bon Marche).

The only theoretic benefit Federated has is their real estate - they have many prime locations throughout the US and they can focus their efforts on stores that are performing well and close locations that are underperforming. However, Federated has made a big, BIG strategic mistake by consolidating their acquisition under the Macy's brand and then lowering the quality, service and selection of merchandise.

The addition of a new Bloomingdales's in the renovated San Francisco City Center, only blocks from Macy's on Union Square, represents unnecessary duplication as both are Federated brands.

A recent visit to the Macy's Men's store in San Francisco's Union Square was a nightmare!

Here's a run down of my dealings with Macy's Associate #277632 on Terminal 511 (2/17/07 at 4:27 PM in the SF Men's Store at Union Square):
  1. The shoe guy was retarded when I asked questions about the shoes - he didn't now which ones were on sale and couldn't really provide any details about the shoes (Nike and Adidas running shoes - pretty basic).
  2. I told him I take a 9 or 9.5 depending upon the shoe - he repeated it twice and then only brought me the size 9.
  3. He handed me the box and watched while I struggled to pull the paper wadded up in the toe out in shreds and untie the knotted shoe strings. He didn't offer to help with a shoe horn.
  4. He partially rang me up and then another associate threw my receipt at me because he wanted the cash register.
That was the extent of my interaction at the Miserable Macy's Men's Store in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, I had to shop at Macy's because I had a gift card to redeem, otherwise I would have made my purchase at Nordstrom. I love Nordstrom. They offer excellent service, a good selection of products AND they have reasonable prices. Neiman Marcus and Saks are too expensive for my budget, but I can splurge at Nordstrom.

I would love to see FD tank during their 4Q Earnings Webcast on February 27, 2007. However, their same store sales were up in November and they reported increases of 8.6% on Feb. 8th. If they had to drastically reduce prices to get hit these sales targets, their revenue may still be out of reach.

A well known investor, Carl Icahn, recently indicated a desire to more than tripled his stake in Federated Department Stores. Mr. Icahn is a well known for shaking things up at GM and Time Warner and he is involved with many other companies. He moves in on companies where he thinks the management is doing a poor job and then tries to get on the Board of Directors. He has had some success and who knows what this will mean for Federated Department Stores.

I think that Federated management is going to get spanked!

There are a number of other interesting comments regarding Federated Department Stores:

How to Kill a Brand
Will Macy's Attract Loyal Customers?
Not Satisfied with Macy's
Macy's Struggles
Marshall Fields by Any Other Name
Macy's Name Change Backfires
Tough Row to Hoe for Macy's


Ciao,

Jeffery in SF


Saturday, January 20, 2007

In Gabriel's Kitchen Premiere's at NCTC

In Gabriel's Kitchen, a play written by Salvatore Antonio, centering on an Italian-Canadian family's reaction to their son's homosexuality. For Gabriel, the youngest son, falling in love leads to decisions which cannot be reversed. For Gabriel's family, the subsequent loss of their favorite child means a silence of denial and the slow crumbling of a family built on Old World morals.

Directed by Christopher Jenkins, the US premier features Ana Bayat, Harry Breaux, Juan Carlos De La Rosa, Alex Kirschner and Brian J. Patterson

Check out New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco for tickets!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cancun New Years 2007

I had a wonderful time visiting Cancun for the first time for New Years 2007!

It is definitely a tourist city filled with Americans. If you are hoping to practice your Spanish, forget it! Everyone speaks English and assumes that you do not speak Spanish.

The Mayan ruins are wonderful Chichen Itza and Tolume are a definite must in addition to resting and relaxing on the beautiful beaches.

These are some photos from the trip - GLOW, a gay disco was fun after 2AM when the locals showed up. Prior to 2AM, it was tourists and very slow. Plan accordingly and take a nap before going out to keep up with the local disco crowd.

The Coco Bongo Club (lower photo) was fun, but really a nightmare in terms of crowd size and crowd control. We were not allowed to sit at a table (not sure why) and there were very long lines for everything! People were constantly stepping over us and spilling beer and cocktails on us. It is a fun experience if you get over the total lack of crowd control measures and the poor service. They act like you should just be happy to get in and the staff was rude.

Ciao,

Jeffery in SF