San Francisco

I left Orange County at about 1:00 p.m. today. After driving for eight hours, I’m still in California. It’s almost disappointing. When you’ve put 400 miles on the odometer, you feel like you should be in some far off, exotic place.

Anyway, the trip up to San Francisco was uneventful (read: boring). There is so little of interest to look at. It’s pretty much the same way wherever you go from the Los Angeles area. Have you made the drive to Palm Springs or Las Vegas? I used to make the Irvine-to-Vegas run all the time when I was tired, and lemme tell you it ain’t no picnic. Especially on a holiday weekend. I once got stuck in traffic on I-15 during a three day weekend and it took me 21 hours to make the 300 mile trip. No shit. The road was so congested that you couldn’t even get off in Baker or Barstow to get a hotel room. I swore I would never again travel to Las Vegas on a holiday weekend, and I haven’t.

I feel kind of guilty, because I’ll be missing two days of Pagliacci/Carmina Burana rehearsal while I’m up here. I think this is my tenth show with Opera Pacific, and I’ve only missed one rehearsal since I started singing with the company in 1995. If there was ever a show where missing rehearsals was a bad idea, this is it. We’re onstage for the entire evening. The only time we’ll see our dressing rooms is… well, when we get dressed. It’s nice to feel like you’re really earning your paycheck, though.

Hmm. I’m making it sound like I dread this weekend. I don’t. Sure, my college friends are partying down in Mexico, and I’m missing it. But San Francisco is fun city. My travel agent managed to get me into the Monticello Inn which, in addition to its colonial charm, is only a couple of blocks away from American Conservatory Theatre’s offices at 30 Grant Avenue where the auditions are being held. The Monticello is in the heart of the Union Square area, a shoppers paradise and home to San Francisco’s “theatre district”. The Geary Theatre, Curan Theatre, Theatre on the Square, S.F. Actor’s Theatre, and numerous other companies are located within blocks of each other.

The more time I spend in San Fran, the more it seems to be a west coast replica of New York City. It has the high-rises, congestion, foot traffic, eclectic culture, and bank-breaking cost of NYC. It even has it’s own equivalent of New Jersey: Oakland. But one of my favorite things to do while in the Bay Area is sample the cuisine. Tonight, for example, I hit a little place on Sutter which had a live six piece jazz combo. The ordering was a bit limited because it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and they have a special menu in use, but the food was as good as I’ve come to expect from the vaunted proprietors of downtown San Francisco. After the long drive, it was great to eat a leisurely dinner and soak up the mellow acoustic sound which permeated the room.

Tomorrow is going to be an early day, with three auditions scheduled before noon, so I’m gonna pack it in.


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