Monday, November 21, 2011

My Town Monday: The Drowsy Chaperone, San Diego, CA

It's that time of year when, here in the US, we're thawing our turkeys, baking our pies and thinking about what we're thankful for.

Well, I'm thankful Jim Williams ended his hiatus of sixteen years and returned to the stage.

Here's Jim Williams as Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone, currently playing at the Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, Coronado, CA. (619) 435-4856

This past weekend, Mr. Summy, two good friends and I went to see The Drowsy Chaperone. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's one of the best plays we've seen in the last four years (which is when we started regularly going to the theater together). And we ALL loved The Drowsy Chaperone--no mean feat for people who have trouble agreeing on which sushi rolls to order.

In brief, The Drowsy Chaperone is a very funny musical comedy. From the Coronado Playhouse's website: This hilarious show-within-a-show begins when a die-hard musical comedy fan dusts off his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone. The album magically bursts to life and the audience is instantly immersed in the glamorous, comical tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day.

I called Jim after the play to ask him a few questions for this post (yes, I'm that kind of pushy blogger).

Me: So, what ended the sixteen-year hiatus? Did the stars align? You won the lottery? Your wife threatened to leave if you didn't get back on stage? Seriously, tell us and we'll make it happen again.

Jim: It was the play. When it first came out on Broadway, my daughter gave me the CD. Then I saw it in Orange County. And I said that if The Drowsy Chaperone ever comes to San Diego, the Man in Chair is the one part that will pull me out of this hiatus.

Me: Which begs the question...why did you take sixteen years off? Did the stars misalign? You lost the lottery? Your wife threatened to leave if you didn't spend more time at home? Seriously, tell us and we'll make sure it doesn't happen again.

Jim: It was a combination of Santee* losing its place for performing, and my wife and I deciding to do a bunch of traveling. And it was a nice break. When I did theater in the eighties and nineties, I was in rehearsal Monday through Thursday and then in performance, perhaps at different theater, on the weekend. This went on for about fifteen years.

Me: What was it like, jumping back in the saddle, er, the armchair, after so much time away?

Jim: When I was first preparing for my audition and I was trying to memorize a monologue, I thought this is never going to work. Then, the next day, I discovered I’d remembered more than I was expecting. Also, I really didn’t think I’d get cast for the part.

Me: And how’s it been?

Jim: Exhilarating! A lot of this is due to the cast of the show who were wonderful to me. They’re all extremely talented. And you couldn’t ask for a better producer or director. It’s been a thrill!

Me: What’s next? And if you say another sixteen-year hiatus, you understand there are people who might hurt you. ☺

Jim: What I really really want to do most is work with my kids and grandkids in theatre. So, I’m on the look-out for a good role and the opportunity to work on stage with my kids and grandkids.

Me: Directors and producers of San Diego County, you heard the man! Thanks, Jim, for the interview. And thank you for The Drowsy Chaperone! In kid/teen lingo, you rocked the house!

(*Santee is our little corner of San Diego county.)

The Drowsy Chaperone is playing at the Coronado Playhouse until Dec. 4. I can't recommend it highly enough. The show boasts a TON of talent. Debbie David's (the drowsy chaperone herself) delivery was impeccable; I couldn't have laughed harder. Tiffany Loui was a most energetic bride-to-be. We will be sure to see everything directed by Thomas Fitzpatrick; he's that good. It was a trip seeing Jessica Brandon, Manny Bejarano, Meredith Russo and Katie Beth Umlor on stage again. Really, I feel bad not mentioning everyone associated with this play!

Here’s a link to the theater: The Coronado Playhouse. Do something nice for yourself and go see this play.

Please check out the posts by the other My Town Monday participants by clicking here.

Oh, and disclaimer: I wasn't compensated for this post. I'm just a blogger who likes a good play....and a good book...and a bag of fresh licorice.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Town Monday: the Chameleon Cage, San Diego, CA

Welcome to a My-Town-Monday post. I'm a little late getting this up. I had a dental appointment this morning. However, my dentist was a no-show, and I ended up running a few errands since I was already out and about.

It's been a while since I wrote about our male and female veiled chameleons (Mr. Cone Head and Fat Letta, respectively), and I thought I'd bring you up to date on Fat Letta.

Fat Letta, our female veiled chameleon, around 4 years old. Don't mind the white skin on her head. She's shedding. (photographed with my droid)

Unless you're into veiled chameleons, you probably aren't paying much attention to the fact that she's not holding herself up on her legs, but is resting on her belly. Poor Fat Letta is calcium depleted, and her bones aren't doing particularly well. I give her a sticky liquid calcium by oral syringe twice a day in the hopes of improving her condition. I also hold a bowl of crickets close to her for feeding as there's no way she could get around the cage on her shaky legs.

Fat Letta is an over-achiever in the egg deparment, and that's the cause of her bone problems. She insists on producing eggs every couple of months. About a month ago, she tunnelled down in the five-gallon Home Depot flower bucket to lay 30+ eggs. In the morning, she was still in the tunnel of cold, damp sand. Not a good sign. She used to tunnel down, lay her eggs, smooth the sand over so I had no idea where she'd deposited the eggs, then climb up to the top of cage to bask under the heat lamp.

This last time, my heart in my throat, I reached into the tunnel to lift out her cold, still body. I really thought she'd died, but then she blinked at me. Fat Letta is almost four years old. I believe veiled chameleons live 4-5 years in capitivity. The vet has suggested a hysterectomy. But, even to me, a crazy chameleon lover, this sounds a little over the top. You can imagine Mr. Summy's response!

These braided branches give Fat Letta a thicker area for grasping with her sore feet. (photographed with my droid)

I returned home today after my almost-dental appointment to find Fat Letta on the bottom of the cage. I think she lost her balance (her front legs are especially weak) and fell off her branch. I braided in extra branches (they're fake) and will figure out a way to fashion a net partway down the cage.

Sorry to not have better news. However, the fat lady hasn't sung yet. Perhaps the calcium will kick in. In addition, I've changed the UV bulb, in case that's exacerbating the bone issue.

Please check out the posts by the other My Town Monday participants by clicking here. No doubt they're a little cheerier.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Book Review Club (November 2011)

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means, it's time for The Book Review Club! Hello and welcome! The reviewers have done an awesome job, so please scoll down. You won't be sorry. See the photo of the woman on the left? That's Kelly Hayes, my critique partner. It's always a treat to read a review by Kelly, and I'm happy to report I managed to talk her into reviewing a book for us this month. Take it away, Kelly!


It’s 1954 in Charlotte, NC, and 13-year-old Jubie Watts hasn’t yet made the transition from child to young adult. But all that is about to change. Jubie’s mother packs Jubie, her three siblings, and the family’s black maid, Mary in to the car for a road trip to visit family in Florida. For reasons only guessed at by Jubie, her father is not coming with them.

As they drive the sweltering southern roads, Jubie recalls her family’s past and the recent events that have led to the disintegration of her parents’ marriage. Her father’s physical abuse of her and her mother, his roving eye, and his deep-seeded racism all begin to come to light in Jubie’s mind. She tries to reconcile all this with the image of her beloved daddy, but she just can’t see him with a child’s eye anymore.

While staying with her uncle, Jubie develops a profound crush on a fifteen-year-old black boy. Her mind begins to open further and she starts to see the everyday racism all around her. The brunt of it falls on Mary, who has been for Jubie the kind, nurturing presence that her emotionally cold mother could never be. As the family travels deeper into the South, Jubie witnesses people treating Mary as little more than a talking animal. None of this fits with the intelligent, vibrant woman she knows Mary to be and Jubie begins to confront her own inherited prejudices.

Violence simmers beneath the surface of Anna Jean Mayhew’s southern setting. The centerpiece of the story is a violent act that rocks the foundations of Jubie’s narrow world. How she comes to terms with it is what makes this book so moving and heartfelt. Jubie reminds us that rebellion is at the heart of every revolution, be it political or personal. And that we have to stand for what we know in our hearts is right, not matter what society tells us.
The Dry Grass of August invites comparisons because of its setting, protagonist, and subject matter. The Help, The Secret Life of Bees, and of course, To Kill a Mocking Bird all portray coming of age in the segregated South, and they do it well. Anna Jean Mayhew’s book, however, takes an unflinching and personal look at a dark time in our country’s recent history through the eyes of a young white girl on her way to becoming a free-thinking adult. And much like Scout, Jubie will live in the reader’s mind for a long time to come.

Thanks, Kelly, for the thoughtful review. You've convinced me to read this book. And, now, scroll down for links to all the reviews. It's certainly an interesting lot this month!


Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: RED SLED by Lita Judge


Jody Feldman: FLOORS by Patrick Carman (Middle Grade)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE ATMOIC WEIGHT OF SECRETS by Eden Unger Bowditch (Middle Grade, Fantasy)

Beth Yarnall: ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake (Young Adult, Paranormal)

Sarah Laurence: JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta (Young Adult)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson (Young Adult)


Stacy of The Cat's Meow: A SUMMER IN EUROPE by Marilyn Brant (women's fiction)

Scott Parker: THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman (fantasy)

Kathy Holmes: THE GOD'S WIFE by Lynn Voedisch (paranormal historical)

Patti Abbott NEMESIS by Philip Roth

Linda McLaughlin: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA by Jules Verne (science fiction)

Kaye of the Road Goes Ever Ever On: PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dalls

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova


Stacy Nyikos: BAD ISLAND by Doug TenNapel

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. I've been especially disorganized this month! Thank you so much for your reviews!