Friday, December 21, 2007

Off to See the Wizard

I spent the evening with good witches and bad witches, with lions and scarecrows, with munchkins, with tin men, with big Dorothys and little Dorothys, and a little dog too.

And queens. Lots and lots of queens.

Davies Hall, home to the San Francisco Symphony, may have been the gayest place in San Francisco last night, when the symphony presented The Wizard of Oz shown on a big screen, with live musical accompaniment provided by the symphony orchestra.

We had started the day with Walt's physical therapy appointment in Sacramento (a short one this time) and then we drove to Woodland to do a bit of shopping. I was driving thru the parking lot when this older gentleman in a truck started backing right into me. There was a car behind me so I had nowhere to go and honked the horn several times, but he didn't see or hear me and smashed right into the front of the car.

The damage is minimal and I know it will raise the old folks' insurance if we report it, so we decided we'd just live with the damage (tho we haven't told them that yet).

Around 3, we fed all the dogs and hit the road heading for Emerald City. One thing you DO forget when you live out in the boonies is how a big city dresses up for the holidays. Davies Symphony Hall is directly across from the opera house, which is entertaining audiences with Nutcracker this week and is dressed appropriately.

Looking across the street into the windows of Davies hall was also lovely.

The decorations at Davis were a bit more subtle when seen from the outside, but the lobby was a mass of specially decorated Christmas trees--everything from a teddy bear tree to a tree decorated by kindergartners, to one by Sees candy, to a "Diversity" tree. There was a giant balloon rainbow over the stairs.

Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Glinda were all on hand to greet the folks arriving for the show and the kids were especially adorable meeting their idols.

We got a turkey wrap and sat by the SPCA tree, overlooking City Hall. We missed the costume contest and Wizard of Oz sing-along, because they were on the second floor and I didn't realize they were going on. So that means I don't know if the guys who came as a field of poppies won anything or not!

When it came time for the movie to begin, we went into the hall itself. I can't begin to explain what great fun it was. From the opening notes of the overture, to the applause that greeted Judy Garland's first appearance, the applause after Over the Rainbow, the boos and hisses for the was just...a happening.

The critic in me feels the need to point out that it wasn't perfect. In a couple of places the orchestra was not with the movie for a bar or two, but it was almost imperceptible. For some reason in a couple of spots the dialog was missing--I don't know why. E.g., when Glinda introduces Dorothy to the munchkins and sings "and Kansas, she says, is the name of the star," the munchkins repeat it back to her, but for some reason that part of the sound was missing. Also, the soldiers didn't say "oh-eee-oh, oh-oh," for some reason. And once or twice dialog wasn't able to be heard over the orchestra.

The oddest thing is that when Dorothy and friends go to get spruced up to meet the Wizard, she asks, in a sing-song voice, "can you even dye my eyes to match my gown?" and for some reason the sound track had her singing it, which she does not. I can only assume they had someone sing that one line and hope nobody would notice that it wasn't Judy Garland...but I noticed!

But that's all quibbling. It was at least 95% (if not more) great and the experience was in just being there and sharing all the fun with everyone else.

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