Monday, June 19, 2017

Molecule Failure

From time to time at the end of the day it seems as if my molecules just collapse.  No matter what I should be doing, my body just. won't. move.  That's what happened at the end of the day yesterday.  It's not that it was a particularly energetic day, just eventful.  

Ned came at 9 with bagels to celebrate Fathers Day and we had a nice visit before he left to go and visit his grandmother.  Walt and I were delighted to be headed off to San Francisco, hoping to escape the predicted 107⁰ temperatures here.  We were headed to the Presentation theater, old home of The Lamplighters, for a memorial to Orva Hoskinson, co-founder of the company and "father" to hundreds of performers who have trod the Lamplighters boards over the years.  A cool breeze greeted me as I got out of the car.  How wonderful!

The stage was set with a display of Orva's costume for his iconic role of Bunthorne, the fleshly poet, in Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience. 
While Orva performed all of his life and performed and directed not only Gilbert & Sullivan, but opera, operetta, recitals, etc. (as a recording of "Donna non vidi Mai" from Manon Lescaut recorded in 1958 with LeRoy Miller accompanying, which began the memorial demonstrated) for Lamplighters, he will forever be remembered for his Bunthorne, of which one San Francisco Chronicle critic once wrote "There is Gielgud's Hamlet, and there is Hoskinson's Bunthorne."

There followed a parade of memorials interspersed with performances and film clips of Orva in performance that was an emotional roller coaster. But it was absolutely perfect and I think Orva would have approved

The memories started out with a song, written by co-founder Ann MacNab (unable, because of health problems to attend) to celebrate Orva.  It was perfect "Ann."

"The World is a Broken Toy" from Princess Ida brought tears from many remembering that the Lamplighters have lost FIVE in the last year.  In addition to Orva there was patterman/board chairman John Vlahos, the marvelous soprano, Rosemary Bock, patterman John Rouse, and Patience Bauman, daughter of two Lamplighters who met and married in the company.  Patience also performed in Lamplighters choruses.

Rick Williams, patterman, and soprano Jane Hammett recreated Orva's staging for "I have a song to sing o" from Yeomen of the Guard.  Rick also gave a shout-out to myself and Alison Lewis for writing the Lamplighters history, which was very sweet of him.

The afternoon continued through memories, laughs, tears, and, at the end, hugs.  (Highlight was a marvelous video montage by Judy Epstein, which will be uploaded to YouTube today.  Who knew Ova once had hair?)  Someone even remembered the incident (recorded in Arthur Bloomfield's History of the San Francisco Opera) when Orva streaked a production of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, on suggestion of then-director Kurt Adler.  (Three people at the memorial remembered being in the Opera House audience to see it.) Then there was a reception at the Lamplighters World Headquarters, which we also attended, not wanting to leave the cool air of San Francisco and head home!

When we finally got into the car, we decided to find some place to eat, for Fathers Day.  It took four tries before we finally found someplace that could take us without a reservation.  We tried Spengers Fish Grotto in Berkeley, but they turned us away, then Skates, on the Berkeley Marina, where we had gone with Caroline when she was here, but there was such a line of people waiting, I didn't even ask if they could take us.  Lowering our standards we tried Sizzler, a bit farther toward home, but they had a long line waiting and few tables open, so on we went to Denny's in Cordelia.  It wasn't anything fancy, but at least there was no line!  

We were now back in the heat again, though. I had told Walt I would drive home from Denny's, but my molecules started fading before I had finished my steak (which I brought home and he said he would drive.  I think I was asleep before we got on the freeway and barely awake long enough to stumble in the house and collapsed into the recliner.  Walt fed the dogs.

But it was a memorable day and I think even though it was an unusual Fathers Day, Walt enjoyed himself.

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