Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Outdoor Movie in the City

"I'll tell you one thing... Fred Darling." The last syllable echoed as the sound bounced from one highrise to the next around Union Square. It is one of the many lines made famous by Holly Golightly played by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Breakfast At Tiffany's.

I think I've seen this movie at least three times but the Salvadorean and I , with a couple of friends from church, went to see it again at the outdoor movie presented by the SF Neighborhood Theatre Foundation. My friends brought extra blankets for cover on top of our layers of clothing in case the temperature drops but the weather was unseasonably warmer and less windy that evening. Some brought their own folding chairs while others sat on their thick mats. Except for those people wearing a sweater with the San Francisco logo and name stitched on it, I couldn't tell which ones are locals and which ones are tourists from the crowd. The turnout was bigger too compared to last year's. It must have something to do with the fact that 'Tiffany's' is a more popular movie compared to last year's 'Bullitt'.

The one in Dolores Park is a whole new scene where the crowd is composed of locals who live in the Mission, Castro, Noe Valley and as far as Glen Park. The film shown was 'Best in Show' and as expected, pet owners brought theirs so dogs of different breeds were mixed in the crowd. The popcorn stand was also selling dog treats. We got separated from our church friends because we came in late and where they were seating at was already too crowded. We sat next to a tree with baloons. Groups of different age groups brought food, drinks, and blankets as if going to a picnic. The Salvadorean and I brought hot chocolate and cookies. I had to change from one position to another because my back was sore from tennis that morning. From where we were waiting for the MUNI train, we could see a few groups decided to camp out on the park after the movie.

These local events make San Francisco seems so provincial to me. Where I grew up in the Philippines, we used to have a similar outdoor movie that starts one week before Easter and featured 'The Seven Last Words'. I remember one time a film was cut short because of the impending rain. In Northern California, the summers are always guaranteed free of rain so outdooor events such as these are perfect.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

We were working in the backyard pulling off weeds and trimming wild vines on Sunday morning. The Salvadorean asked me if I have my phone with me. With that tone, I knew he didn't have his with him and it is his subtle way of asking me to get it when I get a chance. After seven years with the same person, I think I've figured out how he operates. I didn't have my phone with me so I said no. Rather than wait for the perfect moment for a break, I put the shears down and took my gloves off and went back inside the house to get both phones. Under normal circumstances, I would have finished what I was doing because I hate being distracted. It must have been the weather or the great breakfast. Besides, I was expecting a phone call from an aunt anyway. My aunt, who was in Sacramento that day, wanted to drop by the house before driving back to L.A. I had asked her to call at least 2 hours in advance so I can prepare her a little something-something.

The phone had registered 3 missed calls, a voice mail and a text message but none of them were from my aunt. I was surprised at the same time quite delighted when I learned that one of the calls was from a former highschool classmate M who now lives in Southern California. Just like with most of my friends back in the Philippines, we've been keeping in touch via email. I usually decline on last minute changes in my schedule especially during the weekend but I have not seen her since graduation. I must see her.

They were sight-seeing in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. We had originally agreed to meet around the main square in Ghirardelli Square. It is on the northern end from the Wharf but we ended up meeting in Pier 39 instead - in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf. I couldn't think of a decent place to have brunch there. I had asked the Salvadorean the same question before I left the house but I got the same response. N-a-d-a. The Wharf is all about sourdough bread, clam chowder, dungeness crab, and rice-a-roni. San Francisco eats more than that. I decided I’ll take them to North Beach since I'm more familiar with the Italian quarter and then go from there. The Wharf is the epitome of what a tourist area is like and we locals avoid it as much as we could unless we are showing friends or family around.

I finally met M and her husband. She looked great and her husband seemed friendly. I was going to take them on a cable car ride and treat them to the best panini in town but they were in a hurry so they can beat the traffic going back to Southern California. She said she just wanted to see me while they were in town that's why she called. We chatted for a bit and then took pictures. I sat by Pier 39's main plaza while I wave goodbye at M and her husband. The meeting was all worth it however short it was.

Judging by the swarm of people with cameras and maps, it must be tourist season. I thought I might as well walk around to enjoy the lovely day and get myself reacquianted with one of the places in the city where locals refuse to go to. In the end, I still rejected the idea to play tourist. The Wharf, afterall, is a place where only tourists go and locals don't mind not seeing. :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Watching the San Francisco Opera perform for free at the Stern Grove Festival was a real treat. Aside from going to church that day, we didn't have anything planned. Spontaneity ruled the day!

I woke up on Sunday morning to the pleasant sound of birds chirping. From the bedroom window, I could see sunshine, blue skies and squirrels already busy running their morning errands which is a scene one doesn't always see in the city. More like living in the country. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the entire house. The first thing that came to mind was having breakfast outside by the deck. The Salvadorean is already reading the Sunday paper because I can hear him turning a page. He already prepared the coffee, the bagel, the andouille sausages and was just waiting for me to finally get up so he can start making some eggs over easy.

The breakfast that took forever to prepare took only half an hour to finish. The Salvadorean reads the Travel section of the Chronicle first while I peruse the Pink section (Sunday San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook). This is one of our unspoken rules that has developed over the years. From the Pink section, we learned that the SF Opera is performing at the Stern Grove. The sun was out with a little breeze so we thought the area of the city where Stern Grove is located is free of fog. And we were right!

It was so clear that day that I could see the Pacific Ocean from the corner of Sloat @ 19th Ave. It was 1pm when we got to the Grove and there were many people walking to the park's entrance. I had the feeling that we will again be scouting for seats under the redwood trees. This time it was a great idea because the trees provided the needed shade. The fog didn't roll in until two days after.

The incline of the ground where we were at was sort of steep so we had to sit at an angle and clench every muscle so we won't slide down. There was not a lot of friction between the mat and our cargo shorts and between the mat and the ground therefore we had to reposition ourselves periodically. We did that also to prevent our legs from getting numb by staying in one position for too long.

The pieces presented were mostly Mozart's which I think was sliced from the SF Opera's current season programme. From the conversations going on around us, it seemed like we were surrounded with folks that are musically inclined - a baritone behind me, two sopranos and a tenor on my left. For someone who is not familiar with the opera, I was expecting to hear the more popular pieces from Bach, Hayden and Verdi's. More like an 'Opera 101' kind of thing, just like the one I saw in Rome, Italy not too long ago.

But hey. What can go wrong with a free performance at the Stern Grove? In fact, it was very good. Good quality music coupled with a good pastrami sandwich, a good wine, a great weather, and a great partner. I had a relaxing weekend.