Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two Thumbs Up for - Colma The Musical!

Colma, for those of you reading this outside of CA is a suburb of San Francisco a short ways down the penninsula from the City. Colma is sometimes called the "dead city" becaue it's where the bulk of the cemetaries in the SF Bay area are located. Residents in Colma are quite serious when the tell you the dead outnumber the living by 3 to 1 in Colma.

So when Tim told me there was a movie musical out about growing up in Colma, I thought the concept would make even less sense than the opera "Nixon in China" . In any event, we went and saw it at the Embarcadero cinema a few weeks ago. To be honest I went in expecting to be bored silly. (Hmm.. indie film musical, how uh... quaint.)

So I was surprised to discover I absolutely loved this movie. The story is not terribly deep, but as a "coming of age" film , the plot has wonderful moments, both funny and poignant, that will resonate with most anyone. Plus, I have to admit that the cast is pretty much irresistible.  The three leads HP Mendoza,, Jake Moreno and L.A. Renigen are young, very cute, can sing, and act. Mendoza wrote the story and all the music and lyrics. (Hmm, young, good looking and very talented - ugh.. don't you just hate people like that?) 

A flyer for the movie summarised it this way:
In the town of Colma, just south of San Francisco, the dead outnumber the living one thousand to one. Here, one wouldn't expect teenagers to burst out in song, or dance around cemeteries and streets. But, that's exactly what happens. Best pals Rodel, Billy, and Maribel find themselves in a state of limbo; fresh out of high school, they are just beginning to explore a new world of part-time mall jobs and crashing college parties. As newfound revelations and romances challenge their relationships with one another and their parents, the trio must assess what to hold onto, and how to best follow their dreams. It's a love song to the city, and to the residents who dream of a better (and more musical) life.

Speaking of the music, the tunes are simple yet pretty hummable , (I find complexity to be overrated, - how many tunes from Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" can you hum off the top of your head? None? Really, I'm shocked... ) The songs range from the wonderfully catchy "Crash the Party" and "Goodbye Stupid" to the heartbreakingly poignant "Crazy like Me".

Colma the Musical is not in theaters here anymore, but a DVD release is forth coming, but if you find you have the chance to see it, definitely do.

Here is the trailer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From Today's Milwaukee Journal- Sentinel

Now his face can be shown.

Dennis Getto

Posted: July 24, 2007

Dennis Getto - restaurant critic for nearly 25 years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Milwaukee Journal - died Tuesday of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 57.

Like the newspaper's own Clark Kent, Getto went to great lengths to keep his identity secret, wanting to have the same experience that any other diner would have. He often disguised his appearance, growing assorted beards, wearing awful wigs and even a cowboy hat.

He always made reservations under assumed names and paid in cash. Friends dining with Getto soon realized that he kept a small tape recorder in his shirt pocket, the better to discreetly dictate notes.

And Getto's face never appeared on the newspaper page. But he did pose with a grocery bag over his head in promotional ads. Yet another classic showed only Getto's green eyes peering through two Krispy Kreme doughnuts when the franchise hit the Milwaukee area.

In yet other chapters of his life, Getto taught journalism at the University of Wisconsin, swearing any students who worked in restaurants to secrecy. They couldn't tell their bosses when Getto was on the job.

"Students loved him and flocked to his courses," said David Pritchard, a journalism and mass communication professor. "I can't tell you how much we're going to miss him. He was very warm and witty and very good at telling politically incorrect jokes."

In addition to his wife, survivors include son Paul and brother Carl.

Services are pending.

Dennis Getto, was the best writing teacher I ever had. If you have ever enjoyed anything I have written, a good deal of credit and thanks goes to this man.

Thanks Dennis.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Religous Extremists & The Real Attack on Faith


Victor Hugo once wrote: "Be obliged to acknowledge this: Infallibility is not infallible, there can be error in dogma." It is sad to see how much we have forgotten that simple bit of wisdom.

When did our civil discourse, our debate of public policy become a question of good vs. evil? When did we redefine a person's worth in the eyes of the Almighty as which political philosophy they are prepared to embrace without question? Is there really a difference in what side of the aisle your pew is on?

There are some in America today who definitely think so. As has happened many times in our history, we find ourselves again debating what our founding fathers believed, and what some claim those same founders wanted all of us to believe. Thomas Jefferson was wary of mixing God and government, but John Witherspoon felt just as strongly that our nation was and should always be guided by "divine providence." So which is it? Honestly? I don't know.

However, there are few things I do know. Government is not a religion, it is a function. Ideology is not theology and should never be followed as such. Political operatives are professionals not prophets and should never go unchallenged when they claim to have a lock on truth. A nation founded by Judeo-Christians is not a mandate to create an exclusively Judeo-Christian nation.

To claim that God would vote for you is a combination of arrogance and ignorance on a biblical scale.

"Ubi Caritas et amor Deus ibi est. --Where charity and love are, there God is." There God is. Not in political telecasts masquerading as evangelism. Not in scripted sound bytes trying to re-define who is, or is not, a "person of faith."

God is not a member of any political party. To claim otherwise, to suggest otherwise, to infer otherwise truly is blasphemous. Those who would use religion to gain an advantage in debates over public policy cheapen our national heritage as a land founded by people fleeing religious intolerance.

Look no further than the public gallery of United States Sentate to see the real"attacks on faith." Where a small group of angry bigots sought to terrorize an American Hindu Cleric, Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada. Three anti-American bigots all belonging to a group misnamed "Operation Save America", traveled to Washington from North Carolina, to show how hateful, how ignorant and how anti-American they are. They did this by interrupting the Senate invocation. Why? Because the minister praying didn't share their narrow, paranoid, fear-driven ideas about who God is, and who we all are supposed to hate.

This is The true attack on faith, it is an attack on the very foundation of American greatness "E Pluribus Unum." Our diversity.

There is an act of terrorism happening before our eyes. It is the hijacking of faith, where the goal is neither salvation nor enlightenment, but rather political advantage. "There can be error in dogma." Victor Hugo's warning is one we would do well to heed.