Saturday, September 29, 2007

From a car in the parking lot at Whitney High.

The Travelocity Guy

Someone put this gnome at the edge of the band loft and it was visible from the audience during the show.

Music Man

At the Woodland Opera House, I was tuning a grand piano on the stage where also stood the set for Music Man, which opens in a week. Someone asked the stage manager about the previous night's rehearsal. "It was a train wreck," he said, "but they've got a week."

Possibly useful for a future crossword clue

This piano, at the Woodland United Methodist Church, is a really old one with antique brass parts. The action has a little gold medallion on it that says "Euterpe's Conception of Perfect Harmony." Euterpe was the Greek Muse of music.

Woodland Opera House dressing room

After tuning for a concert at Woodland Opera House, I went down into the basement/dressing room underneath the stage. I could spend hours down there looking at all the antique fixtures (like this 100-year-old sink) and graffiti. I talked to one of the costume people, Laura Everly, who it turns out has worked on many shows at Music Circus, including Cats.

In the parking lot at Whitney High

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In the lobby of a Catholic church in Winters

Someone got this picture of James Caviezel talking on a cell phone during the shooting of Passion of the Christ and put the caption under it: "He is the only one that is allowed to talk during the Mass!" Too bad they didn't find a picture of him texting, because that's what the kids are more likely to be doing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The dressing room/classroom at Whitney High even has a monitor so you can watch the show backstage.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This is what happens when you hire someone to move your piano who is not a piano mover. They broke the pedals off.
This is the second time this month someone has called me to repair the damage done by a non-piano mover.
Elaine Berman is an old friend that I used to do Gilbert & Sullivan shows with. One of her students in the show sings "Broadway Baby" and I agreed to change the key on the song. In return, Elaine gave me a bottle of Asti Spumante and this nice note written on this page from a Far Side calendar.
Whitney High has a vibrant theatre program. All over the dressing room/classroom there are handmade signs like this. There are other signs that define Motivation, Obstacle, Conflict, and Beat.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I saw this on a table at Espresso Metro. It's a whiteboard for diagramming soccer plays.
My new cell phone has Bluetooth. I love the earpiece for talking in the car. I promise never to wear it outside the car.
Opening night at Whitney High was SOLD OUT and these people (Dave's son and daughter-in-law) had to watch the show from the catwalk. That must have been amazing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

John Doolittle warming up before a rehearsal at Whitney High.
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I was on jury duty today. I almost got put on the jury for a gang rape case but I got out when I pleaded financial hardship. It would have been a four-week trial.
This fountain is in front of the courthouse.
I give blood at Bloodsource every 8 weeks. There is a phlebotomist there who likes me and she gave me three beanie mosquitoes (for West Nile virus?): one for me, one for Rachel, and one for Jennifer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rachel and Natasha have a whole repertoire of bits to go with awkward situations: Awkward Octopus, Awkward Smoking Through the Hole in Your Neck, Awkward Cell Phone Call, etc. This fake Calvin Klein ad celebrates them.
This market in our neighborhood used to be an Asian market; now it's an Asian/Indian/Middle Eastern market. Rachel is choosing an Asian broom.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On the road

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Tonight Rachel helped me set up the keyboards for Best of Broadway's performances at Whitney High School. It's a smaller hall than Luther Burbank's with much better acoustics. Ticket sales have been going well... and the good review in the Bee should help.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Paul Basye, seen Sunday morning at Espresso Metro after a hard night of partying.
I just had my first eye exam in three years. My doctor has every gadget known to his profession. Here are some pictures he took of my optic nerve.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rachel's little handheld game thingy has a game called Brain Age which tells you your "brain age" and gives you exercises to improve (lower) it. My brain age is 20 years. Woo-hoo!
Last night John Skinner (his daughter Kathryn is a regular star of the show) came to Best of Broadway with his main keyboard player, Matt. John said nice things but Matt was positively starry-eyed. The first time you see the show, it is pretty amazing. (After you've seen it a few times, you realize that it's basically the same show every year.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

An old-fashioned logo from an appliance store in Woodland showing the owner (presumably) riding a forklift wearing a formal suit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

At the last tuner meeting Jim Johnson, who is a professional photographer as well as a tuner, took pictures of everyone at a Yamaha grand. He took this lovely shot.
One of my favorite parts of Best of Broadway is the vocal booth. It's a soundproof booth in full view of the audience with four singers inside, adding their sound to the onstage chorus.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another video of the fan sculpture at SFMOMA

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I had lunch with Tom and Caroline Crawford at the SFMOMA cafeteria. They were my directors in the Peace Corps. They are tons of fun and have had an amazing life together, living and working all over the world.
Caroline has had a long association with the San Francisco Opera. When Pavarotti came there, her job was to go around with him and keep the women away.

Super fun sculpture at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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At SFMOMA a fan hanging from a long cord blew itself all over the entrance hall.


Sometimes a customer asks me to tune her autoharp too.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I've walked by a former auto shop in Curtis Park hundreds of times and until today never noticed this faded ad for a car battery.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I tuned this piano at Rosemont High for a Camellia Symphony concert. This school is only 4 years old. The theatre is amazing: the stage looks bigger than the seating area. It also has a full orchestra pit that is mostly under the lip of the stage.

How to improve your audio

Apparently, you can improve your audio performance by putting your components on brass footings on top of massive blocks of maple. This eliminates vibration. I have a customer that has all his stereo components mounted this way. You can see all this exotic stuff at the Mapleshade website.

Jealousy is mine

Steve has a workbench in his basement that he doesn't even use!
(It is, honestly, a bit like a dungeon.)

Dancing at the 2007 Best of Broadway cast party

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The best reason to go to the Best of Broadway opening night party is to watch the kids dance.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

When I got to the theatre today firemen were putting out a fire in this white minivan. The owner sat on the curb nearby, talking on her cell phone.
This very old book of etiquette belongs to a tuning customer.

Album of Best of Broadway photos

This is Kathryn Skinner in her "Saturday Night in the City" outfit. It's supposed to be 80's Cindy Lauper/Madonna.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Saddest piano ever?

This piano is in a house full of old musicians who spent years on the road playing with big stars and now live in near-poverty.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I played with Sister Swing at the Sacramento Central Labor Council Labor Day picnic. (That's a lot of proper nouns!) They sound great. And I got to play with my favorite bass player, Shelley Denny!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We had the band rehearsal for Best of Broadway today. This year the sound is really good — we had real monitors instead of headphones.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This cannon is for the Civil War segment of Best of Broadway. (Civil War was scored by Frank Wildhorn, who also wrote Jekyll and Hyde!)