Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bonzos in Bluest State

Last weeks’s trip to Bluest State was a combination of business and not-business. Mr. B. went first to LA for a medical devices conference where he was asked to say a few words about biomaterials, something he knows about. The meeting was in the Anaheim Convention Center about 15 minutes walk from Mr. B.’s temporary residence directly across from the main gate to Disneyland. (How fitting)

Everything went pretty well since Mr. B. had worked with the other presenters in the past and the topics make a nice package. The only thing a little intimidating was the ten lane streets (five on each side) that needed to be crossed occasionally. Mr. B., being basically a small town guy, was intimidated.

But the WEATHER! Mr. B. used to try to get away at least once a winter from the pretty oppressive cold and darkness of ColdState. Lately that’s not been possible, but this expedition is a good reminder to do it annually. From -15 F overnight to 50++ in a day is quite a pleasant shock. Later in the week, Mr. B. joined Mrs. B. in The City for Valentine’s Day – how romantic – hosted by AlexB and MdeTirtoff. The next day was a Bonzo art crawl to the deYoung which was most impressive. That evening AlexB and MdeTirtoff made dinner for all of us in the deTirtoff loft. Mr. B. always thinks of lofts as places where starving artists live, but this was a very elegant and tastefully decorated place that was still quite comfortable.

Next day was the Asian.

There was a quite good exhibit of Japanese bamboo artistry complete with a national treasure quality bamboo artist from Japan who demonstrated his craft and answered questions from the audience via an excellent translator. On the upper floors non-flash pictures are allowed and Mr. B. went nuts with the digital camera. The quality of the ceramics – a particular Bonzo interest – is spectacular.

That evening the Bonzo’s went to John’s Grill for dinner. The loss of the bird, the Maltese Falcon, did not seem to have slowed things down. (Mr. B. was amused to learn in a recent New Yorker that some HP hotshot had just named his new yacht, The Maltese Falcon.) Mr. B. had the Sam Spade special: grilled lamb chops, fresh tomatoes, and baked potato. Mrs. B. had cioppino and AlexB, sea bass. MdeTirtoff was not able to attend because she was slaving away at work. But she did join us for a San Francisco Orchestra concert that was excellent and ended up with an Astor Piazolla piece, complete with virtuoso bandoneon player.

We then went out for a drink or two as well as some food since MdeTirtoff had not eaten yet. Unfortunately, she was already starting to feel a little shaky and, as we learned next day, became quite ill. She works too hard. It is bad for your immune system to work that hard.

Next day, after confirmation that MdeTirtoff was in no condition to go along, we set off for Chinatown. It was a spectacular day in the low 70s. Since it was the day before the start of Chinese New Year, there were plenty of fireworks and sometimes you could look down a street and see nothing but smoke. There was a pilgrimage to the antiques part of town for Mrs. Bonzo as well as book stores including Ferlinghetti’s (in)famous City Lights.

Back to Chinatown for light lunch at AlexB’s new favorite Chinese Restaurant and then a fairly long walk back to the Rex, the Bonzo’s favorite place to stay in the City.

That evening we went to a pretty good production of Hedda Gabler at the ACT. Staging and acting were excellent although the way Hedda was played seemed a little eccentric. Unfortunately, Mr. B. has seen this play, done very well, at the Guthrie recently starring his favorite actress, Laila Robbins. If you know the ending of the play, it seems spoiled because you know what is going to happen and you can see it coming. The first time you see the play, the end is pretty shocking. [Mrs. B. comments that you know what is going to happen in most Shakespeare plays and that doesn't seem to dampen enthusiasm. And she's right, Bonzo knows how Lear ends but wouldn't miss any reasonable production.]

The next day the Bonzo’s had to get up very early and go back to ColdState after a wonderful time.

Postscript: Lest you feel too envious. Mrs. B. made an uneventful trip directly home. Mr. B. had to go to LA and then home. Both his flights were late. His luggage was lost and as of today (Thursday) he still does not have his stuff. Also, there was an inadvertent switch of computers at the LA airport security. Mr. B. had the bad fortune to pick up a laptop identical to his own on the other side of the scanner as did someone else on her way from Australia to Toronto. Negotiations are under way to swap laptops via international post.

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