The Bay Area show that launched a movement: Why ‘Angels in America’ still matters

The first time Gabrielle Antolovich saw the play that became a lightning rod for the Bay Area’s gay community, she cried.

Jose Portillo’s first experience was so raw and personal that he wound up watching a televised version at home in private.

More than 25 years ago, Antolovich, Portillo and many others in the gay community found their rallying cry in “Angels in America,” a local legend that went on to Broadway fame. But the personal and political power of “Angels” has made it much more than an award-winning play that’s often hailed as one of the most important theater experiences of the 20th century.

Stephen Spinella as Roy Cohn in Angels in America (Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre.)

“‘Angels in America’ is iconic, a watershed moment for the gay community and a defining moment for the Bay Area theater,” says Amy Glazer, professor of film and theater at San Jose State University. “It was the first great American drama to so fearlessly encompass the AIDS epidemic. It spoke personally, nakedly, about the experience and yet also monumentally and poetically. It memorialized a crucial moment in San Francisco’s history, and in our country’s history.”

The two-part, seven-hour marathon production — which returns to the Bay Area at Berkeley Rep this month — lit a spark of activism amid the darkness of the AIDS epidemic. An operatic tale of love, loss and politics in the age of Reagan, the play remains a defining piece of gay history decades after its first production in San Francisco.

“Angels” sucks its audience into a densely-woven soap opera that entwines jilted lovers, the ghosts of the Rosenberg Trial, the teachings of the Book of Mormon and hallucinatory angels. At the heart of the sprawling epic is Prior Walter, a young gay man dying of AIDS, who is abandoned by his lover, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Losing a pet: You don’t know how much you really had until it’s gone

New Pet Pal Logo

DEAR JOAN: We read your column on Monday, on the difficulties and inconveniences of owning pets, along with the good stuff they can bring. We, too, have shared your thoughts about how much easier life could be without our two dogs and cat to care for.

One of our dogs, Sassy, unexpectedly died on that same Monday, from a tumor we were not aware of. We are reeling and our tears have not stopped. You don’t realize how much a part of daily life these wonderful animals are, until they aren’t.

You miss her when you open the car door expecting her to hop in. You miss her when you don’t see her face staring out at you from the window when you walk away. When you no longer hear her gentle snores at night, when you only pick up one food bowl instead of two, and get out her favorite nightly treat that she no longer needs.

You expect to see her curled up in her bed or laying out on the back deck in the sun. You miss her trotting along with you every morning to pick up the newspaper. You miss her furiously wagging tail when it’s time to walk or go for a truck ride, whether it’s raining or not.

You miss her pleading eyes watching every movement as you prepare dinner, hoping for a quick snack. You miss seeing her nose-to-nose with the cat. You remember the great romps on the beach, chasing the ball, going for long hikes in the East Bay hills, going to the cabin in Yosemite, wishing there was time for even just one more.

Our other dog, Anna, is confused. She keeps looking for Sassy in all her beds throughout the house, and seems to feel insecure in the car without having to share the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


In-N-Out wins again in customer loyalty poll

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In-N-Out Burger is America’s favorite for a second year in an annual study of quick service restaurants.

The Southern California chain is out front by quite a bit in research firm Market Force’s online poll of 11,487 U.S. consumers. They were asked to rate their most recent fast food experience and about their dining preferences.

In the burger category, In-N-Out scored 76 percent in customer loyalty, a dip from last year’s 79 percent. Culver’s, a Wisconsin chain with 650 restaurants in 24 states, came in second at 66 percent. If California residents want to taste its specialties, Butterburgers and frozen custard, they may have to drive to Lake Havazu City, Ariz.

In third through fifth place were Five Guys Burgers and Fries; Smashburger; and Steak ‘n Shake.

Despite being a West Coast chain, In-N-Out typically does well in national studies, including a Harris Poll last year.

Founded 70 years ago in Baldwin Park and based in Irvine, In-N-Out has more than 300 locations and is shooting to will open a new one in La Habra in mid-May.

Other morsels from the Market Force study:

Chicken: Chick-fil-A topped the list with 73 percent in customer loyalty followed by Raising Cane’s, a newcomer to Southern California, with 68 percent. Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco was made the No. 4 slot, behind Zaxby’s, which has 700 locations, none in California.

Mexican food: Chipotle edged out El Pollo Loco, 46.3 percent to 46.2 percent. Qdoba was third with 45 percent.

Sandwiches: With 64 percent in customer loyalty, East Coast convenience chain Wawa topped Firehouse Subs and Jersey Mike’s, with 62 and 59 percent, respectively.

Pizza: Not much love in California. Pizza Ranch, which is in 13 Midwest states, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Ask Amy: Marriage at midlife is one long slog

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

DEAR AMY: I’m a 42-year-old man who has been married to my wife for 14 years.

We started out fairly well, but over the years, more and more arguments emerged.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Now we have three young kids, and have devolved into the Odd Couple. She is a downright slob (really bad, even by her own admission) and I’m more of a normal clean-type.

I can’t keep cleaning the house all by myself, and it gets so disgusting that I’m embarrassed by it.

We do have some great times, but I just feel like I love her as a friend and can’t stand living with her.

I’m somewhat into staying fit and I work out to maintain a good look and heart health. She does not. She can’t keep up with me even on a short hike. I fear that she’ll die way before me or eventually become too heavy for me to find attractive.

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The other day our oldest — a 6-year-old girl — told the story of our meeting and marriage at an extended family dinner. She concluded with: “…then they found out they didn’t like each other. The End.”

I know …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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