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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goodwood Revival

I didn't want to let another day go by without saying hello to my online buddies, so I'd thought I post about something that got my attention the other day when I was surfing channels on TV.

Cars above are Toyota Yaris, perhaps the classic cars of tomorrow?

Apparently, in the UK, people are getting ready for the Goodwill Revival. According to wiki,

The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held each September [in the UK] for the types of cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit's original period, 1948-1966. It is one of the world’s most popular motor race meetings and the only UK event which recreates the golden era of motor sport from the 1950s and 1960s."

What makes it even more interesting is that not only the engines (cars, planes, motorcycles) are classic from the era, but also "many of these important historic racing cars are driven by famous names from motor sport past and present." (Wiki)

The part that really got my attention, though, is that the audience participates as well by showing up dressed in period costumes.

Wanna see for yourself? Then have a look at this pretty cool video to get a better idea. (Turn your sound up a litle ;)

Additional info about GoodWood Rivival here.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

San Francisco's Beach Blanket Babylon

click on photos to enlarge
SFO International, June 2009

I came across this exhibit at the San Francisco International airport when I was on my way to France 2 months ago (that's the Air France counter in the back), and it reminded me that I've never mentioned Steve Silver's acclaimed musical review, Beach Blanket Babylon, on this blog, which a huge omission on my part.

SFO International, June 2009

The Silver Anniversary Skyline Hat (above) is "15 feet wide, 10 feet deep and 29 feet tall. At 300 pounds, the brim alone required 60 yards of taffeta and 200 ostrich feathers." said Jo Schuman Silver, producer of BBB

Beach Blanket Babylon is a musical review that has been running in San Francisco for 35 years, and shows no sign of slowing down. Under the same premise (Snow White goes around the world to find her Prince), the cast pokes fun at celebrities, politicians, and current local issues of San Francisco. The events change every year, but the basic premise remains the same.

And while Snow White goes looking for her prince, there is music, singing, dancing, and incredible, colorful costumes.

The elaborate, beautiful, oversized hats are the signature of Beach Blanket Babylon and the hats alone, in my opinion, are worth the price of admission. My favorite hat is the huge one they show at the end, with the whole city of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, on top of it. Be sure to click here to see more hats and get some background on them.

The cast will make you laugh out loud but don't underestimate their talent; they can really sing (Renée Lubin especially comes to mind) and dance.

If you want to see the show, be sure to book your tickets early. People customarily show up outside the club an hour or two early to make sure they get good seats because there is no assigned seating, but don't worry, even if you don't make it an hour early, the place is not very big and you will see reasonably well from wherever you are seated.

They don't allow photography anywhere in the club and it's very difficult to find good material online, but I did find the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon singing "San Francisco" (from the 1936 movie of the same name) at the baseball park, right after the earthquake of 1989 that shook the Bay Area pretty badly at the time. You might enjoy this quick video, which also shows the city skyline as it was at the time (although the quality isn't the best).

UPDATE 8/18/09:

Thanks for the tip, PhotoADay. I didn't find anything when I first drafted the post a few weeks ago, probably because I was looking for the last act. Here's a clip of BBB that gives you just a little glimpse of the show (we don't want to reveal everything, now do we! :)


* * *

Links and Resources

Beach Blanket Babylon's official website here

Additional pictures and information about the hats here

A good review of Beach Blanket Babylon here

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Alameda Island (part 1)

Since I've been cooped up during the entire month of July, now I just can't wait to get away from familiar surroundings whenever I can. So last week-end, I grabbed my camera (finally!), stuck it in my bag, and drove up to the island of Alameda near Oakland, on the other side of the San Francisco Bay.

It was the end of the afternoon when I got there, and the light wasn't very good anymore, but I decided to post these pictures anyway.

The Alameda island is small and has a great deal of charm. I once entertained the thought of living there, but it didn't happen. I had fallen in love with the peaceful neighborhoods filled with Victorian houses, the green lawns in front of them, the friendliness of the residents, the cute little downtown area with the little shops, and the general peaceful / small town atmosphere throughout the island, just minutes away from SF.

The island of Alameda is also well known for its former Navy base, and the famous USS Hornet (now a museum ship), which I will gladly show you some day.

On this picture if you look carefully, you can see some of the San Francisco skyline almost completely fogged in on the left, then (I believe) the Bay Bridge, and to the right, behind the children playing, the Port of Oakland with its huge cranes necessary to unload the container ships that come in every day.

When the weather is nice, a lot of locals drive from Oakland to Alameda to go to the beach. Some just want to have fun, play with the waves or fly kites, while others are busy trying their luck...