Archive for May, 2009

Aloha Oe

Today’s video is Grammy-nominated artist Amy Hanaiali`i’s tender performance of Aloha `Oe (”Farewell to Thee”), the beloved Hawaiian standard, written by Queen Liliuokalani (1838-1917), from the album Nostalgia, produced by Jon de Mello for the Mountain Apple Company.

Aloha Oe is ranked #3 on my list of Top 10 Favorite Songs.  To see the full list in a previous post, click here.

In Memory of Robert G. Perreira, 10/25/20- 5/24/09.

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Blessed Damien

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Today’s website is FatherDamien.com, which was launched this week by the Diocese of Honolulu as the official website for the Canonization of Blessed Damien.  Blessed Damien (Damien de Veuster, 1840-1889) is the venerated and beloved Roman Catholic priest who won worldwide praise and admiration for his ministry to the native Hawaiians that were resettled in Kalawao on the remote Kalaupapa Peninsula on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii, after contracting Hansen’s Disease (aka “leprosy”).  He served the residents in the Kalaupapa settlement between May 1873 and  April 1889, before contracting the disease which claimed his life on April 15, 1889.  He was 49.

Father Damien was beatified in June 1995 by Pope John Paul II and was given the official spiritual titled of “Blessed.”  On October 11, 2009, Blessed Damien will be elevated to sainthood, completing the canonization process, and the culmination of a campaign that has been underway in Hawaii and Damien’s own native Belgium for decades.  For many Catholic and non-Catholic residents of Hawaii, this is an important event in Hawaiian history and the realization of many efforts to recognize the extraordinary humanitarian works of Father Damien de Veuster.

For more information on Blessed Damien, go to a previous post on Jankenpon.com by clicking here.  If you want to learn more about the upcoming canonization, visit the official website for Blessed Damien from the Diocese of Honolulu by clicking here.

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Simply Old-Fashioned

Today’s cocktail is the “Old Fashioned,” which is often considered one of the “first” cocktails and was reportedly the name given to a Bourbon whiskey cocktail served in the 1880’s at the Pendennis Club, a gentleman’s club in Louisville, KY.  Regardless of its origins, the Old Fashioned is a true cocktail “classic” that is easy to make and delicious, too.

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 INGREDIENTS:

2 oz. blended Whiskey
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Bitters (such as Angostura)
1 cherry
1 slice orange
Splash of Club Soda (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Place sugar cube in a cocktail glass.
2.  Add bitters and use a muddler to dissolve sugar.
3.  Add ice.
4.  Add Whiskey and stir to combine ingredients.
5.  Top with a splash of Club Soda (optional, and not recommended)
6.  Garnish with cherry and orange slice.
7.  Serve, enjoy and repeat.

To view previous posts in the ”Cocktail” category, click here

The Old Fashioned is #5 on my list of  Top 10 Favorite Cocktails.  To go to a previous post with a full list of my Top 10 Favorite Cocktails, click here.

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To go to other cocktail recipes from previous posts, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.”

   — Anatole France, 1844-1924

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Get a White Knot

Today’s website is WhiteKnot.org, the official website for White Knot for Equality, a non-profit organization founded by Frank Voci in November 2008, in response to the passing of California’s Proposition 8 which modified the California Constitution by defining marriage as between a man and woman only and the other bans on same-sex marriage and denial of equal rights across the country.

According to their website, White Knot for Equality’s mission is to achieve equal rights by:

   *  educating people on the importance of Marriage Equality;
   *  engaging people in conversations needed to change hearts and minds;
   *  and showing the widespread support Marriage Equality truly has.

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You can request a FREE white knot by mail from the WhiteKnot.org website by clicking here.

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Above:  Oscar-winning Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (left) and Cleve Jones, pictured at the 2009 Academy Awards Show, wearing white knots.  Black won the Oscar for his original screenplay for the film, Milk, starring Sean Penn and directed by Gus Van Sant.

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Top 10 Beaches

“Dr. Beach,” also known as Stephen Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, recently released his annual list of Top 10 Beaches for 2009.  He uses 50 criteria in selecting the best beaches– including water and sand quality, facilities and environmental management.  This is the 19th year he has published his list.

This year’s winner?  It’s Hanalei Bay on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii. 

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Here’s the complete list of Top 10 Beaches for 2009.

1. Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

Dr. Beach calls Hanalei Bay “a spectacular white crescent-shaped sand beach that is considered by many residents and visitors alike to be the most beautiful beach setting in Hawaii.” It has moved steadily up Dr. Beach’s list, taking the No. 4 spot in 2007 and the No. 2 spot in 2008.

2. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Fla.

Dr. Beach says Siesta Beach “has clear, warm waters that serve for ideal swimming.” The beach came in No. 3 in 2008.

3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, N.Y.

4. Coronado Beach, San Diego

Dr. Beach calls Coronado Beach “the toast of Southern California; it is a veritable oasis by the sea, measuring hundreds of yards wide.” Coronado was ranked No. 5 last year.
Coopers Beach was ranked No. 4 in 2008, climbing a notch this year.

5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Hamoa Beach moved up two spots this year, coming in No. 7 in 2008.

6. Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.

According to Dr. Beach, Main Beach “provides the perfect blend of nature and built environment.” Apparently, this blend hasn’t changed much since last year, as the beach ranked No. 6 in 2008 as well.

7. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, N.C.

A national seashore, Cape Hatteras provides a haven for marine life and water sports enthusiasts alike. Climb atop the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for views of the pristine beach.

8. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Fla.

Described as “great for swimming” by Dr. Beach, Cape Florida State Park also features a historic lighthouse built in 1825.

9. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.

A part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Coast Guard Beach is a “prime swimming beach during the summer season,” according to the National Park Service. The beach is home to seals, terns and various shorebirds.

10. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Dr. Beach says the water at Beachwalker Park is “clean and provides for fantastic seafood for low-country cooking.” In 2008, Beachwalker ranked No. 10 as well.

To go to a previous post in the “Where are the Feet” category, featuring Hanalei Bay, click here.

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Susan Boyle is Back

Susan Boyle, the worldwide singing phenomenon and YouTube superstar, returned to the stage yesterday with her version of “Memory,” from the musical Cats, in the British talent competition, “Britain’s Got Talent.”  After a somewhat nervous start, Susan Boyle delivered a rousing rendition of the classic Broadway song, and will advance to the final round of the show. 

Meanwhile, the YouTube videos of Susan Boyle’s first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, where she stunned the judges and audience with her soaring performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, have been viewed an astonishing 220 million times.

Go, Susan!

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Today’s Quote

“  The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”

  –  Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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On Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day– a day to remember those who sacrificed everything.

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“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

   — President John F. Kennedy, Jr.

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This cocktail was poured in the spacious lounge at RN74, designer-Chef Michael Mina’s newest outpost in his burgeoning restaurant empire (17 restaurants in seven states, and counting), located in the new Millennium Tower, a 60-story residential condominium complex at Mission Street and First Street in San Francisco, CA.  The cocktail– a classic Manhattan– was served in a retro-style cocktail glasss with real cherries.   Perfection! 

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RN74, a wine bar and restaurant, is named after Route National 74, the major thoroughfare of France’s Burgundy region.

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Above and Below:  Views of the large main dining area at RN74, which features railway-station like signs that announce wine specials.

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Above and Below: Two views of the attractive bar/lounge area.

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To go to the official RN74 website and to view their menu, click here.  To make a reservation at RN74 through Opentable.com, click here.

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Above:  A view of Millennium Tower, the new 60-story condominium complex which serves as home to RN74.  Millennium Tower was built at a reported cost of $350 million and  is the 4th tallest building in San Francisco, with 419 residential units.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

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Today in History

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One hundred twenty-six years ago today, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River was opened, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history.  Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland.  Designed by John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date.

The Brooklyn Bridge, with its unprecedented length and two stately towers, was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.”  The connection it provided between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan changed the course of New York City forever.  In 1898, the city of Brooklyn formally merged with New York City, Staten Island, and a few farm towns, forming Greater New York.

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Source: History.com

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iDrink on iPhone

Today’s iPhone application is iDrink, a convenient service that provides recipes for hundreds of popular cocktails.  In addition to showing the recipe for the cocktail, iDrink allows you to add notes, tag favorite recipes, and email the recipes directly from your iPhone.  The application is available to download for $1.99.

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Here’s a short video that explains how iDrinks works on your iPhone.

To go to a previous post containing my list of Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps, click here.

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The Sidecar

Chef John Toulze, Chef de Cuisine Chris Jones, and Mixologist Ch

Today’s cocktail is the legendary Sidecar, which according to some reports was invented in the early 1930’s at Harry’s Bar in Paris for a patron who often rode in the sidecar of a motorcycle.   Like the martini, the Sidecar has experienced a renaissance.  The Sidecar offers a very appealing sweet-sour combination, along with a nice kick.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Cointreau (or Triple Sec, as a substitute)
1/2 oz. Lemon or Lime Juice

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
2.  Shake vigorously.
3.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4.  Garnish with orange slice or lemon twist.
5.  Serve and repeat, as needed.

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To go to other cocktail recipes from previous posts, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

   — Maya Angelou

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Where is that Drink?

 Where is that drink?

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This perfect martini was served at the legendary and beloved Redwood Room, located in the historic Clift Hotel, on Geary Street, in San Francisco, CA.  Commissioned in 1913 by Frederick C. Clift, an attorney, the hotel was designed by well-known San Francisco architect George Applegarth on the downtown lot owned by the Clift family.  In 1924, with the addition of three floors, the Clift became the largest hotel in California. 

The Redwood Room was built in 1933, and according to legend, the wall paneling that fully covers the interior of the room was crafted from a single Redwood tree, which also provided the inspiration for the room’s name.  In 1996, the hotel underwent a complete renovation when it was acquired by Morgan Hotels Group.  Thankfully, the Redwood Room was spared some of the eccentric and overly-theatrical design touches that have become the trademark of Morgan properties and was left largely intact, although there are still some awkward flourishes, including small chairs and exceptionally low tables.   

Still, the Redwood Room remains one of my favorite bars in the world and offers one of the best martinis.

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To learn more about The Clift Hotel or to reserve a room, visit their official website by clicking here.

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Today’s Quote

“There are no foreign lands.  It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

   — Robert Louis Stevenson

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Every Little Step

It’s been 34 years since A Chorus Line took Broadway by storm and transformed the way we think about the American musical.   Conceived and directed by Michael Bennett, with book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante, lyrics by Edward Klebanm and music by Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line was an unprecendented critical and commercial hit, winning nine Tony Awards in 1976, including Best Musical, and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  The show ran for 6,137 performances, making it the longest-running production in Broadway history at the time.  A revival of the show opened on Broadway in 2006, following an initial run in San Francisco.

Every Little Step, a new docu-drama, produced and directed by James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, opened in the Bay Area this week.  The film includes original footage of Michael Bennett, together with interviews with Marvin Hamlisch, Bob Avian, former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, and original Broadway cast members Donna McKechnie and Baayork Lee.   It also includes some of the audiotapes made at the early workshop sessions as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the audition, rehearsals and performances of both the 1975 production and the 2006 revival. 

I saw the original national touring version of A Chorus Line and the 2006 pre-Broadway revival in San Francisco.  Remarkably, the show successfully retains all its original energy, dazzle and relevance after 34 years.  Every Little Step offers a fascinating glimpse into the development of the early concepts for the 1975 Broadway show and the subsequent impact of the show on American musical theatre.  If you’re a fan of A Chorus Line, you’ll surely enjoy Every Little Step.

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You can view the official trailer of Every Little Step, a 2009 Sony Motion Pictures Classic release, below.

 

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 ”Every Little Step is a large triumph.”

   –  Joel Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

“Tracing A Chorus Line from its creation in 1974 by Michael Bennett and his dancers to its 2006 Broadway revival, Every Little Step is a thrilling combination of documentary and musical dazzler. “

   –  Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Vist the official website of “Every Little Step” from Sony Motion Picture Classics, by clicking here.

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A Chorus Line is #5 on my list of Top 10 Favorite Shows.  To go to a previous post with a complete list of my Top 10 Favorite Shows, click here.

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This perfect martini was mixed at the beautiful bar at Spruce, a large, stylish restaurant serving New American cuisine, located at 3640 Sacramento Street, in the Laurel Heights District of San Francisco, CA.   The cocktail was nicely shaken and chilled and garnished with an incredibly long twist.

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Above:  The highly-efficient bartenders at Spruce keep the drinks flowing nicely.  Below:  The spacious interior of Spruce is designed with a neutral color palette of tan, black and white, with large bold contemporary art and comfortable leather seating.

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Below:  Appetizers at the bar included a large and delicious serving of steamed mussels and excellent, crispy fries.

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Spruce was named on the Best New Restaurants of 2008 by Esquire Magazine. 

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To read more about Spruce, visit their official website by clicking here.  To read what other diners are saying about Spruce, check out the reviews at Yelp by clicking here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

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Remembering Sichuan

A year has passed since the 8.0 magnitude earthquake, known as the Great Sichuan Earthquake, struck the Sichuan Province of China on May 12, 2008, killing an estimated 70,000 people, injuring an additional 375,000, and leaving over 4.8 million people homeless.   Approximately 7,000 school buildings in Sichuan Province collapsed as a result of the quake, due to sub-standard construction stemming from government corruption and graft.  Official government figures estimate the number of school-related deaths at 5,300, although parents strongly dispute that number and claim that the death toll among children is much higher.

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A year after the quake, the controversy continues as residents in Sichuan claim that the Chinese government has sealed off and cleared away the collapsed schools, removing evidence that could be used to pursue investigations regarding the sub-standard construction of the school buildings. 
The loss of so many young children is particularly heartbreaking, given China’s “one family, one child” policy.  In some cases, parents are either too old or otherwise unable to bear a child.


Photo Credits: MSNBC

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On Stage at ACT

This week, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) opened a powerful and deeply moving new play, Boleros for the Disenchanted, written by Jose Rivera, two-time OBIE Award winner and Academy Award-nominee (Best Adapted Screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries), and directed by Carey Perloff.  Rivera returns to his native Puerto Rico to explore themes of  love, memories, death and hope in a vibrant, fresh story that span 40 years.   Acclaimed actors Rachel Ticotin (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Total Recall, and Broadway’s Macbeth) and Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager, Big Love) star alongside the fresh new talents of Drew Cortese, Lela Loren, Dion Mucciacito, and Michele Vazquez in their A.C.T. debut.

This is one of ACT’s finest new productions.  The play runs on ACT’s main stage at the historic and beautiful Geary Theatre, San Francisco’s oldest theatre, through 5/31/09.  To learn more about Boleros for the Disenchanted, visit the official ACT website by clicking here.  To purchase tickets, click here.

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“The most theatrically satisfying production of the Bay Area season and what could well be remembered as one of A.C.T.’s all-time watershed productions . . . stunning performances . . . a profoundly moving love story” —Contra Costa Times

“Pure delight . . . a funny, romantic, winning story!” —San Francisco Examiner

“Deeply affecting! Beautiful! A play that celebrates love” —The Boston Globe

“Magical! An enchanting production that sizzles with passion. José Rivera has  penned a heartfelt ode to true love.” —Metro (Boston)

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Today’s Quote

“I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box.”

   — Bette Davis

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.”

   –  Marcel Proust, 1871-1922

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Where is that Drink?

Where s that drink?

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This serving of champagne was poured in a practical and rather unappealing plastic flute at the War Memorial Opera House, on Van Ness Avenue, in San Francisco, CA.  Built in 1932, the War Memorial Opera House was designed by architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and G. Albert Lansburgh in the Beaux Arts style, and has been home to the San Francisco Opera since opening night in 1932.  It is also the current home of the San Francisco Ballet, which is widely considered one of the world’s leading dance companies, along with The American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet.

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The champagne was enjoyed during one of two intemissios at the San Francisco Ballet’s May 9 performance of Jewels, a dance triptych choreographed by George Ballanchine with music by Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  It was originally staged for the New York City Ballet in 1967 and was premiered by the San Francisco Ballet in 2002. 

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To read more about the San Francisco Ballet and to purchase tickets to an upcoming performance, visit their official website by clicking here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

Photo Credit:  San Francisco Ballet

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Today’s Quote

“I love a dog.  He does nothing for political reasons.”

   — Will Rogers, 1879-1935

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This impeccable martini was served in a well-balanced, nicely-sized cocktail glass, and expertly garnished with a freshly-sliced twist, at Dosa on Fillmore, the stylish and new(ish) restaurant serving modern South Indian cuisine at 1700 Fillmore Street (at Post Street) in the emerging Fillmore District of San Francisco. 

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You can learn more about Dosa on Fillmore and restaurant owners Anjan and Emily Mitra’s philosophy around South Indian cuisine by watching this short video, which also includes “before” and “after” images showing the amazing transformation of the large, bi-level space that now houses Dosa on Fillmore.

To read more about Dosa on Fillmore and to view samples of their menus, go to their official website by clicking here.  To make an online reservation for lunch or dinner, click here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

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Rainbow Film Festival

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This month the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, in Memory of Adam Baran, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the screening of 33 feature- and short-length films at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii’s premier art museum.  The festival runs from May 21-24 in Honolulu and from May 29-30 in Hilo and Kona, respectively, on the Island of Hawaii. 

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Academy-award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (pictured above) will be the keynote speaker during Closing Night of the 20th-anniversary film festival on May 24.  Black, 34, won the 2009 award for Best Original Screenplay for “Milk,” the bio-pic based on the life of San Francisco activist and politician Harvey Milk, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Screen Writers Guild of America.  The festival will feature a special screening of Milk, which was nominted for eight Academy Awards and won for Best Actor (Sean Penn) and Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black).

To purchase passes to the film festival, click here.  If you want to learn more about the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival or to make a tax-deductible donation, go to their official website by clicking here.

Congratulations to Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival Executive Director (and dear friend of Jankenpon) Jeffrey Davis and Founder Jack Law, as well as the HGLCF, on the 20th anniversary of the film festival.

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To go to a previous post featuring Dustin Lance Black’s speech as he accepted the Oscar Award for his original screenplay of Milk at the 2009 Oscar Awards ceremony, click here.

Photo Credit:  Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This well-chilled martini was served in one of those annoying “crooked stem” cocktail glass at the Mountain Falls Golf Club Restaurant, located in Pahrump, NV.  The casual all-day dining restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to golfers and residents/visitors at the Mountain Falls master-planned residential community, situated on the outskirts of Pahrump, NV (population 38,000), roughly 1-1/2 hours by car from The Strip in famous Las Vegas, NV.

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Above: Entrance to Mountain Falls Golf Club.  Below: The Clubhouse and Restaurant at Mountain Falls in Pahrump, NV.

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Above:  View of the comfortable dining room and bar at the Mountain Falls Golf Club.  Below:  A view of the nicely-manicured gof course and man-made pond at Mountain Falls Golf Club, with snow-capped Mt. Charleston (Height 11,916 ft), Nevada’s eighth tallest peak, in the background.

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And, in case you’re wondering “where is Pahrump, NV?”, here’s a location snapshot from Google Maps.

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To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

Photos taken: 4/20/09

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Today’s Quote

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

   — Marcel Proust, 1871-1922

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“One martini is all right, two is too many, three is not enough.”

   — James Thurber, 1894-1961

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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