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Friday, October 11, 2002

It's been a long, long time since I've been tempted to take a pair of scissors to my own head. I know how that comes out, and it's never pretty. It almost always makes things worse, but I got a haircut yesterday that I'm not sure I could make any worse. I should probably go back and make them fix it, but you know me. I'm not going back. I'm going to suffer (though not in silence) until the next haircut.

With the new do I got on the lake in July, I've pretty much resigned myself to forking over the twenty bucks for a haircut every month. Any longer than that is too long, like the hair that sticks straight up in front and makes me look like Elsa Lanchester (and not the Elsa Lanchester of Mary Poppins and other Disney movies, either). Like Paulie Walnuts in The Sopranos.

My "stylist" yesterday clipped me to a downy buzz in the back of my head and around the ears. She didn't take enough off on top, but that's my fault because I told her not to get it so short it would stick straight up. That would have been better than leaving it so long on the sides that it puffs out, though. I look as if I might be wearing a hat from the Russian steppes or the Argentine pampas. Or as if I just took one of those hats off.

Tempting as it is, though, I won't try to correct it. I'll just get up each morning, soak my head, comb it back, and hope for the best. Some days I'll wear a hat, which shows you just how bad I think my hair looks. The thing is (a) I don't care that much how I look, and (2) I hate wearing hats.

An experimental theater production is just that. Experimental. And experiments can fail. The odds stacked against the show Mom and I saw tonight were long and uncertain.

It was based on an unfinished book by a local writer, adapted for the stage by the Theatre Arts Department of Santa Rosa Junior College. This was the first performance, with all the uncertainty of the opening night of a new work. And it's being presented not as a play but as a dramatic reading, word for word from the narrative (including he-saids and she-saids) but acted out by the students in the drama program.

And yet, despite all obstacles, it was an amazing night of theater. Once the audience adapted to the rhythms of actors performing as they described their own actions, we surrendered to the magic. Any form of storytelling that draws you in that well is authentic art. When the story it tells is the compelling tale of an Indian woman of wit, courage and independence, you have "Farewell, Angelina," based on the writing of Sonoma County's own Greg Sarris.

We both loved it. Sarris's characters and their story sing with humanity, and the adaptation does it full justice. It's infused with local history and references, from Petaluma dairy farms to Rosenberg's department store in Santa Rosa to the Pomo and Miwok peoples of the North Coast, whose legends are portrayed. The Native American perspective is evident in the use of natural elements like trees and rivers as supporting characters.

The show has humor and sadness, sex and death. What more could you ask for? I can't wait to read the full work when it's published next year.

The author himself was in the audience, and he was asked to come onstage and say a few words afterward. Like the rest of us, he was blown away by the performance, although his expectations were obviously quite different. What a thrill it must be to see your words come to life so eloquently.

nearing sunset

Happy birthday, Bonnie.

Nobody in Burbank Auditorium at the JC tonight noticed my bad haircut. It helps that it was dark in there, and also that, well, nobody was looking at me. This is one of the many times I'm grateful to be invisible.

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Latest recommendation:

Colleen, Mad Redhead, October 10, The beginning of that time

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Fire Away
"He was handed his lovely parting gifts and sent away again."

Two years ago: Looking for the Light
"Since the rental income is about half the amount of the mortgage payment, I'd have to say I think it's time."

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