paddling down to la jolla

paddling down to la jolla

Go on, double-click the image. Then click it again and everything will make sense.

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california dreaming

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at the theatre: jesus christ superstar

The problem with Jesus Christ Superstar struck me at La Jolla Playhouse during intermission: like Ibsen’s Peer Gynt it’s meant to be heard and not necessarily seen. Originally created as a concept album, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s score is by and large pop-rock music. Fun to hear and even more fun to sing along with it’s not necessarily dramatic in the way music in the theater needs to be in order to hold the interest of the viewer and create a continuity of story. The contemporary pop-rock song by tradition dwells in a single emotion for three minutes; the theater song, when successful, takes character and listener on a journey which moves the story forward. In listening to an album we can make great jumps of time, space, and logic without a second thought – in the theater it falls upon the musical’s director to take over the role of our imagination and somehow make a cohesive omelette from so many scrambled eggs. For Des McAnuff, the Tony-winning director and former Artistic Director at La Jolla, that clarity comes mostly in the form of a “modern” conceptualization of mixed metaphors that somehow think a dinky news zipper and a handful of projections will somehow put the viewer in the mind of Tahir Square, or any of the social media-driven uprisings that grabbed our attention in 2011. Jesus as leader of a flash mob? I dont think so. The cast of amateurs doesn’t help matters. With the exception of Josh Young and Jeremy Kushnier as a morally conflicted Judas and Pontius Pilate, respectively, the cast acts as though they wandered in off a tour of Godspell. Then again, Judas and Pilate are the only characters given anything resembling a journey – each trying to do the right thing - so of course they come off a bit more successfully. Poor Jesus, he has nothing to do but look holy until his big 11 o’clock number with God – I mean Dad. In the title role Paul Nolan does an admirable job of staring vacantly into space. Let’s just say I left the theater humming – but vastly underwhelmed by the lack of cohesion. I expect it’ll always be so until a production comes along where the director’s imagination allows me to retain mine. In fact, the one and only successful Superstar I’ve seen was put on a few years ago with the singer Peaches. Talk about radical: it was a bare stage with just her and a piano, trusting the audience to fill in all the blanks. She sang the whole show on her own – just like I’ve been known to do in the shower or basement – before being joined onstage by the a handful of dancers to revel in the title number. It was perfection.

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wild grow the lychee

Either my eyes deceive me or I stumbled upon a cluster of lychee growing wild along the La Jolla bluffs.

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la jolla laissez faire

La Jolla is a small coastal village with left-leaning sensitivities just up the road from San Diego. It’s craggy coastline alternates caves, bluffs, and small stretches of sandy beach which are favored by the local populations of both seals and people. It’s one of the prettiest parts of southern California, with an off-the-beaten-track veneer and laid-back attitude to match. You get the sense that people once came to La Jolla and, smitten, never left. (Today, however, they’d have to be able to afford its premium oceanfront prices.) Speaking of premium prices, Mitt Romney has a house here – John McCain, too – so the town’s about to descend into notoriety to some degree. But don’t let their potential presence fool you: La Jolla is a true blue as it’s endless Pacific views.

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everything’s better with fish tacos

A friend of mine suggested lunch at Georges at the Cove for some of the best views in La Jolla, an artsy enclave along the Pacific that’s only about ten minutes away from La Costa. What he neglected to mention is that they also do a mean fish taco, too.

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