Monday, August 30, 2010


During the "Season" M and I enjoy countless exciting classical music events at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Disney Hall. In the summer our musical life comes to a screeching halt. I have never cared for the Hollywood Bowl. Rarely is there a program I will beat-the-traffic for, and after numerous renovations the sound system still sounds like two tin cans with a string attched. I guess the point of the Bowl is to enjoy an Evening Under the Stars drinking, dining and listening to music, but somehow to me it just ain't worth the effort. So what do we do socially in the summer? We see friends and relax. J&T recently gave an enjoyable cocktail/dinner for two guys visiting from Australia, JP joined us one evening at Waterloo Cafe, visited other restaurants with friends, and have given dinners at home. M has become the Chef de la Cuisine. He enjoys being a grill-er. That sums up our summer social fare. However, there is a serious side to our lives - believe it or not. M has Landscape Architecture classes at UCLA requiring an inordinate amount of homework, I am learning the three movements of a Mozart Sonata: K333 and a Chopin Nocturne. Also, we drive down to Rancho Mirage once a week to checkout the progress on the renovation of our 1957 Wexler house. Life is good, the champagne pink and the chicken greasy. Who could ask for anything more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I never enjoyed celebrating my birthday when I was a child. I won't bore you with the psychological problems I endured, but the most important thing is as an adult, I LOVE MY BIRTHDAYS. To me, every new year is an achievement. Learning new pieces on the piano, speaking French like a native (dropping letters), learning to accept the differences between M and me and realizing that I am healthy and happy. This year was a 3 day celebration. Dinner the 14th was with two visiting French friends at Lucques. An amiable experience. The 15th I hosted, as I like to do on my birthday, a small dinner at Enoteca Drago. As a gift DG brought a bottle of 1990 Lafitte Rothschild. Superb! Quelle robe! Quelle bouquet! We began the dinner with an aperitif of Prosecco/Apero. Conversation was lively and the Italian food matched perfectly with the French wine. The 16th, my actual birthday, M took me to lunch at the restaurant of my choice: Etoile. That evening our friend from Florence Italy, FF, gave a beautiful dinner in my honor at his Los Angeles pied a terre. He entertains on the roof top of his Hancock Park apartment building where the view is extraordinary. Last evening there was a clear sky and a bright half moon. The dinner was the topper to the 3 days of celebration. Italian wine, Panzanella salad, Patate Tonato, etc. Good friends, good food, good ambiance. Another beloved birthday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This past weekend M and I spent the weekend in Palm Springs. I would have never imagined I would experience desert life during this time of year however, what with the never-ending restoration on our RM house we opted to live the desert life as guests of a friend. True, the days are hot but the soft desert breezes cool the evenings. Although many restaurants were closed for the month, those that were open - such as Tropicale - were booming. Even the locals commented there were an unusual number of visitors for this time of year. During the day we managed to checkout the "in" Resale Consignment furniture store, visit an art gallery, take a test drive in the new 2011 BMW x5, visit the world's gayest True-Value hardware store and hit a few cafes. It ain't St. Tropez but then what is?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

THOSE WHO INFLUENCED OUR LIVES: Clarise Etscheid - Teacher

Mrs. Etscheid, a high school teacher of mine, was a chic and striking woman. Think Maria Callas when she looked good. Mrs E. arrived at our school from New York when I was a Junior at North High to teach Choir and English. The first time I saw her in the Choir class I noticed the gray one button suit she was wearing was designed by the English designer Edward Molyneux and the diamond ring on her finger was a Marquis cut - minimum 3 carat. Yes, a budding Gay noted those things. Rumor was that she had been the rehearsal choir director of the Metropolitan Opera and often I wondered what the hell was a woman like that doing teaching in a Minneapolis high school. Mrs. Etscheid had a no nonsense approach to teaching music. She would keep time clapping her hands together in a loud strict military tempo. One day, questioning me in front of the class about a Chopin Polonaise, I purposely mispronounced the word Polonaise because I was embarrassed to say it in front of my classmate in the correct French. She demanded I repeat it correctly and then said a simple phrase I never forgot. "Back your convictions". In my senior year I met some unsavory Drag characters from Miami and one morning she observed me being dropped off (shocking for the time) in a white Lincoln convertible. Later that morning she called me into her office and said "If that is the kind of life you want, there are much much nicer people out there". Two years later I walked into a store in Santa Monica and encountered Mrs E. with her rather effeminate husband. Upon being introduced to him for the first time, I realized he was undoubtedly Gay and she was probably a Lesbian. How wonderful it was to have a teacher who understood and who influenced my life so positively.