Revisiting My College Days

The week in San Diego went by all too fast. I swear I blinked and it was over. I guess going back to a one-week stop after two two-month stops made it seem like a split second.

We played the Civic Theater in San Diego, which is a big performing arts center downtown. I remember going to see shows there while I was in school, including the band Pearl Jam, who I saw from the seventh row! It was really cool being on the other side of the footlights this time. The theater is big and spacious and we had plenty of room for everything backstage. Opening night went without incident and our audiences all week were raucous and appreciative. We had a little opening night party following the first performance at an Irish bar out behind the theater. Casey Nicolaw, our choreographer, was in town – it was nice to see him one more time before we close.

On Wednesday I took advantage of my close proximity to Mission Bay and got up early and went for a run on the path around the bay. After lunch I spent a couple of hours wandering up Mission Street to Garnet Street and browsed the shops of Pacific Beach. I stopped for a coffee at Zanzibar, which is a cafe that I spent a lot of time studying in during college. My friends’ bands used to play there, too. Its not as grungy as it used to be, and now functions as a full restaurant, but it still has the same charm. After that, I walked over to the beach, and walked along the beach back down to my apartment.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach

A surfer on Pacific Beach

A surfer on Pacific Beach

On Thursday I drove over to Balboa Park and went to the Museum of Photographic Art to see the Ansel Adams exhibit on display. I spent some time walking around the park, revisiting all my favorite places – Spreckels Organ Pavilion (where I performed with the UCSD gospel choir while in college), the international houses, and the promenade with all the museums. After that I drove over to Old Town and walked around for a bit (I stopped into a gallery there with lots of famous prints from Life magazine for sale – very cool), then went to Shakespeare’s Pub for dinner before the show.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Museum of Man

Museum of Man

Old Town

Old Town

On Friday I went to UCSD. I love going back to campus and walking around.  It just brings back so many great memories. I didn’t have a very good time in high school, but I LOVED college so much. I feel like that’s when I started to really figure out who I am. And I had some great friends there – from the girls who I lived with in the dorms freshman year (some of who I am still close to) to my theater friends. I just loved, loved, loved those years. The campus has grown so much since I went there – I think it now has seven colleges (it had five when I was there), and there are so many new buildings. The theater department has been renovated and there is a beautiful new dance building. Some of my old favorite places are still there, though, from the Grove Cafe, to my freshman year dorm, Cabrillo Hall. I spent some time in the bookstore, buying some sweatshirts and a t-shirt, and then just spent a couple of hours walking around. It made me very happy.

The theater department at UCSD

The theater department at UCSD

The student center

The student center

My dorm, Cabrillo Hall

My dorm, Cabrillo Hall

My friend Mark, who I went to high school and college with, came to see the show on Friday night with his wife Molly. Mark and I did a bit of theater together in high school, but we really got to know each other in college, when I stage-managed a production of “Sweeney Todd” that Mark directed. It was so nice to see him again – it had been at least ten years since we last saw each other, and I loved meeting Molly. She and Mark seem like a great couple. One of the best things about this tour has been being able to reconnect with friends in other cities who I haven’t seen in forever. Hopefully it won’t be another ten years before I see Mark again!

On Saturday we had two shows, and the presenters at the theater threw us a BBQ between shows out in the theater courtyard. It was a really fun way to finish out our stay in town.

On Sunday we played our last two shows, and then it was home to pack. I left early Monday morning and drove to Sunnyvale, where I am staying at my parents’ house for the week while we play San Jose.

It was a fantastic week in San Diego, albeit too short. I hope I get to go back really soon. I miss it a lot. In a way, I like it that way though – San Diego remains for me a fairytale place of simple, happy times. That’s how I like to remember it.

On the way to San Jose, somewhere off highway 5

On the way to San Jose, somewhere off highway 5

That's a Wrap, L.A.!

Ryan flew into town for my second to last week in LA. It was great to see him – I wish he could have stayed longer. We had a really nice visit though – we did a lot, but we also relaxed at home a lot – it was the perfect mix of productivity and chillaxin’.

We spent our first day together gorging on the mammoth pancakes at The Griddle – so good, but SO huge! It took us three days, literally to finish our portions. We hung out at the Grove and explored the Farmer’s Market there and spent the evening barbecuing at the apartment.

Pumpkin pancakes at The Griddle

Pumpkin pancakes at The Griddle

On Tuesday we drove out to Santa Monica which was an adventure it and of itself. The traffic in LA is legendary, and it took us FOREVER to get out to the coast. We finally did, though and had a nice afternoon walking around the promenade and along the cliff side park.  We ate another ridiculous meal on Wednesday at the famous Pink’s hot dog stand – it was more for the experience than for the food.  I can cross it off my list and don’t need to ever go back 🙂

DSC_0006 (1)

On Thursday we drove to Pasadena to visit the Gamble House, a beautiful craftsman home built in 1908. They just don’t make homes like that anymore – gorgeous! And it was built in only 10 months!

DSC_0003

On Friday we met up with a group of people from “Spamalot” and went on the “V.I.P.” tour at Warner Bros. Studios. It was really interesting to see behind the scenes at all the different sound stages and to visit the back lots, and the scene shop and prop shop. It seemed so removed from what we see on TV – to me it just looked like a summer stock theater company – especially with everyone riding their bikes all over the place from stage to stage. It was a really neat experience.

Warner Brothers Studios

Warner Brothers Studios

Over the weekend Ryan and I spent quite a bit of time taking photos of the fires in the hills near Glendale. The smoke clouds were clearly visible from downtown and Hollywood, and the smoke was very thick in the air, especially in the mornings. I had Sunday night off work, and after dinner in Los Feliz, Ryan and I drove up to the Griffith Observatory to take some photos. They are finally getting the fires under control, but I think at this point over 140,000 have burned in Angeles National Forest.

DSC_0067

On my final Monday off in LA (!) we had lunch at the Alcove Cafe in Los Feliz to celebrate Ryan’s birthday (which was on Wednesday) then Ryan spent a couple of hours at Amoeba Records while I ran some errands. We had dinner that night with Christopher and Sean at Cafe Stella (which was so yum!) and then we all went to the Vermont to see my friend Natalie (who was in town with the “Legally Blonde” tour) perform her solo cabaret show. I did “Bare” with Natalie five years ago and we became fast friends. I’ve seen her solo show a few times now and she gets better every time I see her. She rocks. Even Ryan enjoyed the show and he’s not really  a fan of cabarets! 🙂

Natalie performing her solo show at the Vermont

Natalie performing her solo show at the Vermont

Ryan left on Tuesday 😦 I spent the rest of the week pretty much packing up the apartment in preparation for moving on to San Diego. I met up with Natalie on Friday for lunch and then caught “Legally Blonde” on Sunday night.

I had a great time in LA this summer. It was a totally different LA than I had ever experienced before, being able to just relax and hike and hang out rather than doing uber-touristy things like going to amusement parks and things. I loved my little rental apartment (and so did Tallulah – she is already missing her yard). Hopefully I’ll get a chance to be back again sometime for an extended period of time- maybe on another tour?

On Monday I drove to San Diego, and had a smile on my face as I drove through UCSD’s campus, then down La Jolla Shores to La Jolla and then P.B. and finally to Mission Beach where I have really cute cottage right by the beach for the week. I was so happy to see Fin’s Tacos is still there (which I of course had for lunch yesterday) and also Zanzibar, Tokyo House and World Curry! I’m looking forward to revisiting all my favorite places this week 🙂

On Mission Bay

On Mission Bay

The tour is most definitely winding down – only a few more weeks now! I have my sublet in NYC all lined up for November and am beginning my planning for my cross-country trip back after we close in Costa Mesa – which includes a stop in Houston to see Fran and Tanya, and then Wisconsin to see Ryan. I’ll be back in NYC before I know it!