This morning I brewed some Tropical Tangerine White Tea* for myself; my husband doesn’t care for it so he made himself a small pot of Darjeeling tea from Peet’s Coffee & Tea (it's not one I like, so that worked out well).

Yesterday afternoon I picked up my lost keys from the Aurora Theatre in downtown Berkeley where I’d been on Monday night. They’d found them & held them for me - I was really lucky! They’re located on Addison Street between Shattuck and Milvia, as are the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Berkeley Jazz School (they have student concerts there all the time, many of them quite good), and the Freight and Salvage (which is a wonderful venue for live folk and other types of traditional music by top-notch performers). That block is a designated "Arts District" and there are poems cast in bronze embedded in the sidewalk, one of which shown above. (When the word "Art" is used in the plural form it seems to always refer to the performing arts – interesting.)

* an unusual blend from the Boston Tea Company that's only available loose, not in teabags
 
 
Today I’ve brewed a pot of Ntingwe Kwazulu tea.* This morning it’s 10 degrees warmer than at the same time yesterday so I think it’s going to be a scorcher! The temperature went up to the mid to late 80s yesterday and today it could reach well into the 90s. The summer weather has landed with a vengeance! But fortunately my sinuses are relatively clear today and we have air-conditioning in our new home, so I won’t complain.

We saw Anna Deavere Smith’s new play Let Me Down Easy last night and it was wonderful! Smith does amazing one-woman performances in which she plays a wide variety of people whom she has interviewed on a given topic, reenacting the interviews. It’s a unique  documentary form of drama that she pioneered, and it’s extremely powerful because she’s such a good listener as well as a superb actor. (Anna Deavere Smith has also played in major parts in two TV series, The West Wing and Nurse Jackie.) We’d seen 2 of her earlier plays in the 1990s: Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, both of which were excellent and very memorable (all of them at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre). But Let Me Down Easy is an even more incredible tour-de-force and I feel the need to break out some heavy duty adjectives to describe it - incandescent, transcendent & extraordinarily moving. I strongly urge you to go see it if you can; it’ll be playing at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre through July 10, 2011. Here’s a link to their website, if you want to read more about it, see some video clips, order tickets, etc. :
http://www.berkeleyrep.org/season/1011/4556.asp

* a loose tea from Taylor's of Harrogate
 
 
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I made a pot of White Pear tea this morning. I love that one iced as well – I hope there’ll be some left over. (It’s my favorite white tea blend & it comes from Revolution Tea – to order it or for more info, look under Things I Like / Tea in this website.)

We saw Mike Daisey’s 2nd show, "The Agony & the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," last night at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and it was great! It was even better than the one we saw a few weeks ago, "The Last Cargo Cult." We went with 2 other couples and all of us thought it was great. Daisey has investigated the main source of over half of the electronic toys and tools we love so much (computers, i-pads, laptops, cell-phones, etc) by going to the incredibly large & crowded factory city of Shenzhen, China, and talking to numerous people who work there. He told some harrowing tales about their working & living conditions, but he mixed it in with a humorous retelling of the history of Apple Computer (and his own relationship with their products over the years) in such a skillful way that the audience didn’t shut down and just feel totally helpless about the situation. Daisey wants us all to become activists, even providing some concrete resources in an informational sheet handed out to people in the lobby afterwards. His monologue was riveting and it made the human cost of our electronic toys and tools palpable; that’s all I’ll say for now.

Note:
The picture above is of Mike Daisey performing "The Agony & the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs;" you can click on it to access more information about both of the shows he's currently doing at the Berkeley Rep – I recommend going to see them for yourself if you can!
 
 
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It’s another foggy, chilly morning. Yesterday it spattered a little rain in the afternoon, but not seriously. However that made the temperature go up a couple of degrees. Maybe the sun will come out later on. Meanwhile we’re drinking green Oolong tea; it’s a really nice smoky brew with a slight edge. It always wakes me up!

Last night we saw an excellent one-man show by Mike Daisey called The Last Cargo Cult at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It’s about money and the global money market - how insane it is. Also about our obsession with goods (cargo!) and how insidious & all-pervasive that is, especially since "our shit is awesome!" as Daisey puts it. In part of his monologue he told about going to a remote island in the South Pacific where the eponymous last cargo cult really does still exist; there’s a community there where they don’t use money at all, they simply rely on custom. He’s a very good performer, particularly considering that he was mostly just sitting there, talking, for over 2 hours, and he kept our attention throughout that time! Mike Daisey’s funny & very smart, and the subject is fascinating; we both enjoyed it a lot. I highly recommend seeing it if you’re in the SF Bay area (it’ll be going through Feb 27).

For this run at the Berkeley Rep, Mike Daisey is also doing another show in repertory - that is, in alternating weeks with the one we just saw, The Last Cargo Cult. It’s called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs; we haven’t yet decided if we’ll be going to see that one. ******* I’ve just researched Mike Daisey on the internet and discovered a lot of interesting stuff on his blog (here’s a link to it - the part about The Last Cargo Cult: http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/p/monologues.html ).
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We’d actually seen an earlier one-man show of Daisey’s at the Berkeley Rep back in 2004. I had remembered Mike Daisey, but our memory of that show was extremely hazy, so I looked up what I'd written about it in my journal the next day, to wit: "The play was called 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com - an autobiographical one-man show. Mike Daisey wrote and performed it; he’s a large, very funny & expressive guy. It was quite good. It kept us awake and we laughed a lot." 

Then I found that Mike Daisey’s also written a book entitled 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com. I’m not sure when it came out (at least 6 to 8 years ago), but it got great reviews; I believe I'm going to have to buy a copy. I've found it on Amazon.com (I don’t think that it’s their favorite title, but they do carry it!), so I’m going to put a link to it under Books in the Things I Like section of this website; it’s in the Biography/Memoir category – just click on the tab above to check it out.

Note: It seems there's another version of this book, entitled 21 Dog Years: A Cube-Dweller's Tale, which is probably the hardcover edition (I think the one with "Amazon.com" in the title may be the paperback, and perhaps is out-of-print). I’ve listed the former version because there are lots of reviews associated with its Amazon listing, and none with the other (cheaper) edition. So that's why the book cover & the sub-title in the Things I Like section is different from the one here - sorry for the confusion!