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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Yesterday, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik picked up the Gatsby story and gave 4/18 in Grace Cathedral a prominent mention. Today's issue of the SF Weekly has a write-up with a nice headline: "Waiter, there's a cultural icon in my sanctuary." There might be one or two more clippings in the offing in the next couple of days, but I feel unlucky saying more.

Heklina talked up the event at Cher night last night at Trannyshack, this despite my failure to materialize, as Death, on time in her opening number ("I Found Someone"). She dressed me down backstage and then needled me about it onstage and so I found myself in trouble for the fourth time for being late, in one form or another, since the run-up to 4/18 began a few weeks ago. I am very much looking forward to the life that begins May 3, when it is impossible for me to be late, because I will have absolutely, blessedly nothing to show up for.

One of the lovely things about conceiving, producing, financing, directing, shooting, lighting, editing, distributing and marketing a film is that it makes writing a novel seem like going on vacation. Far be it from me to complain - I'm really excited about Friday. My foxy Belgian pianist lands at SFO in a few minutes and we have our first rehearsal, at the church, this afternoon.

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.