The new Bay Bridge soared majestically over us yesterday as we headed into the city to catch August Wilson’s first play, “Jitney.” John and I have been August Wilson fans for decades. In fact, the class that I took from John, in which we fell in love, had one of Wilson’s plays on the syllabus. We saw that play together in Texas, and felt sentimental about seeing this one last night.
Jitney is part of Wilson’s Century Cycle, and is about a group of blue collar men who offer gypsy cab rides to and from African American communities in Pittsburgh where city cabs refuse to go. We have attended other plays in the same venue, which was once an Episcopal Church, and love the small, intimate environment that makes the audience feel like it is a part of the play’s environs.
A luxurious fog bank was beautifully rolling into the city by the end of the day, but Alcatraz was still visible as we crossed the bridge. Of course, Robin Williams was on my mind as we entered San Francisco, as was my best friend, René.
See how the streets sparkled in the photo above? Everything looked silver and blue. It was beautiful!
We took our customary drive down the Embarkadero, but did not get out and walk as we usually do, because we wanted to catch a bite to eat before the play. Again, I thought of Robin Williams, because he used to jog here, and further down the way near Chrissy Field. There was a definite Robin Williams vibe going on in the city. I think all of us are still shocked.
As always, there were interesting things to see, as in this amazing metal sculpture. called SOMA. The 60-foot sculpture combines metal and LED lights to mimic brain neurons and create an interactive experience for visitors. The piece was first built five years ago by the San Francisco artist collective Flaming Lotus Girls. The group is known for the fiery statues they feature annually at the Burning Man festival in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert . When it is lit, it is magnificent!
The usual Mimes were entertaining tourists, and a lot of people were out walking around. It was a glorious day!
We also drove over to the Haight, hoping to eat over there, but it was ridiculously crowded, so we went elsewhere. I did snap a shot of this cool mural, however, even though I couldn’t capture the entire thing. Kind of reflects on that whole hippie, Haight-Ashbury thing from the days of Jimi and Janis. Doesn’t it?
We drove close to the theatre and decided to walk over to Kala Udon Kitchen, a nearby cheap noodle place that serves some of the best udon imaginable. We had veggie tempura sushi, tofu, and our bowls of steaming hot noodles. It was way too much food to finish, but we ate until we were full and had a great conversation. We were both excited about the upcoming play.
We arrived early for the play, so John took a couple of shots of the very simply constructed set. When writing is as good as that of August Wilson, a fancy set is not needed. The work speaks for itself.
We held hands during the play and enjoyed one another’s company AND the play, more than I can say. It was really good. In fact, I was shocked that it was as good as it was since it was Wilson’s first. I loved his later work, but this first effort was very strong. It was well-acted and thoroughly entertaining.
Overall, our date night was a big success!