Town Crier: Of flying kids in S.F., flying cars in Montclair


MONTCLARION: MAY 14, 2010

Oh, to be young again. Watching the dazzling production of Peter Pan in San Francisco this week made me feel like a child in a backyard fort. I fought pirates and encountered Indians and did it all without nary a parent in sight.

J.M. Barrie’s story is over 100 years old, yet this version soars to new heights – literally. Through the use of the world’s first 360-degree video projection for live theater, you feel as if you are flying, yourself, with Peter and Wendy and Tinker Bell. It couldn’t have been done in a traditional theater, so a unique outdoor pavilion had to be designed with a 100 foot high ceiling packed with ten tons of high-tech equipment.

And what better place for a story about perpetual youth, than across from the Ferry Building in San Francisco? My advice is to run – no – fly to this production and bring the whole family. This is a play for all ages – something rather rare in big city theater today.

Around town: Is it me, or have there been an awful lot of cars jumping the curb lately? The latest in a spate of car-into-building crashes occurred last week, when a Prius plowed into the side of CVS Pharmacy in Montclair. This is the second time a car has hit that building in recent years and miraculously – there’ve been no injuries. Consider too, that just a block away, a motorist plowed into a parked car and narrowly missed our beloved beat cop – Maureen Vergara. Backtrack and you have cars hitting buildings at Washington Mutual/Chase, Nelly’s Java, Montclair Pharmacy (three different times!) and Savemore Market on Park Blvd. I don’t know about you…but as a pedestrian, I’ll be proceeding with caution…

Remembering Al: You might call it a wake-up “wake”. Al Bauer’s friends gathered at Peets Coffee in Montclair, the other day, to remember the beloved Oakland businessman. You may recall that I reported on Al’s untimely death in a January 29 column. Well, it turns out his niece, Sabine, who lives in England, saw that column on the internet and contacted Al’s friends. They swapped stories and photos and arranged for a gathering at his favorite coffee shop on what would have been Al’s birthday. “The last time I saw Alfred was some years ago,” writes his niece, who couldn’t fly out for the party. “Speaking to you and seeing the photos I have been able to get more of a glimpse of Alfred’s life in America which means a lot.”

And speaking of deaths…I want to take this time to remember the longtime producer and director of Woodminster Summer Musicals, James Schlader. Schlader had a rich life and was himself, a performer – making his Broadway debut back in 1947 in a production of On the Town. He passed away, last week, at the age of 96.

Ducking disaster: There’s something to be said for getting your ducks in a row. Just ask Mary and John Orfali, who went the extra mile to save four ducklings that had fallen through the sewer grate near their home. Mama duck apparently couldn’t count, because when four of her brood went missing, she kept waddling down the street with the others in tow. Mary grabbed her scooter and followed the quackers to the Village Market while her husband rescued the rest of the brood. With a little teamwork they were able to reunite ducklings with momma – a heartwarming Mother’s Day tale, indeed.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com. Follow Ginny on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ginnyprior.

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