Gala Symphonix


The noses were small, the dresses were expensive, the Mayor was in attendance, and the music was sublime. Yep, I crashed the annual SF Symphony Opening Gala, chockful o' Zellerbachs, Wilseys, DuPonts and whomever else rich-like, and lived to blog all about it (despite being almost kicked out for yodeling during the singing of the National Anthem, ahem.)

"Pose for the Guardian? I've been in National Geographic, and I thought that was weird ..." (actual quote)

The scene inside the dinner tent

Me and Hunky Beau threw on our Sunday Bests (I still managed to look totally out of place) and joined the March of the Penguins down the red carpet Promenade into Davies Hall, where the bluebloods mixed with the ... er ... other bluebloods. The Internet bust has totally taken a toll on the nouveau riche ratio. (I used to get all companero with the other scruffs at these types of things, but now even the press is in tuxedos.) Still I managed to find some surprising friendly, clubby-type faces in the crowd.

Phil Carabello from the Pilsner and Jason Strotz

Happy gays!

We had missed the giant $2000 dinner, complete with 800 chocolate violins and pork medallions, but we had a blast mingling with the pre-show uppercrust in the Davies lobby and taking sort-of surreptitious pics.




Best overheard quote (this from a catty dowager scanning the crowd and clutching her diamonds): "Various shoes, various shoes ... none of them match."

Various shoes ...

various shoes ...

none of them match.

Then we all went in to hear the Symphony play, which, for me, was the real money melon. We have a wonderful home team orchestra (yes, I'm an addict and a closet connoisseur). A great violin concerto by Stravinsky was on the menu, as well as a lovely symphony by Dvorak. Alas, you could tell conductor Michael Tilson Thomas wasn't really into it -- he skipped over any introductory remarks (except to note that the Symphony was now in a "creative partnership" with the Swiss city of Lucerne -- we all got Swiss themed gift bags containing CDs of alphorn polkas) and rushed through all the conducting. Still, I like things fast, and the music was incredibly thrilling. For a moment, gazing over lovingly at Hunky Beau all dressed up in the seat next to me, I even felt a swoon of romance. Then the catty queen behind us pointed at me and whispered loudly to his middle-aged fag hag: "I thought this was black tie. Someone didn't read the memo, apparently."

I punched him with my brain.

Unfortunately, MTT wound the whole thing up with a clap-a-long rendition of something that sounded like the William Tell Overture (MILLION DOLLAR IDEA: classical musicians are basically starving, right? Why don't some of them set up a live phone service that you can call and say "Do you know the name of this tune?" and hum it and they tell you? $3.95 plus tax where applicable). Oh, wait -- it was the Radetsky March by Strauss (too much merlot, I forgot). Seeing all the richies clapping along to the symphony with the glee of grade schoolers was too debasing. Even I felt some class snobbery at that moment. As we left, we heard someone say: "That was the best part of the whole thing!" Sigh.

Then it was off to dancing in the dinner tent to an OK wedding band and hoofing it at City Hall to some DJ with a Polish name until 1am. I have to say it really was a lovely evening, can't wait to hear the rest of the symphony season, and despite the fact that I didn't run into Gavin (or gay former UN ambassador James Hormel and his much-younger partner) it was still a star-filled night for the high queen in me. (Thanks Louisa for helping me get in!)


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