Tag Archives: events and adventures san francisco

Listening To Opera Outside With Friends!

Santana Row is a beautiful place on a summer afternoon. It’s especially beautiful while sitting on the grass listening to beautiful live opera! San Jose Opera came to The Row to give a free outdoor performance. We had a great group of people who brought blankets and snacks to hang out and have an opera picnic. The performers were amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I only wished I would understand what they were saying! However, at one point the song “If I were a rich man” from Fiddler on the Roof came on as an example of America Musical Theater & I LOVED it. The audience really got into it! Our group started clapping along and singing the words! Afterwards we headed to the quaint little wine bar and got to know each other. The best part was at the wine bar where we discussed all the places we would like to travel and some of the weird paranormal places you could go… There are so many cool places to travel to! 

Events and Adventures San Francisco

Cirque du Soleil “Amaluna”

Cirque du Soleil Amaluna

It’s time for a moment of truth. While I know that there are many fans and it is generally loved, I’m not a lover of Cirque.  The production values are great and the music always fun and wonderful, but it’s never thrilled me. Thankfully, I was able to see it through E&A eyes last Wednesday.

I booked the great rate through Cirque months ahead of time, and was able to even get a special deal for food, drinks, and a CD soundtrack souvenir of a previous Cirque show.  What made it “over the top” for me wasn’t the incredible feats of gymnastics (although the balancing act was truly elegant and exciting)  or the incredible costumes (someone please make me the lizard tail costume!) but the excitement and wonderful from the E&A peeps. Most were cold before entering the tent but the childlike anticipation in the group trumped any concerns over the weather.

I arrived to my seat late, and enjoyed the first half, but was surprised by the uncontrollable gasps and cheers from the great people around me.  I asked Jeff about what he thought.  He turned to me, jaw still gaping in wonder, and told me that this was his first show and that he hadn’t even heard of Cirque before E&A. “I never knew such things were even possible.” He said.  Whether or not it was their first visit, the smiles, energy, and pep in everyone’s step showed that everyone had a great time.  “How did you enjoy it?” someone asked me. “It was a great time.  Will be glad to do Cirque with you all again soon.”

Bryan Event Manager San Francisco

Goodwill Toward Men And Bottomless Mimosas

brunch

There are many words I’d use to describe brunch (tasty, slow, hangover cure), but until a weekend ago, connected, trusting, and meaningful weren’t among them.

It all started like any other: perfect local French bistro, a diverse and fun group of ladies (and me), lots of coffee and bottomless mimosas, and entertaining conversation about favorite books, good movies, plans for the holidays. You know, typical stuff.  So the sharing continued: pet owners, volunteering, children,  and then, perhaps a bit more unusual, a member shared her love for boxing.  Not watching, actual study and participation in the sport.  She brought up an observation about how men and women act differently to each other in the ring and how they behave afterwards.

Then in a wonderful way it got personal.  The different stories, the passion for their work, or maybe we just had a place and moment where we felt comfortable and more difficult questions were shared.”How do you know to trust someone out on the street when your heart wants to help but your mind knows it’s probably not a good idea?” “How do we keep the experience of sharing/caring when it’s necessary to protect ourselves as well.” “Sometimes a simple smile to someone on BART can make a world of difference in a better way.” We all nodded and sighed a little. We all felt a bit more calm, confident, and ready for the day. Goodwill toward men and bottomless mimosas. Perfect.

Bryan Event Manager San Franicisco

We Were Kids In A Holiday Candy Store.

beerfest

Well, beer store that is. All of us at E&A had a great time at the Holiday Beer Fest, but I never thought it would be a team effort. It started with me saying I wanted to try a beer from every maker (there were over 50 local, national, and international, brewers at the event). Despite comments that it couldn’t happen, I soon realized why they were saying it: the makers were pouring full glasses of their beverage and everyone just assumed they had to drink it all. I shared my “rule:” small sips, try it a second time if you like it, pour the rest out. Only when you have a favorite do you drink the entire cupful. “What? We can pour it out?” were their replies. Of course, it is even encouraged. Soon we were working the space like a swarm of eager bees. “I’ll try the IPA while you get the Porter. Don’t bother with the brown ale over there, but the pinot barrel aged stout, is incredible.” Now we all got to experience many more tastes, styles, and didn’t have to be afraid to try something new.

The laughs, fun, and teamwork continued through the night. After a quick picture with the Beer Santa, It was almost immediate when everyone felt tired and ready to leave. Now, it was sharing cab rides home, walking each other to the bus stops, and keeping a close eye on each other. We all left with an expanded beer palette, smiles from the memories, and closer and better friends.

The Oakland Parkway….More Than Just A Movie House!

Walking with the manager of the Oakland Parkway last Wednesday into the black box theater turned movie house, I looked for the best places to reserve for our E&A group.  Plenty of  clean dining room tables and some chairs underneath the balcony.  Balcony?  What’s up there?  Wow.  Couches.  All kinds of couches and cushioned chairs each with perfect views of the screen.  That’s it.  Back downstairs to meet the others.  

The Oakland Parkway is more than just a movie house.  In addition to the variety of films including two documentaries, a Hollywood blockbuster, and a foreign film, they have a full kitchen , weekly specials, beers on tap, and they serve it to you at the above mentioned couches.  Feeling adventurous?  Go for the secret dish, which is different with every order.  Alvin got roasted chicken with wild rice and veggies while Catherine got a turkey melt.  Another person got a bucket of fries with cheddar cheese and bacon.  

I sat down to the movie with my salad and then popcorn, and I realized that I’m not sure I cared what movie was about to start.  No one next to me on the couch?  Thank you, I will put my feet up. Just like home, but better: bigger screen, and all my E&A friends watching and chatting with me.  

Bryan Event Manager San Francisco

I Knew It Was Going To Be A Great Party When……..

I knew it was going to be a great party when the passersby started coming in to look at the decorations.  Mind you, this wasn’t at the start of the party but in broad daylight, before we were even ready.  It was mostly adults, but sometimes kids who recognized the special tree doors from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“Wow!  Those look great!” was followed by “What’s going on here tonight?”  There was more than one person who wanted to come to the party and then, I think, wished they were in E&A so they could be part of the party.  

With the exception of a few devout fans of the film and the two hosts who dressed as Sally and Jack, most didn’t dress up with the theme.  It didn’t matter much though as there were mobsters, raver vikings, a Double Dare group (complete with dare “tasks” for the party), and group favorites, the “Bounty Hunters” from the tv show and an almost perfect likeness of Peggy Bundy from “Married with Children.”

There was great food, great drinks (with fun, friendly bartenders), and the DJ played everything from “Monster Mash” to house mixes of popular tunes.  I don’t think the dance floor was ever empty.  1:00 arrived and although it was difficult to get people to leave, some special things happened.  Part of what makes E&A so great is that the members felt some ownership and special part of this fun party, and they responded in kind by lending a hand by helping clean and take down decorations.  We left exhausted and with smiles on our faces.  Well, everyone except the bar owner who begged us to keep our decorations up through Halloween.

Bryan Event Manager San Francisco

Getting Lost turned out Great!

 I didn’t realize that getting lost was the best thing that could have happened.  The beautiful hike in Sunol was carefully planned and the route clear to me.  I was ready to give our members a fun new workout; a steeper and more challenging hike than the last few, but not impossible either.  Then, about 15 minutes of the hike walking the bridge over the rolling river and enjoying the shade, I had to make a choice.  The trail markers were no help at all and the wide path here looked like a tractor could ride on it.  I went left and soon I realize that my intermediate, challenging hike was turning into an easy stroll.  I let it go and made a quick plan, head to the river and then back around the hill.  Not only did we discover some of the most peaceful and beautiful places in the park, but, after carefully avoiding the cows grazing and protecting their calves, we made a fast march up the mountain to get a better view.  Once back, I knew I made the “right” choice when everyone smiled and said that the hike was the perfect exercise; challenging, but not impossible.  I think I’ll make the wrong turn more often.

Bryan Event Manager San Francisco

Tib Loop Bike Ride San Francisco

It was my first bike ride with the E&A crew and I didn’t know what to expect.  Would this ride be too easy for the group?  Too difficult?  I gave them the option of taking the traditional route which means a 2 mile uphill climb on El Camino Real near the start of the ride.  Not a single person looked worried.  In fact, everyone was excited.  Everybody mastered the hill, even the brave soul who took her mountain bike.  After some water, deep breaths, and a little stretching at the top we sped down the winding decent.  Then it was off to Tiburon (thus the name Tib loop) and incredible views of the bay and San Francisco.  My worry melted into smiles and pride as the excellent riders came up to me and said, “This could be the most beautiful ride I have ever taken.”  Now I can’t wait to do the next ride.  

Bryan Event Manager San Francisco

Mini Golf Fun San Francisco!

I didn’t expect I would be laughing so much and fearing being hit by a small ball at the same time. I mean it was mini golf after all. What could possibly cause such reactions? It wasn’t the different holes that recreated iconic Bay Area sights, from Lombard Street to the Winchester Mystery House, nor even the fact that many holes needed a bit retouching so that it didn’t take 500 strokes to get past the tee off marker. It was the fun and interesting group of E&Aers that made it so fun ! Ken the expert golfer could be counted on to make a hole-in-one while I think we all ran for cover whenever it was Catherine’s turn to putt. Best of all, no matter how many strokes it took to complete the crossing of the Golden Gate or the skateboard park, there was much laughter and smiles all around. If I had even the slightest worry about playing mini golf, it was replaced with smiles and fun by the 2nd hole. 

Bryan Event Manager San Francisco

​Madrigal Vineyards Grape Stomp was a perfect day.

Although I had never been there despite my many trips tasting in Napa Valley, I was repeatedly surprised by the party, wines, and, best of all, great E&A group at the event.  With our gold wristbands firmly fastened, we were given large wine glasses and told to roam the property.  Want to enter the barrel room?  Go ahead, and we’ll even have the winemaker meet you there to try barrel samples.  We wiped the delicious grape juice from our chins and roamed out for some lunch.  What a great spread, salads, Cuban sandwiches, and two types of tamales.  Oh, and even more wine to sample.  The salsa band started to play, and under the shade of the little grove we ate gourmet food, listened to great music and just soaked in the wonderful weather.  

Then the competition began.  Take off your shoes and socks, step into a barrel and you get 60 seconds to crush as many grapes as you can.  The person with the most volume of juice wins.  I didn’t realize grape stomping is a lot like dancing; everyone has their own method and rhythm.  Super Stomper Richard from E&A even won 2nd place and a bottle of wine!  Even better, Elizabeth grabbed Richard and turn the vineyard into a Salsa dancing machine.  The band was so thrilled that they gave her a recording of their music.  

Wine, food, perfect weather, an idyllic scene, uncontrollable smiles, and wonderful diverse E&A company.  A perfect  day in wine county.