The Spirit of Man

By Peter Barnes. This is actually three related one-acts: and Handmaiden of the Second Kind, From Sleep And Shadow, and The Night of Sinchat Torah. All of these plays deal with the issue of faith and religion being put to the test, and how people react under these circumstances. In the first, a woman being tried by the French Inquisition in the 1400s pleads guilty to witchcraft and terrorizes her oppressors. At the end she confesses to God (and the audience) that it was all sleight of hand and trickery, because she did not want to be tortured or die. The second takes place after the English Revolution. A man whose wife is dying enlists the aid of a Ranter with peculiar beliefs. The latter (played by Alan Rickman) summons the spirit of the former’s first wife (Sarah), who is keeping the spirit of the second (Abigale) from returning to her body. In the third, three Jews in 1800s Poland cast out God for abandoning their people.

These are three interesting scenes all of which gnaw on a similar bone — this isn’t a form I had thought to use, but seems ideal for a piece that comes out of an ideological need, or perhaps any well-formulated idea or need.



18th and Guerrero. This is one of those Nuevo Latino places, a kind of hodgepodge of Central American foods that to the uninitiated (me) all seem, well, tasty. And tasty it was. We started out with the tostadas, some fried plantain discs with two kinds of salsa, one green, and one red. I found the red one a little overbearing and the green one a little weak, but I could alternate between them, which worked wonderfully. For the main course I chose a Guatemalan tamale, with some tender juicy chicken and onions, a grilled corn salad that was light and refreshing, and black beans with rice that was surprisingly sweet. It was a hearty portion, but I wanted more, so I got the custard with fresh raspberries, which was a perfect light way to end the meal.

The decor is very… orange. And the service is pretty good. It gets kind of noisy once the main dinner rush kicks in, and the high ceilings only make it worse. Expect to pay more if you get the dessert, like I did, or a beverage.

All in all, I would recommend Platanos, and it is a welcome addition to my list of Good Places To Eat In The Mission. But there are so many good places, and it didn’t have any one thing that stood out in my mind. But maybe next time I’ll try something else on the menu and have my socks knocked off.

Feel cultured

I was looking for my old favorite short animation, Strindberg and Helium, when I came across the 2003 Sundance Online Film Festival. It’s awesome! And the short films are a perfect 5 minute brain break. Maybe the Internet isn’t the bane on my productivity that I thought it was.

In other news, I saw the SF Mime Troupe show, Veronique of the Mountains. It was funny, but not as good as Mr. Smith Goes to Obskuristan, which was last year’s show. But theater in the park is always a fun summer activity, as long as you have plenty of water.

I’m reading White Teeth now, and learned from it what one of those mysterious curse words my father used to utter when he was in a bad mood actually means. Because, y’know, it was usually not a good time to ask for the etymology when I heard it.