Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Tonight I had dinner with my friend Daniel Gallisa and his fiancée Kitty at NOPA (North of the Panhandle) the trendy restaurant in an old bank where she works on Divisadero. I met Daniel through his former girl friend Michelle, a beautiful person and soprano, with whom I sing in the Schola Cantorum San Francisco. Daniel is a really good singer too, an alto like me. He used to sing with the Schola and in the Aviary Chorus at the Bohemian Club.

Daniel is a Harvard grad and sang with the Harvard Krokodilos— probably their best a cappella group— and toured the world with them including Tokyo, Istanbul and Venice. He works in advertising in San Francisco.

I called Daniel a few weeks ago to sub for me at Grace Cathedral for one of the upcoming Christmas Concerts. He wasn't able to do it, but we agreed to get together for dinner. He told me his great news about Kitty, but asked me to keep it to myself until he had a chance to tell Michelle, who was on holiday in Japan. Dennis had always hoped Michelle and Daniel would get hitched. Fortunately, they are still good friends. I saw Michelle the Sunday before last at a Schola photo shoot and learned that she already knew. So with Daniel and Kitty’s permission, I am now broadcasting their news to the world— or at least to the few people who read my blog.

Aren’t they a handsome couple? The photo above was taken at Baker Beach moments after Kitty accepted Daniel’s proposal.

I gave Daniel Dennis’ beloved Bianchi racing bike. He called it ‘Aida Bianchi,’ since its color is Celeste Blue— as in “Celeste Aida,” courtesy of Giuseppe Verdi. Daniel said it was great to have such a classic! Damn, I remember when it was brand new!! How carefully Dennis cleaned and waxed the chains. He was so particular in choosing the various components. He particularly loved Campagnola products. Dennis made great friends with Earl and the staff at Seal Rock Bicycle Shop (now out of business) on Geary Avenue beyond the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

One Christmas, Earl called me to ask if I would go in with him and the staff to buy a present for Dennis. It’s a gold-plated Campagnola cork screw. It is really gorgeous and very effective. Dennis was embarrassed to get it. But when we were in Vicenza in 1987, he was relieved to see the chrome version for sale in several hardware stores. At least the cork screw itself was not excessive (though it is massive and very beautiful).

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Titian in the Frari (Venezia)