VISUAL ART Dottie Guy had a difficult time in 2006. In addition to the death of her grandfather, she was recovering from surgery for an injury to her ankle and foot that she had sustained on duty in Iraq. She started taking pictures as motivation to walk around and to reclaim a sense of purpose.Read more »
There’s an idea in literary theory that co-opts the philosophical notion of the concrete universal. The value of a poem, character, or story, it says, can be determined by the particular balance of how general and specific an entity it represents.
The remarkable thing about the music on the three albums of Bat For Lashes, the moniker of British musician Natasha Khan, is its melding of opposites. The songs simultaneously exist in the realm of the ancient and the new, the weird and the ordinary, and the grand and the intimate. And the even more remarkable thing is that seeing it embodied on the Regency Ballroom stage in front of an audience didn’t compromise these effects; it heightened them. Read more »
Last Thursday, when the lights came up on the stage at the Independent, they revealed a woman who was relishing the reverential shouts of the sold-out crowd. With a dramatic bun on top of her head, large hoop earrings, and tall heels, Jessie Ware appeared to embody the fully realized pop star that the world is starting to recognize in her.
Throughout the night, though, it became clear that what makes Ware so compelling isn’t the idolizing distance of pop-stardom, but its opposite. Between each song, she charmed the audience with candid and often self-deprecating banter. To a loud response of cheers and clapping, she spoke of her boyfriend who had joined her on tour and enjoyed planting himself in the audience to gauge its mood. “If someone comes up to you being a bit pervy, it’s just ‘cause he’s really proud of me,” she said, then laughed along with the crowd. Read more »
I first heard Jessie Ware’s “If You’re Never Gonna Move” on the road from the East Coast. After that, the song averaged about five plays per state. Ware’s understated and soulful dance pop has the rare ability to adapt to any situation. It eases the tension in a car full of two people with almost irreconcilable taste in music; it works equally well as the soundtrack to a lazy afternoon, and a night out. And it feels good.
The formula, which has earned her recognition in her native UK, is gaining a following in the US. Though the breakthrough album Devotion won’t be released stateside until April 16, many of her concerts, including Thursday’s at the Independent, have sold out to audiences that sing along with every word. (Not to worry, she also has an in-store at Amoeba that day.) Read more »
Last Tuesday, in the parcel of land off of Telegraph Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets in Oakland, Randy Colosky discussed the orientation of his wooden sculpture, The Pressure to Hold Together That Which Held Things Back Part 2. Three assistants and two arts commissioners weighed in. The word of the hour, it seemed, was “dialogue.”
“It’s about starting a dialogue,” Steven Huss, the city’s Cultural Arts Manager, said on the phone earlier that day. He reiterated the same on site as he moved a portable chain-link fence aside to enter the Uptown ArtPark, a large-scale temporary sculpture garden that will open to the public tonight during Art Murmur. His favorite part of the park’s construction, he told me, was talking to people who stopped to ask questions.
Huss is experienced in the art of dialogue. Over the past three years, he has witnessed and participated in the many that have transpired between the community, the city, and developers during the planning of the space’s use.
I experienced a strange phenomenon in the few days leading up to Tuesday’s sold out concert at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. The first in a series of strange events occurred in a coffee shop. I overheard one barista say to another, “Put on that Foxygen song.”
“Who?” she asked.
“It’s like ‘oxygen’ but with an ‘F.’”
The next day, one of my favorite websites listed Foxygen’s “Shuggie” as the “Song of the Day,” and later that evening, a friend mentioned the band in a conversation that had very little to do with music. Read more »
The 28th season of The Real Worldpremieres tonight, and the trailer features some crying bros and a lot of slapping in Portland, Ore. To remind us of the show's less … well, shitty origins, MTV ran a “retro marathon” of its first three seasons last weekend.
Before the Teen Mom franchise, before Jersey Shore (and its ever-multiplying spin-offs), and before something called Buckwildthat I don’t feel like researching, there were true stories of seven strangers picked to live in houses in New York and Los Angeles. And then in 1994, some strangers came to the wonderful city of San Francisco. The third season, last weekend’s grand finale, often gets credited with sparking the show’s popularity and indirectly launching the reality TV craze. It almost lives up to its reputation.
Usually, watching a reality television show after it's finished airing presents a predicament; the knowledge that the cast has returned to the world outside the screen takes away the precept -- flimsy as it is to begin with -- that we are seeing reality unfold. Watching the San Francisco season is a different experience. The 19 years of distance, a huge cultural gap (OMG, no smartphones!), makes the show a historical document.
San Francisco’s VOWS has come a long way from its beginning in 2007. As with many creative enterprises, the band -- which plays the Rickshaw Stop Wed/13 -- formed out of the ashes of some good old-fashioned turmoil.
Guitarist Luke Sweeney and drummer Scott Tomio Noda, pals since high school, had just broken up with their band, and bassist Jitsun Sandoval, a friend with whom they sometimes played music, had just split with his wife. The three formed a band whose name signaled the start of restored commitment. Read more »
Ten years ago, Kim Jiang-Dubaniewicz sat outside the Chinatown gates nursing an existential crisis; she had serious doubts about pursuing her longtime dream of a career in acting. Just then, she looked up and saw a familiar face drinking coffee next to her. It was Sean Penn, and she asked him for a cigarette even though she didn’t smoke. He told her to stick with acting.
Apparently one doesn’t ignore the advice of Sean Penn.
After several years of acting, the discovery of a store that sold 25-cent paperbacks (including the works of playwrights William Saroyan and Eugene O’Neill), and a move to San Francisco, Jiang-Dubaniewicz wanted to try something new. Last October, she embarked on her first production as a director. The resulting work, The Saroyan O’Neill Project, just finished a two-weekend run at the Postage Stamp Theater in the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House.