Nicole Gluckstern

The Performant: Pretend that we're dead

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Zombie Vixens From Hell and Love in the Time of Zombies offer food for thought and brains for dinner

The living dead are kind of obnoxious. They’re dead, but unlike dead people you might actually want to hang out with for awhile if they happened to be around (Josephine Baker, Hunter S. Thompson) the only truly remarkable thing about them is their inability to lie down and stay put like respectable dead people do. Read more »

The Performant: Boxed in at Boxwars

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Putting the glad into Gladiator

You are a warrior. Sheathed in armor of the finest corrugated paper pulp and armed with the righteousness of a hundred possible causes (pick one, any one), you grab your war hammer, fashioned perhaps from a couple of paper towel tubes and an empty case of 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die, and hie thyself to Dolores Park for the grand melee.

The last-gasp October sun beats down hot on the sloping hills of the park, which are covered in defiantly bared flesh and picnic supplies, while blimps slowly drift across the impossible blue of the afternoon sky. A gladiatorial spirit vibrates through the giddy ether, doubtlessly carried over from the Giants and 49ers games being played just a couple of miles away. It’s a good day to do battle. It’s a good day for Boxwars.

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The Performant: Surrealistic mellow

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Doing the Lobster Quadrille at The Mad Hatter’s Ball

A singular bit of whimsy, Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland may be one of the only childhood fantasias to be embraced equally by linguists, logicians, and users of psychedelic drugs. The setting of an unlikely hero’s quest undertaken by a pedantically logic-bound child, Wonderland’s curiously ordered chaos seems designed specifically to undermine any rote adherence to convention, even to those of storytelling.

In fact, one of the defining qualities of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is that exactly none of the characters, including the protagonist, are particularly sympathetic, and Wonderland itself, unlike Oz, say, doesn’t have a lot to recommend it as a vacation spot save the prevalence of the aforementioned psychedelics. But as a cultural touchstone, Wonderland has proven to have some serious staying power, and continues to baffle and inspire children and adults who remember what it is to be a child, alike.

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The Performant: Drink up, Brunhilde

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Oktoberfest by the Bay pours it on

In vino veritas, aber in bier auch etwas.

Every year when Oktoberfestzeit rolls around, my thoughts turn nostalgic for liter-sized beers, chewy brezeln, and oompah bands playing “Country Roads.” And that this year’s Berlin and Beyond Film Festival fell smack in the middle of Oktoberfest’s traditional 16-day season only exacerbated the quasi-homesickness that feeds my Teutonic obsessions. Having lived for some time in Munich, and hoisted many a Maßkrug on the Wiesn, I’ve purposefully avoided its San Francisco counterpart, Oktoberfest by the Bay, for years. After all, Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world, boasting more than six million visitors a year, an adrenaline-pumping array of roller-coasters, and mountains of Bavarian food to soak up the rivers of beer. Any other city’s regional edition will naturally far short of this admittedly high mark.

But when it comes to beer fests, is it really the size that matters, or just the beers? I figured I owed it to myself to find out.

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The Performant: Love is (not) a battlefield

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Our Genocides and “Combat Paper” speak out for peace.

Along with playing host to all of the fun and fabulous festivals occurring this past weekend (hopefully you managed to make it out to at least one), San Francisco also played host to a more sobering event—the sixteenth play in a cycle of seventeen on the topic of genocide. Penned by Eric Ehn, all seventeen are being prepared and presented in various corners of the country before coming together at La MaMa in New York in November for a complete run entitled "Soulographie: Our Genocides." Last May, the tenth play in the cycle, “Cordelia,” a Noh-inflected reimagining of King Lear was presented by Theatre of Yugen, and this weekend “Dogsbody”, directed by Rebecca Novick, turned the Mission Street headquarters for Intersection of the Arts into a Ugandan battlefield. 

Humming and singing, the three-person cast enters the room, clad respectively in the garb of a jungle soldier, the mismatched scraps of a peasant child, a flowing white garment and incongruous leggings.

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Déjà who?

Berlin and Beyond showcases top German talents more than once

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The Performant: 13 reasons why

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Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo explores the numerology of loyalty

“What’s in a number,” asks the man onstage, a former gang elder undergoing a laser tattoo-removal procedure. He is middle-aged, weary-looking, and sports a huge number one emblazoned down one forearm. Americans believe in being number one. A three down the other, reference to the holy trinity. Taken together, the number thirteen—a denotation of his gang affiliation. Numerous other tattoos covering his arms, chest, back, even his neck. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Bibi Tanga and the Selenites

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BIBI TANGA AND THE SELENITES
40 DEGREES OF SUNSHINE
(NAT GEO MUSIC)

From the bright electro-funk pulse of the opening track, "Poet of the Soul," sunlight infuses Bibi Tanga and the Selenites' latest album, 40 Degrees of Sunshine. An upbeat melange of esoteric samples, funky bass lines, polyrhythmic percussion, soulful, multi-lingual crooning, and Walt Whitman poetry, the twelve tracks distill the best of an array of influences into a potent brew. Read more »

The Performant: Further

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You’re either on the bus, or you're off the bus at Popcorn Anti-Theater’s Fringe Festival revival

As lovers of art, adventure, and reckless shenanigans might recall, the monthly Popcorn Anti-Theater bus shows last rolled about eight years ago, and while plenty of other groups have used buses as vehicles to drive a performance since, none have managed it with the same regularity and broadness of scope.

The aggressively anything-goes vibe of Popcorn events of yore combined theatrics, live music, dance, poetry, gibberish, urban exploration, and plenty of oddience participation into a series of unpredictable occurrences. Since the shows were pulled together by different collaborators each month, it wasn’t always necessarily “good” art (a specious qualifier at best), but it was almost always good fun, so when I hear that Popcorn is making a rare appearance at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, I immediately resolve to check it out.

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The Performant: PortlanD.I.Y.

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The Performant puts a bird on it

There’re a lot of ways to while away 72 hours in Portland, Oregon, so I shrewdly place myself in the hands of a capable buddy who knows the ropes and we embark on a whirlwind bicycling tour of the five quadrants, from Sellwood to St Johns (yes, there are five quadrants, not four, go figure). We don’t really have a focus, and you could easily spend 72 hours just crawling from coffeeshop to bookstore to food cart to brewpub. While there’s plenty of all of the above on our itinerary, the theme that soon reveals itself during our pedal-powered perambulations is Portland’s obvious fervor for the DIY life, extending even to their entertainment options. Here’re a few of my favorite examples.

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