Terry Allen’s Ghost Ship Rodez and Christian Cagigal’s “The Collection” put a spell on it.
It sounds like a bit of a cliché, but there really is magic in a performance piece in which all of the disparate elements get pulled together just so, and suddenly the show becomes much greater than the mere sum of its parts. Crackling with an electric energy, a show infused with that elusive jolt provokes an integrated intellectual and emotional response that pervades the body entire, and lingers long after the lights come up. But it’s a fickle friend, this magic, and attempting to corral it too earnestly is the surest way to have it slip completely away, like sand pouring through determinedly clenched fingers.
Such a fate befell Terry and Jo Harvey Allen’s “Ghost Ship Rodez” at Z-Space over the weekend.
“Make sure to get a spot towards the back of the room,” I told Sam Love as we made our way to Dana Street Theater on Berkeley. “Philip's shows often involve things and sometimes liquids flying.” And I was right. There was some definite yam peeling, neti-pot-pouring, and chair-flying moments sprinkled throughout the show. Did I mention that we were in Philip's bedroom?
All my amigo Morlock E. wants to know is where Frank Chu is, since Frank Chu is still a fairly good indicator of being at the most happening event of the evening -- or at any rate the one with the most television cameras. But instead of Frank, all we see is a crush of autograph seekers pressed against the velvet rope separating them from the red carpet unfurled outside the Castro Theatre. They’re not here to see Frank Chu, and in truth, neither are we. We’re here to get a photo of Al Pacino and maybe touch the hem of his cloak, at the US premiere of his latest project, a documentary entitled Wilde Salome.
Since it’s not every day San Francisco gets to play host to a big premiere, the Wed/21 turnout is robust, convivial. Also a fundraiser for the GLBT Historical Society -- there are some quite dapper dandies in attendance, an element one feels certain Wilde would have approved of. But one gets the impression that the autograph-hounds are less enamored with the Wildean aspect of the event rather than the chance to shake the hand of Scarface, but Wilde, with his penchant for “rough trade” might well have approved of that too.
In the estimable 1885 tome Why Not Eat Insects? (charmingly reprinted by Pryor Publications) Vincent M. Holt puts forth a simple culinary challenge, not in the contrarian vein of Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal,” but apparently in earnest. Pointing out a few certain truths about bugs and arachnids often overlooked by the squeamish (their undeniable resemblance to crustaceans, their clean eating habits, and ready availability), Holt goes on to describe with epicurean delight the taste of butter- sautéed locusts and an equally buttery wood-louse sauce. Read more »
It’s easy to overlook them, two dancers, still as mannequins, positioned near the entrance to the performance space, a silent video of a wet fleshy mouth, open wide as if ready for a filling, projected onto their motionless bodies. Just before the lights go down, they disappear, as does the fleshy mouth. Onstage a much larger projection of mouth, nose, cheek, fills the back wall, as the sounds of kissing, mumbling, chewing, and lip popping create a fanfare for the two dancers (Jill Randall and Amanda Whitehead), who enter while stretching their own faces into humorously exaggerated positions. Finally, Whitehead opens her mouth normally, to recite the jumbled text of Britta Austin’s Flash Fiction “Bite Marks,” which substitutes for music in their energetic duet. Read more »
THEATER Art is a life and death matter at the Garage this weekend, with the premieres of Dead/Alive and No Exit, two new contemporary dance-performance works from Minna Harri Experience Set and Christine Bonansea, respectively.Read more »
Every year it feels like it’ll be impossible for the ever-inventive Boxcar Theatre company to top their last season, and somehow each year they pull it off. After launching an ultra-ambitious repertory program of four Sam Shepard plays, to be performed in two separate locations over the course of the next two-and-a-half months, artistic director Nick A. Olivero -- who isn’t just producing the festival, but also directing “Fool For Love,” and co-starring in “True West” -- still made time for an internet interview about “Sam Shep in Rep.”
DANCE On the opening night of its eighth year, the three-weekend "Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now" deserved its name. The quality of the choreography and the confident performances more than confirmed that BCF is a celebration of excellent contemporary African American choreography. Four out of the five works starred as fine world premieres by local artists. They were stylistically about as diverse as you would want, but this was an evening to rejoice. The Feb. 10 audience at Oakland's Laney College more than agreed.Read more »