Stage

Too much in the son

A theater director wrestles history and Hamlet in Ghost Light, and this time it's personal

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The Performant: World on fire

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The Crucible’s “Machine: A Fire Opera” puts a blowtorch on it

First off let’s just all admit that fire is freaking cool. Or, rather, hot. And fire art? That’s about as hot as it gets. ‘Cause it’s art, see, but it’s also fire, and fire is awesome. Unless it’s busy burning down your apartment, then maybe not so much. But we are talking abut fire art right now, and if it’s fire art you want, then the first place you’re going to want to go is West Oakland’s Crucible, one of the most intriguing arts studios in the Bay Area.

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Higher and higher

SF Sketchfest wrings wet, hot laughs out of winter

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TRASH Rejected by audiences. Panned by critics. Beloved by a loyal cadre of alternative comedy fans.

Wet Hot American Summer may not have found success when it premiered in 2001, but the offbeat comedy has since become — like so many underrated flops — a cult classic.Read more »

A Bay Area kind of stand-up: Frankie Quinones of For the People Comedy

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Common knowledge states that if you're serious about becoming a stand-up comedian on the West Coast, you move to Los Angeles. But Frankie Quinones created the diversity of For the People Comedy here in San Francisco and despite his rising star on the stand-up scene, he's sticking around for the moment.

Maybe that's because Carmelita lives here. “She's taken on a whole thing of her own, her own career,” says the Ventura County native of his sassed-up, club-going Latina sexpot. “Carmelita's got her own list of things to do in 2012.” You can check out Quinones -- and possibly Carmelita or his popular "Cholo Whisperer" skit -- at the next For the People event at Cobb's on Thu/19. 

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Way out East

A dose of American Realness amid the NYC festival season

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THEATER The shows have been as varied and changeable as the weather this January in New York City, where the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) acts as catalyst for, by now, no less than four new-work festivals in the realms of theater, dance, and contemporary performance.

Near the beginning of the month, it got cold enough at night to make your nose hairs chime like little Christmas tree bells. "Every time you sneeze," a friend explained to me, "a whole shitload of angels get their wings."Read more »

The Performant: Power to the people

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Mugwumpin’s deconstructive history of Tesla electrifies

It is one day and 69 years after prolific inventor and notable oddball Nikola Tesla died of a heart attack, yet in the raw, unfurnished basement of the Old Mint, he stands quite alive before a contingent of captive theatre-goers, explaining his views on solitude.

“Be alone. That is the secret of invention,” he assures us, smiling in the manner of a man who knows he is about to be disagreed with. He has a lot of opportunities to display that same tight-lipped countenance throughout Mugwumpin’s “Future Motive Power,” as being disagreed with is one of the most recurring themes of Tesla’s biography. A man of compulsive and erratic habits and stubbornly-held views on the future impact of his own inventions, Tesla’s indomitable personality could be as hard to fathom as his scientific contributions were impossible to discredit. Channeled by Mugwumpin artistic director Christopher W. White, he alternates -- in a manner akin to his most famous electrical system -- between comedic mania and tragic inflexibility, as the patterns of his life entwine literally and figuratively with those of his dearest-held principles and hard-won triumphs. Read more »

Live Shots: New Fire at Brava Theatre

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Stirring together a mix of contemporary theater and actual traditional ceremonies, New Fire (which opened last night and runs through Jan. 29) is a play that gives its audience insight into the beautiful world of Indigenous American culture. Read more »

Thriller

The spirit of Michael Jackson returns with Cirque du Soleil

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emilysavage@sfbg.com

MUSIC There are so many extravagant things you could say about the late King of Pop, our holy father of stage theatrics and sequined gloves, Michael Jackson. The moon-walking man, the storied myth, the embattled legend.Read more »

Current events

Mugwumpin's Future Motive Power play at SF's Old Mint unearths the buried passions of Nikola Tesla

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The Performant: The Great Leap Forward

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A year on the city's wilder side, and looking ahead to more fine times

End-of-the-year roundups are all well and good, allowing us the opportunity to celebrate one last time the innovations of the past. But I’ve always preferred to look ahead into the future, so in that spirit here’s a shortlist of some of my fave Performant coverage from 2011 of ongoing and perennial events that you can still look forward to checking out in 2012—and beyond!

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