Stage

The Performant: Howard's End

|
(0)

While the Performant is off hugging trees in Oregon, please enjoy this series of interviews with the curators of three innovative performance spaces.

After five years of making the address 975 Howard synonymous with emergent dance, queer, and fringe artists, Joe Landini has packed up The Garage and relocated it further down SOMA way. Now tucked in an industrial zone next to an automotive repair shop, The Garage’s new location at 715 Bryant might lack the allure of being a hidden gem on ramshackle Howard Street, but has the distinct advantage of having fewer neighbors to annoy, a consideration no low-budget performance space can afford to completely ignore. Particularly one as active and prolific as The Garage—which has hosted over 1000 performances for some 50,000 people during its five-year tenure.

“We are awful neighbors!” Landini admits when I swing by to check out the new digs.

Read more »

Tastes of Cindy: Drag artists re-enact Cindy Sherman portraits from SFMOMA show

|
(11)

To celebrate the incredibly engaging Cindy Sherman retrospective at the SF MOMA (through October 8), we asked four of San Francisco's premier drag performance artists to re-enact four of Sherman's iconic portraits. It's all about looking twice -- or in Sherman's case, four or five times -- and we wanted to see how many layers of gaze her work could hold.

Read more »

Celebrity rehab

'Project: Lohan' takes a second look at LiLo and finds a portrait of the times

|
(1)

The Performant: Arctic mysteria

|
(0)

Cold trippin', direct from Berlin

Thirty seconds after we walk into Bindlestiff Studio, S. is sold on kInDeRdEuTsCh pRoJeKtS’ production of “Arctic Hysteria.” He instantly recognizes their preshow music as being a Neue Deutsche Welle song he’s currently enamored with, “Eisbaer” by Grauzone, in which the author expresses a deep desire to be a polar bear. “Alles waer so klar!”

“This is the song I was just talking about,” he exclaims with satisfaction (it’s true) as we settle into our seats to gaze at the Community Thrift meets Matthew Barney set (designed by Sue Rees): corrugated white pressboard walls, an easy chair and matching ottoman covered in leopard print, an uncomfortable-looking brocade couch, a static-filled television set in the corner, a silver decanter and goblets on a roller tray. An innocuous enough setting for a play named for a contested form of madness particular to the arctic, supposedly characterized by uncontrolled outbursts, mimicry, echolalia, and coprophagia; keywords which might also be used to describe a typical Saturday night out in San Francisco.

Read more »

The Performant: Viva la woman

|
(1)

Three playful performances by women offered vastly different perspectives. 

Where’re the ladies at? Same place they’ve always been, really. Dancing backward in high heels. Getting on with the business of living while all around the world threatens to crash down around their feet. Politics. Murders. Institutionalized systems of oppression. Climate change. Is optimism overplayed? Or is hope all we have to keep us moving forward? This past weekend, three playful pieces gave stage time to the notion of moving forward in a world gone mad, each created and performed by a contingent of strong female figures, each bucking, in their own way, conventional wisdom on femininity and the future, with striking results.

Read more »

Asylum seekers

'Marat/Sade' channels revolutionary yearnings and glorious excess from 1789 to 2012

|
(1)

The Performant: Why a duck?

|
(0)

Pianofight takes on Tchaikovsky -- and the death of theatre -- and Boxcar's Hedwig has us humming in the shower.

Zombies are so over. The next monster movie massacre sensations are totally going to be murderous waterfowl, so props to PianoFight and Mission CTRL for jumping on that bandwagon before it even rolled out of the studios with their ensemble-created, ballet-horror-comedy, Duck Lake. When Raymond Hobbs as theatre director Barry Canteloupe (sic) boasts “no one has ever done what we are about to do,” while tweaking his own nipples, you get the feeling he’s talking about more than the production he is supposedly directing -- a musical theatre adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”

Read more »

Show trial

Truth and artifice propel history and 'The Scottsboro Boys' musical at A.C.T.

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The set (by Beowulf Boritt) is almost unassuming in its simplicity: just a trio of receding frames arching over the stage, each progressively more askew, and beneath them a jumble of aluminum chairs piled to one side. Still, such simplicity also hints at, and soon delivers, rich complexity.Read more »

A queerness in Harlem, finely revived

|
(0)

Visual alchemy, fabulous feminist story-telling, and something deemed “hyper-literate busking” abound at 2012’s Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance fesitval, three nights of art and performance (Thu/28-Sat/30) by 21 LGBTQ African Americans.

Part of the 15th National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance continues the legacy of the droves of artists, performers, and activists who questioned stale societal standards in a myriad ways during the heyday of the New York City neighborhood's 1920s and 30s creative blossoming: from sensual lyrics of Bessie Smith to the pointed poetics of Langston Hughes, the artists of the Harlem Renaissance continue to testify to the assertion that social causes are rarely separate and constantly progressing.

Read more »

The Performant: No place like home

|
(1)

KC Turner’s House Concert series gets up close and personal

When did the home become a fortress? It’s as if each city block were comprised of hundreds of tiny sovereign states squeezed in next to each other, doors locked and shades drawn, the notion of running next door for a cup of sugar all but lost. Who even uses sugar anymore, let alone pesters their neighbors for an emergency ration of it? It must be this entrenched reclusiveness that makes the idea of a house concert especially appealing. When just the act of opening your home to a group of strangers feels subversive, the act of accepting the invitation can feel downright revolutionary—a banner waved against the forces of encroaching isolationism.

Read more »