Stage

The Performant: Interpreting Iraq

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Aftermath at Stagewerx attempts to humanize recent refugee experience.

An austere set greets the assembled theater-goers in the black box arena of Stagewerx: a projection of a shop-lined street in the Middle East, a few chairs, an aerial photograph of Iraq perched on an easel, an incongruous television, and a pair of shoes.

A lone figure in a headscarf and wide trousers, Rafidain (Yara Badday), approaches the centerstage and begins to speak in Arabic, offering chai, looking anxiously over her shoulder for her interpreter, Shahid (Mohamed Chakmahchi). In Theatre Period’s ongoing production of Aftermath, the year is 2008, the location is Jordan, and all of the characters are Iraqi refugees, their stories gleaned from a series of interviews conducted by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen on the subject of the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and its ongoing repercussions. 

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The Performant: All you can eat

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Wild Food Walks and Bal Littéraire satisfy imaginative appetites.

“First, the bad news,” says our guide and frequent forager Kevin Feinstein. “Foraging in the Bay Area is illegal.”

Well, swell, I guess it’s a good thing that I packed snacks. “If the land is private, and you have permission from the owners, you can forage,” Feinstein amends, which still doesn’t help me in planning my lunch, but good to know for future reference. I’m attending one of ForageSF’s “Wild Food Walks,” along with about 15 others, hoping to graze upon that freest of foodstuffs, the weeds in our backyards -- and yours.

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On utopian frequencies

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arts@sfbg.com

CULTURE It's the tangible buzz I notice first, a tingling awareness of something important about to occur, followed swiftly by the realization that there are free quesadillas courtesy of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy, silk-screened with chocolate sauce and rabble-rousing sentiment: "Eat the Rich."Read more »

C'est si bon

San Francisco's newest theater festival acts locally, connects globally

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER You could call them a pair of crazy kids with a dream. But two years after Playwrights Foundation executive director Amy Mueller was introduced to Ivan Bertoux, Deputy Cultural Attaché of the French Consulate by Rob Melrose, artistic director of Cutting Ball Theater, their vision of cross-pollinating their respective communities with newly translated theater pieces from either side of the Atlantic has become a reality.Read more »

The Performant: Traveler's tales

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The WE Players' courageous Odyssey on Angel Island

It’s an overcast morning, typical San Francisco springtime, but upon disembarking from the Angel Island ferry at Ayala Cove, we are transported imaginatively to the island kingdom of Ithaca, where a merry band of brash suitors vie for the attentions of the fair Penelope (Libby Kelly) outside her palace, which might have otherwise been mistaken for the Angel Island visitor’s center.

A bevy of serving girls approach each disoriented oddience member to offer sustenance and mysterious smiles, as the suitors challenge a stalwart few to join in the contests for Penelope’s hand -- tug-of-war, footraces, pushing competitions. So begins the WE Players newest production “The Odyssey on Angel Island,” an all-day performance combining the elements of a hero’s quest with a day hike around Angel Island State Park -- one of the Bay Area’s loveliest natural treasures.

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Teese and thank you

Burlesque revivalist extraordinaire Dita Von Teese reveals all!

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STAGE With a seductive and sexy nod to the past, modern pin-up and burlesque queen Dita Von Teese has been at the forefront of reviving a once nearly lost art form for two decades.Read more »

Live Shots: 'Uncertain Weather' at ODC

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The ODC Youth and Teen Program staged its first full performance in a fantastic collection of dances inspired by the seasons on Fri/11.  Dancers twirled through the “rain” with colorful umbrellas, an ice cream hawker tapped on a sunny beach, and sweaty passengers swayed in a sardine-packed Mission bus ride.

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The tender line

Cutting Ball's docudrama Tenderloin explores its own backyard

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A couple of days after the opening of the Cutting Ball's documentary play, Tenderloin, I spotted independent filmmaker Rob Nilsson crossing the street at Taylor and Eddy, less than a block from the theater. Drawn to the neighborhood and its residents for decades, Nilsson is one of the more prominent artists who have found inspiration, collaboration and a kind of authenticity in the Tenderloin, long among San Francisco's poorest and liveliest districts.Read more »

I'm not there

Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour marks his Bay Area debut — by proxy — in White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at SFIAF

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THEATER Political borders have their way with the bodies of ordinary people, but ideas are harder to stop at an airport or checkpoint. So when Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour found himself unable to leave Iran (having demurred from mandatory military service, the state demurred in providing him a passport), he decided to send on a play that would stand in for him, and maybe stand for something more.Read more »

Star search

Copperwire's Meklit Hadero waxes intergalactic about her new hip-hop space opera

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero's album On a Day Like This garnered tons of praise and cemented her status as SF's flower-adorned local celebrity. As a TED fellow and the Red Poppy Art House's former artistic director, Hadero also established an ability to cross-pollinate her far-reaching talents.Read more »