PREVIEW In music, silence has a purpose similar to that of the negative space in sculpture: it heightens your awareness of the artist's material. So perhaps for a choreographer as musically adventurous as Liss Fain, it should be no surprise that the two new works in her latest Yerba Buena Center for the Arts concert carry the word "silence" in them. Both pieces are American premieres. At the very least, the two works should offer different perspectives on the concept of stillness. Read more »
PREVIEW For me, the next-best pleasures to actually eating food are reading about food (Laura Esquival's Like Water for Chocolate), watching movies about food (Juzo Itami's 1985 Tampopo), and singing about food (Millie Small's My Boy Lollipop). Now I've found another option, and that is to watch theater about food. Read more »
COVER STORY Going to the DNA Lounge during the middle of the day is a strange proposition. But on a Saturday afternoon in late June, the San Francisco bar is filled with a hundred or so people, including, strangely enough, Kris Kristofferson, whose son Jody is trying out a different kind of public career. There's a smattering of people hanging out on the balcony level, but most of us are pressed against metal guard rails that surround a ring set up in the center of the dance floor. Read more »
PREVIEW According to St. Joseph's, an all-boys prep school, its students are expected "to be good boys and true. To strive towards competence, courage, and compassion always." Well easier said than done, right? In Good Boys and True, scandal erupts at the Washington, D.C. prep school when a violent sex tape is discovered circuutf8g campus grounds. When Brandon, captain of the football team, is accused of being the faceless figure in the tape, his life and the lives of those closest to him are changed forever. Read more »
Musical theater separates the men from the boys, and the gritty urban musical is especially tough to pull off. Hardcore violence, seedy city underbellies, bare midriffs, and a sprinkling of angel dust might make me or you want to burst into song, but it's still pretty jarring to witness. Nonetheless, the GUM as a subgenre is well established. Many would call Rent its quintessential expression. Others might go for Urinetown, if only to take the piss out of the Rent faction. Read more »
PREVIEW Like most superhero tales, actor-comedian James Judd's story begins with a spider bite. He hopes the incident will give him superpowers (specifically the ability to manipulate ATM machines with his eyes), but it never comes. Instead, the nasty bite gives him an excuse to, well, sit on his butt. And it is in his treacherously hot Palm Springs home that our hero gains a lot of weight.
In his newest show, Judd tells the story of how a poisonous spider bite on his butt leads to a two-week holiday at a decrepit fat camp in Florida. Read more »
Furloughs. Layoffs. Cutbacks. These are the dirty words that have been added to the vocabularies of those working in Bay Area theaters ever since, as one person so eloquently phrased it, "the shit hit the fan." It's hard to pinpoint when it began, but most theater heads agree that by October of last year, the somber headlines regarding the economy began to feel frighteningly real. Theater companies of all sizes have reported reduced ticket sales, lower individual donations, and less foundation and grant giving. Read more »
PREVIEW To achieve inner calm, you could do an hour of yoga, meditate on a seaside cliff, or pamper yourself at a spa retreat. But if you don't have the time (or lack the funds), you could also attend a Sha Sha Higby performance to leave you feeling reflective, refreshed and inspired. Higby began her artistic career before she was even qualified to attend preschool. At age 3, a drawing of a single bird launched the artist into a new world of expression. Read more »
July 4 is Mime Troupe day in San Francisco, by tradition. Dolores Park, the place. There the venerable San Francisco company launches its annual free summer show this year, the excellently timed and executed Too Big to Fail surrounded by a varied throng of activists fanning out with ironing boards and literature among an audience of many hundreds basking in July rays, subversive laughter, and their own cheerful numbers.
Call it a day of independence from the usual bullshit, the jingo-jingle of national unity played for the masses from on high. Read more »