Connect four

Fall Arts Preview: A quartet of our favorite artists and performers -- this week's cover stars -- sounds off

Photos by Jeffery Cross


SFBG Who is inspiring or revolting to you, in terms of art and performance, including political performance?

Guillermo Gómez-Peña The best and — most inspiring performance I've experienced took place in the Mexico City zocalo. A group of 100 indigenous men from the Coordinadora de los 400 pueblos, tired of waiting for the mayor to listen to their claims, decided to take off their clothes, each drink a liter of water, and pee in unison against the walls of the Palacio Nacional. The power of this action was not in the collective pissing ritual but rather in the exposure of the nude indigenous body, marked by the scars of hard labor and history. The image has been haunting me.

SFBG What do you hope will happen in the US presidential election?

GGP In the realm of symbolic politics, the best thing that can happen is for the United States to elect an articulate mulatto president, the son of a Kenyan immigrant, whose second name is Hussein. But in reality, it worries me that Obama's project of hope sounds more and more like Hallmark humanism.

SFBG What is your favorite time of year in seasonless San Francisco?

GGP I love it when the sun comes out in earnest and tropicalism hits the streets for a few days. I love to bar hop in the Mission and watch the myriad subcultures show off their self-styled fashion, muscles, tattoos and nalgas palidas. But I also love certain neighborhoods under heavy fog. I feel I am walking in the middle of a British gothic novel. My worry is that this gorgeous city is slowly becoming a bohemian theme park.


Oct. 2, 5–8 p.m.; Oct.11, 3–5 p.m.; and Oct. 21, 5–8 p.m.; free, $5

SF Camerawork

657 Mission (second floor), SF

(415) 512-2020


Oct. 23–25; times and prices TBD

Project Artaud Theater

450 Florida, SF

(415) 863-9834



SFBG What are your plans for this fall?

MATTILDA BERNSTEIN SYCAMORE I'm going on a crazy cross-country book tour, starting with the book launch Oct. 8 at City Lights — check my Web site ( for details.

SFBG Your novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, is published by City Lights. A recent review in Publishers Weekly seems to think the book's protagonist is a woman. What did you learn from that review?

MBS I learned most people are even more confused about gender than me. But guess what — the book is already available in Bay Area stores, so readers can rush to figure it out, just like the latest John Grisham.

SFBG So, are you allergic to oxygen?

MBS These days, who isn't?

SFBG Where's your favorite sex place in SF, or maybe better, where in SF needs to be turned into a sex spot?

MBS City Hall would be fun. So much elegance and charm, as long as they get rid of everyone who's usually there. The 38 Geary would be perfect: I always get horny on that bus. Anywhere on my late-night walks — I usually walk up Leavenworth and Hyde from O'Farrell to Bush or so.