October 30, 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Stage listings are compiled by Cheryl Eddy. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, Lara Shalson, and Chloe Veltman. See 8 Days a Week for information on how to submit items to the listings.
Cannery Row (Chapters 1-4) Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 437-6775. $25 (Wed, pay what you can). Opens Thurs/31, 8:30pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8:30pm; Syn, 5pm. Through Nov 17. (Nov 21, moves to Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk. Same schedule and price; no show Nov 28. Through Dec 1.) Word for Word interprets the Steinbeck classic.
Demon_Industry Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (510) 704-4448. $12-20. Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 17. Bella Union Theatre Company performs Gene Mocsy's supernatural tale set at a San Francisco computer game company.
Lackawanna Blues Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228. $11-49. Previews Wed/30-Thurs/31, 8pm. Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Sat/2, Nov 6-9, 13-15, 19-23, 26, 29-30, 8pm (also Nov 9, 13, 23, 30, 2pm); Sun/3, Tues/5, Nov 10, 27, 7pm (also Sat/2, Nov 27, 2pm); Nov 17, 24, Dec 1, 2pm. Through Dec 1. Ruben Santiago-Hudson stars in his solo musical play about 20 different larger-than-life characters from his childhood.
The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. $15-25 (sliding scale). Previews Sat/2-Sun/3, 8pm (audience members paid $1 to attend). Opens Mon/4, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Nov 24. See "Revival," page 43.
Peggy-Ann Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207. $15-27. Previews Wed/30-Thurs/31, 8pm. Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Nov 17. 42nd Street Moon performs the 1926 Rodgers and Hart musical.
Puppetry of the Penis Theatre on the Square, 450 Post; 433-9500. $29.50-44.50. Opens Wed/30, 8pm. Runs Tues-Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sun, 7pm (also Fri-Sat, 9:30pm). Open-ended. Two naked performers perform "genital origami" in this comedy show.
Rocket Girl New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom; 289-6766. $18. Opens Thurs/31, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Mon, 8pm. Through Nov 16. Thunderbird Theatre Company presents an original, sci-fi musical comedy.
The Canadian Play La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 704-8210. $10. Opens Mon/4, 8pm. Runs Mon-Tues, 8pm. Through Nov 19. Shotgun Theatre Lab performs Thessaly Lerner's political satire.
Menocchio Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $38-54. Previews Fri/1-Sat/2, Tues/5, 8pm; Sun/3, 7pm. Opens Wed/6, 8pm. Runs Wed, 7; Tues, Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Nov 9, 14, 21, 30, Dec 7, 12, 21, 2pm; no show Nov 28); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 22. Berkeley Rep performs Lillian Groag's comedic exploration of one man's fight for intellectual freedom.
Misanthrope Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 558-1381. $8-18 (previews and Nov 7, 14, pay what you can). Previews Wed/30, Fri/1, 8pm. Opens Sat/2, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no show Nov 28); Sun, 5pm. Through Nov 30. Central Works performs a new play based on Moliere's classic comedy.
Are We Almost There? Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter; 345-7575. $12-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. Travel is the theme of this musical comedy revue.
As If in Sleep Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy; 346-6040. $10-12. Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm. The Hub at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco presents Tim Barsky's solo show that transposes a fairy tale onto an urban American landscape.
Beauty and the Beast Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; 512-7770, www.ticketmaster.com. $18.50-70.50. Wed/30-Sat/2, 8pm (also Wed/30, Sat/2, 2pm); Sun/3, 2pm. Belle and company return to San Francisco in the Disney musical version of the fairy tale.
*La Bohème Curran Theatre, 445 Geary; 512-7770, www.ticketmaster.com. $40-90. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed, Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through Nov 10. For all Baz Luhrmann's stylistic exuberance in his production of La Bohème debuting in San Francisco and charting an unprecedented course for Broadway he wisely chooses to play a supporting role to Puccini. The result is a sensitive (and glamorous) rendering of the opera that stays musically and thematically true to its roots, while employing a rotating, three-team cast of fetching young opera mavens and updating the action to the 1950s. The impressive production design of Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's collaborator and spouse, adds a characteristic visual flair that audiences who've seen his films will recognize. Of course, for all the luxuriousness of the production, La Bohème has a mundane and sordid theme at its romantic heart: poverty. It's this that lends the melodrama, set aloft by musical director Constantine Kitsopoulos on Puccini's glorious score, such emotional force. Luhrmann and Martin's careful staging, including their superb young cast, aims at seducing the widest possible audience with a minimum of aesthetic compromise and succeeds. (Avila)
Eugenia Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $16-18. Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 3:30pm. Through Nov 24. Chameleon Theatre Company performs Lorae Parry's play.
'The Fear Project' The Next Stage, 1620 Gough; 673-0304. $15-20. Thurs/31-Sat/2, 8pm. Combined Art Form Entertainment opens another season of multimedia theater with a timely triplet of stories. The first, a production of Ray Bradbury's short story The Veldt, is a rich, evocative, and fun tale by a master of the genre. In Pinch, writer-director Dan Wilson's clever riff on some classic anxiety dreams, Emily Rosenthal plays a woman awaking from one nightmare into another in a wonderfully funny and subtle performance. 500 Synonyms for Fear, a collaborative effort directed by Emily Pender, is the least consistent of the three. But along with rough edges come some inspired moments which add life to a thoughtful critique of the interplay between the manipulation of public fears, marketing, and the corporate media. (Avila)
'Hysterics' Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; 431-8423, www.kaliyuga.com. $12-20 (Mon/4, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Mon/4, 7:30pm. Through Nov 16. Kaliyuga Arts presents an evening of two solo performance pieces: writer-performer Dan Carbone's Up from the Ground and Jill Dowse's X: The Rise and Fall of an Asylum Star, acted by Jennifer Taggart.
Icarus's Mother and The Unseen Hand Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 533 Sutter; 296-9179, www.actorstheatresf.org. $5-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Nov 23. Actors Theatre of San Francisco performs two experimental works by Sam Shepard.
*It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life Bannam Place Theater, 50A Bannam Pl; 986-4607. Call for price. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 29. Fred Raker's 25-in-one-man show back after a successful run last year charts the despair of aspiring Jewish comedian Phil Resnick, who winds up pigeonholed on public television while the life he could have had goes to an Anglo American-ized colleague, the host of TV's What's Up with That, America? The crisis provokes a little divine intervention by Phil's guardian angel, Jack Benny. Based on Raker's own brush with stardom as well as the Capra classic, this very funny solo performance cleverly weaves Jewish identity and self-doubt into nothing less than a wonderful 75 minutes. (Avila)
Killing My Lobster Circus of Failure A Traveling Jewish Theater, 470 Florida; 558-7721, www.killingmylobster.com. $10-15. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Nov 10. The comedy troupe presents a new show that takes on "total and abject failure."
The Men from the Boys New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm (no show Nov 28); Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 8. The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Mart Crowley's world-premiere sequel to The Boys in the Band, his 1968 hit about a group of gay friends in New York City.
R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida; 626-DOME, www.foghouse.com. $20-40 (Wed/23 and first Wed of each month, pay what you can). Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm. Open-ended. D. W. Jacobs's R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe is bursting with so many ideas that it's almost impossible to contain them within the confines of the stage. Fuller was one of the great brainiacs of the 20th century, a philosopher, mathematician, inventor, and idealist who devoted his life to finding the best fit between nature and humanity. In Jacobs's fitful, two-hour monologue based on the life and writings of Fuller, actor Ron Campbell dexterously pings from one of the visionary's obsessions to another. Whether rattling through a dense explanation of atomic structure, proselytizing about how famine will become extinct as humans do "more and more with less and less," or espousing the joys of parenting, Campbell inhabits Fuller's eccentric soul with physical and verbal intensity at times so much so that the margins between performance and lecture blur. (Veltman)
Serious Money Zeum Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth at Mission; 749-2228, www.act-sfbay.org. $10-15. Wed/30, Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm (also Sat/2, 2pm). The American Conservatory Theater's MFA program presents Caryl Churchill's play about greed. Set in London in the late 1980s, following the deregulation of the British stock exchange, the play depicts a world where dealers and traders ruthlessly cheat and backstab their way to the top. The play is the perfect acting exercise: it's written in verse, the students get to try out their English accents, and there are even a few song-and-dance numbers for good measure. Unfortunately, the inconsistent accents are mostly distracting, the plot is tedious, and the characters are so uniformly despicable that one quickly loses all interest in them. (Shalson)
7 Sins: The Holiday Edition Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 820-3947. $20-25. Sun, 5 and 8pm. Through Dec 15. A revolving cast of seven perform comedy monologues drawn from real-life experiences.
*The 7 Visions of Encarnación Brava Theatre Center, 2781 24th St; www.shadowlight.com. $15-20 (Wed, benefit show, $30-40). Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 10. Renowned playwright Octavio Solis and ShadowLight present a must-see-to-believe collaboration bound to get your Day of the Dead bones shaking. As the world premiere of Solis's enchanting, history-trotting story opens cast upon a giant screen in a mesmerizing collage vivant of shadows the cityscape of the urban Chicano present sinks from view as we rotate back in time to Mission-era California, where a young man named Encarnación (Luis Cortes), an orphan raised by the mission padre (Carlos Baron), forges a new mestizo identity through the love of an Indian girl, Carolina (Tania Lisa Llambelis), and the mischievous guidance of Calaca (Baron), a sort of fairy god skeleton. ShadowLight artistic director Larry Reed, the genius behind this unique theatrical form, incorporates live actors, miniatures, glass etchings, puppets, and other devices, as well as the mellifluous harmonies of the trio Cascada de Flores, into a presentation that comes closer to cinema than stage work. In evoking the joy of life from the half trembling, half mocking embrace of mortality, this remarkable venture exactly captures the spirit of Day of the Dead: an embrace of history as the celebration of the present. (Avila)
17 Reasons (Why) Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-3311. $9-15 (sliding scale). Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Nov 18. Campo Santo + Intersection present the world premiere of Naomi Iizuka's new play, an investigation of the Mission District's mysterious past.
*Snake in the Basement: The Prosecution of Rev. Bill Pruitt and Brace Yourself Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; 673-3847. $12-18. Snake runs Fri/1, 8pm; Brace runs Sat/2, 8pm. Liebe Wetzel and her Lunatique Fantastique's Brace Yourself is, quite simply, a lovely piece of theater. Employing such everyday objects as a few pots, some pairs of shoes in various sizes, a cane, and an old-fashioned leg brace, the cast of black-clad puppeteers perform the not-so-simple feat of infusing these items with breathtaking life to tell the story of one man (Wetzel's father) and his experience with polio. From the onset of the disease in childhood to the paralysis suffered later on, the objects portray a life haunted by iron lungs and the specter of a waiting wheelchair, but also one blessed by love, romance, and children. It is astonishing how expressive and moving household paraphernalia becomes in the capable hands of these performers, who embellish the atmosphere with wordless murmurs and other small sounds. Brace performs in repertory with Snake in the Basement, a piece about a pastor accused of child molestation. (Shalson)
Some Like it Hot Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor; 512-7770. $34-77. Wed/30-Sat/2, 8pm (also Wed/30, Sat/2, 2pm); Sun/3, 2pm. Tony Curtis stars (though not in the same role he made famous in the movie) in the new musical comedy.
Ted Kaczynski Killed People with Bombs Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822. $17-50. Wed-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 2:30pm (also Thurs/3, Nov 10, 7:30pm). Through Nov 10. See "An Army of One," page 48.
The Train Play or the Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge of It Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 675-5995. $10-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Nov 10. In Crowded Fire's West Coast premiere of Liz Duffy Adams's comic ride, eight passengers more or less deliberately fleeing themselves revel in the opportunities travel brings. The careening journey through the American heartland provides refuge for all, never mind that the final destination may be the end of the world. The material is uneven: some internal monologues, while short, can grow tedious. But in the end Adams, a young New York-based playwright, gets us where we need to go. Crowded Fire's production of this playful derailment of American dreams and apocalyptic nightmares proves that the company, anyway, is on track. (Avila)
The Dark at the Top of the Stairs The Playhouse, 27 Kensington, San Anselmo; (415) 892-8551. $10-18. Thurs/31-Sat/2, 8pm; Sun/3, 2pm. Marin Classic Theatre presents William Inge's tale of small-town life in the 1920s.
*The Syringa Tree Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Castro at Mercy, Mountain View; (650) 903-6000, www.theatreworks.org. $20-45. Wed/30-Sat/2, 8pm (also Sat/2, 2pm); Sun/3, 2pm. South African writer-actor Pamela Gien's Obie award-winning one-woman play makes its regional theater debut in a striking production directed by Larry Moss. Six-year-old Elizabeth (Gin Hammond, alternating nights with Eva Kaminsky) narrates her childhood in a Johannesburg suburb, where she lives with her parents, her brother, and their black housekeeper, whose baby girl is an unofficial presence they must hide from view. Under Moss's exacting eye, Hammond delivers a powerhouse performance, calculated to shift effortlessly between an often shrill little protagonist and a number of wholly distinct characters, both white and black. Through them emerges a subtle portrait of racism's social and psychological toll. Scenic designer Kenneth Foy and lighting designer Steven B. Mannshardt evoke great vistas and changing seasons with a remarkable play of lights against a variegated canvas at the back of the stage, whose only other prop is a swing depending from an invisible tree, the site and symbol of Gien's interconnected story. Because Lizzy merely describes what she witnesses through a child's eyes, the audience does the interpreting. It's a disarming way of drawing the spectator inside this compelling, invariably human family drama. (Avila)
The Wind Cries Mary San Jose Repertory Theatre, Sobrato Auditorium, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose; (408) 367-7262. $20-48. Wed/30-Sun/2, Nov 5-9, 12-16, 8pm (also Sat/2, Nov 9, 16, 3pm; Nov 13, noon); Sun, 2, 7pm. Through Nov 17. Philip Kan Gotanda's latest play uses Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler to explore issues of power and gender politics as they take shape in the circumstances of one Japanese American woman caught in the upheaval at San Francisco State University during the late '60s.
Working for the Mouse La Val's Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 464-4468. $7-12. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Nov 16. Starting Nov 22, show runs Fri-Sat, 8:30pm (no shows Nov 29-30), Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy, S.F. Through Dec 14. Impact Theatre presents Trevor Allen's solo comedy about working at Disneyland.
Erika Shuch Performance Project New College of California, 777 Valencia; 437-3487. Fri, Sun, 8pm. $12-15. The Experimental Performance Institute, located at New College of California, is a new training ground for people who want to explore the intersection between dance and theater. If their first program, by the Erica Shuch Performance Project, is any indication of the work going on there, this should become one hot place in no time at all. At this point neither of the two pieces being performed looks polished, but both are in remarkably good shape considering all the balls the dancer-actor-singers are juggling. One piece, under god, examines the what/where/who of a divinity from multiple perspectives and overlapping movement and verbal patterns. The other, vis à vis, promises to be a wildly poetic romp in which wide-eyed and curious Shuch hooks up with a band of gypsy travelers who (among other things) play a mean game of musical chairs. (Felciano)
'Harvest' Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; 273-4633. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $10. Dance Brigade presents their annual choreographer's showcase; artists include Jenice Acosta, Sharon Gallagher, Group/Oscar Trujillo and Jason Hancock, and more.
Grupo Krapp Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 642-9988. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $32. See Critic's Choice.
BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; www.batsimprov.com. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. $6-12. This week's shows: "Fear" (Thurs); "Genre Improv: Improvised Shakespeare" (Fri); "Genre Improv: Spontaneous Broadway" (Sat); "Theatresports" (Sun).
'Buddha's Delight 3' Marsh Theater, 1062 Valencia; www.sfbuddhistcenter.org/delight/. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $12-50 (sliding scale). Each evening of this festival includes music, poetry, films, dance, and other art forms inspired by Buddhist themes.
'Cry Out' New College of California Cultural Center, 766 Valencia; 437-3425. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. $15. This play written and performed by Jesse Rabinowitz explores the life and art of poet-activist Allen Ginsberg.
Playbill staged readings Blue Bear School of Music, Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, Marina at Laguna; 626-4603. Fri, 7:30pm. Through Nov 22. $5-10. This week's play in a series of works by new writers is Tom, Dick, and Harriet by Donald C. Drake.
'The Quilt Project: Pieces of Me' ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Thurs-Sun, 8pm (Thurs/31, preview performance, $10). Through Nov 10. $20. See 8 Days a Week, page 56.
San Francisco Liberation Radio live performance Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 642-0312. Mon, call for time. $10. Deep Dickollective, Colored Ink, Tyren McElwee, and others perform spoken word in honor of San Francisco Liberation Radio's independent spirit.
'Til Friday' Club Rendez-vous, 1312 Polk; 309-CLUB. Fri, 10:30pm and midnight. Free. A cast of drag performers including Cockatelia, Gypsy Calabrese, Sonfondaboyz, Manley Lennox, and Karen Kill takes the stage; this week's theme is "Don't Feed the Animals: The Zoo Review."
'Guys 'R Dolls' Glenview Performing Arts Center, 1318 Glenfield, Oakl; (510) 551-9785. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Ongoing. $39.95. A cast of drag divas performs, led by MC Brian Keith.
'The Land is Our Gold' Peralta Hacienda Park, 2465 34th Ave, Oakl; (510) 532-9142. Fri, 3-6pm. Through Nov 22. Free. Aimed at schoolkids, this performance and activity series spotlights 150 years of Oakland history. This week: "Masks, Masks, and More Masks," a Day of the Dead-themed program.
'Straight Black Folks Guide to Gay Black Folks' Black Box Theater, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 594-4335, www.trustlife.net. Wed, 7:30pm. $12. Hanifah Walidah presents her multicharacter solo show.
'Universoul Circus' 445 Hegenberger, Oakl; (510) 625-8497. Wed-Fri, 10:30am and 7:30pm; Sat, noon, 4:30 and 8pm; Sun, noon, 3:30, 6:30pm. $14-40. The country's only African American-owned and -operated circus sets up its big top with a host of acts, including aerialists, contortionists, live music, and more; the theme is "Platinum Soul 2002."
BrainWash Café 1122 Folsom; 861-3663. Thurs, 8pm: Comedy open mic hosted by Tony Sparks, free.
The Field 524 Union; 377-1662. Wed, 8pm: "Comedy Club," with host Ian Jensen, $5.
Java Source 343 Clement; 387-8025. Fri, 10:30pm and Sat, 10pm: Comedy open mic hosted by Tony Sparks, free.
Luggage Store 1007 Market; 255-5971. Tues, 8pm: Comedy workshop with Tony Sparks, $3.
The Mock Café 1074 Valencia; 826-5750. Fri, 9pm: "No Y Chromosome Showcase!" all-female stand-up comedy night with Jane Barbone and friends, $7.
New Pisa 550 Green; 207-0285, www.northbeachimprov.com. Fri, 9pm: "North Beach Improv," with host Uncle Vinny Rizzo, $10.
San Francisco LGBT Community Center 1800 Market; 865-5633. Mon, 8pm: "Monday Night Gay Comedy," with host Mike Uryga, $8-15 (no one turned away for lack of funds).
Spanganga 3376 19th St; 826-1202. Fri, 10pm: Comedy troupe Kasper Hauser performs, $10. Through Nov 22.
Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 595-5597. Sat, 8pm: The Oakland Playhouse Improv Troupe performs improv comedy, $12.
Open mics take place almost every night in cafés throughout the Bay Area. If you want to perform, show up about half an hour before start time to put your name on the list. A day-by-day guide to word events and featured readers:
Wednesday: La Peña Cultural Center La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2566. "Café Poetry" open mic hosted by Rain, 7:30pm, $2. BrainWash Café 1122 Folsom; 864-3842. "Spoken Word Salon," open mic with host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free. Starry Plough 3101 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 841-2082. "The Berkeley Slam," with hosts Charles Ellik and dani eurynome, 8pm, $7.
Thursday: Coppa D'Oro Cafe 3164 24th St; 821-1618. "Poetry on the Patio" spoken word and acoustic music open mic with host Barbara Bennett, 6:30pm, free. The Poetry Center Humanities Rm 512, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway; www.sfsu.edu/~poetry. Alejandro Murgía and Los Delicados read, 4:30pm, free.
Sunday: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Avery E.D. Burns and Aidan Thompson, 7:30pm, $2.
Monday: Perry's Joint 1661 Fillmore; 931-5260. "Celebration of the Word" with featured readers Brett Bevell and Elizabeth Sartain, plus open mic, 7pm, free.