Nicole Gluckstern

The Performant: Revenge of the nerds

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Gaiman and Palmer, the Bay Area Science Festival, and a live game of Frogger

Nerd might still be a four-letter word in high school locker rooms (assuming these are still high school locker rooms to be found), but there’s really never been a better time in history to be an adult nerd. No matter if your inclinations lie in language, linux, or the laws of thermodynamics, a nerdish life lived well is truly the best revenge for all those real or imagined slings and arrows of awkward youth.

Epitomizing this truism, geek-elite power couple Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer launched a joint mini-tour across the West Coast entitled simply “An Evening with Neil Gaimna and Amanda Palmer,” which turned out to be exactly that, no more and no less.

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GOLDIES 2011 Lifetime Achievement: Ingrid Eggers

When she talks film her whole face lights up, a beatific glow.

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GOLDIES In a city that boasts far more film festivals than movie theaters, one of the most singularly focused is the annual Berlin and Beyond Film Festival — the largest German-language film festival in the United States. Carefully curated for 14 years by Dr. Ingrid Eggers, former program coordinator of the San Francisco branch of the Goethe-Institut, Berlin and Beyond has showcased an eclectic mix of movies by established filmmakers, debut features, documentaries, shorts, and silent films, from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Read more »

The Performant: Hell of a 'ween

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Getting scared with The Residents -- and other Hallowed traditions

Used to be that on Halloween you could be assured of catching either The Residents or The Cramps storming the stages of San Francisco; bands practically designed to blend in with the emissaries of the afterlife creeping through the thin membrane demarcating the spiritual plane. But with the sad passing of The Cramps iconic frontman Lux Interior in 2009, and the always-sporadic scheduling of The Residents, it seems like those days may be gone forever. But perhaps not coincidentally, in a unique twist on the Halloween season tradition, The Residents lead singer Randy Rose has been workshopping a disturbing cabaret all his own at the Marsh in Berkeley.

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The Performant: Baring all

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The Trial of Lucullus at CounterPULSE and Shazia Mirza at the Punchline

Open rehearsals are a hot topic in the theatre world, with compelling arguments on both sides of the debate about how much of the “process” in the creation of theatre should be public? On the one hand, the argument goes, the demystification of the process can only help audiences to understand a piece better, and connect more deeply with the finished production. On the other hand, the counter-argument proposes, so much is subject to change during rehearsal, that judging the potential merits of a future work based on an unfinished version may not be in the best interests of either audience or company.

My feeling is that transparency in art, as in life, enhances our experiences—and open rehearsals, like staged readings, can afford an audience a rare look at a work stripped down, naked, unencumbered by the dazzle of tech design and polish. To this end, during a special edition of the Shaping San Francisco Public Talk series at CounterPULSE, a group of San Francisco Sate University students performed an open rehearsal of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Trial of Lucullus,” which opens on the 27th for a weekend-long run.

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The Peformant: Neither bloody nor bowed

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Bullfighting Cali-style

If you want to go to a bullfight in California, you have to do a little preliminary sleuthing. Just why you would decide to go in the first place can’t be easily explained. But it helps to note that unlike more traditional forms of bullfighting, California bullfighting is billed as “bloodless.” That is to say, no bulls are killed in the ring.Read more »

The Performant: They Might be Giants

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Stagewerx and SF Olympians Festival go big

It’s been a turbulent year for independent theatre and its venues. In truth, every year is. But there have been some notable successes too. Boxcar Theatre’s addition of a new studio space on Hyde Street. Bindlestiff Theatre’s move into a new permanent space. Pianofight’s acquisition of the old Original Joe’s in order to create a hybrid performance space-kitchen-bar right on the cutting edge of the downtown theatre district. 

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The Performant: Cinéma contradictoire

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While I spent a good deal of time out of doors last weekend taking in, among other things, an obligatory pilgrimage to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a jaunt on the historic schooner Alma with the WE Players, the 30-year anniversary of the Sea Chantey Sing, and Chicken John’s book release party, it was the introspective medium of the cinema that captured my attentions most of all. From the Star of Tyche at ATA, to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at Lost Weekend’s “Offline In-Store” Film Festival, I devoured a sumptuous visual feast the satiating effects of which still linger days after. Read more »

The Performant: Weekend in Wonderland

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ALICE and Folsom Street Fair fall down different holes

From North Beach to South of Market, clowning to carousing, the weekend offered up a veritable smorgasbord of sensory overload and playful edge. First off, a debut performance of a quirky bit of deconstruction in new kid venue on the North Beach block, The Emerald Tablet. Written and conceptualized by two spirited performers (Edna Miroslava Barrón and Karen Anne Light), “ALICE: Down the Rwong Wrabbit Whole” offered a welcome introduction to both the space and the still-fresh faces of the presenting duo.

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The Performant: The mundane sublime

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Park(ing) and Fold {Live} were far from humdrum

It’s the little things. The things we do over and over again—the automatic, the routine, the de rigueur, the rote—that we need to find ways to celebrate above all, because every moment past could be a moment wasted, or a moment redeemed. But as with conceptual artist Kate Pocrass’ long-running Mundane Journeys project, sometimes the moment needs to be curated in order to be illuminated. That principle got some play over the past weekend with Park(ing) Day and Surabhi Suraf’s “Fold {Live}” installation, two very different projects which nonetheless served to turn the most banal of routines into conscious acts.

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