Nicole Gluckstern

Eco-funny: Kristina Wong goes green

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When things go wrong for performance artist Kristina Wong, you know it’s going to be a spectacular mess. A person with that much verve just wouldn’t be able to fail only halfway. So when she decided to “go green” the universe thanked her by almost blowing her up on the LA freeway in her bright pink, bio-fueled Mercedes. Now car-free in a city widely thought to be completely non-navigable without a motorized vehicle, this San Francisco-born “patronmartyr of carbon-free living,” is taking her new show on the road, to preach the good earth word with her signature madcap style.

Kristina’s multimedia productions, such as the nationally-recognized Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, are high-energy pastiches of autobiographical material, research stats, contrarian wisdom, and fearless deviations from any pigeonhole you might try to stuff her into. During Going Green the Wong Way, her fifth solo show, she’ll take you through the intricacies of the LA Public transportation system, appoint herself a “missionary of recycling,” mourn with “mother earth,” who is frankly getting a little fed up with our mess, and engage in a good old-fashioned plastic bag fight, during this limited homecoming run of five shows only, starting tonight (Thurs/14).

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The Performant: Meme trope traditions

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Taking in the San Francisco Mime Troupe's "2012: The Musical"

Even the most anarchic, atheistic, or contrarian among us deserve the comfort of a few holiday traditions, whatever the season -- and come the Fourth of July weekend you’ll find a kindred crowd hundreds strong camped out in the lower quadrant of Dolores Park. Unusually for Independence Day frolics, the focus is not on the consumption of grilled foodstuffs or blowing things up (fine traditions both), but on the opening of the latest San Francisco Mime Troupe show. Although the largest crowds typically show up for the official opening, always scheduled for the glorious Fourth, the preview performances are also well-attended, and it’s not unusual for folks to pick a preferred date that remains constant for years on end. And no matter how fog-bound the holiday itself, somehow the Mime Troupe opening miraculously manages to fall on one of the sunniest weekends of the year, proof perhaps of some insidious cosmic intervention, either on behalf of the Mimes or the ‘Murkins.

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Biting the Big Apple

Bay Area performers storm the New York Fringe Festival

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arts@sfbg.com THEATER The world's largest arts festival, the now-venerable Edinburgh Festival Fringe, got its start in 1946 as a scrappy party-crasher outside the official Edinburgh International Festival. Thanks to its inspired blend of difficult-to-categorize, anything-goes performances, the Edinburgh Fringe helped create a definitive theatrical format that has since flourished in Fringe Festivals around the world. Among other things, Fringe is a catalyst for new works, new companies, and new interpretations of how theater can be made, and experienced.Read more »

The Performant: Trans-cendental Meditations

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The Tranimals come out at Nightlife

The time is probably coming when humans will be able to adapt animalian traits, ala “Transmetropolitan,” either as a weekend whim or on a permanent basis. The whole notion is too tempting to remain a fiction forever. Imagine possessing the smooth, insulating skin of a dolphin, the soaring wings of a peregrine falcon, the keen night vision of a bobcat. The desire for such transmogrification is as ancient as recorded history: from Centaurs to Satyrs, Mermaids to Manticores, Mami Wata to the Minotaur, there’s hardly a mythology around without some reference to human-animal hybrids, whether monsters or gods. Years from now, the very notion of “transitioning” might well have to be expanded to include folks shifting between all kinds of bodies and capabilities. Until then, we’ll have to make do with costumery, flaunting temporary feathers and furs like so much wishful thinking.
 
You probably won’t find a denser concentration of fantasy animal drag outside a furry convention than at a “Tranimal” contest -- particularly one hosted in the California Academy of Sciences, where accurately portraying animal characteristics is serious business.

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The Performant: Impossible weekend! Or: what to do when there’s everything to do?

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Bicycle Music Festival and "A Clockwork Orange Afternoon"

Oh lordy, let me catch my breath. Weekend, you have officially kicked my ass.

Merely mortal, I found it difficult to plot an itinerary efficient enough to be able to hit every event that beckoned my attention over those bright and sunny 48 hours. Would I attend the annual Juneteenth street festival or a lecture on the benefits of zombie domestication? Journey to the End of the Night or a CLASH scavenger hunt? Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at Stern Grove or Klaus Kinski at YBCA? Cloning myself seems a more attractive option by the day. Read more »

The Performant: The fast and the furious

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FURY Factory turns four

Summertime is festival time in the city, and the streets will stay lively from now to Halloween, barring acts of god/s or unforeseen War on Fun skirmishes. But considering the typical bluster of an average summer day in San Francisco, it’s a relief that a few of our festivals can be enjoyed indoors. Read more »

The Performant: A pox upon’t

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The Coen Brothers meet The Bard in Much Ado About Lebrowski

The best parodies are born from admiration for the targeted subject, be they the tortured plot twists of Spaceballs, the foppish mop-tops of The Rutles, or the beleaguered hero’s quest of Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. In a swoop guaranteed to appeal to worshippers of high and low culture alike, the Primitive Screwheads’ remount of last year’s hit mash-up Much Ado About Lebrowski manages to pay homage to one of the most-produced playwrights in the English language (ye olde Billy Shakespeare) and a pair of our most intriguing modern filmmakers (the Coen Brothers) in one borderline-blasphemous production, with enough in jokes and innuendo from both to keep aficionados of either on their toes. 

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The Performant: Bar Crawl

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Burroughs and Shakespeare served neat, no chaser.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A man walks into a bar. Ouch! Just kidding. A man walked into a bar. He idly scoped out a handsome youth leaning against the wall (Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos Jr.) and began to sing: “I could use that, if the family jewels weren’t pawned to uncle junk…” Music swelled from the five-piece chamber orchestra in the corner of the stage: pizzicato on the violin, a bowed double bass, high-pitched urgent keys. An angular, haunting, sometimes dissonant music; just what you might expect the score for an operetta based on the semi-autobiographical William S. Burroughs II novel Queer to be.

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The Performant 45: Oh Rapture, up yours!

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Gearing up for the end times with Hoodslam

Well another Armageddon scare has come and gone and we’re all still here, as is my dirty laundry which I was letting pile up on the off chance that I wouldn’t need it again. Not that clean clothes were necessary to attend the Judgment Day edition of Oakland-based, amateur-wrestling-and-sideshow-freak extravaganza, HoodslamRead more »

The Performant: Spank it!

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Austin invades SF with Christeene Vale, Wammo, and Guy Forsyth

There’s glamour. Then there’s Glamour. And then there’s Glamour’s myriad permutations, like Drag Glamour. And Drug Glamour. And Diva Glamour. Glamour makes respectable what might otherwise be considered merely ostentatious, excessive, or gauche. Elusive but instantly recognizable, there’s no doubt that glamour can enthrall. But frankly, sometimes it bores. 

There’s nothing boring about Christeene ValeRead more »