Robert Avila

The economies of desire

Artistic director Tessa Wills on the wide-ranging, boundary-busting This Is What I Want performance festival

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THEATER Since 2010, This Is What I Want has hitched its program to the National Queer Arts Festival to explore the artistic and social ground between intimacy and performance. Privileging the immediate, even confused elaborations of desire over the canny or slickly theorized, TIWIW (produced by THEOFFCENTER in association with SOMArts, the Center for Sex and Culture, and the Queer Cultural Center) challenges adept, professional performance makers to risk forgoing the usual control or cohesion in the hope of finding new avenues for creation and participation.Read more »

Two for the road

Banana Bag & Bodice launch spectacular 'Space//Space' from Brooklyn, final destination unknown

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER On a warm evening last week in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Jason Craig and Jessica Jelliffe were milling around the sidewalk outside the Collapsable Hole, a small warehouse performance venue one subway stop from Manhattan, dressed in dark blue one-piece suits, skull caps, heavy-rimmed glasses, and long beards.Read more »

Possessions and concessions

Christina Anderson's Good Goods tells a supernatural tale haunted by real world tensions

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A general store in a factory town is the deceptively concrete setting for playwright Christina Anderson's purposefully nebulous drama, which conflates a range of 20th century African American experiences in a supernatural tale of characters and a town variously "possessed."Read more »

Theater of the observed

Exhibitionism abounds as spying and lying take a cue from Big Brother in FWD: Life Gone Viral

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The tender line

Cutting Ball's docudrama Tenderloin explores its own backyard

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A couple of days after the opening of the Cutting Ball's documentary play, Tenderloin, I spotted independent filmmaker Rob Nilsson crossing the street at Taylor and Eddy, less than a block from the theater. Drawn to the neighborhood and its residents for decades, Nilsson is one of the more prominent artists who have found inspiration, collaboration and a kind of authenticity in the Tenderloin, long among San Francisco's poorest and liveliest districts.Read more »

I'm not there

Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour marks his Bay Area debut — by proxy — in White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at SFIAF

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THEATER Political borders have their way with the bodies of ordinary people, but ideas are harder to stop at an airport or checkpoint. So when Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour found himself unable to leave Iran (having demurred from mandatory military service, the state demurred in providing him a passport), he decided to send on a play that would stand in for him, and maybe stand for something more.Read more »

A dog's life

TheatreWorks revives Of Mice and Men for a new era of desperation and solidarity

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER There's a clipped Spanish twang in the roughhewn but lucid English of George Milton (Jos Viramontes) and Lennie Small (A.J. Meijer), the iconic bindlestiff protagonists in Of Mice and Men. It's the only obvious bit of updating in TheatreWorks' and artistic director Robert Kelley's generally faithful rendering of the 1937 John Steinbeck classic (a stage adaptation penned by the author himself for a Broadway premiere the same year).Read more »

Bon voyage

At home with the Russians, from Berkeley's Ashby Stage to Moscow's Golden Mask festival

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THEATER Bay Area audiences set off for The Coast of Utopia with Shotgun Players' production of Voyage, the first play in Tom Stoppard's celebrated 2002 trilogy based on the lives and careers of certain radical Russian émigrés in 19th century Europe. Read more »

Pre-boarding call: Jorge De Hoyos’s “Departing Things”

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In the last few years, Los Angeles–born and San Francisco–based dancer-choreographer Jorge De Hoyos has worked with Sara Shelton Mann and Meg Stuart, traveled with Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence project, performed in Laura Arrington’s supersized SQUART marathon at Headlands Center for the Arts, and much, much more — including projects by Christine Bonansea, Sommer Ulrickson, Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, Jesse Hewit/Strong Behavior, Pearl Marill/Pump Dance Theater, Naked Empire Bouffon Company, and Jenny McAllister. You may also have been one of the 25 or so lucky souls who traipsed after him in Golden Gate Park when he and Macklin Kowal went about in delirious Euro-drag for Bonjour le matin.

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50/50

Dancer-choreographers work through the pros and cons of getting older in Jess Meets Angus

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Strange how being "of a certain age" can bring so much uncertainty along with it. In the installment of Berlin-based choreographer Silke Z.'s "Just Between Us — The Generation Project" making its US premiere at CounterPULSE this weekend, two guys, at least, will move boldly forward into the middle ages.Read more »