Robert Avila

The final act

FALL ARTS: Bay Area stages cover the gulf and cruise the outer limits this fall
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New and improv-ed

San Francisco Improv Festival returns to link past and future

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The launching of the San Francisco Improv Festival, back in 2004, signaled a major resurgence for improvisational theater in the Bay Area, long dominated by the exceptional BATS (Bay Area Theatre Sports) and related groups, but recently joined by a host of newer outfits as well. The rollicking festival attracted eager audiences, while bringing together a somewhat disparate local and intergenerational community of improvisers with national and even international acts. Read more »

Viva La Vanguardia!

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The folks behind San Francisco’s Cutting Ball Theater have a lot to celebrate after ten years, so they are. The tenth anniversary of the company recently voted Best Theater in SFBG’s Best of the Bay readers poll is being marked by a year’s worth of special programs, all culminating in a season-opening party they’re calling “10-10-10 Tempest!” on October 10. But first, this Sat/7, the theater founded by Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers continues to advance its experimental mission with a rare (and free!) program of staged excerpts from new work by Latino and Latina playwrights called "Vanguardia."

This is the first time Cutting Ball has featured the work of living Latino playwrights (they promise it won’t be the last either) and the evening will feature some of the country’s most vital voices — meaning both alive and ass-kicking: Kristoffer Diaz (author of Pulitzer-finalist The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity), Marisela Treviño Orta, Octavio Solis, Caridad Svich, Enrique Urueta (of the recent Impact Theatre hit Learn to Be Latina), and Karen Zacarías. Read more »

Public trance-portation

The Magic Bus tours your mama's and papa's SF and finds the 'rents (and rents) are all right

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER When caught riding Muni, one way to while away the time and ignore the lunatic seated next to you is to gaze out on the passing scene and its traffic, at the buildings and neighborhoods and detritus of the city, at all the lovers and loners, the shiny things people wear and drive and push and collect, as well as the tattered and forgotten stuff no one loves anymore.Read more »

Minty fresh

Interview: Joe Goode on disgraceful ostentatiousness and Traveling Light
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DANCE/THEATER After rapidly selling out its two-week premiere in May 2009, the Joe Goode Performance Group returns to San Francisco's lavish Old Mint for a luxurious one-month run of Traveling Light. JGPG's haunted tour of SF's oldest stone building, a monument to money power, unfolds as a series of made-up but history-laden vignettes scattered throughout the edifice, adding up to an inspired meditation on greed and desire, success and failure, the material and immaterial. Read more »

Put on a happy face

Paul Rudnick's tonics for gay solemnity lack fizz at New Conservatory

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Twenty-first-century post-9/11 gay America doesn't get a makeover in Paul Rudnick's new collection of short plays, it goes out for one. Rudnick (The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told; Valhalla) surveys the state of the gay nation through four small, broadly comical vignettes in three far-flung American locales — all slouching toward Manhattan — and finds it taking itself and everything else far too seriously. Read more »

Happy birthday to the Marsh!

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The Marsh hits the big two-oh this weekend. The one-of-a-kind theater founded by Stephanie Weisman in 1989 has contributed much more than its fair share to performance arts in the Bay Area and beyond. To mark the event, the Marsh is planning a one-of-a-kind celebration this Saturday, June 19: 12 continuous hours of performance, memories, and festive behavior featuring a remarkable assortment of talent under one roof. Seriously, if these were heads of state it’d be like the G20 times two, and the security hassles would suck hard for blocks around. As is, you can just go and watch and talk to these people, who are way cooler anyway.
 
For more of the lowdown on the birthday plans and insider thoughts on the Marsh at 20, I had thought of talking to a dozen or so of the leading lights slated to be there. But not having a lot of energy this morning, I decided instead to just call Mary Samson — currently crafting her own Marsh solo show and one of Saturday’s Marathon MCs — at her daytime desk at the Guardian.

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Deep red bells

Crowded Fire premieres Enrique Urueta's "psycho-Southern queer country dance tragedy"

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A few months ago, Impact Theater premiered Enrique Urueta's Learn to Be Latina, a raucous satire of market-driven multiculturalism that pivoted on the ethnic dos-and-don'ts of the music industry. That production only partly prepares one for Crowded Fire's premiere of the Bay Area playwright's latest effort, Forever Never Comes. Read more »

Sexy, seedy, comical

Capitalism is a wild ride in The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry
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Butoh, and beyond

San Francisco International Arts Festival: theater highlights

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I was just in Baltimore for a conference on the New Drama movement in Russia — not so much a movement, as it turns out, as a new and diverse post-Soviet generation of theater artists carrying forward, reassessing and reinventing the form. The work on display over an eventful weekend was quite varied and, on the whole, an intriguing sampling of the restive theatrical activity being generated under the New Drama label. The take-home point: Russia is a hotbed of serious work to which attention should be paid.Read more »