Robert Avila

Expose yourself to art

Deborah Cullinan and Marc Bamuthi Joseph talk creative ecosystems and Young Jean Lee's 'Untitled Feminist Show'

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In light and shadow

Spiritual redemption and hard truths mingle in the West Coast premiere of 'Poro Oyna'

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Last week's performance of the shadow play Poro Oyna: The Myth of the Aynu, at Fort Mason's Southside Theater, began with a blessing in disguise.Read more »

Art-ic blast

Dispatches from live performance in frigid New York

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THEATER New York early last week was as cold as Muazzez. True, I've never been to Muazzez, but a reputable source called that asteroid "so cold it is a frozen bull roar," which sounds about right.

"They lied to me about the reality of things here on Muazzez," began said source, a nondescript speaker seated at a bare wood desk. "About the foundations of these, their basis, their fundament, the profound bottom of things."

There's a glass of water on the desk, some loose paper.Read more »

Hole Lotta Love: Saturday night at SOMArts!

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A pit under the floor becomes a wellspring for 100 performances over six hours at SOMArts this Saturday night
 
There’s a hole under the gallery floor at SOMArts. And art abhors a vacuum.

This century-old sand casting pit rests under a trap door, a leftover of the 17,000-square-foot venue’s industrial past. But this weekend the hatch is lifted and the hole becomes a generative site of time-based art making. Six hours will see more than 150 local artists delivering two-minute performances “for the hole” in a mini-marathon like no other.

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One of us

Emotional monstrosities animate 'Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness'

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Take away their unconventional looks and odd talents, and the eponymous carnival performers of Freaks — Tod Browning's classic carnie horror movie — were not so unusual. Ordinary folks, for the most part, with ordinary problems and everyday virtues. The title secretly pointed to the monstrous souls of their "normal-looking" but heartless colleagues, corrupt to the point of betrayal and murder.Read more »

Bravo!

THE YEAR IN THEATER: Highlights from 2013, on and off the boards

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YEAR IN THEATER Before the holiday season crushes us in its tinsel-glinted maw and poops us out into 2014, it's time to cast a backward glance and ponder 2013's best moments in theater and performance.

Most satisfyingly enigmatic flights Getting lost can be a good thing. It can concentrate the attention, heighten the senses, activate the imagination, leave room for reflection — and leave something to talk about afterward. This is as true for a visit to the theater as it is for a walk around town.Read more »

Band practice

Reading by moonlight with Nicole Kidman Is Fucking Gorgeous

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THEATER We meet above the waterfall in Yerba Buena Gardens. It's cold, getting dark. Everyone seems relieved to get inside the YBCA theater next door. We'll talk here for the next hour, standing around a worktable with a gold lamé circle spread over it, before the band heads downstairs to a windowless rehearsal space in the deep well of the building.Read more »

Eat your heart out

Kneehigh's comic-romantic 'Tristan & Yseult' is high-flying theater for the masses

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THEATER Crowd-pleasing can sometimes sound like a put-down — hey, sometimes it is — but it becomes a virtue in Kneehigh's Tristan & Yseult. The Cornwall-based company (already known locally for Brief Encounter at ACT in 2009 and The Wild Bride at Berkeley Rep last winter) has returned to Berkeley Rep with a remounting of its 2003 hit. And it proves as accomplished and intelligent as it is shamelessly entertaining.Read more »

Family album

Margo Hall and Marcus Shelby craft a musical memoir in 'Be Bop Baby'

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THEATER Forgetting can be a key to understanding, and to freedom. This is something any jazz musician knows. Learning theory, practicing scales, getting to know your instrument and your craft — it's all prelude to forgetting, to letting go. What comes back to you in the moment, ideally, is deeper than any superficial knowledge. It's everything behind the music — a life.Read more »

Cul de sac

Familiar narrative tropes foreshorten Campo Santo's 'Alleluia, the Road'

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arts@sfbg.com

Two mothers are coping with grief — and becoming friends — in a room at a Bakersfield community center. Ruth (Nora El Samahy) is still not at the point of speaking the depth of her burden, and instead chirps on about the horror visited on her murdered child with a kind of fierce, enforced casualness, fueled by too much coffee. Mary (Catherine Castellanos), meanwhile, her emotional turmoil welling just beneath the surface, has a stronger bearing — and a peculiar lilt indicative of someone who has only recently heard the sound of her own voice.Read more »