Robert Avila

Whereabouts of W. Kamau Bell: a Q&A

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Q Hey, whatever happened to W. Kamau Bell?
 
A Pretty sure the politically astute Bay Area comedian, writer, and director went on to fame in TV land as host of FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.*
 
*True, but he’s back this weekend for two late-night sets at Stage Werx.

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Angels in Budapest

Hungary's premier stage offers a striking revival of Tony Kushner's groundbreaking play

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER On two old VHS tapes in the collection of San Francisco's Museum of Performance and Design you can watch the Eureka Theater's 1991 world premiere of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, a response to the AIDS epidemic and the reactionary politics of the Reagan era. It's a low-fi document, with poor sound quality, but it's completely riveting. Something more than the play's words and images, as striking as they are, cling to that worn magnetic tape: there's the electric excitement of a work of art cracking open its historical moment.Read more »

Sort of and last

The Wooster Group and New York City Players make a long overdue Bay Area appearance

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER In a deceptively low-key but major theatrical event, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last weekend presented the local debuts of both the Wooster Group and the New York City Players, in their collaborative take on three of Eugene O'Neill's seafaring "Glencairn plays."Read more »

Missing person

'Se Llama Cristina' offers a sentimental story beneath a gritty exterior

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A filthy, forlorn world emerges in surreal half-light at the outset of Magic Theater's premiere of Se Llama Cristina, the new play by celebrated San Francisco–based playwright Octavio Solis. But almost as quickly, its initially intriguing outlines begin to look artificial, becoming the bloated lines of caricature more than a poetical evocation of real life, as the sentiment at the heart of this sometimes forceful but finally thin and frustrating play steadily takes over.Read more »

Festival of festivals

Some highlights from New York's APAP-pourri

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The chill air had no snow in it. Instead, a particularly nasty outbreak of influenza whipped through the city, leaving a fine coating of mucus on the ground. Still, New York City looked beautiful as the various performing arts festivals that cluster around the annual meeting of APAP (the Association of Performing Arts Presenters) all revved up for a fat two weeks of shows this January.Read more »

SF Sketchfest founders reminisce (and look ahead) on the eve of their 12th event

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The first SF Sketchfest, in 2002, was a good excuse to find a stage and some quality time for its organizers’ own sketch comedy troupe, Totally False People, but it has since become an annual comedy conclave of the first order. SF Sketchfest founders David Owen, Cole Stratton, and Janet Varney talk about the growth and philosophy of their annual comedy extravaganza and the humble beginnings that gave it rise.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Is SF Sketchfest a full time job by now?

David Owen Yeah, I think it is. It definitely gets more intense a few months out, but we’re always working on it, we’re always percolating ideas, as well as trying to do events throughout the year. We had a presence at Outside Lands this past year. We’re always trying to do stuff. But this time of year especially, from fall on, is beyond full-time for us.

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All kinds of work and one play

SF Sketchfest's yearly gamut of comedy formats includes a remounting of 1998's off-off-color hit, 'SEX a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs'

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Stage might

Upstage/Downstage Awards: theater's best and worst of 2012

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arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN THEATER In addition to Christmas lights, the seasonal landscape would not be the same without a thick, shiny coating of awards. We reflect on some highs (and a few lows) from the year in theater with a nod of appreciation here, a nod of respect there, or just a nod, short and involuntary, before the house lights jolt us awake again.Read more »

Misery over mistletoe

Shotgun Players mount Tom Waits' 'Woyzeck' for the holidays

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London diary

Cruising to the end of story, and Forced Entertainment's 'The Coming Storm'
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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Tom Cruise, clad in military drag, descended last week by RAF helicopter into Trafalgar Square in what is best described as forced entertainment but was in fact a time-wasting scene from his upcoming blockbuster All You Need Is Kill. Not quite simultaneously but with considerably more stealth, I advanced into South London's Battersea area, in a completely uncoordinated foray, to see the latest from famed Sheffield-based pomo theater artists Forced Entertainment.Read more »