Robert Avila

Life boat

Sheila Callaghan and foolsFURY set an existential course over shallow waters in 'Port Out, Starboard Home'

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THEATER "No one is stupid on a cruise."

Now that's a line that puts the dumb in wisdom, which is the point. For no one can be stupid where everyone is by definition stupid. And that, in turn, might become the basis for a transformation of some kind.Read more »

Pi in the sky, fig leaf optional

The annual San Francisco Fringe Festival embraces humanity again

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Aficionados of the San Francisco Fringe Festival, now in its 21st year, know that sorting out the clowns, puppets, relationships, rock operas, and foreskin on display or under consideration across 12 days and roughly 40 shows can be a real crapshoot. But that's the deal — and at least part of the appeal — with a curator-free, lottery-based program in which anybody with an act and the luck of the draw can set up shop for an hour on one of the handful of stages in operation at the Exit Theatre complex and participating venues. Read more »

More than ink

Mission gangs and tattoos are the stuff of a dynamic experiment in theater activism, as Paul S. Flores' Placas moves from page to stage

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER In 2009, Paul S. Flores was at work on his new play, Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo, in consultation with Alex Sanchez, founder of Homies Unidos, when a call came from Denver that brought everything to a standstill.Read more »

More 'Work MORE!' with Mica Sigourney/Vivvyanne Forevermore

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If Friday means Some Thing — the popular late night drag performance showcase at the Stud — then tonight means something More: opening night of "Work MORE! #5," the hybrid performance installation headed up by Some Thing's charismatic and catalytic hostess, Vivvyanne Forevermore, alt-persona of artist-curator Mica Sigourney.

Tonight has even a little more More than that: it's also four years to the month since Vivvyanne Forevermore first stepped onto the San Francisco stage. It's an auspicious moment, in other words, for one of Sigourney's more ambitious Work MORE! undertakings to date (with the possible exception of next year's planed tour of Work MORE! #4, but more on that below). Number five brings together (at CounterPULSE this weekend) a group of drag queens, visual artists, dancers and performance artists in an overlapping series of collaborative performance installations that do away with the usual proscenium setting in favor of a loosely compartmentalized stage that's more like a haunted gallery.

"Logistically, I've never done anything like this at all," says Sigourney, speaking at a SOMA café last week. "It's going to be too hot, it's going to be too loud, and it's not going to be easy." But then, he immediately adds, "that's not any different from a drag bar."

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Howdy, strangers

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: UK-based Action Hero collaborates with local artists on 'Stranger in a Strange Land' — plus more upcoming theater

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arts@sfbg.com

FALL ARTS Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse were obsessed with Americana long before the two Bristol-based performance makers (known collectively as Action Hero) ever set their cowboy boots in the United States. In fact, they'd performed their site-specific first piece, a barroom exploration of the Western (called simply A Western) for years before lobbing it into the belly of the beast, where it appeared as part of Austin, Texas' Fusebox Festival in 2010.Read more »

Off the walls

Strategies of performance animate art — and site — in SFMOMA's 'Stage Presence'

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART As the Cindy Sherman retrospective draws huge crowds to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's fourth floor, visitors will find it the gateway drug par excellence for a neighboring show just a few steps away. Taking in Sherman's frozen drag — in which visual art harnesses performance as both subject and tactic — is already to broach the invigorating dialogue underway in "Stage Presence: Theatricality in Art and Media."Read more »

Celebrity rehab

'Project: Lohan' takes a second look at LiLo and finds a portrait of the times

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Asylum seekers

'Marat/Sade' channels revolutionary yearnings and glorious excess from 1789 to 2012

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Show trial

Truth and artifice propel history and 'The Scottsboro Boys' musical at A.C.T.

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The set (by Beowulf Boritt) is almost unassuming in its simplicity: just a trio of receding frames arching over the stage, each progressively more askew, and beneath them a jumble of aluminum chairs piled to one side. Still, such simplicity also hints at, and soon delivers, rich complexity.Read more »

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 »