Performance

The Performant: A Declaration of Independence

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Taking the road less traveled with the Independent Eye

In a cozy living room in Cole Valley, a small but attentive oddience gathers to watch a trio of short theatrical vignettes performed by maverick theater-makers the Independent Eye.

Entitled Gifts, the three pieces have been performed over the years in previous incarnations, but never together, and the subtle commonalities that bind them are elegant and startling in equal measure. Focused primarily on human relationships, the complexity of desire, and the precarious yet universal nature of a journey into the unknown, Gifts follows three couples on their respective paths as they encounter all the unexpected complications and mysterious rewards that life throws at them along the way.

For Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, who have been both the creative partnership behind the Independent Eye and also life partners for over 50 years, revisiting these pieces with a deepened perspective honed by the implications of entering their final decades has been a process as revelatory to them as when they were created the first time.

“Everything resonates differently,” points out Fuller, with a gracious smile. Read more »

The Performant: Dare to DIVA

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A yearly performance fest supports XX creatives

Spring is in the air, and so is DIVAfest, the EXIT Theatre’s annual celebration of female artists and theater-makers. Founded in 2002 by Christina Augello to give female creators a secure space to showcase their craft, DIVAfest has hosted an estimated 500 participants have come through in the last 11 years, from visual artists (Sophie Kadow, Kathy Jo Lafreniere, Michelle Talgarow) to playwrights (Kerry Reid, Lee Kiszonas, Margery Fairchild) to music-makers (Beth Wilmurt, Shannon Day, Carrie Baum Love), to burlesque dancers (Odessa Lil, Red Velvet, If-N-Whendy). This year, the fest hits the stage May 9-June 2.  Read more »

The comeback klown: John Leguizamo's 'Ghetto Klown' returns

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It's been three years since hyperkinetic funnyman John Leguizamo last played the Bay Area, when he workshopped his newest solo show, then called Klass Klown, at the Berkeley Rep. Following the confessional tone established by his previous solo shows, such as Freak, which in which he recreated moments from his stormy adolescence, and Sexaholix...a Love Story, which tackled both his playa heyday and his rehabilitated foray into fatherhood and married life, his renamed, award-winning Ghetto Klown focuses on his career trajectory in a format that's part documentary, part tell-all exposé.

Now returning for a brief victory lap at the Orpheum Theatre, Leguizamo is looking forward to reconnecting with his West Coast fans. I managed to catch up with him over the telephone and got him to dish on the evolution of his show, his newfound love of touring, and the key to his boundless energy.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Why did you decided to tackle this particular narrative?

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Neighborhood sounds: MAPP takes over the Mission

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Photos by Bowerbird Photography

It's fun to imagine what it would be like to have lived during the Beatnik era, an era full of art salons and improvised performance. An evening walking around the for the Mission Arts and Performance Project (MAPP) with friends seems like close fit to those artistic days, because you never really know what you'll see when you roll up to one of the many venues along the MAPP's guide to the Mission. Read more »

Words, words, words permeate a couple of unconventional theater options this weekend

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The scattered letters piled on the floor are alternately a lover, a tormentor, a terrible reminder, a set of mysterious directives, and a bed for restless dreaming for Ophelia — or rather, one of her three incarnations — as French company Carte Blanche presents its roaming, site-specific riff on Shakespeare’s sad heroine, with inspiration drawn from Arthur Rimbaud’s famous elegy.
 
But despite all those missives from a certain gloomy prince, the piece makes much use of silence too, as the audience mills around the Firehouse at Fort Mason Center, watching the agitated actions of three young heroines in various rooms before being led outside for a journey to other environs.

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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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Beyond Frank Ocean: La Peña takes a deeper look at hip-hop inclusivity

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If I hear another journalist ask anyone involved in hip-hop incredulously, reverently, portentously about Frank Ocean and that Tumblr post someone may lose their digital recorder. Frank I love you, I love your ambiguous Internet warblings, your endearingly awful Grammy performances -- and kudos on Willy Carter, damn -- but obvs you're not the first queer person to be involved with your musical genre.

The Bay Area knows this -- in 2007 the PeaceOUT World Homo Hop Festival, already six years old at that point, took over deFremery Park with Oakland's Deep Dickollective and co. And like, Cazwell? Hey.

This list goes on -- but this post is more about future, specifically the Hip-Hop: Beyond Gender event series that kicks off at La Peña Cultural Center on Fri/15 with "Here Me Roar", a lineup of queer and feminist spoken word MCs set to wrecking speed. Read more »

Cosmo club: Scenes from the 'Sex in the City' takeover at Rebel

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"I've never been to a drag show," said my friend Cailey last week. "WHAT?!" I shouted.

She had to be kidding me. Attending a drag show belongs in the top 10 things everyone has to do when they move to SF. I got on it and found the next available performance we could get our butts to, which just happened to be the twice-weekly Heklina, Lady Bear, Trixxie Carr, and D'Arcy Drollinger show of Sex and the City.Read more »

The shape of stage to come, part two

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Training with foolsFURY for the stage and for life

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a round-up of some of the theatre companies in the Bay Area who offer classes and actor trainings for professionals and non-professionals alike, but since there are far more companies than I had word count with which to cover them, I could only feature a representative few, and therefore focused mainly on smaller, more underground companies specializing in one or two specific disciplines or techniques.

One company I regretted not having space for was foolsFURY, whose devotion to training their own actors has given rise to an extensive schedule of workshops open to the public since 2006. I finally caught up with associate artistic director Debórah Eliezer to get the details.

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The shape of stage to come

Theater companies offer trainings to keep actors and audience on their toes

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culture@sfbg.com

CAREERS AND ED Like most skills, acting can be honed and refined, and the number of disciplines and techniques an actor could familiarize themselves with are practically infinite. Fortunately for the professional and amateur actor alike, there's a number of theater companies who offer the same actor trainings to the public that they utilize in the creation of their own work.Read more »