Performance

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 »

The Performant: Unsilent is the night

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Ring the bells

Observant or not, there’s no escaping the Festivus Chrismakwanzakah season, and while you might be grinching it alone with the holiday spirit best known as Kentucky Bourbon, you can’t entirely avoid the pervasive influence that is holiday music. Music, after all, is one of our best tools for communicating intangibles such as emotion, faith, and belief in supernatural beings, and there’s hardly anyone sentient who could fail to be momentarily moved by a rendition of the haunting “Coventry Carol” or Handel’s “Messiah”. Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: PianoFight

A multi-faceted, multi-armed organization of sketch comedy, original drama, new play festivals, and comedy-horror-ballet about ducks

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GOLDIES A PianoFight show can be almost as striking for its audience as for what the company puts onstage, even if few audiences will upstage a machine that blows ducks out of people's butts, per Duck Lake. PianoFight crowds are conspicuously not your typical theatergoers — they're closer to the boisterous women in office attire I noticed at the now-defunct Off-Market Theater, PianoFight's old haunt, who had smuggled in a bottle of Chardonnay and were picnicking in a back row like it was Baker Beach. Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: Mica Sigourney

Drag-rooted performance works that question the egotism of the artist and the role of the audience

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GOLDIES Regular appearances are not Mica Sigourney's thing. True, most Friday nights you'll find alt-persona VivvyAnne ForeverMORE! at the Stud hosting Some Thing, the boisterously resourceful drag cavalcade (formerly Tiara Sensation) started two years ago with drag mother Glamamore and dj down-E. Even there, though, you couldn't call VivvyAnne's appearance regular: one night it's ersatz Dior, another it's lipstick, hobo beard, and a jock strap.Read more »

Insider/Outsider art: Paul Festa's 'Tie It Into My Hand' at ODC Fri/21-Sat/22

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In a way, his first film, the experimental documentary Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006), did for Paul Festa what years of classical musical training and fiction writing never yet had: it put him squarely before the eyes and ears of the world as a serious artist. Ironically, he'd never trained as a filmmaker. He was following a musical muse, to be sure, but down an unfamiliar path.

Asking how we listen — why we listen — to music, Apparition gathered an eclectic assortment of interview-subjects (friends, drag queens, his Juilliard mentor Albert Fuller, even his old college prof, renowned critic-scholar Harold Bloom), had them strap on headphones, and then describe their reactions to Olivier Messiaen's Apparition de l'église éternelle, the composer's unrelentingly intense 1932 piece for organ. It was a simple notion that produced complex, and completely absorbing, results.

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