The Performant

The Performant: Weird like me

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Radical self-expression takes a staycation with Zinefest and On Land ...

It was another Burning Man, er, Labor Day weekend, and like every year of the past dozen or so, those of us who stayed in the City spent it cracking wise about all the extra elbow room on MUNI and burner-free “Dolores Beach” real estate we get to ourselves through Tuesday morning. It’s becoming an old joke, a chestnut even, but it still manages to elicit a few wry chuckles from those of us committed to radically self-expressing without hauling it to Nevada in the back of a day-glo Winnebago.

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The Performant: Final Frontiers with "Sigh-Fi" and W. Kamau Bell

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Scoping out the local arts and culture scene ...

So much fascinating shit is rooted in science -- from the way things work to the way they fall apart -- that it seems passing strange that more performance pieces aren’t written using scientific law as a unifying theme. Not that you’ll find a whole lot in your physics texts about Saturnade a spoofed drink mix with a long list of dire side-effects that belongs more properly in the frame of a John Kricfalusi cartoon. You probably won’t find mention in your astronomy handbooks about alien surveyors with invasion viability agendas either, but why split atoms over it?

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The Performant: Nerds vs. Geeks and other four-letter words

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Scoping out the local arts and culture scene ...

Are you a nerd, or are you a geek? A geek, or a nerd? I like to think of myself as a word nerd. Doctor Popular claims to be a super nerd. The organizers of the next San Francisco-based BarCamp claim to be geeks -- though they do allow that one can “geek out” about almost anything, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.Read more »

The Performant: The Witching Hour -- Puritan girls gone wild and midnight museum marauders

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Checking out the local arts and culture scene ...

There’s no doubt about it—San Franciscans love a rock opera. From the faux-real heavy metal anthems of “Live Evil” to the afterlife explorations of “Exit Sign,” the suicide art movement of “Thanatics” to the human sacrifices of “Wicker Man,” we like our rock operas loud, messy, and tinged with darkness and humor both. So an original rock opera about the Salem Witch Trials seems an obvious pairing between our love of the darkside plus power chords. Appropriately held at the Temple nightclub on Howard, “Abigail the Rock Opera” straddles the SF rock opera line between serious and silly.

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The Performant: A mutable feast -- or, theater, buffet-style

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If the venerable San Francisco Fringe Festival is a full-on Circus Circus-style, all-you-can-eat-buffet, I like to think of its kid cousin the San Francisco Theatre Festival  -- which took place Sunday, August 8 -- as more of a pu-pu platter. Tasty little morsels of performance presented in manageable, bite-sized chunks designed to whet the appetite for the main courses (the full productions) to come. I don’t know about you, but when I’m confronted with the choice between dainty nibbling, or cleaning each plate as it comes, I tend to adapt the life-is-uncertain principle and gorge myself on all the available goodies in sight.

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The Performant: Adrift on survival riffs and life rafts

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Recent trends on the arts and culture scene

As long as there has been art, I imagine that the phrase “starving artist” has been in use. I like to imagine prehistoric cave painters stopping halfway through a particularly thrilling rendition of a successful buffalo hunt to halt operations and hold a fundraising party. “Grod, your donation of three chunks of limestone and a sharpened flint chip will help to fund the portraiture of no fewer than five renegade buffalo heading over the edge of the cliff.” But it helps put the sacrifices made in art’s name into perspective when confronted with art created on the very fringes, where “starving” can be more than just a catchphrase but a grim reality. Read more »

The Performant: When I die I will be offcenter

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Scoping out the local arts and culture scene ...

If there were a Best of the Bay category for performance space with the catchiest moniker, I’ve always felt that Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory had a clear lock on the title. That’s just one of the many things about the place I’ll miss when it shuts its doors, possibly for good, at the end of this month (though a loose association of affiliated artists including acting MCVF director Ernesto Sopprani, have announced their intention to continue as Theoffcenter, so look for future programming from them in an as-yet-undetermined location).

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The Performant: Shrouds Illuminated at the LAB and Garage

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Nicole Gluckstern reports on the Bay Area arts and culture scene

It sounds a little strange, but I’ve been thinking about shrouds. Not in a morbid way, just in the practical sense. Mostly I wonder what kind of material gets used. Movie mummy shrouds always seem to be made of cheesecloth, but that strikes me as a little flimsy for a swaddled delivery into the afterlife. Actually, speaking of swaddling, doesn’t it seem a little curious that babies and corpses should be wrapped so similarly -- at least in the days before they invented the Tickle-Me-Elmo onesie?

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