Golden Girls, Kung Pao Kosher, Merry Forking Christmas ... the holidays are coming whether you like it or not.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the holidays just keep on coming around. And unless you plan on hibernating the entire month of December away, sooner or later someone is going to force you into an ugly sweater and drag you to some seasonal entertainment designed to fill you with goodwill towards all humankind -- or some such optimistic twaddle. Even so, there’s certainly no reason you have to subject yourself to endless renditions of Tchaikovsky’s famous suite or stale Bing Crosby carols in order to fulfill your holiday spirit quota. Alternatives abound here in Babylon-by-the-Bay, and you’re sure to stumble across a few that speak to your own imitable tastes.
Sweet Can Productions puts on a gonzo circus show, but with a focus on quotidien, real-world concerns. For its upcoming “Yes Sweet Can” show, running for over two weeks at Dance Mission Theater, the performance is inspired by everyday chores -- and actually makes them seem like fun.
Try to ignore it as we might, the end of another year draws near, accompanied by all its attendant solstice-cycle celebrations -- last ditch attempts to keep warm perhaps. Well, spike the eggnog with everclear and pass the bacon-wrapped latkes, in my book a little conviviality goes a long way in making bearable the quickly darkening days, the applejack-crisp night air. Sure, shaking off the hibernation vibe can be hard to do, but a good compromise between comatose and cabin crazy is to cuddle up to nightlife’s cozier side: intimate venues, good company, low lights, warm interiors. The Lost Church provides all of the above with its lushly-appointed “parlor performance” space and a tight-knit crew of regulars who call the venue their artistic home, plus homegrown music, a multi-media nod to vaudevillian theatre, and quiet cheer.
There’s certainly no shortage of live comedy in the Bay Area, but you have to hand it to Club Chuckles for keeping it weird. Avoiding line-ups packed with middle-aged men whining about their therapy bills, or cosmonaut princesses with pubic hair obsessions, Club Chuckles can often be found lurking in the rock-saturated shadows of the Hemlock Tavern’s back room performance space, infused with the kind of punk rock vibes you’ll never pick up at the buttoned-down, two-drink minimum comedy clubs. The sold out, eight-year anniversary show at the considerably swankier digs of the Verdi Club might have been better lit, but the rowdy element still prevailed, as an entire line-up devoted to the comedy of the awkward braved the hecklers to bring the laffs.
THEATER The immigrant experience has some familiar familial dynamics across the board. Parents, for instance, can easily discover their Americanized children becoming embarrassed by the older generation's "foreign" ways. Un-hip parents are the bane of any child's existence, but dad walking around the mall in a gallibaya doesn't make it any easier (as hip as that may sound to you or me). Allegiances potentially strain much further, however, when the immigrant story gets entwined with a little narrative called the "war on terror."Read more »
“More Human Than Human” and “Two Clowns” explore the in/human condition
If our frail human lives begin, as the fundies would have it, at the moment of conception, at what point are we defined as being possessed of humanity? Is it simply a matter of our genetic makeup? Is it possible for a fully “human” consciousness to develop in non-human entities, and is it such consciousness that defines us at all? At what point, if ever, do we abdicate our rights to lay claim to our humanity? These questions may not be new, but they never seem to go entirely out of fashion, and this weekend you can catch two very different pieces of theatre tackling these persistent conundrums: “More Human than Human,” at The Dark Room, and “Two Clowns” at the Boxcar Theatre Studios on Hyde Steet.
Never let it be said that the Cadillac Hotel's lobby is a stranger to people in need of a do-over in life. Muhammed Ali sparred in the gym that once stood here, Jerry Garcia slept upstairs, but nowadays the historic Tenderloin hotel is home to poor, single adults. On Friday afternoon, a collection of residents, neighbors, and opera were assembled for a tale of redemption, fall from grace, redemption, fall from grace.
No, not a biblical sermon – try a performance of Porgy and Bess. Read more »
Getting scared with The Residents -- and other Hallowed traditions
Used to be that on Halloween you could be assured of catching either The Residents or The Cramps storming the stages of San Francisco; bands practically designed to blend in with the emissaries of the afterlife creeping through the thin membrane demarcating the spiritual plane. But with the sad passing of The Cramps iconic frontman Lux Interior in 2009, and the always-sporadic scheduling of The Residents, it seems like those days may be gone forever. But perhaps not coincidentally, in a unique twist on the Halloween season tradition, The Residents lead singer Randy Rose has been workshopping a disturbing cabaret all his own at the Marsh in Berkeley.
THEATER A single black armchair center stage and one big fat "Now" projected on the back wall signal our anticipation pretty neatly — of a famous opening line, of the famous actor about to utter it, and in the feeling that it is something more than a history play unfolding here, at this moment, in a city and country thoroughly and unprecedentedly "occupied" with political matters. A big, pungent production of Richard III? Yes, now sounds about right.Read more »
Consider, if you will, the prosaic class issues in the green movement. The price of BART vs. driving, the utility of feeding one's children McDonald's after one's shift is order so you can play with them outside the kichen, the inconvinient truth of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Now add race, and stir.
Dancer-community activist-poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph did. The result was the Life is Living festival, which he stages in underserved 'hoods throughout the country (and took place in West Oakland Oct. 8). The festival's amazing, but its creation was a journey -- which Bamuthi has brilliantly set to stage with dancing and singing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through Sat/22. It's called red, black & GREEN: a bluesRead more »