Stage

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 »

GOLDIES 2012: Anna Ishida

A a chameleon-like quality and versatile vocals that make her so compelling to watch on stage.

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GOLDIES One of the very first things you'll notice about Anna Ishida, onstage and off, is an aura of self-possession that simultaneously grounds her and yet sets her ever-so-subtly apart in a crowd. But she also has a chameleon-like quality, a way of blending seamlessly into her surroundings, whether it's a 49-seat black box theater on Natoma Street, or the hip buzz of Farley's East in Oakland, where we meet over coffee and sandwiches.Read more »

The Performant: Paris is learning

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Adventures in 'pataphysics

Well, pschitt! Although Alfred Jarry -- schoolboy playwright, raconteur, and progenitor of 'pataphysics, “the science of imaginary solutions” -- died 105 years ago of decidedly prosaic malady tuberculosis, his outré influence lives on. Adopted and championed by generations of outsider artists, avant-garde writers, and revolutionary thinkers, the self-styled “Pere Ubu” gave artistic anarchy a nexus during his lifetime, an iconic figurehead after.

Last weekend, the four-day Carnivàle Pataphysique, part commemoration and part investigation, gave amateur pataphysicians, situationists, and conceptual artists a free zone to mingle, to expound, and to congeal, over lectures, concerts, puppet shows, and other unique performative opportunities in and around the practically imaginary stronghold of “North Beach,” a land where strip clubs and surrealists collide.

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The Performant: Sometimes a great notion

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TAP Light Production’s “The Ballad of Michele Myers” goes for the jugular

The genre of the spoof slasher storyline is one always ripe for mining come Halloween season, and this year in the absence of The Primitive Screwheads annual offering, Raya Light and Todd Pickering stepped up to fill the void with their collaborative “The Ballad of Michele Myers.” A cheeky blend of high camp and low blows mixed into a frothy, bloody cocktail of makeovers and machetes, “Ballad” satiates that unique craving for slutty Nancy Reagan costumes, updated Aretha Franklin covers, and buckets of stage blood. Plus it gives trans-folk a misunderstood serial killer to call their very own. You’ve come a long way, baby!

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The Performant: Surrealistic mellow

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Doing the Lobster Quadrille at The Mad Hatter’s Ball

A singular bit of whimsy, Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland may be one of the only childhood fantasias to be embraced equally by linguists, logicians, and users of psychedelic drugs. The setting of an unlikely hero’s quest undertaken by a pedantically logic-bound child, Wonderland’s curiously ordered chaos seems designed specifically to undermine any rote adherence to convention, even to those of storytelling.

In fact, one of the defining qualities of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is that exactly none of the characters, including the protagonist, are particularly sympathetic, and Wonderland itself, unlike Oz, say, doesn’t have a lot to recommend it as a vacation spot save the prevalence of the aforementioned psychedelics. But as a cultural touchstone, Wonderland has proven to have some serious staying power, and continues to baffle and inspire children and adults who remember what it is to be a child, alike.

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Keep digging

Muscle memory takes center stage at flawed 'Spaceholder Festival'

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Once you have learned to ride a bike or tie your shoes, your body will recall the movements and their sequential logic for the rest of your life. It's called muscle memory and dancers are fantastic at it.Read more »

Dog eat dog

Times change (but maybe not so much) in beautifully staged, Pulitzer-winning 'Topdog/Underdog'

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Michele Myers is coming ... to slay (slightly NSFW!)

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See video

Our favorite pretty psychopath, Michele Myers, is back and cruising the bushes (for blood) as she brings a her hilarious horror musical to SF, Oct. 19-31. It's a mashup of Halloween and other horror flick faves -- plus "The Facts of Life"! What the hell could be scarier than that? Don't go into the closet, Tootie! Here's Michele in action -- and we've also fgot the official trailer for the show below. Hi-scarious.

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The Performant: Love is (not) a battlefield

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Our Genocides and “Combat Paper” speak out for peace.

Along with playing host to all of the fun and fabulous festivals occurring this past weekend (hopefully you managed to make it out to at least one), San Francisco also played host to a more sobering event—the sixteenth play in a cycle of seventeen on the topic of genocide. Penned by Eric Ehn, all seventeen are being prepared and presented in various corners of the country before coming together at La MaMa in New York in November for a complete run entitled "Soulographie: Our Genocides." Last May, the tenth play in the cycle, “Cordelia,” a Noh-inflected reimagining of King Lear was presented by Theatre of Yugen, and this weekend “Dogsbody”, directed by Rebecca Novick, turned the Mission Street headquarters for Intersection of the Arts into a Ugandan battlefield. 

Humming and singing, the three-person cast enters the room, clad respectively in the garb of a jungle soldier, the mismatched scraps of a peasant child, a flowing white garment and incongruous leggings.

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Gimme shelter

Negotiating crisis and 'Turbulence' at Portland, Ore.'s TBA Festival

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The word "challenging" gets thrown around a lot in the art world. Everyone wants to be considered challenging. So much so, it starts to sound like a byword for its opposite. A plea to "like" on Facebook. That sort of thing. In truth, few pieces of theater, dance, or performance actually live up to the meaning of this over-used phrase by unsettling basic assumptions about our relation to the work itself and its social and institutional contexts.Read more »