Theater

Life boat

Sheila Callaghan and foolsFURY set an existential course over shallow waters in 'Port Out, Starboard Home'

|
(2)

THEATER "No one is stupid on a cruise."

Now that's a line that puts the dumb in wisdom, which is the point. For no one can be stupid where everyone is by definition stupid. And that, in turn, might become the basis for a transformation of some kind.Read more »

The Performant: Further

|
(0)

You’re either on the bus, or you're off the bus at Popcorn Anti-Theater’s Fringe Festival revival

As lovers of art, adventure, and reckless shenanigans might recall, the monthly Popcorn Anti-Theater bus shows last rolled about eight years ago, and while plenty of other groups have used buses as vehicles to drive a performance since, none have managed it with the same regularity and broadness of scope.

The aggressively anything-goes vibe of Popcorn events of yore combined theatrics, live music, dance, poetry, gibberish, urban exploration, and plenty of oddience participation into a series of unpredictable occurrences. Since the shows were pulled together by different collaborators each month, it wasn’t always necessarily “good” art (a specious qualifier at best), but it was almost always good fun, so when I hear that Popcorn is making a rare appearance at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, I immediately resolve to check it out.

Read more »

More than ink

Mission gangs and tattoos are the stuff of a dynamic experiment in theater activism, as Paul S. Flores' Placas moves from page to stage

|
(2)

arts@sfbg.com

THEATER In 2009, Paul S. Flores was at work on his new play, Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo, in consultation with Alex Sanchez, founder of Homies Unidos, when a call came from Denver that brought everything to a standstill.Read more »

The Performant: A late summer night’s dream

|
(0)

All Ashland’s a stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

It’s 100 degrees in Ashland, Oregon, which makes the prospect of sitting in an air-conditioned theater an appealing one, even if it weren’t at the justifiably renowned Oregon Shakespe are Festival. An Ashland institution since 1935, the OSF has grown from a humble weekend-long affair to a nine-month-long theatrical juggernaut, and although it's mid-week in August, all three venues are packed with festival-goers.Read more »

More 'Work MORE!' with Mica Sigourney/Vivvyanne Forevermore

|
(0)

If Friday means Some Thing — the popular late night drag performance showcase at the Stud — then tonight means something More: opening night of "Work MORE! #5," the hybrid performance installation headed up by Some Thing's charismatic and catalytic hostess, Vivvyanne Forevermore, alt-persona of artist-curator Mica Sigourney.

Tonight has even a little more More than that: it's also four years to the month since Vivvyanne Forevermore first stepped onto the San Francisco stage. It's an auspicious moment, in other words, for one of Sigourney's more ambitious Work MORE! undertakings to date (with the possible exception of next year's planed tour of Work MORE! #4, but more on that below). Number five brings together (at CounterPULSE this weekend) a group of drag queens, visual artists, dancers and performance artists in an overlapping series of collaborative performance installations that do away with the usual proscenium setting in favor of a loosely compartmentalized stage that's more like a haunted gallery.

"Logistically, I've never done anything like this at all," says Sigourney, speaking at a SOMA café last week. "It's going to be too hot, it's going to be too loud, and it's not going to be easy." But then, he immediately adds, "that's not any different from a drag bar."

Read more »

Howdy, strangers

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: UK-based Action Hero collaborates with local artists on 'Stranger in a Strange Land' — plus more upcoming theater

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

FALL ARTS Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse were obsessed with Americana long before the two Bristol-based performance makers (known collectively as Action Hero) ever set their cowboy boots in the United States. In fact, they'd performed their site-specific first piece, a barroom exploration of the Western (called simply A Western) for years before lobbing it into the belly of the beast, where it appeared as part of Austin, Texas' Fusebox Festival in 2010.Read more »

The Performant: Howard's End

|
(0)

While the Performant is off hugging trees in Oregon, please enjoy this series of interviews with the curators of three innovative performance spaces.

After five years of making the address 975 Howard synonymous with emergent dance, queer, and fringe artists, Joe Landini has packed up The Garage and relocated it further down SOMA way. Now tucked in an industrial zone next to an automotive repair shop, The Garage’s new location at 715 Bryant might lack the allure of being a hidden gem on ramshackle Howard Street, but has the distinct advantage of having fewer neighbors to annoy, a consideration no low-budget performance space can afford to completely ignore. Particularly one as active and prolific as The Garage—which has hosted over 1000 performances for some 50,000 people during its five-year tenure.

“We are awful neighbors!” Landini admits when I swing by to check out the new digs.

Read more »

Sweet: Berkeley Playhouse's 'Wonka'

|
(0)

Sometimes when the going gets rough, it's time for a pinch of sweet nostalgia. Or, in this case, a metric ton of sweet nostalgia: through Aug. 19, the Berkeley Playhouse presents Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a hilarious, heartwarming, and lively take on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

As the title suggests, Willy Wonka (music and lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse; adapted for stage by Leslie Bricusse and Tim McDonald) stays true to the 1971 movie starring Gene Wilder (begone, Burton), with its familiar warnings about spoiled children and themes emphasizing the importance of family over materialistic obsessions. Plus, plenty of dark humor — some of which may go above younger viewers' heads, but is not wasted on older fans of this twisted tale. Read more »

Celebrity rehab

'Project: Lohan' takes a second look at LiLo and finds a portrait of the times

|
(1)

The Performant: Arctic mysteria

|
(0)

Cold trippin', direct from Berlin

Thirty seconds after we walk into Bindlestiff Studio, S. is sold on kInDeRdEuTsCh pRoJeKtS’ production of “Arctic Hysteria.” He instantly recognizes their preshow music as being a Neue Deutsche Welle song he’s currently enamored with, “Eisbaer” by Grauzone, in which the author expresses a deep desire to be a polar bear. “Alles waer so klar!”

“This is the song I was just talking about,” he exclaims with satisfaction (it’s true) as we settle into our seats to gaze at the Community Thrift meets Matthew Barney set (designed by Sue Rees): corrugated white pressboard walls, an easy chair and matching ottoman covered in leopard print, an uncomfortable-looking brocade couch, a static-filled television set in the corner, a silver decanter and goblets on a roller tray. An innocuous enough setting for a play named for a contested form of madness particular to the arctic, supposedly characterized by uncontrolled outbursts, mimicry, echolalia, and coprophagia; keywords which might also be used to describe a typical Saturday night out in San Francisco.

Read more »