This Week's Picks: November 13 - 19, 2013
Chinese American Film Festival
San Francisco has a number of film series that pluck programming from recent international runs and festivals (see "New Italian Cinema" write-up elsewhere in Selector), but the Chinese American Film Festival is unique in its embrace of genre and popcorn movies. Where else are you gonna see Dante Lam's MMA drama Unbeatable, starring the sweaty torsos of Nick Cheung and Eddie Peng, or NBA-sanctioned sci-fi Tron-meets-hoops mash-up Amazing? Also featured: rom-coms, historical dramas, crime thrillers, a disease-epidemic disaster movie, and a haunted-elevator horror flick. All films in Chinese with English subtitles. (Cheryl Eddy)
Four Star Theater
2200 Clement, SF
In 2010, two New York art students posted three songs on their Bandcamp page under the name Cults. Their insanely catchy glam earworm "Go Outside" immediately began catching the attention of the blogosphere, landing them on "Bands to Watch Out For" lists everywhere. Now, three years and one successful album later, they're facing the second-album hurdle and a breakup. After four years of being romantically involved, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion have ended their relationship for the sake of the band. After post-breakup depression (Follin) and a soul-searching drug binge in Japan (Oblivion) the pair has reunited to focus on music, and the result is not the breakup album you might expect, but a fuzzed-out dreampop gem. (Haley Zaremba)
With Sacco, Mood Rings
1805 Geary, SF
New Italian Cinema
The San Francisco Film Society continues its autumn of international showcases with "New Italian Cinema," unspooling new works by Paolo Sorrentino (whose The Great Beauty opens theatrically later this month), Silvio Soldini (Garibaldi's Lovers), and others, plus a Neapolitan cinema spotlight that includes Napoli 24, an omnibus film composed of 24 three-minute shorts about the iconic city. Bobbling alongside the mini-fest's many selections set in contemporary Italy is Mario Martone's star-studded costume drama We Believed, which celebrates the country's 150th anniversary. (Eddy)
2261 Fillmore, SF
Feminism in Action Open Mic
Here's your chance to speak out against domestic violence during Feminism in Action's first ever open mic night. FIA, an SF State organization, is working to break silences and to heal and support through artistic expression. Bring your music, poetry, or prose and share in a safe, positive space. The pieces you share do not have to be explicitly about domestic violence, as FIA recognizes art in general as a way to transform and heal. The event includes musical performances by local artists Bedroom Witch and Zamora. FIA will also use the evening to debut their first zine on domestic violence. Get vocal and get involved. (Kirstie Haruta)
Dolores Park Cafe
501 Dolores, SF
Theatre Flamenco's "Con Nombre y Apellido"
While flamenco will always be associated with Spain despite its roots in Gypsy, North African, Jewish, and Indian traditions, it has truly become part of world culture. Go to any flamenco school in Sevilla — more than half of the students will be from abroad. There is something about that tension, the give and take between the music — both melodic and percussive — and the dancer that is irresistible no matter where you are born. This is what Theatre Flamenco, now in its 47th year and the oldest company of its kind in the country, is exploring in its newest show, "Con Nombre y Apellido" ("With Name and Surname"). Carola Zertuche and Marién Luévano learned their first rhythms in Mexico; Cristina Hall at SF's High School for the Performing Arts. (Rita Felciano)
Thu/14-Sat/16, 8pm; Sun/17, 2pm, $34–$40
Fort Mason Center, SF
"Remembrance of Things Proust: 100th Anniversary of Swann's Way"
Though our material landscape drastically technologized since Marcel Proust's Belle Époque, the manner in which we humans digest and respond to our world remains the same. Music, be it Pandora or a live string quartet, continues to mold our emotions; art, found on Pinterest or in Beaux Arts museums, still disguises the ordinary through resemblance; parties, in the elusive Sub or Villeparisis's salon, let us get wild and loose; and words, on Twitter or in novels, allow us to capture a present and cling to the past. In honor of Swann's Way's 100 year anniversary, Mrs. Dalloway's hosts an evening featuring readings from William C. Carter's new translation, live period music, signed copies of painter David Richardson's Resemblance: Portraits of Characters from Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, and tea with madeleines, to take you back. (Kaylen Baker)
St John's Presbyterian Church
2727 College, Berkeley
"The Intergalactic Nemesis: Book One: Target Earth"
The planet is in the crosshairs of a slimy race of extraterrestrials and only valiant reporter Molly Sloan and trusty sidekick Timmy Mendez, with help from an enigmatic librarian, can save it in this family-friendly multimedia spectacular from Austin, Texas. First performed in an Austin coffee shop in 1996, Jason Neulander's live-action radio serial cum graphic novel has grown in size and following, but still has a spare quality leaving room for the imaginations of its audience to do the really heavy, CGI-type lifting. To get you going: three versatile actors, a hard-working Foley artist, a keyboard accompanist (delivering an original score by composer Graham Reynolds), a period-style narrative in the vein of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and over a thousand illustrations by Tim Doyle projected onto a 20-foot screen. The program includes a children's one-hour school-time performance on Wed/13, as well as Cal Performance's second annual arts learning forum for educators, administrators, and policy makers. (Robert Avila)
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berk.
"Miles' Wish To Be a Superhero"
The Make-A-Wish foundation transforms San Francisco into Gotham City for a day, and suddenly the entire city is caught in its own worst nightmare — fatal accidents occur on the cable cars, while an evil villain by the name of the Puzzler robs a bank and takes the fate of the San Francisco mascot Lou Seal into his own treacherous hands. But fear not, denizens! Batkid, also known as five-year-old Miles, infamous for his heroic battle against leukemia, comes to save the day. Join your fellow terror-stricken neighbors at specific lookout spots throughout the day (see the website below for details) to watch the action and cheer Batkid on. (Baker)
12:45am and 2pm, free
Various locations in SF
For most people, the idea of wandering around, homeless and aimless, surrounded by drugs, drug addicts, and general debauchery for the duration of your adult life sounds like some sort of nightmare. For Cass McCombs, this is reality. The nomadic singer-songwriter thrives on the alternative nature of his existence and anchors himself not to a home, family, or possessions, but to music. Lots of music. This year sees the release of his seventh studio album, and it's a doozy. At 22 songs long, Big Wheel and Others is an enormous undertaking. Filled with his trademark flair for imaginative storytelling, compelling characters, and black humor, Big Wheel is a delicious slice of Americana and skilled songwriting. (Zaremba)
With Meg Baird
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF
Bay Area Rainbow Symphony Concert
Continuing the tradition of "community and visibility through artistic excellence," the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, formed in 2008, brings its newest performance to the St. Mark's Lutheran Church this weekend. Led by guest conductor Cyrus Ginwala, this group of talented musicians tackles Kenton Coe's Ischiana Overture, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and Britten's Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell with readings from "Letters from a Life." Acclaimed violinist Jassen Todorov joins symphony for the Mendelssohn and Coe pieces. Join BARS for a weekend of music in a space that is safe and welcoming for musicians of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. (Haruta)
11/16, 7pm, 11/17, 4pm, $15-35
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
1111 O'Farrell, SF
San Francisco fashion designer Kate Mitchell's lifelong dedication to dance, combined with her wry take on culture and academic interest in American history manifests in her most recent work, "Fashioning Women." Both a mock-magazine book and a faux couture collection, this project parodies the contemporary fashion industry while exploring the boundaries between women's bodies, movement, and the absurd constrictions of the feminine ideal. Featuring several guest artists, 25 women in a dance and theater performance, a catwalk of the couture collection, and copies of the book, this show is sure to fabricate an interesting trend story. (Baker)
SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan, SF
"Light Up the Night 2013: March for Inclusion and Tolerance"
In observation of Transgender Day of Remembrance, head over to City Hall and join the march to the Castro in loving memory of the transgender people we have lost to senseless violence and transphobia. The organizers emphasize that this event is about visibility rather than protesting, so lend your support and let the silenced be heard. Come together as a community and celebrate by stomping out transphobia all the way to Midnight Sun, where the festivities will continue. And to show its support, Midnight Sun will donate 10 percent of its bar sales that evening to the Transgender Law Center. (Haruta)
SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett, SF