Stage

Gay times

Celebrating the Rhino's three transformative decades of transgression
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A series of slide projections cycling through a gamut of theater posters greets audiences taking their seats at Theatre Rhinoceros's 30th season opener. Ranging in design from the openly trashy to the quietly tony, many of these posters offer eye-catching portions of skin and equally intriguing titles: Cocksucker: A Love Story, Deporting the Divas, Pogey Bait, Show Ho, Intimate Details, Barebacking, and Hillbillies on the Moon. Read more »

Cell mates

51802 charts love on the outside looking in
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Dance theater remains a thriving genre in Bay Area performance. To call it a subgenre of one or the other just doesn't allow due respect for offerings by the likes of Jess Curtis, Joe Goode, inkBoat, Rebecca Salzer, and Deborah Slater. Erika Chong Shuch's ESP Project, the resident company at Intersection for the Arts, is among the leaders in this field. Read more »

Toshiro worship

Choreographing the way of the samurai
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Christy Funsch is tiny, but she commands attention. During a run-through of her solo dance in the upcoming To Mifune, she filled CounterPULSE's stage with a torrent of lanky, highly detailed movements, out of which tumbled a recognizable character not unlike the breeches-hoisting heroine in Agnes de Mille's Rodeo. But Funsch's cowgirl isn't heading for a hoedown; her eyes are set on loftier horizons. Read more »

A fine 'Mesh?

Old Epic, new context
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A defining characteristic of the US imperial program in Iraq, we are often told, is the resolute refusal to learn anything from history. True to the TV-weaned attention spans of our triumphant culture, history here usually means the past four years — at least before stretching to include the eerily identical adventures of the British Empire less then a century ago, let alone anything going back any further. Read more »

Your neighborhood streets on wry (hold the Sesame)

Avenue Q and Insignificant Others: musical comedies with bite
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"Who are the people in your neighborhood?" Wasn't that the consciousness-raising question we were coaxed into asking as tots by the irresistibly catchy song stylings of public television? Well, if they're the mix of humans and Muppet-esque monsters of Avenue Q, they're strikingly but only superficially reminiscent of the denizens of that sidewalk utopia propagated by PBS children's programming. Read more »

Ocean of motion

In its 16th year, the WestWave Dance Festival ebbs and flows
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What can one say about a producer who schedules four programs with a total of 20 world premieres and gives four evenings to choreographers, two of whom the audience most certainly has never heard of? At the very least, this shows guts and a willingness to trust the artists who've been engaged.

Joan Lazarus, the longtime force behind the WestWave Dance Festival, has always embraced risk. She has also shown a singular commitment to local dance, which has not always paid off. For the past few years, the event has struggled to find a new identity. Read more »

Two for the road

Music and mayhem, the Kiki and Herb way
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"This is the first day of my life<\!s>/ I'm glad I didn't die before I met you." Yes, it almost feels like that in the afterglow of Kiki and Herb's Alive from Broadway tour, which wound up a too-brief engagement at the American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater on July 29. As a longtime duo pulled from retirement after their 2004 Carnegie Hall farewell (and for purported septuagenarians), Kiki (Justin Bond) and Herb (Kenny Mellman) are in incredible shape. Read more »

All-consuming consumption

Heaven, hell, and shopping in Fe in the Desert
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Copping to her fashion juju at curtain rise, amid a litany of designer labels rattled off at the audience, Fe, the heroine of the sordid story to follow, makes a pretense of having broken the solemn rules of drama by giving her big secret away at the outset. In fact, there's plenty of mystery yet in this intriguingly mercurial, restless hedonist (played by a charismatic, unstoppable Margo Hall), who anyway reverses herself in the next line when she coyly concedes the covert nature of her splendid appearance. "Face? François Nars. Read more »

We shall over come ourselves

Blue Door and After the War look deep beneath race in America
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Nearly all the imagery we're fed when it comes to understanding or imagining issues reutf8g to race in the United States comes from the civil rights era. No doubt that was a critical moment in American history, but it should go without saying that the road home can't be found on an outdated map. Read more »

Taylor made

Veteran dancemaker Paul Taylor triumphs with works new and old
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It's been easy getting used to having the Paul Taylor Company around. For each of the past five years, the group has presented three different programs of new and repertory works, courtesy of San Francisco Performances. Even taking into account the occasional repeat, this amounts to close to 50 pieces of choreography, an extraordinary overview of the artistic output of one of modern dance's giants.

But San Francisco Performances can no longer afford to host the company on such a regular basis. Read more »