July 4 is Mime Troupe day in San Francisco, by tradition. Dolores Park, the place. There the venerable San Francisco company launches its annual free summer show this year, the excellently timed and executed Too Big to Fail surrounded by a varied throng of activists fanning out with ironing boards and literature among an audience of many hundreds basking in July rays, subversive laughter, and their own cheerful numbers.
Call it a day of independence from the usual bullshit, the jingo-jingle of national unity played for the masses from on high. Read more »
Yeah, it's a big one "going boating" for the working-class castaways in New Yorker Bob Glaudini's 2007 Jack Goes Boating, a surprisingly poignant comedy now making a strong Bay Area debut at Berkeley's Aurora Theatre. Who would propose such a thing lightly? The word even sounds funny, at least in the mouths of the three friends assembled in the scene longstanding couple Clyde (Gabriel Marin) and Lucy (Amanda Duarte), and Clyde's best friend and perennial bachelor Jack (Danny Wolohan). Read more »
It was a gathering of tribes with more tattoos and partially shaved heads per square foot than anywhere else in San Francisco. The sartorial imagination at times rivaled the one on stage. In other words, it was the eighth Fresh Meat Festival, celebrating transgender and queer performance, and Project Artaud Theater packed them in.
Announced as the largest festival of its kind in the country, Fresh Meat is the brain- (and heart-) child of Sean Dorsey. Read more »
The tradition of burlesque has always been about subverting the norm and challenging the privileged class. So it should be no surprise that queer performers make up a significant percentage of the new burlesque movement. Or, as Amelia Mae Paradise, cofounder of the queer femme burlesque troupe Diamond Daggers, puts it: "The burlesque world has always had room for freaks and queers and fat ladies."
A quick look at the current Bay Area burlesque scene confirms Paradise's theory. Read more »
Bay Area writer-director Mark Jackson has been rightly hailed for his original scripts, especially since the rollicking ingenuity of 2003's The Death of Meyerhold. But his dialogue with established or classic plays has been just as intriguing to follow. Here, strict fidelity to the text has not always proved a recipe for success. Read more »
"Fukú Americanus" does not actually translate as "fucked-up American," but it might as well. Fukú refers to a curse, a bad piece of destiny that clings to your behind like a genetically transmitted boot up the ass, passing on through generations until it runs its course, which is who-knows-how-long. Read more »
Recently I was lucky enough to land at an international theater festival in Wroclaw, Poland, jostling elbows with a transnational mix of theater folk on the occasion of the 13th annual European Theatre Prize, this year awarded to the great Polish director Krystian Lupa. It was an eye-opening glimpse at some awesome theatrical muscle rarely if ever seen in the Bay Area, or even the United States. Read more »
Not long ago, before newspapers themselves were an endangered species, survival among journalists at the country's leading papers was already a Darwinian proposition, especially for people of color. Read more »