Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Canadian astronaut

Jeff Wall's hyperreal photos at SFMOMA launch the mundane into the stratosphere
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marke@sfbg.com

REVIEW Kids are bored. They're hanging on the sidewalk outside a nightclub, splashed in sick amber light. Many of the usual suspects are here: the skinny postgoth chick in golden heels, the stereotypical Russian-looking muffin top trapped on a crappy date, the about-to-ralph dude in an untucked striped Oxford, some rasta hoppers, a hipster gal in rave flats and a trucker cap. Most are smoking and none look happy, except maybe the tranny-licious blond who's about to skate the cover, glimpsed in the doorway flirting with the bouncers. Read more »

Brian on the brain

Brian Boitano plus Barry Manilo equals bliss
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RINK MASTER Even before South Park anointed Brian Boitano the coolest ice-skater ever to strap on blades, I was a fan. As a wee junior high schooler, I cheered his triumph at the Battle of the Brians at the 1988 Winter Olympics. (In your face, Brian Orser!) Now a full-time pro, the Bay Area native and resident is gearing up for one of his most ambitious undertakings: the "Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular," the first ice show to be held at AT&T Park, with rink legends like Dorothy Hamill and Viktor Petrenko — and a live performance by Barry Manilow. Read more »

In and out

Unpacking the social pressure to procreate in The Crowd You're In With
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Playwright Rebecca Gilman's work has often courted subjects with ripped-from-the-headlines appeal, such as Spinning into Butter's take on racism at a small New England college or Boy Gets Girl's stalker scenario. Her latest play, The Crowd You're In With, is no less timely. But at first blush it seems quieter and more understated in its choice of setting and subject matter: a backyard barbeque and a clash between three couples over whether or not to have children. Read more »

Graf legend

SPIE remembers DREAM and the golden age of SF street art
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On Aug. 15, on what would have been the late Mike "DREAM" Francisco's 38th birthday, his old-school graffiti pal SPIE ONE honored his slain partner in the best way he knew how: by creating new street art, on 24th Street between Capp and Lilac in the Mission.

But it's not just on anniversaries when SPIE thinks about DREAM, the widely respected Bay Area graffiti artist who was gunned down in the East Bay in 2000. "I think about DREAM every day. A lot of us do. It keeps me going sometimes. He was a positive spirit," SPIE said in mid-November. Read more »

Up against the wall

Amid controversy, HOMEY brings together a Mission neighborhood with its latest mural
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There's a new mural at 24th and Capp streets that does a stellar job of capturing the urban, cultural vibe of the Mission's residents. No, not the skinny jeans–wearing, Burning Man bohemians who've colonized the area in recent years. I'm talking the baggy jeans–wearing Latino youths who are the inheritors of a proud local tradition of Chicano mural art. Read more »

The reel world

Takeshi Murata at Ratio 3
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Among the coverage of the horrific San Francisco Bay oil slick, I saw a short video of a fowl gliding through sea glimmering with petroleum. The bird maintained grace in this toxic environment, navigating marbled, paperlike swirls in the blackened water. Read more »

Dark sparkle

Jamie Vasta's art glitters
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johnny@sfbg.com

Sparkle, San Francisco, sparkle — the Bay Area is a birthplace for visions of glitter. The Cockettes weren't averse to throwing a few antique trunks full of metallic iridescence over their song and dance routines, and the late Jerome Caja mixed glitter with nail polish and liquid eyeliner to create a bad-acid cartoon Maybelline version of Hieronymus Bosch interpreting Dante. Jamie Vasta's use of glitter isn't as campy as the Cockettes' or as lurid as Caja's, but it's on its way to becoming just as distinctive. Read more »

Disaster preparedness

Ellen Gavin's Stardust and Empty Wagons: Stories from the Katrina Diaspora
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Above a semicircle of wooden crates arranged on a weathered wooden stage, two tattered flags of New Orleans and the United States are projected on a back screen. The flags appear to flutter in the rotating series of overlapping still images. Read more »

Well-heeled

A modern dance legend visits Japan
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Ask a dancer under 30 in Europe about Pina Bausch, and most likely you'll get a blank stare or a shrug. You might as well mention Isadora Duncan or Martha Graham. Important, yes; relevant, no. For them, Bausch, the most radical innovator of European dance in the past three decades, is passé. Read more »

Rip, role-play, and burn

Rewrite history with Jeanne D'Arc
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Jeanne D'Arc

(Sony, PSP)

GAMER I had the fortune of winning a PSP in a contest a few weeks ago, and in my hunt for an inaugural game for the system, I spotted Jeanne D'Arc on a shelf in a local toy store. Because the cover sports an awesome girl with a sword and because no one does medieval European history like the Japanese, I picked it up.

Jeanne D'Arc is historical fantasy with a plot that seems a little too familiar. Read more »