Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Goldie winner -- Visual art: Michael Arcega

Where the ha-ha morphs into aha
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Make your way through the twists and turnarounds of Michael Arcega's visual puns and titular wordplay — exhibit one: El Conquistadork, the 2004 Spanish galleon constructed of Manila folders that he launched in Tomales Bay, a point in the historic trade route between Mexico and the Philippines — and you'll find yourself connecting the dots to the Manila, Philippines, native's first artistic incarnation: an elementary school graffiti artist who once went by the tag Design.

"Then I switched it to Sen, then I got turned in and dwindled," Arcega says, recalling his Read more »

King of the dance

A true innovator celebrates 25-plus years of ballet and beyond
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Alonzo King's Lines Ballet celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend, but King's influence on Bay Area dance goes back further than that. Veteran dancers remember his ballet classes for the musical combinations that he gave his students in the '70s. Read more »

This stuff'll kill ya!

A conversation with the Godfather of gore
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CULT FILM GOD Blood Feast, Color Me Blood Red, The Gruesome Twosome, and The Gore Gore Girls — between 1960 and 1972, Herschell Gordon Lewis ruled the drive-in with a steady stream of exploitation movies, made on the cheap for crowds unafraid to experience the kind of special effects that earned Lewis the nickname "the Godfather of Gore." Nowadays, the 81-year-old is a highly respected authority on direct marketing (check out his column, Curmudgeon at Large, at directmag.com), but he's proud (if bemused) that his films continue to thrill audiences today. Read more »

Deth to false metal!

When cartoon bands go on tour
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HORNS UP Dethklok, "the most brutal band in the world" and stars of Adult Swim's juggernaut of animated murder, Metalocalypse, are touring in support of their recently released Dethalbum (Williams Street), which peaked at number three on the Billboard hard rock album chart and reached number 21 on the Billboard 200, making it the best-selling death metal album of all time. Read more »

"Stylized Sculpture: Contemporary Japanese Fashion from the Kyoto Costume Institute"

Ravishing, ingenious frocks prove fashion is art
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REVIEW Years after Europunk deconstructionists copped a few tears, ties, and folds from Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo and A-list fashionista Carolyn Bessette Kennedy championed the cutting austerity of Yohji Yamamoto, it's safe to say that the once-coupled Japanese designers and their slight predecessor Issey Miyake have been firmly ensconced as pillars of avant-garde fashion. But that doesn't mean their work — and that of Kawakubo acolytes Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara — is ready to be filed away without another look. Read more »

Boxing day

A trio of views on three of Cornell's many-splendored cubes
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Say Halo to my little friend

Riding the levels of Halo 3
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Halo 3

(Microsoft; Xbox 360)

GAMER I have a confession to make: I don't like first-person shooters. Most of the ones I've played share the following objective: "Shoot the marines-aliens-terrorists-mutants and escape from the bunker–prison–top-secret facility–warehouse full of crates." I find this a bit boring. I therefore believe myself uniquely suited to hack my way through the dense jungle of Microsoft-sponsored hype with a flaming machete. Read more »

Historically challenged

War and peace in Philip Glass's Appomattox
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The central scene in Appomattox, Philip Glass's new opera now world-premiering with San Francisco Opera, is the fateful meeting of generals Ulysses S. Grant (Andrew Shore) and Robert E. Lee (Dwayne Croft) in a private residence in the Virginia town of Appomattox Court House, where Lee surrendered on behalf of the South on April 9, 1865, officially bringing the catastrophic Civil War to a dainty close. Read more »

Bigger is (mostly) better

LEVYDance finds new digs
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REVIEW Moving from the small ODC Theater to the much larger Kanbar Hall of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco seems to have been a good idea for Benjamin Levy's LEVYdance. At the opening of its home season Oct. 12, a large crowd seemed curious to see what else the young choreographer has in his palette. The good news is that Levy has no intention of repeating himself. The two world premieres, Nu Nu and Bone Lines, showed him stepping outside his previously hyperkinetic fierceness and embracing a more imagistic approach to dance making. Read more »

Oh, Donna

Award-winning choreographer Donna Uchizono's namesake company makes its Bay Area debut
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You don't necessarily expect a choreographer to be interested in playing with conceits. After all, dancers work in an art form that is primarily nonverbal and movement driven. Yet Donna Uchizono's imagination embraces ideas in conjunction with physicality. "All of my work is concept based," she explained over the phone from her home in New York. "The idea always comes first, and then I develop a movement vocabulary to support the concept. So the pieces are very different from each other."

Sometimes she takes off from a single word. Read more »