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 »
REVIEW I confess: despite having a disproportionate appetite for '60s leftovers from the children of Coca-Cola and Marx to the Mamas and the Papas, I eat it all up I've felt my enthusiasm flagging in the past couple of weeks. Is it Summer of Love indolence? Brightblack ballyhoo? Regardless, what a stirring relief to come upon "American Dirge," a solo show at Tartine Bakery spotlighting the charmed collages of local up-and-comer Ryan Coffey. Read more »
Sol Niger ("Black sun" in Latin) sounds like a contradiction. Not that choreographertheater maven Keith Hennessy is uncomfortable with oppositional thinking. But if you've ever experienced the gray-on-gray blanket that a solar eclipse throws over the world, you'll understand the appropriateness of the title of Hennessy's most recent work.
With a Bay Area premiere run kicking off Sept. Read more »
The word musical normally connotes light fare. But in its latest Broadway reincarnation, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street lends, in addition to bravura performances, a bracingly morbid bite to American Conservatory Theater's new season.
Of course, that doesn't stop Sweeney from delivering vigorous entertainment. Director-designer John Doyle's attractively reconceived, Tony Awardwinning revival of the groundbreaking Stephen Sondheim musical serves up a theatrical feast from, yes, soup to nuts. Read more »
REVIEW Sixteen minutes with Lars Laumann? Well, I didn't say no, and discovered that his video Morrissey Foretelling the Death of Diana is as uncanny as its title is ludicrous. This present-day conspiratorial artifact makes a Smiths devotee feel like Jim Garrison during a virgin viewing of the Zapruder film. Read more »
CULT FILM "WAAAR-ee-erzzz come out to PLAAY-ee-ay!" This catchphrase, first spoken in an annoyingly unforgettable singsong (and supposedly improvised) by actor David Patrick Kelly, has infiltrated pop culture to the extent that it's been sampled or mimicked by musicians from Twisted Sister to the Wu-Tang Clan to the Offspring. If you don't know how could you not? it's from The Warriors, Walter Hill's 1979 urban action joyride. Read more »
FESTIVAL REPORT Leave it to me to pack as much violence as possible into my first days at the Toronto International Film Festival. (And that's with only having seen one entry in the horror-heavy Midnight Madness series.) In Spanish spookfest The Orphanage featuring a Poltergeist shout-out for Zelda Rubenstein fans fingers are slammed in doors, limbs are snapped, and a few unfortunate, uh, accidents occur. Jodie Foster goes aggro with a cause in The Brave One, poppin' pricks with a pistol (and other handy tools). Read more »
PREVIEW If you didn't experience The Weather Project, Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson's 2003 installation in London's Tate Modern, chances are you've seen images of it in any number of nonart publications or photo blogs. The piece a dramatic emulation of an amber sun's atmosphere, created with such simple elements as a bank of lights and a mirrored ceiling reportedly attracted two million visitors, many of them repeat customers, who sprawled on the public floor, pondered their reflections on the ceiling, and basked in the glow. Read more »
The San Francisco Fringe Festival, second oldest in the United States, is a full-blown teenager this year and intends, by the look of its sneak preview, to act its age. Sixteen candles equal roughly 500 performances from 100 acts reliably ranging all over the place from an ex-Christian throwing down (Jesus Rant) to a two-woman portrait of transgressing poet Anne Sexton (Her Kind) to a new musical ("RM3") set inside a Southern Congressional campaign that incorporates songs by Ben Folds. Read more »
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 »