Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Nerd resurge

Geek heroes sweep screens big and small
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ZEITGEIST This year just may go down as the one when nerds finally ruled the school, scattering HP calculators, parentally purchased button-downs, and World of Warcraft guild master credentials as they tripped on their own shoelaces on their way into WonderCon or the Lick Observatory. The infestation of all screens big and small hasn't been quite so intense since the Ronald Reagan–era '80s, when nerds were regularly toasted on TV's Happy Days, then found fame in the cineplex's Revenge of the Nerds (1984). Read more »

Black and white and color

Shots seen round the Bay Area and beyond by 10 sharp-eyed photographers
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One of the most exciting aspects of being a newspaper editor is recognizing a wave of activity that isn't connected to government mind control or onslaughts of corporate-sponsored and mass-marketed art. This kind of spontaneous mass energy is happening via photography in San Francisco right now. August is known as a slow month, but the city's galleries are alive with contemporary photos. 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 »

Man vs. room service?

Eating grubs and influencing people on the Discovery Channel
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On the Discovery Channel show Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls parachutes into remote wildernesses, from the swampy Everglades to the freezing Scottish Highlands, and finds his way out, seemingly on his own. However, in an article posted on the BBC News Web site July 24, survival consultant Mark Weinert alleged that Grylls spent some nights in a hotel during the Hawaii episode, among other solo-survival no-no's. Whatever the case, Man vs. Wild is, in my opinion, the greatest nature-survival show since Marty Stouffer's Wild America. Read more »

Our Springfield soft spots

Ten (out of 10,000,000) reasons why we love The Simpsons
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1. Tress MacNeille Julie Kavner and Hank Azaria always get props, but how about throwing down for my hero, the voice behind characters such as scathing Agnes Skinner, the brilliant-when-coherent Cat Lady, single working woman Cookie Kwan ("Stay outta the West Side!"; "Sign here, initial here, kiss me here!"), and Cookie's sex-predator pal Lindsey Naegle, who appears as everything from a network executive ("We're losing male tweens! Read more »

Give a hoot (or else)

Berkeley's Pacific Film Archives' film series gives environmental concerns the depth Gore's film avoided
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WILD WILDLIFE Had director Davis Guggenheim attempted to explore all the creative possibilities that lie behind such a name as Al Gore (get it?), An Inconvenient Truth would have been a much more interesting and way scarier film. Not that turning a pressingly threatening environmental issue into unforgettably blatant propaganda isn't frightening. Read more »

Flocking together

Nanos Operetta and inkBoat journey into the absurd and hilarious world of love
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They are an odd couple, the giant canary and the lounge-suited would-be lover. Yet you can't help rooting for the unlikely protagonists of Our Breath Is as Thin as a Hummingbird's Spine, Nanos Operetta and inkBoat's collaborative journey into the absurd and hilarious world of love offered and rejected. In two acts and at 75 minutes, this witty charmer drags a bit midway; it probably could be condensed into one act without losing any of its considerable flair. Read more »

The love below

Investigating untidy matters of the heart
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Flexing muscles new and old, the 34-season-strong Asian American Theater Company bounds into its new home at Thick House with young Los Angeles playwright Michael Golamco's wry 2005 comedy, Cowboy vs. Read more »

Vanishing points

Hiroshi Sugimoto turns a refined eye on dead queens and silver screens
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REVIEW Like drive-in movie theaters, the white-mantled colobus, and Henry VIII's wives, the increasingly rarefied qualities of elegance and generosity are most certainly doomed to extinction, rendered worthless in our schlock-culture era of crass and sass. Read more »

If the "Shrew" fits

Cutting Ball Theater dresses Shakespeare in San Francisco drag
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By early last week the pace of rehearsals for The Taming of the Shrew had picked up at the Magic Theatre. It was time for the Cutting Ball Theater to try a run-through of the whole play, and performers and crew bustled in preparation. Sound designer Cliff Caruthers, seated at a computer console halfway up the raked house, was busy cuing invigorating blasts of Italian hip-hop and other atmospheric sounds. Actors, with obvious gusto, practiced leaping on one another, tumbling onto the floor, shouting, screaming, and miming outrageous slapstick violence. Read more »