Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

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 »

Fin-tastic

Discovery's Shark Week attacks!
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TOOTHY TV Stop fronting like you don't love Shark Week. You live for its exciting footage of the world's most potent predators, its programming that veers between sensational and scientific, and its narration that comes overstuffed with metaphors: "She is a missile, armed with teeth ... ready to fire!" The Discovery Channel knows it has you by the chum bucket, so it's devoting an entire week of programming to Shark Week's 20th anniversary. Read more »

Tune in, turn on, "Psych-Out"

A filmed-in-the-Haight fable about Summer of Love hippies doing, like, hippie stuff, man
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CULT FILM Some movies define a generation. Some distort a generation. Very special ones manage both. Welcome to the genius of Psych-Out, a 1968 American International Pictures epic (produced by none other than squeaky-clean American Bandstand icon Dick Clark) that remains perhaps the all-time high-water mark in cinematic hippiesploitation.

Oh, Psych-Out, Psych-Out, Psych-Out! How many times have I loved your psychedelic excesses since that fateful first viewing in the 1980s at Boston's annual Schlock-around-the-Clock marathon? Read more »

What comes around

In The Cycle Plays, Theatre of Yugen looks to uncover a spirit in every tone
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PREVIEW Until stumbling on The Wishing Bone Cycle some years back, I hadn't wondered why owls die with wings outspread or how a man wearing antlers on his head can be tricked into thinking that real moose are after him. Yet Howard Norman's eye-opening transcription-translations of Swampy Cree narrative poems are so arresting that I still find new questions in my life just to bring them to the stories. The tales invariably answer with bigger inquiries of their own. Read more »

"Bella" epic

Anna Bella Eema is engaging and magical
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BELLA EPIC

As you walk into the theater to see Anna Bella Eema, you'll meet the play's three women seated on high stools in the midst of a found-object concert. They make sounds by swinging their arms, chomping their teeth, slurping through a straw, and rattling a hodgepodge of objects within arm's reach. Read more »

Double trouble

Alice Shaw and Kelli Connell get down with the looking glass
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Rosie O'Donnell, in a recent New York Times article about the TV star's video blog, has been outed as a woman of many personalities. The piece notes the shades of O'Donnell's various public talk-show personae, from closeted lesbian girl next door to outspoken View-er, and surveys her current makeup-free webcam self. Read more »

When cute animals attack

Pokémon Diamond; Pokémon Pearl
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(Nintendo; Nintendo DS)

GAMER Continuing my current tendency to gravitate toward games involving cute animals, I recently became addicted to the latest Pokémon installment, Pokémon Diamond. Pokémon Pearl is the same game with some different Pokémon.

My first Pokémon experience came during a long road trip in 2000, when I got hooked on Pokémon Gold. Read more »

Flaming creators

Hot shots of a dozen-plus-one LGBT artists bringing wild fire to the Bay Area
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johnny@sfbg.com

They've got passion to burn, whether there's 100 percent pride or a potent dose or two of critical shame in their game. They're the dozen-plus-one LGBT artists who constitute this year's lineup of flaming creators — individuals and groups adding radical perversity, butch dyke glitter, b-boy funk, punkified monkey love, dandified bear flair, and more to the Bay Area. Read more »

"Heart" attack

Director Michael Winterbottom and crew take aim at Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart
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FILM Angelina Jolie in blackface and a decent film? Both seem remarkable when one considers the cinematic caca generated by the Tomb Raider franchise star since her Oscar win for Girl, Interrupted (1999).

Decidedly weightier and more ambitious than the screwball Mr. and Mrs. Read more »

Tastes like chicken

Doc American Cannibal feasts on reality TV
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FILM Always be suspicious of any documentary that starts off with this snippet of dialogue: "Is it real, is it not real?" In fact, for the first 10 minutes of American Cannibal, directed by Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro, I suspected I might be watching a mock doc. But nope, it's real — more authentic than reality TV, anyway, which is the subject it chronicles via both insider insights (from showbiz types like Fox Reality Channel honcho David Lyle) and the tension-fraught journey of Gil S. Read more »