Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

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 »

All-consuming consumption

Heaven, hell, and shopping in Fe in the Desert
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Copping to her fashion juju at curtain rise, amid a litany of designer labels rattled off at the audience, Fe, the heroine of the sordid story to follow, makes a pretense of having broken the solemn rules of drama by giving her big secret away at the outset. In fact, there's plenty of mystery yet in this intriguingly mercurial, restless hedonist (played by a charismatic, unstoppable Margo Hall), who anyway reverses herself in the next line when she coyly concedes the covert nature of her splendid appearance. "Face? François Nars. Read more »

Speed thrills

The surface seductions of Martin Munkácsi
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Whither beauty? Withered on the prickly postmodern vine. Sour grapes, you say? Read more »

The man whose head exploded

An interview with Hostel 2 director Eli Roth
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FILM Recently, my eyeballs were among the first to be skewered by the finished print of Hostel 2. As torture and black humor unspooled on the big screen, director Eli Roth — last seen working on Grindhouse, both as an actor and behind the camera for the Thanksgiving trailer — prowled about, gauging audience reactions to his third feature film. The next day I met Roth to discuss all things horror. He talks fast. Read more »

Tongues and tales

Under the Bed and Artemisia go for baroque
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The unconscious, the underworld, the undead — what is it that under-the-mattress anxiety points to, exactly? And what might it have to do with a pack of powdered French fops in Louis Seize costumes? Given the blissful nonchalance with which Dark Porch Theater's Under the Bed tackles that thing called plot, it's probably best not to mull it over too much. Read more »

Only human

Humansville may leave you hopeful -- or disappointed
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Great art has a moral force that ennobles anyone it touches. Not that Joe Goode's new Humansville, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is that great. But the work nudges at so many raw spots in a lovingly healing way that you end up believing there may yet be hope for human nature, at least until you leave the theater. Read more »

Mission: school

Alicia McCarthy turns her studies into art
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johnny@sfbg.com

REVIEW When I walked into the Berkeley Art Museum for a first look at Alicia McCarthy's contribution to "Fer-ma-ta," the 37th annual UC Berkeley MFA graduate exhibition, I was given a small stash of pencils — the kind you use to mark scores in bowling or putt-putt golf. Note-taking is allowed in museum spaces, but pens are a definite no-no. The self-consciousness brought about by such a rule and the gift of the pencils only served to enhance the direct address of McCarthy's work. Read more »