Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

"Good German," bad German

A new play is provocative; a classic's latest guise is not
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The title of David Wiltse's 2003 play, The Good German, points in two directions at once: there's the image of the individual who stands up to the injustice being perpetrated by his or her government, and there's the image of the individual who follows the flag, however reluctantly, wherever it may lead. Of the play's four characters, only one looks even remotely like a saint, and she's killed early on. Read more »

Home court advantage

"Worlds Apart: Local Response" at YBCA
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A dance community is only as healthy as its humblest members, much the way a ballet company can never attain greatness without a fabulous corps. The team that runs Yerba Buena Center for the Arts knows this. According to associate performing arts curator Angela Mattox, "We want to nurture and support local artists and offer them an opportunity to perform at Yerba Buena." But when Ken Foster, the YBCA's executive director, presented his first season in 2004, shock waves resulted. Read more »

Pleased to meat you

Glorifying the ultimate taboo with sleazy glee
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FILM I was a vegetarian for 18 years — more than half my life. But after quite a bit of soul-searching (and one incredibly triumphant taste of bacon), I recently realized that 18 years was plenty long enough. The honest truth is that meat is delicious, and I enjoy the hell out of eating it.

Coincidentally (or not), the Donner Party included several Eddys. I have no proof that I'm related to the ill-fated pioneers, but I feel a certain kinship nonetheless. They were the ultimate carnivores, after all. Read more »

Angel's wing

SF Playhouse's Jesus Hopped the "A" Train is right on time
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Kudos to SF Playhouse for its part in introducing Bay Area audiences to Stephen Adly Guirgis. Guirgis is a member of New York's LAByrinth Theater Company — a collective that includes playwright John Patrick Shanley and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Read more »

The "ire" in "satire"

Conservatives are funny
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TELEVISION Nowhere is it written that conservatives can't be funny. Conservatives can, in fact, be absolutely rip-roaringly funny. Take South Park, which is conservative in its own smug libertarian way, or anything ever done by Christopher Buckley or Mike Judge (whose last film, Idiocracy, is as conservative as it is bitingly hilarious). So when Fox News trotted out The Half Hour News Hour, its version of Comedy Central's liberal vanguard The Daily Show, there was no guarantee that it was going to be terrible. But it was. Read more »

"Rust" never sleeps

The Magic's annual Hot House fest yields a discovery
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Between Kirsten Greenidge's rumbling and ambitious Rust and Chantal Bilodeau's titilutf8g if more staid Pleasure and Pain, a metatheme is already emerging from the Magic Theatre's annual three-play Hot House festival. Both Greenidge and Bilodeau merge a contemporary identity-focused story line and a fractured mise-en-scène to explore the porous border between mundane reality and individual and collective fictions.

Rust centers on a troubled patch in the high-flying career of football star Randall Mifflin (Mikaal Sulaiman). Read more »

Vettin' the vets

ODC/Dance Downtown
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Four world premieres during the two-week run of "ODC/Dance Downtown" prove there's something to be said for long-term creative leadership. Both artistic director Brenda Way and co–artistic director KT Nelson have been with the company since before it relocated to San Francisco 31 years ago. And yet neither of them shows any sign of artistic burnout.

In Program One, Nelson's free-spirited Scramble, set to Bach's (overamplified) Cello Suite no. 6 in D Major, was an easy charmer for two couples in various combinations. Read more »

Scruff trade

Berkeley Art Museum's marvelous Bruce Nauman show locates inspirations in the hood
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Forty years ago Bruce Nauman made a squat, unpainted block of plaster sculpture titled A Cast of the Space under My Chair. This single work, one of dozens in the Berkeley Art Museum's absorbing exhibition "A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s," is said to have provided enough inspiration to fuel the career of British artist Rachel Whiteread, who famously cast the interior of a condemned Victorian house. Nauman's sculpture, here seen as cast exhibition copy, could easily be overlooked. Read more »

Princess party

The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess
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The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess

(Nintendo; GameCube, Wii)

GAMER Every Christmas as a child, I'd dream not about sugarplums but about Nintendo. I mentioned it to Santa at the mall, but alas, there was never one under the tree. So I made friends and used them for their consoles. Sadly, none of them were into The Legend of Zelda, so I did not grow up following the series like many of my generation. Read more »

Ouroboros rising

Big Death and Little Death
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Never mind the ides of March, here comes year four of the Iraq War. Believe it or not, this whole illegal invasion-and-occupation business brought to you by the generally scary US government — that consortium of oil companies, political marionettes, neoconquerors, military wonks, and other capitalist heavies operating behind the flimflam of democracy and terror — is about to celebrate another birthday. Read more »