Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Doin' the 'Dance

Taking stock of Sundance
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Sundance has become a spectator business event, like the weekly box office returns. This year turned out to be a surprise bull market when the same buyers who went in saying there was little of apparent commercial appeal on the program wound up spending tens of millions in an acquisitions frenzy. I didn't get to see Son of Rambow, an '80s nostalgia piece about action movie–obsessed kids that earned a cool $8 million distribution deal. But that movie at least sounds like real fun. Read more »

Jesse Hawthorne Ficks's Sundance picks (so far)

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Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal, Canada). Easily the best film at Sundance, this moving portrait of Edward Burtynsky's photographs shakes your views on the progress of humanity to the point of speechlessness. While the photos show how humans have drastically altered the earth through their obstructions — ranging from massive recycling landfills to factory lines with thousands of workers creating millions of tiny plastic objects — Baichwal's film brings these conflicts to life in a complete, breathtaking manner. Read more »

Pillow talk

Storytelling makes for gripping theater in Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman
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The cold air these last weeks has played foul-weather friend to a couple chilling stage stories about serial child killers — one of them is even called Frozen. Both were recently toasts of Broadway too, though only one includes scary little apple men (not to mention the titular figure of a giant fellow made of soft cushions). Read more »

WOW now

Molissa Fenley highlights the second program of a growing festival
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Every January the Women on the Way Festival throws a spotlight on the performing arts as practiced by the female of the species. Not that producer Mary Alice Fry has to dig very deep in the field of dance, which is still heavily dominated by women. (For the moment we have to leave the reasons to sociologists — or perhaps psychiatrists.)

If this year's second of three programs is any indication, the festival's move from a tiny space on Ninth Street to Dance Mission Theater a couple years ago has blunted its funky edge. Read more »

Hairdresser on Fire

Local locksmith Joe Hamer picks Golden Globes poufs
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GOLDEN CLIPPERS "I'm all about spreading my message," local mane maestro Joe Hamer gushes breathlessly over the phone from his car en route to his Petaluma flagship salon. "And my message is beautiful, shiny, healthy hair."

Hamer's just flown in from teasing celebs' tresses at the Golden Globe Awards, as part of the beauty team in Showtime's red carpet perk-up pit stop for volume-compromised VIPs — a freebie fluff tent for the rapidly flattening fab. "I know you want those names," he intones tantalizingly. Read more »

His world or yours?

Scarface: The World Is Yours
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Scarface: The World Is Yours

(Vivendi Universal; Windows XP, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Sony PSP)

GAMER One nice thing about Scarface: The World Is Yours is that although it is a first-person shooter–adventure game, there is no sewer level. It doesn't matter what the story line is: at some point, dude is going into a sewer and tromping through ankle-deep water with rats skittering around.

Scarface doesn't bother with that. It's more interested in having you sell cocaine and brutally murder people, like a good game should do. Read more »

The video guy

SECA recipient makes pop moving pictures and remixes history-making moments
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kimberly@sfbg.com

PREVIEW The public furor set off last November by the imminent publication of onetime football star and Avis flunky O.J. Simpson's now-quashed book, If I Did It, on the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and Ron Goldman, demonstrates how pivotal the 1995 Simpson trial was to so many, just as Newsweek's recent publication of details from a key chapter shows how much it continues to compel — and how tender the wounds remain on this country's notions of race, justice, media, and celebrity. Read more »

The devil wears Nolan Miller

Or, why we love That Girl and Phil
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TRASH TALKING BIO, TAKE ONE There are so many exquisite moments in steward Desmond Atholl's tell-all that tells all. This ain't no roman à clef, in other words; it's a cutting, richly detailed, tension-filled diary of overseeing the Marlo Thomas–Phil Donahue household. Neither my favorite chapter title ("Free to Be ... Read more »

Live free or die hard

Free to Be ... You and Me Invitational
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KIDS' TV GONE WILD There's a scene in Half Nelson — a top contender for most depressing scene in a movie loaded with 'em — in which Dan, Ryan Gosling's drugged-out high school teacher, trudges home for a meal with his post-hippie parents. As the evening shuffles into boozy awkwardness, his mom throws Free to Be ... You and Me on the hi-fi, and the sounds of "It's All Right to Cry" fill the house. It's the perfect choice for so many reasons; for Dan, a product of the 1970s, any song off that iconic '72 album would signal bittersweet nostalgia. Read more »

Control of resources

Danny Hoyle's deft performance carries his solo show, Tings Dey Happen
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Among the usual tidings of war and occupation, the recent holiday season brought news that hundreds of people had been burned alive in a pipeline explosion in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria and its largest city. Read more »