Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Step lively

Twelve picks for twelve months of dance
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The year in dance began as a bummer, but it's ending on a note of hope. In January, Oakland Ballet closed its doors. This week they're back — sort of — with former artistic director Ronn Guidi's Nutcracker. What happened? Guidi wouldn't face reality, that's what. He never has. He didn't program George Balanchine when everyone else was jumping on that bandwagon. He commissioned female choreographers when few others would. Throughout his career he swam against the stream, pursuing what he loved most, in particular almost-forgotten ballets from the ’20s and ’30s. Read more »

The territory of The Forest War

And the world around it ...
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Three years ago playwright-director Mark Jackson and the Shotgun Players teamed up to present The Death of Meyerhold, Jackson's devilishly imaginative and ambitious distillation of the revolutionary life, work, and world of Russian theater innovator Vsevolod Meyerhold. Read more »

Keeping up with John Waters

Hairspray gets another 'do.
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CULT MOVIES Cobbled and crumbling streets with a homegrown musk of fish, piss, and National Bohemian Beer wind through Charm City — a place where ragged and palsied vagrants stroke crack pipes atop benches reading "The Greatest City in America." The dainty, dapper man serving me coffee from an antique tray couldn't be further away from Baltimore.
His recent San Francisco appearance has been moved from the Fillmore to the Swedish American Hall. Read more »

They rule — and drool

Clown cars riddle the work of leonardogillesfleur
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REVIEW It may sound like a toast at a wedding reception, but in order to have some measure of success in a collaborative project, there has to be an agreement between the parties involving respect, patience, and a dose of humor. The opposite would be when a couple filing for divorce cites "irreconcilable differences." For the collaborative art team leonardogillesfleur (Leonardo Giacomuzzo and Gilles-fleur Boutry), this phrase is also the clever title of their recent body of work currently on exhibit at Catharine Clark Gallery. Read more »

Looking up

Sales and salvation were art world keywords in 2006
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In late 2006 several major art-market events — record-breaking auctions and 14 Miami Beach art fairs — provided a bracing contrast to a slew of exhibitions concerned with the immaterial, experiential, mystical, and social. These instances clearly illustrate the exciting, age-old tensions between the thrill of commerce and the quest for artistic integrity.
In November a Christie's sale of impressionist and modern art yielded nearly half a billion dollars. Read more »

Give, give, give

But what? Check out our suggestions for holiday reciprocity
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It's happened again. December has rolled around, and last year's promise not to buy gifts for anyone has melted into a familiar panic. "Just a few people," I thought — and those few quickly snowballed into a dozen, that dozen into many, that many into, well, the onset of a big ol' holiday freak-out. What the hell to buy for everyone? The thought of going to a mall gives me the all-overs. Too many people, too many shiny displays. Too many "it" items this year — though I must admit, this season is mild compared to past years of Tickle-Me-Elmos and Furbies. Furbies really freaked me out, man. Read more »

Heeding the call

Call of Duty 3
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Call of Duty 3
(Activision; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)

Kids! You might be able to convince your parents to buy this game for you based on its historical content. It is virtually impossible to play without learning a bit about World War II. That's a nice side effect.
The latest incarnation of the popular Call of Duty first-person shooter series takes place in 1944 at the Normandy Breakout. American forces have already landed in France and are about to liberate Paris from the Nazis. The game does a great job of giving a bigger picture of the war than is often presented. Read more »

Deep water, hard rock

Gilbraltar, 12 Days of Cochina
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In a house overlooking the San Francisco Bay, a young painter named Amy (Dena Martinez) hosts a seeming vagabond, Palo (Johnny Moreno), through one long grief-filled night. She's in numb, guilt-stricken mourning for her husband, a purportedly shallow man who, out of his emotional depth, stepped off his sailboat, into the ocean. Palo, for his part, is convinced he knows Amy as Lila, the woman he once loved, abused, and has been searching for up the long coast from Mexico. Read more »

All that heaven and earth allow

Gods, stars, and burnt offerings mark Anselm Kiefer's dark worlds
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(To read Marke B.'s take on Anselm Kiefer, "Crash and Burn," click here.)

REVIEW Recently, in an Amish schoolhouse shooting, five girls were killed and five wounded by a man who was "angry with God" and haunted by thoughts of molestation.
One girl escaped. In the earliest versions of the story, nine-year-old Emma Fisher simply snuck out. It was later said that she misunderstood the shooter's instructions in English and thought she was supposed to leave. Read more »

Crash and burn

Anselm Kiefer's mighty works are far too heavy to dance
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To read Stephen Beachy's take on Anselm Kiefer, "All That Heaven and Earth Allow," click here.)

REVIEW You could go into “Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth” looking for a rush of monumental drama and cosmic philosophizing, for German guilt writ large, and for abnormal feats of technical skill. Or you could go in looking, as I did, for laughs.
Well, not laughs exactly, but at least a little humor. Read more »