Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

75 alive

The oldest ballet company in the country intends to show that the dance form is a thoroughly contemporary, international art.
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With its 75th season, which starts Jan. 29, the San Francisco Ballet — the oldest ballet company in the country — intends to show that the dance form is a thoroughly contemporary, international art.

With the exception of the lovely Giselle (created by Adolphe Adam in 1841), the entire season has been choreographed within the company's lifetime. When it was created in 1938, Lew Christensen's Filling Station was considered the first American ballet. Read more »

Thrower's flames

The video nasties of Nightmare USA still apply
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johnny@sfbg.com

REVIEW You can judge a book by its cover when the cover is as scarily impressive as the one for Stephen Thrower's Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents (Fab Press, 528 pages, $79.95). It's a map of the United States, with each state composed of a fragment from a low-budget horror film. Blood drips from the edges of the South. The entire top of the Midwest is blocked by a large image of someone in an asbestos suit. Read more »

Video Mutants: Guiding light

Soaps-loving video artist Kalup Linzy will set you free
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>Click here to view some Kalup Linzy vids

A phone interview is a routine aspect of writing an article, but there's a uniquely rich comedic irony to conducting a phone interview with Kalup Linzy. Since 2001, Linzy has been making soap operatic short videos in which a host of characters, most played by himself, converse by phone. Read more »

Video Mutants: The man with the video camera

Douglas Gordon hits San Francisco with an image blitz
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johnny@sfbg.com

The unmistakable riff from AC/DC's "Back in Black" blares from the dark room in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that houses Douglas Gordon's exhibition Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work from About 1992 until Now. It's coming from Gordon's cell phone, in the pocket of his trench coat, which he's wearing over a leather jacket.

Gordon is a man of many layers, though as its title plainly states, Pretty Much collects his visions to date, a number of them appropriated, into a single room. Read more »

Does it suck?

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
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Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

(Konami; Sony PSP)

GAMER I have a friend who only likes really, really hard games — the kind in which fast-moving, shooting things spawn more fast-moving, shooting things at an exponential rate. When he said Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is hard, I didn't laugh and call him a sissy.

Dracula X is actually a remake of a game for PC that came out in Japan in 1993, where it was concisely titled Demon Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood. Read more »

Material world

David Mamet's Hollywood soul search
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The year 1988 marked the apex of David Mamet's celebrity. He'd won a Pulitzer Prize for Glengarry Glen Ross, and American Buffalo was being produced by every little theater on the planet. He'd scripted several mostly admired films and had just directed his first, the coldly ingenious House of Games.

It must have been a heady time. One doesn't get the impression that Mamet is the type to enjoy simply being celebrated. Read more »

Queen's density

Julie Queen goes from boldly careless to overly careful in "Ten Dollar Destiny"
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Over the past two decades Julie Queen has earned her ballsy-woman stripes. She's played truck-driver killer Aileen Wuornos in Carla Lucero's opera Wuornos and the lead in Robert Rodríguez's Frida, based on the life of painter Kahlo. In the '90s, as a member of the Qube Chix, the avant-garde singing trio lead by Pamela Z, she belted out heady Karlheinz Stockhausen atonality and defiant riot-grrrl lyrics at the same time. Read more »

Pinball Machine

Toni Mirosevich trucks through unrestricted territory
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amanda@sfbg.com

INTERVIEW Toni Mirosevich thinks imagination has a prominent place aboard the great ship of nonfiction, and she knows that vessel travels on waters as wide as an ocean. The Rooms We Make our Own, her first book of prose and poetry, was published in 1996 by Firebrand Books; most recently, she's authored a collection of creative nonfiction, Pink Harvest (Mid-List Press, 203 pages, $16). Read more »

Bad to the (funny) bone

"RiffTrax Live!" gets sketchy
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HELLA SKETCHY Stop acting like you don't love bad movies. Me, I'll go to the mat for Point Break or Reign of Fire any day of the week. This is why I feel a kinship with Michael J. Read more »

Where is home?

Danny Hoch brings his new Brooklyn tale to the Bay
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"I've never been inside here before. I don't like to come in here, because I feel alienated in my own neighborhood by this place, and that is kind of what this play is about," Danny Hoch said recently. His new solo stage production, Taking Over, opens Jan. 16 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Read more »