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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fighting for the Soul of the Republic, in the S.F. Mime Troupe's Schooled

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 6:40 PM

(l-r) Velina Brown (Lavina Jones), (sitting l-r) Rotimi Agbabiaka (Thomas Jones) in Schooled. - MIKE@MIKEMELNYK.COM
  • Mike@mikemelnyk.com
  • (l-r) Velina Brown (Lavina Jones), (sitting l-r) Rotimi Agbabiaka (Thomas Jones) in Schooled.

Move over, Common Core. Babbittry is the dogma at the former Eleanor Roosevelt Academy once it becomes the Learning Academy of Virtual Achievement (or LAVA) in the San Francisco Mime Troupe's production of Schooled. With encomiums to "make American schools great ... again," it's immediately clear who this burst of social commentary has aimed its arrows at.

And when a frustrated veteran educator, fed up with slick technological improvements, despairs of what is to become of good-old-fashioned civics — "There is no app for citizenship!" — as a professional woman of color who's the mother of a struggling student gets caught between her hard-nosed ambition and the idealism still burning within her, the play becomes more than an indictment of no-nothingism. Like John Barth's 1996 novel Giles, Goat-Boy, a metafictional farce that's essentially one long pun on universe/university, Michael Gene Sullivan and Eugenie Chan's script about the transformation of Eleanor Roosevelt into LAVA (and later the Babbit Academy) echoes the dire implications of the world around it.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Drag Strip: Peaches Christ puts her own spin on Showgirls! The Musical!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Clockwise: Nomi Malone (April Kidwell) and Cristal Connors (Peaches Christ) vie for top billing in Showgirls! The Musical!, playing at the Victoria Theatre through August 27th. - PHOTO CREDIT: JOSE A GUZMAN COLON
  • Photo Credit: Jose A Guzman Colon
  • Clockwise: Nomi Malone (April Kidwell) and Cristal Connors (Peaches Christ) vie for top billing in Showgirls! The Musical!, playing at the Victoria Theatre through August 27th.

In 1995 cult flick Showgirls, Vegas stripper Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) dreams of kicking off her hooker heels and thrusting her way into a major burlesque revue. With Showgirls! The Musical!, starring April Kidwell as the exotic dancer turned showgirl, Peaches Christ, who plays Nomi's nemesis Cristal Connors and also directs, realizes her own ambition of bringing a full-length stage show to San Francisco.

In anticipation of Showgirls! The Musical!'s west coast premiere on August 10, Peaches Christ spoke to SF Weekly about making the show her own, why the film that it's based on continues to titillate and why her new ice cream flavor is more mouthwatering than an iced nipple. 

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Don't Think Twice Director Mike Birbiglia Second-Guesses Suicide Squad and Donald Trump

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Counter Clockwise: Keegan-Michael Key (Jack), Gillian Jacobs (Samantha), Chris Gethard (Bill), Kate Micucci (Allison), Mike Birbiglia (Miles) and Tami Sagher (Lindsay) in Mike Birbiglia’s Don't Think Twice, opening in San Francisco on August 5. - COURTESY OF JON PACK
  • Courtesy of Jon Pack
  • Counter Clockwise: Keegan-Michael Key (Jack), Gillian Jacobs (Samantha), Chris Gethard (Bill), Kate Micucci (Allison), Mike Birbiglia (Miles) and Tami Sagher (Lindsay) in Mike Birbiglia’s Don't Think Twice, opening in San Francisco on August 5.

Director and comedian Mike Birbiglia is fucking pissed at Hollywood.

His Sleepwalk With Me follow-up, Don't Think Twice, about a group of six improv performers struggling to make it in New York City, happens to come out the same weekend as Suicide Squad, which is about a half-dozen criminals working to save the world.  If the latter, with its bigger budget, stars, and promotional push, doesn't already have an unfair advantage over the second-time director's sleeper film, the violent action flick got another leg up with a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. On the other hand, the relatively tame Don't Think Twice, was rated R, further limiting its box office.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Norman Lear Brings 'All Lives Matter' message to SF Jewish Film Festival

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 10:00 AM

TV legend Norman Lear will be honored at the SF Jewish Film Fest's screening of Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You at the Castro Theatre on July 24th. - MUSIC BOX FILMS
  • Music Box Films
  • TV legend Norman Lear will be honored at the SF Jewish Film Fest's screening of Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You at the Castro Theatre on July 24th.

When Norman Lear wrote contentious episodes of All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times and The Jeffersons that dealt with war, procreative liberty, poverty, racism and feminism, he expected flack from the networks. What Lear never anticipated, he told SF Weekly, was the pushback he received from the Good Times cast and even the Black Panther Party — the very people he was trying to give voice to.

While Lear isn't black, he was still confident that he could do justice to issues of economic hardship, religious identity and teen sex faced by African Americans, because these were matters faced by all Americans. To the producer, we're all versions of each other.

Lear is now the subject of a new documentary, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
which premieres at the Castro Theatre as part of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, on Saturday. The producer, who will be in attendance, will be honored with the Freedom of Expression award.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Silicon Valley's Matt Ross finds balance in Captain Fantastic, Hollywood and Life

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen, opens in San Francisco on July 15. - CATHY KANAVY
  • Cathy Kanavy
  • Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen, opens in San Francisco on July 15.

In Captain Fantastic, Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) has a crisis of confidence about his parenting style.  The offbeat patriarch, once so gung-ho about raising his brood off the grid, far from the consumerism and technology that he was force-fed, begins to rethink his extreme child rearing. 

The film's writer-director Matt Ross (28 Hotel Rooms), also known for playing Gavin Belson on HBO's Silicon Valley, experienced something similar when, after being reared by a single mom on several NorCal communes, chose to raise his two kids in a more comfortable two-parent household, in Berkeley. The real trick for the Berkeleyite was in finding a balance or maintaining his core values within his new lifestyle. 

SF Weekly spoke to Matt Ross about getting the balance right as a Hollywood actor-director, parent and iPhone addict.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

HBO's Looking: The Movie: The Cast Lost its Heart in San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 1:00 PM


Just two and a half years after appearing at HBO's Looking premiere at S.F.'s Castro Theatre, the cast of the cancelled show reunited at the legendary movie palace for one last hurrah. - ACT OUT PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM NORRENA
  • ACT OUT Photography by Jim Norrena
  • Just two and a half years after appearing at HBO's Looking premiere at S.F.'s Castro Theatre, the cast of the cancelled show reunited at the legendary movie palace for one last hurrah.

On Sunday, June 26, Framline40, the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay film festival, wrapped with a blue carpet premiere for HBO's Looking: The Movie at The Castro Theatre.  SF Weekly caught up with the cast ahead of the film finale, which closes out the two-season series about three best friends (Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Murray Bartlett) living the gay dream in San Francisco, to discuss their emotional exit from the show — and the city.   

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Madonna's Ex-Dancers Dare to be Truthful in Strike a Pose

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM

[Left to right] Former Madonna dancers and stars of Strike a Pose: Oliver Crumes III,  Salim Gauwloos, Kevin Stea, Carlton Wilborn, and Luis Camacho once tap danced around certain truths. - ACT OUT PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM NORRENA
  • ACT OUT Photography by Jim Norrena
  • [Left to right] Former Madonna dancers and stars of Strike a Pose: Oliver Crumes III, Salim Gauwloos, Kevin Stea, Carlton Wilborn, and Luis Camacho once tap danced around certain truths.
Madonna's feature-length rockumentary Truth or Dare spotlighted many of the Queen of Pop's sexy song-and-dance numbers from her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. But it was what director Alek Keshishian captured offstage that truly curled mainstream America's toes and almost garnered the film an X rating. For the seven male dancers — six gay and one straight — that made up Madonna's dance troupe, however, certain truths were still too shocking to reveal.  It took 25 years, but today they're ready to tell all in a new documentary about the truths behind Truth or Dare, entitled Strike a Pose.  

SF Weekly
 caught up with the band of "brothers," Luis Camacho, Salim Gauwloos, Kevin Stea, Carlton Wilborn, and Oliver Crumes III, between a Macy's in-store appearance and their film's Frameline premiere on June 25, about the secrets that they didn't dare expose. 

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Jose Canseco Goes from Outfielder to Outsider in The Truth Hurts

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Baseball Superstar Jose Canseco - BO PARKER
  • Bo Parker
  • Baseball Superstar Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco remembers Oct. 17, 1989, vividly. The Oakland A's powerhouse was running sprints at Candlestick Park, just 30 minutes before Game 3 in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.  

"I suffered from migraines, so I remember running toward the outfield and suddenly feeling a little bit nauseous," he told SF Weekly.  I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, this can't be happening now — getting a migraine before one of the games in the World Series."  I turned around and looked up and could see the lights waving back and forth like 15 to 20 feet either way. I thought, "What kind of a migraine is this where I'm hallucinating?" Then you hear a huge earthquake hit, so it made sense that the ground was moving under me, and that's why I was feeling out of balance, and the lights were shaking in the aftermath."

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Walking, Preparing, and Letting Players Be Themselves: Inside the Mind of the Giants' Bruce Bochy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Kim and Bruce Bochy - COURTESY OF THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB
  • Courtesy of The Commonwealth Club
  • Kim and Bruce Bochy

There were jokes about it being an even year, the same as in 2010, 2012 and 2014 when the Giants won the World Series; the size of Giants' manager Bruce Bochy’s head; and about his recent frequent trips out to the mound to talk with struggling pitchers. In the conversation between Bochy and former Oakland A’s president Roy Eisenhardt at the Commonwealth Club on Tuesday, the subjects ranged from walking as a way to deal with stress to the Major League strike in 1994 to thinking through a game ahead of time.

We all have stress, Eisenhardt noted. But perhaps Bochy, with a team to manage, and the cameras, fans, players and coaches watching what he does, has a little more than his share. So how does the two-time National League Manager of the Year deal with it? Not surprisingly, Bochy, who wrote The Book of Walks with sports writer Steve Kettmann, takes to his feet.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

I AM YOUR QUEEN: Phatima Rude

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 10:30 AM

JOE ARENAZ
  • Joe Arenaz
Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEEN,  recurring feature on the Exhibitionist that gets uncomfortably close with luminaries from the Bay Area's drag scene, to the point where not even light can escape.

"Drag can kill," says Phatima Rude. 

She is the subject of last year's short documentary, "Ladies and Gentlemen: Phatima Rude," by Paul King and Joel Landfield. You can see her coming because of the severe arch of her eyebrows, and you can see her going because she has eyes on the back of her head — literally. (The posterior of her cranium is tattooed with eyes like Divine.) SF Weekly chatted with Phatima about her origins and her shyness — and for a few minutes at least, nobody died.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"