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Film, "Life, Above All": Problematic Drama Delves Into South African AIDS Crisis

"Life, Above All": Problematic Drama Delves Into South African AIDS Crisis

AIDS isn't mentioned until well past the halfway mark of Oliver Schmitz's problematic South Africa-set tale about the fear, gossip, and superstition surrounding the illness in a township 125 miles outside Johannesburg. Bright, stoic 12-year-old Chanda (affecting newcomer Khomotso Manyaka)…
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Calendar, Night&Day <i>District 9</i>

District 9

The aliens have been with us for 20 years already at the start of South African director Neill Blomkamp’s fast and furiously inventive District 9, their huddled masses long ago extracted from their broken-down mothership and deposited in the titular…
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Film, Alien invasion as apartheid metaphor? It works in <i>District 9</i>

Alien invasion as apartheid metaphor? It works in District 9

The aliens have been with us for 20 years already at the start of South African director Neill Blomkamp's fast and furiously inventive District 9, their huddled masses long ago extracted from their broken-down mothership and deposited in the titular…
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Film, Hayao Miyazaki dives under the sea for his latest environmental fairy tale, <i>Ponyo</i>

Hayao Miyazaki dives under the sea for his latest environmental fairy tale, Ponyo

In the same week that the South African import District 9 gives us a Johannesburg beset by alien invaders, the latest film by animation legend Hayao Miyazaki envisions a small Japanese port town turned upside-down by visitors from the bottom…
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Music, Reviewed BLK JKS

BLK JKS

When BLK JKS formed almost a decade ago, the band took a lot of flak in its native Johannesburg. Rock 'n' roll was viewed as the music of the antagonistic West, and BLK JKS was unabashedly rock. The band has…
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Film, Thugs & Kisses

Thugs & Kisses

A gritty portrait of ghetto life in contemporary South Africa, Tsotsi packs an unexpected emotional wallop. Gavin Hood's film tells a story of violence and redemption that's even more remarkable when you consider that neither of the lead performers had…
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Culture, Stage

Family Butchers

In renowned Irish novelist and playwright Edna O'Brien's Family Butchers, receiving its American premiere at the Magic Theatre, a once-wealthy but now-bankrupt middle-aged couple, Jamie and Lil, await the arrival of four grown-up children for a long overdue get-together at…
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Calendar, Night&Day Word from the Motherland

Word from the Motherland

Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde established a royalty of South African music when he formed Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens in Johannesburg in 1964. The band's music was rooted in mbaqanga, which literally means "cooking pot," but it is popularly known as…
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Calendar, Night&Day

In the Navy

Gay-themed theater, already a Bay Area perennial, blossoms in June during Gay Pride month. Among the most promising entries thus far are the local debut of the international hit Burning Blue, and the Shotgun Players' production of Martin Sherman's Bent.…
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