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Culture, Dance Company Woman: Twyla Tharp

Company Woman: Twyla Tharp

A Twyla Tharp encounter is like an assault you'd pay your last dollar to repeat. Whatever your access point to the acclaimed choreographer — as a dancer, a regisseur staging her ballets, a writer shotgunned through an interview, or as…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist THIS WEEKEND: Go See Mariinsky Ballet's <i>Cinderella</i> at UC Berkeley

THIS WEEKEND: Go See Mariinsky Ballet's Cinderella at UC Berkeley

Splendid visuals, polished dancing, lush orchestration and a 1930s-style torque on Charles Perrault’s 17th century fairy tale lifted Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra’s West Coast premiere of Cinderella to contemporary spectacle. The production commissioned and premiered by the centuries-old Mariinsky…
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Music, Rebranded Oakland Symphony Enters 27th Season

Rebranded Oakland Symphony Enters 27th Season

In a 27th season characterized by broad ambition, there's one thing becoming smaller for an Oakland music troupe: its name. Streamlining "Oakland East Bay Symphony" to its essentials, the newly named Oakland Symphony "debuts" Oct. 2 with the West Coast…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Michelle Haner's Translation of <i>The Unheard of World</i> Opens at EXIT Theatre

Michelle Haner's Translation of The Unheard of World Opens at EXIT Theatre

Anyone who’s seen a foolsFURY production knows that the actors in the edgy, risk-taking ensemble dive into their work, often literally. They’re not the only ones. Like an actor digging into a role, a translator of a play must…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Berkeley Rep's <i>Amélie: a New Musical</i> Is Sheer Delight

Berkeley Rep's Amélie: a New Musical Is Sheer Delight

Berkeley Rep’s Amélie: A New Musical, is a flat-out splurge: a magical, timeless plunge into love, art, goldfish puppetry, snake-eyed marbles, coin-operated photo booths, Parisian bedrooms, sex shops, cafés, and all manner of desirable targets. Amélie is deft social…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Aurora Theatre's <i>Mud Blue Sky</i> Soars

Aurora Theatre's Mud Blue Sky Soars

At 35,000 feet, flight attendants are like demigods. Back here on earth? Not so much. Playwright Marisa Wegrzyn portrays the high-low dynamics of three middle-aged flight attendants on layover in a Chicago O’Hare Airport hotel in Aurora’s season opener,…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Ubuntu's Waiting For Lefty

Ubuntu's Waiting For Lefty

Take a politically awkward position and be thankful for theater groups lacking permanent homes and grateful for America’s longstanding exploitation of blue-collar workers. Without them, there might be no Ubuntu Theater Project or playwright Clifford Odets' 1935 play Waiting…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist The Best Night You'll Ever Have In Hell: Shotgun Players' <i>Eurydice</i>

The Best Night You'll Ever Have In Hell: Shotgun Players' Eurydice

“Dazzling” and “smoldering” are the best words to describe Shotgun Players' multi-layered Eurydice — a play based on one simple turn of a man’s head. Confounding, comic, cacophonous, and constructed by master engineers playwright Sarah Ruhl, director Erika Chong…
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Music, All Shook Down Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers Provide Brilliant Bluegrass and Wisecracks

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers Provide Brilliant Bluegrass and Wisecracks

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers August 19, 2015 Wente Vineyards, Livermore Better Than: Having to watch the Coen Brothers’ movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? to get your bluegrass fix. There’s a certain glow and a tingling aftereffect…
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Music, Hear This Hear This: Slavyanka at Grace Cathedral

Hear This: Slavyanka at Grace Cathedral

Most of us feel fairly chipper if we make it past the age of 50 without replacement parts.Imagine the condition of Sergei Rachmaninoff'sAll-Night Vigil(Vespers), a 100-year-old war horse of Russia's golden age of sacred music with 1,000-year-old parts. Performed by…
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Music, All Shook Down Grace Potter Rocks The Fox

Grace Potter Rocks The Fox

Grace Potter Rayland Baxter August 15, 2015 Fox Theater Better Than: Indulging in controlled substances. Seriously, you can get high on Potter. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder during a Grace Potter performance. Appearing at the Fox Theater…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Feminism Through the Centuries at Shotgun Players' <i>Top Girls</i>

Feminism Through the Centuries at Shotgun Players' Top Girls

Feminism’s bald beauty and bare badness are the main acts in Shotgun Players' straight-shooting rendition of playwright Caryl Churchill's Top Girls. Shorn of pretense and directed by Delia MacDougall with the precision and deft hand people expect of a…
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Culture, Stage Chatting With Anna Deavere Smith

Chatting With Anna Deavere Smith

Playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith isn't volunteering to be a modern day Atlas. After hoisting the world of America's school-to-prison pipeline onto her shoulders during a two-and-a-half-year play development, Smith cleaves the unwieldy orb into two halves like…
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Music, Minimalism Goes Big for Terry Riley's 80th Birthday

Minimalism Goes Big for Terry Riley's 80th Birthday

Fantastically (and ironically), composer/performer Terry Riley's 80th birthday fête — a celebration of the musician often recognized as the "Father of Minimalism" — is a three-day, monumental extravaganza. San Francisco-based, Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association will host the birthday…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Shotgun Players' Heart Shaped Nebula Roams the Universe of Love

Shotgun Players' Heart Shaped Nebula Roams the Universe of Love

Love’s galaxy is imperfect and perilous in playwright Marisela Treviño Orta’s one-act, 75-minute Heart Shaped Nebula. Directed by Desdemona Chiang on Shotgun Players' postage-size stage in Berkeley, the cosmology of the universe expands an earth-bound theme of lost love. Miqueo…
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Music, All Shook Down Tony Bennett Shines at Concord Pavilion with Lady Gaga

Tony Bennett Shines at Concord Pavilion with Lady Gaga

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Tony Bennett Quartet Brian Newman Quintet May 28, 2015 Concord Pavilion Better Than: Smooching with Madonna on SNL, although locking lips with Lady Gaga’s pal, Tony Bennett, would win the blue ribbon of love. Lady…
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Culture, Stage Chewing the Fourth Wall

Chewing the Fourth Wall

Loosen your belts. While Berkeley Rep's One Man, Two Guvnors won't bust your sides, the West Coast premiere of this play based on an 18th-century classic will keep you laughing on three levels for 2.65 hours. When was the last…
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Music, Hear This Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at Concord Pavilion

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at Concord Pavilion

Beware the vixen and the fox, lest they steal your heart. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, crooning symbiotically like a human jazz genome split into two bodies separated only by decades, are bringing their album Cheek to Cheek to the…
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Culture, Stage Passes and Fails: Tarell McCraney's Heads of Passes, Now at Berkeley Rep, Watches a Family Implode

Passes and Fails: Tarell McCraney's Heads of Passes, Now at Berkeley Rep, Watches a Family Implode

He's not on the cast list, but the Devil is everywhere in Tarell McCraney's cyclonic Heads of Passes. At the very least, an evil spirit runs rampant, fouling faith's proverbial waters in the two-act play directed by Tina Landau of…
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Culture, Stage Talley Ho!: Lanford Wilson's Talley Trilogy in Its Entirety

Talley Ho!: Lanford Wilson's Talley Trilogy in Its Entirety

There's plenty to admire in the Aurora's presentation of the Talley Trilogy, a three-play homage to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson. Foremost is Artistic Director Tom Ross's three-tiered nod to a single artist's work in one season. It's a rare…
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