For the artist, the decision between making a living and following creative bliss -- the decision between eating and creating -- has always been a struggle. Patti Smith was homeless when she moved to New York City, and Vincent Van Gogh was poor and all but unknown when he died. The dual nature of this situation is a never-ending problem for most creative people. Dionysus, then, is a fitting character to illustrate this struggle. The Greek god associated with the grape harvest and wine, Dionysus represents duality: On one hand, wine symbolizes celebration and abundance, while on the other, excess and recklessness. Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dionysus: A Greek Comedy Rock Epic, explores this duality in the modern day as well as the choices that are presented to artists. The opera, an adaptation, centers on Tiny Dionysus, who after being banished from Olympus, helps liberate unemployed San Franciscans from the Great Recession. Drag, puppets, glittery costumes, and classic rock are an easy and effervescent way to talk about a subject that many are contemplating -- Do I do what makes me happy? Or do I do what brings in a steady paycheck? Written by Trixxie Carr and directed by Ben Randle, the rock opera aims to get the audience thinking about a place where -- regardless of gender, race, class, or aspirations -- happiness and creative satisfaction is an attainable thing. And really, is that so unreasonable?
Feb. 17-20, 8 p.m., 2012