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Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Dream of Flight in For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 1:16 PM

(l to r) Ellen McLaughlin (Wendy) and Kathleen Chalfant (Ann) in Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday at Berkeley Rep. - KEVIN BERNE/BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE
  • Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre
  • (l to r) Ellen McLaughlin (Wendy) and Kathleen Chalfant (Ann) in Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday at Berkeley Rep.
If you were watching For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday through a lens, it would be set to soft focus. There’s a feathery moire effect around the edges of Sarah Ruhl’s memory play. Kathleen Chalfant is the 70-year-old Ann who, as a girl, played Peter Pan in her small town theater. Chalfant’s commanding, husky voice is a welcome antidote to the mist of sentiment that rains down on the story like so much fairy dust.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mothers and Sons: Riveting Drama Opens at New Conservatory Theater

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 1:01 PM

Velina Brown, Andrew Nance - LOIS TEMA
  • Lois Tema
  • Velina Brown, Andrew Nance

The cast received well deserved applause after Saturday's opening night performance of Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons at New Conservatory Theater. The award winning playwright has written a spellbinding drama which paints an accurate portrait of the emotional anguish of those who survived the AIDS epidemic.

It's been 20 years since Cal (Andrew Nance) lost his "lover" (the vernacular of the previous generation) to AIDS. Now happily married to Will (Daniel Redmond), with whom he has a son, Cal attempts to reconcile with Andre's embittered mother Katherine (Velina Brown). Mothers and Sons is a sequel to McNally's television play Andre's Mother. Produced for PBS' American Playhouse in 1990, Andre's Mother starred Sada Thompson and Richard Thomas as Katherine and Cal. That film is now available on DVD.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Scenes from the Re-Opening of Dolores Park

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM


Dolores Park's re-opening comes just as Pope Francis' controversial new encyclical denounces treating the Earth "more and more like an immense pile of filth." He's a wise pope in some ways, and in a similar vein, Rec and Park wants you to #LoveDolores and not trash it. As of 7 p.m. on Day One of the northern half's unveiling, it seemed like everyone was listening.


There was no enjoying the park in its totality, however: The city wasted no time in fencing off the southern half. Goodbye Gay Beach, goodbye most-Instagrammed-bench-in-SF-with-view-of-the-skyline. Delays and cost overruns pushed this part of the project back, but at least Phase 2 is only scheduled to take half as long as the northern half because there are fewer amenities to install this time.


The old bathroom, that sad clump of nasty toilets in the center of the park, has been demolished, and brand-new, palm-bedazzled facilities have opened in its stead. (Some of them are gender-neutral, too!) I was hoping to take a pic of a shiny new urinal but the line was long and then I realized that might be seen as creepy.


Still, you can't deter some people from urinating in public, no matter what you do.


Chan Quach and his macaws, Rudy and Bella, were there, flexing their feathers. Although these birds can live a long time, they're only four or five. As they fly around the entire city anyway, the park's accessibility to homo sapiens doesn't matter much, but the birds enjoyed themselves.


And there were lots of people drinking and getting high — heavy police presence notwithstanding — but this guy was among the very last to keep on grooving to the Silent Disco, courtesy of his Four Loko. 

Welcome back, Dolores Park [Northern Half]! May you never need another renovation during our lifetimes, because we promise to take good care of you.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

California Academy of Sciences New Planetarium Show, Habitat Earth, is Now Open

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Turning the telescopes back on us. - CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Turning the telescopes back on us.

By definition, a planetarium is an edifice in which images of stars, planets, and constellations are projected on the inner surface of a dome for public entertainment or education — but the Morrison Planetarium within the California Academy of Sciences is redefining the traditional concept of astronomical presentation. Instead of focusing on all the cosmic beauty to be found in galaxies far, far away, the Cal Academy team turned the telescopes around and focuses on the greatest wonder of the universe — Earth itself. 

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jersey Boys: Can't Take My Eyes Off of You. Seriously.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Nick Cosgrove as Frankie Valli serenades the crowd with "Sherry"
  • Nick Cosgrove as Frankie Valli serenades the crowd with "Sherry"

Everyone loves a good underdog story. But when you add some mobster shenanigans, drug use, copious sex, betrayal, death, and four blue-collar guys belting out more than 30 epic oldies like a jukebox on amphetamines, you've got Jersey Boys, the musical.

Chronicling the bittersweet saga of The Four Seasons, the 1960s rock n' roll quartet, the play -- directed by Des McAnuff -- traverses more than 40 years of the Boys' lives together from the streetwise corners of New Jersey to the glinting lights of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The play opens rather strangely -- in Paris of all places -- with a black rapper flanked by B-Girl dancers circa 2000. Tommy DeVito (played by the rakish John Gardiner) steps into the gyrating mass, freezing the action, and directly addresses the audience. He tells us the rapper was singing Oh What a Night (Ces Soirees), the 1963 hit from the Four Seasons. Yup, they got that big -- Europe big.

Each of the Boys takes over narration for part of the show, offering their own takes on the group's rise to stardom. It works well and offers the audience the occasional breather from Nick Cosgrove's relentless falsetto (more on that in a minute.)

Four seasons (get it?) demarcate the passage of time -- and the boys' different perspectives -- with pop-art projections over the stage. The set, designed by Klara Zieglerova, is fairly stark -- toggling between chain-link fences, scaffolding, bar stools and neon signs -- but transforms the space seamlessly and simply, allowing the music to take center stage.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Hand Jobs" Nail Art Show Nails It

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Artist Brittany Tokyo shows off her work.
  • Artist Brittany Tokyo shows off her work.
Recently, we featured a nail art and jewelry show with the headline, Get a Free Hand Job in the Mission. And while we might have had a little fun with puns and a collective snicker at the show's title -- "Hand Jobs" -- we can assure you that the art on display was no joke. The show was -- hands down -- the best nail art we'd ever seen.

See Also: Art Beat: Fashion Photographer Liz Caruana Documents Bay Area Designers

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Friday, November 9, 2012

SFstop Photo Collective Showcases Our City's Quirks, Beauty

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

  • Gil Riego Junior

The city's newest photo collective, SFstop, formed entirely of current or former SF State photographers, is holding its first gallery show Sunday at Akiba Cafe. The free show will include works from 10 S.F. State students/alumni, and showcases moments stolen from some of the city's brightest characters, like "Bush Man," but also some of its unsung heroes through the power of some good ol' San Francisco street photography.

See also: 

Renegade Mannequin Installation at the de Young Asks: What Is Art?

Video of the Day: Flugtag, Human-Powered Flying Machines

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Katy Perry: Part of Me: Sexless Drag Sexiness -- for Kids!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 3:30 AM

  • Wikipedia

By Karina Longworth

From bubblegum-bi-curious novelty "I Kissed a Girl" on, Katy Perry has built a career on glorious brain-dead-with-a-wink odes to playacting in a fantasy space of total acceptance and no consequences, sold to children with literal sugarcoating. Her hits are powerful stuff, coming from an artist who was raised by Pentecostal preachers who declared most contemporary culture and anything involving fairy-tale-style magic off-limits. In Katy Perry: Part of Me, those parents gush with support for the daughter who penned the chorus, "I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock." The film (presented in never-less-necessary 3-D) documents Perry's 2011 world concert tour to support her massive Teenage Dream record and weaves together onstage and backstage footage with interviews with Perry and her team, while home movies and video diaries dating back a decade suggest Perry has been calculatedly filming herself in preparation for this moment.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

MAD Magazine Taught Us How to Laugh at Fame and Power

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM


When it launched in 1952, there had been nothing like MAD -- a comics magazine dedicated to humor and satire aimed at a broad range of targets. In particular, MAD exposed the cultural fakery behind familiar and beloved images that originated on television, in the movies, and in sports and politics. Led by creators Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines, MAD's cartoonists peeled back these images to expose calculated manipulation of the American populace by newly powerful postwar corporations. A retrospective exhibit on MAD opens this weekend at the Cartoon Art Museum.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Artist Uses Animal Blood to Create Unnerving Works That Stop Short of Gore: "Haemoscuro"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Clouds of crimson billow across one wall as if from an open wound. A length of stained gauze decays seemingly before your eyes. Jagged streaks of rusty-red fluid erupt into the ether. No, these aren't scenes from the set of Hollywood's latest vampire franchise. It's the new solo show "Haemoscuro" by artist Jordan Eagles that opens Thursday -- a First Thursday -- at Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art. Eagles uses a most unusual material in his work: animal blood. Vegans and those who are weak of stomach take heed. Sourced from slaughterhouses, Eagles' blood is the real deal and is certainly unsettling.

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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.'"