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    Culture, Stage Two Houses of Usher at SF Opera

    Two Houses of Usher at SF Opera

    Sometimes, says opera singer Jason Bridges, it's nice to do something a little different than the usual "boy meets girl" story. For instance, a "devastated brother with an ailing sister in a decaying castle" story can be a nice change…
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    Culture, Stage Gasps in Five Places

    Gasps in Five Places

    Playwright, actor, and novelist Ayad Akhtar says everything he writes is an homage to a high school English teacher who changed his life. Because of her, he immersed himself in the European modernists she loved, so much so that he…
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    Culture, Stage Her Dresses Stop Traffic

    Her Dresses Stop Traffic

    "I don't like the word 'rescue,'" Regina Evans tells me as we sip tea in her sun-drenched Oakland storefront, lined with lacy vintage dresses and old LIFE magazine photos of African-American model Beverly Johnson. Regina's Door, located at 352 17th…
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    Culture, Stage ¡Azúcar!: Images of Cuba's Economic Crisis

    ¡Azúcar!: Images of Cuba's Economic Crisis

    After the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Cuba, having relied heavily on Soviet imports and exports, went into an economic crisis. Though Cubans suffered from food and petroleum shortages, adaptation by artists, writers, and musicians resulted in a cultural boom. "The Light in…
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    Culture, Stage War Dance: Lenora Lee's Fire of Freedom

    War Dance: Lenora Lee's Fire of Freedom

    Dancer and choreographer Lenora Lee doesn't shy away from intense, controversial issues. Her multimedia pieces use text, film, music, martial arts, and dance to take on cerebral subjects such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and human trafficking. It was while…
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    Culture, Stage You Got It, Dude

    You Got It, Dude

    Whatever happened to predictability: the milkman, the paperboy, the evening TV? Everywhere you look, everywhere you go there's a heart — a hand to hold onto. Bob Saget's disassociated side smile, the mystery of never quite knowing which Olsen twin…
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    Culture, Stage Barbary Host: UCB at Outside Lands

    Barbary Host: UCB at Outside Lands

    A three-day music festival can be a grind. There's the sun (or conspicuous lack thereof), endless treks between stages, and lots of standing behind bros in feathered headdresses. Luckily for Outside Lands attendees, there's a respite from the grind in…
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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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    Culture, Stage Chatting With Amy Schumer

    Chatting With Amy Schumer

    Amy Schumer hasn't slept around since college. "I would say sophomore year, I got the numbers up," says the Inside Amy Schumer star, who makes her major motion picture debut in Trainwreck, the new romantic comedy directed by powerhouse Judd…
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    Culture, Stage Eddie Izzard Has Opinions

    Eddie Izzard Has Opinions

    Every now and then, you'll hear a casual reference to Eddie Izzard's 1999 recording of Dress To Kill from San Francisco's Orpheum Theater. ("Cake or death?") It's a performance that won Izzard an Emmy and a long-standing invitation to return…
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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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    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 Auditioning for Beach Blanket Babylon

    Auditioning for Beach Blanket Babylon

    "You want pre-show music, Kenny?" Pink's "Get the Party Started" fills Club Fugazi, where dozens of eager comics, hams, and thespians are waiting on a Saturday afternoon to audition for Beach Blanket Babylon, arguably San Francisco's premiere theatrical institution. The…
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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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    Culture, Stage The Art of Undermining Your Friends

    The Art of Undermining Your Friends

    The menace in Idris Goodwin's Blackademics, a West Coast premiere by Crowded Fire Theater, begins even before the play starts. Mikiko Uesugi's set design is a slate- and medium-wood-colored box that's eerily empty but for an assortment of wooden cutting…
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    Culture, Stage XX-Rated Theater: Philippines-Set Hedda Gabler Required Female Perspective

    XX-Rated Theater: Philippines-Set Hedda Gabler Required Female Perspective

    Bay Area theater suffers from gender disparity at every level of the game: whose scripts get produced and which kinds of stories get told, which actors get union contracts, who gets promoted to leadership positions — and who gets to…
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    Culture, Stage Church and State of Deception: Keep an eye on the pious guy

    Church and State of Deception: Keep an eye on the pious guy

    Poison is a person in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's stylish revival of Molière's classic 1664 satirical comedy, Tartuffe. Tartuffe arrives onstage like a silvery-snake-cum-Paris-fashion-model as director Dominique Serrand sculpts a sleek and brilliantly lit, costumed, and designed rendition. Cast with an…
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    Culture, Stage The Madness of King Lear: Puppets, Acclaimed Clown Tackling Shakespeare Tale in Two Productions

    The Madness of King Lear: Puppets, Acclaimed Clown Tackling Shakespeare Tale in Two Productions

    When it comes to playing King Lear, renowned actor Geoff Hoyle isn't exactly straight out of central casting, as he freely admits. "I know no one's going to cast me," he says. "I'm this diminutive 5'6", 130-pound guy" — not…
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    Culture, Stage Challenge Accepted: Bay Area Theaters Take Big Risks That Pay Off.

    Challenge Accepted: Bay Area Theaters Take Big Risks That Pay Off.

    American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco's flagship theater company, isn't exactly known as a purveyor of risky new plays. When it's not doing its annual A Christmas Carol or socially retrograde duds like Napoli!, it's producing myths and Brits. The company's…
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    Culture, Stage Getting Even: The Shotgun Players Have an Entire Season of Plays Written By Women

    Getting Even: The Shotgun Players Have an Entire Season of Plays Written By Women

    Hindsight will show whether or not Shotgun Players' 2015 "she-season" is cake or conquest. Announcing six mainstage and six staged readings all written by female playwrights for its 24th season, Shotgun is either offering a delicious, one-year treat, or making…
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    Culture, Stage Symbolic Gestures: Two New Plays Interrogate Race Relations in Novel, Powerful Ways

    Symbolic Gestures: Two New Plays Interrogate Race Relations in Novel, Powerful Ways

    It's hard to know how to read the theater ensemble putting on a play-within-a-play — or, as it would insist, a "presentation"-within-a-play — in Just Theater's complicatedly named We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia,…
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    Culture, Stage Family Matters: You think your clan is dysfunctional? Meet <i>The Lyons</i>.

    Family Matters: You think your clan is dysfunctional? Meet The Lyons.

    One good reason to like playwright Nicky Silver's The Lyons is the way it makes death and spirit-killing conversations irresistibly funny. A better reason for praising the Aurora's Bay Area premiere of the Broadway hit about a savage, ravaged, and…
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    Culture, Stage All in the Family: An Unusually Close-Knit Group of Performers Takes on one of the Great Greek Classics

    All in the Family: An Unusually Close-Knit Group of Performers Takes on one of the Great Greek Classics

    Sophocles's Antigone, one of the first and greatest Western tragedies ever written, is often thought of as a grand clash of moral imperatives. The daughter of Oedipus — yes, that Oedipus — defies the law of man (specifically, her uncle,…
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    Culture, Stage Block and Tackle: Berkeley Rep Docudrama Asks If Football Is Worth the Pain It Brings to Its Players.

    Block and Tackle: Berkeley Rep Docudrama Asks If Football Is Worth the Pain It Brings to Its Players.

    The ferocity of pro football drives the narrative but ultimately gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage in Berkeley Repertory's world premiere docudrama, X's and O's (A Football Love Story). Despite a sturdy cast and the talents of playwright KJ…
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    Culture, Stage The Ballad of Old Barbecue Feet: The Aqua Teen Team Pushes Against Narrative Limits for the Two-Second Episode

    The Ballad of Old Barbecue Feet: The Aqua Teen Team Pushes Against Narrative Limits for the Two-Second Episode

    One of the weirder entertainment clusters out there, one of those sites that was born in a backwater and became a lot more important than anyone might've guessed, started late one night in 2001 on the Cartoon Network. It was…
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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.'"

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