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2016 Winter Arts Guide: Who's Coming to Town? 

Wednesday, Jan 20 2016

Why settle for watching people on television, reading their books, or eating their food when you can go be with them live, in the same room, breathing the same air? Lucky for us cultural sophisticates, more than a few famous folks will alight in the Bay Area this winter.

Taylor Mac

A conventional night at City Arts & Lectures might feature an author or performer who gets stuck navel-gazing in a conversation that can turn dry as burnt, unbuttered toast. Not so with playwright and singer-songwriter Taylor Mac on stage to benefit The Magic Theatre, where he developed and premiered his 2014 play Hir. If one evening of Mac is not enough for you, he will also appear this month at the Curran in A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1776-1806, a "durational" concert that lasts 24 hours.

Monday, Jan. 25, at the Magic Theatre.

Ian Rankin

In Ian Rankin's latest mystery novel Even Dogs in the Wild, Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke returns to contend with gangsters and her former nemesis, the retired detective John Rebus. The "wild" in this case is Edinburgh, where Rankin, a Scotsman, currently resides. Like his U.K. contemporaries in the mystery genre Tana French, Denise Mina, and Benjamin Black, Rankin excels at making Scotland come alive on the page with the atmosphere of place. Of course, the case is suspenseful as ever, but taking the trip across the Atlantic to follow Siobhan around town is half the fun.

Thursday, Jan. 28, at Diesel Bookstore.

A.O. Scott

Writing about art for a living is a profession with diminishing returns: Everyone's a critic, and social media amplifies our voices online. So why should anyone bow down to the opinion of The New York Times' chief film critic? In his new collection of essays Better Living Through Criticism, A.O. Scott will answer that daunting question. Keep the book's subtitle in mind before you get there: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. This man clearly has an agenda.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the JCCSF.

Jacques d'Amboise

In his 2011 memoir I Was A Dancer, Jacques d'Amboise wrote, "With Robbins, you were amplified; with Balanchine, you were transformed." Not only was he one of Balanchine's protégés and a soloist with the New York City Ballet for three decades, d'Amboise also founded the National Dance Institute, which brings ballet into public schools for free. After dancing across the screen as Ephraim in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, he turned down an MGM contract and became the "definitive Apollo" of American dance.

Friday, Feb. 19, at the Nourse Theater.

Judith Butler

Will Judith Butler's lecture "Gender in Translation" address the recent ubiquity of Caitlyn Jenner, Barbara Walters' choice for Most Fascinating person of 2015? Are last year's pop culture artifacts like Tangerine, The Danish Girl, and Transparent hors de combat for a UC Berkeley professor? Maybe, maybe not. Nobody is born one gender or the other, says the queer theorist and gender philosopher. According to Butler, "We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman."

Feb. 25, at the Timken Lecture Hall, San Francisco Campus, California College of the Arts.

Lawrence Ross

Ross returns to Berkeley for a discussion about his sixth book, Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses. The former editor of the hip-hop magazine Rap Sheet, Ross's other books include The Divine Nine, about African-American fraternities and sororities, and Money Shot: The Wild Nights and Lonely Days in Black Porn. His new book investigates anti-affirmative action policies on predominantly white universities. Professor Dave "Davey D" Cook, host of KPFA's Hard Knock Radio, will chair the discussion.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley.

See the links below for more of the 2016 Winter Arts Guide.










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