Arts Feature

Not Too Presentable Love: ‘Wintertime’ slams doors at Berkeley...

'Wintertime'’s plot is summarized on the Berkeley Rep site as, “Members of a gloriously eccentric family arrive at their summer house in the winter woods for supposedly secret rendezvous — and soon bodies collide, doors slam, dishes fly, and everyone’s perfect plans go fantastically awry.”

Essential Simplicity: Meredith Monk premieres new compositions to the...

Monk says her relationship to time was altered by the pandemic. “Yeah, I’ve had to learn to be more patient. It’s been a meditation on patience,” she says, then laughs. “It’s been step-by-step. Part of the discipline is that you don’t lose the thread of the piece when so much time goes by. I’ve always said I’m a patient person underlying it all, but in the short term, moment-to-moment, I’ve been speedier. Now, I’m learning to be patient, period. Otherwise, it’s not going to be accomplished.”

Angélique Kidjo returns to Berkeley as Cal Performances’ first...

Kidjo insisted that original truth is inseparable from our humanity. “Why do people listen to music?” she asked. “Sometimes you don’t understand what is said in a song, but it speaks to you. That is a power that we artists have to be careful using, because it is something that is bigger than us. It’s more powerful than us. We have to be humble to hold that power in, and to be able to give it."

‘Blood on the Fog’: Tongo Eisen-Martin’s latest book of...

Double-jointedness is a terrific way to describe Eisen-Martin’s poetry and literary practices. Especially in his most recent collection, Blood on the Fog (City Lights Books), the 39 poems dedicated to his mother, Arlene Eisen, arrive with mind-bending, multi-directional force: blistering heat, visceral energy, judicious reserve, gentleness, humor, lucidity and more.

The Many Lives of Rita Moreno: Veteran performer reflects...

“What happened is something that hadn’t really crossed my mind or that of the director—is how relevant this documentary is,” she said. “It is so connected to right now and in a terrible way, because things have changed and they have not changed. That is what is so maddening.”

Baby Steps: Shotgun Players slowly open up with...

"Theater, Dooley suggests, is at its best when it is decidedly unsafe and forces us to question our own assumptions and understanding of the world and its people. 'Theater occupies not a binary space, but a liminal space between light and dark, a middle space we might occupy for only a second,' he says. 'That’s where humanity is: not in a place of two sides only, which is an unhealthy place from which to observe the world.'"

Turning Pages: Litquake 2021 is rooted in the present...

Litquake aims never to be a mere, take-it-easy mirror of the moment. Instead, festival organizers and presenters stretch, squirm, protest, parade or pounce beyond and outside of predictable facades and frames to offer a glimpse from now into tomorrow.

The Word Writer: Mary Roach’s mastery of the mother...

Certainly, Roach writes about science with the fervor of other bards focused—to reference a dictionary definition—on “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

Chez Panisse at 50: Alice Waters, ‘We Are What...

Created with fly-by-the-seat-of-your-soil 1960s-style radicalism, the Chez Panisse menu has long emphasized simple presentations, the meal as a multi-sensory experience and the highly respectable use of sustainable, organic and seasonal ingredients obtained from local farmers, ranchers and dairies. Waters’ formative years in France inspired the restaurant’s name that pays tribute to Honoré Panisse, a character in French novelist and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s movie trilogy about everyday life in Marseille.

Pure Forms: David Huffman honors his mother in Berkeley...

“My mind jets off, and logic is super slow—so I have to just go with what happens and think a lot less when I’m making art. It’s just bringing ingredients together. It’s like a movie director who picks the actors, the script, everything, then lets them all have at it,” Huffman says in a generous, 100-minute interview.

Perfect Timing: Oakland Symphony Director Michael Morgan on music,...

"Michael Morgan is effusive and enthusiastic about music-making that serves the community. He’s also circumspect and immensely practical when it comes to his outlook on volatile or complex topics like race, diversity, equity, inclusion—and leading an arts organization prior to and during a pandemic. And then there’s just his good, old-fashioned luck," writes Lou Fancher in this week's Arts Feature.

The BAMPFA feminist artist retrospective both inspires and vindicates...

"Opportunities to appreciate the pivotal role of women artists continue in several of five other current, or upcoming, exhibits," writes Lou Fancher. "The major new exhibits include 'Ulrike Ottinger / MATRIX 276', with photography by the German filmmaker, visual artist, 'Present Tense: Five Centuries of Colonialism in Latin American and Caribbean Art' a student-curated group exhibition of Latin American art drawn from the collection that explores colonialism in Central and South America, and 'Beyond Boundaries: Buddhist Art of Gandhara' which presents rare Buddhist artifacts from the ancient civilization of Gandhara."

Radical Visions

Lou Fancher covers the 17th annual International Queer Women of Color Film Festival, speaking with the festival's Executive/Artistic Director and founder Madeleine Lim. “After a year of pandemic distancing, connections are even more important,” Lim says.

Screen Time

Lou Fancher covers the 20th San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, featuring Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s 'Summer of Soul' and sits down with Berkeley film maker, Jennifer Steinman Sternin, to discuss her heart-warming entry, 'Gramma and Ginga: The Movie'.
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