Halloween Guide

Clifton Lemon

SF Station Writer

Clifton Lemon's Articles
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Baroque Modern
By Clifton Lemon (Jul 25, 2013)
Vampires, with all their attendant darkness, sensuality, decadence, and existential complexity, always carry the promise of a good show. The vampire theme, like vampires themselves, is eerily eternal and disturbingly familiar. Perhaps it's one of the elemental story lines embedded in our collective unconscious, if there is such a thing. The collaboration of Anne Rice (novel), Elton John (music), and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) did not disappoint, and there are many surprises in this work. More »
Standing in the Light
By Clifton Lemon (Jun 12, 2013)
This complex, mystical, and powerful work is the ninth in August Wilson's ten play cycle about the twentieth century African-American experience. [b]Gem of the Ocean[/b]'s setting, Pittsburgh in 1904, is the earliest chronologically; it introduces characters referred to in the cycle's plays set in later decades. It paints a vivid historical picture of life in the post-Emancipation North that's as full of pain, joy, humor, and resonance as it is devoid of sentimentality, sanctimoniousness, or prejudice. More »
Who’s Your Dada?
By Clifton Lemon (Jun 12, 2013)
The first ten minutes of "Travesties", written by Tom Stoppard, is particularly disorienting, but in a way that turns out to make sense later (if that makes any sense). The main character, Henry Carr, an elderly, loquacious, senile English gentleman, rolls around on a stark stage in an antique wheelchair, dressed in a fez-like hat and richly embroidered robe, rambling on about his reminiscences of living in Zurich in 1917. More »
A Collaboration of Artists and Poets
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 14, 2013)
"Braided Lives" is a show of paintings and other artworks and the poetry they inspired, currently on exhibit at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. It's the result of intimate dialogs and collaboration between visual artists, mainly from Taos, New Mexico, and writers from various locations around the U.S. Originally a fundraiser organized by the Taos Chamber of Commerce in 2002, the show now appears in San Francisco. Painters and other artists were asked to select certain pieces that became the subjects of poems written by selected poets. Most of the artists and poets collaborated over the internet, sharing feedback and insights. More »
A Different View from the Middle East
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 14, 2013)
When was the last time you attended an art opening at a small independent gallery that included both uniformed and plainclothes security guards? At "Made in Palestine", an exhibit of Palestinian art now at the SomArts Gallery in San Francisco, they were there in force, a precaution against the controversy that the show has generated across the country. Were we in danger of attack by an anti-Palestinian extremist group? Could violence follow the art and the artists from Palestine and erupt in our fair city? It gave the event a strange and unsettling aura, and somehow magnified our awareness of the work. More »
at The Exploratorium
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 10, 2013)
This quirky show at San Francisco's exuberant Exploratorium is a special exhibition of over ten artworks made from stuff not normally associated with "fine" art, or with art at all for that matter -- things like styrofoam, carbon, duct tape, retreads, recycled plastic, mayonnaise jars and cupric sulfate, for starters. More »
Frolicking in the Fertile Fountain of Fabulousness
By Clifton Lemon (Mar 23, 2007)
So what are you wearing right now? Wait, let me guess: jeans, t- shirt, hoody, sneakers, mostly in dark shades. I know I’m right. That’s what we all wear in this country, the only difference in San Francisco is that everything’s usually in shades of gray or black. For a city that the rest of the country thinks is hip and cool (well, they used to think that at least) our collective fashion sense now seems to be located somewhere between Nihilistic Schlump and Generic Gap. What happened to our flamboyance, joie de vivre, and iconoclastic freedom? Vivienne Westwood wants to help. More »
Pliés with Ch'i
By Clifton Lemon (Mar 16, 2007)
In one of this superb works’ most simple and beautiful moments (and there are many such moments) Alonzo King delivers the goods straight up: two young men share the stage, each masters of radically different disciplines of motion, and the stark aesthetic contrast is as amazing as the joyful way in which they discover and explore the richness of their common ground. Western ballet as practiced by the LINES ballet, and martial arts as practiced by the Shaolin Monks could hardly be more different in their history and purpose, yet in this world premiere work, Mr. King manages to go far beyond a superficial East-meets-West juxtaposition. More »
Lost in Translation
By Clifton Lemon (Mar 05, 2007)
Federico García Lorca was by all accounts a complex, gifted, but deeply troubled character. Like Rimbaud and other hardcore romantics, his flamboyant and brief life (he was executed by Nationalist Fascist troops at the age of 38) still allowed him plenty of time to churn out enough poetry and plays to earn a spot in the pantheon of Western Art. More »
Exotification by Decoupage
By Clifton Lemon (Feb 30, 2007)
One of the key themes explored by this modest show of pieces by local Asian American artists it that of Asians themselves as the object of a fetish. Walk down the street anywhere in San Francisco or the Bay Area , and you’ll spot several instances of what are uncharitably referred to as “rice kings” (or queens) -- tall, handsome and rich white guys with Asian girlfriends (or boyfriends). This phenomena does excite strange emotions in otherwise fair-minded people... More »
Clifton Lemon's Articles
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