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January Arts

Happy New Year of Arts

As the Bay Area rings in the New Year, there is a flurry of new theater, comedy, and gallery shows to complement the recent unsettled winter weather. Here are just a few of the highlights to whet your appetite:

January 6: Exploratorium After Dark: Chill
Exploratorium
Craving a little chill time before you head back into the post-holiday work grind? The perfect outlet for some much needed R&R, Exploratorium After Dark: Chill explores the art and science of relaxation. Learn how meditation can make your brain light up like a pinball machine of positive emotions, and the psychological and physiological benefits of slowing down and reducing stress. Calm your mental and visual senses with artist Mark Lotter’s new sculpture of lights or unwind watching renowned artist Joe Mangrum’s meditative process of creating an elaborate sand painting. Enjoy some yoga, listen to music, mellow out, and simply spend the evening chilling. http://www.sfstation.com/exploratorium-b355


January 12th to February 27th: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs / The Last Cargo Cult
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
It’s a one-man double header as monologist Mike Daisey delivers two new adventure stories on the state of our economy. Chock full of entertaining, humorous social critique, Daisey examines society’s “obsession with commerce.” The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs explores our love affair with the CEO of Apple, the devices we crave, and the human cost of creating them. The Last Cargo Cult parallels the tale of the collapsing world financial system while inhabitants of a remote South Pacific island worship America at the base of an erupting volcano. Performance dates vary, so be sure to check the website for the full schedule. http://www.sfstation.com/berkeley-repertory-theatre-b837


January 20th to February 13th: Clybourne Park
A.C.T.
Offering a fresh new spin on A Raisin in the Sun, writer Bruce Norris’ critically acclaimed comedy, Clybourne Park, makes its West Coast premiere at A.C.T. Director Jonathan Moscone directs this insightful and humorous tale of race and real estate in America. Set in Chicago during two different eras (1959 and 2009), the cast plays dual roles of past and present characters. In anticipation of the debate-triggering “squirm-inducing” subject matter, A.C.T. is adding Experts Talk Back, a new post-show discussion series on Thursdays following the 8 p.m. performance. Local experts will lead lively discussions on the show’s topics including race relationships and class, specifically focusing on their relevance to the Bay Area. http://www.sfstation.com/american-conservatory-theater-a-c-t-b835


January 21st to April 2nd: Isn’t It Obvious
San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery
Nothing is what it seems in San Francisco Arts Commission’s newest exhibition, Isn’t It Obvious? San Francisco Artists Consuming the Banal. Featuring work by Arthur/Allan, Matthew Kennedy, Kristina Lewis, Jasmin Lim, Daniel Nevers and Lindsey White, the artists reposition everyday, familiar subject matter in not so familiar ways. Highlights of this contemporary-art exhibit include reconfigured umbrellas as uniquely floating sculptures, iconic photographs observed through water, plastic bags, and computer monitors. This tongue-in-cheek humor of the obvious-turned-unobvious will certainly make you look — and then look again. http://www.sfstation.com/sf-art-commission-b374


January 25th to February 20th: Next to Normal
Curran Theatre
Honored with the 2009 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, Alice Ripley reprises her acclaimed Broadway performance in San Francisco’s Next to Normal. Portraying a manic-depressive mother, Ripley and her anything-but-normal family struggle to deal with the impact of her illness, trying to take care of themselves and each other. Directed by Michael Grief (Rent), this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical features contemporary scores and emotionally charged powerhouse performances. Be prepared for tears, tissues, and plot twists. http://www.sfstation.com/curran-theatre-b839


January 29th to February 13th: Giselle
War Memorial Opera House
From the here to the hereafter, San Francisco Ballet’s Giselle portrays the tale of a fragile peasant girl betrayed by her lover, her premature death, and her protection of him in the afterlife from evil female spirits. This critically acclaimed romantic ballet features beautiful choreography (Helgi Tomasson) and exquisite costumes and scenery. http://www.sfstation.com/war-memorial-opera-house-b11765