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By Nirmala Nataraj (Nov 16, 2004)
The most rudimentary function of the Circus is to make googly-eyed children of us all. As we ooh and aah over the lithe, pixie-like performers, hold our breaths for death-defying feats, and split our sides laughing at preposterously zany antics, it's easy to recognize the appeal. The Circus is that most primeval playground of wonder, mixing up the ethereal and exotic with the familiar and favorite accoutrements of childhood. Montreal, Quebec's septuplet of performers, Les 7 Doigts de la Main (or more simply, 7 Fingers) hold the trump cards in their delightful restoration of that dormant sense of possibility…with a decidedly grown-up twist. More
By Nirmala Nataraj (Nov 16, 2004)
It's an airplane, it's a piece of furniture, it's a telephone - no, it's... well, we don't know exactly. The work in the Gregory Lind Gallery's new exhibit "Closer Than You Think" marks the collusive terrain of timeless fantasy, implied shapes, distorted topographies and optical illusions. This is the kind of art that brings to mind the scientific paradox of observation and calculation- an image is constantly in flux and the mere act of translating it from brain to canvas, canvas to spectator, indicates its appetite for change and motion. More
San Francisco's annual lit festival has gotten big, fast. Now a week long, it's filled with sponsors, panels, booze, music, film, and, oh yeah, lots of author readings.
By Alex Lash (Oct 2, 2004)
A good friend of mine has on his refrigerator door cartoonist Ted Rall's classic "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," in which young, healthy, cheerful, culturally sensitive San Franciscans browbeat a skeptic until he caves in and says, yes, he also loves The City. Stories about San Francisco's Litquake festival in the local press often remind me of the Rall cartoon, with breathless writers on the verge of exhorting us, too, to say it: "We're literary! We're literary! We're splendidly literary!" More
Back With a Vengeance
By susi levi-sanchez (Sep 18, 2004)
As I sat in the Curran Theatre on the opening night of Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance I felt the anticipation no other city could give the celebrated performer and provocateur. Two TestEdnarones, the Dame's glam boys, guarded the stage as Jan Wahl, Michael Tilson Thomas, various SF socialites and a parade of bejeweled Madames schmoozed in the audience. More
Equal Parts Naughty and Nice
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 10, 2004)
With the ushering-in of the Disney era nearly a century ago, the saccharine doppelgänger of the traditional fairy tale reared its golden head. Like an innocuous houseguest to its sinister innkeeper, these bowdlerized counterparts proved themselves directionless when it came to navigating the darker corridors of the psyche's abode. The variations, which remain true to their originals, always retain the nastiness of the cautionary parable -- full of cannibalism, tempestuous suitors, girls who fall by the wayside, and wicked stepsisters whose feet are chopped off. More
Innovative Musical Theater with Hipster Credentials
By Suzanne Kleid (Sep 4, 2004)
Based on a 19th century German tale, The Black Rider tells the story of Wilhelm, a clerk who will not be allowed to marry his love, Kathchen, unless he learns to hunt. Unable to kill anything except a vulture, he makes a deal with the devil: she gives him magic bullets that will kill anything he wants them to. More
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 18, 2004)
Poetry, especially in the slam and spoken word arenas, is changing the way we think about youth and, more importantly, the way youth think about life. The growing popularity of shows like HBO's Def Poetry and the emergence of a hip new faction of performers in the circuit have transformed the scene from an insular cache of one-note artists to a veritable hotbed of creative activity. Aside from a vital connection to hip-hop, urban art and political activism, performance poetry is amplified by the way it enables personal exploration and self-definition among young poets. More
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 18, 2004)
We are swiftly nearing that most dreaded "holiday" - the day the lovelorn hate. Yes, I mean Valentine's Day. If you're unhappily single or despondent over a failed romance, by all means, feel free to stay home and wallow over a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or a movie rental. But if you're among that rare ilk of hopeless romantics (dashed love affairs and whispered heartbreaks all) Jill Bourque's heart-spangled improv show, "How We First Met", might be right up your alley this season. More
Risk is This... The Cutting Ball New Play Festival
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 18, 2004)
Elaborate set designs, bizarre costumes, and actorly chicanery are all very nice, but there's a lot to be said for leaving something to the imagination. That's why I opt in favor of the reading, that magical act galvanized by the alchemy of storytelling. It makes me hearken back to those wondrous days when my mother would read me a bedtime tale and the story would gradually undergo gleeful interruptions and bizarre revisions. Being a child who was always inclined to make things up as I went along, I still believe the "what happens next" mentality isn't quite possible... More
Served With Perfect Proportions of Spice and Drama
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 18, 2004)
To my dismay, there aren't too many Cajun restaurants in the city that I can reference offhand when the craving for piping hot jambalaya, crawfish casserole and oyster touffee hits me every once in a while. You can imagine my pleasure on discovering that Okra, the newest play at the Brava Theater Center, serves up a walloping bowl of gumbo at the end of each performance. But it's not just the gumbo that sits well- everything in monologist Anne Galjour's latest dark comedy is evocative of a summer night by the steamy bayou, underneath lush bumbershoots of magnolia trees... More
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