Frankenstein

Sparks flew at Friday evening’s San Francisco Ballet performance of Liam Scarlett’s “Frankentstein.” Unfortunately, they produced more light than heat. By the end of the co-commission with London’s Royal Ballet, quantity turned to quality, and Vitor Luiz’s jolie-laid rendering of  ...

I Am Not Your Negro (2017)

Raoul Peck takes a unique approach to documenting the meditations of the late Harlem-born author James Baldwin, who lived as an expatriate in Paris for most of his adult life. Peck gives thirty pages of the writer’s observations over to  ...

Diablo Ballet, “Body and Soul”

Diablo Ballet presented a program of four works. Two were pas deux excerpts, short in duration. The first of these was from Christopher Wheeldon’s “Mercurial Manoeuvres,” itself a bit of a maneuver within a maneuver, given the eleventh-hour  ...

The Salesman (2016)

Using the device of a play within a movie, Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) this time brings us a whodunit set in Tehran. A young couple, Emad Etesami (Shahab Hosseini), and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), are actors who play Willy  ...

San Francisco Ballet Program 2

At intermission after Alexei Ratmansky’s “Seven Sonatas,” I overheard a sleekly coiffed and outfitted Gen-Xer turn to her companion and say, “That reminded me of when I was a little girl and had a jewelry box with a ballerina on  ...

The Comedian (2016)

“I always thought of the joke as a superior way of telling the truth.”—Emily Nussbaum, “New Yorker,” January 23, 2017 Robert DeNiro plays Jackie Burke, the title role comedian who is the embodiment of all frustrations associated with his  ...

San Francisco Ballet Program 1

Jiri Bubencíek is one of those rare choreographers confident enough to set work on his dancers while in process. He draws inspiration from the particularity of each one’s body and how he or she moves. In making “Fragile Vessels,” he  ...

Fire at Sea (2016)

Lampedusa is a Mediterranean island midway between Sicily and the coast of Africa. Those who live there are fishermen of Italian extraction. Considering that their lives are only as secure as the next catch, life on Lampedusa is ordinary. The  ...

Elle (2016)

I once had a (Caucasian) roommate, who while offering up the details of her deflowering, reported that afterwards she dreamed that six Latino men dressed in sarapes and sombreros, ritualistically tethered her to a wooden cross to punish her for  ...

Luna Mexicana

It has been a good fifteen years since I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the inside of Oakland’s Paramount Theatre, a veritable monument to the Art Deco era. For me on this Day of the Dead evening, it rattles with  ...