Swan Lake

“It’s complicated,” Prince Siegfried (Joseph Walsh) might be inclined to confess, if asked to sum up his erotic inclinations. He celebrates his birthday while sharing a carousing bromance with his tutor, Wolfgang (Val Caniparoli), and appeasing his meddling Queen Mother  ...

The Women’s Balcony (2016)

My father broke with the religion of his birth, Judaism, when he was 14. Three factors drove his apostasy, two practical, one philosophical. During my grandfather’s Austrian childhood, a rabbi boxed his ear for an infraction of one of a  ...

Jerzy

Dissemble: (per the OED) Conceal or disguise one's true feelings or beliefs. Dissemble: A word I have never understood. Why not just say “lie”? In “Jerzy,” PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novelist Jerome Charyn bites off more than most of us  ...

Salome, a world premiere at San Francisco Ballet

An argument favoring bilingual education: When a child whose first language is not yet well-established is placed in a classroom where only English is spoken, the child develops “subtractive bilingualism,” making mastery of both languages difficult. Something along these  ...

Interview with playwright Lisa Loomer

In late February, I had a chance to sit down with playwright Lisa Loomer (“The Waiting Room,” “Girl Interrupted”) to discuss her play “Roe,” now at Berkeley Rep. My own experience with the political and practical history of winning and  ...

Must-See Balanchine

Stagers Bart Cook and Maria Calegari return as Balanchine Trust emissaries to transmit the particularities signaling George Balanchine’s momentous break with traditional classical ballet to another generation of dancers. In three works, “Stravinsky Violin Concerto,” “Prodigal Son,” and “Diamonds”  ...

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  ...