Gidion’s Knot, Berkeley

“Gidion’s Knot,” Johnna Adams’ astonishing two-character play, rivets the audience as it explores vital societal issues — children’s free expression and its limits, cyber-bullying and parental versus society’s rights. As you enter the theatre, you find yourself in a typical 5th grade classroom, complete in every detail, thanks to  ...

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, LA

      It is not possible to write a review of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" without invoking the ghost of Anton Chekhov. Lest one be tempted, within the program playwright Christopher Durang provides a seven-part chronicle of his own lifetime "Chekhov Encounter(s)." Yet  ...

Bailey’s Stardust

  The National Portrait Gallery’s blockbuster spring exhibition is a landmark show focusing on the work of British photographer David Bailey. Featuring over 300 images, personally selected, printed and curated by Bailey himself, the exhibition offers a sumptuous survey of the work of one of the world’s greatest image  ...

Hir, SF

Move over George Bernard Shaw! There’s a new kind of war between the sexes being waged in the weird world of performer/singer/songwriter/playwright Taylor Mac (“The Lily’s Revenge”). And not just the same old two sexes that Noah ushered onto his Ark, if you please. Max, a teenager in transition in  ...

The Monuments Men

            I understand why George Clooney would have been intrigued with filming “The Monuments Men.” In a dramatic, yet true, World War II episode, eleven museum directors, art curators, and art historians voluntarily joined the Army to save millions  ...

Mother Courage and Her Children, Washington, DC

Masterful, magnetic, and entertaining best describe the outstanding performance seen Feb. 6 by stage and screen star Kathleen Turner in the uniquely engaging Arena Stage production of Bertolt Brecht’s masterpiece “Mother Courage and Her Children.” With lines like “No one ever started a revolution sitting down” and “War is like  ...

The House That Will Not Stand, Berkeley

Slavery, freedom, power, the position of women, racial inequality, degrees of color — so many serious subjects come up in Marcus Gardley’s uneven “The House That Will Not Stand.” But, for some reason, the Bay Area native, now a New York up-and-comer, chose to write it funny. The laughs —  ...

‘Hockney, Printmaker,’ London

In a leafy, affluent enclave of southeast London is Dulwich Picture Gallery. Designed by regency architect Sir John Soane (who also designed the Bank of England), this was the country’s first public art gallery. Founded in 1811, it is home to one of the finest collections of Old Masters in  ...

Bethany, San Diego

There is an emerging genre describing the economic downturn that began in late 2008 and continues today. Mass layoffs, foreclosures, the dystopian trajectory of the banking crisis — we are reliving these nightmares in fiction. Add "Bethany" to the list. Set in a hopeless any-suburb in early 2009, "Bethany"  ...

A Day Trip to Carmel

A relatively quick and easy drive from the San Francisco Bay Area is Carmel, a quintessential charming California town, with definite hints of affluence. Although Carmel is sleepy in comparison to nearby Monterey and the Bay Area, it still has much to offer in the way of a day trip  ...