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 ghosts of the Buena Vista Social Club, one of the  ...

The Last Tiger in Haiti

“The Last Tiger in Haiti,” a world premiere co-production between Berkeley Rep and the La Jolla Playhouse, was written by a talented newcomer, Jeff Augustin, who was born in Miami of Haitian parentage. He received his MFA in theater from UC San Diego just two years ago and has  ...

The Pearl Fishers, English National Opera

This is the third time I've seen Penny Woolcock's visually stunning production of The Pearl Fishers at the London Coliseum, and I still haven't got tired of it. English National Opera has brought its original showing of Bizet's less successful opera (first premiered in Théâtre Lyrique, 1863), compared to his  ...

Not So Silent Cinema

Even though it’s hard to imagine that F.W. Murnau’s 1922 film, "Nosferatu" actually scared audiences, it still remains a classic of the horror genre. Most of the thrills now are in its German expressionist cinema language which influenced generations of filmmakers. Fans filled the FringeArts Theater  ...

Seed Language: The Embodiment Project

"The Embodiment Project," directed by Nicole Klaymoon, brings together dancers, singers, actors and lecturers to focus on the very contemporary subject that “Black Lives Matter.” They are all exuberant performers, skilled in their craft and devoted to their subject. For this reviewer, however serious and even desperate the subject,  ...

The Great Liberation Upon Hearing

Ritual Exuberance Krissy Keefer, the director of Dance Brigade has staged “The Great Liberation…” at least twice since 1999. This time, with a cast of young, exuberant and very skilled dancers, it is celebrated in an hours (or so) with achievement and delight. “The Tibetan Book of the  ...

Paul Nash (Tate Britain)

How serious were the British about Modern art? When the first Post-Impressionist exhibition arrived in London in 1910, students at the Slade School of Art were banned from attending, for fear it would corrupt them, although of course they sneaked in anyway. This attitude was common  ...

Bruce Conner: It’s All True

This fascinating first retrospective of the diverse oeuvre of Bruce Conner (1933-2008) contains more than 250 objects in many media — painting, film, video, assemblage, drawing, collage, print, photography, photogram and performance, which were mostly created in San Francisco over 50 years. Conner was a unique artist, and from all  ...

The Hard Problem

Usually a Tom Stoppard play is an intellectual treat, but “The Hard Problem” is part treat and part treatment. Perhaps I over-anticipated the renowned playwright’s first new play in nine years since I’m such a fan of his work, particularly “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” “Arcadia,” “Shakespeare in  ...

Sweetbitter

Stephanie Dandler’s debut novel, "Sweetbitter," is a raw and gutsy romp through a year in the life of a young woman’s launch into a restaurant career in the food capital of the world. The 22-year-old heroine, Tess, has gladly departed her midwest roots in search of her true self  ...