Interview with Twyla Tharp

The first dance Twyla Tharp choreographed for her new modern dance company in 1965 was called, “Tank Dive.” Tharp walked out in a pair of heeled shoes and vigorously hurled a yo-yo toward the floor as Petula Clark’s pop hit, “Downtown,” began to play. According to her website, the title  ...

The Forbidden Room (2015)

    With “The Forbidden Room,” Guy Maddin, co-directing with his former student Evan Johnson, has managed to out-Maddin even his usual maniacal, evocative, psychosexual, non sequitur-laden style. The film opens with a guy in a bathrobe, Marv (Louis Negin), saying we’re going to talk about how to  ...

The Assassin (2015)

    “The Assassin” is exactly what you would expect from a Hou Hsaio-hsien wuxia film, if you ever expected a Hou Hsiao-hsien wuxia film at all – it’s not much fun. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have other merits. For one thing, it is one of  ...

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a global phenomenon. As well as being one of the most recognizable artists working today, he's famous for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government and in particular of its record on human rights. So great is his renown as a dissident, in fact, that in recent  ...

These Paper Bullets

    Here is the recipe: one part ersatz Shakespeare, one part ersatz Beatles, one part fake British accents. Bake for almost two and a half hours. Will you like it? I suppose that’s a matter of taste.   Rolin Jones has used “Much Ado About  ...

King Lear, Cal Shakes

Someone with nothing better to do once counted how many times the word “nothing” appears in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Having better things to do I have forgotten the total but it was a lot. All stemming from the protagonist’s early “Nothing can come of nothing,” in reply to his beloved  ...

The Princes of Kings Road

  Intense friendship derailed by jealousy and/or competition. It makes a good story. Most of us do not have to scratch very deeply to bring such a memory to mind. The two midcentury architectural icons, Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra shared such a story. Pals as architecture students in  ...

The World Goes Pop

Generally considered to be an Anglo-American phenomenon, Pop Art is most closely associated with artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, whose work offered a colourful and unconflicted commentary on modern commercial culture in screen prints of Campbell’s soup cans and oversized comic strips.   This major  ...

Luisa Miller, SF Opera

In an irony that surely makes the god Momus snicker, San Francisco Opera bestowed its Opera Medal for Artistic Excellence upon director/designer Francesca Zambello in the same week that her production of "Luisa Miller" limped in as the opener of the company's 93rd season. The show is a dud, with  ...