How to Be a Rock Critic

Two writers for the website Third Coast Review—Nancy Bishop and Karin McKie—went to see Erik Jensen’s one-man performance of the life and times of rock critic Lester Bangs. Nancy wrote the review and Karin added {comments}. This is what they thought. Amidst a sea of beer cans, pill  ...

Lucky Boy

“Lucky Boy,” by Berkeley-based writer Shanthi Sekaran, is two stories in one. Either of which, rich in prose and character development, would be worthy of being its own novel, but how much more satisfying with the merging of divergent accounts. At its core is a story of motherhood - that  ...

An Octoroon

From the opening minutes of “An Octoroon” when BJJ, the stand-in for author, MacArthur Fellow Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, appears on a blank stage in his underwear and announces that he is a black playwright, you know that you are in for an exciting theatrical experience. And then it  ...

Splendour

Four women wait in a luxurious yet austere room in an unnamed eastern European city waiting for an important man who may never arrive. This is the premise of “Splendour” by U.K.’s Abi Morgan (screenwriter of “Suffragette” and “The Iron Lady”), an intriguing glimpse into women’s relationships, the vagaries  ...

Ah, Wilderness!

"Ah, Wilderness!", Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy, is a charming, light-hearted play with an element foreign to most O’Neill scripts: a happy ending. The hero, teenaged Richard Miller (truthfully played by Niall Cunningham) is a young man who loves poetry and radical thought, and ends up winning the love  ...

brownsville song (b-side for tray)

Kimber Lee’s powerful and profound one-act drama, “brownsville song (b-side for tray)” takes an all too familiar headline of a young black man gunned down in his Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood and develops it into a relatable personal tragedy that left many in the audience teary-eyed, including this reviewer. Inspired by  ...

Charles Howard: A Margin of Chaos

An internationally known and respected artist during his lifetime, but somewhat overlooked and underestimated since his death, Charles Houghton Howard (1899-1978) is rightly celebrated in the first museum survey of his artistic work in over 70 years, entitled “Charles Howard: A Margin of Chaos.” The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific  ...

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2017

When I wrote an article on Jewish film festivals for Hadassah magazine 14 years ago, the San Francisco Jewish film festival was the oldest and the largest anywhere. Of course it's still the oldest; and--guess what?--it's still the largest. So, welcome to the 37th annual edition, to be  ...