Shostakovich Trilogy, SF Ballet

When San Francisco Ballet undertook “Shostakovich Trilogy” in 2014, many observers held their breath. Could the company pull off this evening-length work by in-demand choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, the artist-in-residence at American Ballet Theater (which got to premiere the piece, even though it was a co-production with SF Ballet), with its  ...

Veep, Season Four

HBO’s award-winning “Veep” has reached new heights of political fun and games in the upcoming fourth season. The fabulous creative team and cast capitalizes on many clever new plot devices and developments when Veep Selina Mayer (brilliant Julia Louis-Dreyfus) finds herself president after her predecessor stepped down. Plus, she is  ...

The White Snake, San Diego

Combine an ancient Chinese fable with a MacArthur “genius” director and the result is an enchanting, eye-popping night of theater that seamlessly combines text with compelling performances, sumptuous costumes, live music, a touch of whimsy, and production values the likes of which you have never seen. “The White Snake”  ...

Travesties

The first time I saw a Tom Stoppard play was on my first trip to London in 1981. We saw a production of “On the Razzle,” adapted from an 1842 Austrian farce that also inspired Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker.” (Going “on the razzle” is an English term for drinking and  ...

Alonzo King LINES Ballet

  Alonzo King’s world premiere of “Biophony,” which is inspired by archival recordings of animals and sonic imprints of natural habitats, just happened to follow last week’s Meredith Monk performance of “On Behalf of Nature”. With both come an awe-inspiring appreciation and humility along with an underlying grief.   How  ...

SOUTH-BY WRAP-UP

  I've already discussed my Top 5 favorite films of SXSW 2015 (and five notable shorts), so before we look ahead to 2016, here are some final highlights from (and thoughts on) the festival just past. 1. SXSW 2015 Festival Winners This year's Grand Jury  ...

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

  "She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry" is a new film documentary that takes us back to the early days of the women’s liberation movement in 1966-71. The film reminds us of how many gains we made back then, how much we’ve lost recently, and how much is still to  ...

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble

For a long time, vocal genius, movement economist and visionary, Meredith Monk has had one foot in a very ancient past and one foot in a very now future. While this expansive reach could cause a neurosis in some artists, it makes Monk whole and refreshingly authentic. With “On Behalf  ...

The Marriage of Figaro, LA Opera

What is not to like about Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro"? Not much. When skillfully executed, the music is Mozart at his liveliest. The story is a convoluted farce with overtones of the conflict between the classes and the eternal battle of the sexes told with charm, giving the cast an  ...

Five Shorts from SXSW 2015

  Feature films get most of the hype, but a tightly focused short can often be as much of a satisfying cinematic experience (with far less filler) than a full-length movie. Exhibit A: the following five gems from "South by Southwest's" 2015's documentary shorts program, all of which are  ...