Romeo and Juliet, San Francisco Ballet

  The simplicity of the three-theme Prokofiev score can beguile us into believing that Helgi Tomasson’s “Romeo and Juliet,” running at warp speed to conclude before the accomplished musicians go on overtime, loses complexity, much in the way Cinderella does her glass slipper, as she scurries to her coach  ...

Side Man, Chicago

  The jazzmen sit on a sofa in a small New York apartment, transfixed by the image on the TV set. It’s September 1956 and Elvis Presley is playing his first gig on the Ed Sullivan Show. The trumpet players don’t know it at the time, of course, but  ...

Garrick Ohlsson, London

One hundred years to the day since the death of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, American pianist Garrick Ohlsson concluded his two-concert “Skryabin Focus” at London’s Wigmore Hall with a recital of works which spanned the final two decades of Scriabin’s life. It is hard to explain exactly what makes  ...

Swimmer, SF Ballet

“Swimmer,” the latest work by Yuri Possokhov, San Francisco Ballet’s choreographer in residence, looks more like dance theater than true ballet. In the style of Martha Clarke, the piece draws on the panoply of modern stage technology — projections, lighting effects, moving platforms — to relate scenes based roughly on  ...

I and You, LA

One thing you can count on with the Fountain Theatre, they never put on a really bad play or production. On the other hand, not everything they do is perfect, or a crowd-pleaser. "I and You" falls in the latter category. There is a lot to like, but not  ...

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

  Program C, performed during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual residency at Cal Berkeley, featured three dances first performed by the company in 2014. This program marked the increasing inclusion of guest choreographers, a few West Coast Premieres, and wrapped up predictably—sweetly--with their signature dance, “Revelations.” The most  ...

Iris (2014)

  Less is more, Mies van der Rohe's memorable dictum, must be anathema to Iris Apfel, the subject of documentarian Albert Maysles' final film before his death earlier this year. Like his other films--"Grey Gardens," "Gimme Shelter," and many more-- "Iris," filmed over a period of four years, is  ...

Head of Passes

We often wonder why tragedies occur, particularly when they affect good people. It’s a question as old as the story of Job or Jesus’s cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In "Head of Passes," playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, a 2013 MacArthur “genius” grantee, presents us with  ...

Between You, Me and the Lampshade

Family secrets and dreams are explored in Raul Castillo’s “Between You, Me and the Lampshade” in a world premiere being staged by Teatro Vista. Set in a barren area of Rio Grande County in south Texas, the play addresses immigration issues as well as family tensions. Jesse (beautifully played  ...