Un Ballo in Maschera, SF Opera

What better way to celebrate the birthday of Giuseppe Verdi than with his famous costume party? And so it was that I found myself on October 10 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House raising a metaphorical glass to the great composer’s 201st. “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked  ...

Joe Goode Performance Group

“He’s a good boy…Heeee zzza Goode boooboi…He’s a…” chants and slurs Melecio Estrella at the start of “29 Effeminate Gestures.” Estrella hits this angry mantra over and over as if it were a punching bag, until the sentence turns into a beat and the beat into rhythm, and the rhythm  ...

Bright Star, San Diego

Steve Martin once said: “When you’re playing the banjo, everything’s OK.” And that may be what ultimately saves “Bright Star.” Despite some pretty glaring deficiencies, the music is so good you almost don’t care about lyrics, dialogue or plot. This bluegrass fairytale just puts a smile on your face.  ...

Affluence, LA

Affluence is a major issue in American society today — a few people have a lot of it while a lot of people have none and probably never will — so it’s not surprising that some playwrights are drawn to the subject. In this play, Steven Peterson wonders what  ...

Choir Boy, LA

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to win a MacArthur genius grant? I mean, aside from the fact that a sweet stipend would come to you for five years, no questions asked, no forms to be filed, no annual review. How would the people around you —  ...

The Trip to Bountiful, LA

"The Trip to Bountiful" is an old-fashioned story mounted with old-fashioned style. Not that that is all bad. It is what passes as a classic in the 21st century. Horton Foote's first iteration of this memory tale was as a television drama in 1953. Quickly, he fleshed the story out  ...

Two Days, One Night (2014)

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have made many notable films from “La Promesse” to their Palme d’Or winners “Rosetta” and “L’Enfant,” but they had never worked with a movie star as big as Marion Cotillard until now with “Two Days, One Night.” The result is a tour de force on Cotillard’s  ...

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

  The movie’s title, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” refers to a natural phenomenon found in the Sils Maria municipality of Switzerland for which the fictional play within the film, “Maloja Snake,” is also named. Both titles designate the same thing, spectacular clouds that snake around mountains in the Swiss  ...