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  ...

La Emi–Flamenco in Santa Fe

    Every little girl should have a chance to stomp. Emmy Grimm, known onstage as “La Emi,” has been dancing flamenco since she was 3. Her mentor is Maria Benitez, an internationally known powerhouse of a dancer, now retired from the stage, who has been passing along  ...

Sweeney Todd, SF Opera

I must confess I have always preferred my horror on an intimate scale. That means a television set rather than a multiplex and, most particularly, Stephen Sondheim’s macabre masterwork, “Sweeney Todd,” as a chamber opera, rather than a Broadway musical. Some of the best outings of this 1979 multi-Tony Award-winning  ...

Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci

For the opening of its 30th anniversary season, the LA Opera has turned to Hollywood for a 2 hour and 40 minute double bill: Woody Allen's production of "Gianni Schicchi" and Franco Zeffirelli's "Pagliacci." The Chandler was packed for opening night, long gowns in profusion, and the crowd justifiably primed  ...

Art at Stanford University:

  The day was warm and the campus was quiet when my aunt and I toured two neighboring, but vastly dissimilar, art museums at Stanford University. We were there primarily to see the two new exciting acquisitions at the Cantor Arts Center, “Richard Diebenkorn: The Sketchbooks Revealed,” and Edward  ...