‘VIATICUM’ AT LIVE OAK
Viaticum (The Carnal Table), on stage at Live Oak Theatre Thursday through Sunday, is described as “a tasty bit of hell” and subtitled “A Tragic Farce in Ten Fits,” like Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark. Author-director Helen Pau has served up a veritable platter of scenes, vignettes and monologues of the amusingly outré, on Kim A. Tolman’s extravagant set—part Gothic crypt, part king-size chessboard—where the aptly-named Strange family cavort and extemporize, becoming pirates, nuns, secret agents. Like a De Chirico painting, the vanishing point is infinity, and the motifs crowd together, helter-skelter. Features skydiver David Usner as paratrooper/adventurer Saul Strange at his “birthday party turned Last Supper,” with Michaela Greeley excellent as his astringent wife Jean. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday.
ED REED SINGS LOVE STORIES AT YOSHI’S
Ed Reed, jazz singer extraordinaire and a Richmond resident, will make his Yoshi’s debut at the Jack London Square club Wednesday evening, with shows at 8 p.m. ($12) and 10 p.m. ($6). The quartet backing him up will include the co-producers of his maiden CD, Ed Reed Sings Love Stories (samples at edreedsings.com). Berkeley High graduate and New York multi-instrumentalist Peck Allmond and radio personality-producer Bud Spangler on drums, as well as John Wiitala on bass (another album alumnus) and Matt Clark on piano.
“It’s Bud’s debut at Yoshi’s, too,” Reed said. “He’s been behind the scenes there for records he’s produced, but never playing onstage before.”
Reed’s CD, on his and his wife Diane’s label, has been getting airplay around the country, and Reed has been booked later this fall at the Jazz Standard in New York and for a benefit in Boston, headlined by George Benson. His standing gig has been Tuesday evenings (excepting tonight) at the Cheese Board pizza parlor on Shattuck in North Berkeley, where he and pianist Brian Cooke both bring in new material weekly, exploring the American songbook.
The Yoshi’s show, however, puts Reed in the premiere jazz room in the Bay Area. Well-known jazzwriter-musician Lee Hildebrand wrote Reed up last week in the Chronicle and “the phone’s been ringing ever since,” Reed said. “When I went to work at Kaiser [where Reed’s a counselor], everybody applauded! I’m excited about Yoshi’s. When I was growing up in L.A., I performed in the weekly talent shows at the Lincoln Theatre, where the comic used to come out with a big black gun and shoot you, if the audience didn’t like you. And I got shot a lot! They’d really jeer you. I’m glad I had that kind of rigorous apprenticeship—but Yoshi’s ... that’s got to be a step up!”