Arts & Events

Updated: “Remembrance of Things Proust” on THURSDAY at St. John's in Berkeley

By Larry Bensky
Saturday November 09, 2013 - 10:23:00 AM

In dozens, if not hundreds, of communities worldwide, including Berkeley, THURSDAY November 14 will be commemorated as a kind of “Proust Day.” It marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first volume, “Swann’s Way,” in Proust’s monumental 3,000 page epoch, “In Search of Lost Time.”

Proust had been writing what would eventually, after his death, be a seven-volume work of fiction for four years when he decided he had something publishable. Publishers did not agree. Frustrated, Proust, who came from a wealthy family, self-published, paying for a print run of about 2,000 copies himself.

The book was a modest success, and Proust had hoped to publish parts that he had to cut out (“Swann’s Way” was 527 pages…) in two more volumes immediately. But the outbreak of the First World War meant that resources used in printing – including the printers themselves – were largely diverted elsewhere. And it would be more than five years until “In Search of Lost Time’s” publication started again, with “Within a Budding Grove.” That book won France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt, and Proust’s worldwide renown was on its way.

In the years since, Proust (who died in 1922; the last three books were published posthumously) has become one of western fiction’s most iconic figures. The nature of memory, the effect of art on consciousness, the strengths and vanities of society, the conflicts among and between people and nations, are among the themes for which Proust is a point of reference.

Proust’s pages are interlaced with references to other arts –painting, architecture, writing – especially to music.

It is therefore especially fitting that we remember and commemorate Proust by presenting samples of the music he knew and loved – as well as a modern piece whose inspiration and structure he would have appreciated.

The Northern California Proust celebration will take place Thursday, November 14 at St.John’s Presbyterian Church , 2727 College Avenue, 7 p.m. Featured music includes pieces by Debussy, Faure, Saint-Saens, Chopin, and Schubert, as well as a modern piece by Eliot Carter, inspired by Proust. There will be blilingual readings from various Proust texts. Tickets at Mrs. Dalloway’s or University Press books, $10.

And, yes, there WILL be madeleines at the end! -more-

Goines and Friends poster show--important Hillside Club event

By Tim L. Hansen
Thursday November 07, 2013 - 10:17:00 PM

A lot of wonderful things happen at the Hillside Club. But every four or five years something truly out-of-ordinary happens. This weekend is one of those events. There will be a poster show with 8 poster artists, all showing their work. It will be an opportunity to see the "state of the art" of the poster and meet the artists. Posters tell us a lot about who we are as a people. They refect values and our natural history. The exhibit is free. I hope you will come and reflect. -more-

Around & About Music: Sonic Escape Trio at Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock
Thursday November 07, 2013 - 10:16:00 PM

Berkeley Chamber Performances will present the Sonic Escape Trio--Shawn Wyckoff, flute; Maria Millar, violin and Nan-Cheng Chen, cello--this Monday evening, 8 p. m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, near Dana, performing Ghost Ship by Maria Millar, Sounds of Scandinavia (traditional tunes, arranged by Millar & Wyckoff), a Japanese Folk Tune Medley, Millar's "take" on Bach (set in Ireland!), Bach's Air on the G String, Haydn's Divertissement No. 2 in G Major and Traditional American Tunes arranged by Millar. Sonic Escape Trio is "committed to devouring new sounds and pushing boundaries." A complimentary wine and cheese reception with the layers will follow the concert. $25, high school students free, post-high school students $12.50. 525-5211; -more-

Around & About Theater: Ancient Yakshagana Dance Drama

By Ken Bullock
Thursday November 07, 2013 - 10:13:00 PM

Something truly rare: Yakshagana Bay Area has announced a joint production, one day only, November 10 at 4-7 pm, Spangenberg Theatre, Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto, of a Yakshagana troupe, musicians and actors, from South India. This exhilarating ancient theatrical form, which bears resemblance to Kathakali in its use of music, dramatic and acrobatic dance and lavish costumes and make-up to tell epic mythic stories of gods and heroes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana (though in Yakshagana the actors improvise dialogue), has seldom been seen here--I've been to two excellent shows of different styles of it, one (at Mills College, dancer Martha Ashton involved with the production) was over thirty years ago, the other, also produced by Yagshagana Bay Area, was just last year in Woodside. -more-