Arts & Events

New: Around & About Opera & Theater: Cinnabar's 'Marriage of Figaro' & Fringe Festival at Dominican University

By Ken Bullock
Saturday May 31, 2014 - 08:41:00 AM

Cinnabar was founded in the 70s as an arts center in an old stucco schoolhouse on a hill by the late Marvin Klebe, an American baritone with a career in Europe who wanted to come home, raise his family—and involve them and the community in arts education and performance. Cinnabar's still going strong today, with the artistic direction of Elly Lichenstein, Klebe's student and protége (who just won a lifetime achievement award from the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle), and management of Terence Keene, late of Berkeley Rep. -more-

New: San Francisco Film Festival Starts Thursday, Runs Through Weekend at the Castro

By Justin De Freitas
Wednesday May 28, 2014 - 09:14:00 AM
The Parson's Widow

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival starts Thursday night and runs through Sunday night at the Castro Theater.

Far from the ragged, blurry images of the popular imagination, the silent era of filmmaking was an age of discovery, innovation, and supreme achievement by pioneers working in a new medium. Motion pictures, at first treated as a mere novelty, came of age as an art form between 1910 and 1920, growing from brief, flickering diversions into full-scale narratives. And in the 1920s, the silent era's final decade, cinema truly blossomed as it gained in sophistication and artistry. In those early years, film—despite the tiredness of the cliché—was a new and universal language, relying almost exclusively on image and motion to convey plot and meaning.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival showcases the breadth and depth of this first golden age of cinema, presenting the full range of film treasures—from slapstick comedy to noir, from documentary to the avant garde—as it was meant to be seen: on the big screen, in a beautiful 1920s movie palace, and with live musical accompaniment. This year’s program begins Thursday night, May 29, at the Castro Theater with Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which not only features the famous tango that made Rudolph Valentino one of the biggest stars of the era, but honors the hundredth anniversary of the world war that provides the film's backdrop.

The festival continues all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, closing with a 9 p.m. Sunday screening of Buster Keaton's classic 1924 comedy, The Navigator. In between you'll find a wide range of films accompanied by an array of superb musicians that includes the British Film Institute's Stephen Horne, playing his unique blend of piano, flute, and accordion; the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra of Colorado, which replicates the sound of the small orchestras that performed for mid-size silent-era theaters; and the Matti Bye Ensemble of Sweden, which brings a more modern, experimental approach to the art of silent film accompaniment.

For more information or to order tickets, go to Tickets are $15-$20 per show, or $225 for a festival pass. The complete program is below. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley High Jazz Alumni Concert Honors Dr. Herb Wong June 1st

Saturday May 24, 2014 - 10:27:00 AM

Berkeley High Jazz Program alumni will honor the late Dr. Herb Wong, father of Berkeley School Jazz Programs, at the 3rd Annual Berkeley High School Jazz Alumni Concert on June 1st. Some of their finest musicians, spanning decades of Berkeley High Jazz, will celebrate his life. -more-

TWO THEATER REVIEWS: 'Over the Tavern' by Actors Ensemble at Live Oak Theater, 'The Crazed' by Central Works at the Berkeley City Club.

By Ken Bullock
Saturday May 24, 2014 - 10:18:00 AM

Two plays still in production, very different in subject and in style, but similar in that both contain a role that is, in many respects, the motor of the play—and both Berkeley productions found an ideal actor to cast in them. -more-

Los Angeles Opera Presents Plácido Domingo in a Spectacular Performance of Massenet’s THAIS

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday May 23, 2014 - 04:15:00 PM

Plácido Domingo has sung 144 different opera roles in the course of his long and illustrious career. Most of these, of course, were tenor roles, and Domingo is justly considered one of the present era’s greatest tenors. Since 2009, however, Domingo has begun singing baritone roles as well. On Saturday, May 17, 2014, Los Angeles Opera offered the opening night performance of Plácido Domingo in the baritone role of the Cenobite monk Athanael in Jules Massenet’s 1894 opera THAIS. Domingo’s performance in this meaty role was stupendous; and if Plácido Domingo had never been a tenor he might well be remembered as a great baritone. One might even be excused for saying that the role of Athanael in Massenet’s THAIS is perhaps Domingo’s role of a lifetime, so magnificent is his vocal and dramatic portrayal of this tormented monk. -more-

Around & About Theater, Dance, Opera & Music: Isadora's 137th Birthday Celebration; Mendocino Music Festival Preview at City Club; Jaime De Angulo Novella As Opera; Marion Faye's Theater Class

By Ken Bullock
Friday May 23, 2014 - 04:35:00 PM

--May 26th is the 137th anniversary of Isadora Duncan's birth in San Francisco. (She grew up in Oakland, taking her artistry and considerable influence in art, manners and fashion to the world while still young.) This year, as for the past 16, Mary Sano, the Bay Area's extraordinary exponent of Duncan Dancing in teaching, choreography and her own exquisite performances, will host a birthday party in her studio on the two days previous, next weekend. -more-

Press Release: Fayyad, Shalev, Kurtzer Kick Off J Street’s First National West Coast Summit

From Jessica Rosenblum, J-Street
Wednesday June 04, 2014 - 01:43:00 PM

SAN FRANCISCO--In his first U.S. appearance since resigning a year ago, former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will join former Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev and former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer to discuss an insiders’ view of Mideast diplomacy. -more-