Arts & Events

New: The 40th Anniversary American Indian Film Festival

Gar Smith
Saturday November 07, 2015 - 02:39:00 PM

November 6-13, 2015 at San Francisco's AMC Metreon

Gala 40 Dinner & AIFF Award Show on November 14, 2015 at Hotel Nikko

When most Americans think about movies, the images that typically come to mind involve romance, villainy, heroism, guns, explosions and car chases. Or course, we accept that commercial cinema serves up a world of escapist fantasy but we lack the cultural yardsticks to measure how far removed our movie-going experiences are from anything approaching an average life on planet Earth.

Take those car-chases, for example. In nearly every mainstream movie you expect to see someone driving a car. That's "normal." Well, nope, it's not. The truth is that 91 percent of the people living on this planet today do not and never will own a car.

It may also be true that 91 percent of the films the average movie lover sees in the course of a year do not constitute anything close to a realistic impersonation of the global human condition.

Fortunately, a good dose of remedial Big Screen therapy is headed our way as the American Indian Film Festival (AIFF) brightens Bay Area movies screens from November 6-13. The AIFF's eight-day run manages to include 95 works from Canada and the USA—an incredible selection of feature films, documentaries and 59 shorts (ranging from two to thirty minutes).


Music of Versailles at St. Mark’s Church in Berkeley

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 06, 2015 - 03:29:00 PM

In a program of French Baroque music, the local group Musa performed on Friday, October 30, in the series of Barefoot Chamber Concerts held in the Parish Hall of St. Mark’s Church in Berkeley. Following in the wake of American Bach Soloists’ mini-festival in August devoted to music of the court of Versailles, Musa tapped into the same repertoire featuring works by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean-Féry Rebel, Jacques Morel, and Jacques Duphly, all of whom were centered at Versailles during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV. Musa features Gretchen Claussen on viola da gamba and cello, Noémy Gagnon-Lafrenais on violin, Addi Liu on violin, Kim Mai Nguyen on viola, Frédéric Rosselet on cello, Derek Tam on harpsichord, and Anna Washburn on violin. -more-

San Francisco Symphony’s All-French Program

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 06, 2015 - 02:48:00 PM

Three French composers, a French conductor, and a French pianist are all featured in this week’s San Francisco Symphony program, with concerts Wednesday through Friday, November 4-6, at Davies Hall. Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts works by Georges Bizet, Maurice Ravel, and Camille Saint-Saens. Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is the soloist in Ravel’s remarkable Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand. This work, the highlight of Wednesday evening’s performance, was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, brother of the Viennese philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. While serving in the Austrian army in World War I, Paul Wittgenstein, a gifted pianist, was wounded and lost his right arm. Undaunted, he set about commissioning piano works for the left hand. He approached Ravel in 1929, and the French composer was delighted by the challenge. -more-