Arts & Events

New: Playground gives homage to their new home with “The Potrero Nuevo Project”

John McMullen, ATCA
Wednesday February 15, 2017 - 10:53:00 PM

Playground has been an East Bay force for rising dramatists for several years. It is known for its Monday Night monthly presentations of 10 minutes plays at Berkeley Rep of a most interesting format (they send a word to the playwrights a few days to a week before and the play has to be on the topic of that word!).

They have thrived under the leadership of Jim Kleinmann, a Yale Drama MFA, who ran the Berkeley Symphony for several years (and kept them in the black). With his organizing and fundraising skills combined with a sharp aesthetic and leadership, Playground has flourished.

Playground has been presenting the best of their plays once a year over in San Francisco in the Potrero in what was the “Thick House” Theatre; however, that theatre company, like so many others, has gone under and disbanded. Playground refurbished the theatre, and is presenting there. -more-

Head to BAMPFA and Get Your "Hip" On!

Gar Smith
Monday February 13, 2017 - 04:23:00 PM

This week, the University of California's Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) unveils a new exhibition/film series devoted to the transformative art and revolutionary politics of the 1960s. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love," Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (February 8 through May 21, 2017) has assembled more than 400 pieces of Sixties ephemera—ranging from psychedelic posters and magazines to hand-made clothing and home movies—that capture the radical politics and flamboyant explosion of creativity that illuminated the advent of the "Counterculture."

A warning: if you are expecting lightshows and a soundtrack of Beatles music, please note: most of the artifacts on display involve printed matter—journals, mandalas, tracts, treatises, manifestos—so bring your reading classes.

There were, however, two creations on display that stood out—going well beyond the realm of two-dimensional print.


FILM REVIEW:I am not your Negro

Ian Berke
Saturday February 11, 2017 - 11:58:00 PM

Race in America is a tough persistent issue, and we often delude ourselves into thinking that we are progressing toward more inclusiveness and less racism. It took political courage for President Truman to integrate the armed forces in 1948, an act many never forgave. Martin Luther King famously stated that "the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And indeed it does... sometimes, as when the Brown vs Board of Education decision (1954) held that school segregation was unconstitutional. Then the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s gained ground, often at a heavy cost to those determined to bring racial equality into everyday life. I can remember being shocked In 1965, when in Army training in Louisiana, seeing, for the first time in a local laundry, big signs for “White” and “Colored” above each of the two front doors. And I remember stories from some of the black soldiers in my platoon that were equally shocking. Measured against that, and measured against eight years of a black president, we appear to have come a long way. Yet today the goal of true equality seems more distant than ever. Even with the protests of Black Lives Matter, we seem increasingly slipping backward, in every sense. Some historians felt that after Obama was first elected, we had become a post-racial society. Clearly such is not the case. -more-