Arts & Events

Around & About the Performing Arts

Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 02:54:00 PM

Music: Other Minds 16; Berkeley Western Edge Opera Carmen Fixation. Theater: Philip Kan Gotanda's new play, I Dream of Chang and Eng, premieres at UCB 


--"I went around with a tape recorder, got people to sing the 'Star-Spangled Banner,' then edited it in chunks. It's totally chaotic, never in the same key--or voice!" Hymn, a--very brief--1975 composition by Oakland's Anthony Gnazzo for the American Bicentennial, has been resurrected to open Other Minds 16 this Thursday evening, the festival of innovative modern and contemporary music co-founded by Charles Amirkhanian, and to celebrate the composer's 75th birthday, "even if he doesn't like it!" At least it'll get the audience to stand up, both Gnazzo and Amirkhanian intimated in separate statements. 

The festival will feature composers Louis Andriessen and Han Bennick from the Netherlands; guitarist I Wayan Balawan,Indonesia; Kyle Gann, Janice Giteck, David Jaffe and Jason Moran, all USA, and Agata Zubel from Poland. Bennick and Moran (a MacArthur Fellow) are well-known to jazz listeners. Players will include the Seattle Chamber Players, Del Sol String Quartet, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and instrumentalists like pianist (and KPFA personality) Sarah Cahill, singers like Italian soprano Cristina Zavalloni. Highlights include the premieres of commissioned pieces "The Space Between Us," by Jaffe, featuring the percussion instruments of the late composer Henry Brant played while suspended above the audience, which will be flanked by two chamber ensembles, and Moran's "Slang." 

Giteck's "Ishi," inspired by the "last of his tribe" Native American who spent his last days at UC Berkeley, will be accompanied by a film by Emiko Omori.Amirkhanian, artistic director of Other Minds--which got its name from an obituary for composer John Cage (" ... he composed music in other peoples' minds")--is well-known to KPFA listeners for the music programming he did for decades. Gnazzo, a kind of wry eminence grise--or at least a low-key local presence--was head of the Tape Music Center at Mills College in Oakland ("long retired and never recovered from it"), has been pressing oil of olives randomly fallen from his tree--Huile de Fortune--and engaged in other inventions with the Fratelli Sciatica. 

Other Minds 16, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p. m. (panel discussions at 7), Kanbar Hall, San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 3200 California Street (at Presidio), San Francisco. Tickets: $20-$40; festival passes: $51-$102. (415) 292-1200; * 

The Carmen Fixation, music director Jonathan Khuner's adaptation of Bizet's famous gypsy opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera's latest production, opens Saturday at 8, featuring Buffy Baggott as Carmen, Pedro Rodelas as Don Jose, Jillian Khuner as Micaela and Michael Taylor as Escamillo. Robert Ashens conducts; artistic director Mark Streshinsky both stage directed and designed the set. 

Saturday at 8, Wednesday (March 9) at 7:30, Friday the 11th at 8, Sunday the 13th at 2; Performing Arts Theater, 540 Ashbury Avenue, El Cerrito. Tickets: $15-$64, including student rush. 841-1903; 


Playwright and UCB Visiting Scholar Philip Kan Gotanda's I Dream of Chang and Eng, concerning the 19th century conjoined Southeast Asian brothers who became the original "Siamese Twins," who were exhibited around the world, and in the US by P. T Barnum (and written about by Mark Twain), will be premiered this Friday at 8, running March 4-13 at Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC campus, directed by Peter Glazer of the Theater, Dance and Performance Studies Department, where it was workshopped last year. A symposium, Conjoined Histories, concerning race, gender and popular performance, participants including the playwright and director, will be presented Friday, March 11, 1:30-6 p. m., Zellerbach Auditorium, free. Performances Friday and Saturday at 8, Sundays at 2, Zellerbach Playhouse. Tickets $10-$15. 642-8827;