Arts & Events

Architecture Review: Flashy Architecture and Bad Urbanism at the Berkeley Art Museum

By Charles Siegel
Sunday September 18, 2011 - 06:21:00 PM

The architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro have unveiled their design for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) on Oxford Street between Center and Addison. They were required to keep the old UC Printing Plant, and they have added a blob-shaped building coated with zinc.

The new addition is in the avant-gardist style that has been typical of museums since Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao in 1997. The Guggenheim looks like abstract art of the 1920s and is coated with titanium. It does not work very well as a museum - some visitors say it gives them vertigo - but it was so new, so different, and so shiny that it drew large numbers of gaping tourists to Bilbao.

Avant-garde architects are like teenagers who dye their hair purple to be different from everyone else, who consider themselves very original but obviously are just imitating the cool kids in their clique. Likewise, the designers of BAM/PFA consider its zinc facade very original but obviously are just imitating Gehry’s titanium.

The inept urbanism of BAM/PFA is much worse than its flashy “blobitecture.” Because the goal is to create a sculptural icon, this sort of design focuses on itself and ignores its urban context. -more-


Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Monday September 19, 2011 - 09:47:00 AM

Ah, yes, "the days grow short when you reach September" (Kurt Weill's beautiful "September Song", sung by Walter Huston in 1938.) So, while one "doesn't have time for the waiting game", we're happy to say that this September and October offers several memorable and very enjoyable events, as listed below: -more-


Theatre Review: Eye from the Aisle: A DELICATE BALANCE by Edward Albee--if your hair is gray, do not hesitate to get a ticket while they last.

by John A. McMullen II
Monday September 19, 2011 - 10:04:00 AM
Ken Grantham as Tobias and Jamie Jones as Claire.

The Aurora Theatre, in its commitment to a theatre of ideas and the eloquence in drama that explores them, has selected A DELICATE BALANCE by Edward Albee. -more-


Around & About Theater--Golden Thread Productions' Latest Middle Eastern Play; James Keller's Poor Players ...

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:54:00 AM

Golden Thread Productions, the Bay Area's Middle Eastern play company, whose ReOrient festival of short plays has graced Berkeley stages, will present their world premiere of Adriana Sevahn's Night Over Erzinga, September 15-October 9, at the Southside Theater, Magic Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, San Francisco--a story of those who escaped to America from the Armenian Genocide, haunted by the past, yet the survivors reunited with their ancestors, from Armenia 1913 to 1930s Massachusetts to New York in the 60s. Directed by Hafiz Karmali, who directed Island of Animals for Golden Thread and the Afghan Alliance a few years ago, with original music by Penka Kounava. Previews, Thursday (September 15) at 8:30, Friday-Saturday at 8: $20 advance or pay-what-you-can at the door. Opening night, Sunday at 5, $100 with gala reception following. 8:30 Thursdays, 8 on Friday, Sunday at 2: $28; Saturdays at 8: $36. (415) 345-7575; goldenthread.org (In November, Golden Thread presents Hafiz Karmali's Rumi X 7 with the Islamic Cultural Center in Downtown Oakland: seven stories from the great Persian poet and founder of the whirling dervishes, onstage in the ICCNC's Moorish Revival hall, dating from 1908. -more-


Around and About Music: Toledo, Morris, Philharmonia

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 09:12:00 AM

--Martha Toledo, singer from Juchitan on Mexico's Tehauantepec Peninsula, will return to La Pena Sunday at 7:30--after a free in-store appearance at Down Home Music in El Cerrito at 2--with guitarist Jose Roberto. Toledo, who is working on her third CD, is "a luminous presence," performing popular and original songs in Juchitan regalia (popularized by Frida Kahlo--Toledo performed at SF MoMA's Kahlo retrospective several years back). Berkeley filmmaker Maureen Gosling, who first met Toledo while working on her award-winning documentaries on Juchitan and its unusual women's culture, has brought Toledo, now resident of Oaxaca, to Berkeley twice before. -more-


Theater Review: Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance at the Aurora

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 10:27:00 AM

"I find most astonishing ... the belief that I may, very easily, as they say, lose my mind one day."

In an upper middle class Connecticut home, circa 1960-something, Agnes, very much in control, gives vent to her carefully delineated fantasy. -more-