Arts & Events

Around & About Theater & Fine Art: Exhibit & Auction of Paintings of Noh Theater to Benefit Japanes Performing Arts, Earthquake-Tsunami Victims

By Ken Bullock
Friday November 04, 2011 - 03:25:00 PM

An exhibit and silent auction of paintings depicting the extraordinary costumed and masked performers of Noh theater, the Japanese classical dance-drama tragedy, by Hideki Noh and other painters will be held at Yoshi's, San Francisco, from noon till 4 this Sunday, featuring an address by Japanese Consul-General Hiroshi Inomata, commentary on the paintings by excellent Hosho School Noh actor Masayuki Fujii, choral music by the Forest Choir--including Ainu folksongs (the aboriginal people of Japan) and Buddhist sutras, and a Kyogen comedy--the complement to Noh tragedy, resembling Chaucer's tales in stylized movement--by Theatre of Yugen. Proceeds will go to the promotion of classical Japanese performing arts in America and to the Japanese Red Cross for earthquake and tsunami victims. -more-


Around & About Music: Berkeley Chamber Concerts presents SF Guitar Quartet

By Ken Bullock
Friday November 04, 2011 - 03:26:00 PM

The San Francisco Guitar Quartet--Mark Simons, David Duenas, Patrick O'Connell and John Mendle--will play Telemann's Concerto for Four Guitars, two mazurkas by Karol Szymanowski, Suite of Six Trios by Phillip Houghton, At the Sound by John Lennon andother contemporary pieces, 8 p. m. Tuesday, November 8 at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, followed by a wine and cheese reception to meet the artists. &12.50-$25. 525-5211 (Berkeley Chamber Concerts); 878-7800 (City Club parking & dining); berkeleychamberconcerts.org -more-


A Slew of Reviews: Plays Around & About Over the Past Couple of Weeks

By Ken Bullock
Sunday November 06, 2011 - 09:20:00 AM

Embassy, Central Works at the City Club; The Rep: How to Write a New Book for the Bible; Actors Ensemble: Doubt; Cal Performances presents John Malkovich in The Infernal Comedy and Toni Morrison's Desdemona;ACT stages Mamet's Race; Ragged Wing Ensemble's triumphant Inanna's Descent. -more-


The Standing Ovation: When is It Right?

By Richard Reynolds
Tuesday November 01, 2011 - 09:25:00 PM

We’ve all been there.

The concert ends, the applause begins. A well-dressed woman up front (the chair of the board?) stands up. The other board members see her standing, and they stand up too.

Other audience members see people in front standing up, and they begin to stand as well. The conductor or soloist bows to the audience and exits stage right. By the time she returns, most of the audience is standing.

This is all wrong.

It misses the point.

A standing-ovation performance is one in which you are so excited at the end that the only possible action is to leap to your feet. If you have to think about it, forget it. The performance doesn’t deserve a standing ovation.

Bay Area audiences are way too ready to rise to their feet at the end of a performance. I have, on occasion, given in to the crowd and joined in when everyone around me has risen to his or her feet, but I do so grudgingly, and if I saw nothing exceptional about the performance, I will remain seated.

Last Thursday, when Johannes Moser performed the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Berkeley Symphony, I didn’t have to think about it. Like most of the audience, I jumped to my feet before the last hair on his bow had snapped. Moser grabbed that concerto by the throat at the very beginning and never let go until he was finished. -more-


Around & About Music: A Note on the Berkeley Symphony

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday November 02, 2011 - 01:01:00 PM

Last week's opening concert for the Berkeley Symphony's new season--and Joana Carneiro's third season as music director here--saw two contemporary pieces premiere, one played by the composer in memory of Harry Weininger (Gabriela Lena Frank's Vendaval), the other with the composer present (Enrico Chapela's Li Po, for orchestra and electronic soundtrack, after Jose Juan Tablada's modernist poem about the 8th century Chinese poet), as well as extraordinary renditions of Brahms' Third Symphony, occasioning great ovations from the audience, and virtuoso cellist Johannes Moser featured as soloist in Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto, which was met with shouts and a prolonged standing ovation, as well as a Bach piece as encore by the energetic and genial Moser. -more-


Eye from the Aisle: Race, Rape, Truth, Mamet—90 compelling minutes at A.C.T.

By John A. McMullen II
Sunday October 30, 2011 - 12:31:00 PM
Anthony Fusco, Susan Heyward, Chris Butler, Kevin O’Rourke

About 20 years ago, I was walking with my girlfriend down 2nd Avenue in NYC. I looked up and saw “Final Preview Tonight --Mamet’s OLEANNA.” They had two tickets left. It was about a college professor opening up to his working class student in private, mandated lectures with an undercurrent of intimacy and her cataclysmic reaction. William Macy and Rebecca Pidgeon on a spare set with her husband’s inflammatory words. At the end of the play, couples were shrieking at one another in the lobby and into the street. -more-