Arts & Events

Stagebridge Mounts New Play by Joan Holden at Berkeley's Ashby Stage, Opening Feb. 3

By John A. McMullen III
Friday January 20, 2012 - 05:10:00 PM

The year Reagan was elected, I saw my first SF Mime Troupe show, which was written by Joan Holden:Americans, or Last Tango In Huahuatenango, a musical comedy of tropical and topical intrigue. Little did we know what evil would lurk in the next 8 years in Central America.

A decade later—though I saw many more by Joan Holden in between—I saw Back To Normal, in which a mother does not cheer when her son comes home from the two week bombing raid we called the Gulf War. In retrospect that work augured more war evil to come in the decade to follow.

Whether or not she has a touch of the Sybil or can just read the writing on the wall a decade in advance, Joan Holden, whose latest play opens in Berkeley at the Ashby Stage on February 3, has been a force in the theater and, as principal playwright, was a significant reason why the Mime Troupe garnered a Tony for Best Regional Theater. -more-

Around & About Chamber Music: The Israeli Chamber Project at the Berkeley City Club, Tuesday January 24

By Ken Bullock
Sunday January 22, 2012 - 03:47:00 PM

The Israeli Chamber Project--Tibi Cziger, clarinet; Michael Korman, cello; Sivan Magen, harp; Assaff Weisman, piano; Itamar Zorman, violin--will play Bartok's 'Contrasts'; Brahms' Clarinet Trio in A minor, Opus 114; Paul Ben Haim's 3 Songs Without Words for Harp & Clarinet; Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor; and Sebastian Courier, Night Time for Harp & Violin, at 8 pm, Tuesday, January 24, Berkeley City Club, 2135 Durant. $12.50 (post-high school students), $25 general, students high school & below, free. 525-5211;

Around & About: The Edwardian Ball

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday January 18, 2012 - 10:20:00 AM

Long a San Francisco and Bay Area tradition, costume balls and masquerades have often been an integral part of theatrical events, like the SF Opera's Black & White Ball. -more-

Clerestory 'Resolutions'--Choral Music for the New Year

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday January 17, 2012 - 11:18:00 PM

Clerestory, men's choral group--the name comes from "clear cathedral windows that let in sunlight" (Middle English, clear + story)--opens its New Year Bay Area concerts with 'Resolutions,' "A kaleidoscope of favorites" of the group's first five years, from early Renaissance through English choral music to modern American composers (including Eric Banks, Paul Crabtree and Steven Sametz), this Saturday evening at 8 at the Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Other Bay Area concerts follow, concluding with a Sunday matinee on the 29th in San Francisco, presented by the Noe Valley Chamber Music series. -more-

Theater Review: Ghost Light at the Berkeley Rep

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday January 17, 2012 - 05:55:00 PM

"What kind of son internalizes that curse? If we solve the ghost, we solve the play."

A 14 year old boy watches color TV onstage ... sitcoms of the 70s: Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show ... An interruption, and close-up of a young Dianne Feinstein, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, announcing Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot—and that the suspect is Supervisor Dan White

The boy leaps up. He's Moscone's son Jonathan, the dead mayor's youngest child.

The date is November 27, 1978. -more-

Addiction Incorporated: The Other Insider
Opens January 20 at the Shattuck Cinemas

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Tuesday January 17, 2012 - 05:50:00 PM
Director Chris Evans, Jr. and whistle-blower Victor DeNoble

In the 1999 movie, The Insider, Russell Crowe starred as Jeff Wigand, a former tobacco industry researcher for Brown & Williams, who dares to reveal the dangers of nicotine to Berkeley-based 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman.

This week, Berkeley-grad Charles Evans Jr.,'s Addiction Incorporated hits the Big Screen to tell a parallel story of Philip Morris researcher Victor DeNoble, the whistleblower whose revelations triggered the Congressional hearings and class action lawsuits that forever tarred the reputation of Big Tobacco. -more-

Around & About Theater: Community Theater Openings—Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, Masquers Playhouse, Altarena Playhouse

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday January 18, 2012 - 10:16:00 AM

A big weekend for local community theaters--three will open new shows on the 20th: -more-