Arts & Events

FILM REVIEW: Red Tails: May the Air Force Be With You

By Gar Smith
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:34:00 AM
A Red Tail Air Battle

There is a quick-and-easy way of describing Red Tails, George Lucas' new film about the Tuskegee Airmen: "Star Wars with propellers." Red Tails is a film to see and a film to support but it is not the film event it could have been. -more-

The Real Story of the Tuskegee Airmen

By Gar Smith
Friday February 17, 2012 - 12:29:00 PM
The Real Tuskegee Airmen

George Lucas' Red Tails is a serviceable introduction to the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen but a richer and more honest story can be found in Adam White's Red Tail Reborn, which was originally broadcast on PBS and is now available in a two-disk set that includes extended bonus interviews with a number of surviving "Red Tails." (, including Col. Charles McGee, a man who has flown more combat missions than any other American (409 missions; 6,100 hours in the air) and who — as the film shows, is still proudly flying. -more-


By Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2012 - 12:46:00 PM

Marvin X has been one of the great spokesmen of Black culture in the Bay Area—and the United States—for decades. Every time Amiri Baraka, one of the country's best-known poets and playwrights, comes here for a reading or talk, Marvin's always on the bill. His plays have been presented by different troupes around, lately—and notably—by Ayodele Nzinga's Lower Bottom Playaz in Oakland and at the San Francisco Arts Fair. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Central Works' 'Mesmeric Revelation' at the Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2012 - 02:09:00 PM

                  Joe Jordan as Franz Anton Mesmer and Theo Black as Antoine Lavoisier at Julia Morgan's "Little Castle" Berkeley City Club

Central Works is bringing back Aaron Henne, who wrote and directed that most interesting production, 'A Man's Home ... an ode to Kafka's Castle' for the company a little while ago. This time Henne and the Central Works team will open (after two days of previews) his 'Mesmeric Revelation' on Saturday, inspired by tales of Poe--but about an encounter between Lavoisier, "father of chemistry," and Dr. Mesmer, the first famous hypnotist, promoter of "Animal Magnetism." It could prove to be one of the more unusual shows of the year. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: 'In Search of My Father ... Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins'

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2012 - 02:03:00 PM

W. Allen Taylor performed the multi-character solo show he wrote, 'In Search of My Father ... Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins' in Berkeley, 2006, to critical acclaim and a Critics Circle award for best solo show. (My review was published in the Planet, now archived above: January 10, 2006). Now it's coming back—see below ... -more-