Arts & Events

Theater Review: Oleg Liptsin's Production of Beckett's 'Endgame

By Ken Bullock
Friday July 12, 2013 - 11:02:00 AM

"What else is there to keep me here?”... "The dialogue!"

Oleg Liptsin, the Bay Area's resident veteran of Russia's outstanding theater of the late 20th century, has produced a marvel—an intimate, remarkably original show of Samuel Beckett's masterpiece, 'Endgame,' billed as being in Laurel and Hardy style, even opening with the great comic pair's theme music, but more of wonderfully bittersweet comedy of the endlessly repeated encounter of a longwinded old master in his wheelchair, appropriately named Hamm(Greg Young), his skittering, ever-upright servant Clov (Liptsin)—and interruptions, asides by Hamm's captive parents (in adjoining dumpsters) Nagg (Phil Estrin) and Nell (Gale Bradley), as well as a few eruptions from the light booth and some well-chosen video footage, counterpoint to Hamm's drawn-out tale of acquiring a boy servant from a starving man—probably the young Clov, though Hamm's too coy to say. -more-

New: San Francisco Silent Film Festival Starts July 18

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday July 11, 2013 - 10:00:00 PM
Louise Brooks in Prix de Beauté.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents its annual summer event July 18–21 at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. This year's festival features a wide range of genres from an array of nations: Germany, Japan, Sweden, Bali, the USSR, the UK, Denmark, France, and America. -more-

I'm So Excited! Almodóvar at Cruising Altitude—
Opens at Berkeley's Rialto Elmwood theater on July 5.

By Gar Smith
Wednesday July 10, 2013 - 02:12:00 PM

Would I be the first to characterize Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar as the Gay Woody Allen?

The two directors have much in common. Like Allen's Midnight in Paris and From Rome with Love, Almodóvar's latest, I'm So Excited, is a travelogue filled with a dozen colorfully dysfunctional and self-absorbed characters who are thrown together by chance and spend more than an hour of screen-time furiously fussing and yammering at one another in a torrent of nonstop nuttiness.

With both Almodóvar and Allen, the fuel that propels the exercise is overtly sexual. In Allen's films the sexual tension is hetero-neurotic. In Almodóvar's films, the characters are unrepressed, gay, straight, bent and bi. In both cases, the result is a cinematic comedy of eros. If you need more proof that these two directors are twin souls, look no further than the tribute casting of Penelope Cruz as a constant in both director's work. And, like Woody's From Rome with Love (which features Cruz), Almodóvar's latest also includes a musical centerpiece.