Arts & Events

I Saw the Light: A Brilliant Performance

Gar Smith
Friday April 01, 2016 - 01:06:00 PM

Opens April 1 at the Elmwood in Berkeley

Hank Williams remains the quintessential American country-western superstar. Both a singer and composer, his genius with a lyric and his charisma as a performer had an entire generation singing along to a steady parade of unforgettable Hank Williams tunes. He was so prolific that even after his death on New Year's Day 1953, his music continued to light up the Hit Parade. During his tempestuous, alcohol-fueled, pill-popping career he turned out 33 hit singles. Thirty reached the top 10 and eight reached number one. Even after his death, seven posthumous compositions landed in the Top Ten and three went all the way to number one.

So it's not surprising that someone would want to make a film about this dirt-poor boy poet from Mount Olive, Alabama. But who would imagine that Hank Williams would come to life on the screen in a portrayal by a British actor. (Can you imagine an American actor traveling to London to assume the title role in a biopic about John Lennon or Sir Elton John?) -more-

Press Release: Social Change Exhibit Reception on April 2

From Marcia Poole
Friday April 01, 2016 - 09:42:00 AM

Visit downtown Oakland's historic neighborhood for an Artists' Reception of the poignant exhibit, Social Change. The work displayed is from three well-known Northern Californian digital artists: Marcia Poole addresses fracking; Pearl Jones-Trantor shows the slow disintegration of Mare Island Naval base; and Daniel Lippincott witnesses the changes in nature. These artists are also social and political activists in Berkeley, Vallejo and Oakland, so they convey their messages in deeply felt ways. Take in the art scene in Oakland and feast at the 817 Cafe - April 2nd, 1-3 PM. -more-

Marguerite: Hold Your Ears and Open Your Heart

Gar Smith
Friday April 01, 2016 - 01:52:00 PM

Opens April 1 at the Albany Twin

April is shaping up to be Music Month on the big screen with biopics about Miles Davis (Don Cheadle starring in and directing Miles Ahead), Hank Williams (I Saw the Light), and The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music.

And then there is Marguerite, a heart-rending—and eardrum-rending—send-up of French baroness Marguerite Dumont—an astonishingly tone-deaf music lover and would-be diva.

Of necessity, the film begins with that familiar statement: "Based on a true story."

This imprint is necessary because the story otherwise might not seem credible.

The film takes place in the 1920s, mostly at the palatial Dumont mansion located outside Paris. Marguerite is a baroness by virtue of her marriage to George Dumont (Andre Marcon), a dogged but distracted government official. An extremely wealthy woman who loves all things operatic, Marguerite is known for sponsoring elaborate musical performances to entertain well-heeled society swells in her stately mansion. And she also delights in serenading the crowds herself. But there is a problem: one that Marguerite's friends are either too kind—or too mean— to point out. Mme. Dumont cannot carry a tune. -more-