Arts & Events

Keeping It Wild: The San Francisco Green Film Festival

Gar Smith
Wednesday April 13, 2016 - 12:36:00 PM

Various SF and Berkeley screenings from April 14 - 20, 2016

San Francisco's Green Film Festival is back with its sixth annual selection of illuminating environmental cinema. This year, the Festival's theme is "Keep It Wild" and the SFGFF delivers with 70 internationally acclaimed films and screening venues that span the Bay, from SF to Berkeley.

The Festival has attracted more than 90 filmmakers and guest speakers who will be on hand to reflect on pressing environmental issues and solutions. According to the festival organizers, "Audiences will be inspired to move beyond their theatre seats, with tangible ideas and connections to take positive environmental action."

There are far too many films to write about. Some highlights follow. A complete calendar of screenings can be found online here.


New: A Profoundly Moving DAS LIED VON DER ERDE

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday April 13, 2016 - 12:31:00 PM

“A symphony in songs” is how Gustave Mahler once described what would have been his ninth symphony, a numerical designation he superstitiously avoided, calling this work Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). In 1907-8, Mahler had only recently seen his four-and-a-half year-old daughter die, and he himself had been diagnosed with a severe heart condition. Thus, he turned to a collection of German translations of 8th century Chinese poems, all dealing with earthly pleasures mingled with the melancholy of human mortality. Mahler chose six of these poems and set them to music, summoning all he had learned in composing his previous symphonies and song-cycles. Thus, Das Lied von der Erde achieves an almost miraculous condensation of Mahler’s unique musical sensibility, his sardonic laughter in the face of emotional pain and loneliness. Alas, Mahler did not live to hear this work; it premiered in Munich under Bruno Walter on November 20, 1911, six months after Mahler’s death. -more-

Too Late: A Wild Who-Dunnit Filmed in Just Five Scenes

Gar Smith
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:33:00 PM

Opens at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in San Francisco, April 8

Eat your heart out, Quentin Tarantino!

Put a bird on it, Alejandro González Iñárritu!

There's a new film on the horizon that combines the Tarantino's crazed character studies with Iñárritu's sweeping cinematic bravado. It's a film like no other.

Too Late is a film noir set in Los Angeles. But given that it's a blood-garnished detective tale shot in Technicolor rather than black-and-white, let's agree to call it a film rouge.

Too Late, director/screenwriter Dennis Hauck's debut film makes movie history.

Hauck admits the film began as a stunt; a directing challenge. Even before the script was written, Hauck had a "what if?" moment. What if you shot a complete feature length film without a single edit? Could it be done? (The average feature has 5,000 edits.)


SF Conservatory of Music Does DON GIOVANNI

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:48:00 PM

In two performances, Friday, April 1, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, April 3, at 2:00 pm, San Francisco Conservatory of Music presented Mozart’s great opera Don Giovanni. Casts were the same for both performances, and both were led by conductor Scott Sandmeier. I attended Sunday’s matinee and was delighted by the overall strength of the singing, but especially by the outstanding vocalism of soprano Evelyn Shreve as Donna Anna. Shreve’s limpid tone, clear diction, and admirable technique wrought majestic moments of coloratura singing in the role of the woman who, sexually assaulted by Don Giovanni in the opening minutes of the opera, then spends the rest of the opera crying out for vengeance. Of course, Donna Anna also devotes considerable time to fobbing off the insistent demands of her fiancé, Don Ottavio, that they marry as soon as possible. In most Don Giovanni productions I’ve seen, Don Ottavio is the weak link among the opera’s characters, but not here. Tenor Kevin Kyle Gino was a strong, utterly determined Ottavio, and his famous aria “dalla sua pace la mia dipende (“on your peace my own depends”) was beautifully sung. In this production, unlike most, the strongest point was the pairing of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, both brilliantly sung here by Evelyn Shreve and Kevin Kyle Gino. -more-

Dogtown Redemption:Two Special East Bay screenings at Oakland's New Parkway Theater

Gar Smith
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:42:00 PM

Saturday, April 9 at 3 PM; Sunday April 10 at 1 PM.

Dogtown Redemption is a remarkable documentary that offers a gritty yet intimate portrayal of a group of social outcasts usually dismissed as "poachers"—those nameless individuals glimpsed, if at all, on the margins of the urban landscape.

Most people look away when a poacher is at work. Some react with anger and threaten to call the police. Only a few would take time to get to know these people. Dogtown Redemption takes us down the third path, revealing the common humanity of these "disposable" people—the lowest members of urban society—poor, afflicted, suffering and homeless. This film takes us deep inside the rambunctious world of these feral entrepreneurs who stalk the back allies of the dumpster-diving/shopping-cart economy.

Dogtown Redemption deals both with the process of redeeming bottles and cans for cash but also focuses on the redemption of lives and souls. In its latter half, the film becomes a wrenching emotional experience. But hang on: the anguish will be balanced by moments of transcendence. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Modern Times Theatre Co. of Toronto Performing Bahram Beyzaie's 'The Death of the King' at ODC in San Francisco

Ken Bullock
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:37:00 PM

A theatrical event of the first magnitude: Modern Times, the critically acclaimed theater troupe from Toronto , will perform the great Iranian playwright and pioneer filmmaker Bahram Beyzaie's masterpiece 'The Death of the King' ('The Death of Yazdgerd') in a translation by Modern Times director Soheil Parsa next week for seven performances at the ODC Theater, 3153 -17th Street (at Shotwell, near South Van Ness), Wednesday April 13 through Sunday the 17th, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with 2 p. m. matinees Saturday and Sunday, and a 5 p. m. evening show Sunday. -more-

Around & About--Music: Gil Shaham Plays Bach's Complete Solo Violin Works to David Michalek's Films at Zellerbach Thursday April 14

Ken Bullock
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:31:00 PM

Renowned violinist Gil Shaham will perform J. S. Bach's complete solo violin works, six sonatas and partitas (BWV 1001-06), to films by photographer and videographer David Michalek, 8 p. m. Thursday April 14 at Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC campus, a program co-commissioned by CalPerformances as part of the Berkeley RADICAL series. -more-

Meetings and Events for Berkeley:Week of April 11 – April 17, 2016

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday April 10, 2016 - 03:01:00 PM

Monday, April 11, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, Agenda Committee, 2180 Milvia 6th floor. Agenda link: Planning for April 26 City Council worksession and regular meeting, complete packet 162 pages

Tuesday, April 12 – no announced city meetings

Wednesday, April 13, 7:009:00 pm, Police Review Commission, 2939 Ellis Street, South Berkeley Senior Center, 5:30 pm Subcommittee on crowd control, Agenda link:

Wednesday, April 13, 7:00 – 10:00 pm, Homelessness Commission, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda highlights: Storage personal belongings, Funding Berkeley Food and Housing Project, rental subsidies, appointment to Human Welfare and Community Action Commission, Tiny House, YEAH, Agenda Link:

Thursday, April 14, 7:00 – 11:30 pm, Zoning Adjustment Board (ZAB) 2134 MLK Jr. Way, City Council Chambers, all listed are new hearings with staff recommending approval for all

· 2597 Telegraph – 4 story 10 unit townhouse, new for ZAB, reviewed by DRC, on consent,

· 2700 Bancroft – new wireless facility, on consent,

· 2424 Warring – Frat house, modify lawful group living increase bedrooms from 33 to 35, add roof deck, letter opposing roof deck, noise, loud parties,

· 2367 Shattuck – change use from former pool hall to full restaurant, bar, live entertainment, waive parking for 2nd floor construction, letter of concern about parking demand.

· 1950 Addison – demolish 2 story office building, construct 7 story, 107 unit housing, 68 parking, 75 bicycle, 1912 Addison requests modification of plans, increased setback with green space between buildings, 1912 is small 2 story building with 20 studio apt,

Agenda Link:

Friday, April 15, 9:00 am, Harold Way lawsuits, Case Management Conference with Judge Frank Roesch, 1221 Oak Street, Administration Building, 3rd Floor Department 24, expect schedule for 2211 Harold Way lawsuits to be set, open to public

Saturday, April 16, 9:30 am12:30 pm, City Sponsored Adeline Corridor: Creating a Community Vision, 2939 Ellis Street, South Berkeley Senior Center, Complete Streets 101: Placemaking, Mobility, Parking, Agenda link: