Arts & Events

New: Takács Quartet Opens A Beethoven Cycle at Hertz Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday October 18, 2016 - 11:18:00 AM

On Saturday-Sunday, October 15-16, the Takács Quartet, now in its 41st year as an ensemble, opened a cycle of Beethoven’s complete string quartets under the aegis of Cal Performances at Hertz Hall. Plaudits to Cal Performances for scheduling these concerts in Hertz Hall and not Zellerbach Hall. One of my most disappointing musical experiences was hearing the Takács Quartet perform Beethoven’s Op. 130 Quartet in 2014 from a seat two-thirds of the way back in cavernous Zellerbach Hall, where the sound was thin and totally lacking in both warmth and immediacy. In reviewing that regrettable experience, I stated emphatically that chamber music concerts should not be held in Zellerbach Hall. I don’t know, of course, if my insistence on this point, which I restated in subsequent reviews of chamber music concerts held in smaller, more intimate venues, did any good; but it is certainly gratifying to hear the excellent Takács Quartet in the lively and intimate acoustic space of Hertz Hall. -more-

New: Around and About: Trio Brillante at Berkeley Chamber Performances on Tuesday

Ken Bullock
Saturday October 15, 2016 - 03:45:00 PM

Trio Brillante--Betty Woo, piano; Emily Onderdonk, viola and Tom Rose, clarinet--will perform next Tuesday, October 18, 8.p. m.,for Berkeley Chamber Performances at the ballroom of the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, between Dana and Ellsworth. -more-

New: Around & About--Theater, Dance: 'Kathakali Ramayana in Berkeley' Monday through Wednesday at Hillside Club

Ken Bullock
Saturday October 15, 2016 - 03:41:00 PM

A remarkable, highly unusual performing arts event at the beginning of the week, at 8 p. m. Monday through Wednesday October 17-19, in the wonderful rustic intimacy of Berkeley's Hillside Club: 'Kathakali Ramayana in Berkeley,' with Kalamandalam Manoj in performance, presented by Graeme and Eve Vanderstoel, co-sponsored by SACHI. -more-

Command and Control: How a Socket Wrench and a Nuclear Missile Nearly Destroyed Arkansas

Gar Smith
Friday October 14, 2016 - 11:41:00 AM

Opens October 14 at the Landmark Shattuck

Director Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) and writer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) have combined their proven story-telling prowess to create a film of unimaginable true-life horror that will have you gripping the seat upholstery at the local cinema.

Based on an incident reported in depth in Schlosser's book, Command and Control, this film recreates a nearly forgotten incident that demonstrates the folly of pretending nuclear weapons are subject to human "command."

Incidents of "friendly fire" have become such an embarrassment that the military had to invent this euphemism to make self-inflicted mayhem sound semi-cuddly. But there is no comfort to be had in the phrase "nuclear friendly fire."

In 1980, the Pentagon poseurs who claim it is their job to "Keep America Safe" nearly blew Arkansas off the US map when a freak accident created an explosive situation well beyond anyone's ability to "control."


New: THE MAKROPULOS CASE at San Francisco Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 15, 2016 - 03:40:00 PM

Marking the 50th Anniversary of the American Premiere in 1966 at San Francisco Opera of Leoš Janáček’s The Makropulos Case, this opera has again been staged at the War Memorial Opera House. Based on a play by Czech writer Karel Capek, with a libretto written by Janáček himself, The Makropulos Case explores the pitfalls of a quest for eternal youth. Capek, who in his earlier play R.U.R., had punctured the notion that artificial intelligence will achieve human perfection, here expressed his belief in human limitations by showing how a woman who drank an elixir that kept her young for 337 years eventually found her life meaningless. Upon seeing Capek’s play in Prague in 1922, Janáček asked the author for permission to write an opera based on Capek’s The Makropulos Case. This opera premiered in Brno in 1926. -more-