Archive | Art

SF Tribal and Textile Arts Show Opens Feb. 5

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Excitement by collectors and fans of tribal, ethnographic and textile arts is building as two major tribal and textile arts shows are coming to San Francisco.

The annual San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show at Fort Mason opens Feb. 4 and runs to Feb. 8.  The exhibition is the leading art fair devoted to the arts of tribal cultures in the U.S. and presents a comprehensive selection of international galleries representing the arts of Asian, Oceanic, African, Native American and Latin American indigenous peoples.

The 80 participating galleries will open from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5 for a sneak preview benefiting the DeYoung Museum Oceanic, African and Americas Department.  Opening night tickets cost $150.  This event features live music by Pacific Chamber Jazz, cuisine by McCalls Catering, and early access to the show.

The show opens to the public at 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday Feb. 6 and runs through Sunday, Feb.8.  Tickets are $15.

Some of the world’s leading galleries and dealers of tribal arts will be exhibiting at the show: Wayne Heathcote, Jack Sadovnic Indonesian Art , Michael Hamson Oceanic Art, Bruce Frank Primitive Art, Robert Brundage Himalayan Art, Cathryn Cootner, Marc Assayag African & Oceanic Art, Jim Willis Tribal Art, Thomas Murray Ethnographic Art, Mark A. Johnson Tribal Art, Steve Berger Art Textile, Mehmet Çetinkaya Gallery, Joel Cooner Gallery,  Patrick & Ondine Mestdagh,  Pascassio Manfredi Gallery, John Ruddy, James Stephenson,  Ernie Wolfe Gallery, Jewels, Robert Morris Fine Art, Jacaranda Tribal, Farrow Fine Art Gallery, Miranda Crimp, Gary Spratt, Taylor Dale Tribal Art, Gebhart Blazek, Peter Boyd, Chris Boylan Oceanic Art, Galen Lowe Art & Antiques,  Anavian Gallery, Galerie Arabesque,  Bryan Reeves, and others.   

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A special tour of the show by Cathryn Cootner, emerita curator of textiles at the DeYoung, and a respected collector, author, lecturer, and tribal art dealer, is back by popular demand, as a tour guide leading “The Delight of Looking Closer.”  Cootner’s tours will be at 9 a.m. on both Friday Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 and cost $40 per person.

For more information or tickets, call 310.305.4543 or visit: http://caskeylees.com/SF_Tribal/SF_Tribal.html

The second event that is generating excitement in the tribal world is the opening of the DeYoung Museum’s exhibition of Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture from the collection of Richard H. Scheller. The exhibition runs Jan. 31 to July 5.

A number of the works from the extraordinary collection assembled over the past 30 years by Scheller, a biochemist and executive at Genentech, are being gifted to the Museums in 2013 and 2014, and the Museums will receive additional gifts from the collection in the future.  These will enhance one of the world’s most important collections of Oceanic Art, the John and Marcia Friede collection, which is already exhibited at the DeYoung. This new addition of African art, combined with the Friede Oceanic collection, makes San Francisco one of the world’s premier museums of tribal art and keeps it at the forefront of presenting art that showcases the diversity of the world.

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Leslie Hatamiya To be Appointed First Executive Director of San Bruno Community Foundation

The Board of Directors of the San Bruno Community Foundation will consider final action to appoint Leslie Hatamiya as the Foundation’s first Executive Director effective Feb. 1. Ms. Hatamiya, a San Bruno resident, led the California Bar Foundation as its Executive Director from 2004 to 2012.

“The San Bruno Community Foundation presents a unique opportunity to benefit San Bruno’s dynamic, diverse, and resilient community over the long term,” said Ms. Hatamiya. “I would be honored to help build the Foundation into a valuable community resource that supports all of San Bruno.”

A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, Ms. Hatamiya has more than two decades of experience in building organizations and programs. Over seven years, Ms. Hatamiya transformed the California Bar Foundation into a vibrant center of philanthropy for California’s legal community.  She rebuilt the Board of Directors, developed a growing fundraising program, launched a highly successful scholarship program to increase diversity in the legal profession, sharpened its grant-making strategy, spearheaded a remake of its brand and public image, and strengthened its relationship with the State Bar of California. While at the California Bar Foundation, Ms. Hatamiya earned recognition as one of the “Best Lawyers Under 40” from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Prior to joining the California Bar Foundation, Ms. Hatamiya served as chief of staff and director of corporate communications and special projects at wireless broadband startup SOMA Networks; ran the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs in San Francisco; and helped build former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign as a deputy campaign manager. Recently, she staffed the John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation and launched the “Vote with Your Mission” campaign for the California Association of Nonprofits. She has also held positions at Stanford University, Yale University, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and in Senator Bradley’s Capitol Hill office.

Ms. Hatamiya has been a longtime Stanford University volunteer, including service on the University’s Board of Trustees, the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and the National Advisory Board of the Haas Center for Public Service, which she chaired. She is also the author of Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, a publication of Stanford University Press.

Since moving to San Bruno in 2003, Ms. Hatamiya has been an active member of the community as a PTA leader, a volunteer for San Bruno Pee Wee Baseball, and a past AYSO soccer coach. Her ties to San Bruno reach back to World War II, when her mother and grandparents were among the Japanese Americans interned at the assembly center on the site of what are now the Shops at Tanforan.

“Ms. Hatamiya has wide-ranging experience in the public, nonprofit, political, and private sectors,” commented Nancy Kraus, Board President. “She has the perfect combination of experience, energy, vision, and sense of the community to lead the Foundation forward in its important work.”

The San Bruno Community Foundation was established by the San Bruno City Council to administer, for the long-term benefit of the San Bruno community, $70 million the City received in restitution from PG&E after the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in the City.

The Board-appointed Search Committee to fill the Executive Director position included Directors Dr. Regina Stanback-Stroud, Frank Hedley, and Board President Nancy Kraus. The recruitment process spanned several months led by the nationally recognized firm, The 360 Group.

 

 

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WEST COAST PREMIERE OF NEW VOICES COMPOSER CYNTHIA LEE WONG’S CARNIVAL FEVER


Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) leads the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in the West Coast premiere of Cynthia Lee Wong’s Carnival Fever—a co-commission that is part of the SF Symphony’s New Voices project with the New World Symphony and Boosey & Hawkes—January 21-23 in Davies Symphony Hall. The program also features pianist Yefim Bronfman in Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, as well as Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra.
 
New Voices is a creative partnership between MTT, the San Francisco Symphony, the New World Symphony, and music publisher Boosey & Hawkes that annually commissions works from an emerging composer. Each New Voices composer writes one chamber work and one orchestral work that are further developed and premiered with MTT and the New World Symphony, followed by the West Coast premieres performed by the San Francisco Symphony. Publisher Boosey & Hawkes also provides New Voices composers with professional development and guidance that are essential to a young composer’s career. Cynthia Lee Wong is the second New Voices composer, following Zosha di Castri as the inaugural recipient in May 2012. In April 2014, Ted Hearne was announced as the third New Voices composer.
 
Cynthia Lee Wong’s orchestral work Carnival Fever received its world premiere with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony in April 2014. Later this season, her chamber work Snapshots—which premiered with NWS players in November 2013—will receive its West Coast premiere on March 6 and 7 at SoundBox, the SF Symphony’s new late-night, experimental music series.
 
Cynthia Lee Wong says that Carnival Fever was influenced by “’The Carnival at Rome’ from Alexander Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. Young Albert (the unknowing target of Monte Cristo’s machinations) and his friend Franz experience a carnival, which commences only moments after a grisly public execution in the same piazza. Although the Count, who had invited the young men to witness the scene, responds to the execution by “burst[ing] into a laugh,” he remains unmoved throughout the festivities. In contrast, Albert and Franz are “seiz[ed]” by the “general vertigo” and are “like men who, to drive away a violent sorrow, have recourse to wine, and who, as they drink and become intoxicated, feel a thick veil drawn between the past and the present.’”
 
Born in New York, Cynthia Lee Wong has attracted international acclaim for her “impressive energy and drive” (The Boston Globe), “extravagant variety of sound” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), and “unsettling…dark, eerie…highly individual sound universe” (The San Diego Union-Tribune). Her creative output encompasses a range of genres, including works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance, voice, narrator, musical theatre, and piano improvisation. Past commissions include Memoriam (2011) for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Three Portraits (2005) and On Baldness and Other Songs (2007) for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Piano Quartet (2010) for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society, and String Quartet No. 1 (2009) for Tanglewood Music Center. She has also worked with the Tokyo String Quartet, the Orchestra del Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy, New Juilliard Ensemble, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Orchestra.
 
Wong is a graduate of the accelerated 5-year Bachelor-Master program at the Juilliard School. She studied composition with Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, David Del Tredici, David Olan, and Larry Thomas Bell, as well as piano with Tatyana Dudochkin, Frank Levy, and Martin Canin. From 2006-2008, she taught music theory and composition at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. She has been a faculty member at CUNY’s Baruch College since 2008. In 2012, she participated in the BMI musical theatre workshop, and in 2013, Wong joined the board of the League of Composers, the nation’s oldest organization dedicated toward new music. Wong is a Ph.D. Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
 
Pianist Yefim Bronfman has been a regular guest artist at the San Francisco Symphony since his debut in 1981. He last performed with the SFS in September 2013 in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. Bronfman began the 2014-15 season with appearances at summer festivals including Aspen Tanglewood, Vail, and La Jolla and a residency at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Other appearances this season include performances with the symphonies of Chicago (with whom he also appears in Carnegie Hall), Saint Louis, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh, the New World Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Berlin, New York, and Los Angeles Philharmonics. He performs Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Gothenburg Symphony and the London Philharmonic. With the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, he will play and record both Brahms Piano Concertos; he also performs Brahms at La Scala with Valery Gergiev. Bronfman was nominated for a Grammy award in 2014 for his recording of Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic on the Da Capo label. His 2009 Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto with Salonen conducting was also nominated for a Grammy. His other recordings include DVDs with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, and CDs of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the recital disc Perspectives, and recordings of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos and the Triple Concerto with Gil Shaham, Truls Mørk, and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra for the Arte Nova/BMG label.
 

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THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY CELEBRATES MUSIC DIRECTOR MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS’S 70TH BIRTHDAY WITH A SPECIAL CONCERT JANUARY 15, 2015 AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL


The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and an all-star lineup of guest artists celebrate Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas’s (MTT) 70th birthday with a special concert on January 15, 2015. The festive program honors MTT’s distinguished career as a conductor, pianist, and composer. The evening’s concert is centered around Liszt’s Hexameron for Six Pianos and Orchestra, featuring MTT in a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration with five of today’s foremost pianists: Yuja Wang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, and Marc-André Hamelin. While MTT joins the performance as the sixth pianist, conductor Teddy Abrams—a former member of the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra, former Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor at the New World Symphony, and current conductor of the Louisville Orchestra—leads the SFS and soloists in this work. Dinner and after-party packages are also available for this special event. Proceeds from the celebration benefit the SF Symphony’s diverse community and education programs, initiatives that have been a hallmark of MTT’s tenure as Music Director.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday and amidst the celebration of his 20th season as Music Director of the SFS, MTT said, “I still feel like very much the same person. My outlook on life, my idealism, wanting to work with people in a way that is collaborative—I think those are very much the same. The music, and the opportunity to work with great orchestras and musicians day in and day out gives me the most energy and joy.”

In addition to Hexameron, each of the five guest pianists take solo turns with the orchestra during the performance: Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs Gershwin’s Sweet and Low Down with SFS Principal Bass Scott Pingel and Principal Percussion Jacob Nissly; Thibaudet also joins Jeremy Denk in Schubert’s Marche caractéristique; Marc-André Hamelin performs the third movement of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2; Emanuel Ax plays the Andante of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21; and Yuja Wang joins the Orchestra in Litolff’s Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4, a work she also performs on the SF Symphony’s Masterpieces in Miniature recording, recently released on the Symphony’s own SFS Media label. The program also includes works by Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Bernstein, and the audience will be treated to special appearances by Beach Blanket Babylon and other surprise guests.

Guests looking for an elevated experience may purchase “MTT Birthday Dinner” packages that include premium concert seating, a pre-concert cocktail reception and dinner in the Wattis Room and SoundBox—the SF Symphony’s new experimental concert venue in Zellerbach A Rehearsal Hall—and an exclusive after-party with birthday treats, also in SoundBox. Proceeds from the Birthday Dinner support the SF Symphony’s community and education programs, which annually serve over 75,000 Bay Area children. Also central to the MTT birthday celebration is a special campaign to support the acquisition of fine stringed instruments for use by members of the Orchestra.  Long a priority for MTT and the SFS, a number of generous donors, patrons, and friends are supporting the instrument acquisition through the newly created Michael Tilson Thomas 70th Birthday Fund.

The MTT Birthday Dinner is chaired by William Fisher, Marcia Goldman, and Nellie Levchin, and is sponsored by Franklin Templeton Investments and Wells Fargo. The Birthday Dinner menu is created by Alice Waters and prepared by McCall’s Catering. Décor at the Birthday Dinner is provided by Blueprint Studios.

 

 

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CASTING FOR THE 5TH ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO ONE-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL

December 15 & 16, 2014
BRAVA THEATER
2781 24th Street, San Francisco

Playwrights Foundation (PF) and the New York-based company The One-Minute Play Festival are thrilled to announce the final casting for the 5th Annual SF One-Minute Play Festival (#1MPF), December 15th and 16th, 2014 – an evening of 86 brand- new one-minute plays by a highly vaunted group of 50 Bay Area playwrights, all written within the past month specially for the event.

Headlining the festival are popular, local artists such as Marilet Martinez, Tina D’Elia, Andre Abrahamians, Anne Hallinan, Ariel Leasure,Scott Ragle, Monica Ho, Aejay Mitchell, as well as featured playwright Ignacio Zulueta – double-dipping as an actor. They are paired with talented Bay Area directors to perform 86 different 60-second works by such Bay Area luminaries as Peter Nachtrieb, Chris Chen, and Aaron Loeb, with distinguished emerging artists including Erin Bregman, Megan Cohen, Nathan Yungerberg, and Elizabeth Spreen. To celebrate its 5th anniversary, the festival is being upgraded to the beautiful Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th Street, San Francisco, in the heart of the Mission District. This venue, dedicated to the spirited Bay Area cultural scene with an emphasis on diverse voiced, is located along the city’s most vibrant arts and cultural corridor and provides the perfect ambiance for the celebratory nature of the #1MPF.
The SF #1MPF is a partnership with the New York-based company The One-Minute Play Festival, which now is a national movement. Through this annual event, each community where the festival takes place celebrates the singular voices of local playwrights who have their fingers firmly planted on the pulse of the region’s cultural zeitgeist.
Mr. D’Andrea, founder of the #1MPF, attests to the strength of the Bay Area’s theater community: “Having had the opportunity to work with the Bay Area artistic community over the past six years, I’ve observed a strong and present sense of community and a dedication to the craft and practice of theatre-making that’s truly unique and wonderful.” PF’s artistic director Amy Mueller reflects that, “These 50+ playwrights represent a new and undeniable force of creativity that is changing the landscape of our community life, and taps the rich diversity of voices and history that exists in our city.”

Now in its fifth consecutive year in San Francisco, the #1MPF brings the Bay Area ‘s new play community together to create a whirlwind of theater, a celebratory and inspirational evening during the holidays for the community to stamp the season with the Bay Area’s unique cultural thumbprint. With over 100 local artists participating, audiences will get a full meal of delicious little bites.

The 5th Annual San Francisco One-Minute Play Festival will take place for two performances only, on Monday, December 15th & Tuesday, December 16th at 8pm at
Brava Theater Center, 2781- 24th Street in San Francisco. Parking available in a paid lot on 24th Street/Potrero, behind the SF General Hospital, and metered on the street.
General Admission is $18 online, or in advance at the Brava Theater Box Office, 12p- 6p M-F; and $25 at the Door. VIP Tickets for $36 include reserved, best seats and drinks of your choice. Tickets are currently on sale at www.brava.org. For more information please visit www.playwrightsfoundation.org
About Playwrights Foundation
Founded in 1976 by Robert Woodruff, the Playwrights Foundation is now recognized as one of the top new play developmental centers in the country and the only one of its size and scope on the West Coast. Playwrights Foundation supports and champions contemporary playwrights in the creation of new works to sustain theater as a vital, dynamic art form. PF actively fosters the creative process of playmaking and the dissemination of new works to national theater producers, while sustaining a commitment to the playwright, whom we regard as the creative wellspring of the theater. Since its inception in 1976, PF has served more than 475 writers at all levels of their careers, providing indispensable resources and support for the development of their work, and connecting them to theaters interested in producing new plays. Our program alumni, first discovered early in their careers, include some of the most prominent names in contemporary theater, including include Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, Paul Vogel, David Henry Hwang, and others.
Our mandate is to offer a full range of programs that provide multiple points of entry for a diverse range of playwrights—at a low cost or free of charge—so they can readily access our services, take advantage of our expertise, recourses, and connections across the nation, while learning from their artistic peers.
About The One–Minute Play Festival (#1MPF)
#1MPF is America’s largest and longest continually running theatre festival, founded by Producing Artistic Director, Dominic D’Andrea. #1MPF is barometer project, which investigates the zeitgeist of different communities through dialogue and consensus building sessions and a performance of many moments. #1MPF works in partnership with theatres sharing playwright or community-specific missions across the country, creating locally sourced playwright-focused community events, with the goal of promoting the spirit of radical inclusion by representing local cultures of playwrights of different age, gender, race, cultures, and points of career. The work attempts to reflect the theatrical landscape of local artistic communities by creating a dialogue between the collective conscious and the individual voice.
In each city, #1MPF works with partnering organizations to identify programs or initiatives in each community to support with the proceeds from the work. The goal is to find ways give directly back to the artists in each community. Supported programs have ranged from educational programming, youth poetry projects, teaching artists working in prisons, playwright residencies and memberships, and community arts workshops.
Annual partnerships have been created with theaters in over 20 cities including: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Trenton, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Anchorage, and more, with partnering institutions like Primary Stages, Victory Gardens Theatre, Cornerstone Theatre Company, The Playwrights Foundation, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Actor’s Express, InterAct Theatre, Mixed Blood, Passage Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Kitchen Dog, Salvage Vanguard, ScriptWorks, ACT Seattle, Perseverance Theatre, and others.

To learn more about the SF One-Minute Play Festival and the Playwrights Foundation, visit the Playwrights Foundation website atwww.playwrightsfoundation.org

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New Century Chamber Orchestra pair with San Francisco Girls Chorus

New Century and San Francisco Girls Chorus make debut at Green Music Center

at Sonoma State University December 12 

Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra welcome the holiday season with a program of beloved classical favorites and traditional Christmas carols December 12 and December 18-21, featuring Salerno-Sonnenberg as soloist in Vivaldi’s Winter from The Four Seasons and the ensemble’s first collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. December 12 marks New Century’s debut at Weill Hall in Green Music Center at Sonoma State University.

The December concert program, which New Century will also perform in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Rafael, features the orchestra with the San Francisco Girls Chorus in Mozart’s Engel Gottes Künden, John Rutter’s Nativity Carol, Handel’s Hallelujah and For unto us a child is born from Messiah, and a medley of Christmas carols, arranged by former Featured Composer Clarice Assad. The chorus, under the artistic direction of Lisa Bielawa, will perform Vaughan Williams’ “Winter” from Folksongs of the Four Seasons and Cesar Antonovich Cui’s Radiant Stars. The program will also feature the orchestra in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon, and Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G minor, Christmas Concerto.

Concerts take place Friday, December 12 at 7:30 pm at Weill Hall at Green Music Center in Rohnert Park; Thursday, December 18 at 8 pm at First Congregational Church in Berkeley; Friday, December 19 at 8 pm at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto; Saturday, December 20 at 8 pm at Nourse Auditorium in San Francisco, and Sunday, December 21 at 5 pm at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael.

New Century’s collaboration with San Francisco Girls Chorus is the latest in its expanding circle of diverse and distinguished musical guests. This season, Featured Composer Derek Bermel performed four concerts with the orchestra in September and is writing a newly commissioned work to be performed in May 2015. Former longtime New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow leads the orchestra in four concerts in March 2015. During the 2013-14 season, the orchestra performed two highly-successful first time collaborations: Atlantic Crossing with Chanticleer, and Donizetti’s one-act opera Rita with San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Efrain Solis, Maria Valdes, and Thomas Glenn.

Tickets for the December 18-21 concerts are $29 to $61 and can be purchased on the New Century website at www.ncco.org, through City Box Office at www.cityboxoffice.com, or by calling (415) 392-4400. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for patrons under 35. Open Rehearsal tickets are $8 general admission and can be purchased through City Box Office.

Tickets for the December 12 Green Music Center concert are $35 to $85 and are available at http://gmc.sonoma.edu/.

 

 

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Crowded Fire Theater 2014 Matchbox Readings Series Features New Plays by Geetha Reddy, Andrew Saito, MJ Kaufman, and Eugenie Chan

December 1-9
Thick House Theater
1695 18th Street, SF
Crowded Fire Theater  (CFT) announces the four featured playwrights and plays for the 2014 Matchbox Readings Series, public staged readings of plays in development. New plays by playwrights Geetha Reddy,  Andrew Saito, MJ Kaufman, and Eugenie Chan in readings from December 1-9,  2014 at the Thick House Theater.Crowded Fire champions playwrights whose work offers a vital contribution to the American theater landscape with a commitment to diversifying the canon of contemporary plays. “We believe art is always political,” says Crowded Fire Artistic Director Marissa Wolf, “and that in order to move toward a more just society, theaters must offer a wider range of aesthetics and voices on our stages.”  The Matchbox: Commissioning and Developing New Plays grew out of CFT’s need to bolster playwrights’ revision processes in order to strengthen the scripts before rehearsals for the professional productions began.
The plays featured in CFT’s 2014 Matchbox Readings Series are: (TBD) by Geetha Reddy (Dec. 1, 7pm); La Lechera by Andrew Saito (Dec. 2, 7pm); Murmur Rock by MJ Kaufman (Dec. 8, 7pm) and 19 Wentworth Alley by Eugenie Chan (Dec. 9, 7pm).
Award-winning playwright Christopher Chen, whose upcoming The Late Wedding and 2012 hit The Hundred Flowers Project were both commissioned and developed through The Matchbox remarks, ”By giving a still-emerging playwright a pathway to a full production, Crowded Fire facilitated a major turning point in my career. They steadfastly believed in my project and me as a writer through the entire process, making sure I had all the resources necessary to bring the play into fruition. To my mind, The Matchbox Commission’s emphasis on specifically working towards a full production clearly sets it apart from similar, less ambitious programs in comparably-sized theater companies.” The Hundred Flowers Project  was a co-commission with Playwrights Foundation as is A Wonderverse  by Geetha Reddy which will kick off this year’s Matchbox Reading Series. A Wonderverse is slated for the Crowded Fire mainstage in 2015.

New Plays by Geetha Reddy,  Andrew Saito, MJ Kaufman, and Eugenie Chan

Reading Dates: December 1-9  A Wonderverse by Geetha Reddy (Dec. 1, 7pm); La Lechera by Andrew Saito (Dec. 2, 7pm); Murmur Rock by MJ Kaufman (Dec. 8, 7pm) and 19 Wentworth Alley by Eugenie Chan (Dec. 9, 7pm).
At: Thick House, 1695 18th St., SF  (between Carolina St.& Arkansas St. in Potrero Hill )
Readings: 7 PM
Tickets: Free to the public RSVP at http://www.crowdedfire.org
Box Office by phone (415) 746-9238   Photos: http://www.crowdedfire.org

“We strive for a balance of styles, stories, and voices in our Matchbox series, this year the pieces are thrillingly original.They are quite different from one another, even down to the process/circumstances of their creation and their current stages of development. It’s a wild batch…”  Laura Bruckener, CFT’s Director of New Works.

 

MATCHBOX READING SERIES 2014
December 1, 7pm
TBD  By Geetha Reddy
Working alone at night, a scientist makes an incredible discovery that challenges her beliefs and raises profound questions of right, ownership, responsibility, and power. A Wonderverse is a Crowded Fire Matchbox and Playwrights Foundation commissioned piece.
December 2, 7pm
La Lechera  By Andrew Saito
Directed by Marissa Wolf
This grotesque, aggressive satire by up-and-coming, stylistically daring writer Andrew Saito plunges us headlong into the horrifying greed, need, and exploitation that grease the crushing wheels of commerce.
December 8, 7pm
Murmur Rock  By MJ Kaufman
Directed by M. Graham Smith
A haunting play with the exposed bones of a dark fairy tale, Murmur Rock follows a Jewish American man and his mixed-race family traveling in Germany to find his father’s village. However, long-buried secrets, the shifting terrain of memory, and bargains unwittingly made lead them to places they never expected.
December 9, 7pm
19 Wentworth Alley  By Eugenie Chan
Directed by Marilee Talkington
Drawing on the true history of her grandfather, a leader in a Chinese crime syndicate in early 1900s San Francisco, Eugenie Chan layers original material with fragments of actual family documents to explore the world he knew – and made – one of lost hopes and grim choices.
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Charles Schwab Files Libel, Defamation Lawsuits against Beverly Hills Law Firm for Bogus Websites

Law Firm Steiner & Libo, Partner Leonard Steiner, Plaintiff Nicholas Behunin Sued by Charles Schwab Family For Libel

San Francisco-The Los Angeles law firm Steiner & Libo and one of its clients is being sued for defamation and libel for creating bogus websites as part of a plot to extract money from the family of respected investment advisor Charles R. Schwab, according to lawsuits filed today in Superior Court.

Legal complaints from Charles R. Schwab and his son Michael Schwab were filed against Steiner & Libo, partner Leonard Steiner, and plaintiff Nicholas Behunin of Los Angeles, Calif.

The lawsuits claims the law firm and its client knowingly made false claims on defamatory websites to purposely harm the reputation of the Schwab family in retaliation for not settling a lawsuit, which itself was an effort to shakedown the family.

The Charles R. Schwab lawsuit alleges the sites were “a tool for the extortion of Schwab” by creating the false impression that Mr. Schwab, his son, and family did business with a brutal dictator.

The defamatory sites state that Mr. Schwab sought to do business with the family of the late Indonesian dictator Suharto and his son Tommy Suharto, a convicted murderer. The sites advertise that Mr. Schwab can provide advice to investors on “how to profit from a brutal dictator” and methods to “launder money overseas.”

The Schwab lawsuits unequivocally state that neither Mr. Schwab nor his son Michael ever met President Suharto or Tommy Suharto or had any business dealings with them.

“The only reason to create these fraudulent websites was to besmirch the good name and reputation of Charles R. Schwab and his son Michael. Not one claim on the landing page of the site is true or correct and the guilty parties were aware of that prior to making the defamatory statements,” said attorney Robert R. Moore of the law firm of Allen Matkins, representing Charles R. Schwab.

The lawsuit claims “In sum, (Leonard) Steiner (Steiner & Libo and Nicholas Behunin) used the Websites as a tool for the extortion of Schwab.  The Website’s clear objective was, and is, to publicly embarrass and shame Schwab and then to leverage that public embarrassment into litigation advantage in Behunin’s lawsuit against Schwab.”

“The Defendants agreed to a scheme that included providing false and defamatory information to third parties who would post articles or blogs on the internet repeating the false and defamatory statements provided to them by Defendants…creating the impression that the false statements on the websites had been independently corroborated by the third-party posters,” according the lawsuit by Michael Schwab filed by his attorney David H. Schwartz.

Schwartz pointed to a false and defamatory story by HuffingtonPost.com blogger Bruce Fein entitled “Does This Schwab Charity Satisfy the IRS Perfume Test?<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-fein/does-this-schwab-charity-_b_5978502.html>” which is based on the libelous and defamatory statements from the bogus websites.

The Schwab’s attorneys said the bogus websites were posted after they refused to pay $25 million to Nicholas Behunin, who, through his attorney Leonard Steiner, threatened to sue unless the payment was made.   When no payment was made, Behunin sued the Schwabs on May 28, 2014, to recover his purported ownership interest in a real estate development venture with Michael Schwab. (The case is Sealutions LLC et al. case number BC546925, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles).

“The only purpose and intent of this scheme was to force a settlement through the implicit threat that Defendants would continue to disseminate such false and defamatory statements to the public unless and until Plaintiff and/or his father agreed to a settlement of the pending action,” according to the suit by Michael Schwab.

The Schwab legal filings claim that they initially contacted attorney Steiner in early October to inquire if he or his client was responsible for the websites. Steiner told them he had no knowledge of the sites, according the lawsuits.  The websites were registered anonymously. After further investigation, the Schwab’s attorneys found the sites were registered to Levick Strategic Communications public relations.  Later, after notifying attorney Steiner again, he still denied knowledge of them. After that contact with Steiner, the Schwab lawsuit says, the website was changed to include the name of Steiner & Libo law firm. In the past few days, the firm removed its name and now the site lists its owner as: N. Behunin.

Charles R. SchwabCharles R. Schwab

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Just Theater Presents the World Premiere IN FROM THE COLD

JUST THEATER (JT) presents the World Premiere of In From The Cold by Jonathan Spector, opening with a press night on Monday, November 3 (Previews Nov 1 & 2) running through November 23 in the Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave (at Berryman) in North Berkeley, in which a Cold War spy’s past maybe isn’t past after all, the secret meaning of 80s movies is revealed, and its Ladies Night at Chilis. In From The Cold is a funny and provocative new play about what is means when you used to mean a lot, and now you don’t mean much anymore.

Following up on it’s hit production of A Maze, Just Theater brings this hilarious, troubling new work inspired by the little known true story of the Cold-War’s biggest spy. In From The Cold exposes the personal consequences of political actions and asks deep questions about the trade-offs we make in the name of our ideals. In From The Cold gives life to the actions of a former spy, playing out when a prodigal son returns home to take up residence in the basement with both funny and tragic results.

”A few years ago I discovered that one of the biggest spies from the Cold War had lived in hiding across the street from my suburban high school, and that I’d actually met him a few times. I’m always interested in people who are caught up in moments of great historical change, and in the incongruity of the large social forces and mundane everyday life – like the fact that this guy who may have prevented WWIII still had to worry about moving his car on Tuesdays for street sweeping.” remarks playwright and Just Theater Co-Artistic Director Jonathan Spector. In From The Cold is directed by Christine Young, featuring Seton Brown*, Julian Lopez-Morillas*, Harold Pierce, Sarah Moser*, David Sinaiko (*Actors Equity).

In From The Cold was a winner of Aurora Theater’s Global Age Prize, featured in Playwrights Foundation’s ROUGH reading series, and a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference. It was commissioned and developed in Just Theater’s New Play Lab.

Live Oak Theatre, Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave,  (at Berryman) North Berkeley, CA 94709

Nov 1 – 23 (Previews Nov 1 & 2)

Performances: Thurs 7 pm Fri- Sat 8 pm Sunday 5 pm.

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Koret Foundation Criticized for Sexism in Lawsuit Against Susan Koret

Koret Foundation Should Apologize for Statements Against Immigrant and Domestic Workers

Partner of the San Francisco law firm Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share & Hennigh

Partner of the San Francisco law firm Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share & Hennigh

 

Anita Friedman, JFCS

Anita Friedman, JFCS

 

San Francisco—A diverse group of immigrant, domestic worker, labor and Jewish advocates demanded the Koret Foundation apologize for and withdraw negative comments directed against Susan Koret, the widow of Koret Foundation founder Joseph Koret, who sued for the Foundation for misdirecting and misusing monies from her husband’s fortune that were meant for the poor.

“The comments by the Koret Foundation and its spokesperson denigrate not only Ms. Koret, but they demean people of color, women, and those workers who tirelessly give their lives to improving the lives of others,” said Alysabeth Alexander.

At issue was a statement by official Koret Foundation spokesman Nathan Ballard who told the media, in response to Ms. Koret’s lawsuit, that “Susan was a housekeeper to Joe Koret and his first wife, Stephanie, and was only married to him for a brief period.” Mr. Ballard is also the spokesman for the Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team.

The group said Ballard’s “denigration of Susan Koret’s background as a housekeeper in an attempt to discredit her is both sexist and classist and should have no place in the public discourse in San Francisco. His statement and language is purposely designed to demean and denigrate women, immigrants, and domestic workers and is unacceptable under any circumstance.”

The group also wrote the Foundation in its letter, saying “While we cannot speak to Ms. Koret’s service on your Board of Directors, we can say that some of the Koret Foundation’s contributions to conservative, right-wing causes that were highlighted in recent news articles are anathema to those of us who work every day to lift up low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and communities of color.”

The letter was sent to the entire Koret Foundation board, including real estate investor Tad Taube; Richard L. Greene of Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh; Anita Friedman, the executive director of director of Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco; Richard Atkinson, former president of the University of California; Michael J. Boskin, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; and Abraham D. Sofaer, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The Koret Board is expected to attend  the opening next week in Warsaw, Poland, of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. There may be protests in Warsaw against the Koret Foundation because of  the alleged misdirection of Koret funds to the museum by Taube and the Koret Board and their alleged discrimination against Mrs. Koret.

The full text of the letter is below:

 

Open Letter to the Koret Foundation Board of Directors

October 17, 2014

It is with great concern we write to you regarding comments made by your spokesperson, Nathan Ballard, in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 8th about Susan Koret.

“Susan was a housekeeper to Joe Koret and his first wife, Stephanie, and was only married to him for a brief period. Susan is an incompetent director who lacks even a basic understanding of the foundation and its operations.”

Mr. Ballard’s denigration of Susan Koret’s background as a housekeeper in an attempt to discredit her is both sexist and classist and should have no place in the public discourse in San Francisco. His statement and language is purposely designed to demean and denigrate women, immigrants, and domestic workers and is unacceptable under any circumstance.

From reports, we understand that Susan Koret is an immigrant from Korea who began her career as a housekeeper. While we can’t speak to her personal experience or to the legal dispute at the Koret Foundation, we know that the contributions of millions of immigrant women–a great many of whom are domestic workers–should never be slighted.

Domestic workers care for our children, our parents, our elderly, and our communities. Many of us in San Francisco have fought to get the importance of domestic work recognized, so that the workers can enjoy many of the same right that the rest of us take for granted. With a significant legislative victory this year in Sacramento, now is not the time to go backwards.

We know that millions of immigrant women work tirelessly to improve the lives of their families and communities. This experience provides a critical perspective that is often-times missing when important decisions are made.

While we cannot speak to Ms. Koret’s service on your Board of Directors, we can say that some of the Koret Foundation’s contributions to conservative, right-wing causes that were highlighted in recent news articles are anathema to those of us who work every day to lift up low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and communities of color.

We demand that the Board of Directors and Nathan Ballard immediately apologize for and withdraw the negative comments directed against Ms. Koret that demean all people of color, women, and those workers who tirelessly give their lives to improving the lives of others.

Sincerely,

National Domestic Worker Alliance

Alysabeth Alexander, Vice-President of Politics, SEIU Local 1021*

Juanita Flores, Co-Director, Mujeres Unidas y Activas

Katie Joaquin, Campaign Director, CA Domestic Workers Coalition

Hene Kelly, Jewish Labor Committee*

Andrea Lee, Co-Director, Mujeres Unidas y Activas

Shaw San Liu, Tenant and Workers Organizing Center, Chinese Progressive Association*

Kay Vasilyeva, Former Board Member, SF Women’s Political Committee*

*organization listed for identification purposes only — does not imply organizational endorsement

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Z Space presents two plays by renowned scientist and playwright Carl Djerassi

Ego, October 15 – November 9, 2014

Insufficiency, October 16 – November 7, 2014

Z Space is proud to present two plays by renowned chemist and playwright Carl Djerassi, October 15 – November 9, 2014 at Z Below. Dr. Djerassi is best known for the development of the birth control pill but in recent years he has turned to fiction and the theatre, with a series of novels and ten other plays, which have since been translated into 20 languages. His plays at Z Below coincide with his 90th birthday year and the publication of his latest autobiography, In Retrospect: From the Pill to the Pen.

Ego runs October 15 – November 7 and is directed by British director and producer Andy Jordan. Ego tells the story of a writer obsessed with his reputation to the point of faking his own death in order to find out what people really think of him. Featuring a psychiatrist sworn to silence, and a wife who’s on the trail of her husband’s alleged death, comedy and outrage converge in classic form. Bob Ernst, Lisa Anne Morrison and Jackson Davis star in this production.

Insufficiency, also directed by Jordan runs October 16 – November 7 and tells the story of a polish chemist named Jerzy Krzyz with an unusual specialty: Bubbleology. As a new arrival at a university’s chemistry department, he is determined to secure a senior post and is willing to do almost anything to get it, including producing some experimental and very lethal champagne, which he is only too willing to share with those standing in the way of his career ambitions. Insufficiency features actors Patrick Edwards, Rachel Harker, Lizzie Calogero, Dennis McIntyre and Timothy Redmond.

Dr. Djerassi, who celebrates his 90th birthday this year, is scheduled to attend all performances between October 17 and 25.

 

About Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi, emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University, is one of two American chemists to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science (for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive–”the Pill”) and the National Medal of Technology. A member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society (London) as well as the Leopoldina and many other foreign academies, Djerassi has received 34 honorary doctorates together with numerous other honors, such as the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the first Award for the Industrial Application of Science from the National Academy of Sciences, the Erasmus Medal of the Academia Europeae, the Perkin Medal of the Society for Chemical Industry, the American Chemical Society’s highest award, the Priestley Medal, the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art,  the Great Merit Cross of Germany, and in 2011 the Edinburgh Medal. An Austrian postage stamp with his image was issued in 2005.

For the past quarter century, he has turned to fiction writing, mostly in the genre of “science-in-fiction,” whereby he illustrates, in the guise of realistic fiction, the human side of scientists and the personal conflicts faced by scientists in their quest for scientific knowledge, personal recognition, and financial rewards. In addition to a poetry collection (A Diary of Pique), a short story collection (“How I beat Coca-Cola and other Tales of One-upmanship”),  5 novels (“Cantor’s Dilemma;” “The Bourbaki Gambit;” “Marx, deceased;” “Menachem’s Seed;” and “NO”),  autobiography (“The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas’ Horse”  and in 2014 “In Retrospect: From the Pill to the Pen”) and memoir (“This Man’s Pill”), he has written 11 plays which have cumulatively been translated into 21 languages. His prose docudrama, “FOUR JEWS ON PARNASSUS-a Conversation” (dealing with Benjamin, Adorno, Scholem, and Schönberg), published in 2008 was followed in 2011 by the play, FOREPLAY, dealing with Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor and Gretel Adorno.

He is the founder of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near Woodside, California, which provides residencies and studio space for artists in the visual arts, literature, choreography and performing arts, and music. Over 2300 artists have passed through that program since its inception in 1982.

Djerassi lives in San Francisco, Vienna, and London.

 

Tickets: $20-35, www.zpace.org or by calling 866.811.4111

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Koret Foundation Sued by Widow Who Claims Board Members Uses Charity as “Personal Piggy Bank”

Jewish  Family and Children's Services

Anita Friedman Jewish Family and Children’s Services

President of Koret Foundation

Tad Taube, President of Koret Foundation

Partner of the San Francisco law firm Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share & Hennigh

Richard L. Greene, Partner of the San Francisco law firm Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share & Hennigh

Board Member and Silicon Valley Real Estate Investor Tad Taube, San Francisco Attorney Richard L. Greene, JFCS Director Anita Friedman, Other Board Members Shun the Poor, Bay Area, Jewish Causes—in Favor of Spending Foundation Resources on Conservative and Pet Projects at Half-Billion Dollar Charity

 

San Francisco—The Jewish community from San Francisco to Poland was rocked this week when the widow of Koret Foundation founder Joseph Koret filed a lawsuit against the Koret Foundation and its Board of Directors for conflicts of interest and self-dealing.  The lawsuit says the Koret Board is illegally funding pet projects that include right-wing conservative causes in the United States to wrongly spending $10 million to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The lawsuit said the wrongdoing is being orchestrated by Koret Foundation President Tad Taube, a native of Poland and well-known right wing conservative Republican.  The suit also lays blame on Taube’s personal attorney and Board member Richard L. Greene of Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP and Anita Friedman, the executive director of director of Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco as well as board member Richard Atkinson, former president of the University of California; board member Michael J. Boskin, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; and board member Abraham D. Sofaer, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The suit filed October 7, 2014 in San Francisco Superior Court by Mrs. Koret alleges that under Taube’s direction the board has ignored the priorities established by her late husband to help the poor and assist Jewish causes in the Bay Area and Israel.

Instead, her suit claims, the Koret board is using foundation funds to promote programs closely affiliated with individual board members and is purposely confusing the public by putting signage that prominently features Taube’s name alongside the Koret Foundation name on buildings and grants for which the Koret Foundation is the principal funder.

“Defendants’ duty of loyalty to the Foundation has been corrupted by these directors’ close affiliations with many of the Foundation’s recent grants, resulting in tens of millions of dollars distributed due to self-interest,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit demands the removal of the Koret board members and calls for their replacement with the appointment of an independent board with a majority of Jewish directors.

“Taube says publicly that giving to the poor is “a bottomless pit.” Instead he has led the Koret Foundation by focusing its giving to organizations identified with him, creating a corporate culture of directors who rubber stamp his decisions as long as their favored organizations are also supported.  “In elevating their own and affiliated interests while ostensibly making decisions for the Koret Foundation, defendants are breaching duties of loyalty that require them to serve faithfully the interests of the Koret Foundation” the lawsuit claims.

“Alleviating suffering and misfortune were my husband’s top priorities,” said Mrs. Koret. “Joe and Stephanie’s money shouldn’t be used for Tad Taube’s pet projects in Poland or to help conservative economic and policy think tanks–not when so many in the Bay Area go to bed hungry every night and Jewish causes need support.”

Supporting her lawsuit is Joe and Stephanie Koret’s closest surviving family member, nephew Merv Brown of Walnut Creek, who worked with the Korets for decades.  He said about the suit:

“With all respect to Mr. Taube, if he wants to spend money on Poland, he should use his own money–not my uncle’s and my aunt’s–to assist his homeland. I am proud to stand with Susan Koret to support and endorse the directions and wishes of my family that their fortune be spent as Uncle Joe wished: to help the poor and Jews in Israel and the Bay Area.”

The San Jose Mercury News reported that: “Mrs. Koret is doing a favor for the entire Bay Area community with her lawsuit,” said longtime friend Julie Goodman. “She has a lot of courage. No one else has had the guts to take on Mr. Taube, who has used his power, plus his and the Koret Foundation’s money, to bully a lot of people and organizations into subservience.”

Mrs. Koret’s lawsuit alleges that others, including “philanthropic civic leaders and former and current staff members will support Mrs. Koret in her efforts to restore the Koret Foundation’s purpose and dignity free of the control of Mr. Taube.”

The lawsuit claims that, at Taube’s direction, the Koret Foundation has donated approximately $9 million to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, a pet project of Taube, who was born in Poland.  “

While the Polish Museum commemorates significant Jewish history, the diversion of Koret funds to Poland is not in keeping with my husband’s charitable mission…and in effect drains funds that could benefit the needy in communities in the Bay Area and Israel,” the lawsuit states.

Sam Singer of Singer Associates, Inc., who is acting as a spokesman for Mrs. Koret in the lawsuit, said the lawsuit will attempt to claw back the $9 million in money from Taube that was given to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and return it to the Koret Foundation. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is scheduled to open Oct. 28 in Warsaw. The Museum is reported facing financial difficulties, according to Polish media reports.

Mrs. Koret noted her husband was a native of Odessa, Russia, who immigrated to America, struggled growing up poor in the U.S., and then struck it rich later in life in clothing and real estate. He was deeply committed to humanitarian causes such as alleviating hunger,  and would “be deeply angered and offended by Tad Taube and the board’s strong support of conservative  causes and grants that divert money needed for the local community and Jewish causes.”

The lawsuit asks the court to prevent the spending down of the Foundation’s assets by Taube and the board members with whom he has surrounded himself and allow the appointment of a new, independent board to carry out its mission and save the Foundation.

Mrs. Koret was named a lifetime director and chairwoman of the Foundation prior to her husband’s death in 1982. She was entrusted by her late husband to carry out the family legacy of caring for the poor and supporting Jewish and community causes through the Koret Foundation, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also recites that the board has rejected a series of Asian and African-American candidates for board membership, including their rejection last month of former Mayor Willie Brown as president of the Foundation.

Mrs. Koret said she has been marginalized as Taube, a Silicon Valley real estate investor, and his hand-picked supporters on the board steer donations toward causes in which they have affiliations.

Mrs. Koret said she filed the suit as a last resort after her efforts to diversify the board, get independent legal advice, confirm the perpetual nature of the Foundation and redirect funds back to her late husband’s mission were rebuffed.  She fears the Koret Foundation is facing destruction of its mission and eventual collapse unless changes are made.

She said in the last 12 months, Taube has undertaken three major real estate transactions:  the sale of the Foundation’s largest real estate asset; marketing of another Foundation property; and refinancing a significant loan on a third Foundation property. The collective value of the real estate involved in these transactions is several hundred million dollars, according to the lawsuit.

“Over Mrs. Koret’s objections, defendants approved engaging a broker associated with defendant Taube’s real estate businesses to sell, market and refinance the Foundation’s properties and split its commission with Taube Investments, without disclosing the percentage commission split.  This conduct violates state and federal law and is breach of fiduciary duty,” the lawsuit states.

The Foundation’s general counsel and Taube attorney Richard L. Greene, over Mrs. Koret’s objection, failed to advise that an independent appraisal or broker was needed to market the Foundation property and refinance the loan, even though the same broker associated with Taube’s businesses was engaged for both these real estate transactions, according to the suit.

“Greene’s conduct … may expose the Foundation to claims of self-dealing, is contrary to California professional rules for attorneys in avoiding conflicts of interest, and causes economic injury to the Foundation,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that Taube is a shameless self-promoter who has personally selected board members to rubber stamp his decisions in exchange for support of their own pet projects. Additionally, the suit says Taube established his own foundation, called Taube Philanthropies, but uses money and staff from the Koret Foundation to pay for and enhance joint projects of Taube Philanthropies and the Koret Foundation.   A review of the Koret Foundation’s public filings shows reported annual salaries and compensation of officers exceeded $1.9 million in 2011, while Taube Philanthropies showed no such expenses for the same period, according to the lawsuit.

Mrs. Koret’s lawsuit charges that out of the $64 million gifted by the Koret Foundation between 2010 and 2012, nearly 60 percent was spent on causes outside the stated mission of her husband, the late Joseph Koret.

The lawsuit claims conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and breaches of duty abound on the board:

  • The Koret Foundation’s Executive Director Jeffrey Farber provides no independent management, reaps a large salary and perks at the Foundation, has little involvement in grant-making and does only what Taube asks him to do.  Farber is also a member of the Taube Philanthropies board, creating a serious conflict of loyalty and duty.   His wife works for Koret Board member Anita Friedman at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, yet another conflict.

Koret Board Member Anita Friedman, director of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, JFCS, sits on the Taube Philanthropies board as a director. Friedman makes up to $380,000 per year as executive director of JFCS, which is a major recipient of Koret funds. During September’s Koret Foundation meeting, she oversaw and participated in a vote granting $1.2 million to the Shalom Hartman Institute, where she also sits on the board.

While JFCS and Shalom Hartman are worthwhile causes, Friedman has failed to recuse herself in any discussions of massive grants to entities where she is on the board or employed. Friedman sees no conflict in directing millions in additional funds to entities where she has other interests and has no inclination to resign her JFCS position. Friedman has voted against every initiative by Mrs. Koret over the past two years seeking to bring independence, balance and transparency to the Koret board.

  • Michael J. Boskin is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, which has received millions from the Koret Foundation over the years. Earlier this month, the board approved another $280,000 grant to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research where Boskin is also a Senior Fellow and former director. Since 1992, Koret has approved grants totaling $4.5 million to support SIEPR, and millions to Hoover through Stanford.

 

  • Abraham Sofaer is another interlocking director on the board of Taube Philanthropies, and is also a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Hoover Institution, based at Stanford University.  From 2010-2012, the Koret Foundation’s funding to Hoover and Stanford of nearly $4 million was about equal to its total support of all social welfare causes in the Bay Area combined.

 

In the lawsuit, Taube, a member of the Board of Overseers and the Executive Committee of the Hoover Institution, is alleged to have misused Foundation money to pay consultants to write editorials opposing Obama administration policies and to attend trips in support of Hoover.

The lawsuit also alleges that Taube:

  • Reduced funds targeted for Koret Foundation grantees and increased funds to organizations that are his personal favorites.

 

  • Used Koret funds to pay millions of dollars to entities affiliated with him or his close associates to manage the Foundation’s real estate holdings.

 

  • Without board approval, commissioned and installed a life-size mural depicting himself and now hung inside the Koret Foundation’s new headquarters in San Francisco at a cost to the Foundation of $80,000.

 

  • Paid more than $75,000 in Foundation money for promotional materials about himself, including booklets and newspaper advertisements.

 

  • Subsidized the operating costs of Taube Philanthropies by using Koret staff and resources for joint grant projects, and used Koret Foundation resources for travel, marketing and personal expenses.

 

  • Terminated a $35,000 contract of an independent publisher of a book about the life of Joseph and Stephanie Koret, the founder’s first wife. Taube was reportedly angry that the book was not about him or his contributions.

 

  • Along with counsel and board member Richard L. Greene, discriminated against and ridiculed Mrs. Koret and prevented her from speaking with Foundation staff.

Mrs. Koret in her lawsuit pledges to maintain the priorities of her husband by broadening the Koret board to include community leaders while maintaining a majority of Jewish directors.  She is committed to maintaining support for the anchor institutions in the Bay Area that Koret has supported over many years and to prevent any continued diversion of funds to out of mission organization and countries.

 

Jewish  Family and Children's Services

SUED: Anita Friedman, Jewish Family and Children’s Services

Partner of the San Francisco law firm Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share & Hennigh

SUED: Richard L. Greene, Partner of the San Francisco law firm Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share & Hennigh

President of Koret Foundation

SUED: Tad Taube, President of Koret Foundation

 

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42ND STREET MOON PRESENTS BROADWAY STAR EMILY SKINNER IN “DO I HEAR A WALTZ?”

42nd Street Moon kicks off its 22nd season with the rarely seen Richard Rodgers-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents collaboration DO I HEAR A WALTZ?, starring Broadway’s Tony nominee Emily Skinner (Side Show, The Full Monty, Billy Elliot). Based on Arthur Laurents’ 1952 play The Time of the Cuckoo, which inspired the Katharine Hepburn movie Summertime, the wistful story follows a lonely American tourist as she finds romance under the enchantment of mid-1960s Venice. DO I HEAR A WALTZ? plays October 1 – October 19 (press opening October 4) at The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco.  For tickets ($25-$75) and information the public may call (415) 255-8207 or visit42ndStMoon.org.

DO I HEAR A WALTZ? opened on Broadway on March 18, 1965 at the 46th Street Theatre with a cast featuring Sergio Franchi and Elizabeth Allen in the lead roles, and received three Tony Award nominations including Best Original Score. The luminous Rodgers-Sondheim score includes Do I Hear a Waltz?Someone Like YouTake the MomentMoon in My Window and What Do We Do? We Fly! It has never received a major Broadway revival. 

Emily Skinner, who will star as the lonely American tourist “Leona,” last appeared on Broadway starring in the acclaimed musical Billy Elliot. Handpicked by Oscar-winning director Stephen Daldry, she had the honor of being the very first American selected to play the role of Billy’s dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson. Ms. Skinner was nominated for a Tony Award (with Alice Ripley) and received a Drama League Award for her performance as Daisy Hilton in the brilliant but short-lived Side Show.  Her other original Broadway cast credits include Jekyll & HydeJames Joyce’s The Dead, The Full MontyDinner at Eight, as well as The Actors Fund productions of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Dreamgirls. Off-Broadway, Ms. Skinner performed in the acclaimed City Center Encores revivals of No StringsPardon My EnglishA Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Fiorello! She has also performed in various productions and workshops at Manhattan Theatre Club, WPA Theatre, Paramount Theater at Madison Square Gardens, York Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and the Roundabout Theatre.

Co-starring as the Italian who sweeps Leona off her feet is Tyler McKenna, who returns to 42nd Street Moon where he was seen in The Best of Times:The Jerry Herman Salon, and Oh, Kay! He will be back later this fall as Rocky Fulton in Moon’s upcoming production of Something for the Boys. Recent credits include Annie Get Your Gun with Napa Valley Conservatory Theater and A Little Princess at Berkeley Playhouse. Other work includes productions with Symmetry Theatre Company, The Mountain Play, Marin Shakespeare Company, and American Conservatory Theater. Mr. McKenna is a graduate of the American Conservatory Theater’s MFA program.

The cast of DO I HEAR A WALTZ? will also feature Taylor BartolucciJonah BroscowNikita BurshteynLucinda Hitchcock ConeDavid Naughton,Stephanie Rhoads, Michael Rhone, and Abby Sammons. Musical direction is by Dave Dobrusky, set design by Hector Zavala, costume design by Felicia Lilienthal, and lighting design by Danny Maher.

This production of DO I HEAR A WALTZ? will be helmed by 42nd Street Moon Artistic Director Greg MacKellan. Mr. MacKellan’s career in musical theatre extends back more than 30 years. His producing cre­dits in New York and Los Angeles include The Baker’s Wife, a musical on which he worked ex­tensively with Stephen Schwartz and Joseph Stein. In addition to his work on dozens of 42nd Street Moon productions, Mr. MacKellan has served as director and writer in more than 15 revues for various Bay Area groups.

For 21 years, 42nd Street Moon has celebrated and preserved the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre.  To contribute to the evolution and continuing vitality of the art form, 42nd Street Moon presents intimately produced performances of classic and rarely performed musical works. Through its productions, educational programs, and community outreach, 42nd Street Moon is committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.

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American Wonder: Folk Art at BAM/PFA

Portrait of a Boy in GreenThe University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents American Wonder: Folk Art from the Collection, on view October 1 through December 21, 2014. Featuring approximately fifty portraits, landscapes, weather vanes, decorative sculptures, and other works dating from the wake of the Declaration of Independence War to the end of the Civil War, this exhibition captures glimpses of young America during a period of boundless optimism, massive growth, and eventual upheaval. This distinguished collection at BAM/PFA—one of the most impressive American folk art collections from this period anywhere—results from the generosity of two collectors and patrons, Bliss Carnochan and Nancy Edebo. American Wonder is the last major art exhibition to open in BAM/PFA’s current museum building at 2626 Bancroft Way before the institution moves to a new location, currently under construction, in downtown Berkeley in early 2016.

American Wonder starts in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century New England, where the country’s newly independent citizens were beginning to help define and assume a national identity—one aligned with the goals of liberty, self-improvement, and advancement. Itinerant artists and skilled craftsman created art that captures this formative moment in American history. In the immediate years following independence, painted portraits were in high demand, to identify individuals, establish family legacy, and to boast personal and/or civic achievement. Artists from this period often traveled from one town to another, following signals of new prosperity and growth. Enterprising artists placed ads in local newspapers, emphasizing their skills in creating true likenesses of their sitters.

One such artist was the deaf painter John Brewster, Jr. who travelled and worked in coastal centers and rural towns from Maine to New York. Brewster is known to have painted a number of portraits in and around Salem, Massachusetts, an important shipping, commercial, and artistic center. Brewster’s Boy in Green (c. 1805–1810) is thought to be a portrait of Samuel Field McIntire, who grew up to become a furniture maker and architectural carver in Salem. His father, Samuel McIntire, referred to as “the architect of Salem,” designed some of the most important Federal style buildings in the region. In Boy in Green young McIntire is dressed in a smartly styled green suit. With book in hand, he stands stiffly on a rose-and-gold, geometrically patterned floor (the vibrant floor covering attesting to the fashionable taste and means of the McIntires). Brewster’s greatest attention is to the boy’s facial features, characteristics that would identify him to his contemporaries as Samuel Field McIntire, poised to move into adulthood and professional life.

American Wonder also includes a number of landscapes, ranging from pastoral scenes to views of industrial progress. Like McIntire’s Salem, Providence, Rhode Island, grew out of early maritime trade. View of Providence, Rhode Island, created in the 1820s by an unidentified artist, functions as a portrait of the harbor city, on the brink of transition from a fishing village to a bustling center of commerce. Narrated by means of architecture rather than people and activities, this compact panorama of structures along South Water Street unfolds from old to new as Providence shifted from sea trade to manufacturing industries.

With remarkable beauty and formal simplicity, the works of art in American Wonder vividly captures a burgeoning nation during a time of enormous change.

A handful of public programs will provide useful context to American Wonder. Richard W. Lyman Professor of Humanities, Emeritus at Stanford University, Bliss Carnochan, who collected all of the works on view in this exhibition, will discuss specific works and his interest in collecting folk art on October 5. On November 23 art historian Margaretta Lovell and social historian David Henkin will provide insights about pre-Civil War American society and culture. Guided tours will be offered on Thursdays and Sunday afternoons (excluding November 16 and December 21). Patricia Lessard will lead an American Sign Language tour of the exhibition on November 15. Cell phone audio tours are also available.

Public Programs:
Gallery Talk: Bliss Carnochan
October 5, 2014; 3 p.m.
Bliss Carnochan, who collected the works on view in American Wonder with Nancy Edebo between 1966 and 1975, shares his passion for and knowledge of American folk art in this informal gallery talk. Carnochan, Richard W. Lyman Professor of Humanities, Emeritus at Stanford University, will discuss selected portraits, landscapes, sculptures, and commemorative mourning pictures, and address the complex status of folk art per se and as a field for collecting.
Included with gallery admission.

American Sign Language Guided Tour
Saturday, November 15, 2014; 1:30 p.m.
Join the engaging and expert American Sign Language interpreter Patricia Lessard for a student-led guided tour of American Wonder.
Included with gallery admission.

Imagining Everyday Life in the Young US: Margaretta Lovell and David Henkin in Conversation
Sunday, November 23, 2014; 3 p.m.
Art historian Margaretta Lovell and social historian David Henkin, both professors at UC Berkeley, offer a rich context for the artwork on view in American Wonder. They will discuss pre-Civil War American society and culture, touching on such issues as individual and community identity, rituals of mourning, schoolgirl skills, professional penmanship, and the role of domestic animals.
Included with gallery admission.

Guided Tours
Thursdays at 12:15 & Sundays at 2
Meet in the Bancroft lobby for guided tours of American Wonder led by UC Berkeley graduate students in art history and history. No reservations required. No tours November 16 or December 21: see the online calendar for the schedule at bampfa.berkeley.edu/events/education. Included with gallery admission.

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CAL PERFORMANCES PRESENTS MARIACHI VARGAS DE TECALITLÁN ON SATURDAY, SEPTMEBER 20 IN ZELLERBACH HALL

Long considered one of the world’s great mariachi bands, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán returns to Cal Performances on Saturday, September 20 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. The ensemble’s spirited and infectious music, the specialty of this 14-piece band, has been featured in more than 50 recordings and 200 movies since the group’s founding in 1898. The band includes sixth generation musicians and first received popular acclaim in the United States when it appeared on Linda Ronstadt’s 1987 Grammy-winning album, Canciones de mi Padre. The concert will include traditional and popular mariachi music, such as pasodobles, valses, bailables, polkas, and danzones. The program will be announced from the stage. Tickets are on sale now.

SINGLE TICKETS FOR THE 2014–2015 SEASON

Single tickets for the entirety of Cal Performances’ 2014–2015 Season go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, August 13 at noon. Prior to that, single tickets to Email Club members go on sale Wednesday, August 5, and single tickets for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán (September 20) are on sale now. Tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, calperformances.org, and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students, and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB students, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For a complete listing of discounts go to: http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.   CAL PERFORMANCES ADDED EVENT   Saturday, September 20 at 8:00 p.m. Zellerbach  Hall, UC Berkeley campus Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berkeley

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New BAM/PFA Exhibit Opens Today: John Zurier / MATRIX 255

September 12—December 21, 2014

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The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents MATRIX 255, featuring a new selection of paintings and watercolors by John Zurier. The Bay Area artist paints abstract, seemingly monochrome canvases with colors that range from muted earth tones to vibrant hues. Interested in capturing the various effects of his environment and translating that into paint, Zurier utilizes a range of materials, brushwork, and surface treatments to create a subtle balance between color modulation and spatial depth. In this presentation, his first solo exhibition in a museum, Zurier premieres a new series of paintings made during or after his sojourns to Iceland, where he has been traveling, teaching, and making work in recent years.

Zurier’s minimalist, contemplative compositions are as complex as they are spare. From the differences between cotton and linen surfaces, the thickness of the stretcher, and the hardware that binds the work together to the individual properties of tempera and oil paint, every aspect and detail of his compositions is considered. In his varied practice, color stands out as one of his primary concerns and his reflection on a given color often propels his approach. Some pieces develop within days, while others evolve over extended periods of time. Informed by such diverse influences as Abstract Expressionism, Italian Renaissance painting, Minimalism, Japanese painting, and poetry, each of Zurier’s works strike “a unique, sensitive chord,” according to the exhibition’s curator, Apsara DiQuinzio.

In recent years, Iceland—a place he has been visiting regularly since 2011—has been a primary source of inspiration for the artist. Zurier is fascinated with its vast, ever-changing landscape and, in particular, the effects of time, weather, and light.This past summer, Zurier produced a series of paintings in various sizes on an Icelandic horse farm in the northern region of Skagafjörður. These luminous abstractions evoke the ice, fog, skies, ground, water, and atmosphere of the landscape while also tapping into more timeless, poetic states. MATRIX 255 featuresmany of these works, as well as others Zurier painted during or after previous trips to Iceland.

On November 7, Zurier will join DiQuinzio in the galleries for a conversation about the his practice and influences. The talk will be immediately followed by a special L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA event programmed by Zurier that will include new electro-acoustic compositions by Icelandic composers Úlfur Hansson and Georg Hilmarsson and Bay Area composer Amadeus Regucera. Commissioned by Zurier to accompany his paintings and watercolors, the new works will be performed by the all-cello chamber ensemble Celli@Berkeley.

 

 

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The San Francisco Symphony Performs Mason Bates’s Alternative Energy

The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) perform the SFS premiere of Bay Area classical-electronica composer Mason Bates’s Alternative Energy September 10-13 in Davies Symphony Hall. The concerts also include Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, as well as Rossini’s Overture to La gazza ladra. These Alternative Energy concerts conclude the “Beethoven and Bates” performances that began last season with Bates’s The B-Sides and Liquid Interface. All three works are being recorded for future release on SFS Media, the Orchestra’s in-house label. Mason Bates’s appearances on this program not only represent MTT’s commitment to showcasing an American composer on almost all the concerts during his 20th anniversary season with the SFS, but also his and the SF Symphony’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of symphonic composers.
 
According to the Mason Bates, Alternative Energy is “an ‘energy symphony’ spanning four movements and hundreds of years. Beginning in a rustic Midwestern junkyard in the late 19th Century, the piece travels through ever greater and more powerful forces of energy—such as a present-day particle collider and a futuristic Chinese nuclear plant—until it reaches a future Icelandic rainforest, where humanity’s last inhabitants seek a return to a simpler way of life.” Sounds outside the regular symphonic palette that Mason Bates uses in this piece include ‘junkyard percussion’ to simulate the cranking of a car motor in the first movement; recordings from FermiLab’s particle accelerator in the second movement, which takes place in present-day Chicago; and techno beats in the work’s third movement to illustrate a futuristic, bustling energy industry in Xinjiang Province, China, in 2112.
 
Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 are part of a larger examination he has undertaken of the composer’s piano concertos. The 2014-15 season is the final year of Andsnes’s “The Beethoven Journey,” a four-year exploration of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. “The Beethoven Journey” has featured Andsnes leading complete Beethoven concerto cycles from the keyboard in residencies at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and in London, Paris, Lucerne, Hamburg, Bonn, Shanghai, and Tokyo. In addition to the San Francisco Symphony, Leif Ove Andsnes performs Beethoven piano concertos this season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, the London Philharmonic and Osmo Vänskä, the Munich Philharmonic and Thomas Dausgaard, and at Boston’s Celebrity Series with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Andsnes last performed with the San Francisco Symphony in 2008 in Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, also led by Michael Tilson Thomas.
 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 8 pm

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 2 pm

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 8 pm

Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 8 pm



Davies Symphony Hall

201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA

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At Burning Man, the Tech Elite One-Up One Another

“If you haven’t been, you just don’t get it,” said the entrepreneur Elon Musk of Burning Man. A wooden yacht art car rolled through in 2012. CreditAndy Barron/Reno Gazette-Journal, via Associated Press

There are two disciplines in which Silicon Valley entrepreneurs excel above almost everyone else. The first is making exorbitant amounts of money. The second is pretending they don’t care about that money.

To understand this, let’s enter into evidence Exhibit A: the annual Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nev.

If you have never been to Burning Man, your perception is likely this: awhite-hot desert filled with 50,000 stoned, half-naked hippies doing sun salutations while techno music thumps through the air.

A few years ago, this assumption would have been mostly correct. But now things are a little different. Over the last two years, Burning Man, which this year runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1, has been the annual getaway for anew crop of millionaire and billionaire technology moguls, many of whom are one-upping one another in a secret game of I-can-spend-more-money-than-you-can and, some say, ruining it for everyone else.

Some of the biggest names in technology have been making the pilgrimage to the desert for years, happily blending in unnoticed. These include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the Google founders, and Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon. But now a new set of younger rich techies are heading east, including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, employees from Twitter, Zynga and Uber, and a slew of khaki-wearing venture capitalists.

Burning Man in 2013. CreditJim Urquhart/Reuters

Before I explain just how ridiculous the spending habits of these baby billionaires have become, let’s go over the rules of Burning Man: You bring your own place to sleep (often a tent), food to eat (often ramen noodles) and the strangest clothing possible for the week (often not much). There is no Internet or cell reception. While drugs are technically illegal, they are easier to find than candy on Halloween. And as for money, with the exception of coffee and ice, you cannot buy anything at the festival. Selling things to people is also a strict no-no. Instead, Burners (as they are called) simply give things away. What’s yours is mine. And that often means everything from a meal to saliva.

In recent years, the competition for who in the tech world could outdo who evolved from a need for more luxurious sleeping quarters. People went from spending the night in tents, to renting R.V.s, to building actual structures.

“We used to have R.V.s and precooked meals,” said a man who attends Burning Man with a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. (He asked not to be named so as not to jeopardize those relationships.) “Now, we have the craziest chefs in the world and people who build yurts for us that have beds and air-conditioning.” He added with a sense of amazement, “Yes, air-conditioning in the middle of the desert!”

His camp includes about 100 people from the Valley and Hollywood start-ups, as well as several venture capital firms. And while dues for most non-tech camps run about $300 a person, he said his camp’s fees this year were $25,000 a person. A few people, mostly female models flown in from New York, get to go free, but when all is told, the weekend accommodations will collectively cost the partygoers over $2 million.

This is drastically different from the way most people experience the event. When I attended Burning Man a few years ago, we slept in tents and a U-Haul moving van. We lived on cereal and beef jerky for a week. And while Burning Man was one of the best experiences of my life, using the public Porta-Potty toilets was certainly one of the most revolting experiences thus far. But that’s what makes Burning Man so great: at least you’re all experiencing those gross toilets together.

That is, until recently. Now the rich are spending thousands of dollars to get their own luxury restroom trailers, just like those used on movie sets.

“Anyone who has been going to Burning Man for the last five years is now seeing things on a level of expense or flash that didn’t exist before,” said Brian Doherty, author of the book “This Is Burning Man.” “It does have this feeling that, ‘Oh, look, the rich people have moved into my neighborhood.’ It’s gentrifying.”

For those with even more money to squander, there are camps that come with “Sherpas,” who are essentially paid help.

Tyler Hanson, who started going to Burning Man in 1995, decided a couple of years ago to try working as a paid Sherpa at one of these luxury camps. He described the experience this way: Lavish R.V.s are driven in and connected together to create a private forted area, ensuring that no outsiders can get in. The rich are flown in on private planes, then picked up at the Burning Man airport, driven to their camp and served like kings and queens for a week. (Their meals are prepared by teams of chefs, which can include sushi, lobster boils and steak tartare — yes, in the middle of 110-degree heat.)

“Your food, your drugs, your costumes are all handled for you, so all you have to do is show up,” Mr. Hanson said. “In the camp where I was working, there were about 30 Sherpas for 12 attendees.”

Mr. Hanson said he won’t be going back to Burning Man anytime soon. The Sherpas, the money, the blockaded camps and the tech elite were too much for him. “The tech start-ups now go to Burning Man and eat drugs in search of the next greatest app,” he said. “Burning Man is no longer a counterculture revolution. It’s now become a mirror of society.”

Strangely, the tech elite won’t disagree with Mr. Hanson about it being a reflection of society. This year at the premiere of the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” Elon Musk, an entrepreneur who was a founder of PayPal, complained that Mike Judge, the show’s creator, didn’t get the tech world because — wait for it — he had not attended the annual party in the desert.

“I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley,” Mr. Musk said to a Re/Code reporter, while using a number of expletives to describe the festival. “If you haven’t been, you just don’t get it.”

Non-tech Burners who have been may “get it” but don’t like all this excess, and are starting to push back. This month, the Key Group, a Swiss luxury concierge service, announced that it would be offering a Burning Man Concierge Service that seemed more like a cruise liner vacation than a week in the dusty desert. (The company did not respond to a request for comment.)

Among the dozens of options offered by the Key, there is the “establishment of a camp with electricity, water and satellite Internet Wi-Fi connection,” “cooks and fresh buffets for every meal” and — not a small task by any means given the distance from the real world — the “possibility of ordering goods and products from outside Black Rock City every day.”

When the website Burners.me, which blogs about the festival, posted a link to the Key’s site, the Burning Man community seemed generally confused as to whether such extravagance was actually real or if someone was playing a joke. When it turned out to be quite real, people railed against the service, and the Key removed the Burning Man concierge option from its site.

Of course, you won’t likely see pictures on Instagram or Facebook of the $2 million camps, chef-cooked meals, the Sherpa helpers and concierge services, or private and pristine toilets. That would mean that the tech elite actually cared about money — which would just go against the entire Burning Man spirit.

By , NYT

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CENTER REPERTORY COMPANY in association with JONATHAN REINIS and ROGER BEAN PRESENTS Life Could Be A Dream

Written & Directed by Roger Bean
Music Direction by Brandon Adams
Choreography by Lee Martino

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SH-BOOM! Meet Denny and the Dreamers, a fledging doo-wop singing group preparing to enter the Big Whopper Radio contest with dreams of making it to the big time! Trouble comes in the form of Lois, who arrives to put some polish on the boys. Denny falls in love, Wally falls in line, Eugene falls apart, and then the trouble doubles when handsome heartthrob Skip enters, played by Derek Keeling, star of Broadway’s Grease and NBC’s “You’re the One That I Want!” to send things spinning. The ‘60s hits say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears On My Pillow,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops,” and “The Glory of Love.”

WHERE:
Center REPertory Company 1601 Civic Drive in downtown Walnut Creek.
DATES / TIMES / TICKET INFO:
Performances begin Friday, August 29th at 8PM. Press opening is Tuesday, September 2nd at 7:30 PM. Closes Saturday, October 5th at 8:00PM.

TICKET PRICE RANGE: $37 – $66

TICKET INFORMATION:
For more information go to CenterREP.org or call 925.943.SHOW (7469).  You can also visit the LCA Ticket Office at 1601 Civic Drive or the Ticket Office Outlets at Barnes & Noble in Walnut Creek and the Downtown Walnut Creek Library.

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Ro Khanna Campaign Silent Following Homophobic Rant by Republican Supporter Ernie Konnyu: Editorial

 

Ro Khanna Campaign Silent

Ro Khanna Campaign Silent

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna should  immediately take action and publically denounce the support of homophobic former Congressman Ernie Konnyu, Khanna’s highest-profile Republican endorser.

Konnyu, a one-term Silicon Valley Congressman who was voted out of office following a sexual harassment scandal, made news last week for orchestrating Tea Party support for Khanna, who is hoping to unseat longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

But this week Konnyu took his right-wing vitriol a step further, using Facebook to publically attack the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce PAC for supporting openly gay Campbell Mayor Evan Low in his State Assembly race against former Saratoga mayor Chuck Page.

Konnyu waged his attack last Friday on a Facebook comment by former Chamber CEO Jim Cunneen, calling it “sick” that the Chamber PAC would support “a liberal so left that he wants to change the law to allow blood donations by gays. This, even though the current law forbids it since such blood has a risk of transferring the deadly AIDS virus. Yes! Gay pride is worth more with Evan Low than our citizens’ lives.”

Despite Cunneen’s efforts to prevent Konnyu from doing more damage by “counting to 10 before posting on Facebook,” Konnyu instead redirected his attack on Cunneen. “I am wiser, more experienced, and a lot older than you,” he said.

The San Jose Inside blog broke the story Wednesday but so far we’ve heard nothing from the Khanna campaign. By contrast, following last week’s news about the Tea Party’s support, Khanna’s campaign immediately responded with a “with friends like these…” shake of the head.

Konnyu is becoming a tremendous liability for Khanna, and we’re shocked that Khanna hasn’t denounced Konnyu’s misguided statements and support.

Let’s face it; Khanna doesn’t have a shot at defeating Honda, a seven-term incumbent with a proven track record of fighting for civil rights and same-sex equality.  However, that’s no excuse not to stand up and speak out against this kind of discrimination and homophobia – in his district and on his endorsement list.

 

 

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Splunk Technology Co. To Occupy 270 Brannan St.–Groundbreaking Draws Mayor Lee, SKS Partners, Mitsui Fudosan America

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Mayor Ed Lee today joined SKS Partners, Mitsui Fudosan America and more than 50 dignitaries at a ceremony today to officially break ground on 270 Brannan St. – the new 213,000 gross sq. ft. office building located in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood.  The space is already 100 percent leased to machine data player Splunk, which has another leased office building within the block of the new development.

“Our City’s South of Market neighborhood is going through an exciting renaissance, transforming an underutilized warehouse district into a growing, modern mixed-use area with office space, housing and small businesses,” said Mayor Lee. “I am thrilled to break ground on the 270 Brannan St. office building with SKS Partners and Mitsui Fudosan America who are committed to working with the community to ensure this neighborhood thrives economically yet maintains its historic presence.”

The building is being developed as a joint venture between San Francisco’s SKS Partners and Mitsui Fudosan America. The building was designed by prominent local architect, Peter Pfau, and Charles Pankow Builders is the general contractor.

Splunk, the big data technology company, will occupy the building when it opens in Dec. 2015.

“270 Brannan is the realization of the City’s 2008 Eastern Neighborhoods plan, creating a new office building for the growing economy that respects the historical context of the South Beach neighborhood,” said Dan Kingsley and Paul Stein, the Managing Partners at SKS.

City planners have praised the design of 270 Brannan St. for incorporating the character and history of the neighborhood while meeting the needs of its tenants.

The building will include a 5,000 sq. ft. internal atrium which will connect the building’s five-story front section and seven-story rear section. The building is targeting LEED Platinum Certification by the US Green Building Council and has many environmentally-friendly features such as roof-top solar panels.  It also includes spaces for 52 bikes along with adjacent showers and lockers in its basement. Automobile parking is limited to 12 spots in the building’s underground garage.

The building’s design will feature a pattern of alternating aluminum curtain wall windows and terracotta cladding on its Brannan Street façade, consistent with the surrounding South End Historic District. The rear façade, which fronts on DeBoom Street, will feature terracotta cladding on the lower floors with a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall on the top two floors.

“This groundbreaking is happening during a truly important time for environmental responsibility, both locally and globally. We are making real and lasting investments to improve our city, while protecting our environment and creating new jobs,” said Yukio Yoshida, President of Mitsui Fudosan America. “This building is believed to be one of the first to feature more bike parking spaces than car parking stalls in the history of San Francisco real estate developments and that, in and of itself, is a huge indication that we are opening a new chapter in San Francisco’s history of progress.”

The new 270 Brannan St. is scheduled to open in December 2015.

For more information, visit www.270brannan.com

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The Gorilla Foundation Announces New Focus, Key Hires and Important Organizational Changes

KoKo gorilla

Koko gorilla

San Francisco–The Gorilla Foundation announced a series of important changes today, including anticipated new management positions, potential new Board members and a certain new focus, all designed to strengthen one of the world’s leading organizations for great ape understanding, care and conservation. “We have come to a crossroads in our Foundation’s history, and we have recognized the need to do more for the cause of the great apes through building global empathy for their preservation and care”

These improvements, made after an extensive internal review with the help of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Governing Board and outside consultants, seek to balance the vital goals of caring for and protecting the gorillas (Koko and Ndume) while refocusing and reinvigorating the organization’s core mission of learning about gorillas through direct communication, and applying that knowledge to advance great ape conservation and prevent their extinction through education, compassionate care and empathy worldwide.

“We have come to a crossroads in our Foundation’s history, and we have recognized the need to do more for the cause of the great apes through building global empathy for their preservation and care,” said Dr. Penny Patterson, the lead researcher behind the Foundation’s groundbreaking “Project Koko,” which is to date the longest running interspecies communication project in history and the only one involving gorillas.

“Koko and her family have taught us so much over many decades and now, more than ever, we feel it is incumbent on this organization to share what we’ve learned with people across the globe, as a way to help put an end to poaching and build compassion for enhancing the care of gorillas and other great apes everywhere,” she said.

The Gorilla Foundation was founded in 1976 by Dr. Patterson, Ron Cohn and philanthropist Barbara Hiller to expand the groundbreaking and unique work of “Project Koko,” the first-ever project to study the linguistic capabilities of gorillas through sign language. Today, after decades of research and learning, Koko is able to use more than 1,000 signs, understands as many words of spoken English, and demonstrates the amazing ability to communicate her thoughts and express her feelings through sign language.

With the goal of protecting and honoring this legacy for generations to come, the Foundation’s leadership today announced, in addition to organizational changes, a series of goals and programs that are designed to make better use of what Koko and her family have taught us over the years. These include:

RESEARCH:

1. Gorilla Emotional Awareness Study (GEARS) will provide an analysis of Koko’s awareness of her emotions (introspection) and the emotions of others (empathy), in research made possible by her unique communication abilities.

2. Digital Data Archival of Project Koko for Future Crowd-Sourced Research will involve a partnership with a major university to digitize and preserve four decades of unique Gorilla Foundation data and archive it in a form that will facilitate analysis and collaboration.

EDUCATION:

3. Koko Signing App will allow the public to learn to sign with Koko and to understand her in videos designed to advance the public’s knowledge about gorillas and learn about their need for compassionate conservation.

4. Project Koko Interactive Database will be made available to scientific colleagues and great ape facilities so that they can make use of our direct experience and data, gained through years of communicating with gorillas.

CONSERVATION:

5. Publication of new book (with video), Michael’s Dream, about the remarkable life of Koko’s gorilla friend Michael, who, on several occasions, communicated (in sign language) his memory of witnessing his gorilla mother being killed by poachers in Africa. This was documented on video.

6. Wide Distribution of Koko’s Kitten & Michael’s Dream Books and Educational Curricula throughout Africa, to strengthen compassionate conservation values and support the preservation of endangered gorillas In their homelands. This builds on our successful distribution of Koko’s Kitten (and curriculum) to over 100,000 students in Cameroon.

CARE AND WELLNESS:

7. Enhancement of Koko & Ndume’s facilities to enrich their lives, expand their options for exploration and privacy, and create capacity for a larger gorilla family.

8. Gorilla Interspecies Communication Work/Play-Station will provide the gorillas with the use of interactive computer technology (including “tough tablets”) to allow them to have fun, express their preferences and have more control over their environment.

ORGANIZATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:

9. Expanding the Foundation’s Board of Directors to include more experts in our highly specialized field, as well as strategically selected business, finance and fundraising experts.

10. Developing a new executive team for leadership, fundraising and building strategic alliances.

These changes are being made as part of a focused process with three primary goals: 1) to ensure the care and protection of Koko and Ndume now and into the future and 2) to better apply the lessons learned by the Foundation to protect and enhance the lives of gorillas and other great apes worldwide, and 3) to allow our enlightening dialogues with Koko, Ndume and other gorillas to continue.

The Foundation’s leadership is tremendously appreciative of the contributions of its Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and its many consultants and colleagues, who were integral to the development of this new vision.

For more information about the Gorilla Foundation, visit www.koko.org.

 

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Looking Intently: The James Cahill Legacy

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents

Looking Intently: The James Cahill Legacy

July 23, 2014–December 21, 2014

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Dai Jin: Summer Trees Casting Shade, 15th century; ink and colors on silk

The late James Cahill, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley, was known as a brilliant scholar, exceptional teacher and writer, and extraordinary connoisseur and collector of Chinese and Japanese paintings. He began collecting in the mid-1950s as a Fulbright Scholar in Japan, where he encountered significantly undervalued Chinese paintings of the Ming and Qing periods. At the time few collectors were interested in these later paintings and fewer still understood their inherent value. But Cahill recognized their importance and so began a lifelong pursuit of fine paintings. His collection became known by his studio name, Ching Yuan Chai, given to him by his own teacher, Shimada Shujiro. As Cahill wrote, “It could be either Studio of Someone Looking into the Yuan (as I was for my dissertation) or, more prestigiously, Someone Gazing into the Abstruse.” Today paintings associated with that studio name are among the treasures that make up the core of the BAM/PFA Chinese painting collection. In fond memory of James Cahill (1926–2014), we present this selection from the collection in tribute to his tremendous generosity and commitment to Berkeley and to BAM/PFA.

Cahill, unlike some of his contemporaries as well as historic Chinese collectors, did not mark with a seal or inscription the paintings in his collection. Rather, he made his mark by donating—and encouraging others to donate—exceptionally fine paintings to BAM/PFA. This small exhibition presents just a handful of works, but they demonstrate the unparalleled range of Cahill’s collecting interests, fromSummer Trees Casting Shade, a large decorative painting by Dai Jin (1388–1462), to the quietly cerebral The Zhiping Temple by Wen Zhengming (1470–1559).

Cahill frequently used the collection for teaching, engaging students in dialogue about brushwork, connoisseurship, authenticity, and condition, and looking intently at real works of art, a tradition that continues today.

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Philip Wilder named new executive director of New Century Chamber Orchestra

Philip Wilder is the new executive director of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra, Board President Mark Salkind announced today. Wilder, who brings multifaceted experience in leadership, programming, and management of several nonprofit arts and music organizations to the role, is also a musician and performer with deep experience in music education. He begins in the position July 21. He replaces Parker Monroe, who served as executive director for New Century Chamber Orchestra for 18 years. Monroe announced his retirement in December.

Wilder is well known in music circles in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was the founding director of education with acclaimed vocal ensemble Chanticleer, where he served also as artistic administrator and assistant music director during a 13-year period while singing with the ensemble in more than 1,000 concerts around the world. He launched the annual Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival for San Francisco Bay Area high school students, and led its nationwide Singing in the Schools program. He was associate director of the capital campaign for the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and was awarded a fellowship at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ DeVos Institute for Arts Management. As vice president of 21C Media Group public relations firm in New York, he represented clients including Yefim Bronfman, Susan Graham, Joyce DiDonato, Steven Stucky, and Jeremy Denk. Wilder has also consulted for artists and arts organizations, including Dallas Opera, the Grand Teton Music Festival and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. He was executive director of communications for the Eastman School of Music, and most recently was the founding artistic and executive director with Sing With Haiti, a not-for-profit organization supporting the Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

“Philip Wilder was the unanimous choice of our board and music director to take on the role of executive director,” said Salkind. “His breadth of experience, his many accomplishments as a leader and consultant to arts organizations, his fundraising and public relations experience, and his longtime Bay Area musical background with Chanticleer are all vital assets that will guide the vision of New Century Chamber Orchestra as we evolve and grow in the years ahead.”

“We owe a great debt and enormous thanks to Parker Monroe, our outgoing executive director, who is retiring after 18 years of creative and successful leadership of New Century Chamber Orchestra.”

“Philip’s background as a musician, his leadership experience with Chanticleer, and his professional guidance on behalf of so many classical music artists and organizations make him a perfect fit for New Century Chamber Orchestra,” said Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. “I’m excited to work together to create new opportunities for New Century Chamber Orchestra and to bring our music to more people, both here at home in the Bay Area and around the country.”

“It is a great honor to be chosen as New Century Chamber Orchestra’s next executive director, which brings me back to the city that gave me my start in music 24 years ago,” Wilder said. “After 11 years of appointments in Washington, D.C., and New York City, I return home with a wealth of experiences in the field of music to share with one of San Francisco’s most innovative arts organizations.

“I have been a fan of the New Century Chamber Orchestra since its early concerts in San Francisco in the 1990s. Since then, I have been a proud observer of the orchestra’s growing national and international reputation under the leadership of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. I look forward to joining with Nadja, the staff and board of New Century to lead the orchestra in the next chapter of its illustrious career.”

ABOUT PHILIP WILDER
Philip Wilder is a classical music industry specialist with 24 years of multifaceted experience as an artistic programmer, administrator, educator, fundraiser, marketer, PR consultant, recording producer, and musician in the not-for-profit and corporate classical music industry. He was appointed as executive director of New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco in July 2014. A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy (major in piano and organ), the Eastman School of Music (Bachelor of Music in organ performance), and the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, Wilder began his professional career as a member of the San Francisco-based vocal ensemble Chanticleer, where he became artistic administrator, assistant music director and founding director of education.

During his 13-year association with Chanticleer, he performed as a countertenor in more than 1,000 concerts worldwide, and fostered collaborations with many composers and performers, including Sir John Tavener, Frederica von Stade and Dawn Upshaw. His 14 recordings for Warner Classics and Chanticleer Records garnered four Grammy nominations and two Grammy Awards. As Chanticleer’s founding director of education, he developed and implemented programs for music students in San Francisco and across America, including its Singing in the Schools program and the Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival, an annual event for San Francisco Bay Area high school students. Wilder also served as Chanticleer’s spokesperson, appearing on CBS, NBC, NPR, and other prominent national news outlets.

After leaving Chanticleer, Wilder took a position as associate director of the capital campaign for the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and was awarded a fellowship at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ DeVos Institute for Arts Management. While there, he managed the first American tour of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra for the United States Department of State, and collaborated with Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser on an instructional workbook for strategic planning for emerging arts organizations.

In 2005, Wilder joined 21C Media Group, the New York-based independent public relations, marketing, and consulting firm specializing in classical music and the performing arts. In 2012, he was named executive director of communications for the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.

During his seven years with 21C Media Group, Wilder developed an impressive roster of clients, including Grammy Award-winners Yefim Bronfman, Susan Graham, and Joyce DiDonato; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky; and MacArthur “genius” Jeremy Denk. He also advised organizations, including the Dallas Opera, the Grand Teton Music Festival and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, founding partner Albert Imperato named Wilder vice president of 21C Media Group.

Currently residing in San Francisco, Wilder continues to consult for artists and arts organizations, and is a producer of new media content for Music Makes a City, a PBS documentary film and arts advocacy project produced by Owsley Brown Presents. He also served as the founding artistic and executive director of Sing With Haiti, a not-for-profit organization supporting the ongoing operations and rebuilding of the Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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BROADWAY AND TELEVISION STAR CHEYENNE JACKSON SINGS MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY JULY 24-25 IN DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL

Featuring special guest appearances by

Broadway Star Faith Prince and drag artist Courtney Act

After starring in sold-out concerts of West Side Story with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) last season, Broadway and television star Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock, Glee) returns to perform with the SFS in “Hello, Gorgeous!” July 24 and 25 in Davies Symphony Hall. The program features favorite movie and musical songs like “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “A Little Less Conversation” from Live a Little, Love a Little, and “Luck Be A Lady” from Guys and Dolls, as well as songs from GoldfingerWest Side Story, Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!,and more. Jackson is joined by two special guest performers for these concerts: singer Faith Prince—known for her Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls—and Australian drag queen, pop singer, and entertainer Courtney Act.

Jackson was last seen at Davies Symphony Hall in the role of Tony in MTT and the SFS’s complete concert performances of Bernstein’s West Side Story in 2013. The CD recording from those performances was released on the Orchestra’s own SFS Media label in June.

Prior to his San Francisco Symphony appearances, Cheyenne Jackson performs at the opening ceremonies for the San Francisco AIDS Walk on Sunday, July 20 in Golden Gate Park. Jackson is an ardent supporter of a variety of social issues, including LGBT rights, marriage equality, and HIV/AIDS research. He is a board- appointed international ambassador for amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research), and he serves as the national ambassador for HMI (The Hetrick-Martin Institute). He was also a Grand Marshal of San Francisco’s 2013 Pride Parade.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

An actor, singer, and songwriter, Cheyenne Jackson released his latest album of original music, “I’m Blue, Skies” on SONY/ATV in 2013. Jackson’s television roles have included series regular Danny Baker on NBC’s 30 Rock, and as Dustin Goolsby, the coach of Vocal Adrenaline on the TV seriesGlee. He recently began filming a pilot entitled Open in February which will air on HBO. In 2012, he starred on Broadway opposite Henry Winkler, Ari Graynor, and Alicia Silverstone in David West Read’s play The Performers. He appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s Emmy award-winning film Behind the Candelabra, a Liberace biopic, with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. He works regularly in films, including the portrayal of Mark Bingham in the 2006 Academy Award-nominated United 93The Green opposite Julia Ormond and Ileana Douglas, Price Check with Parker Posey, and Lola Versus. Upcoming 2014 films include Mutual FriendsLucky StiffSix Dance Lessons in Six Weeks opposite Gena Rowlands, Opening NightThe Song with Christopher Lloyd and Kevin Pollak, and Day out of Days.

On and Off Broadway, Jackson has starred in 8Finian’s Rainbow (Drama Desk nomination), Damn YankeesXanadu (Drama League and Drama Desk nominations) The Agony & the AgonyAll Shook Up (Theater World Award, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations), the premiere cast of Altar BoyzAidaThoroughly Modern MillieOn the 20th Century, and The 24 Hour Plays. Other TV credits includeFamily Practice, Life on Mars, Ugly Betty, It Takes a Village, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Local Talent. In concert, he has sold out Carnegie Hall twice, in “The Power of Two” in 2010 with Michael Feinstein followed by his solo debut concert with the New York Pops in 2011 entitled “Music of the Mad Men Era.”

 

Faith Prince has been dazzling Broadway audiences since winning the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance as Ms. Adelaide in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls. She most recently starred as Miss Hannigan in the Broadway revival of Annie. In 2008, she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for A Catered Affair.  Other Broadway credits include The Little Mermaid, Bells Are Ringing (Tony, DD, OCC nominations), Nick & Nora (OCC Award), Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (Tony, DD nominations), Little MeThe Dead, andNoises Off.  She also starred in the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Unusual Acts of Devotion and in the national tour of the Broadway hit Billy Elliott. Ms. Price just wrapped her five-season run as Brooke Elliott’s mother on Lifetime’s hit series Drop Dead Diva.  She was a series regular on Showtime’s Huff, and was a recurring character for five seasons on Spin City. Other television credits include Melissa & JoeyA Gifted Man, Happy Endings, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, FaithHouse, Medium, Sweet Potato QueensMonk, Now and Again, Welcome To New York, and Law and Order.  Film credits include Our Very OwnPicture PerfectDave, and My Father the Hero. Faith Prince just wrapped an Australian concert tour with her Annie co-star Anthony Warlow, which included performances at the Sydney Opera House and the Adelaide Festival. She works often with the Boston Pops, Utah Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, and Philly Pops, and starred in the Orlando Philharmonic’s concert version of Sweeney Todd. Her most recent album, Total Faith, was recorded at the Royal Room in the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach and was released by Broadway Records.

Courtney Act recently finished in the top 3 of the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which premiered on Viacom’s Logo Network in February 2014. Bette Midler has described her as a “sensation” and Chita Rivera says of her, “Immense recognition is on the way.” Ms. Act first garnered attention in 2003, when a young gentleman from Sydney named Shane Jenek tried out for Australian Idol. Although he did not quite make the cut, he wasn’t discouraged. Shane bent the rules and his gender, returning the next day as Courtney Act, and made it through to the finals. Courtney’s explosive energetic performing style, coupled with her joyous personality, sent audiences wild and Australia had a new, albeit slightly unconventional, sweetheart. Her appearance on Australian Idol led to the phenomenally successful national arena tour and a record deal with Sony/BMG. Over the coming years, Courtney Act forged a name for herself in the Australian entertainment industry, garnering chart hits, television appearances, and national advertising campaigns. She was voted one FHM’s World’s Top 100 Sexiest Women (despite not actually being a woman), sang at Lady Gaga’s private birthday party, and opened for Gaga on her Australian club tour. Courtney Act has written for such publications as NWTV WeekDNA Magazine and has appeared as a social reporter for The Daily Telegraph. New York’s Out Magazine named her one of the World’s Most Influential People.

 

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