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NATALIE COLE PERFORMS SPECIAL HOLIDAY CONCERT DECEMBER 20 WITH SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

JOHN LITHGOW WITHDRAWS FROM DECEMBER 8 YOUTH ORCHESTRA

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 8, 2012) – Vocalist and songwriter Natalie Cole performs a Christmas concert with the San Francisco Symphony  Thursday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at www.sfsymphony.org , 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office on Grove Street between Franklin Street and Van Ness Avenue. Actor John Lithgow, originally scheduled to narrate the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra’s December 8 performances of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, has withdrawn due to a scheduling conflict.

Natalie Cole’s repertoire spans pop, r&b, jazz, and standards. Her most recent album, Still Unforgettable, won two Grammy® awards, and her inspirational story, which she relates in her new book “Love Brought Me Back,” chronicles her journey from loss and recovery, to joy and success following her 2009 kidney transplant. Cole rocketed to stardom in 1975 with her debut album, Inseparable, earning her a #1 single, “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” and two Grammy awards for Best New Artist, as well as Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Her 1991 album Unforgettable…With Love included the sensational title track duet with her late father, the jazz and pop vocalist Nat King Cole.

Concerts by Wilson Phillips and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and holiday concerts with Pink Martini, Chris Botti, Judy Collins, and The Count Basie Orchestra are other highlights of the 2012-13 November and December schedule at Davies Symphony Hall, presented by the San Francisco Symphony. The holiday concert lineup also includes the annual Colors of Christmas shows with Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., James Ingram, and Stephanie Mills; Handel’s Messiah with the Orchestra and SFS Chorus; Mariachi Sol de México de Jóse Hernández; screenings of The Snowman animated film with live orchestra accompaniment; ‘Twas the Night and Deck the Hall concerts; and the 2012 New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball.

Tickets are on sale now for all special and holiday concerts presented by the San Francisco Symphony at www.sfsymphony.org  , by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office on Grove Street between Franklin Street and Van Ness Avenue. A complete 2012 calendar of the Symphony’s special and holiday concerts is available at http://www.sfsymphony.org/press.


 

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Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre Acclaimed Sailing Away Returns

 Inspired by San Francisco’s early African American settlers

Performances are free and open to the public on Market Street

It is sometimes referred to as the “San Francisco Exodus of 1858” a little-known part of the City’s history in which hundreds of African Americans fled discrimination and the threat of slavery for the safety of a Canadian exile. Choreographer Joanna Haigood and her Zaccho Dance Theatre (www.zaccho.org) are marking the iconic event with free public performances of her powerful work Sailing Away. Performances will be given in three continuous cycles, September 13, 14, 15, and 16 at 12noon, 1:30pm and 3pm daily starting at Market Street and Powell.

Market Street will provide the backdrop as performers interpret historical narratives through a series of vignettes and activities incorporating sites and monuments located between Powell and Battery streets. Important city monuments in the piece include: Mechanics Monument and Admission Day Monument.

“It’s ironic that a City now celebrated for its diversity once saw hundreds of its citizens flee in fear for their lives,” says Haigood, a celebrated local choreographer known for her unique and powerful site-specific works.

In the mid 19th century, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, Market Street, was home to a burgeoning black middle class. However, Governor Peter Hardeman Burnett, California’s first governor (1849-51), pushed for the exclusion of free Negroes from the entire state. Although a black exclusion bill never passed in California, it reflected strong public opinion within the state, which eventually led to the passage of other discriminatory bills against blacks as well as Chinese, Mexicans and Native Americans.These bills restricted education, homesteading, voting, intermarriage and the right of testimony, which barred blacks from testifying against whites on their own behalf in court. By 1858, because of increasing discrimination, some 800 African Americans sailed for British Columbia aboard the steamer Commodore to escape growing hostility.

While some people may know the names of people such as early enterprenuer Mary Ellen Pleasant (AKA “Mammy” Pleasant), or Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, a participant in the Underground Railroad and friend of Frederick Douglas, they may not have heard of figures like Grafton Tyler Brown, Archie Lee or Peter Lester. Produced and presented in partnership with the California Historical Society, Sailing Away features eight such prominent African Americans who lived and worked near Market Street during the mid-nineteenth century and evokes their participation in the 1858 exodus.

During each performance and event, newspapers containing historical information that is referenced in the work (maps, biographies and significant events) will be distributed to the public. Through character interactions, audience members will get a feel for the 19th-century in a 21st-century commercial life on the city’s most important thoroughfare.

“While creating this work, it was important to acknowledge the invisibility and loss of African American history and the current out-migration,” notes Haigood. “Since 1858, there have been two notable waves of black ‘out migration.’ The first occurred during the redevelopment of the Fillmore district in the 1950s and ‘60s. The second is currently underway.”

The African American population in San Francisco has declined by 40.8 percent since 1990. Some stated causes of this new out migration are the lack of adequate housing, discouraging achievement gaps in education, and the disproportionate incidents of violence in the changing, de-integrating neighborhoods. The study implies that African Americans live in an environment that habitually dismisses palpable challenges to full participation in the health and commerce of San Francisco.

In addition to the performances, the details for the public forums will include:

School Assembly with performance at Bayview Opera House On Tuesday, September 11, Joanna Haigood and Cast Members will host a lecture and performance excerpt for local Bayview Schools moderated by Susheel Bibbs, an award-winning expert on early African American out-migration and author.

Panel Discussion at California Historical Society

On Thursday, September 13 at 5:00pm, California Historical Society and Museum of the African Diaspora will co-host a panel discussion with scholars, historians, and local community leaders to discuss the past and current timeline of African American out-migration from San Francisco.

The panel discussion and performances are free and open to the public on a first-come, first serve basis.

Funding for the performances is provided by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Wells Fargo Foundation, Bayview Community Fund of the Tides Foundation and California Historical Society and Bayview Opera House.

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SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY OPENING GALA featuring Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and violinist Joshua Bell in his only 2012-13 Bay Area appearance Wednesday, September 19

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in a
free concert in Justin Herman Plaza Friday, September 21 at 5 pm
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) celebrate the start of the Orchestra’s second century with a week of celebratory concerts and community performances, beginning with the Opening Gala Concert on Wednesday, September 19 at 8pm, which honors the philanthropic support and leadership of Marcia & John Goldman.  On Thursday, September 20 at 8pm, the annual All-San Francisco Concert celebrates more than 100 social service and non-profit organizations that serve San Francisco and the Bay Area. MTT and the SFS perform the first of the season’s free concerts at Justin Herman Plaza on Friday, September 21 at 5pm (a new time).
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY OPENING GALA: IN HONOR OF MARCIA & JOHN GOLDMAN
The Gala concert program—featuring Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony and special guest violinist Joshua Bell—includes selections from Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, Chausson’sPoème and Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, both with Bell and the Orchestra, and Ravel’s Boléro. Proceeds from the Centennial Gala benefit the Orchestra’s myriad artistic, community, and education programs, which provide music education to more than 75,000 Bay Area school children each year. This year’s event honors Marcia Goldman and SFS President John Goldman.
The Gala celebrations begin at 5pm with a cocktail reception in Davies Symphony Hall for Patrons’ Dinner guests, and a cocktail reception in City Hall for Symphony Supper and Symphonix attendees. The Patrons’ Dinner begins at 6pm in the Louise M. Davies Tent Pavilion.  The Symphony Supper and Symphonix Dinner will be held in City Hall’s Grand Rotunda and North Light Court, respectively, at 6pm. All dinners are catered by McCall Associates and designed by Blueprint Studios.
All concert ticket holders are invited to the complimentary Champagne Promenade beginning at 7pm in the Davies Symphony Hall lobby. Following the Davies Symphony Hall Gala concert, all guests are invited to enjoy an after-party in the Davies Symphony Hall Tent Pavilion and on the Grove Street Promenade, with live entertainment and dancing.
The 2012 Opening Gala is chaired by Christine Lamond. Pamala Deikel serves at the Patrons’ Dinner Chair, and the Symphony Supper is chaired by Sharon Seto. Maggie Hezelrig and Phil Spiegel co-chair the Symphonix Dinner, and the Gala After-party is co-chaired by Liz Curtis and Annie Wong.
Wells Fargo is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2012 Gala.
Joshua Bell made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1991 at the age of 23. He began his career in performance with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 14. Since then, he has performed with top orchestras and chamber musicians across the world in addition to recording more than 40 CDs, including the soundtrack to the film The Red Violin, by John Corigliano.  Bell has received the Avery Fisher Prize, and was named by Musical America as the 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year.  In 2013 Bell will appear in a US tour with the Cleveland Orchestra and a European tour with the New York Philharmonic as well as performances with the Tucson, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Nashville Symphony Orchestras.
ALL-SAN FRANCISCO CONCERT
On Thursday, September 20 at 8pm, MTT leads the San Francisco Symphony in a special Davies Symphony Hall concert for San Francisco social service and neighborhood organizations, as thanks for the work these groups do to enrich the lives of and serve the citizens of San Francisco. Volunteers and employees from such organizations as Huckleberry Youth Program, La Casa de las Madres, and Boys and Girls Club, among others, will enjoy selections from Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, Chausson’s Poème and Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo capriccioso—both featuring violinist Alina Pogostkina—and Ravel’s Boléro.
Organized through the Orchestra’s Volunteer Council, the annual All-San Francisco Concert has been underwritten by Wells Fargo for over 30 years.
Winner of the 2005 Sibelius Competition, violinist Alina Pogostkina’s recent concert tours have seen her perform at some of the world’s most renowned festivals and concert venues. Pogostkina has collaborated with conductors such as Mikhail Pletnev, Gennadi Roshdestvensky, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Mark Elder, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Mikko Franck, Paavo Järvi, Andris Nelsons, Andrey Boreyko and Thomas Hengelbrock. In 2010, Alina Pogostkina embarked on a tour of Japan with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and Jonathan Nott. Highlights of her 2011-12 season included performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Orchestra of the Estonian Opera under the baton of Arvo Volmer, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with Gustavo Dudamel, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR with Stéphane Denève, and a tour with the Bamberger Symphoniker and Jonathan Nott to Muscat.
FREE CONCERT AT JUSTIN HERMAN PLAZA
On Friday, September 21 at 5pm, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony will perform the 2012-2013 season’s first free outdoor concert at Justin Herman Plaza at the Embarcadero Center. Downtown workers, shoppers, and music lovers are all invited to relax and enjoy an array of popular works at the waterfront plaza after work.  The SFS’s annual downtown free concert is sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and is part of the Orchestra’s many activities aimed at making music accessible to everyone in the community.
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY 2012 OPENING NIGHT GALA: IN HONOR OF MARCIA & JOHN GOLDMAN
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Joshua Bell, violin (only Bay Area appearance in 2012-13 season)
Berlioz Selections from Roméo et Juliette, Opus 17: Introduction | Love Scene | Festivity at the Capulets’
Chausson Poème for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 25
Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Opus 28 for Violin and Orchestra
Ravel Boléro
5:00pm             Cocktail Reception for Patrons’ Dinner, Davies Symphony Hall
5:00pm             Cocktail Reception for Symphony Supper and Symphonix Dinner, City Hall
6:00pm             Patrons’ Dinner, Louise M. Davies Tent Pavilion
6:00pm             Symphony Supper, Grand Rotunda - City Hall
6:00pm             Symphonix Dinner, North Light Court – City Hall
7:00pm             Pre-concert Champagne Promenade for all concert guests, Davies Symphony Hall
8:00pm             Gala Concert, Davies Symphony Hall
10:00pm           After-Party for all concert guests, Louise M. Davies Tent Pavilion and Grove Street Promenade
Concert tickets, which include access to the pre-concert Champagne Promenade and the Gala After-Party, are priced at $150 and $295 per person. Please contact the SFS Box Office at (415) 864-6000 or visitwww.sfsymphony.org for more information. Special Gala dinner and concert packages are priced from $395 per person.  For more information and to order dinner packages, please call the San Francisco Symphony Volunteer Council at (415) 503-5500.
ALL-SAN FRANCISCO CONCERT
Thursday, September 20 at 8pm
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Berlioz Selections from Roméo et Juliette, Opus 17: Introduction | Love Scene | Festivity at the Capulets’
Chausson Poème for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 25
Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Opus 28 for Violin and Orchestra
Ravel Boléro
Tickets to this concert are not available for general purchase. Community groups that would like to be considered for tickets to this year’s concert should email allsf@sfsymphony.org.
FREE CONCERT IN JUSTIN HERMAN PLAZA
Justin Herman Plaza, at Embarcadero Center
Steuart Street between Market and Mission Streets (across from the Ferry Building)
Program TBD
This concert is free, no tickets are required.
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Singer-Actor Alfie Boe Appears in San Francisco in October at the Palace of Fine Arts

(From Playbill.com)

Singer-actor Alfie Boe, who won a joint Tony Award for his work in the Broadway revival of La Bohème, will play at the Palace of Fine Arts on October 9.

The concert will feature material from his second album “Alfie” as well as selections from his debut recording “Bring Him Home,”

“Alfie,” which was released in June on Decca, “is a collection of timeless pop songs and musical theatre favorites from such classics as Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, West Side Story and Les Miserables, to name a few,” according to press notes.

The recent self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover Chart and features special guests Robert Plant and Nick Jonas.

Boe, who was seen on Broadway as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème, played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at The Queens Theatre in London and was also seen in Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th Anniversary celebration of the show at London’s 02 Arena. He is a regular performer with London’s English National Opera, where he has played Nadir in The Pearl Fishers, and was seen at the Royal Opera House in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

For more information, visit Alfie-Boe.com.

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“DINER” THE MUSICAL Postponed

“Diner” is officially off the menu for SHN’s Broadway series this fall.

As widely rumored Thursday, the show’s producers have scrapped plans for an out of town tryout in San Francisco in October. Based on the ’80s cult classic movie starring Kevin Bacon and Mickey Rourke, the musical had been slated to make its world premiere at the Curran Theatre Oct. 23- Nov. 18.

SHN officials say the producers have decided to retool the show for a more intimate Broadway venue than initially planned. They plan to use the time for a four week fully-staged workshop in New York so that the creative team can make necessary artistic revisions.

The good news is that the production is still on track to make its Broadway bow in spring 2013 and producers are still investigating the possibility of bringing the show to San Francisco before it heads to the Great White Way.

This highly anticipated project is the latest in a long series of musicals based on movies. This time the inspiration is Barry Levinson’s 1982 coming-of-age tale. “Diner” traces a posse of six buddies in ’50s Baltimore who reunite for a wedding a few years after high school graduation. The movie catapulted the careers of Bacon, Rourke, Tim Daly, Daniel Stern, Ellen Barkin, Paul Reiser and Steve Guttenberg.

Directed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall (“Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Anything Goes”) the “Diner” musical will feature a book by Barry Levinson, who directed and wrote the screenplay for the original 1982 flick, and music and lyrics by Grammy winner Sheryl Crow.

(From the Bay Area Newsgroup)

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42nd St. Moon Individual tickets on Sale August 15 for 2012-2013 20th Anniversary Season

Greg MacKellan and Stephanie Rhoads, artistic and producing directors of 42nd Street Moon, today announced details for the company’s 20th Anniversary Season of uncommon musical theater: Moon Goes Platinum! It will be celebrated with five diverse comedies – all first-time productions for the organization, including a political comedy, romantic comedy, singing satire, a comedy-drama and a no-holds-barred farce.

The five musicals for the 2012-13 Season are OF THEE I SING, CARMELINA, PAL JOEY, CARNIVAL and LITTLE ME. 42nd Street Moon also continues with its special series of Salon Evenings at the Alcazar Theatre, this time with a special January salute to composer/lyricist Frank Loesser: Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

“The twentieth is the modern platinum anniversary, but we’re going with five solid-gold comedies to celebrate,” MacKellan said. “We’ve revisited a few of our past shows in the last three or four years, so to make our 20th anniversary extra-special, Stephanie and I chose musicals that are all first-time productions for Moon.”

“We’re particularly excited to have such an outstanding group of playwrights and songwriters represented – George and Ira Gershwin, George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Alan Jay Lerner, Burton Lane, Joseph Stein, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, John O’Hara, Frank Loesser, Bob Merrill, Michael Stewart, Neil Simon, Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh. The shows we’re doing this year feature some of their finest work. We have two genuine classics in Of Thee I Sing and Pal Joey, two rarely seen gems in Carnival! and Little Me, and a real surprise with the West Coast Premiere of Lerner, Lane and Stein’s Carmelina. Additionally, we have the brilliant comic actor Jason Graae as our guest star for our closing show of the season, Little Me.“

Of Thee I Sing (1931)     The season opens in style with George and Ira Gershwin’s OF THEE I SING. With the book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, this was the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Presidency, and the democratic process itself are all targets in this timeless farce. John P. Wintergreen’s party runs on a “love platform,” promising that he will marry the partner chosen for him at an Atlantic City beauty pageant. Instead, he falls for a White House secretary and the trouble begins. The superb Gershwin score includes Who Cares?, Love is Sweeping the Country, Of Thee I Sing, Baby, Trumpeter Blow Your Golden Horn. Greg MacKellan directs, with Dave Dobrusky musical directing. Dates: Previews Oct. 3 – 5, Opening Oct. 6 through Oct. 21

CARMELINA (1979)  The season continues with the West Coast Premiere of CARMELINA, with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Burton Lane, and the book by Lerner and Joseph Stein. Carmelina is the musical version of the film Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, which is also the source of the story in the hit Broadway musical, Mamma Mia! Carmelina played briefly on Broadway in 1979 and had two staged concerts at the York Theatre. In 1962, Carmelina Campbell, Italian “widow” of a non-existent soldier, is faced with the return of three American soldiers who liberated San Forino in WWII. One of them is the father of her daughter, Gia … but she’s not sure which! The great score by team that did Royal Wedding and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever includes two standards, One More Walk Around the Garden and It’s Time for a Love Song, as well as Why Him?, Someone in April, I’m a Woman and Love Before Breakfast. Dates: Previews: Oct. 31, Nov. 1 & 2, Opening Nov. 3 through Nov. 18

PAL JOEY (1940) For the holiday season, 42nd Street Moon offers the timeless Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart masterpiece, PAL JOEY. Joey Evans – the charming “heel” with big plans – is back to take Chicago for a wild ride as he schemes to get to the top of the nightclub business. Songs include such Rodgers and Hart classics as I Could Write a Book, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, You Mustn’t Kick it Around, Zip, and In Our Little Den of Iniquity. Zack Thomas Wilde directs, with Dave Dobrusky musical directing. Dates: Previews – Nov 28 – 30 Opening Dec. 1 through Dec. 16

CARNIVAL (1961) This magical and beguiling musical of the beloved film Lili brings the world of Lili Daurier, puppeteer Paul Berthalet, roguish magician Marco and all of their circus friends to the stage. By turn bright and colorful and dark and intimate as it explores the milieu of the Cirque de Paris, CARNIVAL sings with a glorious Bob Merrill score: Love Makes the World Go Round, Her Face, She’s My Love, Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris and Mira. Greg MacKellan directs, with Dave Dobrusky musical directing. Dates: Previews – April 3 – 5, Opening April 6 through April 21

LITTLE ME (1962) Jason Graae stars in the final show of the season LITTLE ME, the outrageously funny musical that NY critic Walter Kerr called “a blockbuster so genial it looks like a breeze.” A bright and effervescent Cy Coleman – Carolyn Leigh score highlights Patrick Dennis’ rags-‐ to-‐ riches tale of Belle Poitrine, who moves from the wrong side of the tracks in Venezuela, Illinois, to Hollywood fame and Southampton luxury. The hit songs include Real Live Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, On the Other Side of the Tracks, To Be a Performer. Sharon Rietkerk is featured opposite Graae as Belle Poitrine. Willows Theatre Artistic Director Eric Inman will direct LITTLE ME, with Brandon Adams musical directing. Dates: Previews – May 1 – 3, Opening May 4 through May 19

Salon Evening at the Alcazar Theatre: BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! THE FRANK LOESSER SALON January 31, 2013 42nd Street Moon celebrates one of Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley’s greatest songwriters in a special one-night-only event: The Frank Loesser Salon. During his thirty year career, Loesser wrote great standards – Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Let’s Get Lost, Luck Be a Lady, Heart and Soul, On a Slow Boat to China, If I Were a Bell, Once in Love With Amy, I Believe in You, Standing on the Corner, Dolores, Big D, Inch Worm, Can’t Get Out of This Mood, They’re Either Too Young or Too Old and scores for musical comedies Guys and Dolls, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Where’s Charley? and The Most Happy Fella.

Subscriptions for the 2012-13 Season at the Eureka Theatre, ranging from $95 – $235 with discounts for seniors and students and for those under 30-years-of-age, are available through the 42nd Street Moon Box Office at 415/255-8207 (Tues. – Fri. from noon to 5 pm), or through the website (no order fees) www.42ndstmoon.org. A special Family Matinee Subscription Series is also available for a 1 pm performance on the second Saturday of each production. The Frank Loesser Salon tickets are priced at $50 for subscribers and $70 for non-subscribers.

Current season subscribers are urged to renew by July 1, in order to guarantee the same seats for each performance. (Note: Early Bird deadline is March 25). Single tickets will go on sale August 1 to subscribers, and on August 15 to the general public. The five mainstage performances are presented at San Francisco’s intimate Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street. The Salon evenings are presented at San Francisco’s historic Alcazar Theatre, 650 Geary Street.

42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre, contributing to its evolution and continuing vitality by presenting intimate productions of “Uncommon Musicals” — classic and rarely performed shows by the great 20th century composers and lyricists. Through productions, educational programs, and community outreach, the company 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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SEMYON BYCHKOV CONDUCTS THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY IN ITS TWO SEASON OPENING CONCERT WEEKS SEPTEMBER 5-8 AND 12-15, 2012


 
Pinchas Zukerman performs
Bruch’s Violin Concert with the Orchestra September 5-8

Semyon Bychkov

SAN FRANCISCO, August 2, 2012 — Guest conductor Semyon Bychkov leads the San Francisco Symphony in the first two weeks of concerts of its 2012-13 season for performances of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 featuring Pinchas Zukerman, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser September 5-8, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 September 12-15 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Following these two concert weeks, Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in Gala week festivities including the 101st season Gala concert with guest soloist Joshua Bell in honor of Marcia and John Goldman on Wednesday, September 19, its All-San Francisco concert for community groups on Thursday, September 20 at 8pm and Free Outdoor Concert in Justin Herman Plaza across from the Ferry Building at 5pm on Friday, September 21.

Semyon Bychkov has been a frequent guest of the San Francisco Symphony since 1989 last conducting the Orchestra in works by R. Strauss and Schumann in November 2011. Since leaving St Petersburg in the mid 70’s, Semyon Bychkov has been a guest on the podiums of the world’s finest orchestras. With his time carefully balanced between operatic and symphonic repertoire, he has recently appeared in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Vienna, Berlin and Munich Philharmonics, the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as the opera houses of Paris, Vienna, Madrid, Milan and London, where he conducted Elektra (2003), The Queen of Spades (2006), Lohengrin (2009), Don Carlos (2009), Tannhäuser (2010) and La bohème (2012). In the United States, he regularly conducts the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Chicago, Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, and will shortly be returning to the Metropolitan Opera for performances of Otello which will be broadcast across the world Live in HD.
Violinist Pinchas Zukerman is currently in his fourteenth season as Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, where he has announced he will depart at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season. Zukerman has led the National Arts Centre Orchestra on numerous successful tours, and champions the work of contemporary Canadian composers. Zukerman is also in his fourth season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, and this year will lead them on a tour of the Switzerland, Russia and the United Kingdom. In the 2012-13 season he will perform numerous guest appearances as soloist and conductor with orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Maarinsky State Theatre Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic and in recital in Salzburg, Prague, Philadelphia and beyond. In July of 2012 he marked his 100th performance with the New York Philharmonic. His chamber ensemble, the Zukerman Chamber Players, appears at the Ravinia and Toronto summer music festivals this year. He also chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music. Interviews with Zukerman are featured in Orchestra of Exiles, a new documentary film about the genesis of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and its founder Bronislaw Huberman. Pinchas Zukerman first appeared with the San Francisco Symphony in 1969.

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Davies Symphony Hall

Wednesday, September 5 at 10 am (Open Rehearsal)

Wednesday, September 5 at 8pm

Thursday, September 6 at 8 pm

Friday, September 7 at 8 pm

Saturday, Sept 8 at 8 pm

  • Semyon Bychkov conductor
  • 
Pinchas Zukerman violin
  • San Francisco Symphony


Wagner Overture to Tannhäuser [Dresden version]

Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Opus 26


Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64

 

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Davies Symphony Hall

Wednesday, September 12 at 8 pm

Thursday, September 13 at 2 pm

Friday, September 14 at 8 pm

Saturday, September 15 at 8 pm

  • 
Semyon Bychkov conductor
  • San Francisco Symphony


Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Opus 105, The Year 1905

Additional work to be confirmed

 




PRE-CONCERT TALK:
Susan Key will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert. Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before.



TICKETS: Open Rehearsal: $22 general, $40 reserved. Concerts: $15-$150. Available at sfsymphony.org , 415-864-6000, or the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.

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American Conservatory Theater Announces One-Night-Only Staged Reading of Dustin Lance Black’s Play “8”

A.C.T. joins nationwide productions of the landmark marriage equality play by the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of Milk

 

SAN FRANCISCO (July 31, 2012) – American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), in association with the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only staged reading of “8,” the landmark play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The play was written by Academy Award–winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black. The reading will take place on Sunday, October 7, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Proceeds from the reading benefit AFER and LGBTQ youth participating in A.C.T.’s ArtReach program, which offers free student matinee tickets and theater-based pre- and post-show workshops at no cost to 23 public high schools in the Bay Area (including all 18 San Francisco public high schools) with large populations of underserved, low-income students who otherwise would have little exposure to the arts. Casting for the A.C.T. production of “8” will be announced at a later date. Tickets range in price from $50 to $100. A limited number of $250 seats are available and include premium seating and access to a post-performance reception with the cast. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.orgor by calling 415.749.2228.

“8” is an unprecedented account of the federal district court trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8. Black, who penned the Academy Award–winning feature film Milk and the critically acclaimed film J. Edgar, based “8” on the actual trial transcripts, firsthand observations of what went on in the courtroom, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “There’s nothing more thrilling than a well-argued trial about a hugely important issue. We are honored to present “8” at the same time as The Normal Heart, two theater pieces that wrestle with discrimination and compassion in such visceral and palpable ways.”

“From the moment we knew our trial would not be broadcast publicly, we were determined to find a way to address the public’s appetite for the facts in our case, as argued before a court of law,” said AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer. “‘8’ does exactly that, and more, shedding light on the discriminatory arguments anti-marriage proponents did not want the American court of public opinion to witness, and clearly demonstrating why our fight for fairness and justice will continue to prevail.”

“I was lucky enough to watch the initial closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in San Francisco,” says Broadway Impact cofounder Rory O’Malley (Tony nominee for The Book of Mormon). “We knew then and there that audiences needed to see and hear this story live, as we had done. ‘8’ builds on a successful tradition of documentary theater—plays like The Laramie Project and The Vagina Monologues, which inspire us with their combination of art and activism. We are thrilled to partner with AFER to bring this story to a national audience.”

The plot of “8”is framed by the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010 and features the strongest arguments and testimony from both sides. Scenes include flashbacks to some of the more jaw-dropping moments of the trial, such as the admission by the Proposition 8 supporters’ star witness, David Blankenhorn, that “we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”

“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter,” says Black. “I’ve built my career around exposing and uncovering ‘the real story.’ The goal of ‘8’ is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right and that those who would deny this basic freedom from loving, committed couples have only vitriol and baseless hyperbole to fall back on. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. We are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”

“8” had its heralded world premiere on Broadway on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theater in New York City. The production brought in over one million dollars to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality. “8” recently had its West Coast premiere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, where it featured an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, John C. Reilly, and Kevin Bacon.

Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal district court in August 2010. That decision was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by the anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8. AFER’s legal team was at the Ninth Circuit in December 2011 for a hearing to urge the court to unseal the trial video—a request that was denied. In February 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the federal district court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

To purchase tickets, visit act-sf.orgor call 415.749.2228. For additional information on “8”, visit: www.8theplay.com.

Follow “8” on Twitter at @8theplayor on Facebook at www.facebook.com/8theplay.

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SFMOMA PRESENTS CINDY SHERMAN

The Most Comprehensive U.S. Exhibition of the Groundbreaking Artist in Nearly 15 Years

Exhibition through October 08, 2012

SFMOMA PRESENTS CINDY SHERMAN

Through October 8, 2012, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will host the sole West Coast presentation of Cindy Sherman, a traveling retrospective of one of the most significant contemporary artists and arguably the most influential one working exclusively with photography. Known for photographing herself in a range of guises and personas that are by turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting, Sherman has built an international reputation for an extraordinary body of work. Tracing her career from the mid-1970s to present, the exhibition is the first major U.S. retrospective of the artist in nearly 15 years, introducing Sherman to a new generation of audiences.

Organized by Eva Respini of The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), Cindy Sherman brings together more than 150 photographs from both public and private collections, including key works from SFMOMA’s own holdings. The presentation at SFMOMA is overseen by Erin O’Toole, assistant curator of photography, and is the first major exhibition of Sherman’s work ever mounted in San Francisco.

Throughout her career, Sherman has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity, the nature of representation, and the artifice of photography. Her works resonate deeply with our visual culture, drawing from the unlimited supply of images from movies, television, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Today Sherman’s work is the unchallenged cornerstone of postmodern photography.

Masquerading as myriad characters in front of her camera, Sherman has served as her own model for more than 30 years, constructing invented personas and tableaus. To create her photographs, she works unassisted in her studio, and assumes multiple roles as photographer, model, art director, makeup artist, hairdresser, and stylist. Through her skillful guises, she has created an astonishing and continually intriguing variety of culturally resonant characters, from sexy starlet to clown to aging socialite.

“Sherman’s work is particularly relevant to today’s image-saturated culture because she reminds us to be critical consumers of what we see,” says O’Toole. “She holds a mirror up to contemporary society, calling attention to the strangeness of things we tend to see as normal, like fashion, makeup, and plastic surgery.”

Exhibition Overview

Born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Sherman received her BA from Buffalo State College and moved to New York City in 1977, where she has resided ever since. The exhibition showcases the remarkable range of Sherman’s photography, from her early experiments as a student in Buffalo to her recent large-scale photographic murals, which are customized to fit each installation site. The presentation examines some of the dominant themes prevalent throughout Sherman’s work, such as artifice and fiction, cinema and performance, horror and the grotesque, myth and fairy tale, and gender and class identity.

A selection of ambitious and celebrated works will be highlighted, including a complete set of the seminal Untitled Film Stills (1977–80)—70 black-and-white photographs that feature the artist in stereotypical female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, and European art-house films—and all twelve of her centerfolds (1981), in addition to selections from her significant series of works: fairy tale/mythology (1985); history portraits (1988–90); sex pictures (1992); headshots (2000); clowns (2002–04); fashion (1983–84, 1993–94, 2007–08); and society portraits (2008).

The exhibition also premieres, in the U.S., a recently created photographic mural (2010–11) that represents the artist’s first foray into transforming space through site-specific fictive environments. In the mural, Sherman transforms her face digitally, exaggerating her features through Photoshop by elongating her nose, narrowing her eyes, or creating smaller lips. The characters, who sport an odd mix of costumes and are taken from daily life, are elevated to larger-than-life status and tower over the viewer. Set against a decorative toile backdrop, her characters seem like protagonists from their own carnivalesque worlds, where fantasy and reality merge. The new work included in the retrospective offers an opportunity for reassessment in light of the latest developments in Sherman’s oeuvre.

Catalogue and Exhibition Tour

A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, with essays by exhibition curator Eva Respini and art historian Johann Burton, as well as a new interview with Sherman conducted by filmmaker and artist John Waters.

Cindy Sherman premiered at MoMA in New York (February 26–June 11, 2012), and following SFMOMA’s presentation, it will travel to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (November 10, 2012–February 17, 2013), and Dallas Museum of Art (March 17–June 9, 2013).

Cindy Sherman is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Major support for the San Francisco presentation is provided by the Fisher family, J.P. Morgan, and The Bernard Osher Foundation. Generous support is provided by Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein, Nion McEvoy, and the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund. The St. Regis San Francisco is the official hotel of this exhibition. Media sponsor: San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

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A.C.T. ANNOUNCES FULL COMPANY FOR THE WEST COAST PREMIERE OF GEORGE C. WOLFE’S TONY AWARD–WINNING PRODUCTION OF THE NORMAL HEART


September 13–October 7, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (July 24, 2012)—American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced today the casting for the West Coast premiere of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s landmark play focusing on the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City in the 1980s. Directed by five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart unfolds like a real-life political thriller as a tight-knit group of friends refuse to let doctors, politicians, and the press bury the truth about an epidemic ravaging the gay community behind a wall of silence. The Normal Heart performs a limited run September 13–October 7, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco.

The Normal Heart is presented in association with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C., by special arrangement with Daryl Roth.

The Normal Heart will feature original Broadway cast member Patrick Breen in the role of Ned Weeks, the fiery writer and activist at the center of the play. He is joined by noted film and television actress (and fellow original Broadway cast member) Jordan Baker as Dr. Emma Brookner, a passionate physician determined to stop the spread of the mysterious disease. The production also features Tom Berklund (Broadway’s The Addams Family) as Craig Donner/Grady, Matt McGrath (Broadway’s Cabaret, A.C.T.’s The Black Rider) as Felix Turner, Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse (Broadway’s Kiss Me, Kate, A Chorus Line, and The Light in the Piazza) as Mickey Marcus, Sean Dugan (NBC’s Smash) as Tommy Boatwright, Jon Levenson (Broadway’s The Normal Heart) as Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor, Nick Mennell (Broadway’s A Free Man of Color) as Bruce Niles, and Bruce Altman (HBO’s Game Change) as Ben Weeks.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “The company that we’ve assembled for this San Francisco outing of The Normal Heart is extraordinary in every way—we’re thrilled to welcome our old friend Matt McGrath back to A.C.T. after his triumph in The Black Rider, and to welcome Patrick Breen and these other remarkable talents to our stage for the first time. We know these wonderful actors will deliver the vivid emotional truth of the play, and we can’t wait to share their work with our audience.”

Fueled by love, anger, hope, and pride, The Normal Heart centers around a circle of friends struggling to contain the mysterious disease ravaging New York’s gay community. First produced in 1985 by Joseph Papp at New York’s Public Theater, the show immediately became a critical sensation and a seminal moment in theater history. Kramer’s unapologetic tackling of the AIDS epidemic, gay marriage, and our national healthcare system casts theatrical light on issues that are as present in today’s national discourse as they were when the play first premiered a quarter of a century ago.

Wolfe’s 2011 Broadway staging received universal acclaim and was the recipient of three Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards, and the Outer Circle Critics Circle Award, all naming it Best Revival of a Play. The show was also awarded the Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle.

The Normal Heart reunites members of the Broadway revival’s design team, including scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer and original music composer David Van Tieghem, and projection designer Batwin & Robin. Joining the team is restaging director Leah C. Gardiner.

Tickets for the limited engagement of The Normal Heart are now available online at www.act-sf.org <http://www.act-sf.org>  and by phone at 415.749.2228. Subscribers to A.C.T.’s 2012–13 season will receive priority seating to this highly anticipated production. To order a subscription, visit www.act-sf.org/subscribe or call 415.749.2250


 

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The Hula Show — 5 PERFORMANCES ONLY at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

Patrick Makuakāne and his award-winning dance troupe, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, return to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco for The Hula Show 2012, with 15 world premieres featuring traditional hula and Makuakāne’s renowned hula mua, which brings the ancient Hawaiian dance form into the modern realm by setting traditional hula movements to non-Hawaiian music.

Performances of The Hula Show 2012 are Saturday, October 20 at 8 p.m., Sunday, October 21 at 3 p.m., Friday, October 26 at 8 p.m., Saturday, October 27 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m. A special children’s matinee will take place on Sunday, October 28 at 12 p.m.  Tickets are on sale now through City Box Office at 415-392-4400, on the web at cityboxoffice.com and at all tickets.com locations.

The opening suite of dances was inspired by King Kalakaua’s jubilee in 1886, celebrating his 50th birthday. King Kalākaua reigned from 1874 to 1891 and is credited for the revitalization of hula in Hawaii. Makuakāne created the suite of dances from a collection of chants commemorating the jubilee. The tribute to King Kalākaua will also feature historic photos from the jubilee.

The show will include the world premiere of “The Little Black Dress Hula,” a smoldering, jazzy hula suite derived from a collection of songs that range from jazzy, contemporary Hawaiian to bluesy, swampy, soul. Other dances honor one of the most famous beaches in the world – Waikiki.

“There is a freedom in hula mua that allows me to fuse not only the past and future, but also traditional hula movements with contemporary music,” says Makuakāne. “We are excited to present The Hula Show 2012 to fans throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Tickets for the opening night performance on Saturday, October 20 will be followed by a champagne reception. Tickets may also be purchased for the Gala Benefit on Saturday, October 27 at 5:30 p.m., featuring a pre-performance Lū‘au, with food from favorite San Francisco restaurants, live Hawaiian music and VIP seating to the 8 p.m. performance. A special children’s matinee (one-hour performance) will take place on Sunday, October 28 at 12 p.m. Tickets are on sale now through City Box Office at 415-392-4400, on the web at cityboxoffice.com and at all tickets.com locations.

About the Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu

Founded in 1985, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu (“the many feathered wreaths at the summit, held in high esteem”) is committed to the preservation and education of the Hawaiian culture through hula.  It has a performance group of nearly 40 dancers and offers classes to students in the beginning and intermediate levels.  The organization holds educational workshops throughout the year in Hawaiian language, history, and arts and crafts.





For further information on Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, call 415-647-3040 or visit www.naleihulu.org.


 

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AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER’S Young Conservatory Presents AfTER JULIET

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Young Conservatory Director Craig Slaight is proud to present After Juliet, a play that explores what happened after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.  Written by Sharman Macdonald, After Juliet is based on an original idea by MacDonald’s daughter, Keira Knightley, who asked “What happened after they died?” after seeing a production of Romeo and Juliet at the age of 13. Presented in stunning blank verse, After Juliet follows the friends of the famous star-crossed lovers as they grapple with love and loss. After Juliet performs July 20–August 4, 2012, at Hastings Studio Theater, located at 77 Geary Street, Sixth Floor, San Francisco.  Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org.

When After Juliet opens, the Montagues and Capulets— saddened by the tragedy that has befallen their children—declare peace between the families, but the feud simmers as Rosaline plots to avenge her beloved Romeo’s death and several characters stand on trial for their involvement in the horrific events.  Inventively mixing the classical with the modern, After Juliet presents a fresh look at characters from Shakespeare’s famous work.

Says Slaight: “I’ve always felt that Romeo and Juliet, along with Sophocles’ Antigone (which we produced in the fall), is one of the all-time great teen dramas. Here Macdonald, who has previously written for the A.C.T. Young Conservatory (Broken Hallelujah), extends the drama’s complexities as the friends must grapple with untimely death and lingering feelings that still divide the two families. The rich, heightened language pushes our young actors to stretch their techniques, and the bracing muscular tension among the characters rings true to our contemporary world, reminding us that the egregious acts of senseless adults are reflected in the actions of the youth.”

Featuring direction by Domenique Lozano, this provocative play features a talented young cast from across the Bay Area. The cast includes Bonnie Castleman (Livia), Michael Dinardo (Lorenzo), Diyar Eyuboglu (Alice), Dori Goldberg (Gianni), Alexandra Hearn (Juliet), Ethan Haslam (Valentine), Marc Hills (Benvolio), Owen Keith (Petruchio), Alexandra Lee (Bianca), Isabel Schroedel (Rosaline), Amy Shapiro (Angelica), and Janie Weaver (Helena).

Craig Slaight is a resident artist and the director of the Young Conservatory at American Conservatory Theater. Slaight assumed the leadership of the Young Conservatory in 1988. During his time at A.C.T., he has taught in all of the conservatory programs and served as a director on A.C.T. mainstage productions and as a member of the artistic team of the company. Slaight began the Young Conservatory’s New Plays Program in 1989 with the mission to develop plays by outstanding professional playwrights that view the world through the eyes of the young. To date 37 new plays by leading American and British playwrights have been developed and produced. With A.C.T.’s Jack Sharrar, Slaight has edited numerous anthologies of scenes and monologues for actors and is the editor of five volumes of New Plays from A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory. Before coming to A.C.T., Slaight was an award-winning professional director in Los Angeles. He has also directed in England at the National Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath.

Domenique Lozano has directed A Christmas Carol on the A.C.T. mainstage for the past five years.  A resident artist at A.C.T., Lozano teaches in numerous programs and has directed many projects with the Young Conservatory and M.F.A. Program. Her Young Conservatory projects include the world premiere of the new musical Homefront; the American premiere of After Juliet; the world premieres of Sarah Daniel’s Dust and Constance Congdon’s Nightingales; a coproduction with the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Zürich of Paul Steinmann’s Only Victory; and the West Coast premieres of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Korczak’s Children and Wendy MacLeod’s School Girl Figure. Her directing work with the M.F.A. Program includes Caught with Her Pants Down, Richard III, and numerous graduating class showcases and Will on Wheels touring Shakespeare productions, as well as the M.F.A. Program/Young Conservatory coproduction of Amy Herzog’s The Wendy Play. Other directing credits include The Countess with Center REPertory Company; Two for the Seesaw with Marin Theatre Company; Inspecting Carol and the West Coast premiere of Jane Martin’s Anton in Show Business with San Jose Stage Company; and The Norman Conquests, Holiday, The Real Thing, and She Loves Me with Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, of which she was a founding member and associate artistic director. Acting credits include work with such theaters as California Shakespeare Theater, where she is an artistic associate, A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lozano has also taught throughout the Bay Area at such institutions as Saint Mary’s College, UC Davis, California Shakespeare Theater, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The A.C.T. Young Conservatory offers a broad range of theater training for young people aged 8 to 19. The ten sessions of classes and eight public productions offered throughout the year are designed to develop talent and creativity, as well as communication and cooperation skills, for young people with all levels of theater background. Working professional actors and directors lead students in a spectrum of classes, including acting, directing, voice and speech, musical theater, audition, and improvisation. Call 415.439.2444 or visit act-sf.org/conservatoryfor applications and information.

After Juliet is made possible by a generous grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation and donors to A.C.T.’s season gala.
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TICKETS FOR INDIVIDUAL SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY 2012-13 CONCERTS ON SALE MONDAY, JULY 23 AT 8 A.M. AT THE DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL BOX OFFICE AND AT 10 A.M. ONLINE AND BY PHONE

Program updates for 2012-13 season announced

The San Francisco Symphonyannounced today that tickets for individual concerts in the 2012-2013 season, which begins September 5, will go on sale Monday, July 23. Tickets will be on sale at www.sfsymphony.org, 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office for all of the Symphony’s concerts that have been available so far only by subscription package.

The Orchestra’s first season in its second century combines a commitment to new and rarely heard music with in-depth explorations of core classical repertoire and composers. The San Francisco Symphony’s 101st season opens Wednesday, September 5, when Russian guest conductor Semyon Bychkov joins the Orchestra for two concert weeks. Pinchas Zukerman performs Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestra, and Bychkov leads the musicians in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. During the second week of concerts, the Orchestra performs Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905 with Bychkov.

Michael Tilson Thomas

On Wednesday, September 19, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra perform the annual Opening Gala, joined by guest violinist Joshua Bell in works by Saint-Saëns and Chausson. Other highlights of the San Francisco Symphony’s fall concert season include Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and a new work by Samuel Carl Adams; András Schiff performing Bach masterworks in the first concerts of a two-year residency; conducting debuts by Vladimir Jurowski and Jaap van Zweden; and visits by Yuja Wang and Lang Lang to perform with MTT and the Orchestra. In October, Wang performs Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, in advance of her Asian tour with the Orchestra.

Among the major highlights of the 2012-13 season are Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra’s explorations of music by Stravinsky and Beethoven. The programs trace the composers’ early musical influences and ideas, from rarely performed pieces forward through their later, well-known works. MTT, now in his 18th season with the Orchestra, also will create an original video installation for Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and a new staged concert production of Peer Gynt, featuring music by Grieg, Alfred Schnittke, and Robin Holloway. MTT will lead the first-ever concert performances by an orchestra of Leonard Bernstein’s complete music for West Side Story.

The Orchestra premieres new work by contemporary composers, including performances with MTT of a new SFS commission by Robin Holloway with soprano Renée Fleming, a re-imagining for orchestra of Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées, based on Paul Verlaine’s poems. SFS Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert premieres his new work Pandora with MTT and the Orchestra in December.

Baritone Matthias Goerne will perform Wagner’s Wotan’s Farewell from Die Walküre and “Die Frist ist um” from The Flying Dutchman with conductor Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestra, in place of Detlev Glanert’s orchestrations of Brahms’s Four Preludes and Serious Songs. For Yefim Bronfman’s performances with the Orchestra in December, Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto replaces the SFS co-commissioned Jörg Widmann piano concerto, which will be premiered in a later season.

The Orchestra also announced the musicians and programs for its chamber music concerts at Davies Symphony Hall and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. In June 2013, the Orchestra and Chorus perform a tribute concert to SF Symphony President John D. Goldman. Also announced today and on sale July 23 is a concert with Gipsy Kings at Davies Symphony Hall on March 29. (Editors, please note: The SF Symphony is not performing on this concert).

Tickets are available for all SF Symphony concerts in the 2012-13 season beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, July 23 at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office (on Grove Street between Van Ness and Franklin) and at 10 a.m. online at www.sfsymphony.organd by phone at 415-864-6000.

Click hereto view the complete, revised San Francisco Symphony 2012-2013 Season concert calendar, including all current program updates. For more information, please contact the San Francisco Symphony Public Relations Department at publicrelations@sfsymphony.orgor (415) 503-5474, or visit the website at www.sfsymphony.org/press.

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Lulu by the Bay: Louise Brooks is legend in Pandora’s Box

FROM SF GATE BLOG BY THOMAS GLADYSZ —  On Saturday July 14th, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will show Pandora’s Box. Today, it is considered one of the great films of all time, largely in part because of the stunning performance given by Louise Brooks in the role of Lulu. Saturday’s event marks the second time in the Festival’s 17 year history that G.W. Pabst’s 1929 masterpiece has been shown. However, it is the first time that this very special version of the film has been seen anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pandora's Box poster
Pandora’s Box screens Saturday

For locals, and for Louise Brooks fans everywhere, this San Francisco screening is a must attend event. That’s because the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is showing a new and true, frame-by-frame, digital restoration of Pandora’s Box. And by all reports, it is gorgeous. Not available on DVD, this restoration has only been shown twice before anywhere in the world. And what’s more, the team responsible for the restoration are local residents Angela Holm, David Ferguson and Vincent Pirozzi. They will be introducing the event at the Castro theater.

Controversial, censored, cut, and critically disregarded when it first debuted, Pandora’s Box is today considered one of great silent films. This restoration, the Festival’s centerpiece event, was funded by silent movie enthusiast and Louise Brooks partisan Hugh Hefner. It may come as close as we will ever get to director Pabst’s original vision – and Brooks’ original luminescence.

This screening is also significant as it marks something of return for the character of Lulu, whose creator was almost born in San Francisco. As most filmgoers know,Pandora’s Box is based on two plays, Earth Spirit (1895) and Pandora’s Box (1904), by the German writer Frank Wedekind (1864 – 1918). Today, he is best known as the author of Spring Awakening (1891), which six years ago was turned into a hugely popular Broadway musical.

What’s little known is that Wedekind’s parents were European immigrants resident in San Francisco in the years following the 1849 Gold Rush. His German father was a physician and progressive democrat whose participation in the Revolutions of 1848 (in the German states) led him to exile in America. Wedekind’s Swiss mother was an attractive singer and actress twenty-three years his junior. This unlikely and unconventional union has led some scholars to speculate that the relationship between Wedekind’s parents could have served as a model for the similar, unconventional relationship between the older and respected Dr. Schon and the much younger showgirl Lulu in Pandora’s Box.

 

A scene from Pandora's Box

 

Of course, such things are open to interpretation. However, what we do know is that Friedrich Wedekind and Emilie Kammerer’s second child – the future writer – was conceived in San Francisco, and born in what is now Hanover, Germany. According to Wedekind’s biography, early in the pregnancy the homesick couple risked a return to their homeland, and stayed. And that’s where Benjamin Frank(lin) Wedekind, named for the free-thinking American writer, was born in 1864.

To mark the occasion of the first ever showing of the restored Pandora’s Box in San Francisco, what follows is a brief, discursive history of the film’s reception in the United States and the greater Bay Area.

Pandora’s Box had its world premiere in February of 1929 at the Gloria–Palast theater in Berlin. German reviews of the time were mixed, even dismissive. (See the essay in the Festival program for a fuller account.) Some months later, when Pandora’s Box opened at a single theater in New York City, American newspaper and magazine critics were similarly ambivalent, and even hostile.

In its now infamous review, the New York Times critic stated, “In an introductory title the management sets forth that it has been prevented by the censors from showing the film in its entirety, and it also apologizes for what it termed ‘an added saccharine ending’.” Adding salt to the wound, the Times critic noted, “Miss Brooks is attractive and she moves her head and eyes at the proper moment, but whether she is endeavoring to express joy, woe, anger or satisfaction it is often difficult to decide.” Ouch.

Despite poor reviews, the film drew crowds. The New York Sun reported that Pandora’s Box ” . . . has smashed the Fifty-fifth Street Playhouse’s box office records,” and was held over for another week. With its brief run completed, Pandora’s Box fell into an obscurity from which it barely escaped.

newspaper advertisement for Pandora's Box

Things have changed since the late 1920s, and the reputation of Pandora’s Box has continued to grow. The film has been screened numerous times in the last few decades, and perhaps nowhere more often than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chances are if you are still reading this article you saw an earlier print at the Castro Theater in San Francisco or the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, where between those two venues the film has been shown nearly two dozen times since the mid-1970s.

As far as I have been able to document, the first screening of Pandora’s Box in the City of San Francisco took place at the old Surf Theater in January of 1974, as part of a double bill with The Last Laugh. A couple of years earlier, in October of 1972, the Pacific Film Archive had screened it in Berkeley in what could have been one of the film’s earliest East Bay screenings.

One of those early East Bay screenings was likely prompted by film critic Pauline Kael, who was then living in the Bay Area and had a hand in local film exhibition. At that time, Kael was also corresponding with Louise Brooks, who was living in Rochester, New York. On at least one occasion in their exchange of letters, Kael implored Brooks to come to the Bay Area to be present at a screening of Pandora’s Box. But Brooks, who was reclusive, wouldn’t budge.

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Louise Brooks made a rare personal appearance at the American Theater in Oakland while in the Bay Area filming the now lost 1927 comedy, Rolled Stockings.

In all likelihood, the very first screening of Pandora’s Box in the Bay Area took place in 1962, when the Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey screened a print ofPandora’s Box as part of its Peninsula Film Seminar. The event was organized around a visit by Brooks’ early champion and friend James Card, who brought with him a small collection of rare films, including a messy, unrestored version of the Pabst masterpiece.

Card’s print of Pandora’s Box was probably one of the very few prints of the film in the United States. And in all likelihood, Pandora’s Box and the other films shown at the Seminar were works the attendees had only heard of but not seen.

According to newspaper reports of the time, the Peninsula Film Seminar was a big deal in local film circles. And notably, it was attended by Bay Area cognoscenti like Pauline Kael, future San Francisco poet Laureate Jack Hirschman, a few East Bay film promoters involved with the Berkeley Film Guild, and others.

And there, in Monterey, the seeds were first sown for the film’s now large reputation in the Bay Area. Follow this link to see a list of all known screenings of Pandora’s Box in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you know of other early screenings of this historic film, please send an email.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival takes place July 12 through 15 at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. More info, including a compete program of films, can be found at www.silentfilm.org

Thomas Gladysz is a Bay Area arts journalist and early film buff, and the Director of the Louise Brooks Society, an internet-based archive and international fan club devoted to the silent film star. Gladysz has contributed to books on the actress, organized exhibits, appeared on television and radio, and introduced Brooks’ films around the world. He will be signing copies of his “Louise Brooks edition” of The Diary of a Lost Girl following the screening of Pandora’s Box at this year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

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OUT OF CHARACTER: DECODING CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY

Asian Art Museum Exhibition Uses Contemporary Lens to

Explore Important Collection of Rare Chinese Masterworks

Chinese calligraphy—long considered the most sublime art form in China—is like a carefully choreographed dance, its steps guided by tradition. By manipulating a brush with varied movements and pressures, calligraphers create sensuous strokes: their ink dances across surfaces of silk, satin, or paper, presenting balance within a character, harmony among words, and rhythm across lines of text. With mind and hand in accord, calligraphers express the strength of their character through their characters.

This fall, the Asian Art Museum presents Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy, a compelling new exhibition examining the complexities of this time-honored art form through 40 calligraphies—including 15 noted masterworks, many on public view for the first time—all borrowed from the significant collection of Bay Area entrepreneur Jerry Yang. The calligraphies are supplemented with three major abstract expressionist paintings by Brice Marden, Franz Kline, and Mark Tobey, plus a newly commissioned video installation by acclaimed international contemporary artist Xu Bing. Together, these artworks offer a stimulating exploration of creativity expressed within the constraints of artistic discipline.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue featuring essays by leading calligraphy experts, as well as a multimedia tour—including the perspective of Jerry Yang—and other public programs.

Out of Character is on view at the museum October 5, 2012, through January 13, 2013. The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of the exhibition.

After its presentation at the Asian Art Museum, the exhibition is scheduled to tour to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2014.

“Through the centuries, a complex set of rules and conventions evolved in this art form, governing scripts, styles, formats, content, and context, and impacting every aspect of the Chinese calligrapher’s practice,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “The unique mix presented in Out of Character—classic calligraphies complemented by modern and new works—offers a framework for understanding that within these constraints, creativity and self-expression remained the goals of the calligrapher.”

The first major exhibition of Chinese calligraphy in the U.S. since 1999, Out of Character is organized by the Asian Art Museum and curated by Dr. Michael Knight, the museum’s senior curator of Chinese art, and Dr. Joseph Chang, senior research fellow at the museum’s Research Institute for Asian Art.

In organizing the exhibition, the curators—with input from several noted scholars from both China and the U. S.—drew upon superb calligraphies from the Guan Yuan Shan Zhuang (The Mountain Villa for Gazing Afar), a significant collection of more than 250 works owned by Yang. Many of the artworks will be on public view for the first time, offering museum visitors a rare opportunity to see such masterworks as Lotus Sutra, a late 13th-to-early-14th-century handscroll by Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322). On view also will be the earliest dated calligraphy outside China by Dong Qichang (1555–1636).

“There aren’t many opportunities for people to experience firsthand the complexity and diversity of Chinese calligraphy,” said Jerry Yang. “For me, understanding and appreciating Chinese calligraphy has been a journey of discovery, inspiration, and fulfillment. I’m proud for the Asian Art Museum—known for its scholarship and pursuit of cultural understanding—to share these works with the broader community, enabling others to more fully appreciate the complex beauty and significance of this art form.”

“There is no question that an essential aspect of Chinese culture is its language and writing,” said Robert Y. C. Ho, Chairman of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, “Chinese calligraphy is a highly complex, beautiful and sometimes inscrutable system that has evolved over several millennia and is central to China’s political, cultural and social development. It captures and defines virtually every aspect of Chinese history and culture in a way that perhaps no other art form can.”

Viewers will encounter the bold, streamlined presentation of Out of Character in three key sections: first, an introduction provides an overview of tools, materials, and techniques critical to understanding and appreciating Chinese calligraphy. This section features 25 calligraphies illustrating key elements including format, script, styles, content and context; in the second section, 15 featured calligraphies illustrate in depth the elements presented in the introduction; and third, a contemporary response by artist Xu Bing offers a cultural perspective on the nature of calligraphy.

 

ABOUT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life, while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity, and new thinking.

 

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AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER TO OFFER OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE OF THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS

 American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is pleased to offer an open captioned performance of The Scottsboro Boys, the critically acclaimed musical based on a tragic chapter in American history, on Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m., at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Special seats have been reserved for hearing-impaired audience members who would like an optimal view of the digital screen. These tickets (located in the Orchestra section) are $34 per person and available by visiting act-sf.org/scottsboro <http://www.act-sf.org/scottsboro>  and entering the code CAPTION or by calling A.C.T. at 415.749.2228.

The use of open captions in theater has gained worldwide attention and support for its ease of integration and program enhancement and has introduced a wave of new audiences to the theater. Open captioning displays text alongside live speech, dialogue, and singing. It does not require patrons to use special equipment for viewing the text.  Open captioning services for A.C.T. are provided by Turner Reporting and Captioning Services.

The West Coast premiere of The Scottsboro Boys opened to rave reviews from Bay Area audiences and critics alike. Karen D’Souza of San Jose Mercury News called The Scottsboro Boys “scorching musical theater,” while Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle hailed it as “electrifying!” Nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2011, The Scottsboro Boys features music and lyrics by the legendary Broadway songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman), book by David Thompson (Steel Pier, Chicago), musical direction by Eric Ebbenga, and direction and choreography by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Contact). Jeff Whiting serves as associate director and choreographer. Tony and Emmy Award winner Hal Linden (Barney Miller, The Rothschilds on Broadway) joins the stellar cast as The Interlocutor.


Based on the notorious Scottsboro trials of the 1930s, The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of nine African American teenagers—ranging from 12 to 19 years old—convicted of raping two white girls on a Southern Railroad freight train while hitching a ride to Memphis in search of employment. Despite the fact that one of the original complainants later denied that any rape had occurred, the nine teenagers were subjected to years of brutal imprisonment, death-sentence verdicts, and a denied appeal. Reclaiming the framework of a minstrel show and “turning the taboo form on its head,” explains Stroman, the musical—through high-energy dance numbers and exuberant music—courageously addresses one of the most abhorrent episodes in American history.  


The Scottsboro Boys marks the fourth and final collaboration for John Kander, Fred Ebb, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson. Previous collaborations included the 1987 off-Broadway revival of Flora, The Red Menace, the 1991 off-Broadway production of And the World Goes ’Round, and the 1997 Broadway production of Steel Pier. Looking at famous trials of the 20th century as inspiration, the four were immediately drawn to the compelling story of the Scottsboro Boys trials. Says Kander: “As a young boy growing up in Kansas City, I remember when the Scottsboro Boys were first in the headlines. I remember the conversations with my parents about what the trials meant. I am sure there were similar conversations at kitchen tables across the country. I also remember when the headlines began to fade and the Scottsboro Boys gradually disappeared from the national spotlight. As we began to write The Scottsboro Boys, it was immediately apparent why it was so important to tell their story. Behind the headlines, the spectacle, the ongoing trials, and the histrionics of politicians and lawyers was the story of nine young African American boys, determined to prove that they mattered.”

A.C.T.’s production of The Scottsboro Boys is sponsored by Deloitte and Farella Braun + Martel LLP. The Scottsboro Boys is made possible by executive producers Lesley Ann Clement and Barry Lawson Williams and Lalita Tademy; producers Rose Hagan and Mark Lemley, Marcia and Jim Levy, Terry and Jan Opdendyk, David and Carla Riemer, Bert Steinberg and Lucia Brandon, Lorenzo Thione and David Palmer, and Larry and Robyn Varellas; and associate producers Anne and Jerry Down, Robert Hulteng, Christine and Stan Mattison, Maria and Jeff Spears, and Judy and Bill Timken.  A.C.T. would also like to acknowledge its 2011–12 season company sponsors Ray and Dagmar Dolby, Frannie Fleishhacker, Ambassador James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Koret Foundation, Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Mary and Steven Swig, Doug Tilden, and Jeff and Laurie Ubben.

The Scottsboro Boys
will play its final performance on Sunday, July 22, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary St.). Tickets for all remaining performances are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org <http://www.act-sf.org> or by calling 415.749.2228.

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FREQUENT SF BALLET COLLABORATOR AND TONY AWARD WINNING DESIGNER MARTIN PAKLEDINAZ HAS DIED

Frequent SF Ballet collaborator and celebrated costume designer Martin Pakledinaz died on Sunday, July 8, at the age of 58, after a long illness. Pakledinaz, known for his work on Tony Award winning musicals such as Kiss Me, Kate; Thoroughly Modern Millie; and Anything Goes; collaborated frequently with SF Ballet, beginning in the early 1990s.For SF Ballet, he designed for choreographers such as Mark Morris, SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, and Christopher Wheeldon.

“Martin was not only a wonderful collaborator but also a good friend. For over fifteen years, I’ve had the privilege of working with him and seeing his extraordinary designs come to life on stage,” said Tomasson. “For San Francisco Ballet, his diverse body of work included notable ballets, both short and full-length, such as my most recent productions of Nutcracker and Don Quixote, Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, and Mark Morris’ Sylvia, to name a few. Martin was incredibly talented and original and he will be greatly missed.”

As a costume and scenic designer, Pakledinaz worked in theatre, dance, opera, and film. His work has been seen in New York, the United States, and all over the world. He was nominated 10 times for the Tony Award, winning twice in the Best Costume Design category for the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate and in 2002, for the original production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. His designs for opera include “Rodelinda” for the Met; Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” for Seattle Opera; “L’Amour De Loin” (directed by Peter Sellars) for Opera Salzburg and the Chatelet; as well as productions at New York City Opera, Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company. Memorial donations may be made to: The Martin Pakledinaz Scholarship, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10003.

About San Francisco Ballet

As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for more than two decades, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include a tour to the People’s Republic of China, the celebration of Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 25th anniversary with the Company, and the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in December 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet embarked on an ambitious tour schedule that includes engagements in London and Washington, D.C., as well as first time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho. * * *

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LORENZO PISONI’S HUMOR ABUSE RETURNS TO A.C.T. FOR AN EXCLUSIVE LIMITED ENGAGEMENT!

The celebrated actor and clown’s critically acclaimed one-man show tells the

incredible true story of growing up in San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus

SAN FRANCISCO (June 26, 2012)— After receiving ecstatic reviews and audience ovations last winter, Lorenzo Pisoni’s celebrated one-man show, Humor Abuse, returns to American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) for an exclusive limited engagement. Created by Pisoni and director Erica Schmidt, Humor Abuse takes us under the big top with Pisoni’s incredible true story of growing up as the youngest member of San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus. Celebrating the complicated, no-holds-barred life of a performer, Pisoni shows off the tricks of the trade he learned from his father, Pickle cofounder Larry Pisoni. A hilarious and heartfelt event that will delight audiences of all ages, Humor Abuse dazzles with unforgettable stories and mesmerizing routines. The show has been critically acclaimed throughout its runs around the country: the New York Times called Pisoni “a performer of charisma and charm with the split-second timing and aplomb of Buster Keaton;” Variety praised the show as “surprising, funny, and entirely theatrical;” and during the show’s sold-out run in January, the San Francisco Chronicle awarded the show its highest rating, hailing it as “90 minutes of nonstop hilarity . . . a tour de force of physical comedy and a gift to the Bay Area.” Humor Abuse performs August 3–19, 2012 at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Friday, August 3, 2012, at 8 p.m. Tickets (starting at $25) are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or at act-sf.org.

About returning to the Bay Area, Pisoni—who previously appeared on the A.C.T. stage in 2005’s hugely popular The Gamester and also recently performed in Broadway’s Equus alongside Daniel Radcliffe—says: “When I was asked if I was interested in doing Humor Abuse again at A.C.T., there was no question. Being able to share the story of my father and the Pickle Family Circus with Bay Area audiences was an absolute dream come true and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to share it all again.”

Pisoni was born into the Pickle Family Circus shortly after his parents, Larry Pisoni and Peggy Snider, founded the alternative big top in 1974 with their juggling partner, Cecil MacKinnon. After Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle joined their ranks—creating the incomparable clown trio of Lorenzo Pickle (Pisoni), Willy the Clown (Irwin), and Mr. Sniff (Hoyle)—the Pickles became a venerable and beloved Bay Area institution. They toured the West Coast (and beyond) through the 1980s and ’ 90s and led the charge in the renewal of the American circus, exchanging animal acts, pyrotechnics, and the supersized three-ring format with daring acrobatics and its famous show-stopping group juggle, all presented on one intimate stage so audiences would not miss a single moment. Lorenzo Pisoni grew up in this hotbed of creativity, first appearing onstage at the age of two. He became his father’s clown partner not long after, and he continued to perform with the troupe during his teens. Pisoni, a natural storyteller, gives the audience a unique take on the familiar coming-of-age story and creates a moving and hilarious portrait of a father-and-son relationship. His recollections are centered around physically demanding tricks (both newly created acts as well as and reenactments of his father’s famous Pickle performances) that show off his skills as a juggler, acrobatic, clown, and physical comedian.

The creative team for Humor Abuse includes lighting designer Ben Stanton (Seminar on Broadway,  Angels in America at the Signature Theatre), sound designer Bart Fasbender (over 100 productions, including work at The Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Atlantic Theater Company), and composer Randy Craig (who is an original Pickle Family Circus member and recently composed and performed the music for A.C.T.’s production of Scapin). Humor Abuse is stage-managed by Hannah Cohen.

A.C.T.’s production of Humor Abuse is made possible by producer Marilee K. Gardner. A.C.T. would also like to acknowledge its 2012–13 season company sponsors Ray and Dagmar Dolby, Frannie Fleishhacker, Ambassador James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Koret Foundation, Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Mary and Steven Swig, Doug Tilden, and Jeff and Laurie Ubben.

A.C.T.’ s 2012–13 season continues with many other incredible productions. Next up is the West Coast premiere of George C. Wolfe’s Tony Award–winning production of The Normal Heart (September 13–October 7, 2012), followed by Carey Perloff’s sweeping production of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Elektra (October 25–November 18, 2012), featuring core acting company member René Augesen in the title role and associate artist (and Academy Award winner) Olympia Dukakis as the fiercely partisan Chorus Leader. December brings A.C.T.’s celebrated production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol (November 29–December 24, 2012), now in its 36th year. This version of A Christmas Carol,, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, stays true to the heart of Dickens’s timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. Widely considered one of the most influential plays of the 20th century, Tennessee Williams’ sultry classic, A Streetcar Named Desire (January 17–February 10, 2013) takes the stage in a sumptuous new production. Next A.C.T will present the world premiere of George F. Walker’s Dead Metaphor—a hilarious dark comedy about the hypocrisies of postwar living (February 28–March 24, 2013).  In the spirit of the beloved hit The Black Rider, A.C.T. is thrilled to continue the tradition of introducing eclectic, unforgettable musical projects to the stage with the world premiere of Stuck Elevator (April 4–28, 2013). A powerful and poignant hip-hop opera, Stuck Elevator is based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. As the event of the season, A.C.T. is thrilled to present the Bay Area premiere of The National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed production of Black Watch (May 3–June 9, 2013). Written by Gregory Burke and directed by John Tiffany (who recently won a Tony Award for his inventive work on the acclaimed Broadway musical Once), Black Watch is based on interviews Burke conducted with soldiers of the legendary Scottish regiment who served in Iraq. The 2012–13 season culminates with a new production of Tom Stoppard’s masterwork Arcadia (May 16–June 9, 2013). Hailed as one of the best plays of the 20th century, Arcadia unfolds in a beautiful English country house and moves between the 19th century and the present through a series of love stories, as characters from both eras discover connections, unearth mysteries, and unravel hidden truths about the nature of heat and desire. To subscribe or to receive a season brochure, please call 415.749.2250 or visit act-sf.org.
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Stern Grove 2012!

San Francisco’s original music festival, Stern Grove Festival, announced  its 75th Season of admission-free concerts, Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 24 through through August 26, 2012 at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19 Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.

This landmark summer season features a mix of performers as diverse as the city it calls home. This summer’s 10-week concerts series features an array of pop and jazz music greats, including ANITA BAKER, SHEILA E, AL JARREAU, OK GO, OZOMATLI, PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND, MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO as well as the City’s three classical institutions—the SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, BALLET AND OPERA. Stern Grove Festival is the only venue in the world where all three of these renowned cultural institutions perform every summer, completely admission-free.

June 24 – The Big Picnic Benefit and Concert

Starring Anita Baker The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble

Stern Grove Festival will inaugurate a new tradition–The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert to launch the summer season. This special event begins with a benefit party followed by the admission-free concert featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone, and Glide Ensemble. These three acts, well known for getting the audience out of their seats, will set the tone for a dynamic summer at Stern Grove Festival.

Glide Ensemble, a San Francisco institution, opens the concert with an inspiring blend of gospel, jazz, blues, pop, and soul. The Family Stone, featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and original founding members of Sly & The Family Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, continues the soul-stirring music with their funk-infused sound. And to close the day, Stern Grove Festival is proud to present ANITA BAKER—multiple GRAMMY winner, composer, producer, and all-around superstar, this R&B legend is known for her hit-making sound and smooth vocals.

The performance is dedicated to the memory of Rosalie M. Stern, donor of Stern Grove to San Francisco and founder of the Stern Grove Festival Association. The Big Picnic is presented by Wells Fargo. Concert Sponsors are Sutter Health, Parkmerced, PG&E, Bvlgari, Northern Trust, AT&T, Recology, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

July 1 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Stone Foxes

It is particularly fitting to have the acclaimed Preservation Hall Jazz Band return to Stern Grove Festival with the sounds of the Big Easy. Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been a significant part of Stern Grove Festival throughout the years and generations of San Franciscans have fond memories of their concerts. This summer’s performance will feature a special commissioned piece celebrating Stern Grove Festival’s 75th year.

Continuing the Bay Area connection for this concert, local San Francisco band The Stone Foxes open the afternoon with their roadhouse-ready blues and rock sound. Founded in 2005, the band’s gritty sound has won them fans throughout the Bay Area.

Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 8 – San Francisco Symphony with Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

and Members of the SFS Chorus

Stern Grove Festival is proud to present what promises to be an extraordinary performance with the San Francisco Symphony. For the first time in over ten years, SFS Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a concert in the Grove, also featuring members of the SFS Chorus. The histories of Stern Grove Festival and the San Francisco Symphony have been linked since June 1932 when the Symphony performed the first-ever concert at the Grove. This summer’s program, part of the Symphony’s centennial season and marking Stern Grove’s 75th anniversary, will feature Beethoven’s timeless masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, among other works. To mark this milestone, KDFC Radio, 90.3 FM will broadcast this July 8 concert live, further underscoring how performances at Stern Grove Festival are accessible to everyone.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Rhoda H. Goldman, Festival Chair from 1968 to 1996. Concert sponsored by Sutter Health, Sonoma County Visitors Center, Galleria Park Hotel, and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 15 – Nitin Sawhney and Meshell Ndegeocello

A producer, composer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and all-around Renaissance man Nitin Sawhney brings cross-cultural cool to the Grove. One of the most talented and recognized producers and songwriters within the British electronic and fusion music scene, Nitin Sawhney is also a respected actor, writer, and scriptwriter.

Also performing is singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello with her eclectic blend of folk, jazz, hip-hop, funk, and rock. Since hitting the Billboard charts with a cover of “Wild Night” with John Mellencamp, Meshell has received ten GRAMMY nominations, performed around the world, and collaborated with artists ranging from Madonna and Basement Jaxx to The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 22 – The E Family Featuring Pete, Sheila E, Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo

Featuring the first family of Bay Area Latin music, The E Family brings the beat in this one-of- a-kind performance featuring the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, The E Family Band with Pete, Juan, Peter Michael, and Sheila E, and a special performance by Sheila E.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 29 – San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet returns to Stern Grove Festival with artists of the Company performing a selection of works from their current repertory. Renowned for its incomparable level of innovation and exuberance, San Francisco Ballet is one of the premier ballet companies in America.

Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo and Kabuki Springs and Spa.

August 5 – Ozomatli and SMOD

Latin alternative rockers Ozomatli return to Stern Grove Festival with their high-energy, danceable blend of hip-hop, rock, and modern Latin sounds. A Festival favorite, the group will also present a kid-friendly performance at KidStage at noon before the concert.

From Mali, the trio SMOD opens the afternoon with a hip-hop hybrid of West African vocal styles, old school rapping, and modern beats. Their debut album, produced and recorded with international star Manu Chao, was released in 2010 in France.

Concert Sponsor is AT&T and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Carlton. Media sponsor is SF Weekly.

August 12 – Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio and Mara Hruby

Re-creating a legendary San Francisco recording session, Al Jarreau and The George Duke Trio reunite for an afternoon of jazz classics.

Jarreau’s career started in San Francisco, where he performed with the George Duke Trio as the house band at the Half/Note jazz club, leading to the 1965 album, Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio- Live At The Half/Note. Since then, with fans worldwide, Jarreau has racked up seven GRAMMY nominations and scores of international music awards for his signature vocal stylings.

Born in San Rafael, George Duke was a mainstay on the 1960’s San Francisco jazz scene and studied at the Conservatory of Music. A respected musician, song-writer, music director, and producer, Duke has worked with greats like Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie and contemporary R&B artists like Jeffrey Osbourne, Gladys Knight, and Anita Baker.

Opening the afternoon and rounding out the Bay Area focus of this concert is Oakland-based neo- soul singer Mara Hruby, a fast-rising star with a smooth, jazzy vocal sound and a singular style. After performing as a dancer and singer backing other Bay Area artists, she recently released her debut EP, From Her Eyes.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Galleria Park Hotel.

August 19 – San Francisco Opera

Stern Grove Festival is proud to welcome back the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The afternoon’s program features soprano Leah Crocetto, tenor Michael Fabiano, and more soloists performing a selection of operatic favorites.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

August 26 – OK Go and The Family Crest

Known for their viral videos and quirky sound, alternative rockers OK Go close the 75th Season

in celebratory style. At the forefront of an emerging class of creative entrepreneurs making art in both digital and physical spaces, the GRAMMY-nominated group’s self-directed videos have been viewed over 150 million times on YouTube. Their most recent video, which debuted during the Super Bowl, received 200 million hits in less than 24 hours the next day.

San Francisco indie orchestral collective, The Family Crest, opens the afternoon with their fusion of rock, classical, folk, and jazz. Their debut LP, The Village, was pre-released at SXSW this year and will be released nationally this summer.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced, AT&T, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo.

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Asian Art Museum Appoints Dr. Laura Allen as Curator of Japanese Art

Dr Laura Allen has been appointed Curator of Japanese Art

SAN FRANCISCO, June 11, 2012 — After an extensive search, the Asian Art Museum today announced the appointment of Dr. Laura Allen as the museum’s new curator of Japanese art, beginning June 11, 2012. Serving as head of the museum’s Japanese art department, Dr. Allen will join associate curator of Japanese art Melissa Rinne in executing advanced curatorial work, organizing special exhibitions, and overseeing the care and academic interpretation of Japanese art objects belonging or lent to the museum.

“Laura Allen’s unique combination of teaching skills, scholarly publication, and curatorial experiences have provided her the kind of intellectual innovation needed to fulfill the museum’s vision to engage and inspire new and broader audiences,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “She brings an intellectual acumen that complements her personal warmth and lively thinking. We are thrilled to welcome her aboard.”

Dr. Allen has worked for over twenty years in the field of Japanese art history. After receiving her B.A. in Art History and Asian Studies at Oberlin College, she completed an M.A. in Art History under Alexander Soper at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Following a year as a Japanese art curatorial intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied Chinese and Japanese art as well as classical Japanese literature under James Cahill, Maribeth Graybill, and Helen Craig McCullough. A Fulbright scholarship supported Dr. Allen’s doctoral research on medieval narrative painting at Gakushûin University, Tokyo. Her Ph.D. dissertation was a study of the thirteenth century picture scroll Illustrated Life of Saigyô (Saigyô monogatari emaki).

In 1992, after four years as assistant professor of Japanese art at U.C. Irvine, Dr. Allen embarked on a freelance career focused on research, teaching and writing in her field. Her broad-ranging interests have resulted in publications for scholarly and general audiences, on topics including early narrative painting, Tosa school paintings of The Tale of Genji, the printmaking tradition, and Western-style painting (yôga). She has taught the history of Japanese art to students at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University and most recently has served as adjunct professor of Asian art at the University of San Francisco. In 2006, she initiated a close affiliation with the Asian Art Museum with a yearlong term as Instructor of Record for the Arts of Asia lecture series.

Since 2009, Dr. Allen has worked closely with Ms. Rinne in the museum’s Japanese department as guest co-curator for recent and upcoming exhibitions, and as an advisor to the Society for Asian Art’s board of directors.

ABOUT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian Art treasures spanning 6000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life, while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.

Information: 415.581.3500 or www.asianart.org

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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“SLIPPING” – Now at New Conservatory Theatre Center

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

Playwright Daniel Talbot’s Slipping makes its Bay Area premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center now through July 1st. The story is about “Eli” – a really out and reticent Gay high school student long-accustomed to the physical taunts and verbal jabs that simply go with the territory. The play combines two time frames – that was then, this is now. Eli and Jan (his mother) used to live in San Francisco. Now they’re in Des Moines. Not much going on in Des Moines for an angry skinny boy with punkish blue hair, a camera around his neck, who smokes too much, and has taken to cutting himself again. Since her husband’s death – and the relocation to Iowa to become an English teacher and start all over – Jan has jumped into an affair with a younger man, not one of her students. No mistaking the variety of moaning coming from her bedroom. But Eli has plenty of noise going on his head to block it, some of it about missing an abusive relationship with Chris – a wild kid back in the City who would threaten to kill him should he open his mouth about their big secret. But now, Eli has outed Jake – the gawky guy in Art Class who is into sports and, since their experimental encounters, believes he and Eli may have a future together. Eli and his mother reach the overdue boiling point, firing the F-word back and forth. He cuts his wrist. Jake crawls into bed with him at the hospital. No secrets now. Perhaps Eli will learn to accept love.

Evan Johnson (Lois Tema Photography)

Whatever may be missing in Talbott’s script is made-up for in the intense and compelling performances by its cast and the fine direction of Andrew Nance. The situations are topical and the characters are familiar. New Conservatory Theatre’s production of Slipping is a positive move in its continuous effort to bring complex issues to the stage and to encourage new playwrights who challenge the status quo with the benefits of excellent production values and an increasingly loyal subscription audience.

“To me,” says Daniel Talbott, “the play is about reaching out. I had this really intense relationship for a long time, and that relationship—having someone love me and be there for me—was what sent me over the edge and really kind of crashed me out. The play is about that and the need to break that open in order to start to become healthy.”

Benjamin Ismail (Jake), Fernando Navales (Chris), Evan Johnson (Eli), and Stacy Thunes (Jan) (Lois Tema Photography)

Click here to purchase tickets on-line: SLIPPING

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Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti June 23–September 23, 2012, at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

29 May 2012 – Sonoma, CA: This summer, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (www.svma.org) honors the creative life of Lawrence Ferlinghetti with the exhibition Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s work, in both literature and art, is a drive for liberation, transformation, and union—through love, literature, political struggle, nature, humor, art. Again and again, in paint and in words, he ponders themes of “Her”/woman, the Sea, man adrift, war and pacifism, and engages in direct dialogue with other artists and writers, including Homer and Joyce, Ginsberg and Van Gogh, Picasso and Pound. The exhibition, on view June 23 through September 23, 2012, focuses on key themes that have occupied the artist and poet throughout his creative life, in both word and image.

“We are thrilled to be presenting this exhibition of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s works, of which I am personally a big fan,” says the museum’s Executive Director Kate Eilertsen. “This exhibition takes a unique approach in looking at thematic parallels that have been consistent in his work, in whatever medium he chooses.” Long celebrated as a poet and publisher, Ferlinghetti, now 93, was first a painter, pursuing his craft at the Sorbonne in Paris shortly after his naval service in World War II. For more than sixty years, he has continued his passion for image-making in paintings, drawings, prints, and mixed media works that have been widely exhibited, including a major survey exhibition in 2010 in Rome and Calabria.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is acclaimed as a poet, painter, liberal activist, and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco. As early as his 1955 book A Coney Island of the Mind (published in 1958 by New Directions)—a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of over 1 million copies—he wrote about himself as a painter and the challenges of the visual artist. The first poem in the bestselling book addresses the work of Goya; and further along, in poem 12, he writes: “‘One of those paintings that would not die’ / its warring image / once conceived / would not leave / the leaded ground / no matter how many times / he hounded it / into oblivion…”

Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti is guest curated by Diane Roby, an artist and curator who for several years has catalogued Ferlinghetti’s visual art at his Hunter’s Point studio in San Francisco. For this exhibition, she looks especially at the overlap of word and image as Ferlinghetti addresses recurring thematic material. “In Ferlinghetti’s art,” says Roby, “words give rise to image-making, and word and image meld in paint. The poet and painter, with pen and brush, turns his attention to his world of words and paint as he ponders questions of human existence and aspirations.”

Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti tracks these themes through selected paintings, drawings, prints, and notebooks. Several works on loan from the artist will be exhibited for the first time, including notebooks of writings with pictures in the margins, and sketchbooks with text, as the artist forms his thoughts in line and verse. A viewing room will present video and audio clips of the artist reading and at work in his studio. Among these clips is the 1957 Allen Willis film “Have You Sold Your Dozen Roses?,” with a voiceover by Ferlinghetti (presented courtesy of the East Bay Media Center).

Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti is generously supported by Cherie and Keith Hughes.

Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti will be on view at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 551 Broadway in Sonoma, June 23 through September 23, 2012. The Museum hours are Wednesdays through Sundays 11am– 5pm. Museum admission is $5 general; free for students in grades K-12. Admission is free for all visitors every Wednesday. More information about the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is available at www.svma.org or by calling (707) 939-7862.

 

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The Gold Dust Lounge in San Francisco is History: Tourist Bar to Move to Fisherman’s Wharf

 

The Gold Dust Lounge will shut its doors Wednesday, May 23, and move into a new location at Fisherman’s Wharf sometime in the next four months, according to a source close to the bar.

A press conference will be held at 2:30 Wednesday at the bar, 247 Powell St., to announce that the bar and lounge will fold its tent and move to an undisclosed location at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Recently, the bar was sued by its landlord, the Handlery family, which owns the building where the bar is situated for failing to abide by the terms of its lease and staying beyond the term of its lease.  The bar and its owners, the Bovis brothers, lost a series of legal rulings this past week that sealed its fate.

The Gold Dust tried to use public relations tactics to overcome the fact that the bar didn’t have a lease.  One of its previous attempts to remain on Powell Street was to seek historic status from the City of San Francisco, but the bar suffered a setback when the Historic Preservation Commission decided against granting it landmark status.

Supporters of the 47-year-old bar near Union Square hoped the designation would help save the business from being evicted by the building’s owners, the Handlery family. Next, the bar’s supporters sought help from Supervisor Christina Olague, who said she planned to introduce legislation that would override the agency, whose members said the bar had cultural significance but did not meet criteria for historic landmark designation.

But the supervisor changed her mind. She told the board she’d “respect the process” and stay out of the fight.

The day after the Historic Preservation Commission’s ruling, attorneys for the Handlery family filed a lawsuit against Jim and Tasios Bovis, who run the bar, accusing them of intentionally breaching their contract. The Bovises, in turn, sued their landlords, saying they were intimidated into signing their contract.

The battle over the watering hole started in December last year, when the Handlery family, who wants to put an Express store in the Gold Dust’s space, exercised a clause in its lease and gave the Bovises three months to clear out. The Bovises refused to leave.

At that time, Lee Houskeeper, a spokesman for the Bovises, said bar supporters would appeal the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors within a month. But the bar never did.

At that time, Houskeeper bragged: “We’re going to keep pouring,” he added. “We’re not going anywhere soon.”

But the Bovises and Houskeeper changed their tune this week after the bar lost a series of three important legal decisions this past week to the Handlery family.

Now the tourist bar is moving to a tourist location, Fisherman’s Wharf, where it can continue to pour drinks like it has since 1966, when the Bovises first started the lounge in the Handlery building on Powell Street.

The biggest question is why the Bovises (and their mouthpiece Houskeeper) didn’t move in the first place, except that they would have lost the publicity and income that comes from flogging a dying bar.  And, of course, who in San Francisco doesn’t like a good ‘ol tenant landlord dispute? It only makes everyone drink more. Just ask the Bovis’ attorney Joe Cotchett who got his hat handed to him by the court and led to the bar finally giving up the ghost and moving to Fisherman’s Wharf.  He will most likely be drowning his loss with a few drinks at the Gold Dust Bar in its final hours, courtesy of the Bovis brothers, no doubt.

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PHANTOMS OF ASIA – At the Asian Art Museum, through 9/2

Asian Art Museum organizes its first large-scale exhibition of contemporary art,

offering unique insight into Asian mythologies and belief systems

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

The Asian Art Museum debuts Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past, an ambitious exhibition exploring the complex, diverse, cross-cultural perspectives of Asian cosmology and spirituality through a compelling interplay of 140 artworks from the past and present.

Phantoms of Asia – the first large-scale exhibition of contemporary art organized by the Asian Art Museum – fills its special exhibition galleries with artworks by living artists and integrates new works throughout the museum’s renowned pan-Asian collections. Providing visitors with immersive experiences, the exhibition offers rare insights into a range of belief systems and mythologies that have shaped Asian cultures over the ages.

On view May 18–September 2, 2012, and featuring more than 60 works by 31 contemporary artists, including Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japan/USA), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), Adeela Suleman (Pakistan), Raqib Shaw (India), and Choi Jeong Hwa (Korea), alongside 90 objects from the museum’s collections—some dating back 2,000 years—Phantoms of Asia challenges visitors to view traditional objects not as relics of the past, but as vibrant connections to the present.
Click here for ticket information: Asian Art Museum

RAQIB SHAW. Absence of God VII, 2008

RAQIB SHAW. Absence of God VII, 2008

“The concept of phantoms—or ‘spirits’—is elusive, yet it’s felt and shared across cultures and time periods,” said Jay Xu, museum director. “Through its emphasis on interconnectivity, this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to experience those ‘invisible forces’ in a tangible, accessible, and provocative way, with Asian art at the center.”

Curated by Mami Kataoka, chief curator of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, in collaboration with Allison Harding, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Asian Art Museum, Phantoms of Asia is organized around four themes: (1) Asian Cosmologies: Envisioning the Invisible; (2) World, Afterworld: Living Beyond Living; (3) Myth, Ritual, Meditation: Communing with Deities; and (4) Sacred Mountains: Encountering the Gods.

The exhibition includes artworks by contemporary artists hailing from Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Tibet, and the U.S. Many of the contemporary installations are new or site-specific commissions. When combined with objects from the museum’s collections, these artworks represent a vast array of materials, forms and media, including works of stone, metal, fabric, wood, and modern materials; and masks, textiles, sculptures, ceramics, film and video, photographs, and paintings.

Expressing the museum’s new aspiration to “awaken the past and inspire the next,” the building itself will undergo a transformation to meet the full-scale challenges of the exhibition, starting with a 24-foot installation outside the museum, moving into the building’s public courtyards, and finally throughout the special exhibition and collection galleries.

CHOI JEONG HWA. Breathing Flower

CHOI JEONG HWA. Breathing Flower

Asian Cosmologies: Envisioning the Invisible
The exhibition begins with Choi Jeong Hwa’s (Korea) 24-foot red lotus (titled Breathing Flower) in Civic Center Plaza, across the street from the museum. With motorized bright red fabric leaves opening and closing, simulating the movement of a live lotus flower, the installation creates a link between the modern world and one of the most important cosmological symbols in Asia.

Inside the museum, Sun K. Kwak’s (Korea/USA) site-specific drawing made with masking tape dramatically transforms the museum’s North Court, manifesting invisible energies in the space. Kwak’s installation relies on the artist’s process of “lyrical meditation” to detect the subtle energies in the room, and serves to shift visitors’ consciousness from the mundane concerns of daily life to the spiritual/cosmological themes of Phantoms of Asia.

The exhibition then takes a look at the future, with Heman Chong’s (Singapore) installation, Calendars (2020–2096). One thousand and one calendar pages, each showing one of Chong’s photographs of public and domestic spaces, transfigure the installation space. Repetition, an imagined future time, and haunting stillness encourage meditation on being and absence, mortality and eternity.

Moving into Lee Gallery, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s (Japan/USA) Five-Elements series stands as a shrine to the origins of existence. Seven crystal pagodas resting on wooden plinths form a single, stark line across the gallery. Using geometric symbols from thirteenth-century Buddhism, Sugimoto encases a single image from his iconic Seascape series in each glass structure. The sea and air, origins of all life, are seen through a prism of ancient Buddhist views of the universe.

PALDEN WEINREB. Astral Invert, 2011

PALDEN WEINREB. Astral Invert, 2011

In Hambrecht Gallery, several objects from the museum’s collections present traditional Asian cosmographic symbols. In one area, Chinese bronze mirrors (some dating back to 480 BCE) depict the cosmos on their nonreflecting sides even as they reflect the real, earthly world on their polished surfaces. The mirrors orient viewers to Poklong Anading’s (Philippines) Anonymity series, where subjects hold mirrors to their faces to reflect flashes of light into the camera. With people’s faces obscured, Anading’s photographs ask viewers to consider how they construct personal and collective identity. In another section, Guo Fengyi’s (China) drawings map the flow of energy through the artist’s own nervous system. Influenced by her study of qigong, the drawings illustrate the experience of artistic practice as spiritual practice. Palden Weinreb’s (USA/Tibet) minimalist works (including paintings and light boxes) are meditations on existence and the universe: “Abstraction,” Weinreb suggests, “parallels the sublime emptiness of Buddhism.”

World, Afterworld: Living Beyond Living
Works in the next phase of the exhibition explore the connection between this life and the afterworld. The theme begins in Hambrecht Gallery with Araya Radsjarmrearnsook’s (Thailand) video installation, The Class, in which the artist gives a seminar on death to several shrouded corpses. Her lecture prompts our own contemplation: How do we speak about death? What do we envision in the afterworld?

Between Hambrecht and Osher Galleries, Jakkai Siributr’s (Thailand) Karma Cash & Carry depicts a spirit house similar to those found in the artist’s native country. Siributr’s work shows the intersection of modern-day animism, Buddhist practice, and material culture. Jompet’s (Indonesia) Anno Domini, an arrangement of colonial military uniforms hanging bodiless, reenacts traditional mythologies, symbolizing protection from the exigencies of modernization and colonization.

Also just outside Osher Gallery, Takayuki Yamamoto’s (Japan) San Francisco version of his ongoing video project, What Kind of Hell Will We Go To, documents the artist’s workshop with elementary school children from the Bayview area. After showing students the Kumano Kanjin Jikkai Mandala, a collection of traditional Japanese paintings depicting Buddhist notions of vice, virtue, and punishment, Yamamoto then encourages them to create and talk about cardboard dioramas representing their own ideas of hell. These dioramas are presented along with the video.

Myth, Ritual, Meditation: Communing with Deities
Marking the transition to the third theme, seventeen traditional masks greet visitors at the entrance of Osher Gallery. Masks play an integral role in ceremonies and rituals across many Asian cultures, and provide the context for Motohiko Odani’s (Japan) carvings. Odani’s SP Extra: Malformed Noh Mask Series: San Yujo transforms the surface of Noh masks to depict the sinew and flesh of the human face, exposing the vulnerable underside of the masks’ spiritual beauty.

JAGANNATH PANDA. The Cult of Survival II, 2011

JAGANNATH PANDA. The Cult of Survival II, 2011

Communication between humans, plants, and animals plays a part in the mythologies of many cultures. Several artists take up this theme in Osher Gallery. In Jagannath Panda’s (India) The Cult of Survival II, the artist symbolizes endless cycles of consumption and production in the form of a snake crafted from pipes. Adeela Suleman (Pakistan) uses stainless steel reliefs of natural objects—birds, flowers, trees—to act as storytellers. Interrupting these traditional motifs are contemporary images of death (including suicide vests), prompting awareness of the ever-present threat of violence and extinction and the transitory nature of all things.

Within the gallery, Adrian Wong (USA/Hong Kong) constructs two rooms following the precepts of feng shui (a system of geomancy that attempts to incorporate laws of heaven and earth), one auspicious and the other inauspicious. Using Korean ceremonial objects from the museum’s collection, Wong experiments with the space between spaces and challenges visitors to tune into nearly imperceptible harmonies and disharmonies.

Sacred Mountains: Encountering the Gods
Sacred mountains have a place of prominence in Hinduism and Buddhism, among other religions, and several artists working with this theme are featured in the second-floor Tateuchi Gallery. Lin Xue (China/Hong Kong) connects to a spiritual past through his paintings of imagined mountains, rendered with a sharpened bamboo twig. His Untitled 2010-9 takes experiences from mountainous landscapes to create newly imagined landscapes, such as an island floating among an ocean replete with marine life. Aki Kondo’s (Japan) newest work, which depicts mountain deities, was motivated by the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

AKI KONDO. Detail, Mountain Gods, 201

AKI KONDO. Detail, Mountain Gods, 201

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Exploring the same theme, but located in the Korean gallery on the second floor, Bae Young-whan’s (Korea) depictions of nature demonstrate a view of the body as a microcosm of the universe; for example, his installation of tiny ceramic mountain ranges echo the shape of his brain waves.

ASIAN ART MUSEUM’S NEW VISION: INTERCONNECTIVITY WITHIN ASIA AND WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD

Partnering curator Kataoka suggests, “Asia is not a timeless construct,” but rather an ever-evolving concept that can “awaken a new awareness of our existence in this world.” Harding considers how the collection at the Asian Art Museum connects to art of today’s Asia and “how these traditional and contemporary objects can reveal new aspects of each other.”

To express these points of view, regional artists’ works are situated among traditional objects in the museum’s region-specific galleries, including Raqib Shaw’s (India/UK) hedonistic, dreamlike canvases in the South Asian galleries. The Kashmiri artist fuses influences as diverse as Japanese screens, Mughal miniatures, and Hieronymus Bosch paintings. Shaw’s style is both opulent and fastidious: his materials include glitter, rhinestones, and industrial paint, all applied painstakingly with a porcupine quill.

In the Chinese Buddhist sculpture gallery, Charwei Tsai’s (Taiwan) minimalist works evoke meditations on the ephemeral. Tsai’s calligraphy of the Chinese characters of the Heart Sutra on organic, transitory materials—tofu, mushrooms, lotus leaves—are exercises in the Buddhist precept of nonattachment.

“We hope visitors will connect with the essence of creative activity in Asia, a region that is rapidly changing on the surface, but where ancient phantoms still linger and spread their spells,” said Kataoka.

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A CONVERSATION WITH GENNADI NEDVIGIN – Principal Dancer, San Francisco Ballet

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

For Gennadi Nedvigin, a Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet, the 2012 season has been rich with opportunity. He delivered a stunning performance as “Lensky” in the Opening Night production of John Cranko’s Onegin. In Program 2 he was featured in the world premiere of Mark Morris’ all-male ballet, Beaux, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine. In Program 3 he appeared in Helgi Tomasson’s Trio which was set to music by Tchaikovsky. Even in the largest of ensembles Nedvigin’s electric energy is easily spotted and in an intimate pas de deux with such partners as Maria Kochetkova – he radiates crystalline strength and transcendent joy. When those qualities are channeled into the popular story ballets, he has mastered an array of determinate Royals – “Albrecht” in Swan Lake, “Desiré” in Sleeping Beauty, the “Nutcracker Prince” – and shines as the boy-next-door, “Franz” in Coppélia. In March he delivered a captivating interpretation of “Mercutio” in Romeo and Juliet. The role is notorious in the canon of Shakespeare’s plays, requiring first an actor of unconventional vitality followed by a long list of endowments that run from attractive to zany, all of which spin about in a character who has the soul of a poet, the endurance of a ladies’ man, the tenacity of a best friend, and a solid reputation for being the village inebriate. Tomasson’s choreography captures these attributes and Gennadi Nedvigin conveyed them with ease. This week, in the final production of Don Quixote, he is scheduled to dance the leading role of “Basilio” on Friday, May 4th, and the closing performance on Sunday afternoon, May 6th. Click here to purchase tickets on-line: DON QUIXOTE  GENNADI NEDVIGIN and MARIA KOCHETKOVA. Tomasson's "Trio".  Photo, Erik Tomasson

GENNADI NEDVIGIN and MARIA KOCHETKOVA. Tomasson’s “Trio”. Photo, Erik Tomasson

The City’s golden gates were opened for ballet star Gennadi Nedvigin in March 1997 when Helgi Tomasson, Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet, handed him the opportunity of a lifetime – the kind served-up on the proverbial silver platter. From the time he was ten years old the young Russian-born dancer had trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School. Now he was on tour with Le Jeune Ballet de France and San Francisco was in its sights. The company would stay about two weeks, take classes with San Francisco Ballet, and collaborate on a number of pieces to be performed at the Palace of Fine Arts. After that, who knew? Gennadi needed a job and the curtain was coming down on this gig with the French company. A few years later, it completely folded.


“They always had young dancers,” he said, “not more than 20 years old. With Jeune Ballet de France you usually stayed for a year and then moved on. It was like a transitional company that helped young dancers get some practice, become stronger, learn new things and then head into a bigger company. Right after our last performance, Helgi was standing in the wings and asked if he could have a word with me. He said, “I have a contract to offer you – as a Soloist. Give it some thought and get back to me within two weeks.” I didn’t have to wait two weeks. I had never been in America before and the City was so beautiful. The weather was great, we were performing at the Palace of Fine Arts which is so romantic, and everything that surrounded me at the time was so enjoyable. So, I changed and went back to the reception. A lot of dancers from San Francisco Ballet were there, a lot of students – I didn’t realize everyone was watching me. I signed the contract right there and all of a sudden the champagne bottles started popping.”

GENNADI NEDVIGIN. Act 3, "Coppelia".  Photo, Erik Tomasson

GENNADI NEDVIGIN. Act 3, "Coppelia". Photo, Erik Tomasson

Three years later Gennadi was promoted to Principal Dancer. Since then, his continued openness to all things new and commitment to excellence has turned him into the consummate artist/dancer. But it was in this season’s opening production of John Cranko’s “Onegin” that Gennadi’s dramatic abilities took on a new dimension. Based on the classic novel by Alexander Pushkin and set to a collection of various works by Tchaikovsky, Gennadi portrayed “Lensky”, friend to the dashing and arrogant “Eugene Onegin” danced by Vitor Luiz. The second Act involves a party scene where the dazzling Onegin decides to alleviate his boredom by inviting Lensky’s fiancée Olga to dance. Onegin’s deeper motivation is to provoke Lensky by aggressively flirting with her. Olga is naïve and unaccustomed to such overt sexual energy, especially coming from someone who is obviously way out of her league. As they continue to dance, it is apparent to everyone that she is foolishly responding to Onegin and creating an atmosphere that has gone beyond inappropriate. Lensky fails to stop their dance and responds by challenging Onegin to a duel. By this point, not only had the dramatic tension risen to its highest point but so had the hot-blooded magnetism of the very-appealing Mr. Nedvigin. Like never before.

GENNADI NEDVIGIN and CLARA BLANCO in John Cranko's "Onegin".  Photo, Erik Tomasson

GENNADI NEDVIGIN and CLARA BLANCO in John Cranko's "Onegin". Photo, Erik Tomasson

“Lensky has purer feelings,” he said. “He is sincere and genuinely mad. It’s basically a black and white situation, with Olga in-between them as “red” – the kind of woman that goes with one man and then with another. Audiences always have better feelings towards Lensky. I re-read the story before we started rehearsing. It is so dear to me. The hardest part for me was to find Lensky’s fragility and innocence and to actually bring those emotions to the stage. You don’t want to fake it or overplay it and then look ridiculous, because Lensky is a sincere soul. There are not many characters like this in ballet.”

“Sincerity must be the food of love then,” I responded, “because I’m sitting out there glaring at Olga (Clara Blanco) and thinking, “Fool! Why would you be throwing yourself at Onegin when you’ve got a lover like Lensky?”

Gennadi laughed. “Well, you know, as my girl says – ‘Girls always like the bad boys.’”

SARAH VAN PATTEN and GENNADI NEDVIGIN in Mark Morris’ "Joyride".  Photo, Erik Tomasson

SARAH VAN PATTEN and GENNADI NEDVIGIN in Mark Morris’ "Joyride". Photo, Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet has an international roster of world class dancers with varying gifts who can step-in for each other at a moment’s notice. Compared to European companies which may favor taller dancers in lead romantic roles, at San Francisco Ballet the look is about balance and perspective. It is not unusual within a course of nine performances of certain programs for there to be as many as five casting combinations. All of them are “star-studded”, each ensemble delivering an artistically remarkable product. Gennadi acknowledged my observation that artists here have the opportunity to flourish.

“In Europe, it’s usually the taller people who do principal parts,” he said. “I know if I were in Europe, I probably wouldn’t have been as fortunate to have danced as many of the leading roles in Classical ballets as I have here. It’s true. Here we are given the chance to do it. And I am so grateful.”

“With that leeway in mind,” I asked, “that everything is possible for you – what leading Classical role do you still dream about doing?”

“I would like to do a production of Sheherezade. Something like that. Not what our Company has ever done or maybe thought of doing. These ballets are very different – very different style, different color, and ethnicity. The roles are very different. It has a more Eastern style and approach. The character of the “Golden Slave” is not a prince, but more like the pirate in Le Corsaire. That’s what interests me – the opportunity to explore different types of characters. That’s why I enjoy the roles of Albrecht, Franz, and Lensky. They are all different. A Prince is a Prince. You’re doing different steps, but your character is pretty much the same everywhere.”

GENNADI NEDVIGIN. Act 3, "Swan Lake".  Photo, Erik Tomasson

GENNADI NEDVIGIN. Act 3, "Swan Lake". Photo, Erik Tomasson

Along the way, I have missed seeing Gennadi as “Prince Albrecht” in Giselle. He recounted his adventure with a last-minute call to replace Joan Boada who’d had an injury and could not finish the rehearsal of Act II. Gennadi had not been scheduled into the role that season. Like riding a bike, does the choreography just stay in your body?

“I wasn’t upset. I’ve done the role. There were lots of casts. But I had to jump in because of his injury. We would be doing this Giselle in two days. I danced with Masha (Maria Kochetkova). I had been rehearsing something else at the time. They called me and said, “Can you come on stage, please?” It was during their first run-through. They were in the first Act and Joan was already starting to hurt, but they weren’t sure. I did the second Act – with only my memory of the performances from about three years before. It went pretty smooth. We had another rehearsal the following day and the day after that we did the performance. It was one of those really good performances! Sometimes when you just jump in, without a lot of planning, you have a kind-of freedom. You think, ‘OK, if I do something wrong, well, I’m sorry. I really didn’t have that much time to prepare.’ You don’t feel the same kind of pressure as when you’ve been rehearsing for a month and then go on stage and do something wrong. Then you feel really horrible! But when you jump in like this, you have to work within that limited time frame. Whatever happens, happens. Yes, it was running through my head for two days. But you go on stage with more freedom. And sometimes it turns out that it’s one of the best performances you’ve done. Actually, when I was in school, Albrecht was one of those roles I did dream about doing.”

GENNADI NEDVIGIN. Act 4, "Swan Lake"  Photo, Erik Tomasson

GENNADI NEDVIGIN. Act 4, "Swan Lake" Photo, Erik Tomasson

I asked Gennadi how he comes down from a role such as Albrecht – one that is so physically demanding and, emotionally speaking, so high-strung. The plot and dramatic style of Giselle sits on a very high plane. After all, not every Prince gets to have one last dance with the ghost of his sweetheart. “Do you still feel the choreography running through your body? How do you end the day, go home and turn off?”

“I’m still looking for an answer,” he replied. “It’s pretty much impossible. Your mind is running, somehow your body is still running. I may not be able to fall asleep until two or three o’clock in the morning. I may wake-up at five or six and not be able to fall asleep again. It’s horrible. I can be sitting still and thinking of how I did it or will do it the next time and all of a sudden my leg gets very tight or the whole body becomes very tense because I’m going through the steps again. And then I think, “OK! Just relax, just relax.” It’s really challenging, just to be able to relax afterwards. I don’t think anyone has the answer. It just takes time.”

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