Archive | Art

9th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival presents FARRUQUITO

After an absence from the American stage of over ten years, 31-year old flamenco virtuoso Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya, better known as “Farruquito,” is finally returning to the US with his latest project, “Improvisaó.”

The reigning patriarch of the legendary Los Farruco dynasty –the first family of Gypsy flamenco dance–, Farruquito has taken the unique dance style founded by his grandfather, El Farruco into the 21st century.

Improvisaó is a return to the essence of flamenco: the artists shed all artifice, relying on improvisation to create an intimate and visceral encounter with the audience. The electrifying chemistry between vocals, guitar and dance -fused with complete freedom- inspire the artists, creating a context for the miracle of the duende. 

“With the power and purity of his technique and the magic of his brooding presence, he is nothing less than sensational. The speed of his stamped rhythms is complex and phenomenal, no less so his spins and interpolations. He likes to jump headlong into the air like a charging bull.”  The New York Times, Anna Kisselgoff, 2001

“Through a single gesture or twist of his torso, he conveyed defiance, anguish or joy. Few can match his combination of superior technique and duende.”  The New York Times,Valerie Gladstone, 2003

One Night Only!
Thursday, June 19th 8pm
The Palace of Fine Arts Theater, San Francisco

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SF Symphony Concludes Season with Three Weeks of Concerts Celebrating Benjamin Britton’s Centenary

 First concert week includes Britten’s Prince of the Pagodas and a special appearance by the Balinese performing arts group Gamelan Sekar Jaya

Second week of concerts feature Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Toby Spence and SFS Principal Horn Robert Ward, along with works by Copland and Shostakovich


Season concludes with semi-staged production of Peter Grimes, the first SF Symphony performances of the complete opera, and Four Sea Interludes with an SFS co-commissioned video accompaniment by Tal Rosner
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LUSCIOUS Queer Music Festival brings LGBTQ Musicians Together for Three Days of Fabulousness and Music

LUSCIOUS Queer Music Festival, Northern California’s first LGBTQ music festival is slated for August 22-24 at Saratoga Springs in Upper Lake California.  promises to be a “queer Woodstock”, headliners range from Grammy performer Mary Lambert to Tony-award nominee Justin Bond, to nationally lauded Marga Gomez, to lesbian icon Cris Williamson.

“Saratoga Springs is a natural place to have the inaugural LUSCIOUS Queer  Music Festival,” according to Executive Producer Ruven Hannah.  “There have been so many LGBT retreats and events at the Saratoga retreat center.  This will be the crowning musical jewel for queer people from all over the US”

Saratoga can house 1000 festival participants who can enjoy long hot summer days and warm summer nights listening to an exceptional line­up of national headlining and local favorite LGBTQ musicians, DJ’s, and comedians. Musicians slated to appear include:

  • Mary Lambert, fresh off her 2014 Grammy performance
  • Mx. Justin Vivian Bond (alter ego of Broadway’s “Kiki and Herb” fame)
  • Cris Williamson
  • Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division
  • Marga Gomez
  • Skip the Needle featuring Vicki Randle
  • Matt Alber
  • Magic Mouth
  • Gina Breedlove
  • James Panther
  • Brian Kent
  • Melanie DeMore
  • Holcombe Waller

DJ’s include San Francisco’s Page Hodel, DJ Justime, DJ Lamont, and many more.  People will be camping, and fed by local food vendors, in a beautiful secluded valley nestled in the hills of Northern California, just two and a half hours north of San Francisco or two and a half hours west of west of Sacramento.

A portion of the proceeds of LUCIOUS Queer Music Festival will go to ORAM and JFCS/East Bay’s LGBTI Refugee and Asylee Program – to make an impact on LGBTQ immigration rights by raising desperately needed funds to help LGBTQ people being violently persecuted in Africa and Russia, successfully seek asylum in other countries where their lives will not be in danger.

Tickets available through www.eventbrite.com.  For further information, www.lusciousqueermusicfestival.org.

 

ww.lusciousqueermusicfestival.com.

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BRAHMAN/I: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show

The Crowded Fire Theater (CFT)  2014 season leaps forward with the West Coast Premiere of “BRAHMAN/I: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show” by Aditi Brennan Kapil. “BRAHMAN/I… ” opens with a press night on Monday June 9 (Previews June 5-7) running through June 28 at the Thick House in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. Directed by Erin Merritt, “BRAHMAN/I… ” is an outrageous play masquerading as a stand-up comedy routine that hilariously takes on history, mythology, and high school through the lens of an intersex boy/girl tethered by neither gender nor culture. The production is a celebration by/about/for people who never fit in, and who no longer care…and the power that comes with that moment of self-creation. Featuring actor Imran Sheikh, “ Brahman/i…” is  funny, cynical, inventive and intensely charismatic. With more than a dozen unforgettable characters woven amidst a fascinating life story, BRAHMAN/I is a courageous affirmation of a life to be lived.

“In counterpoint to traditional theatre…” remarks CFT Artistic Director Marissa Wolf, “Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show offers an incredible night of stand-up comedy that keeps you laughing and gasping, as she explores questions around sexuality and gender in utterly surprising ways, exploring gender-fluidity through a South Asian lens.”

 

June 5-28

Thick House

1695 18th St, San Francisco

 

 

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COMMUNITY IN THE ’80S ARE AMAZING

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Photographer Thomas Alleman moved to San Francisco from Michigan in 1985. A year later, he began working for the San Francisco Sentinel . During the early days of the AIDS epidemic, Alleman worked for multiple gay publications that decidedly focused their coverage on the community’s response to AIDS and aimed to paint a more full and realistic picture of what life in SF was like.

These photos originally debuted at the Jewett Gallery in San Francisco in December, 2012, under the title, “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws,” and Alleman has this to say about the collection: “I hope these photographs, from San Francisco’s gay community in the mid-eighties, remind viewers of that moment in our social history – so long ago, and so very recent – when the first wave of the AIDS epidemic crashed onto one of our country’s most vibrant neighborhoods. And, while that tribe convulsed with well-earned fear, heartbreak, and anger, some still found the courage and the will to celebrate the dream of life they’d come to San Francisco for, and they danced in the dragon’s jaws.”

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San Francisco Symphony Release Live Recording Of The First Ever Complete Concert Performances Of West Side Story

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release a new live recording of the first-ever concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s complete score for the musical West Side Story featuring a stellar Broadway cast including Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, on June 10, 2014. This collector’s edition two-disc set available from the SFS Media label includes a 100-page booklet featuring a new interview with MTT, notes from Rita Moreno and Jamie Bernstein, as well as a West Side Story historical timeline, archival photographs, complete lyrics, and rehearsal and performance photos. Beginning May 20, West Side Story will be available for an exclusive early download from iTunes.com/SFSymphony where it is now available for pre-order. The iTunes release is Mastered for iTunes and offered as an interactive iTunes LP with bonus visuals and content provided when viewed in iTunes. The recording can also be pre-ordered on disc from the San Francisco Symphony’s online store for delivery by the release date of June 10. This audiophile SACD recording, playable on both standard CD and SACD devices.

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The performances were recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall in late June and early July 2013 after Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony became the first orchestra to receive permission from all four West Side Story rights-holders to perform and record the musical score in its entirety in a concert setting. Of the new recording, Michael Tilson Thomas said, “This is a new and rare opportunity to hear Bernstein’s complete score sung by a sensational young cast and a knock-your-socks-off orchestra.  The San Francisco Symphony totally understands and feels this music.  We show the Broadway roots of the piece and how its universal qualities translate into the way we think about it today.”

Making his San Francisco Symphony debut in West Side Story is Cheyenne Jackson (TV’s Glee, 30 Rock) singing the role of Tony. Of performing the role with MTT and the SFS Jackson says, “I think this is the best musical of all time. Period. I’m a Broadway Baby, and I’ve done many, many shows. And there are a couple that come close, but when it comes to book, music, lyrics, West Side Story is absolutely timeless. Everybody knows every word. This isn’t a polarizing musical or something people have lukewarm feelings about, you just love West Side Story. Even after knowing the score all these years, I’m still uncovering things about the score I never heard before. So, to have the opportunity to perform it, under the great Michael Tilson Thomas, and also with this Symphony, how could I not?! ” The cast includes a host of exciting Broadway voices all making their San Francisco Symphony debuts including Alexandra Silber in the role of Maria, Jessica Vosk as Anita, Kevin Vortmann as Riff and Julia Bullock as A Girl. The recording also features members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus as Jets and Sharks.

Of the performances, Jamie Bernstein said, “Michael really understands my father’s music – how to conduct it and how to bring it to life. It was such a treat to hear the entire score of West Side Story performed by the San Francisco Symphony on a stage. It is the greatest way to hear this music.”

Tilson Thomas first met Leonard Bernstein several years after the West Side Story premiere in 1957 and has championed the iconic composer/conductor’s music throughout his career. Highlights with the SFS include semi-staged performances of On the Town in 1996 and, in 2008, Carnegie Hall’s opening night all-Bernstein gala concert which was recorded and is available on DVD from SFS Media.

 

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DES VOIX… FOUND IN TRANSLATION Biennial 2014 A Festival of New French Plays and Cinema

Playwrights Foundation (PF) Cutting Ball Theater and Tides Theatre announced the Des Voix…Found In Translation Biennial 2014, a Festival of New French Plays and Cinema in San Francisco May 1-25, 2014.  Des Voix…Found In Translation is an international exchange project that initiates the translation of vanguard French and American playwrights, supporting  the presentation of their work to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Des Voix…Found In Translation features new play readings-May 8-11 at Tides Theatre and also includes: A Festival of New French Cinema May 4, 11, 18 & 25 featuring some of the most dynamic French screenwriters in this generation, concurrently at Tides Theatre; A rare “Bal Littéraire” A New Play Nightclub  on Friday May 9 at 7 PM , Hosted with Nathalie Fillion of La Coopérative d’Ecriture (Cooperative Writing) at The French American International School. Go to www.desvioxfestival.com for the full schedule.

This San Francisco festival features new translations of provocative plays by four of the most innovative playwrights working in France today – Christophe Honoré, Leonore Confino and Riad Gahmi will be showcased with new play readings-May 8-11 at Tides Theatre. Samuel Gallet’s play COMMUNIQUÉ10 translated by Rob Melrose in the 2012 Des Voix Festival is receiving its American Premiere (May 1-25) as part of Cutting Ball Theater’s 15th Anniversary season for this Des Voix… festival. Three plays will be performed in English during the month-long Festival at Tides Theatre with COMMUNIQUÉ10 at Cutting Ball  in San Francisco.

The fabled “auteur” Christophe Honoré, (an heir apparent of the French New Wave)  Christophe Honoré‘s first play, ‘Les Débutantes,’ was performed at Avignon in 1998. Christophe, a filmmaker and screenwriter, has had many outings at Cannes, closing the fest in 2011 with ‘The Beloved,’ featuring  both Catherine Deneuve and daughter Chiara Mastroianni. He returned to Avignon with his play ‘Dionysos Impuissant’ (in 2005), with Joana Preiss and Louis Garrel playing the leads. .

Leonore Confino is known for her recently completed trilogy of plays about lifes obsessions, Her play ‘Building,’ was one of the highlights of the last Festival Off d’Avign. The second play ‘Ring’ is 17 rounds of boxing between couples, in which the actors play ten characters dealing with life as a couple. This past January, the third part of Léonore’s trilogy ‘Les Uns sur Les Autres,’ a play about a French suburban family, played at the Théâtre de la Madeleine in Paris, starring Agnès Jaoui as the exhausted mother.

Riad Gahmi is a passionate raconteur, who in a long-term collaboration with Philippe Vincent, co-writer of the spectacle/play ‘Un arabe dans mon miroir’ (An Arab in My Mirror), which is a spectacle of scenes combining theater, film, and music. The play was workshopped in Cairo and performed at various theaters in Germany, France, and New York In each country a local  actor and cast speaks in her native language, rebuilding  every time, becoming a simple witness of the war in Algeria in the Egyptian revolution through the September 11 attacks.

Samuel Gallet is an emerging writer who has made his mark as one of the most prominent young playwrights of his generation, with plays staged by top Parisian directors. His play ‘Encore Un Jour Sans’ was a finalist for the Grand Prix de Littérature Dramatique. Inspired by the 2005 Paris riots, his play ‘Communique N°10,’ was translated by Rob Melrose for the inaugural 2012 Des Voix Festival.

Playwrights Foundation’s Artistic Director Amy Mueller comments on the collaboration: “It takes a village to build a bridge across cultures, and we are thrilled to be working with two of San Francisco’s most globally minded Artistic Directors – Rob Melrose of Cutting Ball Theater and Jenifer Welch of Tides Theatre – and one of the foremost translators in the world, Laurent Muhleisen, to build this project that connects the Left Bank with the Left Coast.”  Collaborator Rob Melrose, an acclaimed translator and director observes that “These four works are simply extraordinary plays, theatrically brilliant and singular in the ways each story tackles the culture-quake of the 21st century – using a quintessentially French lens to express the universality of the current cultural zeitgeist in the West.”

The Plays

The Festival will feature Cutting Ball Theater’s American Premiere of Samuel Gallet’s ‘Communique No. 10.’ Exploring the tensions of the underclass in a city that is bursting at the seams, ‘Communique N°10′ was inspired by the 2005 Paris riots led by North African youth. Performances begin April 25 (Press Opening May 1), and the production will run through May 25. At the heart of the Festival in mid-May will be the Des Voix Festival itself, a non-stop weekend showcasing three brand new translations: Leonore Confino’s newest work ‘Les Uns Sur Les Autres,’ a fast talking, fast sleeping, fast eating, non-sensical family satire driven by an over abundance of electronic devices – the world of a proper family connected to everything but itself; Christophe Honoré’s ‘Un Jeune Se Tue,’ a disturbing and tragic nocturnal ghost story about love, death, and unearthly beings. Riad Gahmi’s darkly comedic work ‘Où Et Quand Nous Sommes Morts,’ which satirically confronts European xenophobia, anti-Arab racism and media’s sensationalist conjuring of empathy, which results in social division rather than social unity.

Film

A series of new French cinema will run concurrently every Sunday evening (May 4, 11, 18. 25) at Tides Theatre .  Featured films are ; (Partial List)  Antonin Pertjallo, La Fille du 14 Juillet (The girl of the 14 July);and  Mila Hanson , la Pere des Mes Enfants, Love (father of my children)*. Jennifer Welch of Tides, who curates the films remarks, “Expanding the scope of the Des Voix Festival, and deepening the cultural exchange.  We are curating a series of contemporary French films that speak to American audiences, bring these voices to a community eager for new and provocative foreign cinema.” At Tides Theatre, (*programing subject to change)

Bal Littéraire

The festival features a rare Bal Littéraire  (A New Play Nightclub) on Friday, May 9th at 7 PM. This tradition is wildly popular throughout France, typically created in 48 hours by multiple writers, and performed for one evening only, is a unique hybrid of flash performance, club dancing and play reading – and includes audience participation. The Bal will will tap the talents of six writers – three French and three American – in collaboration. Hosted with Nathalie Fillion member of La Coopérative d’Ecriture, the originators of “Bal Littéraire” in France.

Festival events are scheduled throughout the month of May at three venues between Union Square and the vibrant Market Street corridor, the hub of the city’s artistic and cultural action.

Go to www.desvioxfestival.com for the full schedule.

The goal of the  translation project is to exchange ideas and perspectives of today’s world, and to increase and deepen cultural exchanges between France and the U.S. that began began with Des Voix…Found In Translation 2012. This project is a collaboration between Playwrights Foundation, a legendary (for over 3 decades) new play development center in San Francisco, Cutting Ball Theater, named  SF’s “Best Experimental Theater Company” , and The Tides Theatre, an innovative new theater making its mark in SF Culture, and the Maison Antoine Vitez], an International Centre for Drama Translation in Paris.

The French playwrights will be in residence in San Francisco for the duration of the festival in May, and will participate in the rehearsal and performance process of their newly translated plays. Translators include Kimberley Jannarone and Erik Butler (Un Jeune Se Tue), Michelle Haner (Les Uns Sure Les Autres), and Rob Melrose (‘Communique N10′ & Où Et Quand Nous Sommes Morts), who also directs his translations. Each of the three new plays will be performed as staged readings during the festival by many of the Bay Area’s finest actors and directors. For the erudite scholarly theater-goer, the festival will also include a colloquium entitled “The Left Bank Meets The Left Coast: Transmigration of Theater and Culture”

The Paris festival is being produced by the Maison Antoine Vitez, and will be presented May 25, 2014 at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, founded by Peter Brook, and known worldwide as the place to see groundbreaking work. The Paris festival will feature translations of exceptionally gifted, early career American playwrights Rajiv Joseph, ‘Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo,’ Marcus Gardley, ‘Every Tongue Confess’ (as a radio play) and Liz Duffy Adams, ‘The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It or The Train Play’ all performed in French. Commissioned to translate these three works are Dominique Hollier (Gardley), Laurent Muhleisen (Joseph) and Isabelle Famchon (Adams).

The producers are working closely with the Cultural Services of the French Consul General in San Francisco on the presentation of the American festival.

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Guest Conductor James Conlon Leads The SF Symphony In Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1

Guest conductor James Conlon returns to conduct three concerts with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) April 24-26 at Davies Symphony Hall, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the orchestra’s own Principal Trumpet Mark Inouye in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, along with works by Tchaikovsky and Schulhoff. Conlon, devoted to programming the music of composers whose careers were silenced by the Nazi regime, will conduct the Scherzo from Symphony No. 5 by the Czech-born composer Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942). These are the first SF Symphony performances of this work. Schulhoff’s music was blacklisted by the Nazi party in the 1930s due to his Jewish descent and radical politics, and he was eventually deported to the Wülzburg Concentration Camp where he died in 1942.

Another rarely performed work on the concert is Shostakovich’s officially titled Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra; the SF Symphony has performed it only twice in its history. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is a frequent guest of the SFS, and Inouye has been featured several times with the orchestra this season; his recent performances in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 earned critical acclaim, and he will be a soloist in J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen in the coming SF Symphony’s Bach concerts under the direction of Ton Koopman, May 1-4. Tchaikovsky’s beloved Pathétique Symphony No. 6 concludes the concert.

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James Conlon, one of today’s most versatile and respected conductors, has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. Through worldwide touring, an extensive discography and videography, numerous essays and commentaries, frequent television appearances, and guest speaking engagements, Conlon is one of classical music’s most recognized interpreters. Since his 1974 debut with the New York Philharmonic, he has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra. Colon made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony in 1978, and has since led them in both vocal and instrumental works; his most recent concert at Davies Symphony Hall was Verdi’s Requiem in 2011. He has been Music Director of Los Angeles Opera since 2006; Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, since 2005; and Music Director of America’s oldest choral festival, the Cincinnati May Festival, since 1979, where he has provided the artistic leadership for more May Festivals than any other music director in the festival’s 140-year history. Conlon’s extensive discography and videography can be found on the EMI, Erato, Capriccio, Decca and Sony Classical labels. He has won two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for the LA Opera recording of Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, among many other honors.

 

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Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed with the San Francisco Symphony almost every season since his debut in 1994. He plays regularly throughout Europe, North America, Australia and the Far East, collaborating with virtually every major orchestra, and with conductors such as Alsop, Ashkenazy, Blomstedt, Chailly, Dutoit, Gergiev and Levine. Equally at home with chamber music, recitals, and the orchestral repertoire, he has appeared and recorded with artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Brigitte Fassbaender, Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Angelika Kirchschlager, Yuri Bashmet, Joshua Bell, Truls Mørk and the Rossetti String Quartet. He appears in a variety of settings in the 2013-2014 season, with repertoire that runs from the early 19th century to the present day. Thibaudet began the season with orchestral concerts in China, Australia and Europe, and continues with a seven-city tour of the US. Known for his style and elegance on and off the traditional concert stage, Thibaudet has had an impact on the world of fashion, film and philanthropy.

 

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Mark Inouye is Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony and holder of the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation Chair. Both a classical and jazz musician, he has held principal trumpet positions with the Houston and Charleston Symphonies and has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. He made his San Francisco Symphony solo debut performing Copland’s Quiet City in 2010. Inouye has performed the Tartini Violin Concerto, arranged for trumpet, with the Houston Symphony and was a soloist with the Tanglewood Wind Ensemble under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. He toured the United States with Toccatas and Flourishes, the nationally acclaimed organ and trumpet duo, and was a member of the Empire Brass Quintet, which toured the United States, Europe, Asia, and Canada. Inouye is also an active composer and has released his debut jazz album, The Trumpet & The Bull.

 

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Dancers’ Group in association with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival presents a new site-specific work by Sara Shelton Mann

Dancers’ Group in association with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is pleased to present The Eye of Horus, a series of site-specific solos by Sara Shelton Mann, presented free outdoors at Jessie Square in San Francisco, April 24-May 3.

Acclaimed choreographer and teacher Sara Shelton Mann is “an iconoclast who has performed to great acclaim and inspired others for decades” wrote San Francisco Bay Guardian critic Rita Felciano in a recent article awarding the artist a 2014 Goldie Lifetime Achievement Award. In The Eye or Horus Mann investigates archetypes through her five dancers: Christine Bonansea, Sherwood Chen, Jesse Hewit, Jorge de Hoyos and Sara Yassky.

Conceived as both a very intimate work and a large-scale spectacle, each solo incorporates DIY sound, media and light elements constructed by Production Designer David Szlasa to interact with the dancer, cityscape and audience.

Mann took her inspiration from Sacred Contracts, a book on archetypes by bestselling author Caroline Myss in creating this new series of solos. Of the work Mann said, “I’m interested in creating solos from the performers’ specific areas of interest and skill that will rub up against the social and political landscape of San Francisco. My goal is to have many archetypes and their aspects in a performance dialogue. Within each of the solos there is one of us. Imagine seeing many parts of our own internal lives as if looking into a mirror.”

“Dancers’ Group is thrilled to be supporting the work of a dance artist who has had such a deep impact on the Bay Area dance scene,” said Dancers’ Group Executive Director Wayne Hazzard. “The Eye of Horus provides us with an opportunity to bring together many generations of dance audiences and expose younger ones to Sara’s work and legacy.”

Located at 3rd and Mission Streets in front of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Jessie Square is a highly visible public site, attracting both local business-people and tourists visiting the museum and the adjacent Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as well as shops and businesses. “Jessie Square makes for the perfect space where to present The Eye of Horus,” said Mann. “Its rich history, as a state at bay, as a landing pad that used to be a substation, as a place where buildings jut out and careen upward next to one another. If energy never dies, then that energy is still underground rising up through the stones of the once called historical lane. Somehow Jessie Square seems to hold at bay the past as well as the future.”

The Eye of Horus is presented as part of Dancers’ Group’s ONSITE Series. Through the ONSITE series, Dancers’ Group presents large-scale public projects that allow the organization to engage new audiences and to increase the visibility of local dance and dance artists. Previous ONSITE projects have included The Shifting Cornerstone by Joanna Haigood and Zaccho Dance Theater in August 2008; Spirit of Place at Stern Grove, by Anna Halprin in May 2009; Hit & Run Hula by Patrick Makuākane and company, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu in August 2009; Love Everywhere by the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project in February 2010; Intimate Visibility by LEVYdance in March 2010; We Don’t Belong Here by Katie Faulkner in 2011; Niagara Falling by Jo Kreiter in 2012; and He Moved Swiftly But Gently Down the Not Too Crowded Street: Ed Mock and Other True Tales in a City That Once Was… by Amara Tabor-Smith in June 2013.

Sara Shelton Mann is an educator, choreographer and writer who has created an interdisciplinary training and performance style dedicated to the enlightenment of the individual and the integrity of one’s relationship with the social and natural world. Early in her career, she danced in the companies of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis, before serving as artistic director of the Halifax Dance Co-Op in Nova Scotia. In 1979 in San Francisco, she formed Contraband, a group of collaborative artists dedicated to the evolution of an interdisciplinary dance vision. Over the next decade, Contraband staged 7 full-evening productions at abandoned building sites, warehouses and public housing projects destroyed by arson fire, and Mann established a complex interdisciplinary performance style and movement vocabulary that significantly influenced the evolution of contemporary dance in the Bay Area.

From 1996 to 1999, Mann collaborated and toured internationally with Guillermo Gomez-Peña, and since 2000, she has created 11 major works in collaboration with John O’Keefe, Austin Forbord, David Szlasa, Rinde Eckert and others. Mann is a Master NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, a certified Reconnection Healer(TM), a Dowser, and has years of study in various spiritual traditions, shamanic practices and healing trainings.

Mann has received 6 San Francisco Bay Area Isadora Duncan Awards, a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, two CHIME mentorship awards and an award from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation. Her work has been funded by the NEA, California Arts Council, American Dance Touring Initiative (Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund), and Dance/USA, among many others. She has held residencies at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as a Wattis Artist; Granada Artist at UC Davis; Potsdam International Festivalof Dance & Theater, Germany; Archstoyanie Festival, Russia; and the Djerassi Artist in Residence Program. She has created work extensively and toured nationally and internationally since 1985.

Dancers’ Group promotes the visibility and viability of dance and serves San Francisco Bay Area artists, the dance community and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process. As the primary dance service organization in the Bay Area, we support the second largest dance community in the nation by providing many programs and resources that help artists produce work, build audiences, and connect with their peers and community.

Recognized as a national model in the field of dance, Dancers’ Group has roots that are broad and deep within the Bay Area dance community. Begun in 1982 as a small collective of dance choreographers in need of studio space, Dancers’ Group has always been, first and foremost, an artist-centric organization closely connected to its constituents, with programs, services and advocacy work developed to address both the specific and broad needs of those involved in dance. Through a network of partnerships that have given it access to artists working across the broad spectrum of styles, forms, cultures and practices in the Bay Area, Dancers’ Group has built programs and services designed to fulfill the wide-ranging needs of the region’s diverse dance community. In 1983, it began to develop a menu of presenting programs, which now serve as a central part of its operations and reach an audience of more than 30,000 per year.

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Will Rogan / MATRIX 253

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Will Rogan: Scout’s ruler, 2013; gelatin silver print; 20 x 24 in. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents Will Rogan / MATRIX 253. For Rogan’s first solo exhibition in a museum, the artist has created a new body of work “where mystery, banality, finality, and beauty are all entangled in one another,” according to exhibition curator Apsara DiQuinzio, curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator at BAM/PFA. These new works, primarily taking the form of photography, sculpture, and video, explore various time scales—past, present, and future—as manifested in common objects.

Rogan received his M.F.A from UC Berkeley in 2006, and since then has exhibited widely both locally and internationally. Many of Rogan’s varied interests coalesce in MATRIX 253, which engages several motifs he has revisited in his work over the past decade. For Picture the Earth spinning in space (2014) Rogan rephotographed an image from an earlier work of a sewer cover that was painted over and over again. The new photograph, updated in black-and-white, obscures the paint colors that marked the passage of time in the earlier work, and instead becomes a signpost of time’s accrual in the artist’s own work.

In Negative (2014), Rogan appropriates a cheap plastic film camera that TIME Magazinesent out to its subscribers in the 1980s. Rogan has reversed the original design and shape, transforming the camera into a negative of itself, with the letters TIME rendered in reverse—another instance of time as a shifting, illegible construct. This sense of upended order, or of an understanding of time that looks both forward and backward, also informs Rogan’s photographs of a reversed one-foot ruler made by his daughter. The numerals on the ruler—one through twelve, running from right-to-left rather than left-to-right—call attention to our desire, or need, to quantify and regulate the world around. The backwards ruler, like the inverted camera, shows the glitch in the system, where a personal, subjective ordering threatens to undermine a prevailing structure.

The exhibition concludes with Rogan’s slow motion video of an old white hearse exploding. Rogan here transforms the destruction of a universal symbol of death into a transcendental imagistic effect, revealing the usually invisible minutiae of the event. “To show the death of this object in a beautiful way,” the artist says, “is to suggest that beauty and tragedy are muddled, that inside everything is a kind of pragmatic operating system, and magical incomprehensible beauty.”

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Will Rogan / MATRIX 253
 is organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator. The MATRIX Program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.

About the Artist
Will Rogan was born in 1975; he lives and works in Albany, CA. He received an M.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley (2006), and a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute (1999), in addition to attending the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1998). Rogan’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Laurel Gitlen, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp; the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta; Misako and Rosen, Tokyo; and Diverse Works Project Space, Houston. Selected group exhibitions include: Reactivation: The 9th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai; When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes: A Restoration / A Remake / A Rejuvenation / A Rebellion, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Terrain Shift, The Lumber Room, Portland; Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (SFMOMA); Light in Darkness, Western Bridge, Seattle; Walking Forward-Running Past, Art in General, New York; and 2010 California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach. He is the recipient of a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship (2004) and of SFMOMA’s SECA Art Award (2003).

About MATRIX
The MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art introduces the Bay Area community to exceptional work being made internationally, nationally, and locally, creating a rich connection to the current dialogues on contemporary art and demonstrating that the art of this moment is vital, dynamic, and often challenging. Confronting traditional practices of display and encouraging new, open modes of analysis, MATRIX provides an experimental framework for an active interchange between the artist, the museum, and the viewer. Since the program’s inception in 1978, MATRIX has featured artists such as John Baldessari, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Shirin Neshat, Nancy Spero, and Andy Warhol. In recent years MATRIX has embraced a greater international scope, with the roster including Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Peter Doig, Omer Fast, Tobias Rehberger, Ernesto Neto, Rosalind Nashashibi, Tomás Saraceno, Mario Garcia Torres, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, representing countries as diverse as Finland, Germany, Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, and many others.

About BAM/PFA
Founded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA’s mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”

BAM/PFA presents approximately twenty art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum’s collection of over 19,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive contains over 16,000 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater In Two Bay Area Premieres And Favorite Classics At Zellerbach Hall, Tuesday-Sunday, April 1–6

The annual Cal Performances residency of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) will mix and match new works by top choreographers with timeless works made world-famous by the company. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, the Ailey company will perform three distinct programs covering eight works in its seven appearances in Zellerbach Hall from Tuesday, April 1 through Sunday April 6. Included in Berkeley’s programming are two Bay Area premieres: LIFT, choreographer Aszure Barton’s first work for AAADT, and Four Corners, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown.  “The names and faces may change, the dances may vary, but a night at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater guarantees you a night of amazing dancing” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Program A, performed on Tuesday, April 1 and Friday, April 4 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, April 6 at 3:00 p.m., opens with two new works. The Bay Area premiere of LIFT (2013), the company’s first commission by Canadian-born Aszure Barton, is set to a percussive score by saxophonist Curtis Macdonald. A second Bay Area premiere, Four Corners (2013), choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, uses West African and modern dance influences to depict the search for spiritual truth, and is set to “Lamentations” by Carl Hancock Rux. The program closes with Alvin Ailey’s 1960 gospel classic and spiritual masterpiece, Revelations.

Program B, performed on Wednesday, April 2 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 5 at 2:00 p.m., begins with two 1970s works created by Alvin Ailey and is set to music by jazz great Duke Ellington. Night Creature (1974) is a large ensemble work that entices the audience with glimpses of the nocturnal world, while Pas de Duke (1976) is a modern-dance translation of a classical pas de deux originally created for Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Next on the program, the emotionally charged D-Man in the Waters (Part I) (1989) was choreographed by Bill T. Jones and set to Felix Mendelssohn’s 1825 Octet for Strings. The program concludes with Ailey’s Revelations.

Program C, performed on Thursday, April 3 and Saturday, April 5 at 8:00 p.m., opens with another Ailey/Ellington pairing: The River (1970) is a sweeping full-company work that has been restaged by Masazumi Chaya, the company’s associate artistic director and the foremost living expert on Ailey’s repertory. It will be followed by Minus 16 (1999), choreographed by Ohad Naharin of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company using music ranging from American pop and cha-cha to techno-pop and traditional Israeli music; the improvisational dancing is driven by Naharin’s “Gaga” movement language. The program closes with Ailey’s Revelations.

For the most current casting information, please contact the Cal Performances press office at (510) 642-9121. Casting is subject to change.

Two SchoolTime performances for Bay Area schoolchildren, on Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4 at 11:00 a.m., will feature D-Man in the Waters (Part I) and Revelations. Tickets are available in advance only. More information is available at calperformances.org

Founded in 1958 by its namesake, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed around the world for millions of enthralled dance fans. Dancer, choreographer, and activist Alvin Ailey led the company for its first 30 years, during which time he created dozens of works that often drew on African-American music and themes. Former Ailey dancer Judith Jamison led the company from 1980 to 2011, introducing works by leading choreographers as well as adding her own creations to its repertory. The company’s current artistic director, Robert Battle, took the reins in 2011 and has continued the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s tradition of impassioned, meaningful dance grounded in the African-American experience. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater offers Bay Area children an opportunity to learn and perform in its annual AileyCamp in Berkeley, produced by Cal Performances.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from Tuesday, April 1 through Sunday, April 6 in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00‒$92.00 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at http://www.calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.

 

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Master Storyteller Ira Glass Brings His Vaudevillian Mash-Up of Radio and Dance to Zellerbach Hall

“We know this is weird,”  says Ira Glass at the start of each performance of his Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, which comes to Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall on Saturday, March 29 at 8:00 p.m. Glass, who is best known as the radio host of This American Life, has teamed with choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and dancer Anna Bass to restage interviews as dance pieces in a vaudevillian-style theatrical production by pairing two arts forms that—as Glass puts it—“have no business being together.” Glass uses recorded interviews, music, and personal stories to create a narrative for Barnes and Bass, who evoke characters through dance, producing “a perfect—and perfectly unexpected—union” (The Santa Barbara Independent). In true Glassian form, the performance is served up in three acts. Act One: being a performer; Act Two: falling in love and staying in love; and Act Three: losing what you love. “This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever been part of,” states Glass.

Glass met Barnes while competing in a Dancing With the Stars-type contest called The Talent Show. They thought their work shared a sensibility, even though hers includes no talking and his involves no physical movement. In May 2012, the duo collaborated on three short dances that were part of a This American Life variety show that was shown in 600 movie theaters nationwide. Following its success, Glass and Barnes decided to make a piece of theater that combines story and dance. Glass has taken the production to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco where it has consistently been a sellout.

Glass is the creator and host of This American Life, which premiered on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ in 1995 and is now heard in more than 500 public radio stations by 1.7 million listeners each week. The show also airs each week on the CBC in Canada and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio network. At age 19 in 1978, Glass began his career as an intern at National Public Radio’s network headquarters in Washington, DC. He has worked as a tape cutter, newscast writer, desk assistant, editor, and producer. Under Glass, This American Life has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including multiple Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards. In 2007 and 2008, a television adaptation of This American Life ran on the Showtime network, winning three Emmy Awards including Outstanding Nonfiction Series.

Monica Bill Barnes is the Artistic Director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company in New York City. Founded in 1997, the company has performed in more than 50 cities throughout the Unites States and has been commissioned and presented by The American Dance Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Since 2006, Barnes has been creating duets for herself and dance partner Anna Bass, performing in comedy festivals, films, and at literary events. Barnes has been an invited guest artist at many universities, has choreographed for various theater productions, and has been commissioned by Parsons Dance and The Juilliard School.

Anna Bass began working with Monica Bill Barnes & Company in 2003 and now serves as Associate Artistic Director. Bass was the Assistant Choreographer for The Jammer at The Atlantic Theater, Goodbar at the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater, and These Paper Bullets at Yale Repertory Theatre. She has performed all over the country and on stages ranging from public fountains and city parks to New York City Center and Carnegie Hall.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host on Saturday, March 29 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $78.00 and are subject to change. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, February 1 and are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at www.calperformances.org, and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. For more information about tickets and discounts, go to www.calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

 

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SF Ethnic Dance Festival Announces 2014 Line Up

One of the world’s greatest gatherings of dance artists returns to San Francisco this year, June 5 – 29, at the 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (www.sfethnicdancefestival.org).  Audiences will thrill to 31 extraordinary dance companies and over 300 dancers and musicians at the wildly anticipated event, highlighting the rich cultural and artistic diversity of the Bay Area.

Classical Indian sattriya dance, the first Festival performance of kathakali since 1978, a special Nelson Mandela Tribute at San Francisco City Hall, and the announcement of details about next year’s Pan-Pacific International Exposition Centennial are among the highlights of this year’s Festival. In addition, Indian Consul General Nagesh Parthasarathi will present Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman with the Festival’s annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award at the June 14 evening performance.

“Kathakali dance is at risk of being lost forever and K.P. Kunhiraman is one of the few people alive who are sustaining this transcendent cultural tradition,” said Julie Mushet, Executive Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, noting that this year’s Festival will mark K.P. Kunhiraman’s final U.S. appearance. “K.P. Kunhiraman’s departure raises many questions about the future of dance and how, and even if, cultural traditions will be passed to the next generation, as they have been for millennia.”

Of all of the classical Indian dance forms, kathakali is the most stylized and is often compared to the kabuki tradition of Japan, especially in regards to the elaborate make-up worn by the performers. After this year’s Festival, K.P. Kunhiraman will be returning to India at the end of June after an illustrious 67-year career to live out his final years in his homeland.

Also as part of this year’s events, Festival artistic directors Carlos Carvajal and CK Ladzekpo will announce plans to celebrate the Centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with two weekends of performances in February 2015 at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Festival’s home for more than 25 years and the only remaining grand structure from the 1915 Exposition. Further details about the Centennial celebration and the twenty groups performing on the Festival stage will be released soon.

Since its inauguration in 1978, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival has maintained its preeminent scope and reputation as one of the most comprehensive, widely respected, diverse, and engaging events of its kind in the world.

Following is an overview of the 2014 / 36th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and list of artists.

June 5 – 8: The 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival opens on June 5 at San Francisco City Hall with a tribute to late South African leader Nelson Mandela as part of the free Rotunda Dance Series. Concurrently, there will follow a series of workshops and panel dialogues throughout the Bay Area.
June 14 – 29:  The Festival continues at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with three weekends of classic Festival performances, featuring a different group of performers on the stage of the Lam Research Theater each weekend. As always, audiences will experience an inspiring lineup of Bay Area artists and musicians collectively sustaining important cultural heritage from around the world, including Bali, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Congo, Hawai`i, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Okinawa, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa,  Tahiti, the continental United States, and West Africa. Audiences will have the chance to see 10 world premiere performances and 16 Festival debuts, including the wildly-popular Academy of Hawaiian Arts. Each weekend’s program is a different lineup and includes nine or ten dance performances in a two-hour show, with numerous cross-cultural, collaborative and transitional pieces.
Shining a spotlight on classical Indian dance, June 14 – 15: This year’s Festival includes a special weekend of performances where audiences can watch all eight classical Indian dance forms together on one stage for the first time in the United States. While the Festival has often featured four of the classical Indian forms—bharatanatyam, kathak, kuchipudi, and odissi—rarer are the remaining four: kathakali, manipuri, mohiniyattam, and sattriya. This weekend of Indian classical dance performances is presented in partnership with Sangam Arts, a Bay-Area non-profit dedicated to connecting cultures through Indian classical arts. More detailed information about the classical Indian dance forms can be found at:www.sangamarts.org. This will be the first time that sattriya dance will be seen on the Festival stage. Kathakali dance was featured only once in the Festival’s 36 year history, in the very first San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival program in June 1978. The performers were Katherine and K.P.Kunhiraman of Berkeley, CA.

Indian Consul General Nagesh Parthasarathi will presentKatherine and K.P. Kunhiraman with the Festival’s annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award at the June 14 evening performance.

2014 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Artists:

^ Academy of Hawaiian Arts* – Hawaiian kahiko
^ Alafia Dance Ensemble – Brazilian traditional
^ Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisen-kai Kinuko Mototake Ryubu Kenkyu-jo USA *– Okinawan classical
^ Bal Anat – Egyptian Folkloric (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – November)
^ Ballet Folklórico Compañía Mexico Danza – Mexican folkloric (Guerrero)
^ Bolivia Corazón de América – Afro-Bolivian
^ Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company – Chinese contemporary
^ Chitresh Das Dance Company – Indian kathak
^ De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis Alliance – Afro-Peruvian
^ Diamano Coura West African Dance Company – West African traditional
^ Dimensions Dance Theater – South African traditional
^ Ziva Emtiyaz* – Lebanese belly dance
^ Guru Shradha* – Indian odissi
^ Jubilee American Dance Theatre – Appalachian clogging
^ Kalanjali – Indian bharatanatyam and kathakali
^ Karavansaray Dance Company* – Egyptian folkloric (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – November)
^ Bhavajan Kumar* – Indian bharatanatyam
^ Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University* – Mexican calabaceados (Baja California)
^ Sunanda Nair* – Indian mohiniyattam and kathakali
^ Natyalaya – Indian kuchipudi
^ Nava Dance Theatre* – Indian bharatanatyam
^ Nlolo Kongo* – Congolese traditional
^ Parangal Dance Company – Filipino traditional (Mindanao)
^ Proyecto Lando/Cunamacué Collaboration* – Afro-Peruvian
^ Sohini Ray*– Indian manipuri
^ Sahiyar Dance Troupe* – Indian folkloric
^ Sattriya Dance Company* – Indian sattriya
^ Sewam American Indian Dance – Native American hoop dance
^ Suciawani Balinese Dance* – Balinese traditional
^ Te Mana O Te Ra – Tahitian ‘ōte’a and ‘aparima
^ Tiruchitrambalam*– Indian bharatanatyam (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – April)
(* Artists who are new to the Festival)

June 2014 Festival Schedule:

Thursday, June 5, 12 noon
Opening event: Tribute to Nelson Mandela
Rotunda Dance Series
San Francisco City Hall
FREE
Music and dance featuring Diamano Coura West African Dance Company.
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June 6, 7 & 8 – Festival Weekend One: Workshops and panel dialogues. Friday, June 6 at UC Berkeley; Saturday, June 7 at Stanford University; and Sunday, June 8 at the Palace of Fine Arts. (Specific times TBA)
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June 14 & 15 – Festival Weekend Two: Eight classical Indian dance forms presented in partnership with Sangam Arts: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

This will be the first performance in the United States featuring all eight classical Indian dance forms on one stage. Performances by Chitresh Das Dance Company, Guru Shradha, Kalanjali, Bhavajan Kumar, Sunanda Nair, Natyalaya, Nava Dance Theatre, Sattriya Dance Company, Sohini Ray.
Saturday, June 14, 1pm & 7pm*
Sunday, June 15, 1pm
*The June 14, 7pm performance includes the presentation of the Malonga Casquelourd    Lifetime Achievement Award to Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman, founders of Kalanjali: Dances of India, in Berkeley.
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June 21 & 22 – Festival Weekend Three: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Performances by Academy of Hawaiian Arts, Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisen-kai Kinuko Mototake Ryubu Kenkyu-jo USA, De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis Alliance, Dimensions Dance Theater, Ziva Emtiyaz, Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University, Nlolo Kongo, Parangal Dance Company, Suciawani Balinese Dance.
Saturday, June 21, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 22, 2pm
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June 28 & 29 – Festival Weekend Four: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Performances by Alafia Dance Ensemble, Ballet Folklórico Compañía Mexico Danza, Bolivia Corazón De América, Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company, Jubilee American Dance Theatre, Proyecto Lando/Cunamacué Collaboration, Sahiyar Dance Troupe, Sewam American Indian Dance, Te Mana O Te Ra.
Saturday, June 28, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 29, 2pm

Tickets to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival are $18- $58 and go ON SALE BEGINNING APRIL 11 online atwww.sfethnicdancefestival.org, or by calling (415) 978-2787. Family matinees on Saturday afternoons offer 50% discounts to children age 12 and under, and group discounts are also available. For complete ticketing information and performance details visitwww.sfethnicdancefestival.org  or call (415) 474-3914.

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Ecuador Plaintiffs, Steven Donziger, Committed Fraud against Chevron in Ecuador Case

Berlinger and Donziger

Joe Berlinger’s (left) Film “Crude,” paid for by Ecuador Plaintiff Attorney Steven Donziger, ultimately led to a crushing victory for Chevron Corporation in the Ecuador Case

Chevron Corporation won a major victory today when a New York federal judge ruled that the case against the oil company in Ecuador was procured by fraud.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York found that lead plaintiff attorney Steven Donziger used bribery, coercion, fraud and other illegal means to create a fraudulent case against Chevron in Ecuador.

Donziger, whose fraudulent lawsuit was supported by environmental organizations such as AmazonWatch in San Francisco, Rainforest Action Network, Earthrights International, and other alleged environmental groups, might have gotten away with the crime if it were not for the sloppy work of Hollywood movie director Joe Berlinger.

Berlinger, who was paid by the plaintiffs to produce a film that lambasted Chevron for alleged pollution in Ecuador, ultimately and ironically, became Chevron’s savior.

Berlinger’s movie “Crude” produced evidence that led Chevron to its important court victory today in New York.

In making his ruling, Judge Kaplan  said Donziger and the Ecuador plaintiffs used “corrupt means” to secure a multi-billion-dollar pollution judgment against Chevron Corp in Ecuador, giving a major setback for attorneys hoping to collect on the award.

Kaplan said he found “clear and convincing evidence” that attorney Steven Donziger’s legal team bribed an Ecuadorean judge to issue an $18 billion judgment against the oil company in 2011.

The villagers had said Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, contaminated an oil field in northeastern Ecuador between 1964 and 1992.  Ecuador’s high court cut the judgment to $9.5 billion last year.

Kaplan’s decision bars Donziger and environmental groups like AmazonWatch and public relations agent Karen Hinton from enforcing the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States. It may also give Chevron legal ammunition in other countries where the plaintiffs could try to go after Chevron’s assets.

At a six-week trial last year, Chevron accused Donziger of fraud and racketeering and said Texaco cleaned up the site, known as Lago Agrio, before handing it over to a state-controlled entity.

Below is the full text of U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan’s opening judgement today against Steven Donziger and the Ecuador plaintiffs:

“Steven Donziger, a New York City lawyer, led a group of American and Ecuadorian lawyers who brought an action in Ecuador (the “Lago Agrio” case) in the names of 47 plaintiffs (the“Lago Agrio Plaintiffs” or “LAPs”), on behalf of thousands of indigenous peoples of the Orienté region of Ecuador, against Chevron Corporation (“Chevron”).

They claimed that Chevron was responsible for extensive environmental damage caused by oil activities of Texaco, Inc. (“Texaco”), that ended more than twenty years ago and long before Chevron acquired Texaco’s stock.

After years of pressuring Chevron to settle by a variety of both legitimate and illegitimate means, Donziger and his clients obtained a multibillion dollar judgment (the“Judgment”) in the Ecuadorian courts and now seek to enforce it around the world.

Chevron then brought this action, contending among other things that the Judgment was procured by fraud.  Following a full trial, it now seeks equitable relief against Donziger and the two of his Ecuadorian clients who defended this case in order to prevent any of them from profiting from the alleged fraud or from seeking to enforce the Judgment in the United States.

This case is extraordinary. The facts are many and sometimes complex. They include things that normally come only out of Hollywood – coded emails among Donziger and his colleagues describing their private interactions with and machinations directed at judges and a court appointed expert, their payments to a supposedly neutral expert out of a secret account, a lawyer who invited a film crew to innumerable private strategy meetings and even to ex parte meetings with judges, an Ecuadorian judge who claims to have written the multibillion dollar decision but who was so inexperienced and uncomfortable with civil cases that he had someone else (a former judge who had been removed from the bench) draft some civil decisions for him, an 18-year old typist who supposedly did Internet research in American, English, and French law for the same judge, who knew only Spanish, and much more. The evidence is voluminous.

The transnational elements of the case make it sensitive and challenging. Nevertheless, the Court has had the benefit of a lengthy trial. It has heard 31 witnesses in person and considered deposition and/or other sworn or, in one instance, stipulated testimony of 37 others. It has considered thousands of exhibits. It has made its findings, which of necessity are lengthy and detailed.

Upon consideration of all of the evidence, including the credibility of the witnesses– though several of the most important declined to testify – the Court finds that Donziger began his involvement in this controversy with a desire to improve conditions in the area in which his Ecuadorian clients live. To be sure, he sought also to do well for himself while doing good for others, but there was nothing wrong with that. In the end, however, he and the Ecuadorian lawyers he led corrupted the Lago Agrio case.

They submitted fraudulent evidence. They coerced one judge, first to use a court-appointed, supposedly impartial, “global expert” to make an overall damages assessment and, then, to appoint to that important role a man whom Donziger hand-picked and paid to “totally play ball” with the LAPs.

They then paid a Colorado consulting firm secretly to write all or most of the global expert’s report, falsely presented the report as the work of the court-appointed and supposedly impartial expert, and told half-truths or worse to U.S. courts in attempts to prevent exposure of that and other wrongdoing. Ultimately, the LAP team wrote the Lago Agrio court’s Judgment themselves and promised $500,000 to the Ecuadorian judge to rule in their favor and sign their judgment. If ever there were a case warranting equitable relief with respect to a judgment procured by fraud, this is it.

The defendants seek to avoid responsibility for their actions by emphasizing that the Lago Agrio case took place in Ecuador and by invoking the principle of comity. But that warrants no different conclusion.

Comity and respect for other nations are important. But comity does not command blind acquiescence in injustice, least of all acquiescence within the bounds of our own nation.

Courts of equity long have granted relief against fraudulent judgments entered in other states and, though less frequently, other countries. Moreover, the United States has important interests here. The misconduct at issue was planned, supervised, financed and executed in important (but not all) respects by Americans in the United States in order to extract money from a U.S. victim.

That said, considerations of comity and the avoidance of any misunderstanding have shaped the relief sought here. Chevron no longer seeks, and this Court does not grant, an injunction barring enforcement of the Lago Agrio Judgment anywhere in the world.

What this Court does do is to prevent Donziger and the two LAP Representatives, who are subject to this Court’s personal jurisdiction, from profiting in any way from the egregious fraud that occurred here. That is quite a different matter. Indeed, the LAP Representatives’ lawyer recently conceded before the Second Circuit that the defendants “would not have a problem” with “the alternative relief that [Chevron] would be seeking, such as enjoining the person who paid the bribe from benefitting from it,” assuming that the judge was bribed.

Defendants thus have acknowledged the propriety of equitable relief to prevent individuals subject to the Court’s jurisdiction from benefitting from misdeeds for which they are responsible. And while the Court does enjoin enforcement of the Judgment by these defendants in the United States, that limited injunction raises no issues of comity or international relations. It is the prerogative of American courts to determine whether foreign judgments may be no different conclusion.

Comity and respect for other nations are important. But comity does not command blind acquiescence in injustice, least of all acquiescence within the bounds of our own nation.

Courts of equity long have granted relief against fraudulent judgments entered in other states and, though less frequently, other countries. Moreover, the United States has important interests here.  The misconduct at issue was planned, supervised, financed and executed in important (but not all) respects by Americans in the United States in order to extract money from a U.S. victim.

That said, considerations of comity and the avoidance of any misunderstanding have shaped the relief sought here. Chevron no longer seeks, and this Court does not grant, an injunction barring enforcement of the Lago Agrio Judgment anywhere in the world.

What this Court does do is to prevent Donziger and the two LAP Representatives, who are subject to this Court’s personal jurisdiction, from profiting in any way from the egregious fraud that occurred here. That is quite a different matter. Indeed, the LAP Representatives’ lawyer recently conceded before the Second Circuit that the defendants “would not have a problem” with “the alternative relief that [Chevron] would be seeking, such as enjoining the person who paid the bribe from benefitting from it,” assuming that the judge was bribed.1

Defendants thus have acknowledged the propriety of equitable relief to prevent individuals subject to the Court’s jurisdiction from benefitting from misdeeds for which they are responsible. And while the Court does enjoin enforcement of the Judgment by these defendants in the United States, that limited injunction raises no issues of comity or international relations. It is the prerogative of American courts to determine whether foreign judgments may be laws of any nation that aspires to the rule of law, including Ecuador – and they knew it. Indeed, one Ecuadorian legal team member, in a moment of panicky candor, admitted that if documents exposing just part of what they had done were to come to light, “apart from destroying the proceeding, all of us, your attorneys, might go to jail.”2

It is time to face the facts.”

Link to the judgement: http://tinyurl.com/o8p6gve

 

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CAL Performances Presents Eva Yerbabuena And Dazzling Vocalist Estrella Morente

Two of Spain’s most thrilling and celebrated performers, Eva Yerbabuena and Estrella Morente come to Zellerbach Hall with two separate March performances set just days apart. Both artists embody a fierce contemporary spin on the distinctive features of flamenco. On March 12 at 8:00 p.m., Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena takes the stage with explosive footwork, powerful movements, and innovative choreography. Yerbabuena is the winner of six major Spanish choreographic awards and has performed worldwide in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Theâtre de la Ville, and Opera de Dusseldorf. “At the heart of her performance is a fierce, dark rigour that accumulates a thrilling power,” wrote London’s The Independent. Flamenco vocalist Estrella Morente appears two days later on March 14 at 8:00 p.m. with a program consisting of “Pregón de Las Moras,” “La Habanera Impossible,” and “La Estrella” from her Grammy-nominated Autorretrato (2012), among other pieces. Yerbabuena and Morente will be flanked by world-class accompanists—guitarist Paco Jarana and four members of the Carbonell family, respectively.

In her innovative choreography, Eva Yerbabuena revitalizes traditional flamenco using new dynamic structures without sacrificing the rhythmic intensity and dramatic aspects of the style. She connects with the music on an emotional level and embodies the soulfulness essential to flamenco. Yerbabuena has been dancing flamenco professionally for nearly 20 years. In 1998 she formed her own dance company, the Eva Yerbabuena Ballet Flamenco, which has toured in Brazil, Chile, England, France, India, Japan, Peru, South Korea, and the United States. The program’s feature work, “Lluvia,” translates to “Rain.” “Born on a gray day of pure melancholy,” Yerbabuena says this original, moving work “is a tribute to melancholy and coldness, to being alive, to the endlessness of life.” She has won three MAX Stage Arts Awards (2004, 2005, and 2010) and has achieved lifetime honors including the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Premio Nacional de Danza (2001), the Andalusian Medalla de Cultura (2007), and Premio Compás del Cante (2010).EvaYerbabuena_02_Credit_JoseLuisALvarez

The Grenada-born daughter of flamenco singer Enrique Morente and dancer Aurora Carbonell, Estrella Morente has been performing since age seven and made her solo debut at 17. With a wealth of knowledge, background, and intuition that only her musically-inclined family could provide, Morente is not averse to combining popular and traditional sounds in the same program. “Every time Estrella takes a stage to sing, the place becomes a theatre or an arena, whether in a tablao, on film, or in any performance,” said director and producer Fernando Trueba. “She is archaic and futuristic at the same time.” Mujeres (2006), her third album, was nominated for a Latin Grammy award. Prior to this nomination, Morente was best known in the United States for contributions to Pedro Almodóvar’s film Volver (2006), which featured actress Penelope Cruz. She was again shortlisted for a Latin Grammy award this past year for her 2012 album Autorretrato.

 

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The Bay Area Dance Community Throws Open Its Doors Once Again And Invites The Public To Experience Dance For Free

Bay Area Dance Week kicks off with an opening celebration at Union Square featuring a group dance to iconic dance moves

 

Friday, April 25 – Sunday, May 4, 2014

www.bayareadance.org

Dancers at Bay Area Dance Week’s kick off event in Union Square, photo by Kegan Marling
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 27, 2014 – Each year hundreds of dance organizations, companies, schools and artists open up their doors and invite the public to attend an event, completely free of charge, during Bay Area Dance Week (BADW). Presented as part of the nationwide festival National Dance Week, the Bay Area’s edition can proudly boast that is it the nation’s largest celebration. BADW draws more than 20,000 attendees each year to events in San Francisco, the East Bay, North Bay and South Bay. 

This year’s festival runs April 25-May 4, 2014 and kicks off on Friday, April 25 at 12noon with One Dance led by the Rhythm & Motion Dance Workout Program, at Union Square. This year’s edition is all about “iconic dance moves” from pop culture – and will feature dance groups, dance companies and students performing moves that include Tina Turner’s Rolling Down the River, the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive, PSY’s Gangam Style, Madonna’s Vogue, the Village People’s Y.M.C.A, Michael Jackson’s Beat it, The Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian, among other top hits. The public can go online early and learn the moves at www.bayareadance.org or just show up and learn them on the fly. For a trip down memory lane, check out the soundtrack here .

 

There is something for everyone at this year’s festival (the public can pick up a free event guide or visit www.bayareadance.org to learn about the wide array of events presented this year). Among the 600 planned events this year are:

 

EVENTS FOR FIRST-TIMERS 

  • A screening of A History of Dance on Screen, featuring dance legends from Maya Plisetskaya to Rudolf Nureyev to Pina Bausch; Saturday, April 26 at the San Francisco Public Library.
  • An introduction to Kathak, a class presented by the Chitresh Das Dance Company, Sunday, April 27 in Mountain View
  • A day of dance for dancers of all sizes, presented by Big Moves, Sunday, April 27, in Berkeley
  • Everyone can dance, a class for people with and without physical disabilities, presented by AXIS Dance Company, Monday April 27, in Oakland

FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS

  • Dancing in the Park, an outdoor event featuring dance companies from around the Bay Area and sample dance classes, Saturday, April 26 in Golden Gate Park
  • Festival of the Silk Road, featuring dance, music and poetry, Sunday, April 27 in San Jose
  • Story Time Dance Along, a class of ballet fundamentals at Ballet San Jose School, Tuesday, April 29 in San Jose
  • An introduction to Korean Three Drum Dance, geared to beginners of all ages, Saturday, May 3 in San Francisco

DANCE FROM AROUND THE WORLD

  • A workshop of International Folk dance by the Stanford International Dancers, Friday April 25 in Palo Alto
  • A Tahitian dance class presented by Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance, Sunday April 27 in Berkeley
  • A Congolese dance class presented by Cultural Arts of GOLD, Sunday, April 27, in Oakland
  • A Bhangra dance class presented by Dholrhythms Dance Co., Tuesday, April 29 in San Francisco

DANCE FOR HEALTH AND FITNESS

  • A Cardio Barre Class fast paced, fun and addictive workout, Friday, April 25 in San Francisco
  • Healthy Mind and Body: Preparing for a Long Career in Dance, a lecture demonstration, Wednesday, April 30 in Walnut Creek
  • Feldenkrais for Dance, Wednesday, April 30 in San Francisco
  • Bellydance Cardio and Combos, Friday, May 2 in San Jose

 

INSIDE THE DANCER’S STUDIO

  • An aerial performance by UpSwing Aerial Dance & Company, Saturday, April 26 in Berkeley
  • Teen Dancer Day, featuring a hip-hop dance class and performance by the ODC Dance Jam, Sunday, April 27 in San Francisco
  • An Open Rehearsal of Katharine Hawthorne’s The Escapement, Wednesday, April 30 in San Francisco
  • An Open Rehearsal of Cal State East Bay Dance Touring Company, Wednesday, April 30 in Hayward

 

WILD AND PLAYFUL DANCE

  • A co-ed Power Pole class led by Poletential, Saturday, April 26 in Redwood City
  • Move to the Now, an evening of dance featuring performances by Imagery, Post:Ballet, ODC/Dance, Dance Through Time and others, Saturday, April 26 in San Francisco
  • Carnaval Showgirl Awakening dance technique, a class led by the Hot Pink Feathers, Monday, April 28 in San Francisco
  • Crystal Ball Tricks: Beginning/Intermediate Contact Juggling, led by Richard Hartnell, Wednesday, April 30 in Oakland

 

The History of Bay Area Dance Week

National Dance Week was founded in 1981 to increase awareness of dance and its contributions to our culture. The first Bay Area Dance Week (BADW) festival grew out of a public dialogue in 1998, when dance artists, administrators, and organizations came together to explore how best to spotlight Bay Area dance during National Dance Week. The festival that emerged took a national initiative and imbued it with the innovative and inclusive spirit of the Bay Area. As the largest per capita center for dance in the US, the Bay Area’s festivities have been the most extensive and best attended celebrations in the country since BADW’s inception. Each year, over 200 dance organizations and artists present events during Bay Area Dance Week, involving more than 2,500 artists and 22,000 attendees. Dancers’ Group presents the annual event.

Dancers’ Group promotes the visibility and viability of dance. Founded in 1982, we serve San Francisco Bay Area artists, the dance community and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process. As the primary dance service organization in the Bay Area, we support the second largest dance community in the nation by providing many programs and resources that help artists produce work, build audiences, and connect with their peers and community. www.dancersgroup.org

 

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Michael Tilson Thomas Conducts The San Francisco Symphony And The San Francisco Symphony Chorus In Performances Of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 February 27 – March 2 At Davies Symphony Hall


Concerts feature mezzo-soprano soloist Sasha Cooke and The San Francisco Girls Chorus

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) conducts the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and SFS Chorus, joined by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and the San Francisco Girls Chorus, in performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 February 27-March 2 at Davies Symphony Hall. MTT, Cooke and the Orchestra will also perform the work five times (in London, Paris, Geneva, Luxembourg, and Vienna) with local choruses during their upcoming European tour in March 2014.

MTT first conducted the work with the SFS in four 1987 concerts, eight years before he would assume the post of SFS Music Director. During his tenure as Music Director, MTT has brought back the work in 1997 and 2002, both times featuring Michelle DeYoung who appears on the 2003 Grammy Award-winning SFS Media recording, and during the Orchestra’s Centennial season in 2011, featuring Katarina Karnéus. The monumental work – Mahler’s longest piece and the longest symphony in the standard repertoire – has been performed a total of 25 times by the Orchestra, dating back to 1976, with 17 of those performances led by MTT.

MTT/SFS Mahler Recording Project
Michael Tilson Thomas has distinguished himself as one of the world’s foremost Mahler interpreters through his and the Orchestra’s award-winning recordings and signature performances. MTT and the SFS’ self-produced Mahler recording project, launched in 2001 and completed in 2010, contains all of Mahler’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus and orchestra. Their recording of Symphony No. 3 was released in 2003, featuring mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, and is paired with Kindertotenlieder. It won the “Best Classical Album” Grammy and 5 stars from Diapason in France. In total, the Orchestra’s Mahler cycle on SFS Media has been recognized with seven Grammy Awards, including three for its recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10. Complete box sets of the cycle are available on vinyl and SACD. MTT and the SFS explore Mahler in an episode of their Keeping Score television series, an excerpt of which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1kRhQK751s.

Sasha Cooke
Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is a rising star who has been appearing with the San Francisco Symphony since 2009 in music by composers as diverse as Gilbert and Sullivan, Mahler, Debussy, Beethoven, Stravinksy and Berlioz. She most recently performed Viennese classics and American songbook favorites with the Orchestra at the SF Symphony’s glamorous New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball to welcome in the year 2014. Other symphonic engagements of Cooke’s 2013-2014 season include appearances with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic performing Britten’s Spring Symphony, Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony, and performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with both Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Tugan Sokhiev and the Columbus Symphony conducted by Jean Marie Zeituni. She makes her debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Cristian Macelaru. Last season she performed the title role in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at San Francisco Opera.  In the summer of 2013 she performed Mahler’s Second Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

The San Francisco Symphony Chorus
One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 158-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus celebrates its 40th anniversary in the 2013-14 season, and is known for its precision, power, and versatility. Led by Director Ragnar Bohlin, the Chorus is in the spotlight during many of the 13-14 season’s artistic focal points, such as Peter Grimes, Beethoven’s Mass in C and excerpts from King Stephen with MTT, Bach’s Missa Brevis (Kyrie and Gloria) from Mass in B minor, the first SFS performances of Bach’s Cantata No. 207a, Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten with Ton Koopman, Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht with Pablo Heras-Casado, and Britten’s War Requiem with Semyon Bychkov.
The SFS Chorus performs more than twenty concerts each season and is comprised of 30 professional and 128 volunteer members. Recordings featuring the SFS Chorus have won a total of eight Grammy awards, including three for Best Choral Performance. They were featured on the SFS Media’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with MTT and the SFS, which won three 2010 Grammys, including the award for Best Choral Performance. Most recently, a recording of the Chorus’ performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS was released in April 2013.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus
Founded in 1978, the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) has become a regional center for choral music education and performance for girls and young women ages 5-18. 400 singers from 45 Bay Area cities participate in this internationally recognized program, deemed “a model in the country for training girls’ voices” by the California Arts Council. In the 2008-2009 season, the Chorus sang at the swearing in of President Barack Obama, and can be heard on several San Francisco Symphony recordings, including four Grammy winners: Mahler’s Symphony Nos. 3 and 8, Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, The Firebird, and Perséphone  and Orff’s  Carmina burana.

According to MTT, “the SFGC is a treasure. Their training, musicality, and vibrant spirit are evident whenever they perform. I have enjoyed our long association and look forward to many years of collaboration.”

SFGC has won many honors, including the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award and two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming in 1999, 2004 and 2011. They have been honored to sing at many national and international venues, including the World Choral Symposium in Kyoto, Japan in 2005. SFGC’s discography continues to grow with a 2-disc set entitled Heaven and Earth. The music represents some of the greatest sacred and secular repertoire ever written for treble voices. Other recordings include: Voices of Hope and Peace, a recording with many exciting SFGC commissions; Christmas, featuring diverse holiday selections; Crossroads, a collection of world folk music; and Music from the Venetian Ospedali, a disc of Italian Baroque music of which The New Yorker described the Chorus as “tremendously accomplished.”

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Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Makes Its Bay Area Debut 
In Zellerbach Hall On February 22 And 23 
Highlighting Top Contemporary Choreography

Powerful dancing of modern choreography is the focus when Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet makes its Bay Area debut on Saturday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m. in Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall. The 16-dancer company, known for championing the works of living choreographers with European connections, will showcase dances by Jiří Kylián, Crystal Pite, and Jo Strømgren in a program that includes two Bay Area premieres. “Cedar Lake’s popularity has everything to do with its roster of technically strong, stylistically malleable dancers, and its formidable repertoire of works by A-list choreographers” (Boston Globe).

Three dance works are on Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s Berkeley program. Indigo Rose was created by Czech-born choreographer Jiří Kylián in 1998, using music by Robert Ashley, François Couperin, John Cage, and J.S. Bach. Its three movements use muscular motion, tender duets, shadow play, and projected images to document and illuminate the transient nature of youth and human relationships. Making its Bay Area premiere, Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue, a piece created in 2007 by Vancouver–based choreographer Crystal Pite, uses music by rock drummer Cliff Martinez from the 2002 motion picture Solaris. As its title implies, Pite’s work consists of 10 concise duets, separate yet interconnected, each with a unique emotional tone that is enhanced through creative lighting designed by Jim French. Another Bay Area premiere, Necessity Again, was commissioned by Cedar Lake from Norwegian choreographer Jo Strømgren in 2012. It uses music by popular French-Armenian singer/songwriter Charles Aznavour and a recorded interview with philosopher Jacques Derrida to explore those ineffable moments when emotion, represented by the music, trumps the rationality of words.

New York City–based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet was established in 2003 by heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and quickly rose to worldwide acclaim. Noted for daring, athletic movement that integrates contemporary and popular dance forms into ballet, Cedar Lake’s repertoire is heavily influenced by Benoit-Swan Pouffer, the French-born, Alvin Ailey–trained dancer who guided the company toward works by contemporary European choreographers in his eight years as artistic director. Pouffer recently resigned; the company’s interim artistic director is Alexandra Damiani, a French dancer who has been the troupe’s ballet master since 2005. The 16 dancers in Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet are Jon Bond, Nickemil Concepcion, Jason Kittelberger, Navarra Novy-Williams, Matthew Rich, Joaquim de Santana, Acacia Schachte, Vânia Doutel Vaz, Ebony Williams, Rachelle Scott, Billy Bell, Ida Saki, Jin Young Won, Joseph Kudra, Guillaume Quéau, and Madeline Wong.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet on Saturday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $68.00 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at http://www.calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.

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City Arts & Lectures Remembers Philip Seymour Hoffman With 2 Days of Film Screenings at the Nourse Theater

 Free Movie Marathon on Saturday February 22 & Sunday February 23 To Include Highlights From The Actor’s Career

City Arts & Lectures will pay tribute to the late actor and director, Philip Seymour Hoffman, with free screenings of nine films. Presented over the course of a weekend – Saturday February 22 and Sunday February 23 – the movie marathon will showcase some of Hoffman’s most memorable roles and his directorial debut. The event is free and open to the public (no tickets required). The Nourse Theater at 275 Hayes Street.

The back-to-back screenings (over nineteen hours playing over the course of two days) encourage people to remember, or perhaps see for the first time, Hoffman’s remarkable talents. The selection testifies to his broad range, his sensitivity to character and story, and the subtlety and concentration Hoffman brought to some of cinema’s most complex characters. The films include early career highlights like Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and The Big Lebowski and under- appreciated works like Synecdoche, New York, where Hoffman plays an eccentric playwright losing his mind, Jack Goes Boating, Hoffman’s directorial debut, and Owning Mahowny, featuring one of Hoffman’s most moving portrayals of an addict. Also screening: The Master, The Savages, and Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Full schedule below and more info at WWW.CITYARTS.NET

About Philip Seymour Hoffman

As one of America’s most appreciated artists, Philip Seymour Hoffman inhabited a nearly impossible range of characters in more than 50 films and in numerous plays, both on and off Broadway. The consummate character actor portrayed flawed, complicated, and lonely individuals with intelligence and depth. His exceptional talent for subtlety and concentration compel many to call him an “actor’s actor,” but Hoffman impressed a much wider audience by bringing profound empathy to what might otherwise be dark or remote characters. Hoffman won an Oscar for his stunning work in “Capote,” and showcased a capacity to transform himself and enliven a part in many other unforgettable roles in movies like “Boogie Nights,” “Happiness,” “The Savages,” “25th Hour,” and “The Master,” and on Broadway in “Death of A Salesman.” In January 2006, City Arts & Lectures presented Hoffman in conversation with Roy Eisenhardt at Davies Symphony Hall. The program was a benefit for New York’s LAByrinth Theater Company, a multi-cultural ensemble devoted to producing new works. Hoffman was Artistic Director at the time. City Arts & Lectures will re-broadcast that conversation Tuesday, February 11 at 8pm on KQED 88.5 FM. Hoffman died on February 2, 2014 at the age of 46.

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Event Schedule

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Saturday, February 22

Magnolia – 10 AM (running time: 180 min)

Synecdoche, New York – 1:30 PM (124 min)

Jack Goes Boating – 4:00 PM (89 min)

The Master – 6:00 PM (144 min)

The Big Lebowski – 9:00 PM (117 min)

Sunday, February 23

Boogie Nights – 12 PM (155 min)

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead – 3 PM (117 min)

Owning Mahowny – 5:00 PM (104 min)

The Savages – 7:00 PM (113 min)

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Kronos Quartet presents Kronos: World Premiere featuring Bombs of Beirut

The Kronos Quartet / Kronos Performing Arts Association is proud to announce Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere, a series of four concerts featuring the world premiere of Mary Kouyoumdjian‘s Bombs of Beirut, the 5th work commissioned through the Under 30 Project. Launched in 2003, the Under 30 Project is designed to help nurture the careers of young artists, while enabling Kronos to forge stronger connections with the next creative generation. Each show also features a special locally-based opener: Friction Quartet (Feb. 6), Mobius Trio (Feb. 7), The Living Earth Show (Feb. 8), Amy X Neuburg (Feb. 9.)

Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere will take place February 6 – 9, 2014 at Z Space in San Francisco.

Kouyoumdjian (pronounced koo-YOOM-gee-an), who lives in New York and grew up in the Bay Area, was chosen from a call for composers that yielded nearly 400 applicants in 43 countries on five continents, the largest response in the program’s history. Upon her selection, she was commissioned to write a work for Kronos. Her new work, Bombs of Beirut, is a 23-minute piece for string quartet with prerecorded backing track and live processing.

A first-generation Armenian-American whose family was directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, Kouyoumdjian was inspired to create a work that would reflect day-to-day life during wartime in Beirut. Bombs of Beirut includes interviews with the composer’s family and friends about their experience in the war, together with recordings of ambient sounds taken from an apartment balcony during the war. Those recordings include the sounds of missiles hurtling through the air and bombs exploding nearby.

Organized into three connected movements, the piece is designed, says Kouyoumdjian, “to put a human face on violent events in the Middle East and to arouse feelings of disorder and nostalgia.”

The latest installment of the Kronos: Under 30 Project was open to all composers who had not reached the age of 30 by the application deadline. Choosing a recipient from the hundreds of applicants was no simple matter: “What people are writing now is amazing, just thrilling,” says Kronos Quartet Artistic Director David Harrington. “As we narrowed down the field, we were looking for someone who seemed poised to write their breakthrough piece. And every time I came back to Mary’s work, I was magnetized. She’s an exceptional composer, incredibly creative, and her connection to her family’s Armenian history has brought her sensibility into a very beautiful place.”

Each evening Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere will open with a performance by a special guest artist based in the Bay Area. Those guests include Friction Quartet, a string quartet with a reputation for edgy programming and the commissioning of new works, performing February 6; Mobius Trio, an ensemble of three guitars dedicated to contemporary music, performing February 7; The Living Earth Show, an electro-acoustic guitar and percussion duo which specializes in contemporary compositions, performing February 8; and Amy X Neuburg, a well known Oakland based genre-crossing artist known for her 4-octave vocal range, innovative use of live looping technology, and ‘avant-cabaret’ songs, performing February 9.

The Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere series will feature two different programs. On Thursday and Friday Kronos will perform works by Krzysztof Penderecki, John Oswald, Bryce Dessner and Dan Becker. On Saturday and Sunday the Quartet will perform works by Krzysztof Penderecki, John Oswald, Geeshie Wiley, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley and more.

Since its inception in 2003, Kronos: Under 30 Project has commissioned a total of five pieces. Previous commissions include: Alexandra du Bois’ String Quartet: Oculus Pro Oculo Totum Orbem Terrae Caecat (2003), Felipe Pérez Santiago’s CampoSanto (2004), Dan Visconti’s Love Bleeds Radiant (2006) and Aviya Kopelman’s Widows & Lovers (2007).

 

ABOUT THE KRONOS QUARTET

For 40 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet-David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)-has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. A Grammy winner, Kronos is also the only recipient of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize. With a staff of ten, the non-profit Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home-season performances, and education programs. www.kronosquartet.org

 

ABOUT MARY KOUYOUMDJIAN

Mary Kouyoumdjian is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic pallet that draws on her heritage, interest in folk music, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new. She has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, the American Composers Forum/JFund, REDSHIFT, the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble, the Nouveau Classical Project, Friction Quartet, Experiments in Opera, and Ensemble Oktoplus. In her work as a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she most recently orchestrated on the soundtrack to The Place Beyond the Pines. Kouyoumdjian holds an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University and a B.A. in Music Composition from UC San Diego. She is also a co-founder and the executive director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant. www.marykouyoumdjian.com

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Why We Love the Bay Area; Andreas Amador

If you live in San Francisco, then you may be lucky enough to come across the art of Andres Amador. He doesn’t paint or sculpt. He prefers a medium that is temporary but absolutely beautiful: a sandy beach at low tide. He uses a rake to create works of art that can be bigger than 100,000 sq. ft.

He spends hours creating these intricate masterpieces, knowing that the tide will soon come in and wash away his work forever.

He knows that it will all be temporary.

While making his beach mural explorations, he uses a rope as a guide so that he can make the geometric patterns.
While making his beach mural explorations, he uses a rope as a guide so that he can make the geometric patterns.
When asked WHY he does it, Andre gives the best answer…
When asked WHY he does it, Andre gives the best answer...
“The unanswerable question! Its fun. I get to be at the beach.”
"The unanswerable question! Its fun. I get to be at the beach."
Consider yourself lucky if you happen to stumble across one of his playa paintings, because it won’t be there long.
Consider yourself lucky if you happen to stumble across one of his playa paintings, because it won't be there long.

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By raking up the wet sand at low tide, he is able to make contrasting sand colors.
By raking up the wet sand at low tide, he is able to make contrasting sand colors.
He even offers his services, helping people propose.
He even offers his services, helping people propose.
Or even teaching others to create these beachscapes as part of a team building exercise.
Or even teaching others to create these beachscapes as part of a team building exercise.
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According to Andres, it only takes a couple of hours once the tide is low enough to create the designs.
According to Andres, it only takes a couple of hours once the tide is low enough to create the designs.

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believe

Andres’ creations are simply stunning and knowing that these delicate creations are temporary somehow makes them even more beautiful.

You should definitely Like Andres On Facebook and Visit His Web Site where you can buy prints of his designs if you want.

Above all, share his work by clicking the button below. It’s truly awesome.

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Peking Astronauts Tumble into Zellerbach

 

International stars The Peking Acrobats return to Cal Performances on Saturday, January 25 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 26 at 3 p.m. for three performances described as “amazing—and stunning and breathtaking and WOW!” (Seattle Times). Led by director Ken T. Hai, the troupe delights audiences with a stunning variety of performances, including wire-walking, trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting, and gymnastics. This elite group consisting of gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists, tumblers and musicians is considered one of the top practitioners of the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics. The Peking Acrobats will be accompanied by Jigu! Thunder Drums of China, a world-renowned company of drummers, percussionists, and musicians who play traditional Chinese instruments, such as the erhu (small bowed instrument with two strings), pipa (lute-like string instrument), dizi (flute made of bamboo) and the yangquin (dulcimer played with bamboo mallets).

The Peking Acrobats have been ambassadors of the unique and storied pageantry of Chinese Carnivals since the group’s 1986 tour of North America. The origins of Chinese acrobatics began nearly 2,200 years ago during the Ch’in Dynasty (221–207 B.C.). However, the art truly started to flourish into a wide variety of juggling, tumbling, and magic acts known as the “Hundred Entertainments” during the Han Dynasty (207 B.C.–A.D. 220). To this day, acrobats are given high status and honor in China as they are chosen from a highly selective process and are dedicated, hardworking artists.

The Peking Acrobats have enjoyed success worldwide. Notable performances include collaborations with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Atlanta, San Diego, and San Francisco symphonies. The troupe has also been featured on many television shows and specials, including The Wayne Brady Show, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, NBC’s Ring in the New Year Holiday Special, Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous, and Fox’s Guinness Book Primetime TV in which they set the world record for on the height of the human chair stack.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for The Peking Acrobats on Saturday, January 25 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 26 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $22.00 to $56.00 and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for children under 16 and UC Berkeley students. For more information about discounts, visit http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.

 

 

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Dr. Pedro Moura Carvalho Appointed Deputy Director for Art and Programs at the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum announced today the appointment of Dr. Pedro Moura Carvalho as the museum’s new Deputy Director for Art and Programs, a key leadership position overseeing the curatorial, museum services, education and public programs departments. Reporting to the museum Director, Moura Carvalho will be responsible for providing strategic oversight and management of collections, exhibitions, education and interpretive initiatives that enhance audience engagement. He begins his tenure at the museum in March 2014.

 


A scholar of Islamic art with deep interests in cross-cultural artistic traditions, Moura Carvalho has been serving as Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Curatorial, Collections, and Exhibitions at the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum, Singapore, since 2011. While there, he curated the exhibitions Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum; Islamic Art in Southeast Asia, and was the lead curator of The Peranakan World presented at The National Museum of Korea, Seoul, in the spring of 2013.

“I am delighted to join Jay Xu and museum trustees and commissioners in supporting the museum’s vision to deliver captivating art experiences centered on stunning artworks,” says Moura Carvalho. “The museum is a great institution with an extraordinary collection. I feel privileged to partner with staff, volunteers, and patrons to shape remarkable and innovative visitor-centered endeavors in the rapidly growing and changing field of Asian art and cultures.”

“Pedro brings an impressive record of accomplishments—including exhibition development, research and scholarship, and strong managerial experience—to the Asian Art Museum,” says museum Director Jay Xu. “We welcome his passion for art, creative spark, and finely tuned sense of humor to help guide our vision for presenting exhibitions and programs that stimulate discovery, discussion and excitement.”

Before his work in Singapore, Moura Carvalho was the curator and co-organizer of exhibitions at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, McMullen Museum of Art, both in Boston; Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and Hermitage Rooms/Somerset House, London. He lectured at the Catholic University of Portugal, and was deputy-curator of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, London.

Moura Carvalho has also published extensively. Among his books are Mirʾât al-quds (Mirror of Holiness): A Life of Christ for Emperor Akbar (Leiden/ Boston, 2012); Gems and Jewels of Mughal India, in the Khalili Collection (London, 2010); and Luxury for Export. Artistic Exchange Between India and Portugal around 1600 (Pittsburgh, 2008). He is the main author and editor of the exhibition catalogue The World of Lacquer; Two Thousand Years of History (Lisbon, 2001), and is co-author of the forthcoming catalogue of Later Islamic Pottery in the Khalili Collection. Moura Carvalho is also widely published on the European contribution to the art of India, Iran, China and Japan.

A native of Portugal, Moura Carvalho has lived in nine countries and traveled in over ninety. He holds a MA and PhD degrees in Art and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was a Aga Khan Fellow at Harvard University for 16 months, a scholar-in-residence at the Doris Duke Foundation for the Islamic Arts, Honolulu, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, and received numerous grants namely from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and Fundação Oriente.

The Asian Art Museum 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. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life, while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity, and new thinking. Founded in 1966, the Asian Art Museum is a public/private partnership with an annual operating budget of $21.6 million. The museum’s home at San Francisco’s Civic Center is an architectural gem featuring a dynamic blend of beaux arts and modern design elements. The building is the result of a dramatic $170 million transformation of San Francisco’s former main public library in 2003 by noted Italian architect Gae Aulenti. For more information, visit www.asianart.org.

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MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS LEADS THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY IN TWO WEEKS OF CONCERTS PAIRING WORKS BY BEETHOVEN AND MASON BATES

Programs include Mason Bates’ Liquid Interface and The B-Sides and Beethoven’s Mass in C, Symphony No. 7, Romances for Violin and Orchestra and Excerpts from King Stephen

Programs to be recorded for future release on the Orchestra’s SFS Media label

 

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) leads the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in two weeks of concerts pairing the works of Ludwig van Beethoven and Mason Bates January 8-18 in Davies Symphony Hall.  MTT and the SFS continue their multi-season exploration of the music of both composers, pairing some of Beethoven’s most influential works with those by a composer who similarly expands the classical experience through his use of electronics, found recordings and the rhythms of techno.  Festival highlights include Bates’ SFS commission The B-Sides and the first SFS performances of Liquid Interface, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Mass in C, with soloists Joélle Harvey, Kelley O’Connor, William Burden and Shenyang.  Both programs will be recorded for SFS Media, the Orchestra’s in-house label.

“One of my goals as a symphonic composer is to bring back the large-scale narrative forms, pioneered by Beethoven, but in the digital age with a 21st-century palette of sounds,” Bates said of his symphonic works. “Beethoven launched the age of programmatic music with the choral finale of his Symphony No. 9—the first symphony to include text and choral writing with symphonic music. After being explored by some of the greatest 19th century composers—Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner—programmatic music was largely forgotten, as the 20th century moved on to the ‘purity’ of serialism and, eventually, minimalism.  I’ve found a lot of inspiration in creating big works that work on both a musical and extra-musical level, exploring the programmatic approach with the sounds of the digital age.  For instance, recording the actual sounds of glaciers calving for Liquid Interface is, in my own small way, a response to the inclusion of text in the Ninth Symphony.”

 

PROGRAM 1

The first week of concerts January 8-11 juxtapose Beethoven’s energetic, dance-infused Symphony No. 7 with Bates’ The B-Sides, which was originally premiered by the SF Symphony in 2009. “I had often imagined a suite of concise, off-kilter symphonic pieces that would incorporate the grooves and theatrics of electronica in a highly focused manner,” says Bates, whose work as a DJ under the moniker DJ Masonic highly informs his approach to electronics. “So, like the forgotten bands from the flipside of an old piece of vinyl, The B-Sides offers brief landings on a variety of peculiar planets, unified by a focus on fluorescent orchestral sonorities and the morphing rhythms of electronica.” Also on this program are Beethoven’s Romances for Violin and Orchestra Nos. 1-2, featuring SFS Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik.

Please note that The B-Sides replaces the previously announced Alternative Energy, which will be performed and recorded in the fall of 2014.

 

PROGRAM 2

SF Symphony Concerts January 15-18 feature Beethoven’s powerful Mass in C major, excerpts from King Stephen, and the first SFS performances of Bates’ Liquid Interface. The Mass in C features soloists Joélle Harvey, Kelley O’Connor, William Burden and Shenyang. While it is much less frequently performed than his massive Missa solemnis, the Mass in C is considered by many critics and scholars to be one of the composer’s underrated masterpieces. Of Liquid Interface, Bates remarks, “Water has influenced countless musical endeavors—La Mer and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey quickly come to mind. But after living on Berlin’s enormous Wannsee and seeing this huge body of water transform from an ice sheet thick enough to support sausage venders, to a refreshing swimming destination heavy with humidity, I became consumed with writing a new take on the idea. If the play of the waves inspired Debussy, then what about water in its variety of forms?” These varying states are illustrated in Liquid Interface, most notably with an actual recording of glaciers breaking into the Antarctic. “Again, the distinguishing elements of Liquid Interface are not just the electronic sounds, but more so the way that these expanded palettes articulate large narrative forms,” Bates explains.

 

 

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DON REED’S CAN YOU DIG IT? THE ‘60s – BACK DOWN EAST 14TH RETURNS TO THE MARSH

The Marsh announces the return of Don Reed’s autobiographical journey CAN YOU DIG IT? The ‘60s – Back Down East 14th, now coming back in the new year, January 4 through February 2, 2014 following wildly successful extended runs at The Marsh San Francisco and The Marsh Berkeley.  Reed, an Oakland-born comedian, is currently the opening act/warm-up comedian for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  The third installment in Reed’s hilarious coming-of-age trilogy, CAN YOU DIG IT?, a view of the 1960s through the eyes of an awkward kid, will play Saturdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 7pm in the The Marsh Berkeley Theater Stage, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. For tickets, the public may visit www.themarsh.org or call 415-282-3055 between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Called “Flat out hilarious!” by KQED and “Remarkable. Terrific. Very funny,” as well as “Unexpectedly touching” by the San Francisco Chronicle, CAN YOU DIG IT? rewinds to the ‘60s, going back to young Reed’s formative years in Oakland grammar school when the family was whole – that is before his father became a pimp and his mother reluctantly became a Jehovah’s Witness.  As the plot unfolds, a series of wild, wonderful, scary, amazing, unnecessary, cool, moving, unbelievably true stories are revealed.

The first installment in Reed’s trilogy, East 14th, traced the actor-comedian’s irregular teen years through the ‘70s (his stepfather forced him to become a Jehovah’s Witness, and his biological father was a pimp).  East 14th went on to become one of the Bay Area’s longest running solo shows, and also ran Off-Broadway.  The second installment, The Kipling Hotel, followed Reed’s collegiate years at UCLA through the ‘80s, as he struggled to supplement a partial scholarship by working as a live-in waiter at an unforgettable retirement hotel.

Reed, a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Nominee and NAACP Double Nominee for Best Actor and Best Playwright, has performed, written, and directed in film, television, and theatre all over the country.  His 1991 segment on HBO’s Robert Townsend & His Partners in Crime, which featured a variety of up-and-coming comedians, was well-received and led to many recurring and guest starring roles on various television programs.  In addition to performing as the opening act/warm-up comedian for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Reed has opened for Tony Award winner Tommy Tune, and has worked on programs including Spiderman, The Flintstones, ER, Frasier, Friends, Scrubs, Will & Grace, Law & Order, and Saturday Night Live.  Reed has written promos for the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and the Olympics.  Additionally, he has written and developed screenplays for Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule and Maverick Filmworks.  Reed is currently a board member of the thriving 51Oakland foundation keeping music and the arts alive in Oakland Public Schools.

 

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