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4 things that should happen now that we know the truth about Witness #40, a white supremacist

No eyewitness testimony was more consistent with Darren Wilson’s personal story of events the day he shot and killed Mike Brown than that of Witness #40—who we now know as white supremacist Sandy McElroy.Not only did Sandy McElroy testify before the grand jury twice, she was allowed to show what she claimed was her journal from the day Mike Brown was killed. In the journal she said she decided to travel to a black neighborhood so she could learn to no longer “call blacks niggers.” In the transcript of her testimony, in her back and forth with members of the grand jury, members are recorded as actually stating that they believe she’s telling the truth.

What’s clear now, and what was actually clear to the FBI and the prosecutors before she ever testified, is that Sandy McElroy wasn’t anywhere near Canfield Drive the day Mike Brown was killed and made her entire story up. Not only that, but Sandy McElroy was on record with the St. Louis police as having lied and concocted fanciful stories in other murder cases in which she falsely claimed to be a witness.

Her inclusion in the grand jury pool of witnesses poisoned the well and her testimony is the most quoted testimony of conservative pundits; Sean Hannity alone has quoted her at least 21 times in various broadcasts. In addition to her calling African Americans “apes” and saying police should “kill the niggers” in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s death, she regularly posted comments on various social networks showing her affection for Darren Wilson weeks and weeks before she ever claimed to be a witness.

The FBI, in their interrogation of Sandy McElroy, completely tore apart her story and proved that she never drove onto Canfield Drive, never drove off of Canfield Drive, was never seen on Canfield Drive, and couldn’t find one person or photo or message before or after the event to confirm that she was ever there. She claimed she told her ex-husband all about what she saw, but he swore she didn’t and he has problems remembering things.

Please read below the fold for more on McElroy’s faulty testimony:

After telling the FBI that she was there to meet a friend she hadn’t seen since 1987, she admitted to the grand jury that she actually lied about that and no such person existed. She then explained that she was actually on Canfield Drive in a different town the exact moment Mike Brown was killed, in the exact spot where he was killed, on a solo ethnographic expedition to ease her own racism. It’s a lie so preposterous that it feels dirty even repeating it.

Here’s the thing, though. When Sandy McElroy was called before the grand jury, she had already been thoroughly discredited by the FBI not just as being a poor witness whose recollection is fuzzy, but as someone who didn’t witness anything at all and was making it all up for the worst possible reasons. That she was allowed to testify before the grand jury on two different dates and produce fake evidence on her second trip is a scandal of epic proportions. That her testimony has become so popular among conservatives says as much about them as it does about Sandy McElroy.

Knowing all that we know about her testimony, here are four things that should happen immediately.

1. Sandy McElroy should be immediately charged with perjury. She was clearly told by the FBI and the prosecutors that lying about being there was a crime and was given chance after chance to back down. Instead she doubled down and added very specific and destructive details about what she saw Mike Brown do that day.

Furthermore, Sandy McElroy is not at all like an eyewitness who was actually there and sincerely believed she saw the events unfold in a way that may be different than the facts of the case. In her back and forth with the FBI, they even went so far as to clarify that it was not a crime to recall something you actually saw and state it in a way that is slightly off from what truly happened.

2. Sandy McElroy should be charged with creating and submitting false evidence which is a felony in Missouri and in most states. She completely and totally fabricated a journal months after the murder, never mentioned it to the FBI, and was allowed to actually show it to the prosecutors and grand jury as a form of proof she was telling the truth.

3. Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who undoubtedly will not resign until hell freezes over and pigs fly, should at the very least explain why Sandy McElroy was called to testify. Having taken months and months to run the grand jury system, McCulloch was well aware of who she was, but clearly believed she should remain anyway.

4. A special prosecutor should be appointed and a new grand jury convened immediately. Gov. Jay Nixon still has the power to do such a thing—as does a circuit court judge in Missouri. Typically this would only happen in cases in which it can be proven that the prosecutor went out of his or her way to support the defendant in a case and the evidence for that in this case grows daily.

 

Shaun King, Daily Kos

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

Jewish  Family and Children's Services

Anita Friedman Jewish Family and Children’s Services

President of Koret Foundation

Tad Taube, President of Koret Foundation

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

The lawsuit also alleges that Taube:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Jewish  Family and Children's Services

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

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

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

President of Koret Foundation

SUED: Tad Taube, President of Koret Foundation

 

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

001 (1) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.270brannan.com

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

KoKo gorilla

Koko gorilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESEARCH:

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

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

EDUCATION:

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

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

CONSERVATION:

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

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

CARE AND WELLNESS:

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

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

ORGANIZATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Editorial: Good Riddance to George Lucas Vanity Museum: Chicago Be Careful What you Pray For

 

Alfred E. Neuman artwork is part of George Lucas 'art collection."

Alfred E. Neuman artwork is part of George Lucas “art collection.”

 

It was great to read the San Francisco Chronicle today and see two of its leading writers, Chuck Nevius and John King, both essentially say “Hasta la Vista, Baby!” to the vanity museum that Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas wanted to build in San Francisco’s Presidio.

The real story isn’t that Chicago “won” the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, but rather that San Francisco was victorious in rejecting a poorly-designed monstrosity that would have housed the personal collection of George Lucas’ kitschy art collection.  Chicago has “won” Lucas’ oversized ego, his childish behavior, his grumpy development team, and his collection of art that would be best exhibited in a suburban mall.

All we can say is: Thank goodness for the leadership of the Presidio Trust which turned down this monument to Lucas’ bad taste.

The Presidio park is a jewel and is enjoying nearly 20 years of success by doing the right thing and planning properly for this National Landmark and Bay Area treasure.  The cheap and cheesy museum proposed by Lucas didn’t belong on a bluff overlooking the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.  We should all thank The Presidio Trust for acting in the best interest of the public and not in the interest of a vein Hollywood millionaire and rejecting what Chicago has all-too-quickly accepted.

Bravo Presidio Trust. Good luck Chicago.

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‘This could be dramatic’

In recent years, political organizations have exploited flaws in the campaign-finance system in a way that seems almost farcical. That may be poised to change in a big way.

For example, a group like Karl Rove’s attack operation, Crossroads GPS, or the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, can declare itself a “social welfare” organization, as opposed to a political action committee. Once they enjoy tax-exempt status as a 501(c)4 group, these brazenly partisan outfits can raise enormous amounts of money as non-profit organizations – while keeping their donors lists entirely secret from everyone.

As Nicholas Confessore reports this afternoon, the Obama administration is eyeing new rules that would “curtail” the campaign activities of these groups that enjoy tax-exempt status, but shouldn’t.

The proposed rules, announced by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, would expand and clarify how the I.R.S. defines political activity and then establish clearer limits for how much activity nonprofits can engage in. Such a change – long urged by government watchdog groups – would be the first wholesale shift in a generation in the regulations governing political activity. […]

The rules would not prohibit political activity by nonprofit organizations. But by establishing clearer limits for campaign-related spending, the new rules could have a significant impact on the big-spending nonprofit groups that have played a central role in national politics in recent years, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on political advertising and voter outreach.

Marcus Owens, a former chief of the IRS’s exempt organizations division, told the Times, “Depending on the details, this could be dramatic.”

Quite right. The proposed guidance, for example, would say that “social welfare” organizations couldn’t engage in campaign  activities such as airing television ads within 60 days of an election.

We’ll learn more about the detail soon, but the goal here is to start applying meaningful definitions – and setting credible limits – on what a “social welfare,” tax-exempt, non-profit group can do to influence the outcome of elections. No matter what the guidance says, the parameters likely won’t be in place to influence the 2014 cycle, but in 2016 and beyond, the administration’s proposed changes have the potential to make an enormous impact on U.S. elections.

Steve Benin MSBNC

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Justice Ginsburg Slams Supreme Court’s ‘Hubris’ In Fiery Dissent On Voting Rights Act

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned the fierce dissent against the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday to invalidate a key section of the Voting Rights Act, accusing the conservative justices of displaying “hubris” and a lack of sound reasoning.

“The Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decision making,” wrote the leader of the court’s liberal wing. “Quite the opposite. Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”

Joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices, Ginsburg scolded the conservative majority and its rationale for throwing out Section 4 of the law — which contains the formula Congress has used to determine which states and local governments must receive federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws.

“Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today,” she wrote. “The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story.”

Congress has renewed the Voting Rights Act four times — most recently in 2006 by an overwhelming 390-33 vote in the House and a 98-0 vote in the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts, the author of the majority opinion, argued that “[o]ur country has changed” particularly in the mostly southern jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act.

“In my judg­ment,” Ginsburg wrote, “the Court errs egregiously by overriding Congress’ decision.”

She lambasted the majority for “disturbing lapses” in its reasoning, citing as one example its failure to explain why the plaintiff in the case, Shelby County of Alabama, should be freed from preclearance despite its history of voter discrimination.

“Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” Ginsburg wrote.

The Clinton-appointed justice said there was a “sad irony” to the Supreme Court throwing out a piece of the law it admits has been effective at reducing discrimination.

“The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective,” she wrote. “The Court appears to believe that the VRA’s success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclear­ance is no longer needed. … With that belief, and the argument derived from it, history repeats itself.”

From Talking Point Memo

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Michael Tilson Thomas And The San Francisco Symphony Celebrate 100th Anniversary Of Stravinksy’s Rite Of Spring With Performances June 19-22 At Davies Symphony Hall

Programs featuring Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble and violinist Gil Shaham

explore the folkloric roots and lasting influence of Stravinsky’s masterpiece

 

SFSMedia releases Rite of Spring Keeping Score episode and concert on Blu-ray disc

 

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) leads the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in two concert programs dedicated to one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, celebrating the 100th anniversary of its first performance this year. Designed to give audiences new insight into the composer’s folk music inspirations and the paradigm-shifting legacy of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet score, both programs include this defining work of Stravinsky’s, paired with other lesser-known music that reflects the creative roots of his work and its lasting influence. MTT first worked with Stravinsky as a student in Southern California and has remained one of the composer’s most ardent advocates.

The program of June 19 and 20 traces the influences of The Rite of Spring into Stravinsky’s later neoclassical and serial works. Violinist Gil Shaham joins MTT and the Orchestra in the Violin Concerto, and MTT conducts the rarely heard ballet score Agon. Agon was last performed by the SFS in 1999 during the MTT-led Stravinsky Festival.

A second program on June 21 and 22 explores the folkloric inspirations of The Rite of Spring, as MTT leads members of the SFS and the Russian folk music specialists The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble in the rarely performed work Les Noces, which captures the earthly exuberance of a Russian village wedding. The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble, known for its unique singing style evoking the vitality of authentic Russian village music, also performs a selection of traditional Russian folk songs.

“The folk music he heard in Russian villages made an enormous impression on a young Stravinsky,” said Michael Tilson Thomas in the San Francisco Symphony’s PBS television documentary Keeping Score: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. “In The Rite of Spring, he wanted to use the sophisticated symphony orchestra to evoke the wild power of village music.”

MTT & STRAVINSKY

MTT’s relationship with Stravinsky dates back to his years as a student in Southern California when he worked frequently with the composer.  MTT spoke of his experiences with Stravinsky in Keeping Score, “Stravinsky was a great watcher and listener. He had immense curiosity. When I was a youngster in Los Angeles I met him and played for him and I can remember the intense way he peered at the score as if he were decoding it. When he wasn’t listening to music, he might sit and make motions with his fingers as if he were playing a phantom piano.”

Michael Tilson Thomas has conducted and recorded a wide range of Stravinsky works with the San Francisco Symphony including the infrequently performed operas The Nightingale and Oedipus rex. In 1993, in his first concerts with the San Francisco Symphony after he was named Music Director, MTT conducted the Orchestra in The Rite of Spring. In 1999 he led the Orchestra in an all-Stravinsky Festival and in 2000 MTT and the Symphony were awarded three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Engineered Classical Album for their RCA Red Seal all-Stravinsky recording of Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring), The Firebird, and Perséphone.

RITE OF SPRING ON SFS MEDIA

MTT and the San Francisco Symphony featured Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in their 2006 Keeping Score television series on PBS. The Keeping Score documentary explores the work with MTT on location in the Théâtre Champs-Élysées where Rite of Spring had its debut and Ustilug, the Russian countryside where Stravinsky heard village folk music, among others. The DVD on the Orchestra’s in-house label, SFS Media, also includes a full SF Symphony concert performance of Rite of Spring and music from The Firebird. In commemoration of the anniversary of the seminal work, the SFS will release Keeping Score: Rite of Spring on Blu-ray for the first time in May 2013. Both DVD and Blu-ray disc are available from the Symphony store in Davies Symphony Hall and online at sfsymphony.org/store.  A recording featuring The Rite of Spring and selections from The Firebird Suite, both recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall during the filming of Keeping Score, is available from sfsymphony.org/store and as a download from the iTunes store and other digital outlets. Additional information about Rite of Spring can be found online at KeepingScore.org, SFSymphony.com/riteofspring, and the San Francisco Symphony’s YouTube Channel youtube.com/sfsymphony.

SOLOISTS

Violinist Gil Shaham has been a frequent guest of the San Francisco Symphony since his debut in 1990. He last performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with MTT & the SFS during the Orchestra’s centennial season in November 2011. He performed the Stravinsky Violin Concerto at Davies Symphony Hall with Music Director David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony in April 2010. He most recently performed at Davies Symphony Hall in recital in March 2013. In the 2012-13 season, Shaham continues his long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” a project he started in 2010. Last fall he released a recording tied to the project on his label, Canary Classics, which included the Barber, Stravinsky and Berg Violin Concertos with three leading orchestras under the baton of David Robertson. Shaham  plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius. Shaham lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.

The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble was founded in Moscow in 1973 by prominent musician, scientist and researcher of Russian national culture Dmitry Pokrovsky (1944-1996) as a living laboratory for the study of different Russian folk traditions. The Ensemble was the first group of professional musicians to perform authentic village Russian folk music at the academic level. To capture the essence of the village music, the ensemble’s members have traveled the length and breadth of rural Russia, documenting and studying the musical traditions they encountered. The vocal style of the Ensemble is distinctive for its various styles of traditional Russian singing . The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble collaborates with musicians, contemporary composers, theatrical directors and filmmakers and has become internationally renowned. These concerts mark the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble’s San Francisco Symphony debut.

 


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PG&E: San Bruno Mayor Says “We Won’t Let Pacific Gas & Electric Off the Hook” for San Bruno Explosion and Fire, Deaths and Destruction

San Bruno–Mayor Jim Ruane reacted strongly this evening to a PG&E filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, in which the utility company rejected the a call for major fines and penalties for its explosion and fire of Sept. 9, 2010, in San Bruno that killed eight, harmed dozens of residents and destroyed a community neighborhood.  This is the official statement issued by the City of San Bruno:

“The City of San Bruno finds the PG&E filing with the California Public Utility Commission today deeply disappointing and of great concern.  PG&E continues to downplay its systematic failures and its personal and corporate responsibility for the Sept. 9, 2010 San Bruno explosion and fire.

“Eight people died in our community, scores more were injured and a giant hole was created by PG&E in the heart of our community.  Yet, as we near the third anniversary of this great tragedy, PG&E continues to fail to acknowledge its responsibly for this catastrophe.  The explosion and fire would have never occurred if the company hadn’t diverted monies meant for pipeline safety and had performed safety work that was legally, scientifically, contractually and morally required of them by the California Public Utility Commission, which also bears responsibility for this tragedy for its failure to regulate the utility company.

“We have only made a quick review of the voluminous PG&E filing today and expect to make further comments and filings of our own as part of the penalty phase by the CPUC against PG&E.  We will not let PG&E off the hook for the damage they have done to our community, to their reputation and the deep concern they have created throughout California about pipeline safety,” said Mayor Jim Ruane, City of San Bruno.

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CPUC President Michael Peevey Caught in The Act: He Ducks California Senate Hearing for Napa Valley Drinks with PG&E Executives

The embattled president of the California Public Utilities Commission recently ignored the call to answer tough questions by state senators in Sacramento and instead decided to attend a conference at an exclusive Napa resort and a reception at an upscale winery in St. Helena, both of which were captured on hidden camera by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, headed by reporter Tony Kovaleski. See the shocking story that most likely will cost Peevey his job as head of the CPUC after Governor Jerry Brown sees this news video: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/LEGALPeeveys-Priority–205838301.html

Michael Peevey was asked to appear before the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review subcommittee on April 25 to justify keeping the job he has held for the past decade. The senate hearing was in response to growing conflict over a confidential report, uncovered by the Investigative Unit, which raises questions about the CPUC’s commitment to safety and its relationship with utility companies the agency regulates.

“The governor needs to replace the president of the Public Utilities Commission,” Sen. Jerry Hill said in an interview with NBC Bay Area last month. “The current president has been there for many years and he has had a very cozy relationship with the utilities, which this report indicates.”

Hill’s call for change at the CPUC was recently echoed by two lawmakers.

“I think the question is, who should be leading this organization so the people of California are safe,” San Jose assemblywoman Nora Campos said at a recent legislative hearing.

At that same hearing Los Altos assemblyman Richard Gordon added, “I have come to the point where we need serious change in the leadership of the PUC to bring change.”

After calling for his job two weeks ago, Hill wrote Peevey a letter formally requesting his presence at the subcommittee hearing. The letter states, “For all the shortcomings under your leadership at the CPUC over the last ten years as documented by independent reports… it’s critical that you testify…to justify your continued appointment as the president of the California Public Utilities Commission.”

Instead of addressing the conflict, Peevey kept a prior engagement at the Silverado Resort and Spa in the heart of Napa. According to the agenda, the conference was about clean energy, and Peevey was scheduled to give a short five to seven minute presentation for the non-profit organization, California Foundation for the Environment and the Economy (CFEE).

Before the conference started, at around 11 a.m.—the same time he was expected in Sacramento—NBC Bay Area’s hidden cameras spotted Peevey mingling with guests in the resort conference center.  The day officially started at noon, with a catered lunch after invited guests such as a representative from Pacific Gas & Electric and, somewhat ironically, more than two dozen Sacramento lawmakers, checked in at the event. Peevey gave his presentation at 1:30 p.m.—two and a half hours after he was scheduled to speak in Sacramento.

After four hours of conference sessions Peevey boarded a luxury bus and drove through the Napa Valley to the next event on the agenda—a reception and dinner at St. Helena’s exclusive Merryvalewinery. For more than three hours, Peevey ended his day inside the facility along with more than 100 guests.

Following the reception, NBC Bay Area’s Chief Investigative Reporter Tony Kovaleski met Peevey outside the winery to ask questions about his priorities, and the confidential report. Below is a transcript of a part of the conversation:

Tony Kovaleski: You were asked to speak to senators today about the safety of your PUC. Instead you spent your day here in Napa.

Michael Peevey: No, that’s not true.

Kovaleski: What is the message you sent by coming here to Napa instead of going to speak to the senate?

Peevey: You are very antagonistic you know. You are reading a script.

Kovaleski: Sir, I am not reading a script. I want to give you an opportunity to respond.

Peevey: But your questions are the wrong questions.

Kovaleski: You spent time here with the utilities you are paid to regulate.

Peevey: There’s no utilities here that I know of.

Kovaleski: PG&E was here. We saw them on the list.

Peevey: Oh, there may have been one person, I don’t know.

Kovaleski: That report said your agency is too cozy with utilities. Is that true?

Peevey: No. Stop. That’s one person who said that. That’s not what the report said. There was no conclusion in the report. It was an interview with various individual employees of the Public Utilities Commission.

Kovaleski: Sir, you have been asked by lawmakers to step down. Lawmakers have said you should be fired. Should you be fired, sir?

Man with Peevey: No, he shouldn’t be fired. They don’t have the authority.

(Peevey starts to walk away).

Peevey: You poor son of a b****. You have a job to do. It’s pathetic what you are doing. It’s pathetic.

(Peevey gets into a car).

Kovaleski: Sir, should you answer to lawmakers when they ask to speak with you? What’s the message you sent tonight by coming here?

(Car drives away).

NBC Bay Area asked to speak with Peevey about the confidential report prior to the conference in Napa, but did not receive a response to that request from the CPUC. The CPUC did provide a written statement about the report:

The CPUC has made safety an underlying principle in all its actions. As we work to instill a corporate culture in our regulated utilities that embraces safety as a tool and an enhancement to their mission, we must ensure we do the same at the CPUC. We have hired consultants to help us in our process of culture change across all the industries we regulate. As part of these efforts, our consultants conducted an informal survey of internal employees to see what they think safety means, how they see their role in safety, and how they think we can do better as an agency. The report is the result of the informal survey; it is not an analysis of our safety culture or conclusions by our consultants, but a reporting-back of what some employees said in informal focus groups. As the report says, “This report is not an evaluation of the objective truth of those views and perceptions.”  We will use the results of the report to help us define what we need to change, develop strategies and actions to implement the changes, and ensure accountability as the process continues.

This is not the first time Peevey has snubbed lawmakers for an all-expense paid event. He was asked to speak at an assembly committee meeting in 2011, but reports indicate he accepted a free trip to Sweden that was funded by the Swedish government and the California nonprofit, The Energy Coalition.

When asked by reporters in April about his confidence in the leadership of the CPUC, Gov. Jerry Brown said Peevey is “well-experienced.”

“He’s flawed like everyone else in this building,” Brown said, “but he has a lot of knowledge and he has great commitment.”

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America’s Cup Refuses to Pay Workers: Will This Impact Upcoming America’s Cup Finals in San Francisco This Year?

by Zennie Abraham

America’s Cup stiffs San Francisco Workers? Read on…

America’s Cup, SF. If you’re as excited about the event being here in San Francisco and the SF Bay Area as I am, then you expect the organization to get everything right, and maintain good relationships with everyone.

And if you’re as excited about the America’s Cup as I am, then you’re going to be as disappointed in America’s CUP CEO Stephen Barclay as I am after you read my blog post.

According to numerous reports and SF City Hall sources, America’s Cup CEO Stephen Barclay has not authorized the San Francisco America’s Cup organization to pay full contracted union wages to San Francisco-based businesses – in particular, Hartmann Studios.

Hartmann Studios is under contract with America’s Cup Event Authority to set up events related to and help stage the races at the center of what’s called “America’s Cup.” San Francisco ChronicleColumnists Matier and Ross reported today that the America’s Cup Event Authority owes Hartmann Studios almost half-a-million, or $400,000 in unpaid not including the $56,000 in administrative costs the City and County of San Francisco has incurred to date. That’s a total of $456,000.

Matier and Ross quote America’s CUP CEO Stephen Barclay as saying “I’m absolutely unaware of this. I’m staggered.”

Really?

Not according to an extensive email letter dated Sep 25, 2012, and titled “Budget Discussion.” The email specifically mentioned the contracted union wages, or “prevailing wages” that the America’s Cup Event Authority has to pay San Francisco organizations like Hartmann Studios.

The email was from Hartmann Studios President Mark Guelfi, and to Mirko Groeschner, the person’s who’s name is on a number of America’s Cup communications and is Marketing Director of BMW ORACLE Racing, and it was copied for Rosie Spaulding, who manages events for America’s Cup, and for Sam Hollis, America’s Cup Event Authority General Counsel (he’s their lawyer who previously worked on London’s 2012 Olympics Bid before then working for the America’s Cup).

Given that the “Budget Discussion” was with three top America’s Cup executives, and that they all report to and work with America’s CUP CEO Stephen Barclay, for Mr. Barclay to tell Matier and Ross that he’s “absolutely unaware of this” and that he’s “staggered” stretches the imagination.

Indeed, read on and you’ll see the smoking gun that points to this blogger’s assertion that Barclay did know about the prevailing wage costs and the monies owed both Hartmann Studios and The City and County of San Francisco.

Here’s the email, with the email addresses removed:

From: Mark Guelfi 
Date: Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 6:37 AM
Subject: Re: Budget discussion
To: Mirko Groeschner
Cc: Keith Lovitt, Rosie Spaulding , Sam Hollis , *Matt Guelfi Guelfi , *Mike Guelfi Guelfi

Mirko -

Thanks for sending. I am always happy to discuss budgets and hope I was able to clear up some of your questions on our call Sunday morning. I circled back with Keith yesterday and reviewed the budget. Please see below for responses to your questions.

Shipping – These numbers come directly from our vendors to transport product to and from the venue. There is a significant amount of product ordered, which requires tractor trailer transporting. With fuel prices increasing these numbers are becoming significant costs to all of our budgets. We ask our vendors to break out their proposals by equipment, staff, labor and trucking/shipping so we can see and better analyze the detail.

Hartmann Production Staff – With regards to your call-out of Ian’s days onsite, I had the same question. Keith explained that Ian will be managing the load-out of the Yacht Club Peninsula Hospitality, which is planned to extend to October 15th. All of our pre-production time are estimates based on the scope of the project and will be billed as actuals once the project is complete although I don’t expect any surprises.

Hotel Nights/Per Diem/Travel – We normally use 100 percent local staff — both full time and those on our extended project team — however, there is nobody “left standing” in the Bay Area that is available. The city is extremely busy during the next ACWS race with Fleet Week, Blue Grass Festival, the 49ers Game, Giants Playoff Game, North Beach Festival not to mention Oracle OpenWorld. We would have had to book production staff 6 to 8 months ago in order to hire locally. Hotel costs are also significantly higher due to demand during this time period. Oracle OpenWorld alone sells out the entire city and much of the Bay Area. August costs in comparison were about half of what we are paying in October.

Parking Attendants – This was a request from Rosie via the city back in August, encouraging a “friendly face” assisting your security team in directing traffic. The request was made again for the October event.

Daily Maintenance – This was a carry over from August for litter pick-up/general cleaning for all tents on a daily basis. Rosie has since requested that this role is folded under the “greeners” that ACEA is hiring and will be removed on the budget revision.

Audio Labor – This is for the peninsula audio system, which runs the entire length of the peninsula…Nearly a mile, which requires running cable that distance. The 20k number is actually for the install, onsite crew to run the system for the entire week, and to strike the equipment post event. Labor is billed on per day basis, which is why you see a qty of 9…(1 day install, 7 day show (includes rehearsal day), 1 day strike. With the technical aspects of the requests, you have to have crew onsite managing the equipment/show.

Power – The significant portion of this cost, is again labor. Running cable, installing, onsite techs adds up quickly. Fuel is also factored in and with the economic climate this has a significant impact on costs. John Briggs with Race Management has worked directly with our technical director to ensure we are as efficient as possible when spec’ing this equipment.

As I mentioned, labor is a significant part of all event budgets, especially when there are Union Requirements and Prevailing Wage implications. Hartmann’s model is to pass along our costs directly to our clients, plus our management fee (at Oracle discount rate) and we work hard to create relationships with vendors to reduce these costs as much as possible for our clients. I agree with you. We do need to find a way to come up with a plan much further in advance so that we can minimize these costs for future events.

I will follow up, as promised, and send a separate note to you, Sam, Rosie, Keith and I will probably copy Stephen in regards to my concerns about the prevailing wage language in your contract with the City of San Francisco and the Port. The cost of labor is going to skyrocket. A laborer that we are currently paying $12 to $15 to $18 per hour is going to get paid somewhere between $50 and $85 per hour.

As you know, we are responding to the City’s Labor Standards Department’s investigation of labor rates that were paid by my company and by our subcontractors at the August race. We sent a very large stack of payroll records and copies of cancelled payroll checks to the department last week. We have since confirmed that they have received. This department has also been in touch directly with our subcontractors and they have all agreed to supply the same information. We expect the Labor Standards Department to come back to us and identify what the prevailing rate are for each discipline i.e. tenting, staging, janitorial, etc.

We will certainly have a significant amount of of back pay that we will need to send to most of the people that worked on the August project and on the upcoming October project. We are not able to pay prevailing wage at the next race since the Labor Standards Department has not yet given us the prevailing wage rates. We will provide them with our records after the race and wait for them to come back to us. This is a very time consuming process to say the least.

We will not have liability in regards to any theatrical/stagehand work since we gave all of this work to the local stagehand union, IATSE Local 16. Additionally, Hartmann Staff and any vendor staff that performed theatrical work and was not a member of the local, was paid at prevailing rates so we are covered on this front. No back pay will be required.

Please know that the final budgets that we submitted for the August events and the proposed budgets that we have prepared for the October events do not completely reflect prevailing wage. We will submit a invoice in October or November for the balance due based on the direction that we get from the City.

I hope this helps. I am available to discuss today if you have some time to discuss. I can be reached on cell.

Best Regards,
Mark Guelfi

In his response to Mark Guelfi’s email two things become obvious: first, that it becomes clear that Mirko Groeschner has issues with the union wages, and was already seeking a way to lower costs for the America’s Cup event, and second, that he was going to tell Mr. Barclay about it – he refers to him as “Stephen” – as well as Mr. Hollis, or “Sam,” the general counsel. Here’s Mirko Groeschner’s response email:

Hi Mark,

thanks for being available this morning to talk.

Looked more intensively at the budget again. Below are a few points where I would question some of the items or at least – I am not sure I understand fully the reasoning.

Perhaps we have a chance to talk towards the beginning of the week again.

Shipping: 21.400 USD. Do we need that much?
Hartmann Production Staff: as we discussed, pls have a look at the quantities again
Hotel nights, per diem and travel for crew: this is 44.000 USD, can we not have local crew that goes home each day?
Parking Attendant: Do we need that? Almost 6.500 USD
Daily Maintenance: 22.000 USD (what are these guys doing?)
Audio Labor: it says 1 day installation but still there are 20.000 USD – is that ok?
Power: when I add all costs for Labour, generators, shipping, electrician etc. I arrive at an amount of almost 100k USD….

Secondly, I will send to Stephen and Sam a note considering labour costs.

For labour in some areas it looks that we pay about 180.000 EUR. In more detail there is:

Stage Labour: 83.000 USD
Power distribution Labour: 55.100 USD
Audio Labour: 20.000 USD
Daily Maintenance: 22.000 USD

We need to find a way to plan all that a little more in advance and reduce some of these costs to make our events affordable.

Best, Mirko

So from this, it’s clear that America’s CUP CEO Stephen Barclay either wasn’t forthcoming with Matier and Ross or his deputy Mirko Groeschner withheld the information from him – neither direction is a good one, but I’m not believing that Mirko failed to tell Stephen about this issue . Again, the email exchange happened seven months ago – that’s ample time for Mr. Barclay to have known about the wage cost issue, and have done something about it.

As of this writing, it appears the something was to pay nothing to either Hartmann Productions or the City and County of San Francisco.

Stay tuned.

Originally published at: http://www.zennie62blog.com/

 

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Greedy San Francisco Musicians Turn Down Federal Mediator Recommendation of Cooling Off Period, Forcing SF Symphony to Cancel New York Performances

The Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony (who make $165,000 annually, plus platinum healthcare and pension funds and don’t even work 12 months) have rejected a federal mediator’s proposal to resume playing concerts during a “cooling off” period while negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement continue. The Symphony’s administration was willing to abide by the federal mediator’s recommendation, based on developments over the past three days of talks.

As a result of the musicians’ continuing work stoppage, the orchestra’s three-city East Coast tour on March 20-23 will not go forward.  The tour was set to include performances at Carnegie Hall March 20 and 21, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on March 22, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on March 23. The ongoing five-day musicians’ strike has already forced cancellations of four concerts in San Francisco.

Over the past three days of lengthy negotiations, overseen by a federal mediator, the musicians’ union rejected the latest administration proposals and continued their strike.

Several proposals by the administration have been rejected by the musicians’ union.  The most recent proposal offered increases in musician compensation to achieve a new annual minimum salary of $145,979 with annual increases of 1% and 2% for the latest two-year proposal.  Contractual benefits also included a $74,000 maximum annual pension, 10 weeks paid vacation, and full coverage health care plan options with no monthly premium contributions for musicians and their families for three of the four options.  Additional compensation for most active musicians also includes radio payments, over-scale, and seniority pay which raises the current average pay for SFS musicians to over $165,000.

“We are deeply disappointed that the musicians have continued to reject proposals for a new agreement and that the musicians will not proceed with our planned East Coast tour,” said Brent Assink, Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony.  “We have negotiated in good faith since September, have shared volumes of financial information, and have offered many different proposals that we had hoped would lead to a new agreement by this time.  We will continue to work hard to resolve this situation.”

In the current economic environment, the San Francisco Symphony is facing the same challenges that many other orchestras and arts organizations around the country are facing.  For all four years of its most recent collective bargaining agreement with its musicians, operating expenses have outpaced operating income.  The Orchestra has incurred an operating deficit in each of those years.

As a non-profit organization, the Symphony’s financial statements are audited annually by an independent certified public accounting firm.  These statements and related tax filings are publicly available in accordance with the law.  Since negotiations began, the administration has been cooperative in sharing financial records and responded to the union’s requests for information in a timely manner.  Since September, that includes over 50 formal requests for which over 500 pages of documentation were provided.

The administration has also offered to cooperate with third party financial consultants designated by the musicians to review the audited financial statements.  In addition, the administration had offered the musicians the opportunity to have two members join the organization’s Audit Committee of the Board of Governors.

The administration remains willing to continue negotiations with the musicians’ union under the auspices of a federal mediator in an effort to achieve a mutually agreeable contract. The administration will continue to work with the musicians to respond to requests for information, including requests about the Symphony’s finances.

Today’s rejection of the administration’s latest proposal also represents the latest in a series of delays by the musicians’ union in working with the administration on an agreement.  While the administration provided its first proposal October 15, 2012 and offered six subsequent proposals, the musicians’ union did not formally respond to any administration proposal until mid-January 2013. The union did not formally respond to any of this information until just over 60 days ago, weeks after the November 24, 2013 expiration of the four-year contract.

Media may contact Oliver Theil, SFS Director of Communications, for more details on the negotiations at (415) 264-1241, by email atotheil@sfsymphony.org, or visit www.sfsymphony.org/press.

 

For Ticketholders to Cancelled Concerts in San Francisco:

Refunds and exchanges will be offered for all cancelled Davies Symphony Hall concerts. We deeply appreciate your patience during this difficult time.

We apologize again for the inconvenience. Our Box Office opens at 10am on Monday and can help you with the following options for your tickets:

  • Exchange your tickets for another San Francisco Symphony performance this season
  • Donate your tickets, as the total ticket value is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law
  • Exchange your tickets for a Gift Certificate, which can be used at any time
  • Receive a refund for the value of the ticket

Please contact the San Francisco Symphony Box Office with your preferred option in the following ways:

  • email at tickets@sfsymphony.org and include your name and email address, and your preferred option
  • by phone at (415) 864-6000
  • in person at the Box Office on Grove St., between Van Ness and Franklin.

Box office hours this week are 10am – 6pm Monday – Friday, Saturday Noon – 6pm

 

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Playwrights Foundation 2013 Spring Rough Readings Series

The Playwrights Foundation 2013 Spring Rough Readings Series March 11 & 12 2013 at Stanford University and in San Francisco. The spring readings series features Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig The World of Extreme Happiness March 11 & 12, Monday March 11 in Roble Hall at Stanford University and Tuesday March 12 at NOH Space in San Francisco.

The Spring series features a playwright tackling issues of life and death zooming in on character, global perspectives, and forgiveness. Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s The World of Extreme Happiness deadlocks two kids from a rural Chinese village between familial duty and Americanized ambitions of consumer driven happiness.

The Rough Readings Series is like a professional playwriting gym.  Selected writers are assigned a stellar cast and director drawn from the ‘A’ list of local talent, and eight hours in our studio to work out with a new play in its early development,. The plays are then subject to two open rehearsal sessions in front of audiences who are eager to hear this rough work. The results are often extraordinary. Many of these plays and playwrights are first introduced to the Bay Area theaters through the series, or are presented in collaboration with theaters interested in producing the work.  Some illustrious examples from previous Rough Readings Series are Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) , Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) and Peter Nachtrieb
(Bob).

The Playwrights Foundation’s 2013 Spring Rough Readings Series
Monday March 11 in Roble Hall at Stanford University and Tuesday March
12 at NOH Space in San Francisco.

Readings are 100% FREE of charge. A $20 donation in advance comes with a reserved seat & a drink!   To RSVP email rsvp@playwrightsfoundation.org or call 415.626.2176.

Stanford University – Roble Hall, Stanford University

NOH Space – 2840 Mariposa Street, SF

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig The World of Extreme Happiness
Directed by Desdemona Chiang
Monday, March 11, 7:30pm at Roble Hall, Stanford University
Tuesday, March 12, 7pm. NOH Space – 2840 Mariposa Street, SF

About the Play
When Sunny is born in a rural vilage on the Yangtze River, her parents dump her in a slop bucket and leave her to die because she isn’t a boy. Sunny survives, and at 14 leaves home for a Shenzhen factory to fund her brother’s education. There she works grueling shifts cleaning toilets and dreams of promotion. Desperate to maximize her only capital–her youth–Sunny attends self-help classes and learns ways to improve her chances at securing a coveted office position. But when her
dogged attempts to pull herself out of poverty hurt a fellow worker, Sunny begins to question the design of a system she has spent her life trying to master, and starts to fight for an alternative.

About the Playwright
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s play Lidless received the Yale Drama Series Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Keene Prize for Literature, and the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. In 2011 she was awarded the Wasserstein Prize by the Educational Foundation of America. She has been a finalist for the Blackburn Prize, received residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, Ragdale, and the Santa Fe Art Institute, and is under commission from South Coast Rep and Seattle Rep. Her plays have been produced by Trafalagar Studios 2 on the West End, Page 73 Productions in New York, Interact Theatre in Philadelphia, and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in West Virginia. They have been developed at the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Seattle Rep, PlayPenn, the Alley Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Ojai
Playwrights Conference, the Playwright’s Foundation and Yale Rep. Frances received an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a BA in Sociology from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble Created Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte
International School of Physical Theatre. Her work has been published by Glimmer Train, Methuen Drama, and Yale University Press. Frances was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Northern Virginia, Okinawa, Taipei

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15th Anniversary of Bay Area Dance Week in April

Hundreds of Free Dance Events in SF, East Bay, North Bay, South Bay

Dancers’ Group is pleased to announce the 15th anniversary of Bay Area Dance Week (BADW), April 26-May 5, 2013. As dance continues to enjoy increased popularity around the nation, BADW is anticipating another action-packed festival – with over 600 free events in San Francisco, the East Bay, North Bay and South Bay.

Each year hundreds of dance organizations throw open their doors and invite the community in to try something new. BADW draws thousands of people to its free events – individuals ranging from dance aficionados to those who have never taken a dance class or attended a dance performance. Last year over 24,000 people participated in free classes, performances, open rehearsals, lecture demonstrations, and a host of other dance activities throughout the Bay Area.

This year’s festival kicks off on Friday, April 26 at 12noon with One Dance led by the Rhythm & Motion Dance Workout Program, at Union Square. One Dance is a hit year after year and features dance groups, families, professional companies and students from public and private schools, from a wide array of dance styles – all coming together to perform moves from a short dance posted online at www.bayareadance.org. Downtown visitors, shoppers, office workers, dancers and non-dancers are invited to participate in the final dance. Also that day Dancers’ Group presents the annual Dancers Choice Award. Now in its sixth year, the Dancers Choice Award celebrates individuals and organizations that are finding effective and creative models that impact dance. Recipients are nominated by the community – previous award winners include Della Davidson and Ernesto Sopprani (2012), Antoine Hunter (2011), AXIS Dance Company (2010), Alleluia Panis (2009) and Jessica Robinson Love (2008).

In addition to the Dancers’ Choice Award this year BADW introduces the Della Davidson Prize, a new award created in honor of the life and work of choreographer and teacher Della Davidson, who passed away in 2012. An annual prize of at least $1,500 will be awarded to an innovative choreographer dance-maker producing work in the spirit of Della Davidson.

Throughout the 10-day festival the public can pick up a free event guide or visit www.bayareadance.org to learn about the hundreds of free dance events presented throughout the Bay Area. Once again this year all genres of dance will be represented – including Argentine tango, classical Indian, jazz, hip hop, ballet, traditional hula, fire dance, Samba, modern, Chinese classical, belly dance, capoeira, aerial dance, West African, and contact improvisation, among many others.

BADW culminates with Anna Halprin’s Planetary Dance on Sunday, May 5, at 2pm at Yerba Buena Gardens and presented in partnership with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Postmodern dance and performance pioneer Anna Halprin has been hosting this participatory dance for peace and healing on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County for more than 30 years. This is the second year Halprin brings this powerful work to be performed as part of BADW in the urban setting of downtown San Francisco.

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 24,000 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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APEX Art Show in San Francisco Featuring Dynamic Artworks from Renowned Street Artist Ends Jan. 12 at 941 Geary Gallery

APEX at 941 Geary Gallery San Francisco

 

941 Geary gallery’s show that features renowned street artist Apex will come to an end Jan. 12. Don’t miss this show which presents some vital and compelling works by the young artist in a show entitled Reflected, a collection of his new works. It opened in Novmeber and its scheduled completion is next week.

Consisting of two 10×6’ and ten 6×6’ latex and spray paint on canvas paintings, 12 framed sketches on transparencies and a large-scale wall mural, Reflected is the next step in the artist’s evolving look into abstraction.

With a focus on mirrored images, the exhibition explores the beauty of symmetry in nature and in design.

The artist’s sharp-edged compositions contain a visual interplay of organic and structural form, Influenced by architecture, graphic design and the Fibonacci sequence.

The multilayered, intricately stylized letterforms appear in Rorschach-like arrangements, characterized by a flurry of self-contained energy. In two paintings, layers of color build upon each other in bright bursts, but for the majority of the work the artist will employ a monochromatic palette, incorporating earth tones into a body of work for the first time.

San Francisco-based artist Apex has quickly made a name for himself in the world of street art, in both the Bay Area and abroad.

Having coined the term “Super Burner,” his pieces are most commonly huge, multi-layered productions, packed with patterns and a vivid array of colors. The relationship his pieces have to the built environment creates moments of intersection, and opens up complex fields of color, as if they have somehow transcended into their own form of architecture. The work is most certainly its own form of typography – his pieces are careful explorations of abstract letterforms.

White Walls Gallery has worked for nearly a decade to exist as the premiere destination for urban art in the Bay Area. Combined with the Shooting Gallery just next door, this 4,000 sq ft space is one of the largest galleries on the west coast. Justin Giarla founded the gallery in 2005 with a commitment to furthering the urban art movement, drawing directly from street art and graffiti culture. Named for its plain white walls, the gallery takes a backseat to the real focus: the work of our artists.

 

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City Arts & Lectures Announces the Line-up for “On Art & Politics 2013″



City Arts and Lectures 7-event series “On Art and Politics” features leading writers and thinkers on a range of topics, from sociology to literary fiction, a theatre performance—and, a “last waltz” special event celebrating our 32 years at the Herbst Theatre as we move our programs to the newly renovated Nourse Theatre nearby.  Tickets ($20-$27) are currently available to City Arts members only and will go on sale to the general public December 3.

All shows are 7:30pm at the Herbst Theatre.  To purchase tickets or for more info, visit www.cityarts.net/events/series/on-art-politics/ <http://www.cityarts.net/science>

A Celebration of Harold Pinter: A Theatrical Portrait of the Late Playwright <http://www.cityarts.net/event/a-celebrating-of-harold-pinter/>
Performed by Julian Sands | Directed by John Malkovich
Monday, January 14, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27

Jared Diamond in conversation with Roy Eisenhardt <http://www.cityarts.net/event/jared-diamond/>
Thursday, January 24, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27

Al Gore in conversation with Barbara Kingsolver
<http://www.cityarts.net/event/al-gore/> Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27

Jamaica Kincaid in conversation with Frances Phillips <http://www.cityarts.net/event/jamaica-kincaid/>
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27


Joyce Carol Oates in conversation with Robert Hass <http://www.cityarts.net/event/joyce-carol-oates/>
Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27\


Daniel Kahneman <http://www.cityarts.net/event/daniel-kahneman/>
Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27


Alison Bechdel in conversation with Julia Bryan-Wilson <http://www.cityarts.net/event/alison-bechdel/>
Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:30 pm
Venue: Herbst Theatre
Tickets: $22/$27


The Last Foxtrot: Celebrating 32 Years at the Herbst Theatre <http://www.cityarts.net/event/the-last-foxtrot/>  *Special Event
Garrison Keillor, Calvin Trillin & friends, with music by Peter Duchin
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 7:30 pm
Tickets: $40/$50

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Gipsy Kings Concert At Davies Symphony Hall Cancelled


The Gipsy Kings have cancelled their March 29, 2013 performance at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco due to a scheduling conflict.


The San Francisco Symphony Patron Services office is processing refunds to ticket buyers. For more information, please call Patron Services at 415-864-6000.

 

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Marsh Theater Adds New Free Entertainment During The Week



New On Wednesday:  Sketch Comedy


Thursday:  
Live Ragtime


Continuing On Friday:  TGIF with a Rotating Band of Entertainers


FREE AND OPEN TO ALL WITH A FULL BAR AND FOOD


Happy hours have become so popular that The Marsh Berkeley is now presenting the same winning mix of fun, food and entertainment on Wednesday and Thursday evenings as well Fridays.


On Wednesday, Mike Spieglman will host sketch comedy groups (or individuals) performing comedic characters, sketches, anything that’s not stand-up comedy! And on Thursdays, starting with the wonderful Larisa Migachyov, the Cabaret will be filled with the deliciously jazzy sounds of live ragtime piano.  Fridays will continue to offer a rotating band of exotic, whimsical and talented entertainers. In November, Wayne Harris is singing the Blues and coming up in December and January, Sebastian Boswell III, mesmerizing mentalist, will give mind-reading demonstrations, as well as display unique physical abilities, including ancient yogi skills, too odd to be explained and which must be seen to be believed.


This is all not-to-miss and completely free – what better way to end the day.


The Marsh Berkeley’s full bar offers festive happy-hour discounts including specialty cocktails and handpicked wine and beer. There is also great bar food—Portobello Panini’s, Mango Guacamole Salsa and fresh-baked cookies. Everyone is welcome; including those getting an early start for our 8 pm performances.

 


Wednesday Sketch Comedy Happy Hour

Sketch (No Stand Up Comedy) Comedy Show

Produced by Mike Spiegelman

Starting December 5, 2012


Sketch comedy groups and individuals performing comedic characters, sketches, anything that’s not stand-up comedy! The showcase launches on December 5th with three solo performances from The Nutballs, including Mike Spiegelman as Rip Van Winkle, 4D the Time-Traveling Comedian, along with Les Milton (White Noise Radio Theater and Sound Cues) and Colin Mahan. Dec 12th: Don’t Watch This LIVE – The best of the San Francisco monthly sketch show. Future shows include all-women sketch groups, The Front Row and Femikaze

 

Thursday Ragtime Happy Hour

Live Ragtime Piano

December, 2012: Larisa Migachyov

Classically trained pianist Larisa Migachyov switched to ragtime after immigrating to the United States from Russia. She performs around the country and has composed 36 rags—more than any other woman in the ragtime world. In her other life, Larisa is a patent attorney in private practice.\

 

Friday Happy Hour

TGIF With a Rotating Band of Entertainers

November: Wayne Harris & Friends Play Jazz, Blues & R&B


The shows will be a bit like an urban A Prairie Home Companion, with various musical and storytelling moments. Think Garrison Keillor meets Langston Hughes with a healthy dose of “Yo Mama” jokes. Here are the lineups:

11/16 & 11/30-The Intones (East Bay’s Best Rock, Blues, R&B and Bugle Band)

11/23 – Jazz quintet, guest pianist and new stories from Wayne Harris

December, 2012 & January 2013: Sebastian Boswell III-Famed Mentalist

Mentalism is the art and entertainment of extraordinary mental powers. Sebastian Boswell III, considered by many one of its most distinctive practitioners, will give mind-reading demonstrations, as well as display unique physical abilities, including ancient yogi skills too odd to be explained and which must be seen to be believed, and otherwise exhibiting his extraordinary physical and mental prowess. An international performer, his career spans the distance from Finland to the country music stages of Norman, Oklahoma, and almost everywhere in between. He has yet to perform in Qatar or Newfoundland, but the century is still young.

 


WHEN:                  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

WHERE:                Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way near Shattuck

For more information, visit www.themarsh.org <http://www.themarsh.org> or call 415-826-5750


 

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Yoshi’s San Francisco hosts Superstorm Sandy benefit Nov. 6

Yoshi’s nightclub in San Francisco has booked a trio of world music and jazz/pop acts for a Nov. 6 fundraiser to benefit victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Jacques Ibula, Tad Worku and Foxtails Brigade will perform in a show that kicks off 8 p.m. at the San Francisco club, 1330 Fillmore St. Tickets are $10; organizers say all proceeds will go to the Red Cross efforts to aid victims of the superstorm that slammed New York City, New Jersey and other portions of the East Coast last week.

Ibula, a Congolese singer-songwriter and activist, blends folk and Afro-pop styles into his songs that often deal with faith and the prolonged upheaval in his native country.

Foxtails Brigade is an eclectic San Francisco-based chamber pop outfit fronted by singer-guitarist Laura Weinbach and violinist Sivan Sadeh.

Northern California-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Worku’s breezy jazz/pop style and outsize talent has earned him comparisons to Michaelo Buble and Jason Mraz.

Tickets are available at 415-655-5600 or www.yoshis.com

 

From the Contra Costa Times

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Center REPertory Company Presents A Christmas Carol

Just in time to celebrate the season, Center REPertory Company is pleased to present Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. Hailed by critics as “…THE Christmas Carol to see in the Bay Area,” this REP favorite is celebrating its fifteen year, and first with the award winning, Bay Area favorite Mark Anderson Phillips debuting in the role of the miserly, joyless Ebenezer Scrooge. With only 16 performances, tickets are expected to sell fast. The show opens Saturday, December 8th at 7:30 p.m. Center REP Managing Director Scott Denison directs the ensemble of new faces and old pros, from the tragically doomed Jacob Marley to the incurably optimistic Tiny Tim. Ticket prices starting at $41 and can be purchased by calling 925.943.SHOW.


A Christmas Carol is the enduring and inspiring tale of redemption that follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation after meeting a series of ghosts one evening. Theatregoers of all ages will enjoy this traditional holiday treat. Returning patrons will remember fondly the outlandish antics of Michael Ray Wisely as Christmas Present and the daunting specter of Jacob Marley, played by Jeff Draper, but more than a few changes and surprises keep the annual production fresh and exciting.  Director Scott Denison says “the advantage of doing this year after year is that on opening night, I’m sitting in the back of the house and thinking “next year, I want to add this, and next year, I want to add that.”

Placed at the helm of one of the most popular and retold Christmas tales, director Scott Denison focuses on keeping his version fresh and familiar simultaneously. The freshness comes from out-of-this world special effects, and familiarity comes through the story and the recurring cast of characters that audiences from around the Bay Area have come to know and love each holiday season.

Joining the cast this year, Director Scott Denison is proud to introduce Mark Anderson Phillips in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. This will be Phillips 8th production with Center REP.   “Mark will bring a new dynamic to this production,” Denison continues, “When you change a lead it affects all the other characters and will bring a fresh new outlook in telling this wonderful story.”

“It’s not the crotchety mean guy who is hard to portray,” Denison insists, “it’s the reborn man.  It’s so important to the storytelling.  Mark will bring honesty and sincerity.” I think he’s going to excel at it:  he’s a workhorse and a brilliant actor.”

“We have all lost our way at some point, have closed down and shut ourselves off.  Dickens reminds us how amazing and essential it is to open our hearts,” says Phillips, a recipient of three Bay Area Drama Critics’ Circle Awards and a favorite artist at Center REP.

“The audiences leave here ready to give each other a hug.”  Denison claims, noting that special effects and other theatre magic enhance Dickens’ classic story.  “It snows in the Hofmann Theater, after all!” he says, laughing.

A Christmas Carol is sure to warm the wintry heart of even the most hard-nosed Scrooge.

Director Scott Denison has directed and created lighting designs for over 200 productions, including Center REP’s acclaimed The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol, Shirley Valentine and Dear Liar. Denison serves as Managing Director of Center REPertory Company, is the director and co-founder of Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble, and created the Contra Costa County Shellie Awards. He has directed A Christmas Carol every year for the past eight years. “This story is a joy to return to every year for the actors, designers, and staff of Center REP. In the somber days of winter, this timeless tale of moving from darkness to light is certainly worth retelling,” remarks Denison. “The warmth and laughter are infectious.”

 

Featuring: Mark Anderson Phillips*, Michael A. Berg, Evan Boomer, Amanda Denison, Max DeSantis, Jeff Draper, Trevor Gomez, Nicole Helfer, Tim Homsley, Andrew Humann, Heather Kellogg, Britt Lauer, Maggie Mason, Everett Meckler, Robin Melnick, Marty Newton, Jason Pedroza, Jeanine Perasso, Grace Perry, Vince Perry, Barbara Reynolds, Tim Reynolds, Joel Roster, Kristina Schoell, Kerri Shawn, Claire Shepard, Grant Strain, Scott Strain, Molly Thornton, Kyle Valentine, Michael Wiles*, Michael Ray Wisely*, Olivia Wisely, Wendy Wisely, Brady Wright, with Narration by Ken Ruta*

 

The design team features:

Lighting Designer: John Earls, Sound Designer: Jeff Mockus, Casting Director: Jennifer Denison Perry, Scenic Designer: Kelly Tighe, Stage Manager: Jeff Collister*

 

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CAL PERFORMANCES PRESENTS ¡MUSICA! A CELEBRATION OF MUSIC FROM LATIN AMERICA WITH SIMÓN BOLÍVAR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF VENEZUELA CONDUCTED BY GUSTAVO DUDAMEL THURSDAY & FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 & 30, AT ZELLERBACH HALL

Residency activities include a two-day conference on music education plus a master class for

UC Berkeley musicians and a SchoolTime concert for Bay Area school children

Conducting phenomenon Gustavo Dudamel brings the world-celebrated Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela to Berkeley in two concerts Thursday & Friday, November 29 & 30 at 8:00 p.m. The program titled ¡MUSICA! A Celebration of Music from Latin America, a departure from the European orchestral canon, showcases works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chávez, Julián Orbón, Silvestre Revueltas, Esteban Benzecry and Antonio Estévez.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky, Cal Performances has established a program of great orchestras-in-residence on the UC Berkeley campus, designed to deepen the relationship between the ensembles, the Northern California cultural community and the campus community. In recognition of the crucial importance of music education, Gustavo Dudamel and Matías Tarnopolsky will participate in a two day conference with other esteemed music educators and speakers. The residency also includes performance opportunities for UC Berkeley’s University Chorus and the Pacific Boychoir in addition to a master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Dudamel.

PROGRAM
On Thursday, November 29, the concert will open with Carlos Chávez’s (1899-1978) Sinfonia india, followed by Tres versiones sinfónicas by Julián Orbón and La noche de los Mayas by Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940). Chávez and Revueltas were both born in 1899 in Mexico and served as conductors of the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico in the 1930s. Chávez , is one of the most influential figures in the musical life of Mexico, is known for his close contact with indigenous cultures. Sinfonia india, his second symphony, quotes Native American themes and uses Aztec and Indian percussion instruments. Revueltas’ La noche de los Mayas was originally written as a score for a 1939 film and was later arranged into a four-movement suite by José Limantour. Spanish-born Julián Orbón (1925-1991) moved to Cuba at age 15 and began studying composition. Six years later, he received a grant to study with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Copland’s influences are evident in Orbón’s three-movement suite Tres versiones sinfónicas.

The music of South America will make up the program on Friday, November 30: Esteban Benzecry’s Rituales Amerindios, II — Chaac (Argentina), Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Chôro No. 10 (Brazil) and Antonio Estévez’s Cantata criolla (Venezuela). Born to Argentine parents in Lisbon in 1970, Esteban Benzecry (1970- ) considered one of South America’s most talented young composers, was raised in Argentina before moving to Paris in 1997, where he studied composition at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris. Commissioned in 2008 by the Goteborg Symphony Orchestra, Rituales Amerindios is a symphonic triptych dedicated to Latin America’s pre-Columbian cultures. The second movement, Chaac, is named for the Mayan water god. Because of his incorporation of Latin American traditions into his music, Benzecry has been referred to as a musical heir to Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), one of Brazil’s greatest composer. Villa-Lobos is known for reinterpreting European classical techniques using Brazilian traditions. His collection of Chôros was composed throughout the 1920s; Chôro No. 10, sometimes referred to as “Rasga o coraçao” (“It tears out the heart”) is his masterpiece. The University Chorus, led by Marika Kuzma, and the Pacific Boychoir, under the direction of Kevin Fox, will sing in Chôro No. 10. Antonio Estévez (1916-1988) is a source of national pride for Venezuelans. After returning from studying in Europe and the United States in 1948, Estévez began working on his nationalistic Cantata criolla, considered one of his finest compositions. He completed the work in 1954 and it will conclude the concert.

THE RESIDENCY
November is an especially rich time for the Orchestral Residency Program, established by Tarnopolsky in his first year, with opportunities to learn more about both Esa-Pekka Salonen and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra (Nov. 8-11) and Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. A centerpiece of the Simón Bolívar residency will be Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Music Education, a two-day conference on music education in Zellerbach Playhouse. Led by award-winning teaching artist Eric Booth, the conference features such renowned panelists as Dr. José Antonio Abreu (founder of the resident orchestra as well as Venezuelan music education program El Sistema), Gillian Moore of London’s Southbank Centre, Leni Boorstin of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Stanford Thompson of Philadelphia’s Play on Philly in addition to Gustavo Dudamel and Matías Tarnopolsky. The conference begins with “The Transformative Power of Music” on Wednesday, November 28, 1:30-6:00 p.m., followed by “Bringing the Work Forward: The Possibilities for a Musical Education” on Thursday, November 29, 12:00-6:00 p.m. The Thursday discussion will culminate in a workshop “What’s Possible: El Sistema and What it Opens For Us.” Registration and further information is available at calperformances.org.

Maestro Dudamel will lead a special master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Hertz Hall and is open to the public. Dudamel and  Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra offer a one hour SchoolTime concert on Wednesday, November 28, designed specifically for Bay Area school children. SchoolTime tickets are sold in advance only.

There will be a Sightlines talk on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30, at 7:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Sightlines is a continuing program of pre- and post-performance discussions with Cal Performances’ guest artists and scholars, designed to enrich the audience’s experience. This event is free to ticket holders.

THE ARTISTS
Born in 1981, Gustavo Dudamel began his musical journey with the violin, studying under José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin American Academy of Violin. He began studying conducting in 1996, and three years later, he was appointed Musical Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela where he studied conducting under Dr. Abreu. Dudamel is in his fourth season as Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a post which he will maintain until 2019. A highly decorated conductor, Gustavo Dudamel was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2009 and the Gramophone’s artist of the year in 2011. In February 2012, his recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic of Brahms Symphony No. 4 won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. He divides his time between Caracas, Venezuela, and Los Angeles, directing his two orchestras.

Founded as a youth orchestra in 1975 by Dr. José Antonio Abreu, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela is the pinnacle ensemble of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (a.k.a. El Sistema). Dr. Abreu wanted to ensure music education’s place in the Venezuelan public school system. It is comprised of over a dozen orchestras, choirs and chamber ensembles, with the Simón Bolívar as its flagship. Since 2006, the orchestra has been recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label with Gustavo Dudamel as conductor. They have since produced three albums.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets for Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in ¡MUSICA! A Celebration of Music from Latin America, on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30 in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $175.00 and are subject to change. Tickets for the Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Music Education are $15.00 per day. Tickets 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. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

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CAL PERFORMANCES JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2013 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Saturday, January 19, 7:00–7:30 p.m.
SIGHTLINES

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour pre-performance talk with Chuy Varela, music director of KCSM radio, and the artists.  Sightlines is a continuing program of pre-performance discussions with artists and scholars, designed to enrich the concertgoer’s experience. These talks are free to event ticketholders.

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Saturday, January 19, at 8:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Jazz
Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocalist
Christian McBride, bass
Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet
Chris Potter, saxophone
Benny Green, piano
Lewis Nash, drums

Program: Celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival, members of the Festival bring a line-up of jazz greats, direct from the longest consecutively running jazz festival in the world.

Tickets: Range from $20.00 – $56.00, subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Thursday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Special Event
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Kathryn Stott, piano

Program:
Stravinsky/Suite Italienne
Villa-Lobos, arr. Calandrelli/Alma Brasileira
Piazzolla, arr. Yamamoto/Oblivion
Guarnieri, arr. Calandrelli/Dansa Negra
De Falla/7 Canciones Populares Españolas, G. 40
Messiaen/Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus
Brahms/Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108

Tickets: This performance is sold out. Tickets range from $30.00 – $175.00, subject to change, and may become available from last minute returns through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Saturday, January 26, 7:00–7:30 p.m.
SIGHTLINES

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Joffrey Ballet pre-performance talk with dance specialist Kathryn Roszak.  Sightlines is a continuing program of pre-performance discussions with artists and scholars, designed to enrich the concertgoer’s experience. These talks are free to event ticketholders.

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Saturday, January 26, at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 27, at 3:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Dance
Joffrey Ballet

Program:
The Age of Innocence (2008): music by Philip Glass and Thomas Newman; choreography by Edwaard Liang.
After the Rain (2005): music by Arvo Pärt; choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
The Green Table (1932): music by F. A. Cohen; choreography by Kurt Jooss

Tickets: Range from $30.00 – $92.00, subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Sunday, January 27, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Nicolas Hodges, piano

Program:
Debussy/Etudes, Books I and II
Busoni/Study after Mozart
Birtwistle/Gigue Machine (World premiere)
Stravinsky/Three Movements from Pétrouchka

Tickets: Start at $42.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Friday, February 1, at 11:00 a.m.
SCHOOLTIME PERFORMANCE

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

SchoolTime
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Program:  Hubbard Street Dance Chicago presents a special one-hour performance for school children.

Tickets: $8.00 per student or adult chaperone, available in advance only through Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988.  SchoolTime performances are open to students in kindergarten through grade 12 in Bay Area public and private schools.  Supplemental study guides for the classroom are provided.  For more information about the SchoolTime program, contact the SchoolTime coordinator at Cal Performances by email at eduprograms@calperfs.berkeley.edu or by phone at (510) 642-0212.

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Friday & Saturday, February 1 & 2, at 8:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Dance
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Program:
Too Beaucoup (2011): music by Ori Lichtik; choreography by Sharon Eyal and Gaï Behar
Little Mortal Jump (2012): music by Philip Glass, Beirut, Andrew Bird, Hans Otte, Max Richter, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan; choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo
TBD: New work by Alonzo King

Tickets: Range from $30.00 – $68.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.

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Saturday, February 2, from 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Artist Talk

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

A pre-performance talk with HSDC Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton and dance specialist Kathryn Roszak. This event is free and open to the public.
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Sunday, February 3, at 7:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

World Stage
Kodo
One Earth Tour: Legend

Program: Celebrating the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, Kodo returns with their awesome drums that mesmerize the audience, including the massive o-daiko, a 900-pound instrument carved from the trunk of a single tree and played by two men.

Tickets: Range from $22.00 – $58.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Friday, February 8, at 8:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

World Stage
Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca

Program: Founded in Madrid in 1993 by director Martín Santangelo and his wife Soledad Barrio, Noche Flamenca celebrates the purity, essence and drama of one of the world’s most expressive art forms, flamenco.

Tickets: Range from $22.00 – $58.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Sunday, February 10, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Eric Owens, bass-baritone
Warren Jones, piano

Program: “[Commanding] the stage with a warm, sympathetic voice and presence” (Associated Press), bass-baritone Eric Owens makes his Cal Performances debut. Program TBA.

Tickets: Start at $46.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Sunday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Strictly Speaking
Ira Glass

Program: Host and creator of public radio’s This American Life—now heard on more than 500 radio stations each week by over 1.7 million listeners—Ira Glass returns to Cal Performances.

Tickets: Range from $30.00 – $72.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Tuesday, February 12, at 8:00 p.m.

First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

Recital
Christian Tetzlaff, solo violin

Program:
Ysaÿe/Sonata for solo violin in G minor, Op. 27, No. 1 “Joseph Szigeti”
Bach/Sonata for solo violin in C major, No. 3, BWV 1005
Kurtág/“a choice” out of Signs, Games and Messages
Bartók/Sonata for solo violin, Sz 117, BWV 124

Tickets: Start at $52.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Friday, February 15, at 11:00 a.m.
SCHOOLTIME PERFORMANCE

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

SchoolTime
Circus Oz

Program: Australia’s Circus Oz presents a special one-hour performance for school children.

Tickets: $8.00 per student or adult chaperone, available in advance only through Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988.  SchoolTime performances are open to students in kindergarten through grade 12 in Bay Area public and private schools.  Supplemental study guides for the classroom are provided.  For more information about the SchoolTime program, contact the SchoolTime coordinator at Cal Performances by email at eduprograms@calperfs.berkeley.edu or by phone at (510) 642-0212.

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Friday, February 15, at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 16, at 2:00 p.m. [FF]
Sunday, February 17, at 3:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

World Stage
Circus Oz
From the Ground Up

Program: Australia’s Circus Oz fills the Zellerbach stage with their renowned brand of collective mayhem including fearless aerial artists laughing at gravity, slapstick knockabouts descending into chaos, and live on-stage musicians.

Tickets: Range from $22.00 – $76.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Sunday, February 17, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Leonidas Kavakos, violin

Program: Violinist Leonidas Kavakos comes to Cal Performances for the first time.

Tickets: Start at $48.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Tuesday, February 19, at 8:00 p.m.

First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

Recital
Milos, guitar

Program: Montenegro-born guitarist Milos makes his Cal Performances debut.

Tickets: Start at $36.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Sunday, February 24, 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.

Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

First Stage for Families
Kaila Flexer, violin & leader
Oakland Folkharmonic
with Shira Kammen, fiddle
Teslim
with Gari Hegedus, multi-instrumentalist

Program: Kaila Flexer’s Oakland Folkharmonic and Teslim perform music from Greece, Turkey and the Middle East and original compositions in this one hour concert.

Tickets: Start at $20.00 (adults)/$10.00 (children), and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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Sunday, February 24, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Susanna Phillips, soprano

Program: Soprano Susanna Phillips makes her Cal Performances debut. Program TBA.

Tickets: Start at $46.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
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TICKETS AND OTHER INFORMATION
Single tickets for the general public are now available for purchase by phone, in person, mail, fax or online. The Family Fare [FF] series offers 50% off single ticket prices for children 16 and younger. Family Fare event for January and February 2013 is Circus Oz (Sat., Feb. 16, at 2:00 p.m.).  Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UCB students for all Cal Performances events. UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount on all events; UCB faculty and staff, senior citizens and other students receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded).  Subscriptions may be mailed, faxed to Cal Performances’ Ticket Office at (510) 643-2359, or phoned in to (510) 642-9988. For more information, call Cal Performances at 510.642.9988, e-mail a brochure request to Cal Performances at tickets@calperfs.berkeley.edu or visit the Cal Performances web site at www.calperformances.org.
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MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS AND THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY RELEASE AMERICAN MAVERICKS RECORDING OF MUSIC BY HENRY COWELL, LOU HARRISON AND EDGARD VARÈSE ON NOVEMBER 13, 2012

Digital download of album featuring music performed during the acclaimed

March 2012 Festival available for pre-order from the iTunes Store today

On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Michael Tilson Thomas(MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony(SFS) will release American Mavericks, a hybrid SACD recording featuring rarely recorded works by three American composers, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Edgard Varèse on SFS Media, the Orchestra’s in-house label.  The album includes Henry Cowell’s Synchrony and his Piano Concerto with Jeremy Denk, Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra with Paul Jacobs, and Edgard Varèse’s Amériques.  The performances were all recorded live in concert at Davies Symphony Hall and feature composers and works from the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks festival dedicated to America’s innovative musical heritage of the 20th century. The American Mavericks album can be pre-ordered starting today, October 23, from the iTunes Store and on SACD from the San Francisco Symphony Store at sfsymphony.org/store. American Mavericks will be available for purchase at music retailers everywhere on Tuesday, November 13. A short 6-minute video about American Mavericks featuring concert footage and interviews with Michael Tilson Thomas and soloists Jeremy Denk and Paul Jacobs can be viewed at http://bit.ly/AmMavRecording2012.

The recording opens with Menlo Park native Henry Cowell’s Synchrony, followed by his Piano Concerto featuring soloist Jeremy Denk, who taps into the far-flung imagination of Cowell’s signature forearm tone clusters. MTT says of Cowell’s Piano Concerto, “The piece is fun, swashbuckling, and outrageous, and it takes a very special spirit such as Jeremy Denk to really put this over with the fervor with which it was meant to be played.”

Bay Area composer Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion featuring soloist Paul Jacobsis a work fusing sounds both rich and brilliant. The 1972 concerto utilizes a variety of percussion instruments from glockenspiel, vibraphone, celesta, and tube chimes to oxygen tanks and wood drums built by Harrison’s partner William Colvig. The solo organ part requires Henry Cowell-style tone clusters played with the palm of the hand and specially-cut wooden slabs. MTT calls this concerto “an overwhelming sonic spectacular!” MTT has a long history of performing Lou Harrison’s works. In the fall of 1995, he opened his inaugural concert as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony with the world premiere of Harrison’s Parade, a composition MTT and the SFS commissioned for the occasion.

French-born American composer Edgard Varèse is revered by musicians as diverse as Frank Zappa and Robert Lamm, keyboardist for the pop group Chicago. Closing the American Mavericks recording, his Amériques requires an enormous 129 piece orchestra and is instantly recognizable for its signature siren and 13-person percussion section. Varèse wrote it three years after his emigration to the US and meant it as “a meditation, or the impression of a stranger who asks himself about the extraordinary possibilities of our civilization.” The work features a battery of percussion and overwhelming orchestral sonics to portray Varèse’s images of his new home. In New York magazine, Justin Davidson enthusiastically described the Orchestra’s performances of Amériques in New York City as “a rigorous evocation of a freak-out.” A longtime favorite of MTT’s, the SFS performed Amériques in both American Mavericks Festivals – in 2000 and 2012.

MTT and the SFS have been praised by critics for innovative programming and for bringing the works of American composers to the forefront. David Littlejohn, in the Wall Street Journal, called MTT, now in his 18th season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, “an indefatigable champion of American music.”  In his first season as Music Director, Tilson Thomas included an American work on nearly every one of his San Francisco Symphony programs, and ended the season with An American Festival, a groundbreaking two-week celebration of American music and precursor to the 2000 and 2012 American Mavericks festivals. The American Mavericks festival has become an icon of American orchestral music.  In Spring 2012, as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s 2011-2012 Centennial Season, the festival featured, in addition to the works on this release, fully staged performances of John Cage’s Songbooks with Meredith Monk, Jessye Norman, and Joan LaBarbara and four world premieres by composers Mason Bates, John Adams, Meredith Monk, and Morton Subotnick, in performances both in San Francisco and on tour to Ann Arbor, Chicago, and at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  In the New Yorker Alex Ross opined, “Tilson Thomas’s crusade on behalf of what he calls ‘American Mavericks’ tradition is among the finest things that he or any conductor has undertaken in recent years.” Starring the work of composers whose art influenced and changed the face of American music-making, the spirit of the festival is a hallmark of the San Francisco Symphony’s artistic values. Resources about the American Maverick composers is at americanmavericks.org and a blog documenting the 2012 festival can be found at americanmavericks.org /blog. A book about the first American Mavericks festival of 2000 published by the University of California Press is available from the San Francisco Symphony Store.

The San Francisco Symphony’s recording series on SFS Media reflects the artistic identity of its programming, including its commitment to performing the work of maverick composers alongside that of the core classical masterworks. Later this season, MTT and the SFS are scheduled to release a new recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 recorded at the close of their Centennial Season in 2012.
All SFS Media recordings are available from the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall and online at sfsymphony.org/store as well as other major retailers. The recordings can also be purchased as downloads from iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets. SFS Media recordings are distributed by harmonia mundi U.S., SRI in Canada, Avie Records internationally, and by IODA to digital outlets.

 

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JAAP VAN ZWEDEN MAKES HIS DEBUT PERFORMANCES LEADING THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY IN BRAHMS’ SYMPHONY NO. 4 OCTOBER 24, 25, 26, & 28 AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL

David Fray joins the Orchestra in performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22

 Conductor Jaap van Zwedenmakes his San Francisco Symphony(SFS) debut in performances of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 on October 24, 25, 26, and 28 at Davies Symphony Hall. Pianist David Frayjoins the Orchestra in performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22, a work he and van Zweden recorded together. Opening the program is the Prelude to Act I from Wagner’s Lohengrin.

Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zwedenhas risen rapidly in little more than a decade to become one of today’s most sought-after conductors. Acclaimed for the intensity of his performances and the depth and clarity of his musicianship, he has been Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, and is also Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Radio Chamber Orchestras (having been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director from 2005-2011). He works as a guest with the most prestigious orchestras worldwide, including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and London Philharmonic Orchestra, and has appeared at the BBC Proms, Carnegie Hall and the Tanglewood and Aspen Festivals. In November 2011 van Zweden was named as the recipient of Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year Award in recognition of his critically-acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

French pianist David Fraywas named Newcomer of the Year by BBC Music Magazine in 2008. Since then, he has performed as soloist with orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony. He was also awarded the “Instrumentalist of the Year-Piano” award by ECHO Classic in 2009. Fray made is San Francisco Symphony debut in May 2010, performing Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto under Christoph Eschenbach. Fray has collaborated frequently with Jaap van Zweden, most recently at the BBC Proms in 2011. They have also recorded Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 together on Virgin Classics.

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY Wednesday, October 24 at 10 am (Open Rehearsal)
Davies Symphony Hall Thursday, October 25 at 2 pm
Friday, October 26 at 8 pm
Sunday, October 28 at 2 pm

Jaap van Zweden conductor
David Fray piano
San Francisco Symphony

Wagner Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K. 482
Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Opus 98

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

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VASILY PETRENKO LEADS THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY IN A PROGRAM OF PÄRT, BARTÓK, AND RESPIGHI OCTOBER 4-6 AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet makes his SFS debut in Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3

 Vasily Petrenko leads the San Francisco Symphony(SFS) in performances of Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome October 4-6 at Davies Symphony Hall. Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzetmakes his SFS debut in these performances.

Vasily Petrenkois currently Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and, beginning in the 2013-2014 season, will become Music Director of the Oslo Symphony.  Petrenko is also Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and was recently named Principal Guest Conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. With the RLPO he has made numerous recordings, Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony which won the 2009 Classic FM/Gramophone Orchestral Recording of the Year, and Rachmaninoff’s complete piano concertos with pianist Simon Trpčeski. He last appeared with the SFS in October 2011 in performances with violinist Joshua Bell.

French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzetwas the recipient of a 2011 Gramophone Award and a 2012 BBC Music Magazine award for his recent recording of works by Ravel, Debussy, and Massenet on the Chandos label.  He also was named Artist of the Year at the 2012 International Classical Music Awards in May 2012. Bavouzet is Artistic Director of the Lofoten Piano Festival in Norway and makes his SFS debut with these appearances.

Thursday, October 4 at 2 pm
Friday, October 5 at 8 pm
Saturday, October 6 at 8 pm

Vasily Petrenko conductor
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet piano
San Francisco Symphony

Arvo Pärt Fratres
Bartók Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major
Respighi Fountains of Rome (Fontane di Roma)
Respighi Pines of Rome (Pini di Roma)

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

BROADCAST:                     These concerts will be broadcast on Classical 89.9/90.3/104.9 KDFC and kdfc.com at a later date to be announced.

TICKETS:                           $15-$150.  Tickets are available at sfsymphony.org, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.

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