Full-tilt Fall Arts Preview
Save the dates for these art, dance, film, literary, music, and theater events
Compagnie Kafig, April 21, Memorial Auditorium.
Discovering New Territory: Ron Weil and William Schwob at Vessel Gallery
Ron Weil makes drawings in powdered charcoal, manipulating the medium with special tools, along with air, water, and alcohol, achieving complex textural effects that suggest both the eroded landscape forms of Surrealism and the spiritualized landscapes of Asian brush painting. William Schwob’s elegantly attenuated figures in wood-fired clay with their geologic-looking surfaces suggest unearthed artifacts from some vanished civilization, spooky yet beautiful. Through Sept. 27. 471 25th St., Oakland. www.Vessel-Gallery.com
Threshold: Amy Ho and Kana Tanaka at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary
Amy Ho, as in her Bay Area Now 7 installations, continues to merge real architecture with digital projections of sculptural maquettes, creating a hybrid space that is neither real nor imaginary, and both; in "Recede" she explores the shallow spatial recession of concentric Op-art rectangles, projected onto glass. Kana Tanaka creates sculptural installations with suspended strands of glass beads, suggesting cascades of raindrops or tears, or mist condensed on spider webs; the prismatic refractions produced by these tiny lenses change with time, altering surrounding space. Through Sept. 18. 480 23rd St., Oakland. www.ChandraCerritoContemporary.com
Formation: Kim Miskowicz at Krowswork
Kim Miskowicz, a painter/collagist and videographer/filmmaker, creates implied narratives by processing and sequencing scanned or rephotographed images from a variety of sources-"moving images." In this show, she will employ heavily textured, impasted paintings with her digital projections, creating flickering landscapes-as the conceptual artist Paul Kos did a few years ago-that hover between the cinematic and sculptural. Sept. 5-Oct. 11. 480 23rd St., Oakland. www.Krowswork.com
Cynthia Ona Innis at Traywick Contemporary
Cynthia Ona Innis explores the realm of the liminal, or transitional, "forms under transformation, ... moments when one thing becomes another" with a focus on changing light effects over the 24-hour diurnal cycle in the Bay Area’s changeable weather, and captured by the eye or camera, each with its peculiar distortions. Employing a variety of substrates and materials- canvas, wood panel paper, satin, silk, and metallic fabrics, the artist condenses ephemeral phenomena into ambiguous images, partly organic, partly geometric. Sept. 7-Nov. 1. 895 Colusa Avenue, Berkeley. www.Traywick.com
The Luminous Edge from Garrett + Moulton Productions
Longtime life and now artistic partners Janice Garrett and Charlie Moulton are pooling their vastly different professional experiences for thrillingly expressive work that they could not have imagined on their own in Garrett + Moulton Productions. Their newest is The Luminous Edge for six dancers, a movement choir of 18 and eight musicians. Sept. 18-21. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. www.YBCA.org
Impromptus from Sasha Waltz & Guests
Sasha Waltz is one of Europe foremost proponents of Tanztheater, or German dance theater. A rare visitor in the Bay Area, she is bringing one of her most intimate, musically sensitive works, Impromptus, inspired by a number of Schubert scores to town for Cal Performances shows. Oct. 24-25. Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley. www.CalPerformances.org
Restless Creature from Wendy Whelan
Only one major ballet dancer has dared what the extraordinary Wendy Whelan, after 30 years with the New York City Ballet, is doing. Instead of retiring, she is stepping into modern dance much the way Mikhail Barishnikov did. See her at this San Francisco Performances appearance. Jan.15-16. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. www.SFPerformances.org
Hip-hop may have become a global phenomenon, but it is rarely as theatrically persuasive as with the French-Algerian Compagnie Käfig. At Stanford they are teaming up with Brazilians dancers who bring their own traditions into what surely will be a potent mix at this Stanford Live presentation. April 21, 2015. Memorial Auditorium, 551 Serra Mall, Stanford. www.Live.Stanford.edu
This Ain’t No Mouse Music
Chris Strachwitz is a legend in his own time, and perhaps his own mind. A German who fell in love with the raw authenticity of American roots music, Strachwitz has recorded an astonishing array of artists, from Texas acoustic bluesman Mance Lipscomb to the fiddle-fueled Appalachian dance music of the Whitetop Mountain Band. East Bay filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling’s lively, loving acerbic portrait, This Ain’t No Mouse Music, captures the founder of El Cerrito-based Arhoolie Records in his element: hanging out with his beloved musicians. Opening Sept. 19 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, Berkeley; and other Bay Area theaters.
Oakland Underground Film Festival
With an emphasis on local filmmakers, under-the-radar voices and community building, OAKUFF keeps its ear close to the ground. The egalitarian festival prides itself on channeling-and speaking to-the diversity that defines Oakland’s character, and the character of adjacent burgs of kindred souls. Perhaps the most down-home film event in the Bay Area, OAKUFF effortlessly erases the divide between audience and artist. This year’s program wasn’t available when we went to press, but you can get the lowdown at www.OakUFF.org. Sept. 25-28. Various venues.
Discovering Georgian Cinema
A welcome byproduct of the Soviet Union’s demise has been the re-emergent identities of nations and peoples from the shadow of a monolithic entity. This vast retrospective unearths pioneering works from the silent era (many from the PFA’s remarkable collection) alongside little-seen films made between the 1960s and the breakup of the USSR. Sprinkle in recent films by young, revitalized filmmakers, and only the dismal decades when Stalin (a Georgian, but still) controlled the means of film production are missing. Sept. 26-April 2015. Pacific Film Archive, 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. www.BamPfa.Berkeley.edu/filmseries
ReelAbilities Bay Area Disabilities Film Festival
The opening night selection of this new-to-the-scene event epitomizes its spirit. Wampler’s Ascent (Oct. 15) portrays Steve Wampler’s inspiring effort to become the first person with a disability (cerebral palsy) to scale Yosemite’s El Capitan. The carefully curated collection of spirit-boosting narratives and documentaries from the United States and abroad showcases people with Down syndrome, autism, blindness, and war wounds. The fest is a collaboration between Oakland’s Creative Growth Art Center and the ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival. Oct. 15-19. The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., Oakland (and venues in San Francisco). www.BayArea.ReelAbilities.org, www.CreativeGrowth.org
Lit on the Lake
San Francisco’s Litquake literary festival heads back to Oakland with a reprise of Lit on the Lake-an evening of literature against the backdrop of dusk falling on Lake Merritt as seen from Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill. This year’s authors include Novella Carpenter, Joseph Di Prisco, Nayomi Munaweera, and Opal Palmer Adisa. Oct. 16. Lake Chalet, Gondola Room, 1520 Lakeside Drive, Oakland. $5-$10 suggested donation; 21 and older. www.LitQuake.org
Explore your creative writing talent while honing your skills with UC Berkeley Extension. Immerse yourself in poetry, short fiction, novel writing, or social media content. Learn from published writers who provide encouragement, direction, and constructive feedback on your work at courses offered in Berkeley, San Francisco, and online. Enroll in "So You Want to Write" (one-day workshop, Sept. 13 in Berkeley), "Modern and Contemporary Women Poets" (Sept. 15-Nov. 17 in Berkeley), and "Writing for Social Media: Prose That Works" (Sept. 16-Oct. 28, online). Visit www.Extension.Berkeley.edu and click on the link for "writing/editing." More classes posted online.
Bay Area Book Festival
The Bay Area Book Festival will take place at UC Berkeley and nearby in Berkeley over the weekend of June 6-7, 2015. Local, national and international authors ranging from Nobel laureates to genre writers, as well as storytellers experimenting with digital formats. Free to the public, the nonprofit festival expects to attract 100,000 people. Venues for panels and stage presentations will be auditoriums in Berkeley’s thriving arts district and on the campus of UC Berkeley, the world’s leading public university and a major partner. An outdoor street fair will showcase the Bay Area’s many independent bookstores, publishers, literary nonprofits, libraries, and other cultural resources. Additional attractions will include a large Children’s Arena, a Young Adult Alley, a cooking stage, and book-related performance art and installations. Notably, the festival also will celebrate the many ways that reading and literacy are thriving in the digital age. www.BayBookFest.org
Numerous local pubs and clubs have open mic poetry nights all year long. Check out these and bring your own words to share:
• Poetry Express, 7 p.m., second Monday of the month; featured poet plus open mic. Himalayan Flavors, 1585 University Ave., Berkeley.
• The Word Party, every third Tuesday of the month; poetry, open mic, and live jazz; open mic signup at 8 p.m.; $10 donation. Viracocha, 998 Valencia, San Francisco.
• Lark Readings on second Saturdays, 8 p.m., with featured readers and open mic. Studio Grand, 3234 Grand Ave., Oakland.
-Julia Park Tracey
With his soaring, soul-drenched voice and flamenco-inspired guitar style, Raul Midón is a one-man orchestra who has created a strikingly beautiful body of original songs influenced by jazz, R&B, and Latin styles. After starting his career as a singer with Latin music stars such as Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, and Jose Feliciano, he decided to pursue his own sound. Moving to New York City, he encountered legendary producer Arif Mardin, who produced his 2005 breakthrough album State of Mind with special guests Stevie Wonder and Jason Mraz. Sept. 30. Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero, Oakland. www.Yoshis.com
Broken Shadows Family Band
Led by capaciously creative San Francisco trumpeter/composer Darren Johnston, Broken Shadows Family Band has honed a singular sound by melding a vast array of influences. Combining rootsy themes, evocative songs, potent grooves, and breathtaking musicianship, the band features Matt Szemela on violin and vocals, Doug Stuart on bass and vocals, Inspector Gadje’s Marco Peris on snare drum and double-headed tupan, Kitka’s Corinne Sykes on vocals and derbekki (Arabic goblet drum), and Quadim Ensemble’s Faisal Zedan on derbekki and riqq (frame drum). Oct. 9. Duende, 468 19th St., Oakland. www.DuendeOakland.com
Mavis Staple is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a Lifetime Grammy Award honoree, and recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship, and at 75 is still a force to be reckoned with. In the midst of a late-career resurgence, she’s released a series of classic albums over the past decade, starting with 2004’s revelatory Have A Little Faith. Most recently, she delivered 2013’s One True Vine, a gospel-steeped session produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. She’ll be in Berkeley for a Cal Performances show. Oct. 30. Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley. www.CalPerformances.org
Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Fiddle master Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School has nurtured several generations of innovative string players, such as the brilliant Menlo Park-raised cellist Natalie Haas. Over the past decade, she’s joined her former teacher in a dazzling duo that brings fierce urgency to the soaring melodies and terpsichorean rhythms of traditional Scottish music, with a sound at once richly orchestral and intensely percussive. Nov. 13. The Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. www.TheFreight.org
Shotgun Players’ The New Electric Ballroom
Berkeley got a taste of Irish playwright Enda Walsh’s twisted and pitch-black humor in 2009 when Cal Performances imported Druid Ireland’s production of The Walworth Farce, in which a father and sons continually reenact a grim slapstick play in a squalid flat. Now Shotgun Players gives the same town a homegrown production of Walsh’s companion piece, The New Electric Ballroom, in which three sisters constantly retell and reenact a painful day in their personal history. Sept. 3-Oct 5. 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. www.ShotgunPlayers.org
Party People at Berkeley Rep
New York ensemble Universes comes to Berkeley Repertory Theatre with a dynamic, music-and-poetry-infused examination of the history and legacy of the Black Panthers and their Puerto Rican counterparts the Young Lords, directed by the Rep’s South African-born associate director Leisl Tommy. Commissioned as part of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle, Party People played Ashland in 2012 but has been retooled for this visit to the Bay Area, birthplace of the Panthers. Oct 17-Nov 16. Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley. www.BerkeleyRep.org
Breakfast With Mugabe at Aurora
Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe since the 1980s, is widely regarded as a ruthless dictator who’s maintained power through vote-rigging and crushing all opposition. Inspired by news reports that Mugabe was treated for depression by a white psychiatrist, Fraser Grace’s Breakfast With Mugabe at the Aurora Theatre Company depicts the president haunted by the ghost of a political rival and getting caught up in a power struggle between doctor and patient, both of whom are used to steering the terms of discussion. Nov 7-Dec 7. 2081 Addison St., Berkeley. www.AuroraTheatre.org
The Old Woman
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe in a surreal two-man clown show directed by theater-visionary Robert Wilson? Where do we sign up? Based on a short story by Soviet avant-garde writer Daniil Kharms about a man who finds an old woman’s corpse in his bed, The Old Woman is an abstract black comedy featuring the two legendary performers in whiteface and formal attire navigating their way through a surreal and inhospitable landscape, like a vaudeville duo in Hell. Nov 21-Nov 23. Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley. www.CalPerformances.org