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Arts + Culture

Bad Santas

If you caught sight of thousands of red-and-white-clad local folk donning Santa apparel and belting out boisterous (and sometimes naughty) Christmas carols Saturday afternoon, it wasn't because someone slipped a roofie in your drink. Santas from all walks of life--big Santas, small Santas, heavily-bearded Santas, clean-shaven Santas, Santas in shades, Santas with elf companions--joined holiday forces in the spirit of SantaCon 2008.

World Premiere of "The Entrepreneur" (aka "Malcolm & Me")

On December 10, 7x7 and the SF Arts Fund cohosted the world premiere of a documentary called The Entrepreneur, the story of Malcolm Bricklin—the man who brought both the Yugo and the Subaru to America—as seen through his four-year quest (ultimately thwarted) to introduce a stylish, low-cost Chinese car called the Chery to the US market.

Sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? And maybe it might have been, if a) the subject hadn’t been the very model of a modern American dreamer and b) if the filmmakers hadn’t included Malcolm’s son Jonathan, from, as Bricklin said in his pre-screening remarks, “my third marriage.” (Jonathan then corrected him: “Um, second wife, Malcolm.”)

The Nutcracker Debuts

Hundreds of little girls donning party dresses, tutus and patent leather shoes descended upon the War Memorial Opera House Thursday night to see young Clara make her way through a magical world of mice and soliders, Arabians and Russians, Spaniards and Chinese, in the San Francisco Ballet's opening night of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.

Even five years after Artistc Director Helgi Tomasson's makeover of the production, the set and costume design are still breakthaking. The Chronicle's Rachel Howard proclaimed the production "one of the best "Nutcrackers" in the country and, by my estimation, the most visually elegant."

Ray Stevenson Channels His Inner Punisher

Until a week ago, George Raymond Stevenson – that’s Ray to you – was best known to American audiences as Titus Pullo, a full-time soldier and unapologetic hedonist in the employ of Julius Caesar in the HBO series Rome.

How things can change. Now, the hulking, Irish-born actor, as quick with a toothy grin and as he is with a self-deprecating joke, can look forward to a lifetime of Comic-Con appearances and overzealous fan interrogations thanks to his energetic turn as Marine-turned-vigilante Frank Castle in Lexi Anderson’s Punisher: War Zone.

Dame Edna: Cross-Dressed to Kill us with Kindness

Imagine that a sloshed, dotty Miami granny broke into a Vegas Showgirl’s dressing room and emerged very pleased with herself. Such is the singular élan of Dame Edna.

Returning again (like a persistent rash) to San Francisco to bring her special brand of good will to all, the star’s lacerating wit and unbridled offensiveness are heinously hilarious. Big, brash and lily-gilded, the Dame Edna experience is a sight to behold and an assault on the sensitive. And, as should be expected for a woman whose fashion sense insists that more is more, Dame Edna clearly doesn’t comprehend the notion that brevity is the soul of wit.

Twilight Author Stephenie Meyer on Her Favorite Kind of Vampire

Connecticut-born author Stephenie Meyer never planned to become a full-time writer.

Not that her passion for literature was some sort of fleeting fancy. After attending high school in Scottsdale, Arizona – Meyer’s family relocated to Arizona when she was four – she used a National Merit Scholarship to help pay her way through Brigham Young University, where she majored in English. But Meyer never envisioned herself as a bestselling author, much less watching the cinematic adaptation of her first novel, Twilight, dominate the holiday box office to the tune of nearly $140 million in its first two weeks.

On the unusual trappings of fame:

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

John's Grill Centennial Benefits SF City College Students

View Photos from this Party

Brian Copeland's "Not A Genuine Black Man" Returns A.B. (After Barack)

Long before the electorate questioned Barack Obama’s blackness, Brian Copeland was being harassed for his own dubious blackness. Copeland’s story “Not A Genuine Black Man”, became the longest running solo show in San Francisco history Running for two and a half years (!) it returned home to the Marsh this past weekend.

Revamped "Arabian Nights" is Something to Ululate About

There are moments in Mary Zimmerman hip and lively adaptation, “Arabian Nights” (just extended at Berkeley Rep) when the layers upon layers of the play’s shaggy-dog stories produce a punch drunkenness in the audience. We may have expected a old-world tableau of Egyptian intrigue. What we witness are winding yarns within yarns that tell far fetched tales of oddballs; a farting man, an randy green grocer with a big “cucumber”, a scabby, dribbling, gruesome bride. The comedy is low. The sub-plots dizzying.

Local Artist Spearheading SF Bike Coalition's Silent Art Auction

Even though he’s a nine-year member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, local artist Jonn Herschend, 41, is quick to note that he isn’t a cycling fanatic (sfbike.org). “I don’t talk about bikes all the time,” he says. “It’s just a facet of my daily life.” What’s kept Herschend active in the advocacy group, however, is its dedication to improving bike safety and creating a citywide biking network. Herschend is giving back by spearheading the silent-art-auction portion of the SFBC’s annual fundraiser, Winterfest, held at SOMArts Cultural Center on December 7. The event—which features free valet bike parking and live entertainment — draws local politicians, artists and bike enthusiasts.

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