Arts + Culture
After reporting on the publishing experiments turning up around San Francisco, we asked the city’s writers what they’re reading these days, and they were happy to share. Look for Required Reading every week.
Sasha Wizansky is a founding editor of Meatpaper, the print quarterly about all things meat and carnivorous culture. She is author of Your New Glass Eye.
Magazines: I've always been interested in periodicals, especially the quirky and independent ones, and it seems my subscription list keeps growing: Cabinet, Esopus, Bidoun, Gastronomica, Print, Diner Journal, The Believer, McSweeney's, and The New Yorker. My life would be pretty different if the New Yorker ceased to exist. An ideal rainy day activity is curling up on the couch with a pile of print, which, it turns out, is nowhere near dead.
Novels: I haven't really caught on to micro-blogging or other short-form communication, and too much onscreen reading makes me dizzy. A good chunky novel still has the power to seduce me, especially when it spins an old-fashioned yarn. I keep up with Jonathan Lethem's novels for his vivid and offbeat storytelling. I loved the characters and slippery satire of Chronic City.
In April 2003, a falling boulder pinned Aron Ralston to the wall of Utah's remote Blue John Canyon for nearly five days, forcing the 27-year-old mountain climber to amputate his right arm in a desperate bid to survive.
In bringing his story to the screen, Danny Boyle deftly avoids the obvious stumbling blocks, transforming a mostly one-man show with a well-publicized ending into arresting drama that speaks not only to Ralston's implacable will but also to the durability of the human spirit. Boyle has described 127 Hours as an action movie about a man who can’t move, and the description is apt. Ralston’s existential struggle seems almost to sprint to its grisly conclusion.
The fifth San Francisco International Animation Festival kicks off tonight at the Embarcadero with Here Comes the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized, a colorfully eccentric interpretation (by four different artists) of the acclaimed 2009 album by indie-rock stalwarts The Decemberists. The festivities wind to a close Sunday with Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, Brent Green's moving tribute to a Kentucky hardware-store clerk who, during the 1970s, built a crazy-quilt house to cure his wife's cancer. Elsewhere:
Monsters lurk in all of us, especially those of us whose personalities were invented by Shakespeare. Known for its uniquely San Francisco-leaning interpretations of the infamous bard - and for a raft of local Best Of awards - Cutting Ball Theater opens its season with a three-person chamber version of The Tempest.
Every once in a while, when the SF Symphony has a break, Davies Hall brings in the unexpected guest performer—from The Roots to Kathy Griffin. This weekend, Rufus Wainwright is on the bill, but—get this—the composer/vocalist/pianist will be performing with the symphony, not instead of them.
Sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society, the city's fifth International Animation Festival, a four-day celebration of innovative artistry and visionary storytelling, opens tonight at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.
This year's selections include the Decemberists-inspired Here Come the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized; animated music videos featuring the music of Rage Against the Machine, Paul Oakenfold and Gorillaz; and brothers Edward and Rory McHenry's Jackboots on Whitehall, in which puppets, voiced by the likes of Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson, reveal what might have transpired if the Third Reich had occupied Buckingham Palace during World War II.
Danny Boyle has directed stories about rage-driven zombies, Scottish junkies on the lam, and an unlikely game-show champion educated on the unforgiving streets of Mumbai, but never has he accepted a challenge as daunting as 127 Hours.
Inspired by the real-life ordeal of mountain climber Aron Ralston, pinned to the wall of Utah’s Blue John Canyon for nearly five days by an errant boulder, Hours, which opens Friday, finds the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire director and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy pulling their most ambitious trick to date – translating the agony of a man totally immobilized into riveting, briskly paced drama.
In the Bay Area's everlasting spirit of DIY, spontaneous anti-Art the Beat, Hippie and punk generations have left in their wake, the phenomenon of found footage filmmaking lives on in the screening of Radical Light: Bay Area Found Footage--from Junk to Funk to Punk at the Victoria Theatre tonight at 7:30 pm.
The documentary is a backstage pass into Feist's creative process, the story
of how The Reminder got made, of the oceans that were crossed, the places
that were seen, and the people whose talents made it resonate. Follow Feist
and her supporting cast through an impressionistic array of flickering
scenery, echoing stadiums, puppet workshops, the red carpet, a crumbling
French mansion, definitive concert performances and uncommonly candid
interviews. Itself a part of the creative mosaic it portrays, "Look At What
The Light Did Now" illuminates the synergy of collaboration, art as
magnifying glass, and the power of trust. Watch the trailer here.