If you like adrenaline-pumped displays of life and limb rhythmically detached from the usual boundaries of physics, check out the 11th Annual San Francisco Hip Hop Dancefest this Friday. The first festival of its kind and now an institution, it draws groups from all over the world. This year’s crop hails from Ireland, Norway, South Korea, New York, and London (as well as the slightly less exotic Oakland and Santa Rosa), and descends on San Francisco this weekend to show off gravity-confounding spins and headstands.
Gay marriage is a blazing switch that everyone from politicians to spiritual leaders to that old guy in the deli seems intent on prodding – but none flip this particular switch quite like London’s DV8 Physical Theatre. Straight With You is an electric exploration of tolerance and its opposite, religion and homosexuality in the British Isles. DV8 uses their fierce brand of movement and multimedia to give voice to the stories of those who would otherwise remain silent. Every word spoken on stage was pulled from hundreds of hours of personal accounts, most given on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from their own community.
Get ready for white knee boots and ceiling-aimed coifs: go-go dancing is back. High-kicking girl gang The Devil-Ettes would probably argue that it never went anywhere, and would you naysay women in patent leather boots and devil horns? Neither would we. Especially when they’re backed by a solid decade of synchronized capering, complete with fake eyelashes, brief skirts and frisky grins.
Brushing on the glitter for their biggest gala yet, these quick-stepping hell vixens are joined by San Francisco burlesque powerhouses in a one-time only genre hop - Kitten on the Keys, Kellita, San Francisco Boylesque, and Alotta Boutte will all shimmy along with The Devil-Ettes and guest go-go pros The Mini Skirt Mob.
He was one of the first clergy to preside over same sex marriages - 40 years before Maine hit the newspapers. He’s a national leader for civil and human rights. He’s a proponent of real help to real people in need. And when he throws a party, everyone from Rita Moreno to Dr. Maya Angelou to Senator Dianne Feinstein show up.
Why are you the person you are? Were you deeply and/or direly affected by your childhood? Inevitably wrecked or redeemed by past lovers? Somehow disseminated by that tuna melt at the roadside Idaho diner in 2002? We all have a different story about how and why we’re the person we’ve become. Goldfish, now in its last weekend at Magic Theatre, explores that question for two college students – a young man who raises his own father and then flees home and the woman he meets mid-flight. His new love turns our hapless hero inside out, possibly the result of a lingering malaise from her own childhood under the thumb of a veritable tornado of a mother.
An empathy for outcasts and youthful viewings of old black-and-white Frankenstein films prompted playwright Trevor Allen to sculpt Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic novel into a fresh remix of the pathos and nondenominational monstrosity of man- and mutant-kind. The monster (played by the masterful James Carpenter) tells his tale of abandonment in haunting juxtaposition to that of his creator, a brilliant but weak man (Gabriel Marin) whose experiments doom him to fruitless wanderings through the Arctic tundra.
Modern dance can be as indecipherable as a bright blue bathtub sitting in the middle of a gallery floor. But Printz Dance Project takes the best of the genre and filters out the head-scratching, inserting everyday life into fluid athleticism and articulated grace. Blending universal emotion with a gleeful patois of dance disciplines, the choreography will suck you in – whether you understand the precise difficulty of stopping a pirouette just there without toppling over or you can’t distinguish African dance from pigeons strutting down Market Street.
Calves and hamstrings flex as Alonzo King’s dancers stretch toward the ceiling, stage lights playing off muscles that seem sculpted by Rodin and not permissible on your average human. But Mr. King doesn’t employ the average human; it’s an indisputable fact that most of us can’t bend that way without landing ourselves in traction.
Even an articulated elbow or the simple act of walking is imbued with an electric power in Refractions, the latest in Alonzo King’s famed series of collaborations. Built on a mood-shifting musical landscape provided by master jazz pianist, Jason Moran, the 35-minute world premiere highlights Mr. King’s usual riveting union of soul and feats of athletic prowess.