Luring entertainment-seekers into the rabbit hole of fringe theater for over a decade, the Women on the Way festival is back again with innovative theater, multimedia dance, comedy, music, and yes, boobs.
From defensiveness to disgust to an overwhelming desire to dive headfirst into a bowl of buttered mashed potatoes, money inspires more reaction in people than a Coen Brothers movie. Mike Daisey, first-person journalist and one of the finest solo performers of our time, takes full advantage of this emotional spectrum by guiding the audience through his deft arguments and witty commentary like a master puppeteer, benevolent yet incisive.
You can check 7x7's concert roll on the right-hand side of the homepage for concerts of the rock, pop and dance varieties, but for the more classical-music inclined, here's our roundup what we're anticipating to be the best performances of the month.
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Masters at classical guitar genre-bending (their repertoire jumps from Bach to bluegrass to samba to African drum circle), the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet plays Herbst Theatre next weekend. Known on Youtube for its deconstructed version of Pachelbel’s Canon (check it out here), the group has been together for thirty years, playing inventive, critically acclaimed music around the world.
If you ever yell “THE BUTLER DID IT!” (with or without brandished candlestick) when your roommate asks about the suspicious red (wine) stain on her new yellow carpet, this is the show for you. Wadsworth, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard and Mrs. Peacock are pressed into service at Hill House once again to solve the murder of poor (and oft-done away with) Mr. Boddy. Complete with blackmail, thickly spread lies, and weapons being passed around like canapes, this delightfully meta theatrical version of Clue is adapted from the movie, which was adapted from the game.
Watching expertly executed tango will make you wish you had the coordination to whip effortlessly around the floor while gazing into the eyes of a dude with creative sideburns. Since you probably don’t (neither do I) (how sad for us), Forever Tango will fill that gaping rent in your soul.
How women can flick their legs so quickly in such high stilettos while remaining so sultry is one of tango’s great mysteries. Solved in part by svelte tango vixens like Victoria Galoto, formerly of Alvin Ailey, and Bay Area native Cheryl Burke, of Dancing with the Stars fame. Forever Tango is a leg-wrapping Argentine joy-ride celebrating the sounds and movement of tango, from turn-of-the-century brothels to upper class soirees. A spectacle of tapping feet and arching backs, the momentum builds steadily from low-gliding seduction to impressively technical lifts.
If you prefer deceased rock legends to nut-cracking soldiers and vixens to fairies, hit up Smuin’s Christmas Ballet for this year’s dose of athletic holiday cheer. Blue Christmas-crooning Elvis catches shrieking blondes and hoists them over his head while his hips gyrate wildly. A mini-skirted flirt bats her lashes for diamonds and a line of stool-wielding vamps oust the Sugar Plum Fairy. Drooping evergreens get the chainsaw and a woman eludes her very persistent date.
Master purveyors of super-intimate circus (think low-budget, homegrown Cirque du Soleil), Sweet Can’s latest offering takes ordinary objects and turns them into the randomly delightful. Garbage cans grow feet and tap dance, plates start spinning in the air, and benches become sailing ships.
Featuring a Gumby-like contortionist, an aerialist who cheekily defies the laws of physics, and a flying broom homage to Fred Astaire (to be clear, the flying broom is less Quidditch and more swirled over shoulders), Candid mixes traditional circus with physical theater, dance, and live music.
If the holiday season sends you straight to the bourbon, feel free to soothe yourself with the knowledge that at least you don’t work at the mall. Unless you do work at the mall. In which case, perhaps you can soothe yourself with the knowledge that you don’t have to work on Christmas eve. If you do work at the mall and those bastards scheduled you for Christmas eve - well, my friend, this show was practically written for you. Especially if you know which Santa has the best pot.
If you're more prone to appreciating charming scenes of glowing Christmas trees ascending to great heights or small children humming along with the symphony than the friend who told me, "I don't need ballet tickets to crack nuts," check out San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker. (He would've been charmed too, he was just jealous he was missing out on the prancing sparkle ponies.) (Note: Clara's sleigh is towed by prancing sparkle ponies.)
Last time Arabian Nights appeared on Berkeley Rep’s stage, it scored more critical acclaim than the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or Jesus on Easter - as well as nightly standing ovations with various forms of enthusiastic whooping. So Berkeley Rep wisely resurrected this gorgeous piece of theater for a limited run. With Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman at the helm, Arabian Nights is the infamous tale of a bride who spins a provocative web of genies, jesters, thieves and kings in hopes of saving her life.
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