Two experimental dance companies open the inaugural season at ODC's freshly-renovated digs with a program that takes the traditional and contemporary and shakes it like James Bond’s martini.
Dust and Light is a graceful, floaty ballet, set to baroque Corelli (not of the mandolin, though one could be forgiven for that assumption) blended with ethereal choral music. It's a luminous intro to the duskier Scheherazade, Alonzo King's recent masterpiece.
Inspired by the ancient Persian and Arabic tales of 1,001 Nights, Scheherazade mixes King’s elegant choreography, costumes more couture than leotard, an exotic hybrid of Middle Eastern and Western instruments, and sex. Athletic, balletic, classy, only-really-hinted-at sex. (This is Yerba Buena Center, after all.) (We should all be so graceful, well-dressed, and well-lit in flagrante delicto.)
As blind dates go, our city is a damn good one - as proven by Julie Michelle, who never fails to come home with a gem, whether it’s a red wall named Jack, a reflected roof top, or a mural of bulbous cartoon aliens. Every week she hauls her camera around the city to meet locals on chill mornings in the Japanese Tea Garden or sunny afternoons in the Lower Haight, snapping photos as they show her the corners and crevices they call home.
An alien tours the planet and heads home from vacation with important lessons about humanity, including the comedic possibilities of beatboxing and how to wear a fanny pack.
From Buddhist reincarnation to fertility goddesses who order pie at a southern cafeteria, CounterPULSE’s newest Diaspora is full of the usual expanding-traditional-art-forms goodness, now in dance form. Nurturing experimentation (much like your college dorm room) (just sayin’), CounterPULSE presents artists who play with classical performing arts in an innovative way.
Shit shows are usually associated with far too much tequila, possibly served in the presence of strippers, and often provide concrete evidence of poor decision-making skills. Like watering your landlord's hydrangeas with recycled gin at 3 a.m. But PianoFight’s version of the S.H.I.T. Show - reintroduced as Shitoberfest after a sold-out nine week run - is a lot funnier than your average hangover.
Anchored by a few core companies, dance in San Francisco is still a constantly shifting landscape of performers breaking out as choreographers and long-term creators coming into their own - all of them in need of a place to set their dancers loose. One Monday a month, West Wave Dance Festival plucks notable and burgeoning dance-makers from the Bay Area to perform on Fort Mason’s stage - minus the burden of self-producing, something that makes even the strongest heart quaver. (You’ve seen rent in this town. Ouch.)
October in San Francisco features the sundress weather we never got in July, a subsequently confusing profusion of pumpkins, and local artists opening their studios to the public in every neighborhood we have, including some you might not know existed. (Mount Davidson, anyone?) There’s so much excellent art to see in so many neighborhoods that not even the most savvy googling can unearth everything - so we recommend you go where the whim strikes you to see local art at its origin. Here are the artists and neighborhoods that strike us.
Octavio Solis could be called the Midas of local theater - anything he touches turns to gold. It could in turn be argued that Tarell Alvin McCraney, the gifted playwright behind Brothers Size, doesn’t need any help. But judging from audience and critical response (across the board raves) - it certainly doesn’t hurt.
For the ultimate in theater/venue mashups, you can’t do better than Hamlet on Alcatraz. After nearly two years spent juggling logistics (and dodging pesky birds), 29-year-old director Ava Roy is using the entirety of the infamous prison island to create a memorable rendition of Shakespeare’s tormented Dane.
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