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Amber Adrian

Scapin: Bill Irwin Barrels Through Moliere at ACT

Loose of limb and baggy of pants, Bill Irwin charges through Scapin, hitting on a young woman (by admiring her trunk), stuffing his cruel master in a sack, and disguising himself as a red suited ACT patron and crawling through box seats to elude said master's heavy hand with the walking stick of doom.

Killing My Lobster Skewers SF Food Culture

Despite being named after such a delicious crustacean, it took Killing My Lobster more than a decade to haul their patented brand of quirky sketch comedy into the kitchen. Now that they’ve hit the pantry, their repertoire has expanded to include a bacon dominatrix (rather than the more obvious...stripper?) (sorry) (yeah, I’m not sorry at all), a warbling fish taco, and a man romancing his cake.

 

Weird Art in Bars: Molotov

Decorated in large part by the random stickers so highly favored by bars in the lower Haight, Molotov distinguishes itself by also featuring pinup girls, black and white portraits, and men in straw cowboy hats tipping slowly to the left. Also, $3 whisky sours at happy hour. So you can afford to get really smashed no matter what the economy’s doing. Which might explain all the drunk dudes playing the Lord of the Rings pin ball machine.

Race Relations in Black and White: 'Trouble in Mind' at the Aurora Theatre

In the days of constantly streaming Twitter and Facebook, it’s amazing anything stays relevant for a month, much less decades. But Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress - the first African-American woman to win an Obie award - remains an insightful exploration of racial inequality, even half a century later.

Written during the Civil Rights movement, this play-within-a-play follows a cast of black and white actors mounting a script about anti-lynching (by a white dude, naturally) on Broadway, a premise which opens the proverbial stage door to all manner of cultural side-stepping and socially mandated diffidence. Early in the play, an older black actor advises a younger one to “Laugh, laugh at everything they say.” Where “they” are white people in general, and white theater people in particular.

Olive Kitteridge at Word for Word

Whenever people ask for theater recommendations, I always point them toward Word for Word. If you’re not a literary buff, it’s excellent theater. If you were an English major or consistently check out eight books at a time from the public library, you’ll be blasted into geek heaven. Word for Word brings literature to life, complete with all the he-saids, she-saids of the original.

Edgar Meyer Rocks the Double Bass with NCCO

Edgar Meyer is a musician whose chops have been called transcendent and unrivaled and it’s possible yours truly pulls CDs off the rack and exclaims, “Ooh, Edgar Meyer!” before spending entirely too much money at Amoeba.

A musical master of everything from the mandolin to the viola de gamba, Meyer plucks the double bass from quivering obscurity and propels it into the spotlight. Called “the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument” by The New Yorker, Meyer is generally hailed as the best bassist alive.

Classical Roundup: From the Ballpark to the Moon

Werther at San Francisco Opera

If you want to hear some truly amazing operatic vocalists, San Francisco Opera’s Werther is your ticket this month. Ramon Vargas, a tenor with a voice that impresses even the most opinionated of critics, plays one of his signature roles, a poet suffering from that nasty unrequited love. Alice Coote brings her world-renowned vocal chops to the stage as his romantic interest, and they bellow their hearts out in this musical tale.

Weird Art in Bars: Specs

Pass up the bar as you walk into Specs - a living ode to San Francisco’s beatnik history - and you’ll find yourself gazing into the rabid maw of a taxidermy weasel fighting a stuffed snake. Arrive on the right day and you’ll see a grizzled Chinese man sitting in the corner painting, his thin gray goatee dragging in his oils. If you sat down next to him, you’d find yourself staring into the spectacles of King Nut, a parody of the original mummified golden pharaoh.

 

Shakespeare in the Park: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Teenage love has a certain startling timelessness to it, something that becomes very apparent when you’re lounging on grass, drinking wine in the warm September air, and suddenly realize that kids pulled the exact same nonsense 400 years ago. With Two Gentleman of Verona, Shakespeare could just as easily have been writing this year’s teenybopper blockbuster - though, to be fair, Shakespeare-brand poetry doesn’t make it to the silver screen as often as we might like.

Weird Art in Bars: Cha Cha Cha

Cha Cha Cha claims the best sauteed mushrooms known to fungi-kind (the hostess said she ate them every day for four months) and serves them (smelling delightfully of garlic and wine) in a decor that smashes Catholic idolatry with the essence of Carmen Miranda and a splash of luau.

 
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