Haunted by the apocalypse since his early twenties, playwright JC Lee's poetic visions of the end of the world as we know it form the landscape for his three-play cycle, now in its final installment at Sleepwalker’s Theater. "If this is what post-apocalyptic life looks like, I don’t think I’ll mind so much when everything goes to hell," says theater critic Chad Jones.
In The Nature Line, Aya is on the hunt for her lost children, a journey that carries her past pavement reclaimed by forest and vine-choked vending machines until she reaches the wall at the edge of the world. Fond of using whimsy to make sense of chaos, Lee's characters are forced to create their own safety in luminous inner worlds, even as they try to save what's left.
Named after a track on Frank Zappa’s 1969 Hot Rats album, Peaches en Regalia was the brainchild of Berkeley playwright Steve Lyons, who began writing the comedy because he wanted to see actors boogey on stage to his favorite childhood song. After he attached a one-act to his lightning bolt of theatrical inspiration, it was performed in San Francisco, New York, LA, London, and Edinburgh.
Dubbed the bipolar comedian, Joshua Walters was clinically diagnosed in 2001 and spent the following decade leveling his formidable gift for funny on the internal workings of his brain. Madhouse Rhythm is the ultimate re-frame, approaching mental illness with a positive slant.
Walters has showcased his zany brand of mental health comedy/education on NPR, PBS, and TED, and performed throughout the U.S., in Europe, and the Middle East. The San Francisco Chronicle calls him “exceptionally sharp...in the funniest possible way.”
Mixing spoken word and beatbox into his shows, Walters specializes in a dynamic mash-up of humor, reflection, and unpredictable antics. (Think imitation extraterrestrial sporting a garish fannypack.)
Usually at Yerba Buena, this year finds the San Francisco Theater Festival trundling over to Fort Mason Center, where it will boast more than one hundred shows in a dozen indoor and outdoor venues. All performances are half an hour or less, all are free, and all are indicative of what’s percolating in the local theater scene.
Featured is the world premiere of Keith Moon Project’s Keith Moon - The Real Me. About the real Keith Moon, we presume; the rebel genius of The Who with a fondness for destroying his drums onstage.
Banding together to unleash a flurry of new dance on the local populace, Labayen Dance/SF and The DanceWright Project bring powerful longevity and a fresh eclectic style to Dance Mission Theater this weekend.
Combining the dramatic movement of the Asian dance canon with the ripe motion of ballet, Flood Pain Series #3 is a striking piece that looks at relationships between individuals and the larger world. Labayen fuses the delicacy of Asian culture with America's special brand of unflinching brashness into an original physicality and he hopes will serve as a vehicle for understanding the intrinsic humanity beneath every culture.
Turtle Island String Quartet at Yoshi’s
Called the future of classical music, Turtle Island String Quartet lends a fresh slant to the standard chamber sound. Melding the bright virtuosity of classical with contemporary music styles, Turtle Island Quartet has won two Grammys for Best Classical Crossover Album. They've also been endorsed by Yo-Yo Ma, who calls it “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground - a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”
August 7. Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore Street. Tickets are $28 at 415-655-5600.
San Francisco Opera at Stern Grove
Sister Elizabeth Donderstock's cheeseballs are all the religious community of Clusterhaven has left. But when they cease to appreciate her properly, Sister Elizabeth decides to take her cheese balls out into the great, wide world. Where she finds alcoholics, Ukrainians with cockney accents, mysterious peanuts, and that ever-elusive self respect. A quirky marriage of religion, alcoholism, and dairy products, The Book of Liz is David and Amy Sedaris' devilish take on the universal need to find one's bearings in a world that keeps shifting under your feet.
Aside from crashing the War Memorial Opera House (you probably shouldn’t do that), heading to Stern Grove is one of the best ways to see the world-renowned San Francisco Ballet for free. Slapping down your credit card at the box office of the Opera de Paris-Palais Garnier or Sadler's Wells Theatre in London is also fun, but such venues are a little more finicky about allowing audience members to tote in cold cuts and bottles of wine. So if you want to absorb culture (and salami) under towering trees, head to Stern Grove this Sunday.
ODC founders Brenda Way and KT Nelson will answer all your questions this weekend. Sticking to queries about modern dance may be advisable, but do feel free to test their knowledge on astrophysics and ancient Chinese philosophy if the mood strikes. An intimate one-hour performance of ODC’s greatest hits will be fueled by wine and food and a conversation with the mavens behind one of our best local dance companies.
Mrs. Whiting’s New Book of Eligible Gentlemen was the Victorian answer to OKCupid, providing mail-order suitors to confirmed spinsters Florence and Viola. The internet is approximately 90 years away from invention, but Indulgences in the Louisville Harem proceeds just as it might today - any online dater will attest that hurling yourself into the dating fray sets you up for misunderstandings and mayhem and random hypnotism. Kentucky circa 1902 is no exception.
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