Category Archives: Events
VIENNA PHILHARMONIC The three-day residency of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Cal Performances this weekend focuses on the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, with three concerts, a symposium bringing together scholars from both Berkeley and Vienna, and pre- and post-concert talks. Friday night’s concert, conducted by Lorin Maazel, features Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Mahler’s Fourth. Saturday night, conducted by Andris Nelsons, has Haydn’s 90th, Brahms’ Third and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn. Sunday afternoon, Franz Welser-Most conducts the orchestra in Mozart’s 28th and Bruckner’s 6th, as well as a new composition by Viennese composer Johannes Maria Staud. The symposium, The Vienna Philharmonic 100 years after the outbreak of World War I, examines the intermingling of arts and politics, and in particular the role an arts institution can play in the course of history. The symposium and other residency events (but not the concerts) are free: RSVP to reserve your place, seating is first come, first served. Tickets for the concerts at Zellerbach Hall are available from Cal Performances. … Continue reading »
Whether you call it fate, karma, or kismet, the friendship of Claire Duplantier and Nicole Rodriguez exemplifies the power of seizing an opportunity when it’s ripe. They’ve spent the past five years pouring their energy into downtown Berkeley’s Subterranean Arthouse, a cozy and invitingly bohemian performance space and art gallery in the historic Odd Fellows Lodge building at Fulton and Bancroft.
An essential East Bay cultural outpost particularly known for presenting singer/songwriters and South Indian classical music, the Subterranean marks its fifth anniversary Saturday with a fundraising “Benefest” featuring music by the Doppler Trio, Dirt Wire, the Camille Mai Trio, a silent auction, and a showing by East Bay visual artists Hugh D’Andrade and Daniel Lipincott. … Continue reading »
Amid speeches about the glorious new building and the patient-centric care it will foster, came memories of Berkeley in the 1970s and the push to revolutionize health care. … Continue reading »
We’ve barely had time to digest this year’s Academy Awards, but surely it’s not too soon to start prognosticating about next year’s nominees. By peering into the deepest recesses of my crystal ball, I see that The Rocket – an Australian-Laotian co-production, the first Laotian film I’ve ever seen, and one of only 66 films listed by IMDb to be at least partly of Laotian origin – will feature prominently in 2014’s Best Foreign Language Film competition.
Opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, March 7, The Rocket is the at times surreal, at other times mytho-poetic tale of young Ahlo’s against-all-odds effort to shrug off the effects of the curse placed upon him by (of all people) his grandmother Taitok (Bunsri Yindi). Little Ahlo is the surviving sibling of a stillborn twin – and his tribe considers twins very bad news indeed. … Continue reading »
ART IN SCIENCE Right and left brains collide at the two-day Art [in] Science extravaganza. The event, presented by Science@Cal and the Energy Biosciences, explores the intersection of art and science, and how the two fields inspire one another. Mesmerizing multimedia images of scientific investigation will be on view, and the artists and scientists who created them will lecture on, and give live demonstrations of, their work. Stop by 2151 Berkeley Way from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 and Friday, Feb. 28, to view photos of volcanoes, clay sculptures of proteins, and videos of ciliate reproduction. The admission is free and the music is live. … Continue reading »
With its seductive conflation of eros and combat, tango has beguiled many a music and dance lover, so there’s nothing surprising about Bendrew Jong’s obsession with Argentina’s most passionate export. What’s unexpected is that his expertise in tai chi and kung fu provided ideal physical and mental training for mastering tango’s intricate dance moves, and that dancing has made him more dangerous on the mat.
“Tango is the ballroom dance closest to martial arts, and when I spar I use tango moves all the time,” says Jong, the lead singer and bandoneon player for Orquesta Z, which performs at Ashkenaz on Thursday, March 6 and Palache Hall in St. Clement’s Episcopal Church on Claremont Avenue on Sunday afternoon, March 9.
“Tango is all about balance, keeping focused, extending a leg but not shifting weight, and it felt natural after all the tai chi I’ve done.”
Founded by Jong around the end of 2010, Orquesta Z is a quintet featuring an impressive cast of musicians, including violinist and Crowden School instructor Jim Shallenberger, a founding member of Kronos Quartet who spent years touring with the hugely popular production Forever Tango. Holy Names Symphony violinist Carol Braves was earliest member of the ensemble to join Jong, followed by Prometheus Symphony bassist Sandy Schniewind, and pianist Barbie Wong, who teaches at the Oakland Public Conservatory and also plays a mean ukulele. … Continue reading »
The American film industry was born on the Atlantic Seaboard. From Biograph’s lower Manhattan studio to the film factory that was Fort Lee, New Jersey (a city now infamous, of course, for an entirely different reason), the first American movies were primarily an East Coast affair.
That changed in 1911 when the advantages offered by the sunshine and vast open spaces of Southern California convinced New Jersey’s Nestor Studios (later to merge with Universal) to relocate to Hollywood. The secret was out: land and good weather were plentiful out west, and the industry moved en masse. By the 1920s, the East Coast film boom had quickly turned to bust.
And so it would remain for the next few decades: during the ‘20s and ‘30s, New York City locations were recreated hundreds of times on the Hollywood back lot, and no one complained. In the post-war years, however, audiences wanted something a little less artificial and a bit more realistic, and studios realized they needed to offer something to counter the growing threat of television. Second units began to pop up around The Big Apple — especially for crime pictures.
One of those pictures was MGM’s Side Street, an above average noir screening at 7:00 p.m. on Friday Feb. 28 at Pacific Film Archive as part of the series ‘Against the Law: The Crime Films of Anthony Mann’. … Continue reading »
As it turns out, only a handful of these disappearing species are “charismatic” large animals. In fact, nearly all of them are small, many of them vanishingly so; they’re plants as well as animals, few of them even with names, and they’re hidden away in tropical forests. From a scientific perspective, that’s no less serious. But the PR angle is tough to find.
A brilliant new book
In an outstanding new book, The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert tackles this challenge with considerable success. Kolbert, a science journalist on the staff of The New Yorker, spoke about the mass extinction now underway in an illuminating presentation last Wednesday to a large and attentive audience at the Hillside Club, under the auspices of Berkeley Arts & Letters. Her talk, like the book, was a sobering wake-up call. … Continue reading »
About 3,000 people crammed into the Berkeley Community Theater on the Berkeley High campus Sunday morning to hear a talk on “How to Achieve Happiness,” by the Dalai Lama.
It was Dalai Lama’s second stop on a three-day local speaking tour. He spoke in San Francisco on Saturday and he will speak at Santa Clara University today. Before coming to the Bay Area, he met with President Barack Obama. … Continue reading »
WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON UC Berkeley grad Min Kanhg is a triple-threat: composer, lyricist, and playwright. And he donned all of those hats to create Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a musical Bay Area Children’s Theater adaptation of the beloved book of the same name. The story follows an adventurous young girl in an ancient mythical China as she and a friendly dragon set out on a quest to help her family. The music of the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese violin, accompanies the performance. Director Mina Morita is also based in Berkeley, where the show opens on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at Osher Studio on 2055 Center St. The two-hour show is recommended for children ages 7 and up. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for children. … Continue reading »
Shotgun’s mission is to present provocative and relevant theatre at an affordable price. It does so with its own productions, as well as by inviting other theater companies to perform on the Ashby Stage.
A Maze is a creative and complex two-act play written by Rob Handel which debuted in New York in 2011, and was staged by Just Theater last summer. The play impressed Shotgun, which is delighted to remount it and present it to the larger audience it deserves.
Directed by Molly Aaronson-Gelb, the play is comprised of three separate plot lines that, in the first act, appear disconnected and unrelated. We imagine that all these stories must have a thematic connection, and they do. But the way they intersect in the second act is unexpected, amusing and a bit troubling. … Continue reading »
By aesthetic, academic and cultural inclination, Kim Nalley is ideally suited for presenting “Freedom Songs,” a program at the Jazzschool on Sunday afternoon tracing the role of music in the long African-American struggle for liberty and human rights. A supremely soulful jazz singer who’s equally versed in the blues, Nalley is also a doctoral student in history at U.C. Berkeley focusing on American ex-pat musicians in post-war West Germany.
As landmark anniversaries of events in Civil Rights movement arise, she’s often been asked to offer musical insight, like at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute’s commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington last year, where she also served as musical director. For Sunday’s Jazzschool program, Nalley is taking an encompassing view, drawing connections between familiar Civil Rights anthems and earlier resistance movements. … Continue reading »
The Oscars are coming to downtown Berkeley this year for the first time with a glitzy new event at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza that promises to give those who go a taste of the red carpet, and the chance to support our homegrown movie-making engine, the Berkeley Film Foundation.
Berkeleywood, on Sunday March 2, the night of the 86th Academy Awards broadcast, offers the chance to watch the ceremony live on the big screen while enjoying delicious food and wine prepared by Stephane Tonnelier, executive chef of Five restaurant.
Political satirist Will Durst is the emcee for the evening and the special honored guest is Academy Award winner Rita Moreno. … Continue reading »