Oh, how The City loves “American Idiot.” Green Day’s latter day punk-pop enigma was a creative force of nature when it premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2009. Then it went on to Broadway and nabbed two Tonys, surprising theatergoers and critics with its visual feats and sobering look at life in post-9/11, George W. Bush America.Now that the musical, based on Green Day’s multi Grammy-winning album of the same name, is returning to the Bay Area — it opens at the Orpheum Theatre June 12 — audiences can expect more perspective, perhaps. Read More
It’s not every day that the works of Madonna, Mozart, Queen and other musical titans and temptresses are brought to life in a cappella splendor by eight aliens from another galaxy.
So when that day arrives, it’s best that locals seize it.
Shai Fishman, musical director of “Voca People,” which opens in The City on Tuesday, is counting on that. Read More
June is about to bloom, and with that comes a long list of activities to pack into San Francisco Pride month. Kathy Amendola hopes that Cruisin’ the Castro Walking Tours will be one of them.Fortunately, even the most historically savvy locals might find themselves surprised by what Amendola is showcasing. Recent comments on TripAdvisor.com, which ranks the two-hour historical tour among the Top 20 of 150 San Francisco tours, have been stellar, ranging from “absolutely amazing” to “wonderfully educational.”So what makes it stand out? Read More
It’s best to think of “FWD: Life Gone Viral” as a festive 21st-century farce — with memorable, quirky twists.Onstage at The Marsh, the show, which features the creative genius of locals Charlie Varon and Jeri Lynn Cohen, takes behaviors in today’s über-mod, techno world and places them under the microscope. The premise is simple: an oncologist (Cohen) tells her patient (Varon) that he’s been misdiagnosed with cancer. But there are “unseen observers” in this slightly futuristic play. Read More
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama all are fair game in comic Will Durst’s savage verbal soiree “Elect to Laugh,” now playing at The Marsh. But ask Durst if there’s a secret to the success of his one-man show about the country’s precarious political culture and he’s quick to point out that he’s “just a comic.”“Most one-man shows are about depression and suicide or recovery from cancer, and I don’t have any of that” he says. “I just tell jokes.” Read More
Middle age looks just fine on “Hot Greeks.” The outlandish musical brought to life by the gender-bending — and oh-so-fun — Cockettes decades ago celebrates its 40th anniversary in The City with an inventive Thrillpeddlers production at the Hypnodrome.“It’s one of two original shows, ‘Pearls Over Shanghai’ being the other, that the Cockettes did,” says director Russell Blackwood. “It’s a purely original piece that doesn’t call on a lot of copyrighted material from old movies.” Read More
Metaphorically, Marilyn Pittman knows all too well that life is like a garden. Though it can be unpredictable and riddled with weeds, inevitably, a flower still will find a way to grow out of the manure.The longtime comic — a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation media award winner and KALW radio host— has made a career out of exploring emotional shadows in life, only to humorously bring them into the light. Read More
Almost one hundred years ago, homosexuality was outlawed in Great Britain. That may have been the impetus for E.M. Forster to pen “Maurice,” a novel he began in 1913 that remained unpublished until after his death in 1971. The stage version is now making its U.S. debut at New Conservatory Theatre Center in The City. The wonderfully crafted “boy loves boy, boy loses boy, boy learns to love” endeavor was something director George Maguire says he “jumped at.” Read More
Forty-two years later, does love still mean never having to say you’re sorry? The best person to ask may be Ali MacGraw.The Oscar-nominated star of the 1970 tearjerker “Love Story” hits The City, fittingly, on Valentine’s Day in a Marc Huestis Presents gala and screening at the Castro Theatre dubbed “Love: Ali MacGraw.”“I’m puzzled myself,” MacGraw admits of the film’s allure. “I read the script 40 years ago and I cried. And I thought, ‘It must be a full moon or something — why am I crying?’ I read it straight through again and was very moved by it and amazed.” Read More
Like most eclectic souls in The City, Jefferson Starship titan Paul Kantner has his favorite haunts.
“I love the people that congregate on the corner in front of Caffé Trieste in North Beach,” Kantner says. “It’s like the center of the universe to me. Thank God I was born in San Francisco. If I hadn’t been born here, I would have been executed by now.
“Or, at least, have a very long jail sentence,” he says, laughing. “God, we got away with so much in our day, and still are, for that matter. I don’t know how we do it.” Read More
One never can accuse a Cirque du Soleil show of being short of thrills — but even the beasts running the titular creative empire had to wonder how Cirque could outdo itself upon considering the subject of its new endeavor: Michael Jackson.
The result, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour,” hits Bay Area arenas next week. The mind-bending, hypnotic and heart-pumping show is a kaleidoscope of the King of Pop, whose untimely death in 2009 shot his celebrity higher into orbit — if that was possible. Read More
They descended upon Occupy Wall Street. They joined the Oakland general strike, and they even touched the levee in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans — and it wasn’t all for laughs. The envelope-pushing, activist-comedy troupe Laughter Against the Machine also wants to raise the level of awareness around numerous social and political issues.Just in time for 2012, LATM heads back to The City for its “New Year’s Guerrilla Stand-up Comedy.” Read More
It’s better to be the last “butch” standing than somebody sitting around lost in a trance, sipping on mass media’s curious take on queer identity.At least Lea DeLaria seems to think so.The gutsy comic-singer expounds upon that notion — and more — in her distinctly original music and comedy act, onstage Saturday in Theatre Rhino’s “New Year’s Eve Spectacular.” Read More
Sometimes the truth hurts, but in this case, it’s actually funny: Elayne Boosler is a bona fide “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” virgin.
“Yes, I’ll be getting baptized,” Boosler jokes about her first time participating in the popular annual comedy showcase that comes to life in a bold spectacle Christmas week at — where else? — a Chinese restaurant.
Boosler insists she will also be “putting the Christ back in Christmas” alongside fellow comics Avi Liberman, Jeff Applebaum and Lisa Geduldig.
But as headliner, Boosler has to be on her comedic game. Read More
When it comes to modern-day musicals, it’s easy to raise the pom-poms and cheer for somebody like Tony Award-winning writer Jeff Whitty. The creative mind behind “Avenue Q” and “Tales of the City” simply knows how to tell a story. Or, in the case of “Bring It On,” translate a popular film into a big, bold musical to remember.The show hit the Orpheum Theatre this week. Read More