Year after year, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival gets bigger. This summer, some 750 dancers and musicians in 50 Northern California companies who have been selected after a long, exacting audition process are appearing in five weekends of programs.
The festival’s traditional home, the Palace of Fine Arts, is being renovated, so many 2011 events are taking place in the Novellus Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, as well as performances June 11-12 in Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Read More
Visitors to the de Young Museum's next monster show, "Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris," should not expect the dark rainbow wall colors that graced the museum's two recent Impressionist exhibits.
According to one of many strict rules from the lending museum, all gallery walls must be white. Read More
An original copy of England’s — and history’s — landmark document, the Magna Carta, is on view through Sunday in one of the Legion of Honor’s most beautiful galleries, which features the art of the Renaissance.Pointing to the famed paper, displayed under the golden Mudéjar ceiling from Toledo among religious paintings from the 16th century, curator James Ganz says, “That’s about 300 years older than all the art here.”Some eight centuries have passed since the creation of this first declaration of the rule of law. Read More
In a musically superb production, San Francisco Opera premiered the third of Richard Wagner’s four-opera “Ring of the Nibelung” on Sunday in advance of three highly anticipated cycles coming to the War Memorial Opera House stage June 14 through July 3. “Siegfried” follows new productions of “Das Rhinegold” in 2008 and “Die Walküre” in 2010. Against recent financial challenges and near-disasters for “Ring” productions elsewhere, David Gockley’s company keeps forging the $24 million cycle, directed by Francesca Zambello. Read More
Calling a concert “The Next Generation of Genius” is not exactly humble, but the Pacific Musical Society has no reason to be self-effacing.
When the 100-year-old organization holds its annual competition winners’ concert and reception June 4 in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, it will present possible successors to violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Ruggiero Ricci, tenor Jess Thomas, pianists Leon Fleisher and Roy Bogas, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici, and scores of other musical celebrities. Read More
For almost a century and a half, opera audiences have flocked to any part of the globe where Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” was being produced.
Now, once again, it’s San Francisco’s turn, and some 40,000 visitors from around the Bay Area and world are expected at the War Memorial Opera House between May 29 and July 3. There will be three cycles of the 17-hour colossus (15 hours of music) divided into four operas. Including individual productions in the past three years leading up to the complete cycles, the cost of the venture is approximately $24 million. Read More
A well-produced play with advanced students is often a win-win: Young actors get to perform, and audiences get to see talented twentysomethings claim their place in the sun. In the case of the American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts Program actors, theatergoers also may earn the right to brag that they’ve seen the likes of Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Benjamin Bratt, Amy Irving, Marsha Mason or Danny Glover back in their school days. The class of 2011 is strutting its stuff in a production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at the Zeum Theater. Read More
Christopher Andrews opened the California Academy of Sciences exhibit “Snakes & Lizards: The Summer of Slither” with the remark: “I’d like everyone to know that snakes are not slimy, dangerous or evil.” Coming from the director of Steinhart Aquarium, a lifelong snake aficionado, it wasn’t surprising. Andrews, after all, shares his office with Balthazar, a 7-foot red-tail boa. Read More
Among the most famous artists in history, and a painter whose bizarre, sometimes savagely grotesque works still are difficult to appreciate for some museum visitors, Pablo Picasso remains a giant of the 20th century.
In 2007, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s unforgettable “Picasso and American Art” exhibit from the Whitney Museum showcased how his work had an impact on artists from Willem de Kooning to Jackson Pollock to thousands of wannabes. Read More
The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra has turned 30, and its youngest member has full appreciation for being part of this famous band.
“It’s one of the best youth orchestras in the country,” says 13-year-old percussionist Benjamin Ring from Piedmont. “Saturday is Youth Orchestra day, and that is my first priority. Even on the day of my bar mitzvah, I ran straight to the rehearsal, right after the service was over.” Read More
There are no tentative responses to Gustav Mahler’s music.
San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, 66, who first experienced it at age 13, calls it “this shattering joyous noise from a supreme symphonist — something that made me a different person.”
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was 15, he says, when Mahler’s music hit him “like a bolt of lightning.” Read More
A large, ancient mosaic depicting a menagerie of common animals and exotic beasts appropriately is the central item in a new show of antiquities that opened Saturday at the Legion of Honor. The Roman floor mosaic, about 1,700 years old, was found accidentally in 1996 during a road-construction project in Lod, Israel. Called Lydda in the Bible, the town is on the Jerusalem-Tel Avivb highway. Read More
Pianos go through an intensive stress test before being sold — machines pound on the keys and pedals relentlessly, with enough impact in nine minutes to measure a lifetime of durability.A remarkable video of the process is at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as part of former San Francisco resident Euan Macdonald’s “9,000 Pieces” exhibit, his first Bay Area show in six years, which features five commissioned works reflecting on the piano. Read More
The 54th annual San Francisco International Film Festival presents a bewildering variety of movies in its lineup of nearly 200 selections, exemplifying both the beauty and drawback of film festivals. The assortment is amazing, but sometimes the brief capsule summaries in program guides aren’t helpful, steering patrons in wrong directions, and not necessarily to the best offerings. Here is a short list of recommended films:
Mike Mills, USA, 2011 Read More
There is a planet, with some evidence of intelligent life, where the still-evolving inhabitants know only 10 percent of the species in their world.
That planet is Earth.
So for Earth Day 2011, which is Friday, here’s a warm-and-fuzzy story about some important creepy crawlers, as scientists from the California Academy of Sciences circle the globe and accomplish extraordinary things — none more dramatic than the discovery of new species. Read More