Arts & Entertainment

People who are shunned because they are physically unattractive are the subject of “Happy Face.” (Courtesy Dark Star)

‘Happy Face’ takes in-depth view of individuals deemed unsightly

Clunky but genuine film tackles rarely addressed subject

People who are shunned because they are physically unattractive are the subject of “Happy Face.” (Courtesy Dark Star)
Chloë Grace Moretz is a woman on a major mission in “Shadow in the Cloud.” (Courtesy Vertical Entertainment)

Get ready for anything in ‘Shadow in the Cloud’

Demented WWII-set flick has nimble filmmaking, girl power, monsters

Chloë Grace Moretz is a woman on a major mission in “Shadow in the Cloud.” (Courtesy Vertical Entertainment)
Drawing from his own life, Kemp Powers cowrote “Soul,” the new film from Pixar about a music teacher and jazz player. (Courtesy DeborahColeman/Pixar)

Kemp Powers brings his expertise to ‘Soul’

Playwright adds authenticity to Pixar’s latest offering

Drawing from his own life, Kemp Powers cowrote “Soul,” the new film from Pixar about a music teacher and jazz player. (Courtesy DeborahColeman/Pixar)
With tunes both scathing and heartwarming, Bruce Springsteen’s 2020 release “Letter to You” exemplifies the rocker’s versatility. (Courtesy Danny Clinch)

Top 10 rock albums of 2020

Despite a dearth of concerts, musicians released truly remarkable records

With tunes both scathing and heartwarming, Bruce Springsteen’s 2020 release “Letter to You” exemplifies the rocker’s versatility. (Courtesy Danny Clinch)
From left, Diana Lauren Jones as Cordelia, Jessica Powell as King Lear, Ron Chapman as Duke of Burgundy and Yohana Ansari-Thomas as King of France appeared in San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2020 Free Shakespeare at Home production of “King Lear.” (Courtesy San Francisco Shakespeare Festival)

For Bay Area theaters, the show must go on

With stages shut, many troupes found new ways to tell stories in 2020

From left, Diana Lauren Jones as Cordelia, Jessica Powell as King Lear, Ron Chapman as Duke of Burgundy and Yohana Ansari-Thomas as King of France appeared in San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2020 Free Shakespeare at Home production of “King Lear.” (Courtesy San Francisco Shakespeare Festival)
The Oak Ridge Boys' William Lee Golden, second from right, is working on an album of classic tunes with his sons slated for release next year, along with a biography. (Courtesy photo)

William Lee Golden recalls music from his youth

Oak Ridge Boys baritone records classic tunes with his sons

The Oak Ridge Boys' William Lee Golden, second from right, is working on an album of classic tunes with his sons slated for release next year, along with a biography. (Courtesy photo)
Tenor Pene Pati appears in San Francisco Opera’s stream of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in January. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

S.F. Opera, buffeted by pandemic, resolutely heads for brighter future

Challenging year spurs company to ‘look at new artistic horizons’

Tenor Pene Pati appears in San Francisco Opera’s stream of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in January. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
Louis' diner on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Perched above the Sutro Baths, the diner closed for good in July 2020 after 83 years in business. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Remembrance of meals past

San Francisco said goodbye to some classic restaurants in 2020

Louis' diner on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Perched above the Sutro Baths, the diner closed for good in July 2020 after 83 years in business. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Wine Spectator named the Bodegas Marques de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2010 as its best of 2020. (Courtesy photo)

A close look at Wine Spectator’s best of 2020

California vintages are well represented on the top 100 list

Wine Spectator named the Bodegas Marques de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2010 as its best of 2020. (Courtesy photo)
Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets appear in “Diamonds” from George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” on Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2021 virtual season. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

SF Ballet adapts to COVID’s challenging footing

Dancers stay in shape preparing for 2021 digital season

Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets appear in “Diamonds” from George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” on Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2021 virtual season. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)
Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha are convincing couple in “Sylvie’s Love.” (Courtesy Nicola Goode/Amazon Studios)

‘Sylvie’s Love’ a sexy, old-fashioned melodrama

But classy, engaging film with a Black cast lacks depth

Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha are convincing couple in “Sylvie’s Love.” (Courtesy Nicola Goode/Amazon Studios)
Gal Gadot reprises the title role in “Wonder Woman 1984.” <ins>(Courtesy Warner Bros.)</ins>

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ saves the day in 2020

Appealing superhero brings laughter, cheers and sighs

Gal Gadot reprises the title role in “Wonder Woman 1984.” <ins>(Courtesy Warner Bros.)</ins>
Milk Bar general manager Erik Ross stands outside the Haight Street venue on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Federal aid could provide life support for live music venues

Details of how ‘Save Our Stages’ money will be distributed remain unclear

  • Dec 23, 2020
Milk Bar general manager Erik Ross stands outside the Haight Street venue on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
X — from left, DJ Bonebrake, Billy Zoom, Exene Cervenka and John Doe – released “Alphabetland,” its first album in 27 years, in 2020. (Courtesy Kristy Benjamin)

X, with new album, stays home for the holidays

‘Tough times make for good art’ says Exene Cervenka

X — from left, DJ Bonebrake, Billy Zoom, Exene Cervenka and John Doe – released “Alphabetland,” its first album in 27 years, in 2020. (Courtesy Kristy Benjamin)
The funny nostalgic “A Christmas Story” airs, starting Christmas Eve, in 24-hour marathon broadcasts on TBS and TNT; it’s also streaming. (Courtesy TBS/TNT)

Christmas comforts: 15 essential movies and ‘toons bring holiday joy

Spirit-lifting classics, new and old, are online and on TV

The funny nostalgic “A Christmas Story” airs, starting Christmas Eve, in 24-hour marathon broadcasts on TBS and TNT; it’s also streaming. (Courtesy TBS/TNT)
Steve Perry, who famously took a long break from the pop music world, released “Traces (Alternate Versions and Sketches)” this month.<ins> (Courtesy Myriam Santos)</ins>

Steve Perry strips songs down on second ‘Traces’

Legendary Journey vocalist reimagines soulful tunes on new recording

Steve Perry, who famously took a long break from the pop music world, released “Traces (Alternate Versions and Sketches)” this month.<ins> (Courtesy Myriam Santos)</ins>
Raven Bar SF offers the tequila, lime and cranberry Red Christmas. (Courtesy Raven Bar SF)

The eight shots of Christmas

Attempt for seasonally-themed 12-drink column falls a bit short

Raven Bar SF offers the tequila, lime and cranberry Red Christmas. (Courtesy Raven Bar SF)
Atsuko Maeda plays a Japanese TV show host who visits Uzbekistan for work in the affecting “To the Ends of the Earth.”(Courtesy Kim Stim)

A Japanese TV host journeys in evocative ‘To the Ends of the Earth’

‘The Last Blockbuster’ an engaging, nostalgic documentary

Atsuko Maeda plays a Japanese TV show host who visits Uzbekistan for work in the affecting “To the Ends of the Earth.”(Courtesy Kim Stim)
Billy Bob Thornton perfectly plays the title character in “Bad Santa.” (Courtesy Columbia)

Yule jewels: 14 Christmas movies break with tradition

Holiday films with a twist are online for streaming pleasure

Billy Bob Thornton perfectly plays the title character in “Bad Santa.” (Courtesy Columbia)
Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis are excellent in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a new film based on a play by Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson. <ins>(Courtesy Netflix)</ins>

August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ pierces the soul

Chadwick Boseman’s brilliant, poignant final performance is in ively musical drama

Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis are excellent in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a new film based on a play by Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson. <ins>(Courtesy Netflix)</ins>