Arts & Entertainment

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>
Jules Shear, who wrote hits for Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles, recorded his latest CD in his home studio in upstate New York. (Courtesy photo)

Versatile Jules Shear goes ‘Slower’ during COVID

Flames still flicker for old-school singer-songwriter

Jules Shear, who wrote hits for Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles, recorded his latest CD in his home studio in upstate New York. (Courtesy photo)
From left, Smuin performers Lauren Pschirrer, Brennan Wall and Tessa Barbour dance in Smuin’s “The Christmas Ballet,” the contemporary ballet troupe’s popular holiday show presented in three different online programs through Dec. 24. (Courtesy Ricardo Dyer)

Holiday events: Have yourself a streaming little Christmas

Pandemic-era shows offer holiday spirit to be enjoyed from home

From left, Smuin performers Lauren Pschirrer, Brennan Wall and Tessa Barbour dance in Smuin’s “The Christmas Ballet,” the contemporary ballet troupe’s popular holiday show presented in three different online programs through Dec. 24. (Courtesy Ricardo Dyer)
The Curran and Pomegranate Arts present performance artist Taylor Mac in “Holiday Sauce…. Pandemic!” <ins>(Courtesy Little Fang)</ins>

Taylor Mac’s wacky as ever in ‘Holiday Sauce … Pandemic!’

Wild, anything goes show glitters and dazzles online

The Curran and Pomegranate Arts present performance artist Taylor Mac in “Holiday Sauce…. Pandemic!” <ins>(Courtesy Little Fang)</ins>
Expansive views atop DAOU Mountain add to the enjoyment of the great wines. (Julie L. Kessler/Special to S.F. Examiner)

A plethora of pinot and plenty of pooches in Paso Robles

Getaway offers fine wine, dining and an encounter with dogs

Expansive views atop DAOU Mountain add to the enjoyment of the great wines. (Julie L. Kessler/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Stuart Schuffman (aka Broke-Ass Stuart) is observing a big birthday on Dec. 16. (Courtesy Dijon Bowden)

Broke-Ass Stuart turns 40 with virtual roast

Cool, creative friends gather online to celebrate, fundraise for ‘a voice for working people’

Stuart Schuffman (aka Broke-Ass Stuart) is observing a big birthday on Dec. 16. (Courtesy Dijon Bowden)
Artist and activist Miguel Gutierrez is the subject of the charming short film “My Neighbor, Miguel.” <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>

Miguel Gutierrez makes treasures from trash

Short film showcases quirky 72-year-old artist, AIDS activist

Artist and activist Miguel Gutierrez is the subject of the charming short film “My Neighbor, Miguel.” <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Winemaker Theresa Heredia has been at Gary Farrell Vineyards since 2012. (Courtesy photo)

Russian River Valley Neighborhood wines are notable

Gary Farrell releases are among the area’s most striking offerings

Winemaker Theresa Heredia has been at Gary Farrell Vineyards since 2012. (Courtesy photo)
Diego Luna and Sienna Miller star in “Wander Darkly,” a psychological romantic drama by Tara Miele. (Courtesy Lionsgate)

Tara Miele’s ‘Wander Darkly’ fascinates and frustrates

‘76 Days’ looks at COVID-19 crisis in Wuhan, China

Diego Luna and Sienna Miller star in “Wander Darkly,” a psychological romantic drama by Tara Miele. (Courtesy Lionsgate)