-Fundraiser - Aggregate Space Gallery One of the most consistently thrilling spaces in Oakland is holding their annual fundraiser this Saturday, to help them not only survive but prosper in these trying times for Bay Area art galleries. Experiences will be auctioned off, experiences will be had in the gallery, and it's going to be one heck of a party. Do not miss!
-Art exhibit - I'll Tell You Later at Headlands Center for the Arts It's always exciting to see the Graduate Fellows exhibition at Headlands after the seven artists have completed their year-long residency post-graduation, and this is a particularly strong group. Themes of temporality, environment, social conscience, and play all make appearances in their work, and I liked how the art is curated by Joanna Szupinska-Myers into a "light" room and a "dark" room.
-Theater - The How and the Why at Aurora Playwright Sarah Treem finds an electric plot device with which to explore the issues contemporary women face, and how two particular generations cope. Martha Birgham and Nancy Carlin are riveting as they spar over scientific ideas and feminist ideals, and they should receive an award for remaining complete pros even when the theater had to be evacuated for a medical emergency during the performance I saw.
-Book - Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secor Not an easy read, but an important one, as Secor traces the history of Iran's intellectuals and reformists since the revolution. I finished the book with a much richer understanding of the many viewpoints that have shaped present-day Iran, and with so much respect for activists like Asieh Amini who fight for change even under threat of severe torture and death.
-Online magazine - Art Practical AP's current issue "Moving Target" takes on the idea of collaboration/cross-pollination and features some real gems, among them a story/illustration project from the trio of Lindsey Boldt, Anne McGuire, and Steve Orth, as well as video pieces by Jennifer Locke/Camille Roy and Elaine Kahn/Trisha Low/Monica Raden. Also keep an eye out for a yet-to-be-published conversation between Margaret Tedesco and Kevin Killian.
Through March 8 - Dennis Gallagher: Shape / Structure at Rena Bransten. Unless they've closed the show a smidge early ahead of their move to Minnesota Street Project (yay!) you have one more day to see Dennis Gallagher's intensely absorbing sculptures and works on paper at Rena Bransten Gallery. Gallagher was an important artist and teacher in the local scene before his death in 2009, and he is still very very much missed.
March 8 - Eleanor Friedberger at the Independent. I just saw her a few months ago when she did a free show at the Brick & Mortar to premiere songs off her album New View, and I can't wait to see her again so soon. Certified goddess.
Through March 13 - Bodily Engagements at Interface Gallery. For the past two months Interface has been bringing together performance and visual artists into exciting juxtapositions, and the project series concludes with sculptures by Lauren McKeon and a movement piece by Renée Rhodes and Melissa Lewis entitled Endless. I saw it yesterday and highly recommend swinging by this Saturday to view for yourself.
Mel Prest and Martha Clippinger
Closed (sorry!) - Mel Prest and Martha Clippinger: Project 9 at c2c project space. This was one of the best shows I've seen yet in Kirk Stoll's intimate exhibition/live/work space. Both artists have an innate grasp of color, optics, and form that is sheer pleasure to behold, with Prest's paintings contrasting nicely with Clippinger's more sculptural work, and they clearly had a lot of fun working together to make best use of the space too.
John Mulaney and Nick Kroll
On a recommendation from my friend Carrie, who is never ever wrong, I impulse-bought a ticket to go see Nick Kroll and John Mulaney perform their "Oh, Hello" characters from Kroll Show at Herbst last week. And just like that now I'm officially a huge Nick Kroll fan. That was some serious comic genius, and yes there was Too Much Tuna.
And last but definitely not least, please enjoy this clip of Renée Fleming singing the most beautiful aria of all time. meriko whisked me off to see her recital at Zellerbach Saturday night, and while the monsoon raged outside we thrilled to her renditions of Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, Patricia Barber(!!), and selections from The King and I. All unamplified, bitches.