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.
I have little to no use for the Academy Awards, but every once in a while they manage to reward a truly great film, as when they gave Jiří Menzel's Closely Watched Trains the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1968. Set in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, the film humorously depicts the sexual growing pains of young Miloš (portrayed with perfect wide-eyed sincerity by Václav Neckář) as he half-heartedly attends to his post of apprentice dispatcher at a tiny train station. Milos is much more concerned with losing his virginity than with his duties or with the war, though reality (and tragedy) does eventually creep in almost by accident. Menzel worked closely with author Bohumil Hrabal to adapt his novel for the big screen, and the result is one of my favorite films to come out of the Czech New Wave. The "stamping" scene is one of sexiest things committed to celluloid, in my humble opinion.
March 1 - Chelsea Knight at the Wattis. As part of their year of programming that grapples with the practice of the great Andrea Fraser, the Wattis is hosting a "performative lecture" tomorrow night by NYC video and performance artist Chelsea Knight that promises to be totally rad. She will be taking on the persona of an artist giving an artist talk and will be featuring clips of her past work. Where fact ends and fiction begins, and vice versa, might be completely subjective.
Mica Sigourney by Robbie Sweeny
March 1 - The News: Queer Exceptionality at SOMArts. For those who prefer their performance art with a gay cabaret twist, check out The News instead. Every month a select group of local artists gathers at SOMArts to present new work, with each piece no longer than 10 minutes. Tomorrow night writer Emily K. Holmes is the guest curator and has asked Mia Satya, John Cartwright and Mica Sigourney, Minji Sohn, Kiyan “Kiki” Williams aka Mx Sula, and wild card KVNDRY SINGS to consider the theme of queer exceptionality.
Luisa Frasconi and Lauren Spencer
Through March 12 - Mechanics of Love at Crowded Fire. Dipika Guha's inventive new play doesn't pretend to offer any ultimate answers about love, but her characters certainly try their best to figure things out. Fairzi's husband Glen has a memory condition and keeps eloping with other women when he forgets he's married, but without any rancor Faizi invites the latest one, the ballerina Francesca, to live with her and Glen as a sort of personal assistant. A genial mechanic named Georg further complicates matters, as does the fact that Glen's affliction appears to be catching...
Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and Tim Kang
Through March 27 - Aubergine at Berkeley Rep. What began as a short play about food written by Julia Cho several years ago for Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor is now an exceptional full-length production that remains intimate even as it examines mortality and generational differences. Cho manages to perfectly balance the hard stuff with a sharp sense of humor, but I guarantee there will still be a few tears as Tim Kang's Ray comes to terms with imminent death of his father, a Korean immigrant to the States. Food remains a strong theme throughout the play too, and many of my favorite moments involved the characters describing Proustian memories of meals past. Highly recommend, but do not attend hungry.