Through December 3 - Third Party at CTRL+SHFT. In a Silicon Valley in which women are vastly under-represented (and often grossly underestimated), curator Tanya Gayer's group show is a breath of fresh ionized air. She has brought together artists who are not only technically proficient — Rhonda Holberton's device that cuts cell phone usability within a certain radius is also a sculpture of minimalist beauty — but also approach today's technological landscape with a keen feminist eye. I loved Angela Washko's video piece Womanhouse (Or: How To Be A Virtuous Woman) Free Will Mode #3 that chronicles various sadistic scenarios from The Sims evoking modern anxiety. Likewise Lark Buckingham's brilliant film Tattle-Tale Heart imagines the complexity of a near future in which our wearables reveal our unedited feelings direct to social media, a gamification of emotion. Contemporary marketers are keen to track our every movement online or off in the interest of trying to generate more capitalist consumption, but these artists insist we are far more than the sum of our data points.
Reggie D. White, Jasmine St. Clair, Clinton Roane, Andy Lucien, Brittany Bellizeare
Through November 27 - The Last Tiger in Haiti at Berkeley Rep. Jeff Augustin's beautiful new play is a tribute to the power of storytelling and an important reminder that there's plenty going on in the world that still needs attention outside of our own country's very serious problems. I also just got an email from Berkeley Rep offering $10 off the following performances, and I wanted to share:
Wednesday, November 23, 7pm
Friday, November 25, 8pm
Saturday, November 26, 8pm
Sunday, November 27, 7pm
Click the above Berkeley Rep link to take advantage of the discount. The code ORANGETREE is automatically applied when you click that link and choose one of the above performances. The fine print: This offer is valid for the above performances of The Last Tiger in Haiti, for seats in sections A and B only. It cannot be combined with any other offer or discount, and sorry, it’s not retroactive.
Through November 27 - Lana Williams: Quiet Riot at Interface Gallery. In this small but very mighty show Williams lets no standard frame contain her, with her pieces seeming to strain at their limits and sometimes bursting clean out of their confines entirely. The quartet of artworks offer a powerful metaphor for what any marginalized person might feel carving out a place in society, and they take on major added significance given recent current events. I kept feeling a shiver running down my spine as I engaged with them this weekend in Interface's intimate space. Williams has created work that can neither be defined as mere painting or as sculpture, but inhabits a rich and unique existence in between.
Through November 20 - Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat at Thick House. I was already planning to give this new Golden Thread production a rave after seeing it last weekend. Then Tuesday happened, and suddenly a play about contemporary Arab American identity seems especially urgent. The spectacular Denmo Ibrahim is riveting as Noor, an Egyptian American writer who is shopping around her romance novel only to find that one potential publisher wants to market her in a more political manner than she is comfortable with. Meanwhile Noor's boyfriend Gamal (James Asher) is starting to act out on his distaste for how certain Arab Americans are portraying themselves in the media, particularly targeting young author Mohsen (Kunal Prasad) and a local sheikh (Munaf Alsafi). Playwright Yussef El Guindi masterfully weaves together the characters' interlocking tales, skewering how the media often reduces Muslims to one-dimensional caricatures and allowing for complexity in the exchanges in his own script. No one comes out perfect, which is perfect because no one is.