Through April 28 - The New Situationists at Pro Arts Gallery. Quickly, get thee to Oakland for this amazing group show that encompasses both historical aspects of the Situationist International movement (active 1957-1972) and contemporary interpretations, including a vibrant roster of activations in Ogawa Plaza, films, podcasts, performances and more. Guy Debord would approve.
Through May 21 - Leni at Aurora Theatre. Seeing two of my favorite local actors (Martha Brigham and Stacy Ross) face off against one another as dueling Leni Riefenstahls was divine pleasure, and in the intimate space upstairs at Aurora the audience is literally drawn into their dialogue. Playwright Sarah Greenman covers an impressive amount of ground in 80 minutes, and does a great job of highlighting Riefenstahl's genius while not letting her completely off the hook either for her role in the Nazi propaganda machine.
Marlon Brando only directed one movie in his lifetime, the mesmerizing western One-Eyed Jacks (in which he also starred). Gorgeously shot in locations like Death Valley and Monterey, the film is an intense depiction of one man's quest for revenge, and it features wonderful and complex performances by Karl Malden and Pina Pellicer alongside Brando himself. Bonus true fact: Brando and Pellicer and I all have the same birthday.
Set in mid-'90s Montego Bay and with all dialogue in authentic Jamaican patois, Nicole Dennis-Benn's novel Here Comes the Sun tells the stories of a trio of women, each with her own unique struggle. Margot has ambitions beyond her job at the local resort, and her sister Thandi is trying to decide what to do with her life after she's done with school...and bleaching her skin to achieve a different social standing. Meanwhile Verdene must live as an outcast in her own town due to her sexuality. I get frustrated when a book with this depth gets the standard chick-lit cover, but I encourage readers to look past it and to dive in.
The last time I saw Phil Elverum perform as Mount Eerie was many years ago at LoBot, when a small gaggle of us stood in a circle around him and listened as he played his beautiful music. The scene was similarly respectful at his sold-out show at the Starline Friday night where he performed the newest Mount Eerie album "A Crow Looked At Me" in its entirety, an album on which Elverum processes the recent death of his wife Geneviève Castrée from pancreatic cancer. For me his grief connected directly to the Ghost Ship fire and other personal tragedy, and that night Oakland stood together, with Phil, and wept.