Art Through March 25 - Steuart Pittman: The Twist at Traywick Contemporary. Pittman's gorgeous abstracted forms are inspired by the architecture of Oakland, and in his color choices you can imagine the faded paint of the warehouses on Mandela Parkway. Don't miss the titles of his artworks either; one in particular made me laugh out loud in the gallery.
Theater Through March 19 - Eclipsed at the Curran. Written by Danai Gurira, who when she's not being a badass on The Walking Dead is also a seriously amazing playwright, Eclipsed takes you deep inside the lives of five women during the recent Liberian civil war. Unforgettable performances from an all-woman cast, extraordinary production design, and history that needs to be better-known outside of Africa -- I cannot recommend this play highly enough.
Film Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's classic manga comes to splatterrific life in the six Lone Wolf and Cub films, recently released by Criterion and watched in quick succession by me. Tomisaburo Wakayama is perfectly stoic as samurai-for-hire Itto Ogami, while Akihiro Tomikawa as his young son Daigoro glares down any and all opponents -- or stabs them in the stomach with a random weapon from his perambulator. Originally released between 1972 and 1974, the movies have some aspects (ahem gender roles) that have not aged so well, but their over-the-top attitude is hard to deny.
Book My favorite resistance tool Daily Action just started a book club, and I was beyond psyched they chose David France's How to Survive a Plague as their inaugural selection. Living in the Bay Area the AIDS crisis still feels very close, and this is a true survivor's tale, rich with historical insight, from someone who was on the front lines. Read the book, watch this interview with France. And next up for the Daily Action book club: Matthew Desmond's Evicted!
Music Last week I was shocked to find out my dead friend Glenn had passed away suddenly, and my entire community has been rocked by the news. I can still barely type it out; it doesn't seem real. Besides being the kindest soul, a sharp wit, and a bon vivant, Glenn was a talented and passionate musician, always popping by my Facebook page to banter with me about music or to make some obscure Blur reference that made me laugh. Many many years ago he organized a group of two dozen geeks into making a 24-hour playlist, and the results are posted for posterity here. He's pogo, I'm nightfall.
Art Through February 25 - Coming Clean San Francisco at Fouladi Projects. A collaboration with awesome local nonprofit Lava Mae, this group show offers an empathetic look at homelessness and features art by Amy Wilson Faville (pictured above), Elizabeth Lo, Danielle Nelson Mourning, Ramekon O'Arwisters, Joel Daniel Phillips, Yon Sim, Kathryn Spence, and SOUND MADE PUBLIC. The exhibition also offers a robust schedule of associated public programming, including an evening with Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, learning about their 'Empathy At Scale' project tomorrow night.
Theater Through February 12 - Love Sick at the Osher Studio. I was utterly enraptured by Ofra Daniels in her adaptation of the Song of Songs, set in both modern Tel Aviv and ancient Jerusalem and rich with live music and dance. This ain't your typical love story.
Barbara Kopple's 2015 documentary Miss Sharon Jones! about the extraordinary singer (and KALX favorite) is a wonderful tribute to one woman's strength. It was finished before Miss Jones's cancer returned one final time, and if you're like me you will weep your way through.
Book It's an especially timely moment to read Louise Erdrich's latest LaRose, a gorgeous, heartfelt book set among the North Dakota Ojibwe at the turn of the millennium but delving back into history as well. It also pairs nicely with this recent article about the young Sioux who launched the Standing Rock movement.
Entrance opened for Bill Callahan (who was reliably divine) at the Starline last Saturday, and he knocked me to the ground with this song. Buy your own copy because all proceeds go to Planned Parenthood. #resist
Through December 11 - Root Connection: 20 Years of the Patti Smith Collection at Mills College Art Museum. In these very sad and troubled times it can be therapeutic to pay tribute to a bona fide goddess, and the current exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum gives Bay Area denizens the chance to do just that. Vitrines of an extensive collection of Patti Smith ephemera are a ton of fun to peruse at leisure, as are the collection of historic gig posters and album covers. A screening room loops key performances and videos, and photos of Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe when they were living together at the Chelsea Hotel in 1970 line one wall right next to Smith's own luminous Polaroids. Ms Smith has long given zero fucks about traditional notions of femininity, of rock 'n' roll, or relationships, and is a constant inspiration to those who tread similarly unconventional paths.