Aisle Seat

If I Had a Hammer
"I think we're going to have a backlash to the Republican backlash against the arts," says Ellen Gavin, Brava! for Women in the Arts' artistic executive director. "We'll have a renaissance. People have gone to lazier venues, where they don't have to think or feel or be involved; they've moved away from live performance. But that will have to change. I'm optimistic that we can move the pendulum back toward the arts, and to more community involvement in theatrical endeavors." Brava!'s purchase of the York Theater, now renamed Brava Theater Center, is a step toward that goal.

Gavin continues: "If we can make the center commercially successful, that success will help break the dependency mold; that means a place for artists to do good work, to take risks, to keep it happening." Gavin is also encouraged by the influx of new faces and new voices to the theater. "Young people are coming to Brava!, and these kids are our up-and-coming playwrights." The theater building needs lots of renovation, and the work will begin after the site-specific production of Cherrie Moraga's Watsonville closes at the end of June. "The audience for Watsonville will be able to see the bare bones of the theater," Gavin explains, "and over the next few years, they'll see the gradual rebirth of the space." Brava! needs lots of community support to begin the work of reconstruction, and volunteers are welcome. Call (510) 658-4543 to sign up.

Stormy Weather
Anne Galjour trained for the acting biz at school in Louisiana, but after she took time off to raise her son, she found that the best way for her to get onstage was by writing her own solo performance pieces. Her latest, Hurricane/Mauvais Temps, opens at Berkeley Rep on June 5. Galjour sees herself as a storyteller whose focus is "language-based material. I don't use props because they interrupt the rhythm of the story; in this way, nothing gets in the way of the characters." Using humor and an eclectic mix of characters (including Urus Arceneaux, who has been hit by lightning twice), Galjour explores "the rituals of life and of a culture to make drama." Her goal is "to create images that make a bright light in your mind." Call (510) 845-4700 for tix.

Sexy Stuff, or Stuff About Sex
New Conservatory Theater ends its first "Pride Season" with "Sexy Shorts," a presentation of very short plays by gay and lesbian authors. Call 861-8972. ... Luna Sea presents Disputed Territory, in which 30-plus queer, bisexual, and transgendered women (and a few good men) explore gender identity through performance art, comedy, and dance, June 7 through June 23. Note: Performances on June 16 and 23 are for women only. Call 863-2989.

By Deborah Peifer

 
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