Stage Door

Karen Black: A View of the Heart
Karen Black has been inhabiting offbeat characters to mixed response since '60s films like Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. Her quirky one-woman show (directed by Robin McKee) lurches in similar fashion between self-indulgence and utter delight. When she "acts" the Delta blues or recites Katherine Anne Porter, she calls to mind a school talent show -- it's good enough, but besides Black herself, there's no contextual thread linking the various characters. Just as you start looking at your watch, she relaxes into her own story and proves herself an entertainer of limitless charm. Her renditions of standards like "Ten Cents a Dance" and "Send in the Clowns" are smashing, and the comic sampling of her various voice teachers is an instant classic.

-- Mari Coates

Karen Black: A View of the Heart plays Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 & 10 p.m., and Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Plush Room Cabaret, 940 Sutter. Tickets are $18-25; call 885-2800.

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