By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
1. Google Bus-gate
If a guy sounds too douchey to be real, he probably is — even in 2013 S.F. The supposed Googler yelling at anti-gentrification protesters that "You can't afford it? You can leave!" turned out to be a union activist named Max Alper, and the whole display — the protest, the so-called street theater, the instant national-media reaction — turned out to be one transcendental waste of time. A waste, that is, but for one thing: Maybe this incident, along with the ugly battles of 2013, will help us realize that it's neither the fearful long-timers or the hardworking newcomers who are the real enemy in this debate. It's our caricatures of each other. ISP
So Much Drama
Theater in 2013 showed us that, like pretty much everything else in the Bay Area, we have something for every niche (and fetish). Here are some highlights and lowlights from the year:
Most Pleasant Surprise: The Golden Dragon by Do It Live!
The young company's production of Roland Schimmelpfennig's elliptical script, which weaves together a series of stories all loosely connected by a "Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese" restaurant, was so urgent and artful as to seamlessly meld kitchen-sink dialogue and the mythic storytelling of cutout insect puppets.
Least Pleasant Surprise: Buried Child at the Magic
Sam Shepard's tragedy, one of the great modern American plays, was born in the Magic Theatre, in 1978, but this production featured forced performances with egregious tonal mistakes, as when performer Denise Balthrop Cassidy reacted to the play's climax as if she were in a slapstick comedy.
Best Investment in the Community: The Costume Shop
ACT's leasing of its mid-Market space has been a boon for the theater world. With support from San Francisco Neighborhood Arts Collaborative and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, small theater groups like 2by4 Theatre and Campo Santo have been able to use the space rent-free for performances and rehearsals — a thespian's dream come true.
Most Improved: The We Players
This company, which stages site-specific theater outdoors, typically in national parks, doesn't essay easy tasks. In the past, logistics of crowd-management have disintegrated focus and taxed even physically fit audiences' energy. But with this year's Macbeth, at Fort Point, the company guided its audiences with grace and economy while also letting us explore the extraordinary venue.
Best Coming Out: A Maze by Just Theater
Okay, Just Theater has been around since 2006, but with Rob Handel's play, about the power and danger of art in interlocking worlds — including one that's in the book that other characters in the play are writing — the small company became the talk of the town. Thanks to a partnership with Shotgun Players, those who missed it in the summer will have a chance to make up for their loss; the same production plays at the Ashby Stage in February. Lily Janiak
2013 was a year of renewal and reconsideration marked worldwide by the centennial of Igor Stravinsky's monumental Rite of Spring. Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography for the Ballets Russes famously provoked a riot among the beau monde of Paris in 1913, and dance-makers ever since have striven to achieve similar heights of notoriety. Scandal, aggressive brass, irrepressible creativity, and virgin sacrifices: a legacy that inspired numerous interpretations on Bay Area stages, including the viciously primal version by Yuri Possokhov for the San Francisco Ballet, Mark Morris' abstract notion of spring in Spring! Spring! Spring! at Zellerbach Hall, and Enrico Labayen's spring training-themed rendition in a town obsessed with baseball at Dance Mission.
Most intellectually and artistically compelling was Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and SITI Company's collaborative theatrical production A Rite, given its West Coast premiere at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in October, which fragmented the modernist score and wove it into historical, dramatic, and scientific contexts by considering the impact of art during a time of war — a condition that mankind has not mastered in the intervening century. Punctuated by the ramblings of a shell-shocked World War I veteran, scholarly exposition by a musicologist, and utterances oracular, rational, and strange by other members of the combined troupes, the piece questioned the possibility of a coherent relationship to time, space, and memory. Combining string theory with the antiquated brilliance of the Zoetrope, and virtuosic technique with the arresting power of sheer personal presence, the production acknowledged the past in an experience that could only ever be of the present moment.
Other notable premieres included the sold-out, standing-room-only reception for Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella for San Francisco Ballet, slated to return in 2014, Sheetal Gandhi's captivating one-woman show about the struggles of existing as a woman between cultures in Bahu-Beti-Biwi at ODC, and Shen Wei Dance Arts' West Coast premiere of the dance and visual art installation Undivided Divided at the YBCA, among the most intense 35 minutes of the entire year. Irene Hsiao
A Study of "Studies"
Take a look around you and see if you spot any babies. Found one? Great. If you're in San Francisco, chances are that baby is adorbs beyond compare.
Now take a look at that baby's parents. If you're in San Francisco, chances are that dad is a DILF with an above average penis size and that mom is into serious kink. Notice how tight she wears that baby carrier. #Kinky.