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Friday, March 27, 2015

Daniel Bryan Sees WrestleMania Main Event as "a personal failure"

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Daniel Bryan, the WWE superstar whose signature “Yes!” chant took hold in the Giants’ dugout during their World Series run, has returned to the ring (and the Bay) after recuperating from a neck injury.

Bryan was the star of last year’s WrestleMania, but as the big show comes to Santa Clara Sunday the fan favorite finds himself buried among mid-card contenders. Arguably one of the best physical performers on the company's roster, and certainly one of the most popular with the fans, Bryan considers his  absence from this year’s main event match as a “personal failure.”

We caught up with the stereotype-shattering, eternal underdog to talk about his recovery, WrestleMania, and his love of San Francisco foodie culture.

SFW: Last time we spoke was at the Be a Star event in Santa Clara. You were telling me you didn’t know when, if ever, you’d return to the ring, and that it might take a month for each inch of your nerve to recover. Tell me what changed?

Daniel Bryan: So I started going to see this guy Greg Roskopf in Denver. He founded this thing called Muscle Activation Techniques. Carson Palmer, a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals who was having a horrible shoulder problem, went there and had great success with the treatment. He could barely even pick up a football at the beginning of the season. Then, all of a sudden, after this treatment he’s the starting quarterback.

I was debating having a Hail Mary surgery on my elbow but my naturopath said “Before you schedule your surgery do you want me to see if you can get in with this guy?” I jumped at the chance.

The treatment was two straight hours of relatively painful stuff, but all of a sudden my strength was back. That had happened before, but in the past, when it came back, it only lasted 30 minutes or an hour. When Roskopf worked on me it came back for five days. I’ve only had two treatments and my strength has held up all the way till now. The last time I saw him was in November, so my strength has been holding up for months. And he said if it ever goes down to come see him again.

I can’t describe why it works — I’m not a therapist. But when he started he said, “If I can help you, I’ll let you know.” Then he started working on me and said, “Yes, I can help you.”

(Watch this video of the match in which the trouble with Bryan’s injury started. He hits his head after a suicide dive to the floor. He feels something is wrong but keeps going, climbing the top rope and delivering one of his signature dropkicks. That’s when he gets what wrestlers refer to as a “stinger.” It’s a pleasant-enough sounding slang term that means you have temporarily loss of feeling in your arms. Bryan would continue to wrestle for months after this injury, until he was forced to have surgery to correct the problem. And no, this is not part of a story line.)

Since you’ve come back from your injury you haven’t eased your style very much, if at all. I was interviewing Jim Ross and he said he had a private phone conversation with Steve Austin about that bump you took from Luke Harper. Can you talk a little bit about that bump, how you’re feeling, and how your injury has been holding up in the ring?

I actually feel real good. The only time I’ve had any setbacks was that match against Luke Harper. That was the only time I had some stuff going down my arm. Mentally when I came back I thought, “I’m not going to do any of this stuff. I need to wrestle an easier style.”

But the problem is I love doing this. I get excited when I’m in there.

Shawn Michaels trained me when he had what was supposedly a career-ending back injury. So we were training in a boxing ring and he was teaching us how to take a back body drop, which is one of the bigger back bumps. I was training with Brian Kendrick, who came into the WWE around the same time as me, and we were taking back body drops and were doing them OK.

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Memoir Shows American Conservatory Theater's Perloff Is a Force of Nature

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM

Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater - CITY LIGHTS
  • City Lights
  • Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater

Stand barefoot on a coastal shore during a storm and you will know what it’s like to encounter Carey Perloff, artistic director for over 20 years at American Conservatory Theater.

Pounding surf overriding one’s own heartbeat, gritty sand between the toes, invigorating wind with the smell of salt so strong it can be tasted — the elemental impact is a natural metaphor for Perloff’s energy and intellect.

“Carey is a force of nature,” says theater director Jon Moscone. “Her intellect is only outpaced by her tireless passion for the arts. She is fearless in every way.”

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Conservatory Theater Announces Fab New Season

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Avenue Q
  • Avenue Q

The food was great and the wine flowed as the venerable New Conservatory Theatre held an elegant soiree to announce its 2015-2016 season. 

NCT founder/artistic director Ed Decker took to the stage to address/entertain the crowd, leaving some to wonder why he wasn't pursuing a career in stand-up. "I need my medicine," he said gleefully, as he poured himself a drink. He held up his flask for all to see. "It's the best self-help guide," he said. "Girl, heal thyself!"

Decker could have taught Neil Patrick Harris a thing or two about hosting the Oscars!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Astounding Antigonick at Berkeley's Shotgun Players

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 10:38 AM

Kenny Toll as Guard, Rami Margron as Antigone, photo by Pak Han
  • Kenny Toll as Guard, Rami Margron as Antigone, photo by Pak Han

No curtain hides the long, curved lick of bare wood that forms the set of the Shotgun Players’ production of Antigonick. Made of light, long planks, it swerves from the floor up to the top of the theater like an asymptotic bowling alley, a daredevil’s roller derby jump, an echo chamber, an arena turned on its side. It might be playful, were it not for the figure of a dead horse suspended perilously over the stage by ropes lashed about its belly. Before the play begins, under interrogation-bright lights, barefoot Nick (Parker Murphy) in tight white jeans revolves slowly upstage right. The message seems clear: no tricks to taint this scene.

Antigonick is Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, the story of a woman’s determination to honor her dead brother against the will of the state, retold by the poet Anne Carson. In Carson’s version, the words are handwritten in all caps, with illustrations by Bianca Stone printed on vellum, that translucent paper that used to be made from the skin of a calf. Like many of Carson’s recent works, Antigonick is a beautiful object as well as a text. It is called a translation, though it choirs with Hegel and Beckett and Virginia Woolf.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Guard: San Francisco Opera Hosts an Evening of Stage Combat

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Dave Maier and Megan Messinger demonstrate fight choreography in a stage combat workshop at the San Francisco Opera on January 13. - PHOTO BY SCOTT WALL
  • Photo by Scott Wall
  • Dave Maier and Megan Messinger demonstrate fight choreography in a stage combat workshop at the San Francisco Opera on January 13.
Brad Pitt will not be pleased as we are about to break the first and perhaps most important rule of Fight Club. As Pitt's now iconic character, Tyler Durden, stressed in the 1999 cult favorite, "The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club." Duly noted, however, the folks over at the San Francisco Opera say otherwise.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

New Club Opens in SOMA, Brings Show Full of Stripping and Poop Jokes With It

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 12:41 PM

D'arcy Drollinger as Champagne - LAWRENCE HELMAN PR
  • Lawrence Helman PR
  • D'arcy Drollinger as Champagne

On New Year’s Eve, the long-closed club Oasis re-opened in SOMA — bringing with it a Rocky Horror Picture Show-esque drag show that's set in a strip club and chock-full of poop jokes. 

The new club's inaugural show, Shit & Champagne: A Whitesploitation Comedy with Dance spoofs 1970s movies such as Charlie's Angels and Foxy Brown, and is based on a true life event — 10 years ago, New York City was having problems with its sewers because patrons were flushing their underwear down the toilet at night clubs.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Harry Thaw Hates Everybody Revives Comedy and Politics of Ragtime

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

  • Heather McAlister
  • M. Graham Smith
 Imagine time traveling to the 1900s and becoming a Broadway sensation, the lover of world-renowned New York City architect Stanford White and the wife of millionaire Harry K. Thaw — and witnessing your husband murder your lover, all before the age of 19. Imagine you are Evelyn Nesbit, the steamy siren whose role in E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime was two-bit, but becomes full-bodied in playwright Laural Meade’s Harry Thaw Hates Everybody.

Directed by M. Graham Smith, the boxing match of a play constructs archetypes, then left-hooks them into a knock down, drag out, music-infested bacchanal. In an interview, Smith shares Meade’s description of the play’s protagonist: “She's a fully matured adult who’s lived and survived an entire insane life and, at the same time, is still a teen vixen on a plaything. Ah, how complex and beautiful and true."

Truth, Smith said, is elusive in today’s sound bite world, but risk is another matter. The play’s structure, with acts set in differing styles from vaudeville to courtroom farce to disjointed junket, enticed him. “That's the guiding principal to my own decision making process,” Smith says. “How much unknown, how much risk? This play's unconventional structure just made me say, "that's for me. I need to figure that out."

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Conservatory Theater's Die Mommie Die! a Scream Queen Delight

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:33 AM

  • Lois Tema

Charles Busch's Die Mommie Die! is a delightful send-up of low those budget psycho-thrillers that Golden Age superstars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford found themselves doing during the 1960s waning days of their careers. Film historians have argued that the movie divas damaged their legacies by doing films like Hush! Hush! Sweet Charlotte (1965), Berserk (1967), or the bizarre, macabre Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962), in which they co-starred. Films such as these are in fact among the most beloved in the Davis/Crawford canon and continue to give drag queens plenty of material to draw from.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Shocktoberfest 15: Halloween Every Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Thrillpeddlers is back with their annual Shocktoberfest. This is the 15th edition of the scary, funny, and popular festival which harkens back to those wonderful spook shows that filled theaters during the 19th century.

Shocktoberfest 15 has been dubbed The Bloody Debutante, and it promises to be an extravaganza of terror and titillation. The show previews tonight and officially opens on Saturday, Oct. 11. 

Russell Blackwood, director of two of the evening's short but scary offerings, chatted with SF Weekly about a grand old theatrical tradition which rises from the grave every year in San Francisco. 

SF Weekly: Can you explain for newbies exactly what Shocktober Fest is?

Blackwood: Shocktoberfest is Thrillpeddler's annual pageant of terror and titillation, celebrating the theatrical genre of Grand Guignol. Now in it's 15th year, ours is the longest-running festival dedicated to the theater of sex and death.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Andrea Martin Joins Pippin Cast in S.F. to Reprise Tony Award-Winning Role

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Andrea Martin performs as Berthe in Pippin. - JOAN MARCUS
  • Joan Marcus
  • Andrea Martin performs as Berthe in Pippin.

In 2013, when actress Andrea Martin won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, she set her golden statue on the ground mid-acceptance speech to nervously double check her notes, eliciting a collective 'Awww!' from audiences across the nation. The musical that won Martin the award? Pippin — where she plays the title character's spirited grandmother, Berthe.

Now, Martin joins the touring cast of Pippin during its remaining performances at SHN’s Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco. SF Weekly caught up with Martin to discuss her role in Pippin, her new book, Lady Parts, and her favorite spot in San Francisco.

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