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The People's Theater 

Barbarians inside the gates

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ONGOING 11/17-12/12

In a world ruled by dollars -- and how many you have in your bankroll -- you'd think that rich folks would have the pick of the litter when it comes to the choice of where to live. Yet even those who possess multiple stock portfolios, bodyguards, and celebrity names still routinely get turned away from the metropolitan penthouse home of their dreams.

Why? It's the politics of co-ops. The selection process to get into these collectively owned apartment buildings can be elitist, petty, and downright brutal. Charles Grodin's new play, The Right Kind of People, takes a look at the horrors folks face when they apply to live in an upscale Manhattan co-op, and it's not just the stuff of fiction. Grodin served on the co-op board of a high-end Fifth Avenue apartment building for several years in the 1990s, and came away with a mess of unsettling but uproariously amusing tales of cattiness and what Grodin calls "legally sanctioned bigotry" involving an abused elderly doorman, the witch-hunting of a suspected lobby-flower thief, and lots more. In addition to shining a spotlight on snobbery, the play also tells the story of a surrogate father and son who face their own crisis of integrity. The reputedly disgruntled Grodin, better known as the infamously wry and sardonic actor from Midnight Run and Rosemary's Baby, previews People Wednesday night at 8:30 (and the show continues through Dec. 12) at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Building D, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Tickets are $20-38; call 441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.
-- Karen Macklin

Singing the Blue

SAT 11/20

A lot of cultural mixing doesn't work that well: We're thinking, for example, about Madonna's bindi phase. Bridge Across the Blue, the brainchild of poet Pireeni Sundaralingam and violin player Colm O'Riain, is just the opposite. After 9/11, the pair took note of increasing attacks on immigrants and thought to bring together musical representatives from some of the affected communities. The result is a CD that mixes Irish songs with Lakota traditions, Filipino poetry with American jazz, and stories of railroad workers with beat-boxing. The release party begins at 8 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez (at 23rd Street), S.F. Admission is $15; call 550-1839 or visit www.bridgeacrosstheblue.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Frida's Future

FRI-SAT 11/19-20

Plenty of people would like to be named successor to Frida Kahlo. Her answer-to-no-one style, exciting life, and powerful canvases are all worthy of homage. Performance artists Jesusa Rodriguez and Liliana Felipe are often considered Kahlo's torchbearers, but in Cabaret Pre-Hispanico, they don't exactly make kissy faces at the painter: In one of the duo's vaunted comedic sketches, they spotlight Kahlo's bad teeth and potbelly. The wife-and-wife team's show also features a slew of award-winning songs and bits of theater, starting at 8 both nights at the Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St. (at York), S.F. Admission is $22-25; call 647-2822 or visit www.brava.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Gaining Admittance

MON 11/22

Ben Chasny's sad, serious psychedelic ragas tend to attract a rapt, respectful audience. Performing as Six Organs of Admittance, Chasny produces recordings that mostly feature one guitar, subtle yet complex percussion, and his gentle vocals, often in an abstract, questioning mode. He's not your average rocker dude -- not by a long shot. Now Chasny has joined some of his longtime collaborators in local assault-psych favorites Comets on Fire. Who knows how many more shows he'll play as SOOA? Chasny and Horse of Course open for Smog at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $12; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

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