Run Out of Town
The incorrect aggro-agitators of A.C. canceled all three of last weekend's previously scheduled Bay Area gigs on short notice, reportedly due to an incident that occurred the last time the Massachusetts band visited S.F. At Nightbreak in August of 1993, singer Seth Putnam punched a female audience member in the face with a mike, which this writer can attest was the most thickening thud he's ever heard. The show stopped, the cops came and Putnam rightly spent the night in jail. Charged with assault, he was ordered to perform community service and give the victim restitution. According to A.C. manager Greg Heiman, it's unclear whether Putnam fulfilled his legal obligations, but when the woman's lawyer called Earache, A.C.'s label, to inquire about the band's tour schedule, Putnam got cold feet. Rumors and fliers circulating that people were planning to “confront” A.C. at a 924 Gilman St. show didn't help. “Putnam was totally nervous about coming to California,” Heiman says. “A.C. just wanted to get in and get out.” Noting that booking the notoriously nasty band is nigh impossible under the best of circumstances, he adds that “A.C. will probably never, ever play California [again].” Hey, was that a collective sigh of relief we just heard?
The Fat Lady Sings
Opera has gone street, and folks, it ain't pretty. Composer John Adams and director Peter Sellars (who brought you The Death of Klinghoffer) and librettist/Berkeley professor June Jordan teamed up to create I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, an “earthquake romance” set in contemporary L.A. Sellars seemed genuinely nervous presenting the show last week, which was still in previews and needed some tuning up before it officially opens Thurs, May 11, at the Zellerbach Playhouse. But the problems revolved around the script, not the staging: The stereotyped characters — Young Black Gangsta, Dumb White Cop, Poor Latina Mother — might be easily recognizable to the middle-aged audience that shelled out big bucks for tickets, but they are too simplistic to allow any real confrontation of urban issues. To their credit, though, the producers hired local jazzbos like Dred Scott, Will Bernard and Scott Amendola to play the score (which is a cross between Duke Ellington and Beth Custer) and graffiti artists Nerv, Big 5, Miner, Toonz and others to illustrate each song on banners that descend from the rafters. If this opera signals a trend, we fear what's on the horizon: Maybe a ballet about the riots?
By Mike Rowell, Paul Tullis, Sia Michel