Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 43 / 23 October 2014

Fine Arts - Living in
high aristocratic style

A step back in time, and for most of us a vicarious step up in class, Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House, the latest decorative arts exhibition at the Legion of Honor, is a stroll through history, art, culture and architecture via several generations in the life of one of the grandest aristocratic mansions in England.
(read more)

Music - Partenope:
Can you Handel it?

The San Francisco Opera's latest foray into the challenging and musically rich world of Baroque opera opened last week with George Frideric Handel's Partenope. The well-cast, attractive, and exceptionally witty production, first staged at English National Opera in 2008, won an Olivier award as Best New Opera Production in 2009, and it has obviously held up well during the interim.

Christopher Alden's marvelously stylish, often risque and endlessly inventive direction moves Handel's rarely performed romantic comedy forward in time some 200 years to the glittering 1920s Paris of salons, Surrealists and sexual ambiguity.

(read more)

Out There -
Paging Mr. Turner

Recently found in the arts pages of The New York Times: "The honor of the week's best film [at the New York Film Festival] belongs to Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner. (read more)

Film - A tale of
two pelicans

It's a fine line between human and animal, threatening to break down at any instant, which is why homo sapiens has devised taxonomic categories to ensure those other people out there with hair, claws, eyes, and lungs like ours stay in their place. (read more)

Theatre - Demon barber of wartime London

If you've always wanted to see Sweeney Todd, you probably have. (read more)

Theatre - Bloody rites

This was a week for Grand Guignol, the theatrical form specializing in gore and grotesquery, first with a trip to TheatreWorks' Sweeney Todd, and the following night to the 15th annual installment of Thrillpeddlers' Shocktoberfest. (read more)

Books - Show business

You sing all the songs, and can probably hum the dance arrangements. But how well do you remember the actual words of classic Broadway musicals? (read more)

Film - The end of American innocence

In CitizenFour, documentary-maker Laura Poitras catches that rare moment in the making of a reluctant celebrity, the moment before a beautiful young man – on the cusp of 30, but still looking like a distracted grad student – becomes a digital-era debutante. (read more)

Out & About - Octoberly

Remember when you were in grade school and you made leaf prints with tempera paints? How about the crayon scribbles you covered with black paint, then scratched out Halloween cartoons? (read more)

Film - Is Paris burning?

March, 1974. It's been raining like hell for 10 of my first 17 days in San Francisco, and I'm getting cabin fever. (read more)

Dance - Swans in heat

Why is it so hot in here? Isn't it hot in here? Am I coming down with –? Oh no, it's just the first act of Swan Lake embarrassing me again. (read more)

Music - The Tosca
that Harvey heard

Harvey Milk's last night at the opera, an institution he adored, was on Nov. 25, 1978, two nights before he was murdered.
(read more)

Books - Gays in the hood

"This is the only place to be ourselves, to be with people who are like ourselves and not be looked down on," is a key theme expressed by an anonymous resident of Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., featured in University of British Columbia associate professor of sociology Amin Ghaziani's new book.
(read more)

Lavender Tube - She kissed a girl, and liked it

TV is just so good this season, we could be watching around the clock. (read more)

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