The Chronicle’s guide to notable arts and entertainment happenings in the Bay Area.
Brava Theater’s ‘Manifesto’ imagines a revolution in post-pandemic theater
Local actor Rotimi Agbabiaka is equally at home in the broad comedy of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, which is performed before hundreds, and in one-on-one interactive encounters with audience members that made up We Players’ most recent show, “Psychopomp.”
Now, the versatile theater artist revisits his satirical film, “Manifesto,” which asks what the theater industry ought to look like as it returns from the pandemic: Underneath all our art form’s politically correct verbiage and diversity initiatives, what is the revolution that would make theater truly more just and equitable?
Screened in person at Brava Theater on June 20, then streamed online June 21-July 18, the piece features a panoply of delectable caricatures — the woke straight, white artistic director with demographic quotas is an especially scrumptious target — all embodied with pizzazz by Agbabiaka, under the direction of Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe.
“Manifesto”: Available to stream starting Monday, June 21. Through July 18. $15. www.brava.org
San Francisco Pride 2021: Parade is canceled, but here’s how the city plans to celebrate
Pride Month celebrations around the Bay Area
— Lily Janiak
The unseemly becomes poetic in Andrew Saito’s ‘Br’er Peach,’ produced by AlterTheater
Bay Area playwright Andrew Saito is our bard of the human underbelly. He writes about things that squish, crunch and slop — things that are at least a little bit unseemly, but which he captures with an honesty and silliness that give their luridness a kind of poetry.
In “Br’er Peach,” his world-premiere audio play produced by AlterTheater, a collaboration with the Parsnip Ship in association with Business Lunch Productions, a juicy peach bobbing down a river has magical powers. It rejuvenates the old and can make a baby of Asian descent emerge from two Black parents.
The show was inspired by both Japanese folklore — in particular the story of Momotaro, a boy who was born from a peach — and African American storytelling modes. Set in Georgia, it follows the animal-filled journey of Momotaro (Resa Mishina) to recover the precious peach, while also weaving in a tale of corporate overreach and predation.
“Br’er Peach”: Available for 48-hour rental starting Monday, June 21. Through July 17. $14-$28. www.altertheater.org/peach
— Lily Janiak
S.F. Symphony’s brass players take a turn in the spotlight
The brass players of the San Francisco Symphony constitute a small marvel of local musical life, but opportunities to savor their artistry alone come along all too rarely. An upcoming concert program shines a welcome spotlight on these musicians.
Opening the program are three excerpts from Giovanni Gabrieli’s “Sacrae Symphoniae” of 1597, arranged by the orchestra’s principal trombonist, Timothy Higgins. These are lively, virtuosic pieces of ensemble writing, conceived for the vast reaches of Venice’s St. Mark’s Cathedral.
Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the program, which also includes “Metamorphosen” — Strauss’ glorious late lament for a Germany brought low by the ravages of the Third Reich — and Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony.
San Francisco Symphony: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 24, and Friday, June 25. $45-$95. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required. Davies Symphony Hall, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-864-6000. www.sfsymphony.org
— Joshua Kosman
Diablo Ballet’s ‘Love Stories’ span 19th to 21st century
Walnut Creek’s Diablo Ballet is serving up swoony, sweet, family-friendly love affairs for its final virtual program of the season, a perfect collection of performances for a bit of summer viewing with your kids.
The chamber-sized company, which has flourished for 27 years, reliably dances with personality and stylistic panache thanks to its longstanding relationships with local ballet stars; including former San Francisco Ballet principal Joanna Berman, who for this program has staged Christopher Wheeldon’s charming 2002 creation “Carousel (A Dance.)”
Along with that contemporary ballet is a technically show-stopping classic: the wedding celebration from “Coppelia,” choreographed by Marius Petipa in 1884. And the zanier aspects of love abound in the company premiere of Bruno Roque’s “Frugivory,” from 2019.
Tickets are available for purchase through 7 p.m. Sunday, June 27.
“Love Stories”: Diablo Ballet. Available to stream Friday-Sunday June 18-20; June 25-27. $35. 925-943-1775, www.diabloballet.org
— Rachel Howard
Diane Arbus curated by Carrie Mae Weems at Fraenkel Gallery
Seeing a well-known body of art through the eyes of another artist’s curatorial choices can be fantastically revealing. “Diane Arbus Curated by Carrie Mae Weems,” on view through Aug. 13 at Fraenkel Gallery, not only exhibits several little-seen samples of the photographer’s work but also brings new eyes to her most famous images.
Weems, who is newly represented by Fraenkel, and will be the subject of a show at the gallery this fall, has cited Arbus as an influence in her own work. When you view Arbus while considering Weems’ work, there are clear through lines between the two. What stood out most on first viewing was Arbus’ engagement with her subjects, and the intensity of their gaze back at the photographer in images like the well-known “Girl and Boy, Washington Square Park, N.Y.C.” and “Black Boy, Washington Square Park, N.Y.C.” from 1965, and the rarely seen “Uneda Counter Woman at a Cash Register, N.Y.C.” from 1962.
Now think about the gaze back in Weems’ work, from “Family Pictures and Stories” to her famous “The Kitchen Table Series.” The show is well worth a visit during its three months at the gallery.
“Diane Arbus curated by Carrie Mae Weems” 11 a.m. -4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday. Through August 13. Free. Fraenkel Gallery. 49 Geary Street, S.F. 415-981-2661. fraenkelgallery.com
— Tony Bravo
‘New Mythologies’ by Masako Miki comes to new Cult space
Inaugurating the new Cult Aimee Friberg Exhibitions space in Yves Behar’s fuseproject is the gallery’s third solo exhibition with artist Masako Miki. On view through Sept. 25, “New Mythologies” features bronze tabletop sculptures, in collaboration with Artworks Foundry in Berkeley; watercolor paintings; and felt sculptures that explore the Shinto concept of the Tsukumogami yōkai — a mythological shapeshifter that can take the form of commonplace objects and undefinable forms.
With the work, Miki plays on the contradictions of the sacred and secular, animate and inanimate; and also uses the shapeshifting narrative to explore concepts of nonbinary identity, along with elements from her life as a Japanese immigrant woman living across two cultures.
Miki has recently been in the news for her sculpture, “Holographic Entities Reminding of the Universe,” on the Pierpoint Lane pedestrian walkway at the Mission Bay Uber Technologies Campus. A short documentary showcasing Miki’s shapeshifters, produced with Altr Studio in San Francisco, will accompany the exhibition.
“Masako Miki: New Mythologies”: By appointment through Sept. 25. email [email protected] for reservations. Cult Aimee Friberg Exhibitions at fuseproject, 1401 16th Street, S.F. 415-238-7385. cultexhibitions.com
— Tony Bravo
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