Saturday, June 17, 2017

Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” at the Town Hall Theatre, Lafayette through June 24

Intrigue and humor abound in this clever comedy. Although written by Wilde in 1893, its themes of politics, infidelity and the corruption often intertwined with wealth and power remain relevant today.

Set in 19th century London, the story surrounds politician Robert Chiltern and what transpires after an unknown woman comes forward with a letter about a transgression from the past. It also takes a humorous look at marriage and whether an ideal union of this kind can actually exist.

Stephanie Wright Hession

Left to right: Dana Lewenthal, Emily Garcia, Heather Kellogg and Nathaniel Rothrock in the Town Hall Theatre’s production of “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde

Left to right: Dana Lewenthal and DC Scarpelli in the Town Hall Theatre’s production of “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde

Left to right: Heather Kellogg and Dennis Markam in the Town Hall Theatre’s production of “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde

Left to right: DC Scarpelli and Amanda Leigh n the Town Hall Theatre’s production of “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde

Photos by Jay Yamada

The Town Hall Theatre Company’s production of “An Ideal Husband” is directed by Susan Hovey.

Special events:
7 p.m., Saturday, June 17: “A Wilde Night at Town Hall,” featuring local authors. Costumes are encouraged.
8 p.m., Friday, June 23: Theatre Club, A post-show talk

Through June 24. “An Ideal Husband,” Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St., Lafayette. Tickets $25-$32. Discounted tickets available for seniors and youths. (925) 283-1557, www.townhalltheatre.com

Friday, May 26, 2017

Berkeley Repertory Theatre extends “Monsoon Wedding” through July 9

Due to its popularity, “Monsoon Wedding” has been extended at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Sunday, July 9 with seven additional performances.

A musical based upon director Mira Nair's 2001 film of the same name, "Monsoon Wedding," centers upon the tempest that starts when family members arrive in Delhi to enjoy four days of festivities surrounding an arranged marriage between the only daughter from a contemporary, upper-middle-class Indian family and an Indian-American fellow that she has yet to meet. 

Things go comically awry after it’s discovered that the bride is having an affair, her father is experiencing major financial problems and hidden family secrets are revealed.

-Stephanie Wright Hession


At Berkeley Rep, Anisha Nagarajan (Alice) and Namit Das (PK Dubey) in the world premiere musical “Monsoon Wedding,” based on director Mira Nair’s 2001 film. 

At Berkeley Rep, the world premiere musical “Monsoon Wedding,” based on director Mira Nair’s 2001 film. (back row, l to r) Ali Momen (Congress), Sorab Wadia (CL Chawla), Monsoon Bissell (Shashi Chawla), Rohan Gupta (Varun Verma), Palomi Ghosh (Vijaya), and Andrew Prashad (Mohan Rai); (front row, l to r) Mahira Kakkar (Pimmi Verma), Kuhoo Verma (Aditi Verma), Michael Maliakel (Hemant Rai), Krystal Kiran (Saroj Rai), and Meetu Chilana (Grandmother). 

At Berkeley Rep, Namit Das (PK Dubey) in the world premiere musical “Monsoon Wedding,” based on director Mira Nair’s 2001 film. 




All photographs courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Through July 9. “Monsoon Wedding,” Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley.(510) 647-2949, www.www.berkeleyrep.org

Tickets: $40-$125. Discounted tickets available for those younger than age 30.






"The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll," at the de Young museum, S.F. through August 20

The mid-1960s brought free-spirited musicians, activists, artists and writers in search of enlightenment to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. By the summer of 1967, it attracted an estimated 100,000 young women and men, who also fanned out into nearby Golden Gate park.

"The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll" at the de Young museum celebrates this era with an eclectic display of more than 300 cultural artifacts. These include photographs, rock posters, fashions, music and psychedelic light shows.



The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other local bands pioneered the "San Francisco Sound." 




At the same time, psychedelic light shows by Bill Ham, Ben Van Meter and other creatives-along with rock-and-roll posters featuring hand-lettering and pulsating hues by artists Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Wes Wilson-added to the groovy vibe.







On the fashion scene, designers Birgitta Bjerke, aka 100% Birgitta; Mickey McGowan, aka the Apple Cobbler; Burray Olson and Jeanne Rose created particular types of attire that set the Bay Area counterculture apart from conventional America. Through crotchet, embroidery, hand-painting, knitting, leather work, re-imagined denim, tie-dye and other techniques and materials they invented wildly imaginative pieces.

























At its core, the Summer of Love was a social and aesthetic movement happening in the midst of international upheaval. This namesake exhibition explores the pivotal role San Francisco played in helping to change societal norms.

-Stephanie Wright Hession











All images courtesy of the de Young Museum.

Through August 20. "The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll," at the de Young museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F. 

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday and open late on Fridays: 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., June 2-August 18. 

Members: Free; $25 adults; $20 seniors (65+); $20 Students with valid ID; $10 youth (6-17); Free for children 5 and younger. (415) 750-3600, www.deyoung.famsf.org










Saturday, April 15, 2017

Out and About: Enjoying spring at the Filoli estate in Woodside

The emerald-hued pastures bordering its extensive driveway offer only a hint of the splendor of Filoli. Situated on the outskirts of Woodside, this 654-acre, early 20th century country estate features a grand Georgian home and magnificent, English Renaissance-style gardens. The former residence of William Bowers Bourn II and Agnes Moody Bourn, today it’s a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Operated by the nonprofit Filoli Center, it's an enchanting place to discover.

Stephanie Wright Hession

Visitor and Education Center

Pay admission fees, pick up a visitor map, a self-guided tour brochure and watch a video about the history, architecture and families at Filoli, including its final owners William P. Roth and Lurline Matson Roth. The Quail’s Nest cafe offers soups, paninis, salads and sweet treats, along with views of the wooded Friends' Native Plant Garden.



Bourn-Roth home

The Bourns hired Willis Polk to design this 36,000-square-foot modified Georgian manor, which incorporates other architectural styles. After the Bourns' deaths in 1936, the Roths purchased Filoli and, in 1975, Lurline Matson Roth donated her estate to preserve it for all to enjoy. Don't miss the gorgeous ballroom with Ernest Peixotto's murals.





Sunken Garden

Bruce Porter helped the Bourns plan Filoli's exquisite outdoor spaces and Isabella Worn supervised its plantings. The 16-acre formal English Renaissance garden contains beautiful terraces, parterres, pools and lawns. In the Sunken Garden, pink tulips accent twin oblong pools and a larger pool, which reflects the clouds and sky.



Walled Garden

Fanciful, ebony gates; walls fashioned from red brick; flower beds of pale pink, fuchsia, blue and white hyacinths; large camellia trees with a profusion of pink and garnet blooms; the Wedding Place, with its 15th century Venetian fountain; and a sun dial with the inscription "Time Began in a Garden," create a magical setting here.



Garden House

Rows of French doors and comfortable chairs with ottomans make this airy conservatory an ideal spot to take a break. Designed by Arthur Brown Jr., architect of iconic structures such as San Francisco City Hall, it's located in the Walled Garden. Stop to view the mythical faces created by Gaston Rognier that adorn its exterior cornices.















Filoli, 86 Canada Road, Woodside. Check in at the Visitor Center before visiting Filoli’s house and gardens. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday; last admission is 4:30 p.m. 

Admission: $20 Adults; $17 Seniors (65 and older); $10 Students 17 years and younger with valid student ID; Free children four years and younger; $10 Members of the Trust for Historic Preservation, Free for Filoli members, $10 K-12 educators with employee ID from San Francisco, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda Counties. 650-364-8300, www.filoli.org

Friday, March 31, 2017

“Phantom Space,” a new series of works by Chris Dorosz at the Scott Richards Contemporary Art gallery, S.F., April 6-29



“My Space in Upper Canada,” digital print on archival Epson paper by Chris Dorosz



“Stasis 111,” (2016), acrylic paint on plastic rods by Chris Dorosz




“Sleepwalker.web,” by Chris Dorosz
Images courtesy of Scott Richards Contemporary Art.

Through April 29. Cocktail reception for the artist, 5-7 p.m., Thursday, April 6. “Phantom Space,” Scott Richards Contemporary Art gallery, 251 Post St., Suite 425, S.F. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday. Sunday and Monday by appointment. (415) 788-5588, www.srcart.com

-Stephanie Wright Hession

World premiere of David Gordon and Pick Up Performance Co (s) “Live Archiveography” at the ODC Theater, S.F., April 20-22

The ODC Theater presents choreographer and director David Gordon and Pick Up Performance Co(s) in “Live Archiveography.” Gordon, a founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, spent the last several years organizing and interpreting his archives. Named “Archiveography," the collection will be housed in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library.

Scott Cunningham and Karen Graham. Photo by Paula Court
The performance aspect, “Live Archiveography,” includes scripted story, projected collage and live performances by Valda Setterfield, Karen Graham and Scott Cunningham. With it, Gordon reexamines the artifacts of his career to reveal the relationship between an artist’s personal life and career.

David Gordon. Photo by Andrew Eccles
“Live Archiveography.” April 20-22. $30-$35. ODC Theater, 3153 Seventeenth St., S.F. (415) 863-9834, www.odc.dance/davidgordon

-Stephanie Wright Hession


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“Dialogues in Drawing" group exhibition features contemporary women artists at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery, S.F. through May 13

In honor of Women’s History Month, this mixed-media, group exhibition features works by contemporary women artists Damali Abrams, Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Amy Cutler, Donna Dennis, Torkwase Dyson, Anna Sigmond Gudmundsdottir, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Rosemary Mayer, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Ebony G. Patterson, Adrian Piper, Tracey Rose, Alison Saar, Simone Shubuck, Shinique Smith, Sam Vernon and Saya Woolfalk. 

With diverse backgrounds and from varying generations, the women all share a connection through drawing at the core of their creative process and utilize it as a way to explore aesthetic, cultural, political and social issues.


"Beautiful Dreamer," (2015), acrylic, ink, fabric and collage painting on paper. Shinique Smith.


"Starfish," (2016), ink, graphite, fluorescent acrylic and photo transfers. Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze




"Dock and Ship," (2016), gouache and watercolor on paper. Donna Dennis.




"Fossa," (2016), graphite on paper. Amy Cutler.

Jenkins Johnson Gallery, 464 Sutter St., S.F. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday. (415) 677-0770, jenkinsjohnsongallery.com

Images courtesy of the Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

-Stephanie Wright Hession

Monday, March 20, 2017

Local artist Jane Kim creates “Flora from Fauna” murals in downtown Redwood City

Visual artist and science illustrator Jane Kim is currently in the midst of working on “Flora from Fauna,” six interactive murals where bald eagles, squirrels, deer, a great blue heron, a fox and even a domestic dog dwell. 

A detail from “Flora from Fauna,” a series of six murals being created by artist Jane Kim.
Utilizing acrylic paint and latex exterior house paint as her media, Kim began the project on March 15 and expects to complete it by the end of April, weather permitting. Her murals will be located on the exteriors of La Tartine, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Polam Federal Credit Union, Marshall Street parking garage, 870 Jefferson and on a bench near city hall.

A celebration of the natural world, the purpose of the murals are to instill in the community a desire to love and protect the earth through art. It's Part of the Redwood City Improvement Association’s efforts to bring beauty to its downtown.

-Stephanie Wright Hession




“Urinetown, the Musical,” opens April 8 at the Berkeley Playhouse


A clever, irreverent and humorous commentary on corporate greed as well as an ode to Broadway musicals, “Urinetown, the Musical,” takes place in an urban town in the near future. There, water is scarce and the Urine Good Company and its president Caldwell B. Cladwell regulate all of the restrooms through a corrupt, corporate system.

Pennywise (Jessica Coker) (center) confronts (L-R): Little Sally (Brittney Monroe), Mr. McQueen (Neal Pascua), Bobby Strong (Nikita Burshteyn), Old Man Strong (Phillip Percy Williams) and Josephine (Melinda Meeng) in Berkeley Playhouse’s production of “Urinetown, The Musical.”

The situation creates an unexpected hero, Bobby Strong, a young attendant at Public Amenity #9, a facility utilized by the poorest in the city. When his father can’t afford the daily bathroom fee and suffers terribly because of it, Bobby rises up and sets the scene for a revolt, a love story and toe-tapping musical numbers.

Bobby Strong (Nikita Burshteyn) and Hope Cladwell (Andrea J. Love) in Berkeley Playhouse’s production of “Urinetown, The Musical.”


(L-R): Old Man Strong (Phillip Percy Williams), Josephine (Melinda Meeng), Bobby Strong (Nikita Burshteyn), Little Sally (Brittney Monroe) and Mr. McQueen (Neal Pascua) in Berkeley Playhouse’s production of “Urinetown, The Musical.”


“Urinetown, the Musical. April 6-April 30. $22-$40. Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. (510) 845-8542, www.berkeleyplayhouse.org

Photos by Ben Krantz Studio

-Stephanie Wright Hession