Through October 9 - August: Osage County at Marin Theatre Company. The dysfunctional family dynamics that Tracy Letts captures in his darkly hilarious 3-act play are so eternally relevant that I forget it only premiered in 2007. This is American playwriting at its finest, well worthy of the Pulitzer and the multiple Tony Awards it would win, and MTC's superb production (with performances by an incredible ensemble, and *that set*) knocks it clear out of the park. The main action of the play takes place after a brief introduction by Beverly Weston — aging father to three daughters, husband to pill-popping wife Violet, certified alcoholic. He exits, and the women take over the stage, each a satisfyingly-drawn character with her own set of familial issues and secrets that emerge in clandestine conversations and screaming brawls directed to perfection by Jason Minadakis. Sherman Fracher is a standout as matriarch Violet, as is Arwen Anderson as her oldest daughter Barbara. It can all be excruciating to watch, certainly, but Letts gives an energy and complexity to the trainwreck that makes it impossible to look away. August: Osage County is an instant classic, a play that we will be returning to again and again for decades to come.
SFMOMA RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Hella Vegan Eats Cybele Lyle at Et al. etc. After Pop Life at Minnesota Street Project Cala (or Plaj) Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at SAFEhouse Arts Desire Trails at Headlands Caught at Shotgun KALX
Through October 21 - Intro (Writing's on the Wall) at Slide Space 123. Every time I visit the Mills campus, whether for art or music, I want to write an ode to the gorgeous architecture, the trees, the history of experimentation that hangs almost palpably in the air. I adore their art museum too because they're always showing something fabulous (I intend a separate post at some point about their current Patti Smith exhibition which: wow), and now the Art Department has upped the ante by opening Slide Space 123 just across the courtyard. The inaugural group show at the intimate gallery, expertly curated by Et al.'s Jackie Im, does not shy away from Slide Space 123's mission statement to "pose new problems" as it presents work by a variety of artists who address their own race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation but resist being defined by any single label or identity.
Im quotes Adrian Piper's 2003 Letter to the Editor: "Please don't call me a black artist...Please don't call me a woman artist...I have earned the right be called an artist...I have earned the right to call myself anything I like." Many of the images on display similarly ask the viewer to abandon reductive assumptions, as in Laylah Ali's drawings of tribal figures of her own invention or in Zanele Muholi's clever subversion of how a black South African might be photographed by an outsider. A small quilt and ceramic piece by Nicki Green practically vibrate with the codes and symbols she has embedded on their surfaces, her own references to queer and Jewish histories that have not always been visible. Sofía Córdova and Lauren Halsey both play with stereotypes, how we might judge a person or even an entire neighborhood based on nothing more than outside signifiers or a few words on a business sign. Meanwhile Masami Kubo's very moving video uses the frame of an educational film to share something of the experience of being raised by a Japanese father and a white mother in the Unification Church. All of the artists in the exhibition illustrate how intersectionality is not just a trendy catch-phrase but is instead crucial to understanding how we got to this crazy place in history right now, and how we can move forward.