Review: “Looking East,” tracing Japan’s impact on 19th century Western artists─at the Asian Art Museum through February 7, 2016
When US Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Japan’s Edo Bay in 1853 and forced Japan to sign trade agreements with Europe and North America, the island nation opened up to the West after been virtually isolated for two centuries. This set off a frenzy for all things Japanese, particularly art. European and North American collectors and artists went crazy for the sophisticated woodblock prints of artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai and Japanese aesthetics had a profound impact on Western artists who were hungry for inspiration. Meanwhile, the French coined the term “Japonisme” to describe works made in Europe and the U.S. that incorporated motifs and aesthetic principles from this new imagery from Japan.
Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists, which opened at the Asian Art Museum (AAM) on October 30, is a fascinating travelling exhibition organized by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFAB). It was just in Tokyo and makes the final stop of its international tour at the Asian. It features over 170 artworks and decorative objects from the MFAB’s exquisite collection of Japanese art─the finest in the world outside of Japan─as well as its Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces from painters Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Mary Cassat, Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugin and others.
The novel thing about this exhibition is that the curators have placed Japanese and American and French artworks side by side so that viewers can evaluate how Western artists assimilated these new thematic and formal approaches, making it very engaging for all ages and experience levels, which the Asian excels at. The exhibition is organized into four thematic areas─ women, city life, nature and landscape─ which explore the hallmarks of Japanese art around the turn of the century. Dr. Helen Burnham, the MFAB Pamela and Peter Voss Curator of Prints and Drawings, is the head curator, while Dr. Laura Allen, curator of Japanese art, and Dr. Yuki Morishima, assistant curator of Japanese art, are the AAM curators responsible for its installation here in San Francisco.
“This is the first major exhibition from our collections to examine the profound impact Japanese art and culture had on Western artists around 1900,” said Helen Burnham . “This was a seminal moment in Western and European art─both artists and collectors came to Japanese art with fresh eyes and a readiness to move past conventions.”
“What we’re doing at the Asian is exploring Asia’s global reference and Looking East is a perfect example,” said AAM director Jay Xu, who has made it his mission to rebrand the Asian, shifting the emphasis away from museum and more towards an exciting environment where people can discover their own personal connections to Asian art and culture.
Xu pointed out that many people love Claude Monet’s familiar 1900 painting “The Water Lily Pond” and are even aware that Monet had an actual Japanese style arched bridge in Giverny but they’ll be surprised to see that the bridge in the Monet is “almost a copy” of the bridge in Utagawa Hiroshige I’s “Bamboo Yards, Kyobashi Bridge,” from his 1857 series “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.” With the artworks next to each other, such comparisons are possible. In the landscape section of the exhibition, you’ll also see how Monet was inspired by a wind-blown tree from a Hiroshige print and used it in his “Seacoast at Trouvelle,” (1881). Monet moves away from the Western established tools of perspective and shading and uses the tree to block out the composition’s vanishing point and bands of vibrant color to activate the painting’s surface.
Vincent van Gogh too was heavily inspired by Japanese art, particularly the small unpretentious woodblocks, snapshots of everyday life in Japan, that arrived in droves in France in the 1860’s often as wrapping for porcelain products that were exported to Europe. These prints depicted kabuki actors, geisha and famous landscape scenes, like Mt Fuji. When Van Gogh arrived in Paris in 1886, the Impressionist revolution was in full swing and he realized how important the Japanese influence was on the experimental Impressionists who rejected the rules of the French art academy. Van Gogh built a collection of some two-hundred woodblocks prints and began to copy these compositions on with oil on canvas.
At the Asian, you’ll see van Gogh’s “Postman Joseph Roulin” from 1888 hanging with an Edo period woodblock from Utagawa Kunisada I of a Kabuki actor. The influences here are subtle but the inspiration is clear, according to Asian curator Laura Allen who pointed out that Van Gogh and other Impressionists were increasingly interested in scenes of everyday life and that the physical surface of the woodblocks were fascinating to these artists. “These woodblocks prints were produced quickly with layers of color─it would have taken too much time to use too many colors or patterns─so the compositions lacked depth, had large areas of flat space and relied on strong lines,” said Allen. Van Gogh’s composition has a very flat background, an angularity in the arms and is a portrait of a common working man in society, just like the Kabuki actors.
American born Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) left the U.S. at age 22 to study art in Paris where she developed an interest in the techniques of the Impressionists who were painting everyday scenes that stressed the importance of natural light and shadow in clear color. She too was an avid collector of woodblock prints by Harunobi, Utamaro and Hisoshige. In the 1890’s, she created a series of ten color etchings that permitted her to imitate the simplicity found in Japanese composition and color techniques. At the Asian, her, “Maternal Caress” (circa 1902), an informal portrait of a child clinging to its mother’s neck as she brushes its cheek with a kiss, employs a high vantage point and the intimacy and affection between mother and child. Both of these were common in Japanese art according to Helen Burnham. Hanging close to the Cassatt is Kikugawa Eizan’s woodblock of a mother and child in a similar pose and we can feel the tender bond between them.
Tis the Season─the catalogue is gift worthy: At 127 pages, the exhibition’s stylish and informative catalogue Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan (about $26, 2015) is full of large photographs with chapters authored by curator/editor Helen Burnham, Sarah E. Thompson and Jane E. Braun, all from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, that reflect on the phenomena of Japonisme and its rich contributions to the West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Details: Looking East closes February 7, 2016. The AAM is located at 200 Larkin Street near Civic Center. Parking is easy at Civic Center Plaza garage which offers a discount with your validated AAM ticket. (Get it stamped upon entry to the museum.) Hours: Tues-Sun: 10-5; Thursdays until 9 (end Oct 8); closed Mondays. Admission: AAM Members: free. Adults: general admission w/Looking East $20 weekdays, $25 weekends; Seniors, students, youth (13-17) $15 weekdays, $20 weekends; child (12 and under) free. Reserve your tickets online here.
The horses of Cavalia’s Odysseo are so enthralling they seem to have stepped right out of a dream world. With more horses, performers and acrobats than ever, the internationally acclaimed show opened November 19, in San Francisco, just in time for the holidays. Eight years in the making, this is Normand Latourelle’s latest extravaganza and the Cirque du Soleil and Cavalia co-founder has outdone himself. Odysseo, the second Cavalia Inc. show, had its premiere in Montreal in 2011 and has travelled the globe to be seen by over 4 million fans. The show combines 45 riders, gymnasts and aerialists with 65 magnificent horses on a sweeping arena of sand and dirt, performing stunningly choreographed vignettes that will have you on the edge of your seat. Odysseo takes the audience on a soulful journey to some of nature’s greatest wonders, moving from the Mongolian steppes to Monument Valley, from the African savannah to Nordic glaciers, from the Sahara to Easter Island, and even to a lunar landscape. While the show is a lavish spectacle of beauty, muscle and grace, it never loses touch with the heart-touching affectionate connection between human and horse. Stay tuned to ARThound for an interview with rider Spencer Elizabeth Rose, a native of Exeter, (Tulare County) California.
Performance Details: Odysseo opens Thursday, November 19 and closes January 10, 2016.
Location: All performances at the Cavalia Big White Top Tent, adjacent to AT&T Park, San Francisco.
Tickets: General Admission: $44.50 to $154.50. VIP “Rendez-vous” package: $229.50 to $264.50 includes the best seats in the house, pre-show buffet dining and open wine bar, desserts during intermission and a post-show stable tour. Special pricing for children (2-12), juniors (13-17) and senior citizens (65+). Call (866) 999-8111 or www.cavalia.net
Parking: On site parking is available for a charge.
Artist Janet Cardiff’s “The Forty Part Motet,” a musical sanctuary for the soul, at Fort Mason Center’s new Gallery 308
There are several spine-tingling moments in the 16th century court composer Thomas Tallis’ devotional choral work “Spem in Alium” which expresses man’s hope and trust in the Lord. Canadian sound artist Janet Cardiff’s immersive sound installation, “The Forty Part Motet,” quite literally teases them out. Forty speakers on six-foot tall stands are arranged in an oval. Visitors can walk throughout the installation and hear the individual unaccompanied voices─bass, baritone, alto, tenor and child soprano─one part per loudspeaker─ of 40 choir singers, who were recorded in England’s Salisbury Cathedral as well as the melded symphony of choral sounds, altogether creating a transcendent experience.
Last Thursday, installation was unveiled at Fort Mason Center’s new Gallery 308, making it the space’s inaugural exhibition and first time the installation has been shown in California. Cardiff’s exquisite layering of the voices creates a profound and intimate experience even within a public space. I can’t recall the last time I slowed down enough to be still and quiet for any significant length of time. As I took in the music, the hairs rose on my arms and tears welled. I stayed for four playings. ( The 14-minute piece is a continuous audio loop, comprised of 11 minutes of singing and a three minute interlude.) With the horror that unfolded in Paris over the weekend and uncertainty about what might follow, and the march of the pending holidays, centering oneself in this immersive musical experience is nurturing and healing. I can’t wait to go back.
Cardiff’s contemporary re-working of this classic was created 14 years ago, in 2001 and the piece has since travelled the world. Cardiff originally studied photography and print-making before experimenting with sound and moving image. She grabbed the attention of the art world in the mid-1990s with her site-specific works which explored the sculptural and physical attributes of sound and often had actual physical impacts on the viewers. Born in Canada, she currently lives in rural British Columbia, and works in collaboration with her husband and partner, George Bures Miller. Cardiff and Miller’s pivotal moment came in 2001, when they represented Canada at the 49th Venice Biennale and won the Biennale’s Premio Prize and Benesse Prize. Their artwork was “Paradise Institute” which recreated a 16 seat movie theatre and entangled viewers so that they became witnesses to a possible crime playing out on screen and within the audience─an idea that was cutting edge at the time. The couple’s work has been included top-tier exhibitions and biennales ever since. Recently, they participated in Soundscapes at London’s National Gallery, the 19th Biennale of Sydney in 2014, and dOCUMENTA (13).
“The Forty Part Motet’s” appearance in San Francisco marks a pivotal time for its two co-presentors─Fort Mason Center and SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). It marks a new beginning for Gallery 308, which is a gorgeous light-filled 4,000 square-foot gallery space with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Marin neighborhood. The space originally housed Fort Mason’s maritime trade and repair shops and its three-year renovation was undertaken by Jensen Architects, the creators of SFMOMA’s acclaimed roof-top garden.
“Fort Mason Center has been around for 40 years and it’s been viewed as a rental space,” said Mark Tao, CFO, Fort Mason Center. “We’ve gone through a re-imaging process to put contemporary art at the forefront. Gallery 308 was once ‘military building 308,’ so we’ve reclaiming something from the past in our name which fits our industrial chic look. We worked for over two years to bring this work here and we’re very proud.”
Other changes are in the air at Fort Mason Center too. The San Francisco Art Institute, which currently has campuses in Russian Hill and Dogpatch, is moving to Pier 2 and will start construction there next year. FLAX art and design store recently opened a 5,000-square-foot store in Building D, after losing their space downtown.
Cardiff’s installation marks the grand finale for SFMOMA’s On the Go programming—the museum’s dynamic off-site art events while its building is closed for expansion construction. (Click here to read about SFMOMA’s 2013 collaboration with the Sonoma County Museum.) The new SFMOMA will open in spring 2016. Cardiff’s installation is actually on loan from Napa collectors Pamela and Richard Kramlich’s world-renowned holdings of video and media art. Rudolf Frieling, curator of media arts at SFMOMA was pivotal in orchestrating the loan.
Cardiff’s solo works have long been a part of SFMOMA’s collection and the museum additionally commissioned two audio and video works by Cardiff: Chiaroscuro 1 (1997), made for the exhibition Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties; and The Telephone Call (2001), featured in 010101: Art in Technological Times.
ARThound chats with Janet Cardiff and George Miller
I had a chance to chat privately with Janet Cardiff just before Thursday’s press preview and with her husband/collaborator George Miller in the gallery while the work was playing. Here’s our conversation─
You’ve installed this work in so many spaces now, from those that are overtly spiritual to those that much more secular; what is special about this space here in San Francisco, set against the backdrop of the Bay?
Janet Cardiff─What first and foremost matters to me is the acoustics of the space, how the voices sound to me in the space and it works quite nicely here. The visual is beautiful but the power is in the sound. I like this space because, when you’re looking out, the music serves as a backdrop, like a filmic score of the city and the water. I also like the roughness of the space, its rawness that echoes what it used to be. Because it’s painted white, it’s also very pristine, very contemplative which works with the spirituality of the piece, its whiteness and a light
Is this a spiritual artwork?
Janet Cardiff─Oh yes, Thomas Tallis most definitely wrote this for that purpose with words like “I put all my faith in you, my Lord.” When he was writing, he was very aware of the voices going up into the cathedrals like angel voices. It’s inspired me in many ways, on many levels. I’ve learned so much about absence and presence. Every single speaker is an individual recording of a singer, so each speaker in the space becomes that person. The choir was recorded singing together in a room but the singers were spaced apart and every singer had a microphone. So, it does become very anthropomorphic and a virtual representation of those people. It’s like these people, too, are stopped in time. This setting brings me right back to PS1, its first showing, with these windows overlooking the city. I was reminded of the potency of music to move you and of such a brilliant composition from Thomas Tallis which creates such an emotional release for people. Also, the whiteness of the space adds to the spiritual quality of the piece.
Do you have a particular interest in old music? How was this particular piece brought to your attention?
Janet Cardiff─I was recording in England and one of the singers I was working with gave me a cd of Tallis because she recognized that I liked three-dimensional sound. And that always been an interest of mine, this idea that sound is an invisible media but, at the same time, it affects you emotionally, actually going into your body in a way that something visual can’t. It’s also fascinating that you also aware of it subconsciously in a sculptural way….I immediately saw this as all around me and became so fascinated with the piece. With a lot of finesse, expertise and hard work and with the help of my husband and my producer in England, we were able to record it with the Salsbury Cathedral choir, who were not all professionals. I wanted to work with children for the soprano voices. We brought in singers from all over England for a recording session that was very intense. We had about three hours of recording material and edited it down to the price it is today. I found it very interesting, from the very beginning, to make this virtual choir of a piece from the 1500’s. I knew the piece was written in a religious context, like a lot of music then, but I really did not know that it would have the type of effect that it has on people in all these different environments.
What is the best way to describe it?
Janet Cardiff─Sound is very sculptural for me. I don’t usually make definitions which tend to limit how people might experience the work but this is an installation, a virtual choir.
As a technician what does it mean to be happy with the sound in this space?
George Miller─I’m pretty happy right now. Actually, Titus Maderlechner tuned this piece, I’m just a collaborator but I used to set this up before Titus came on. Every space absorbs the frequencies in a different way so when it moves to a new place, tuning is required to make sure that it feels right, right being appropriate to the piece. At first, the bass (the lower register voices) weren’t coming through because glass in this space was absorbing the sound and they weren’t getting the presence they needed. We brought those voices up to fill the space more. The space also responded to the sopranos and sounded too harsh, so we had to work with that too.
Everyone talks about the Cloisters as “the place” but Janet and Titus set that up and I wasn’t there. For me this is as good as it gets, the sound is so clear. I was tearing up and I’ve heard this thousands of times. For me, it never gets boring and it always gives me a reaction. If I don’t get that reaction, which is a tingling up and down my spine, then I know I have to make it do that.
Details: The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff runs through January 18, 2016 at Gallery 308, Fort Mason Center, Landmark Building A, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, 94123 (Greens Restaurant is at the other end of this building.) Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: noon to 8 PM; Sunday: 11 AM to 5 PM. Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. Tickets: Admission is free but complimentary tickets are required for entry and can be reserved at motettickets.org. Due to high demand, visitors are advised to reserve tickets well in advance. A limited number of same-day walk-up tickets will be available to visitors throughout the installation. Follow #40PartMotet for availability. Parking: ample paid parking is available on an hourly basis at Fort Mason Center and payment is via credit card in machine.
Venice’s Biennale Arte 2015 closes with a full weekend of events that will take place from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November, at the Central Pavilion, Giardini, Arsenale and Giardino delle Vergini. This was my first time to attend the sprawling exhibition which opened May 9 and included over 80 national shows and a main exhibition curated by Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor. Generlly, the national pavilions are where politics play out but, this year, Enwezor’s general theme “All the World’s Futures,” which involved 136 artists from 53countries, turned out to be highly political with a large number of artists lobbing harsh and complex critiques of the forces behind the global economy. Look for my article on ARThound just after the event closes.
“Framing Migrant Labor”─Matt Black, TIME’s Instagram Photographer of the Year, shows his work on the Central Valley at SRJC’s Agrella Gallery, lecture and reception on Monday, November 16
California photojournalist Matt Black was born in California’s Central Valley and lives there now, in the small town of Exeter. Some of his strongest work has been done within a 100-mile radius of his home. Working with a 35mm camera, he establishes a strong visual dialogue with the migrant workers in this drought-parched land, drawing us into the difficulties of their makeshift lives. Each shot is framed in such gorgeous natural light, with such care, that we feel his respect for their individual stories, their dignity, and for the land.
Santa Rosa Junior College’s Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery, will present “Framing Migrant Labor,” featuring 25 large images from Matt Black’s photo essay “From Clouds to Dust,” from November 12-December 10, 2015. In addition to Black’s photos, some 25 works by Sonoma County photographers Morrie Camhi, Otto Hagel, Hansel Mieth and Ernie Lowe will provide a look back at migrant labor from the 1930’s. 60’s and 70’s. The opening reception is Monday, November 16, from 4 to 6 PM and that same day, from noon to 1 PM, Black will talk on his documentary photography work at the campus’ Newman Auditorium as part of its Arts & Lectures series.
Matt Black’s work focuses on the themes of migration, agriculture, social inequality and the environment in his home country and in southern Mexico. Last year, he was named TIME’s Instagram Photographer of the Year (2014) and is a 2015 Nominee Member of the Magnum Photo Agency. He won the 2003 Alexia Professional Grant for his work “The Forgotten Black Okies: A Lost Journey into a Land of Broken Promises” which was named a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. In 1994, Black received an Alexia Student Award of Excellence for his project “The Transbay Terminal: San Francisco’s Destitute Gateway” which documented the homeless people who refuged themselves in San Francisco’s primary mass-transportation depot. In October 2015 he received the W. Eugene Smith Award in Humanistic Photography. He has been has been profiled in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Time and Slate. He just gave a workshop for prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop, considered the premiere photojournalism workshop. Right after his visit to Santa Rosa, Black, in high demand, jets off to Germany where he will be giving a workshop at Hamburg’s LFI (Leica Fotografie International) Workshop.
His current project “Geography of Poverty” in co-production with MSNBC, involves a cross-country trip where Black will stop in over 77 cities, documenting the plight of over 45 million people who live at the poverty level in the United States.
“To have Matt Black speak at our college and to have his work at the Agrella Art Gallery to share with our students and our community, is quite thrilling,” said Renata Breth, SRJC Photography faculty & gallery director. Breth first came across his work in his photo essay “The Dry Land” which appeared in The New Yorker (9.29.2014) and immediately applied for a major grant from the Randolph Newman Cultural Enrichment Endowment (of the SRJC Foundation) to bring the work to SRJC’s gallery where it could be seen by students and the community. “The photo essays speak without hesitation, in a direct, honest and sincere voice. The photos show poverty, drought and farm workers, revealing a shocking reality many of us are unaware of.”
The technology will be of interest too. All of Black’s photos appearing in the SRJC exhibit were taken with 35 mm film cameras, so they are from analog negatives. They are each gorgeously digitally printed on Museo Silver Rag paper, a fine archival paper, which resembles silver halide papers, with exceptional depth and detail.
Details: “Framing Migrant Labor” is November 12-December 10 at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery, located on the Santa Rosa campus on the first floor of the Frank P. Doyle Library, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa. Phone: 707 527-4298. Gallery hours: 10 AM to 4 PM Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays and 1 PM to 4 PM Saturdays. CLOSED: Fridays and Sundays and All school holidays (including November 26th to 28th, 2015) and summer. Parking Permits ($4/day) are required for both Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses.)
Opening reception: Monday, November 16 from 4 to 6 PM.
Matt Black lecture: “Framing Migrant Labor” Monday, November 16, noon – 1PM, Newman Auditorium, Emeritus Hall, Santa Rosa Campus, SRJC (free to the public)
Gallery talk by Laura Larque and Andre Larque: “Historical Perspectives on Migrant Labor in California,” November 17, 2015, noon- 1 PM, Robert F. Agrella Gallery
Ernie Lowe lecture: “Photographing migrant labor in 1965” December 1, 2015, noon- 1PM, SRJC Petaluma Library – Connie Mahoney Reading Room, 12.1.2015
Review: San Francisco Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”─ Soprano Albina Shagimuratova subs as Lucia and is spectacular!
The footnotes for Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova’s fall 2015 season at San Francisco Opera (SFO) might read “The Queen rises,” affirming that the last minute drama that occurs behind the scenes in opera can be as exhilarating as what we see on stage. Before the curtain rose on Wednesday night’s final performance of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, SFO’s General Director, David Gockley, unexpectedly appeared on stage to deliver “goods news and bad news.” Soprano Nadine Sierra , who had been getting rave reviews for her Lucia, was suddenly ill. (Sierra herself was a late replacement for German soprano Diana Damrau who withdrew unexpectedly in September citing personal reasons.) The good news was that Russian coloratura soprano, Albina Shagimuratova, knew the role of Lucia by heart and had agreed to sub, just hours ago, for Sierra.
Shagimuratova had wowed audiences with her dynamic Queen of the Night in the 2012 world premiere of SFO’s The Magic Flute. She, however, had very recently been ill herself and had been too sick to sing Queen of the Night in last Sunday’s matinee performance of the company’s Magic Flute, which was just two and a half days earlier. Many of us who are devoted Sierra fans were sad that we would miss her but elated that Shagimuratova, the beloved Queen, had risen from her bed to take on one of opera’s most demanding roles.
Shagimuratova, who most recently sang Lucia at the Metropolitan Opera in 2014-15, did more than seize the moment─she was on fire. She took us all along with her on Lucia’s tumultuous descent from fragility into madness and executed the famous third act Mad Scene with mesmerizing finesse. Her co-stars, too, delivered the goods, particularly the dazzling Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as Edgardo, Lucia’s secret lover and baritone Brian Mulligan as Lucia’s brother, Enrico. And after Sunday’s performance, we’ll all be watching out for the gorgeous Latvian mezzo soprano Zanda Švēde, a second year Adler fellow, whose lovely voice and stunning red hair made the most of her small role as Alisa, Lucia’s handmaid.
Presiding at the podium, Nicola Luisotti brought a stirring and lush performance from the SFO orchestra and chorus that incisively captured Lucia’s emotional fragility and supported the characters’ most passionate moments. Of the dozen or so Donizetti operas that are considered masterpieces, Lucia is the pinnacle─it contains opera’s most gorgeous and powerful music and abounds with opportunities for vocal embellishment, lush harmonizing and drama. It’s no wonder that this bel-canto (literally “beautiful singing”) masterpiece has been performed in 23 seasons at SFO. This new SFO production, directed by Michael Cavanagh and designed by Erhard Rom, the team behind SFO’s wonderful Susannah in 2014 and Nixon in China in summer 2012, is sure to become a more frequent staple in SFO’s repertoire.
Act 3’s Mad Scene─ The main reason for Lucia’s enduring popularity is the Act 3’s Mad Scene. Great Lucias become one with the music to embody a young woman ripped apart by inner demons. Lucia, mourning her mother’s recent death, has been coerced by her brother Enrico, her closest remaining relative, into an arranged marriage and has been crushed by the loss of her true love, Edgardo. On their wedding night, she stabs her new husband to death and wanders delirious amongst the wedding guests in a bloody nightdress with her hair a tangled mess. Shagimuratova’s singing had been so captivating for the first two acts, particularly Act 1’s “Quando rapito in estasi,” which brought me to my feet, we knew we were in for a treat. Indeed, she left nothing in the tank. Her interpretation of “Il dolce suono…Spargi d’amaro pianto” was chilling, embellished with amazing trills and cascades that showcased the power and sheer beauty of her voice in its highest register. The cadeneza passages, played evocatively by Principal Flute Julie McKenzie from the pit, were very well-coordinated, as if it had been practiced several times. It rightfully earned an ovation with prolonged whistles and whoops and left me with the impression that, for this Lucia, her final exit was a form of victory over the men who had controlled her in one way or another.
Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as Edgardo, Lucia’s lover, oozed with such virility and tonal mastery that now I feel compelled to follow his career. His initial physical encounters with Shagimuratova/Lucia, a new partner, seemed somewhat stiff though, particularly the scene in Act 1where he is comforted by Lucia and lays his lead in her lap but their passion grew more believable as the opera progressed. His grappling with what he perceives as Lucia’s betrayal was enthralling and in the richly textured “Chi me frena in tal momento” sextet that ends Act II, when he bursts in insisting that he still loves Lucia, he was blazing. In the finale, the punishing, demanding Wolf-Crag” scene, Beczala gifted us with rapid, jarring shifts in emotion, bel canto at its best.
And pitted against him, as Enrico, was powerhouse American baritone Brian Mulligan, fresh from his masterful lead in SFO’s Sweeney Todd. And much like that deranged barber, his Enrico also acted from sheer desperation─he was aware of his sister Lucia’s desires and her fragility but torn by his need to save the Lammermore line as well as to ensure his own future. In Act 3’s tour de force showdown between Enrico and Edgardo, both Mulligan and Beczala seemed to be feeding off of each other, singing gloriously and ratcheting up the drama.
Turning heads─ It was impossible to miss the sleekly coiffed redhead mezzo Zanda Švēde, Lucia’s handmaid Alisa. The tall slim beauty was a vision in Mattie Ullrich’s Max-Mara like costuming From the moment she sang her Act 1warning to Lucia to break up with Edgardo, her impassioned voice had me. She was particularly impressive in Act 2’s sextet against much more seasoned singers. Also making the most of his small role and SFO debut was French bass-baritone Nicolas Testè as Raimundo, the Chaplan.
For this new production, rather than the 17th century hills of Scotland, Michael Cavanaugh’s staging sets Sir Walter Scott’s story in “modern-mythic Scotland, a dystopian near future where the lines are blurred between family, country and corporation.” The sets relied on clean-cut marble slabs which opened and closed in various configurations and a huge stone obelisk center stage to impart a stark cool ambiance that was accentuated by dramatic lighting and projections of rolling ocean waves, thunderous skies and hilly Scottish landscapes.
Mattie Ullrich’s costumes ranged from sleek unadorned dresses in charcoal hues to the wedding party’s traditional long full-skirted ball-gowns in jewel tones with intriguing flower headdresses. The flowers were so large they enforced the association of women as walking flowers, mere stylized objects. Poor Shagimuratova presumably had to make do with what was available at the last minute─unattractive Victorian-style dresses with lots of gathers around the waist and bodice, the very worse costuming for a slightly round figure. Her sumptuous voice was all the adornment this beauty needed to make her mark.
Details: There are no remaining performances of Lucia di Lammermoor. You can catch Albina Shagimuratova as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute which has 7 remaining performances and runs through November 20, 2015. For information about SFO’s 2015-16 season, click here. War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.
Review: “The Hyprocites’ Pirates of Penzance” at Berkeley Rep’s Osher Theater─ zany, irresistible, family-friendly
If you’re in the mood for a hopping party and a performance with a wild storyline, The Hypocrites’ Pirates of Penzance , which has its West Coast premiere at Berkeley Rep, hits the sweet spot. The Hypocrites, a Chicago theater group founded by Sean Graney, has reimagined Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance into a fully interactive immersion experience. The result is an offshoot that shares the original classic’s spirit but is fresh and new, one of the most dynamic, zany shows around. The family-friendly production has dropped anchor at the Osher Studio, Berkeley Rep’s new black-box performance space, located just across the street from its two main theaters.
The genius in Penzance lies in the space’s promenade zone─a few of the front rows and a large central area the large area where there is no distinction between where the audience begins/ends and the performance space. The audience is invited to sit wherever they please–the floor, on the edge of a plastic pool, up in the mast of the ship–and to move about freely. Spontaneous interaction between the audience and actors is encouraged and there are a lot of flying beach balls, of all sizes, being joyfully batted around, with ukuleles and banjos strumming. I took a ten-year-old with me to the opening performance and we arrived early enough to enjoy a delightful 15 minutes of “play therapy.” There’s also tiki-hut bar where alcohol and soft drinks can be bought at any time….just amble over and pay.
The plot of this delightful musical is as topsy-turvy as the roaring sea─ right after Frederick (Zeke Sulkes) is released from his twenty-one year long apprenticeship to a band of merry pirates, he meets the web-footed matron Ruth (Christine Stulik) and, having never laid eyes on a woman before, doesn’t understand that there are many younger, more beautiful, female partners to be had. He quickly realizes the mistake he’s made when he meets Mabel (Christine Stulik) and her sisters, veritable sirens in bathing suits (Jenni M. Hadley, Kristen Magee, Becky Poole). They are all the daughters of Major-General Stanley (Matt Kahler). Frederick and Mabel fall in love immediately, which leaves him promised to both Ruth and Mabel.
Frederick creates even bigger problems for himself when it comes to his contract with the pirates he has been contractually apprenticed to for the past 21 years. It is revealed that his birthday falls on leap year, so technically he has a birthday just once every four years. Out of honor, he (insanely) insists on serving the pirates another 63 years to complete the terms which state that he remain apprenticed to them until he turns age 21. Mabel promises to wait. When she and her sisters get dragged off by pirates, a stand-off and uproar ensues between the pirate king (Shawn Pfautsch) and the Major-General (Kahler).
Its screwball humor to the nth degree. The production is carried off by an extremely talented cast who have an innate sense of comedic timing and can all sing and play instruments, and do an amazing job of navigating through onlookers to hit their marks. On opening night, it was a little difficult to grasp the full richness of some of the puns due to pronunciation and acoustics but that’s a detail that will have surely worked itself out by the time you read this review.
Alison Sipple’s retro beachwear costumes take their inspiration from kids clothing, old floral cotton prints and striped sailor suits and canvas deck shoes and literally add another layer of wild color to an already over the top performance.
No place for serious: A man who sat next to me on opening night in the lively promenade section had the audacity to spend the entire performance hibernating in a copy of The New Yorker. This guy, wearing a fully zipped vintage Members-Only jacket, kind of looked like a hunkered over turtle. Despite the many beach balls that bounced off him, he held his ground, never looking up, never smiling. If you’re looking for a serious drama, head for Berkeley Rep’s main stage. If you want a place where you can let your hair down and get a little crazy, Penzance is your show.
Creative Team: Sean Graney (Director); Thrisa Hodits (Co-director); Andra Velis Simon (Music Director); Katie Spelman (Choreographer); Tom Burch (Set Design); Alison Siple (Costume Design); Heather Gilbert (Lighting Design); Kevin O’Donnell (Co-adapter/Sound Design); Miranda Anderson (Stage Manager)
Mario Aivazian (Pirate/Pirate King); Delia Baseman (Pirate/Ruth/Mabel); Jenni M. Hadley (Daughter); Matt Kahler (Major-General/Samuel); Royen Kent (Pirate/Frederick); Kriste Magee (Daughter); Shawn Pfaustch (Pirate King); Becky Poole (Daughter); Christine Stulik (Ruth/Mabel); Zeke Sulkes (Frederick)
Run-time: 1 hour and twenty minutes. At this show, you are free to move around and come and go and purchase refreshments, so there is no intermission.
Details: The Hyporcites’ Pirates of Penzance closes December 20, 2105. The Osher Studio is located at 2055 Center Street, near the intersection of Center and Shattuck. The studio is in the Arts Passage, which runs between Addison and Center Strrets and you can access the passage from either side. Park as if you are attending a production in the main Berkeley Rep theaters and you will be fine as this is just across the street. Tickets: Risers: $55-65; Promenade: $40-50. Under age of 30 (Promenade) $25.
At San Francisco Opera, “The Magic Flute” gets a second run after its big 2012 debut and it’s still magical─through November 20, 2015
Wildly colorful costumes, constantly shifting digital projections, huge puppets, adorable bird-like creatures and kids in contraptions in the sky are a huge part of the fairy tale magic in San Francisco Opera’s sparkling revival of its 2012 co-production, The Magic Flute. And, of course, there’s the music and singing─at San Francisco Opera (SFO), Mozart’s whimsical masterpiece about the power of love and the forces of good and evil is presented in full splendor with sparkling arias, glorious ensembles, and breathtaking orchestral passages. Designed by Jun Kaneko, directed by Harry Silverstein, with David Gockley’s English translations of Schikaneder’s libretto, the beloved favorite opened on October 20 for a ten performance run.
A lot happens in three years though─the novelty of those groundbreaking digital projections, based upon 3,000 of Jun Kaneko’s tempura and chalk drawings, which so mesmerized me upon my first two viewings of the opera, has begun to fade. These projections, thankfully, are now commonplace in opera and have done more to revitalize staging than anything I can think of. (Read my review for the groundbreaking 2012 production here.) Having witnessed that magical innovation firsthand, I can now better appreciate the opera’s total package─singing, music, staging. This review pertains to Sunday, October 25, matinee performance.
Under Lawrence Foster’s baton, Mozart’s opera with its lively arias, thrilling coloratura moments and intricate passages so well-suited to vocal harmonizing was in good hands. He makes his SFO debut with this production and will go on to conduct The Fall of the House of Usher in December. Foster, an LA native of Romanian descent, guest-conducts frequently stateside but has mainly worked in Europe. His tie to War Memorial Opera House is special: when he was just 19, he made his debut conducting the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Since 2013, he has been music director of l’Opéra de Marseille and l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille.
On Sunday, as he guided the SFO orchestra in the lush overture, I found myself growing impatient with Kaneko’s hypnotic visuals which seemed to enforce the music’s slow pace making it seem almost static. The overture itself begins quite slowly and winds through various harmonies before it builds to its rousing conclusion. We were watching a series of straight and wavy colored lines, appearing one by one, slowly build an interwoven grid and then shift through blocks of color and various patterns. It didn’t seem as fresh as it once had. At other times, when singers were on stage, these projections were an enthralling accompaniment and enforced the mood of the music wonderfully, if only they could be better synced to the music, on a micro-level.
Nimble soprano Sarah Shafer as Pamina, sang her famous Act 2 aria of lament “Oh, I feel it” (“Ach ich fuehl’s”) lyrically and hauntingly. She sang Rosetta in this summer’s world premiere of SFO’s La Ciociara (Two Women), and is capable of great empathy in her singing and acting. Her wonderful chemistry with Papageno/Efraín Solís made their Act 1 duet “In men, who feel love,” (“Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen”) pure joy, aside from its very vernacular language. Shafer was applauded enthusiastically after each of her solos and given a standing ovation at the end of the opera. Soprano Nadine Sierra will sing the role in November.
Second year Adler Fellow, tenor Efraín Solís, as Papageno, has such a warm and engaging speaking voice and a natural flair for comedy that he immediately won the hearts of the audience. He imbued his wonderful singing with so much personality that he made his zany character the opera’s focal point. And his endearing Papagena, second year Adler Fellow, soprano Maria Valdes, made the most of her brief time on stage as well.
Queen of the Night, Soprano Kathryn Bowden, subbing for Russian soprano, Albina Shagimuratova, grabbed my attention in Act 1 with her first recitative and demanding aria, “Oh, Tremble not, my dear son” (“O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn”). The former SFO Merola participant and winner of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Florida District sparkled in her high range as she aimed to persuade Prince Tamino to rescue her daughter Pamina from the grips of Sarastro. In Act 2, when she is enraged that Tamino and Pamina are collaborating with Sarastro, she let loose full force with the Queen’s more famous aria, “Hell’s vengenace boils in my heart” (“Der Hölle Rache”), singing powerfully, scornfully to Pamina while thrusting a knife into her hands and ordering her to kill Satastro. While she didn’t quite achieve the raging high drama that completely undoes an audience, she hit all the high notes and pulled off the exhausting passagework with great precision.
Lyric tenor Paul Appleby made his San Francisco Opera as the young Prince Tamino. His expressive voice was wonderful in his Act 1 aria “Oh heavenly and rare image” (“Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön”) but his acting not as expressive.
German bass-baritone Alfred Reiter, as wise High Priest Sarastro, had a very imperial manner and put his rich deep voice to great use in the lower ranges called for by his role. On the other hand, Greg Fedderly’s Monostatos looked and acted like a character straight out of The Cat in the Hat.
While all the singers were special in their own way, I was drawn to two sets of triplets: the delightful Three Ladies─Jacqueline Piccolino (First Lady), Wang (Second Lady) and Zanda Švēde (Third Lady) who sang so harmoniously together, each with a wonderful voice and the adorable three young boys/guiding spirits (Michael Sacco, Pietro Juvaram Rafael Larpa-Wilson) who are sent to guide Papageno and Tamino on their adventure. The boys sang angelically with their delicate high voices while hovering above the stage in brightly colored triangular containers.
The English translations by David Gockley, SFO’s General Director, with additional material by Ruth and Thomas Martin, were contemporary and very well-rhymed (when called for) but went way too far into vernacular and slangy language for my tastes. Papageno’s “ Oy vey,” in particular, got to me.
Details: There are 6 remaining performances of The Magic Flute─Wed, Nov 4, 7:30 PM; Sunday, Nov 8, 2 PM; Thurs, Nov 12, 7:30 PM; Sat, Nov 14, 7:30 PM; Tues, Nov 17, 7:30 PM; Fri, Nov 20, 7:30 PM. Tickets: $26 to $381. For information about SFO’s 2015-16 season, click here. War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.
The 7th Petaluma International Film Festival starts Friday, October 16, and offers a weekend of really diverse world cinema
When did you last see a film from Burkina Faso, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan or Macedonia? With 35 independent films from 18 countries, the 7th Annual Petaluma International Film Festival (PIFF7) offers a line-up that covers these and other remote corners of the globe, along with films from more familiar places, including Petaluma. This year’s festival is Friday through Sunday at Petaluma’s Boulevard 14 Cinemas, and offers 16 full-length films, 19 shorts and the popular Sonoma Filmmakers Showcase with several filmmakers in attendance. There’s also a new feature film from Petaluma’s director A.D. Freese, Bastards y Diablos, which has its Northern CA premiere at PIFF.
Organized by Saeed Shafa, who founded the popular annual Tiburon International Film Festival in 2002, PIFF was created to support new indie filmmakers, great storytelling and international points of view. Since most filmmakers start their careers out by creating a short film, Shafa has purposely paired all the feature-length films with at least one short film to demonstrate to the audience that short stories can be highly effective and so can new filmmakers.
Friday’s Opening film:
The festival kicks off at noon on Friday with German filmmakers’ Florian Heinzen-Ziob & Georg Heinzen’s documentary Original Copy (2015, Germany), a delightful ode to Mumbai artist Sheikh Rehman who lovingly creates one-of-a-kind hand-painted film posters for an old movie palace in Mumbai. Romanian director Andra Tévy’s 17 minute short The Wall (Mur, 2014) will also open the festival. PIFF offers six screenings daily, running from noon till just before midnight.
Sunday’s Closing film:
The festival closes with a Sunday 10:15 PM screening of American director Tim French’s crime drama Intersection (2015) about a troubled man who is haunted by the circumstances of his daughter’s death in a car crash and returns to the small town where she died. Screening with this is Italian director Francesco Gabriele’s comedy, Italian Miracle (2015), a 9 minute short which screened at Cannes this year and is set in rural Italy where a young man is called upon to translate an English speaking woman’s confession to the local priest.
Saturday’s Sonoma Filmmakers Showcase:
Now in its third year, the Sonoma Filmmakers Showcase, Saturday at 6 PM, will screen four shorts from local filmmakers, recognizing our community’s rich and diverse talent. All the filmmakers will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A. On the program—Bill Chayes’ Metal Man (2014, 37 min). John Harden’s New (2014, 16 min), Janna Ji Wonders’ I Remember (2015, 30 min), and Quinn Fujii’s Nashville Yacht Club (2015, 10 min).
Full schedule here.
Film descriptions here.
PIFF Details: The 7th Petaluma International Film Festival is Friday, October 16, through Sunday, October 18, 2015 at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas, 200 C Street, Petaluma. Tickets: All screenings $12; buy tickets during the festival at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas or online (click here) with a handling fee. Passes: All inclusive festival pass is $180 and a day pass is $60. (click here) For more information: Phone (415) 251-8433 or email: email@example.com .
The 38th Mill Valley Film Festival starts tonight and runs through October 18─here are ARThound’s favs
The 38th Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF38) is upon us─it kicks off this evening with two opening night films─Tom Hopper’s The Danish Girl and Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight─ and an always opulent gala afterwards at Marin Country Mart. The festival runs full force (11AM to 10PM) for the next 10 days at several Marin venues, all within close range of Sonoma County.
Even with the catalog in hand, a 60 pager, redesigned to make it easier to figure out, it takes time and planning to decide which of the 170+ films and special programs to attend. Long-time programmers Zoë Elton, Janis Plotkin and Karen Davis are so tuned in to our North Bay tastes, every film is a de facto good choice but I’ll point to some standouts.
I have a soft spot for world cinema that delivers a great story (the quirkier the better) and takes me to a (beautifully-filmed) place I’ve never been. I also love documentaries that expose and inspire. There are always a handful of films from Cannes and some that represent foreign language Oscar nominees. As for the tributes and special programs, if you have the time, go to as many as possible. Every special program I’ve attended at this festival has been well worth the extra money and I’ve been inspired to do wonderful things as a result. In 2012, after seeing Luc Besson’s amazing bio-pic, The Lady, and hearing guest Michelle Yeoh interviewed about playing Burmese activist, Aung San Suu Kyi, I visited Myanmar for two weeks and experienced it on the brink of its transformation. I got involved with supporting a school and I visited Suu Kyi’s family home in a posh suburb of Yangon─it was surrounded a high wall─and left flowers in tribute.
These are my recommendations for this year’s not-to-miss films and events─
Embrace of the Serpent:
Thirty-four year-old Columbian director Ciro Guerra is no stranger to Cannes. His 2009 drama The Wind Journeys, which competed in the Uncertain Regard category, was filmed in some 80 locations all over Columbia and tracked a musician’s restorative journey to return an accordion. His Embrace of the Serpent took this year’s Directors’ Fortnight prize at Cannes which is the top Art Cinema prize and it’s Columbia’s submission to foreign-language Oscar category. Rich is the only way to describe the rare Amazonian languages you’ll hear and the exquisite black and white photography of fabled Amazonian landscapes. The story unfolds from point of view of European explorer and a Shaman who work over the course of some 40 years to search for a sacred healing plant. The thoughtful film delivers a fairly comprehensive critique of the destruction of indigenous cultures at the hands of white invaders. Cast member Brionne Davis in attendance. (Ciro Guerra, Columbia, Venezuela, Argentina, 2015, 125 min)
The first feature film shot in Myanmar and a first feature for it its director, Brian Perkins, too, Golden Kingdom is a prescient widow into the culture of this remote fabled land. This is the story of four young boy monks, all orphans (played by non-professional actors), who are left alone in a monastery in Shan State in Northeast Myanmar when their elderly head monk receives a letter and takes off on a journey. The film cleverly uses the Buddhist motif of pursuit of enlightenment and knowledge and traditional Burmese storytelling to explore the unknown and overwhelming new world the boys encounter as they decide to leave and venture out into the countryside, only to encounter a land that is still engaged in remnants of a violent separatist uprising. (Brian Perkins, US, 2015, 103 min) in Burmese (10/13 5PM; 10/15 2PM Sequoia 1)
When’s the last time you saw a film from Iceland or heard their language, Íslenska (Icelandic), spoken? Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams, winner of the Uncertain Regard Prize at Cannes, weaves the story of two brothers, both single and getting on in years, who compete fiercely each year for valley-wide recognition for having the best ram. They haven’t spoken in 40 years but are forced to come together in order to save what’s dearest to their hearts—their sheep. Shot in remote lush valleys of Iceland, with added color in the peculiar characters of the two brothers, the film is also infused with some Norse humor. (Grímur Hákonarson, Iceland, 2015, 93 min)
We’ve all heard of young girls cloistered away to protect their virginity and make them marriage worthy by their tradition-bound families. Here’s Turkish female director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s take on this. Mustang weaves a story of five young carefree Turkish girls, all orphans, who under the “protection” of their grandmother and uncle, are punished severely for being seen at the beach interacting with boys in what is interpreted as an indecent act by townspeople who report them. One moment they are free and then they are not. They are subjected to virginity tests, beaten and then essentially locked up until it is time to try and marry them off. They don’t go down without a fight though and thus the aptness of the title–these gorgeous young mustangs, with their amazing flowing hair, yearn for the very freedom that defines them. The filmmaker has crafted a potent critique of the suppression and demonization of female sexuality that is alive and well in Turkish society. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, France, Germany, Turkey, 94 min)
The message of Su Rynard’s riveting documentary, The Messenger, is urgent─songbirds are disappearing and many species are in serious decline. Changes in our world have brought utter catastrophe to theirs and soon they will be gone. Each year, twice a year, songbirds embark on a dangerous and difficult migratory journey. Every species has its own story to tell but the resounding commonality is that songbirds are in danger. Whose song will we hear when they are gone? The film is full of gorgeous shots of birds and clips of bird songs. Director Su Rynard in attendance. (Su Rynard, Canada, France, 2015, 90 min)
Son of Saul:
First time director László Nemes’ Son of Saul (Saul Fia) is a Holocaust film that won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and everyone’s buzzing about. (Earlier this week, NPR’s Terry Gross devoted a full hour to the film, click here, to read or listen to her interview with the director.) The dark story is centered on Saul Auslander (Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian Jew Sonderkommando at Auschwitz-Birkenau who is forced to assist the Nazis with the killings of Jews and the gruesome disposal of bodies afterwards. In exchange, he is given some special privileges. When he spots a young boy’s body that he believes is his son, he sets out to give him a proper burial. The film captures the organization and chaos of the camps like no other film has and, at its core, it is the story of one man’s brave rebellion and humanity. The camera rarely leaves his face in which there are worlds of grief. The story is based on the actual testimonials, the so-called Scrolls of Auschwitz. (László Nemes, Hungary, 2015, 107 min) image: MVFF
Amnesia Centerpiece Presentation, October 13:
An interesting take on a Nazi story and moral culpability by Swiss director Barbet Schroeder. Amnesia is set in picturesque Ibizia and the story involves a younger man’s attraction to an older woman, who is hiding the fact that she is German, and much more, from him. The young DJ tries to crack this hard nut by peeling away her layers. Writer/director Barbet Schroeder in attendance (Barbet Schroeder, Switzerland, France, 2015 96 min)
At RUSH but keep your eyes out in Bay Area theaters for─
The Assassin (Nie Yinniang) (Hou Hsia-hsien, Taiwan, 2015, 105 min) spectacular Ibizan landscape (Thurs 10/8 6:16 PM; Sat 10/17 8:30 PM─both screenings at Rush)
Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015, 118 min) (Sun 10/11 5:30PM; Wed 10/14 4 PM──both screenings at Rush)
The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia, 2015, 118 min) (10/16 7PM; 10/18 11AM─both screenings at Rush)
Details: MVFF38 is October 8-18, 2015. Screening venues include: Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael); Century Larkspur (500 Larkspur Landing Circle); Lark Theater (549 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur), Century Cinema (41 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera); CinéArts@Sequoia (25 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley), Throckmorton Theatre (142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley) and other venues throughout the Bay Area.
Online ticket purchase is highly recommended (click here to be directed to film descriptions, each with a “Buy Ticket” option. (Online purchases have a $1.75 per film surcharge). There are also several box offices for in person purchases, offering the advantages of getting your tickets on the spot, no service fee, and picking up a hard copy of the catalogue—
Smith Rafael Film Center 1112 Fourth Street Sept.19-Oct 7, 4–8 pm (General Public)
Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, 85 Throckmorton Ave, October 7, 11 am–3:00 pm; Oct 8-18, 10 am to 15 min after last show starts
Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center 85 Throckmorton Ave October 1, 11:00 am–3:00 pm October 2–12, 10:00 am to 15 minutes after last show starts