In one of the major dance events of the year, the six members of the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company will perform Saturday at Fresno’s Tower Theatre. The New York-based company is very much part of the Taylor brand, and it specializes in performing original Taylor choreography scaled down for a smaller number of dancers. You’ll get a chance to see several famed pieces, including “Company B” and “Esplanade.”
I have TWO PAIRS of tickets to the 8 p.m. Saturday concert to give away to Beehive readers.
To enter the contest, leave a comment on this post telling us if you’ve ever been to a contemporary dance concert. If so, what’s your favorite performance? (Or, if you don’t want to play the memory game, just tell us why you’d like to see this show.)
Deadline to enter is 10 a.m. Thursday. Please don’t enter more than once. I’ll be informing our winner by email on Thursday morning, so keep a watch on your inbox. If I haven’t heard from a winner by 9 a.m. Friday, I reserve the right to pick another. These are paper tickets, so you’ll need to be able to come down to The Bee’s front counter by 5 p.m. Friday to pick them up. Rules are on the jump.
There will be no didgeridoo on Sunday for the Fresno Philharmonic opener. Australian soloist William Barton, who was set to make a repeat appearance in Fresno, had to cancel because of illness. Music director Theodore Kuchar and the orchestra scrambled to find an impressive last-minute replacement. From the Monday announcement:
Instead the Fresno Philharmonic will perform American composer Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, a work completed in 1939. During the past 75 years, the concerto has become one of Barber’s most performed works. Acclaimed violinist James Buswell, who has recorded the work for Naxos, will join Maestro Kuchar and the Fresno Philharmonic for this intensely lyrical concerto. (Buswell received a Grammy nomination for his recording in 2003).
Still on the program is Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” along with Morton Gould’s “Stephen Foster Gallery.” The concert is 3 p.m. Sunday at the Saroyan Theatre.
There’s still a lot more to go of the 25th year of Reel Pride, Fresno’s gay and lesbian film festival. (It opened Wednesday.) A full slate of films continues at two venues through Sunday. In today’s 7 section, Rick Bentley and I reviewed a couple of the films playing this weekend — and for me, my experience was golden. I highly recommend “Lilting,” which plays 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre. I give the film an “A” grade:
This riveting, defiantly quiet gem of a film is a highlight of the festival. Director Hong Khaou, in his self-assured feature-film debut, spins a spare tale set in London of a grieving Cambodian-Chinese mother living in a retirement home who is thrust into an unlikely and tenuous relationship with her son’s equally grieving English lover.
Weaving together themes of coming out, cross-cultural sparring and guilt over aging parents, Khaou crafts a determinedly intimate tone both in terms of visuals and storytelling — but he also has a minimalist streak. (We never learn the occupations of the son and his lover, for example.) Richard (played by Ben Whishaw in a hunched, bracing and sensitive performance), is determined after his partner’s death to forge a connection with the strong-willed June (the veteran Chinese actress Cheng Pei-pei, a potent cinematic force), who doesn’t speak English.
Get that double-snap ready.
We feature the new Good Company Players production of “The Addams Family” as the cover story in Friday’s 7 section. The show opens tonight (I’ll be there) and runs through Nov. 9.
Pat Hunter and Janice Stevens celebrate the 35th anniversary of Gallery II on Shaw Avenue tonight with a reception for the Greater Fresno Area ArtHop. It’s pretty amazing to keep a business open for 35 years, much less an art gallery, and I write about Hunter and Stevens’ accomplishment in a centerpiece story in Thursday’s Life section:
The gallery, a mainstay stop on the greater Fresno-area ArtHop tour, held the third Thursday of each month, opens a retrospective show today. Work going back to the earliest days of Gallery II will be included. The show highlights Hunter’s watercolor paintings of historical landmarks featured in the pair’s books and the regular column they produce jointly in The Bee’s Central Valley magazine.
In addition to my story, I include this ArtHop pick for tonight:
Painters Richard Silva and Cynthia Manuszak team up for a joint show titled “Superman and Me” at the Margaret Hudson Earth Arts Studio, 1946 E. Swift Ave. Both artists deal with their “struggles and joys.” One of Silva’s paintings, titled “Marilyn Monroe Buddha with Cup of Coffee,” include shapes that represent Silva’s recent loss of part of his lung where cancer was removed. He painted “Teeth,” pictured, after he had all his teeth removed. Manuszak’s “Red Woman” depicts “my feeling of loss after being raped as a teenage girl.”
For more ArtHop locations tonight in the north and other parts of the city, check out the Fresno Arts Council’s update.
The injustice at the core of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” isn’t as raw today as when the play came out in 1985. Some events depicted in Larry Kramer’s drama, set early in the AIDS crisis, had occurred just a year before. The fear, anger and throat-clutching sadness among the audience members at the New York Public Theater’s original production must have been suffocating.
But decades later, the injustice in this play — which is receiving a local premiere in a sturdy production from StageWorks Fresno — still seethes and provokes. Even with the distance of time, the choices made by media and government gatekeepers — and some in the gay community — to sweep early news about the epidemic under the rug seem perplexing and bizarre. It’s unfathomable today to think that a scare about Tylenol tampering earned a tsunami of coverage in the New York Times but that a new illness killing hundreds of New Yorkers had to fight to get to the front page. But that’s what happened.
The StageWorks production, directed with heartfelt commitment by J. Daniel Herring, immerses us in the autobiographical world of Kramer. His alter ego is Ned Weeks (played with verve and feeling by Terry Lewis), who vows to stir up a fuss when he realizes that many in the gay community are falling to a disease so new and mysterious it doesn’t have a name. Yet the organization he founds, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, is far from unified on the best approach. He continually clashes with Bruce Niles (Bob Creasy), the group’s president, who favors a less confrontational, more “establishment” approach. At the root of this conflict, Bruce — and many other gay men — object to any attempt to discourage sex in an age of newfound sexual permissiveness.
As Fresno gears up Wednesday for the 25th anniversary of the Reel Pride gay and lesbian film festival, it’s worth checking in with one of its co-founders, Peter Robertson. You can find excerpts of my interview with him in Tuesday’s Life section, along with a review by my colleague Rick Bentley of “Helicopter Mom,” the festival’s opening film. Here’s the extended version of the interview.
Question: You’ve gone full circle in terms of leadership of Reel Pride, right? You were a cofounder, then got out of leadership, and now you’re back to festival director. Walk us through that history.
Answer: Originally, I served as co-founder and co-director, with Ken Fries, for the film festival’s first two years. Then I transitioned to becoming an active volunteer and donor for nearly two decades. Five years ago, I returned to serve on the board of directors and was also secretary for two years, and finally preparing for this 25th anniversary year, the board selected me to serve as festival director.
In Friday’s 7 section, I offer a rundown on some important upcoming events/deadlines for artists interesting in participating in next February’s annual Rogue Festival.
WORKSHOP: The Rogue Performer Workshop, designed for people thinking of doing a show, will be held noon- 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, in the back room of Mia Cuppa Caffe, 620 E. Olive Ave. The workshop is intended for local performers, writers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, or anyone curious about how the Rogue Festival works. Topics include information about the application process, what type of venue might work best for a performer’s show idea, how the box office and getting paid works, and ways to promote a show. Admission is free.
MUSE: Submissions are being accepted through Oct. 30 for the Rogue “Muse” — or inspiration — for the next festival. Entries are sought from local artists. The image chosen will grace the programs, posters, T-shirts and badges for the 2015 Festival. The “Muse” is a Rogue Festival tradition that goes back to its first year. Details can be found at roguefestival.com/muse_contest.
APPLICATIONS: On Oct. 4, Rogue applications for the next festival go live. Rogue staff will be on hand noon-2 p.m. at Mia Cuppa Caffe to help walk people through the process. Applications will go live online at roguefestival.com at precisely 12:47 p.m. Applications, once live, remain open indefinitely, but since the Rogue is non-juried, it is first come first served. Show slots tend to fill up in the first two days of applications.
A couple of weeks ago in my Spotlight column I told you about Second Saturday, a new extension of the Fresno Arts Council’s popular ArtHop program.
In Friday’s 7 section I offer more details about the event. The first one will be held noon-4 p.m. Saturday at nearly 20 participating downtown galleries, businesses and restaurants. The focus is on families and children, with a half-dozen or so venues offering specific children’s art activities.
The arts council’s website includes a detailed venue list. (Please note that the Fresno Bee’s ArtHop exhibit, which runs through September, is not open on Saturdays.)
Lots of people have already snagged tickets to the national tour of “Jersey Boys” — which plays Oct. 28-Nov. 2 at the Saroyan Theatre — by buying season tickets or the package deal with the Fresno Grand Opera. But if you’ve been waiting for single tickets, they go on sale 10 a.m. Friday. Good luck!
The performance schedule is Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8 pm, and Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30 pm.
The Ticketmaster number is (800) 745-3000.
Prices range from $33-$103.
StageWorks Fresno opens Larry Kramer’s searing play “The Normal Heart” Friday at the Fresno Art Museum’s Bonner Auditorium. With an acclaimed 2011 revival on Broadway and a star-studded HBO movie earlier this year, this is a hot title. Look for our 7 section cover story on Friday.
I’m giving away two pairs of tickets to any of this opening weekend’s performances. The show plays 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. I’ll pick the winners randomly. To enter, leave a comment on this post answering this question: Have you been to a StageWorks Fresno production before? If so, what was your favorite?
Deadline to enter is 10 a.m. Friday. Please don’t enter more than once. I’ll be informing our winners by email on Friday at 10, so keep a watch on your inbox. If I haven’t heard from a winner by 2 p.m. Friday, I reserve the right to pick another. You’ll be able to pick up your tickets at the theater box office. Rules are on the jump.
The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, which for 20 years has provided world-class exhibitions both for Valley residents and visitors from all over the world, will close next summer, museum officials announced today.
The news is not entirely unexpected. Willard “Bill” Clark and Elizabeth “Libby” Clark, the museum’s founders, gave the center’s entire collection to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in June 2013. The Clarks announced then that nearly 1,700 priceless objects spanning a period of 10 centuries, with an estimated value of $25 million, would be sent to Minnesota. Along with the center’s collection, the Clarks offered their private collection in an arrangement that was part gift and part purchase.
What does come as a surprise, however, is the timing of the Hanford museum’s closure. When the transfer of the collection to Minneapolis was announced last year, Clark said at the time that the Hanford museum would remain open at least five years. That time frame has now been speeded up.
The Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series kicks off its 43rd season on Sunday with a familiar name: the Garrick Ohlsson. In the history of the series, Ohlsson is the most frequent guest artist. The acclaimed pianist — who shot to fame in 1970 when he became the first (and still the only) American to win a gold medal at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw — is making his sixth visit to Fresno since Andreas Werz took over as artistic director in 1992. Before that, Werz says, Ohlsson had been a guest artist two times.
Ohlsson’s 3 p.m. program includes Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major — one of the composer’s late works — and Schubert’s highly virtuosic “Wanderer Fantasy,” along with a variety of works by Scriabin (from late Romantic to modern) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1915.
One thing to know about this season: Ticket prices are going up.
Single general-admission ticket prices are $25, compared with $18 last season. Senior single ticket prices are $18, compared with $12 last season. Student prices remain at $5.
But Keyboard Concerts is still an incredible bargain.
The last price increase was in 2008. Werz says the increase is necessary to maintain the high artistic level of the lineup. “Artist fees have gone up, production costs have increased, and we have experienced a slight decline in ticket sales in the last 3 or 4 years,” he says.
Even with the increase, prices are still significantly lower than anywhere else in the country, Werz says. If you want to hear Denis Kozhukhin play for the Portland Piano series in Oregon, tickets on the non-keyboard side are $45, and $54 on the other side.
In my ArtHop roundup in Thursday’s Life section I highlight Christel Dillbohner’s new exhibition at 1821 Gallery & Studios. It’s titled “Ice Floe Journals,” and in 25 paintings and mono prints she entices the viewer into a glacial world. Part of her technique is to scrape and manipulate the thick, milky emulsion she concocted for this body of work, much like glaciers themselves scratch and shape the land. I write:
It’s easy to fall into the mood of her pieces, as if you’ve just opened a door and walked out into the harsh beauty of a brisk and encompassing Arctic landscape. You feel the foot-stamping cold.
And while there’s nothing explicitly political about her works, the implication is clear: The ice is melting, far faster than it should.
I’ve connected strongly with Dillbohner’s work in the past. I raved about her 2007 show at the Fresno Art Museum, which she called “An den Ufern der Zeit — at the Shores of Time.” (It made my list of one of the top cultural events of the year.) It included a multimedia installation titled “The Undertow, ” made up of 600 glazed and waxed paper cones, colored deep red and black, suspended from the ceiling by individual strands of filament.
Corridor 2122 is marking its 10th year in Fresno with a big ArtHop celebration Thursday night. If you didn’t catch my cover story in last Friday’s 7 section, it’s never too late. Here’s Bee artist S.W. Parra’s clever cover design:
From my story:
The collective is celebrating its big milestone at next week’s ArtHop with a 10th anniversary show featuring works from both past and current members. It’s been an impressive run: Month after month, with group and solo shows that range from cerebral to wacky to caustic to beautiful to just plain bizarre, I often get an artistic charge.
Other times — rarely — I feel as if I’ve walked into Dudsville.
But that’s part of the surprise. What appeals to me is the energy of the place — the sense of ideas percolating, of boundaries being pushed, of lifting the veil on the process of making art.
And here’s a video I made while doing the story:
I wish you could all go out on an assignment with Fresno Bee photographer John Walker. I love to watch him walk into a situation — whether it be a story about an esoteric visual artist, a shoot for a complicated theater production or an emotional, heart-tugging profile — and figure out the best visuals. John likes to talk to people, and his soft-spoken curiosity often steers me toward aspects of a story that I hadn’t thought of exploring.
He’s been shooting photos professionally for nearly 35 years, and he picked about 50 images for his new ArtHop show, which will be held 5-8 p.m. Thursday in The Bee’s front lobby. With the wealth of images that John has made over the decades, it was hard narrowing them down to a relative few.
I caught up with him for an interview.
How would you describe your photographer’s “eye”? Do you think it’s something you learned or were born with?
Personally, I think either you have it or you don’t. I don’t think it’s something you can learn. The technical side of it you can learn, and it’s pretty easy these days with all the high-end cameras on the market, with auto-everything. It’s possible for almost anyone to make decent photographs — to emulate others’ work, but in the end it’s vision that is the most important, this intangible element. This is what makes photography exciting … everyone sees things differently. A lot goes into making a really good photo: composition, lensing, lighting, timing, but mainly it’s the ability to “see” and have the vision of making it all work together.
ArtHop draws lots of people downtown on the first Thursday of the month. The Fresno Arts Council and local businesses want to expand that success with another monthly event. I wrote about it in my Sunday Spotlight column:
It’s called Second Saturday ArtHop — though my guess is that if it takes off, the event will be known simply as Second Saturday. Select galleries and studios in the downtown area will commit to being open from noon-4 p.m. on the second Saturday each month. The art venues will be joined by restaurants and businesses. The first Second Saturday is set for Sept. 13.
Organizers want the big draw to be a focus on families. For the inaugural Second Saturday event, the Clay Mix gallery will offer a program of bowl making for kids and families as a benefit for the Community Food Bank. Other possible family-focused events in the future: chalk art for kids, fingerpainting, storytelling and puppetry.
The Woodward Shakespeare Festival production of “The Tempest” had a rough opening Thursday night at Woodward Park.
This production wasn’t ready for an audience. Awkward pauses, lethargic pacing, forgotten lines and a turgid advance through what should be an airy, magical narrative marred the evening. The production had some strong points in terms of choreography and costume and sound design, but the most important aspect of any Shakespeare play — the text — was often problematic among an array of cast members. I fear that director Julie Ann Keller got too absorbed in the movement and design of the show and didn’t make sure her actors were well versed in the fundamentals.
In February, I brought you the sweet story of Glenn Edwards of Porterville, who at age 90 undertook his first starring role on stage, as the cantankerous Willie in “The Sunshine Boys.” It played at Porterville’s Barn Theater.
At the theater’s recent “Hosscar” Awards — I’ll have to get the story on that name someday — Edwards took home a big prize: best lead actor. His daughter Nicki, who directed the show, writes:
In fact “The Sunshine Boys” swept the awards, I’m happy to say. The Porterville Recorder headline was “90-year-old steals Hosscar Show” & he did. Papa Glenn is very loved in our theater community, not only for his amazing stamina but his quick wit & happy nature.
Nicki reports that one of her dad’s co-stars, Denise Everhart, pictured above, won for her portrayal of the Sexy Nurse in “The Sunshine Boys.” Everhart started teasing Edwards about when he was going to marry her.
He replied: I’ll gladly marry you Tuesday for a honeymoon tonight!” (“He’s a rascal!! his daughter writes.)
A shout-out to Alex Espinoza, a Fresno State English professor, whose book “The Five Acts of Diego León” is one of the winners of the 35th annual American Book Awards.
The awards are given by the Before Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit founded by author-playwright Ishmael Reed. Here’s how they’re chosen:
The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.
Fourteen books were awarded this year, including Jamaica Kincaid’s “See Now Then.” Espinoza will get to pick up his award Oct. 26 in San Francisco. (Take pictures and send them to the Beehive, OK?)
After the jump: a list of this year’s winners.
One of Shakespeare’s most magical plays, “The Tempest,” opens tonight at Woodward Park. It’s the final production in the 2014 Woodward Shakespeare Festival season. From the company:
The 10th season closes with Julie Ann Keller’s The Tempest, a magical tale of romance, vengeance and redemption. Rick Adamson plays the powerful sorcerer Prospero. Bridget Martin and Broderic Beard play the two lovers Miranda and Ferdinand. Joshua Taber and Abbygail Williams portray the fantastical spirit Ariel and the villainous creature Caliban. The production features original music composed by Emma Ferdinandi, winner of the Woodward Shakespeare Festival’s Young Composer’s Competition.
The show plays 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Sept. 20 at the Festival Stage. Look for my interview with Keller in Friday’s issue of 7.
Pictured: Miranda (Bridget Martin), Ferdinand (Broderic Beard), and Prospero (Richard Adamson).
There’s a sense of occasion with the new Good Company Players production of “The Comedy of Errors” at the 2nd Space Theatre. It’s been more than 20 years since Shakespeare graced the GCP stage, and this beautifully designed production feels like an important event. GCP has a fiercely loyal cadre of season subscribers, a fair number of whom I’m guessing don’t see theater anyplace else, so it’s quite possible that for some, this will be their first Shakespeare experience. That’s exciting.
Director J. Daniel Herring has certainly made it easy for those first-timers to follow the action, which is basically the mother of all identical-twins-separated-at-birth storylines. Herring reimagines the tale in the style of Commedia dell’arte, which is best known today for its “stock” characters such as the Arlecchino, aka the acrobatic and witty Harlequin.
We learn the basics in an expository opening scene featuring a wandering father named Egeon (a hearty Henry Montelongo), who lost track of his twin sons — and the twin servants attending each — in a mishap that left each twin unaware of his sibling.
Egeon doesn’t know that one master-and-servant pair ended up living in Ephesus, the city he’s just landed in, and the other master-and-servant pair has just gotten into town. Let the mistaken-identity games begin. (If a screenwriter tried something like this today, it’d be an Adam Sandler movie.)
In Sunday’s Spotlight section I give a peek at the array of musical options for classical music lovers coming up in the 2014-15 season.
Fresno Pacific University is first out of the gate with an upcoming Thursday (Aug. 28) opening concert in the Pacific Artist Series featuring The Hord Consort, made up of John Hord (piano), Pamela Ellzey (flute) and Terry Estabrook (mezzo soprano).
My column includes lots of highlights, from the original “Cantata for Living Martyrs” commissioned for the Fresno Philharmonic as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide to an appearance by noted pianist Eliso Virsaladze (of the Republic of Georgia) with the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series.
I couldn’t fit complete season schedules into the print edition, but here I’ve compiled links and text to as many full season schedules as I could compile. Be aware that some websites have not yet been updated with 2014-15 season schedules. If I’ve left something out, let me know:
The Masterworks lineup includes the return of William Barton on the didgeridoo (Sept. 28), cellist Zuill Bailey (Nov. 7-9), guitarist Charles Ramiez with guest conductor José-Luis Novo (Jan. 25), pianist Lukáš Vondráček (Feb. 13-15), and a special program titled “Witness and Rebirth” marking the Armenian Genocide (April 25) featuring soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, the Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale and Fresno State Concert Choir. Pops concerts include the annual holiday affair (Dec. 6) and “Broadway Classics” (May 9). Masterworks schedule / Pops schedule
FRESNO GRAND OPERA
Two operas are on the lineup: “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Feb. 15) and “Tosca” (May 7). Full schedule
The season lineup features Garrick Ohlsson (Sept. 7), Richard Goode (Oct. 24), Denis Kozhukhin (Nov. 23), Samuel Soria (Jan. 11), Beatrice Rana (Feb. 4), Kuok-Wai Lio (March 6), Eliso Virsaladze (April 17) and Barry Douglas (May 3). Full schedule
Tonight’s opening at the 2nd Space Theatre is a first for Good Company Players: The new production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” is being done in a Commedia dell’arte style. Director J. Daniel Herring is setting the play in a town square, performed by a traveling band of actors that include many of the stock characters associated with Commedia dell’arte. From GCP:
In this merry mix-up by the Bard, two sets of identical twins are separated as children in a shipwreck – they land on far distant shores, not knowing what happened to the others. Once grown, Antipholus of Syracuse (MATTHEW RUDOLF SCHILTZ) and his servant Dromio (DANIELLE VALDIVIA) travel to Ephesus and are mistaken for their long-lost twin brothers, Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus (KEN STOCKS and BRIANNE JANAE VOGT). When they meet by accident as adults, the possibilities are endless: mistaken identities, near-seductions, false arrests, and wild accusations of adultery, larceny, and insanity are flung about with wild abandon.
This is the first Shakespeare production done by Good Company since 1993′s “Twelfth Night.”
“The Comedy of Errors” continues Thursdays-Sundays through Oct. 12. Look for my interview with Herring about the show in Friday’s 7 section.
Assemblage and mixed-media artist Myrna Axt is the guest featured artist for North Fresno ArtHop at The Vintage Market, 601 W. Shaw Ave. She’ll be featuring her assemblage “characters” and small works. She writes:
There is something magical about taking an ordinary or dilapidated object and reviving it into something extraordinary. My art reflects my surroundings, imagination and many times my, my political view. One of my outlets has been creating assemblage art, a three-dimensional composition, putting together found objects, altered bits and pieces, along with my imagery.
ArtHop runs 5-8 p.m. Check out the Fresno Arts Council’s website for more venues. Pictured: Axt’s “Where’s Pooh? (Bear).”