Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Indian inked, organ master & others

Out There

Photograph by Tejal Shah, from her Women Like Us series. (Photo: Courtesy the artist and Project 88 Mumbai)
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The new YBCA exhibition The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India spotlights photography, sculpture and video created by artists from India, living there or abroad. According to The Matter Within's curator, YBCA director of visual arts Betti-Sue Hertz, the show was planned to coincide with the Maharaja exhibition that opened last week at the Asian Art Museum, As in most group exhibits, the art on display is a mixed bag of tricks, which you will have to encounter on your own terms. Some work includes gay content, such as a suite of photographs by artist Sunil Gupta, based in London and New Delhi, who portrays gay fantasy and reality in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the subcontinent. His series of staged photographs is set in what appears to be a bathhouse, and presents a narrative of burgeoning man-on-man romance. Art photographer Tejal Shah , from Mumbai, offers portraits that explore alternative gender and sexual identities, such as the accompanying photo from her Women Like Us series.

The opening-night party earlier this month was a vibrant affair, including performances and dancing lessons from the Non Stop Bhangra crew, whose infectious musical set induced our man Pepi and a roomful of others to get up and shake their groove thangs. The show remains up through Jan. 29, 2012, at YBCA in SF; find out more at

Bisexual organist Cameron Carpenter, coming to Davies Hall. (Photo: Scott Gordon Bleicher)

More music: the outspoken, bisexual, fashion-centric musician Cameron Carpenter is heading back to the Bay Area on Oct. 30 to play the great Ruffatti organ at Davies Symphony Hall. He'll showcase the results of his forays into expanding the organ's repertoire with music from film, anime and popular culture as he performs his original score to the 1925 silent film Phantom of the Opera, accompanying a live screening of the classic horror film. Sounds boo-perfect for Halloween weekend. Of Carpenter's last Davies Hall appearance in 2010, music scribe Allan Ulrich wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, "No other musician of Carpenter's generation has more adeptly fused shrewd showmanship, dazzling technique and profound thinking about his instrument and his place in the musical cosmos." For tix, go to

Alpha mules

From the Department of "Why do they have to broadcast their sexual orientation all the time?" we present the clueless press release of the week, to wit: "Subject: Maximus Cruz Launches STRAIGHT, the Original, Official Premium Brand of the Straight Guy.

"William Eric Rec, the founder of Maximus Cruz, saw many brands created and marketed exclusively and directly to the gay community. After some research it became apparent to William Eric, a straight designer, that not one designer on the planet had the stones to create a brand exclusively for the straight community – until now." (Really? As if 99% of all marketing is not intended for the straight community?)

"Finally, there is a men's clothing brand that supports those who support the straight lifestyle: STRAIGHT. Maximus Cruz is a leading premium lifestyle brand that delivers superior quality and styling for the straight, hyper-masculine alpha male." (They forgot to add "insecure.")

From the Department of Way Too Much Information: In this New York Times review of Rosie O' Donnell's new talk show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, we find this extreme example of the dreaded TMI: "Ms. O'Donnell always makes a lot of Spanx jokes, but even she seemed a little taken aback by the singer Gloria Estefen, who confided that she wears Spanx with a crotch opening, and thus doesn't need to use paper seat covers in public toilets." Um, thanks for the visual image. Now make it go away.

Blues phenom Duffy Bishop. (Photo: Mark Kitaoka)

San Francisco treats

Out There's perambulations around town last week included two separate passes through the VIP party at the W San Francisco hotel during its unveiling of newly renovated spaces including the Living Room Bar and Upstairs Bar, and the launch of its signature restaurant Trace. The transformation, created by SF-based interior designer and architect Stanley Saitowitz, includes a large three-dimensional map installation above the Welcome Desk (a.k.a. check-in), a topographical rendering of San Francisco at night, with streets and landmark buildings outlined in patterns of light. It's pretty SF cool.

After more than 11 years and 40 different theatrical productions, Teatro ZinZanni will offer its final performance in its antique Spiegeltent on New Year's Eve 2011. Teatro's current perch on Pier 29 is scheduled to become a part of the playing grounds for the rich in the upcoming America's Cup, so TZ is currently working with City Hall to locate a new permanent home. OT attended press night for On the Air, the final TZ production on Pier 29, starring Bay Area icon Geoff Hoyle and blues singer Duffy Bishop (through Dec. 31). The show's storyline involves the struggle to keep a local radio station on the air, echoing TZ's own challenge to remain in SF. It made us hope that the dazzling theatre company finds its footing at a new waterfront locale once the yachting party packs up its expensive toys and goes home. Meanwhile, Teatro tix are still available at

Fashion forward

Going beyond Lady Gaga and her famous meat dress, we found a few bizarre fashion stories trumpeted in the new edition of a Ripley's Believe It or Not! tome called Strikingly True.

Phone Dress: "A London fashion company has introduced the M-Dress, a little black dress that also serves as a mobile phone. The dress, which has a tiny antenna in its hem, allows wearers to make and receive calls by putting their SIM card under the label. To take a call, they raise their hand to their ear; to end it, they let it fall to their side."

Poo Shoes: "British artist INSA created a pair of 10-in.-high stiletto shoes with platforms made from elephant dung. He sourced the waste from the same family of elephants that provided the material for a famous series of elephant-dung collage paintings by Turner Prize-winning British artist Chris Ofili in the 1990s."

Tasty Shoes: "Israeli designer Koby Levi has crafted shoes in the shapes of bananas, cats, shopping baskets, dogs, rocking chairs, and one pair with a pink stiletto heel that makes it look as though the wearer has stepped in a piece of chewing gum." But that's tame compared to what we're likely to step into on the fabled streets of SF.

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