by Roberto Friedman
We're still wafting on fluffy little clouds of LGBT Pride, aren't you? And here we are in the midst of an extra week of June, post-Pride! How'd that happen? Anyway, Out There is still listening to our self-selected Pride playlist, which has a lot of big gay stuff on it, some straight stuff (or "straight-acting?"), some pop, some jazz, and a whole lot of classical gas. Welcome to our sonic world, and do bring along a pair of thirsty ears.
Scissor Sisters, Magic Hour (Casablanca): Those scintillating Scissors – Jake Shears, Ana Matronic , Babydaddy, Del Marquis – have outdone themselves on their latest party-time album, with paeans to rave-ups ("Let's Have a Kiki"), classic California ("San Luis Obispo") and bad behavior ("Dip me a bump and I'll hop out the whip. Girl, what you drinkin'? Boy, give me a sip!" – from "Shady Love.")
Veronica Klaus with the Tammy L. Hall Quartet, Something Cool (VK): We've long followed this transgender chanteuse's career, and there's no one we like hearing her sing with more than jazz pianist Tammy L. Hall and her quartet. Once we saw Klaus patronizing our favorite local cafe, and as we passed by, nodding as friendly acquaintances, we noticed that she was working the New York Times crossword puzzle. Now, it makes sense that newspaper editors like to do difficult crosswords, as they employ skills like brevity and precision in word choice, essential to headlines, but we realized that it makes sense for a singer of the classic songbook – here Klaus does "You're My Thrill" and "Old Devil Moon" – to do verbal puzzles as well: the work is word-driven. Klaus gives shout-outs to great women of song Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee.
Philharmonia Baroque, under music director Nicholas McGegan, performs Handel's Atalanta (PBO): It's not even the Atalanta myth you think you know, it's a different one. But the plot's not the thing. In over two hours and 23 minutes of music recorded live at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, McGegan and the PBO, with a cast that includes soprano Dominique Labelle , tenor Michael Slattery and baritone Philip Cutlip , and the Philharmonia Chorale under director Bruce Lamott , make baroque opera come alive and feel contemporary.
We're also listening to: Rumer, Seasons of My Soul (Atlantic); Spiritualized , Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum); M. Ward, A Wasteland Companion (Merge); Amy Ray, Lung of Love (Daemon); Curtis Stigers, Let's Go Out Tonight (Concord); and Tedeschi Trucks Band, Everybody's Talkin' (Sony). But we don't hear a word they're sayin'.
A-foraging we go!
Out There was invited last week when the Americano Restaurant & Bar at the Hotel Vitale in SF collaborated with Paul Dolan Vineyards in Mendocino to host their second annual Wild Foods Dinner. Chef Kory Stewart created a menu inspired by wild ingredients, including grilled morel mushrooms stuffed with herb ricotta and bacon, paired with a 2010 Parducci Rose; Chinook salmon crudo with marinated seaweed and sea beans (with a 2010 Paul Dolan Chardonnay); mafalde pasta with local sea urchin, beach rocket and wild radish flowers; buttermilk fried quail with game bird sausage, sprouted acorn puree, porcini mushrooms and elderberry jus (Parducci Signature Pinot Noir); and goat cheese and honey semi freddo with olallieberries or blackberries, we're not sure which ( 2009 Parducci Muscat Canelli). It was all mega yum, in a wild, locavore way, and we learned a good deal about foraging in the Bay Area.
The next night OT went to Scottish artist David Shrigley 's opening-night party for his exhibition David Shrigley: Brain Activity at YBCA (through Sept. 23). The show arrived at YBCA, its only U.S. venue, directly from the Hayward Gallery in London. The evening's entertainment included a live performance by SF's own garage-rock trio Blasted Canyons. Curated by Cliff Lauson of the Hayward Gallery, the show is the largest survey of the artist's work to date, featuring groupings of drawings and paintings on paper, sculptures, installations, sets of photographs and animations.
Humor looms large in Shrigley's work, such as in his iconic "I'm Dead," a taxidermied dog holding a sign to that effect; the self-explanatory animation "Headless Drummer"; and a granite and gold leaf "Gravestone" engraved with a shopping list. We saw echoes of the work of Raymond Pettibon, Chris Johanson and the Mission School , Tom Friedman and Andy Warhol. Worth a look-see.
Marketing memorabilia company Premiere Props auctioned off over 1,000 Hollywood costumes and props last weekend, June 23-24, during their Hollywood Extravaganza VI in El Segundo, CA. Items included Elizabeth Taylor's dressing room/trailer from the set of Cleopatra; Marilyn Monroe's Pucci dress; a collection of Sammy Davis, Jr. 's stage costumes including a black tuxedo by Sy Devore, Hollywood, with a gray vest, black silk bow-tie by Sulka and a blue dress shirt with lace trim and mother-of-pearl buttons embroidered "Sammy Jr." by Natlvise, Sunset Strip, and a Levi's jacket and pants with rhinestones spelling "Love each other" on the back, with flowers, hearts, butterfly, bird and star designs; Liberace's costumes including a bejeweled velvet & lace tuxedo with tails and matching pants, vest, dickey, and velvet bow-tie choker, seen on his album The Way We Were, and his original Bicentennial costume – a rhinestone-covered red, white & blue leather jacket with fringed matching hot-pant shorts, handbag and necklace – seen during his 1971 Caesar's Palace run; Frank Sinatra 's trenchcoat from The First Deadly Sin, and his bar stool from a concert in Brazil.
Also: never-before-released photos of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 during their last recording session as the Jackson 5; Michael's signed deed to Neverland Ranch; unreleased Elvis Presley negatives and photographs; the Monkees ' autographed guitars; Davy Jones ' stage-worn shirt with a photo showing him wearing it; Brandon Lee's shirt from The Crow; Rock Hudson's frock coat and helmet from Bengal Brigade; Tony Curtis ' military jacket from Suppose They Gave a War; and Dean Martin's military jacket from Airport. What a haul!
Fall season approaches
Finally, just a reminder that single tickets for San Francisco Opera's 90th season go on sale this Mon., July 2. SFO's 2012-13 season opens on Sept. 7 with Verdi 's Rigoletto conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Season highlights include world premieres of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison 's The Secret Garden; the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick; new-to-SF productions of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Wagner's Lohengrin and Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann; revivals of SFO productions of Verdi's Rigoletto and Puccini's Tosca , each featuring two renowned casts; and Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Save a seat for us!