by Roberto Friedman
Guess what's knocking at late August's door? That's right, the fall arts season, and in the coming weeks our arts writers will give the low-down on some highlights in upcoming films, theatre, art shows, and more. To get the party started, here are a few of the arts events that Out There is looking forward to with most undisguised glee.
Of course, the big event coming this fall from Cal Performances is the West Coast premiere of Einstein on the Beach, An Opera in Four Acts, by director and set designer Robert Wilson , composer and writer Philip Glass , choreographer Lucinda Childs , with the score performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble, Fri.-Sun., Oct. 26-28, at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. This is the non-linear masterwork that changed the face of contemporary opera forever. But of the fall Cal Performances offerings, we are most looking forward to the West Coast premiere of artist Laurie Anderson 's new work Dirtday!, in which she looks at politics, theories of evolution, families, history and animals – it's also the only title she has ever given an exclamation point – on Tues., Sept. 18, at Zellerbach Hall. More info at www.calperformances.org.
(Photo: Courtesy SFS)
The San Francisco Symphony season will have an unconventional beginning this year, with two weeks of concerts before the gala. Guest conductor Semyon Bychkov will lead the SFS in its first two weeks, for performances of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 featuring Pinchas Zukerman, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, and Wagner's Overture to Tannhauser, Sept. 5-8, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11, Sept. 12-15, at Davies Symphony Hall in SF. Following these concerts, music director Michael Tilson Thomas leads the SFS in gala week festivities including the 101st season gala opening with guest soloist Joshua Bell on Wed., Sept. 19; the SFS' All-San Francisco concert for community groups on Thurs., Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.; and its free outdoor concert in Justin Herman Plaza, meet you after work, 5 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 21.
The 2012-13 season is a big one for Bychkov, since he'll not only celebrate his 60th birthday, but will also return to St. Petersburg, the city of his birth, to mark the 150th year of his alma mater, the St. Petersburg Conservatory; to Vienna, the city in which he landed as a Jewish refugee in 1974, where he began to build his new life; and to Israel, where he will conduct both the Vienna Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic for his first visit in more than 15 years. Bychkov starts 2012-13 in the U.S., where in addition to performing with the SFS, he'll conduct Otello at the Met, which will be broadcast live in high-definition TV to 54 countries, and he will bring the Met Opera Orchestra to Carnegie Hall. That's quite a full musical plate, maestro.
San Francisco Performances is signed on to present a full slate of offerings this fall. A few highlights include a special series curated by pianist Jonathan Biss on the genius and influence of Robert Schumann (Oct. 4, 6); Andras Schiff performing Bach recitals in a co-presentation with the SFS (Oct. 7, 21); jazz trio The Bad Plus performing their rendition of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for the work's upcoming centennial year (Oct. 12); the Bay Area debut of English troupe the Russell Maliphant Company, featuring a Nijinsky -inspired work, AfterLight (Oct. 13-14); and the Takacs Quartet performing in their only Bay Area engagements this season (Oct. 14; Nov. 18, with Marc-Andre Hamelin). For more info, go to: www. sfperformances.org.
Of course, we haven't even said word one re: the operas. Stay tuned to the next few issues as we roll out more suggestions for fall season highlights, from Out There and our arts writers.
For more immediate gratification, Film Night in the Park will present a large-screen outdoor presentation of After the Thin Man at Union Square in San Francisco on this coming Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. (film begins at dusk). Here's the pitch: "Crime-solving husband and wife detectives Nick and Nora Charles (and their dog Asta ) piece together clues in After the Thin Man, the second installment of the popular Thin Man series. Featuring William Powell, Myrna Loy and James Stewart , After the Thin Man is set in San Francisco. This second Thin Man adventure, from 1936, features many exterior scenes filmed at iconic San Francisco locations.
"Donations appreciated. Popcorn, candy and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrest and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home." But, woof!
Oh boy, this is our favorite San Francisco Chronicle correction in a long, long time. "'Beyond Castro church's drag-queen fuss,' Aug. 16, Bay Area, C1: C.W. Nevius' column about Most Holy Redeemer banning drag queen performers incorrectly stated that entertainer Peaches Christ appeared at an event at the church's hall with a dildo shaped like a crucifix. He did not appear at the event, nor does he use the prop." Wouldn't you think big-city newspaper columnist Nevius would verify an outrageous allegation like that? Check and double-check, all that? Apparently not, but that's why newspaper corrections boxes often make for some right fine reading. This one's for the memory books.