by Roberto Friedman
It warmed our tiny gay hearts last week when we heard Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino on NPR waxing rhapsodic about our very own Castro Theatre, naming it his "dream theatre." We too have a hard-on for our beloved theatre. And we had a wet dream when we got word that dream-pressario Marc Huestis will be bringing none other than NY drag superstar Joey Arias to ye olde Castro for a Valentine's Day concert extravaganza. For those in the know, Arias is a performing legend, sharing the stage with such greats as David Bowie , Klaus Nomi and Grace Jones, as well as wowing crowds in a two-year stint in Cirque du Soleil 's Zumanity and the stage phantasma Arias with a Twist, a collaboration with puppet visionary Basil Twist. The New York Times called Arias "downtown NY's answer to Cher." At the Castro, he'll be sharing the stage with our own local legends Veronica Klaus and Connie Champagne. Also on the bill: video by Homochic boy wonder Leo Herrera, and a mad Fellini esque VD fashion show by design wizard Mr. David. Cum with your honey or cum alone, just cum. For ticket info, call (415) 863-0611, ask for the "dream discount," and get $5 off!
Brits are coming
The Mostly British Film Festival opens on Jan. 17 at the Vogue Theatre (3290 Sacramento St.), then presents 25 new and classic features and documentaries from the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. The weeklong fest benefits the nonprofit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation . Opening-night film is Hunky Dory, a musical starring Minnie Driver as a free-spirited drama teacher in South Wales who leads her class in putting on The Tempest set to popular 1970s music. Driver, an Oscar nominee for Good Will Hunting, will attend and participate in a post-film Q&A.
On Jan. 22, the MBFF will present the documentary 56 Up, latest in director Michael Apted's series following a group of British citizens at seven-year intervals, beginning in 1963 when they were seven. Director James Marsh 's spy drama Shadow Dancer starring Clive Owen closes the fest on Jan. 24, the story of a M15 official who recruits a young woman whose brothers are with the IRA in 1990s Northern Ireland.
Other programs include the popular British Noir evening on Jan. 18 featuring Odd Man Out and The Deadly Affair, both starring James Mason and introduced by noir expert Tony Broadbent; and a Jan. 19 double bill of David Lean's This Happy Breed and Brief Encounter . Among the new films having their SF premiere are Stella Days, an Irish comedy starring Martin Sheen (Jan. 18); Swerve, an Australian thriller starring up-and-comer Jason Clarke (Jan. 20); and the Irish comedy of errors Stand Off with Brendan Fraser, directed by Terry George (Jan. 21).
The MBFF will offer a free preview screening of Cheerful Weather for a Wedding on Sun., Jan. 13, at 11 a.m. A cross between Downton Abbey and Rachel Getting Married, this family drama stars Abbey's Elizabeth McGovern as the self-possessed matriarch of an English country manor with marriage-age daughters. Set in the early 1930s, the film zeroes in on a day when the eldest daughter is to be married. Her dilemma: She's in love with someone else, and he has shown up for the nuptials. For free tix, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Cheerful in the subject line. Indicate how many tix you'd like (limit of four). MBFF passes are on sale at the Vogue Theatre and www.cinemasf.com. Visit www.mostlybritish.org for more info.
Photo: Decca/Andrew Eccles
Song birds fly in
Soprano Renee Fleming joins MTT & the San Francisco Symphony in concerts on Jan. 10, 12 & 13 featuring the world premiere of Robin Holloway 's C'est l'extase, an orchestral arrangement of Debussy's 1887 song cycle for voice and piano Ariettes oubliees. The six songs of Debussy's cycle are based on poems of Paul Verlaine , and the piece includes additional Verlaine poems that Holloway has set to music.
Fleming returns to Davies to join forces with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham for a recital on Jan. 16, performing works by Saint-Saens, Faure, Debussy, Berlioz , and others. Hearing these two dynamite women perform together should be a TNT blast.