New year, big cheers!
by Roberto Friedman
Let's catch up with our cultural perambulations, shall we? The holiday season goes by in a blur, but Out There took the time to attend local theatre and performance.
Early last month found us at Berkeley Rep for the opening of Sandra Tsing Loh's The Madwoman in the Volvo (reviewed in our 12/22 issue). In the courtyard before curtain time, fellow culture vulture Tessi Tura offered us drink tickets, saying, "We don't drink." Our escort Pepi wasn't happy about our having more vino (he doesn't drink, either), but oh well, our grand total of four drink tickets made the whole theatrical evening go by right thumpingly.
At the afterparty, Loh offered up her show as a necessary antidote to the poisonous political developments of the last year. It was created, she proclaimed, "For women! And for men who love women!" We were tempted to, but did not shout, "And what about for men who love men?"
Just before Christmas, the "undie-rock" comedy-pop duo The Skivvies make their San Francisco debut with their holiday show Holiday Roadkill at ACT's Strand Theater. Joined by guest Randy Harrison (Queer as Folk), Skivvies Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley offered covers, mash-ups ("We Got the Beat/The Little Drummer Boy") and originals ("It's Fucking Hanukkah"). Their music's stripped-down on cello, ukulele, glockenspiel, and melodica, and the Skivvies were stripped down, too, at least to their undies. Great pants-down fun!
In something of a family tradition at this point, OT & Pepi attended Brava's New Year's Eve Comedy Fiesta, a benefit for Brava! for Women in the Arts with headliners Tom Ammiano, Marga Gomez, Carla Clayy , hosted by Priya Prasad with special guests Butch Escobar and Chey Bell. Gomez had written to us, "I haven't told many people, but it's not a secret that I will be taking a leave from co-producing these NYE galas after this year. Had it planned even before Cheeto won.
"It is just hard topping myself year after year. But if I don't top myself, who will? Seems fitting to share my last big NYE with Tom Ammiano, the 'Mother of Gay Comedy.' He got me hooked on this life."
Ammiano, 75, said from the stage that he is sick of people asking him about his "bucket list." "I don't have a bucket list. I have a fuck-it list!" Amen!
Finally, a big "Bravo!" to the San Francisco Symphony for announcing the cancellation of two performances in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, April 5-6, 2017, in response to that state's House Bill 2 [HB2], a law that overturned protections for LGBT people earlier this year.
"The Symphony made the decision to cancel its appearances in North Carolina," executive director Brent Assink said in a press statement. "In the months after HB2 became law, we have closely watched the fluctuating political landscape in hopes that the law would be overturned. Because that has not happened, and due to pressing internal travel deadlines, the San Francisco Symphony has made the decision to cancel its concerts.
"We feel we must join our city, our state, the NBA , NCAA, and the many artists, organizations, and businesses who have chosen to not visit or contribute economically to North Carolina until legislation denying protection for the LGBT community has been overturned. The San Francisco Symphony, its Board of Governors, and music director Michael Tilson Thomas wholeheartedly support this decision, as they support all those striving for equality and inclusiveness in their community and beyond." Right on, SFS!