Entering the arts season
by Roberto Friedman
Welcome to the first of two issues of fall arts previews in the Arts & Culture pages. This week, find coming attractions in Bay Area art museums, film releases and TV offerings, as well as a preview of composer Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, coming to the War Memorial as part of the San Francisco Opera fall season. Next week, we finish things off with previews of theatre, music, dance, DVD/Blu-ray releases, and Bay Area galleries. Further down this column are a few more tips as to what's coming up this fall.
The late-summer theatre scene was buzzing last week with the opening of two touring shows, Berry Gordy's Motown, and Michael Urie starring in the Barbra Streisand-themed Buyer & Cellar (see this week's reviews). Gordy was the toast of the town here and in Oakland, where it was proclaimed Berry Gordy Day. With Buyer & Cellar wowing audiences at the Curran Theatre, it's fitting that the new season brings with it a new Streisand album. Columbia Records announced the release of Partners for Sept. 16, featuring 12 new Barbra duets, many of them Streisand classics, with famous male vocalists. There's "New York State of Mind" with Billy Joel, "It Had To Be You" with Michael Buble, "Come Rain or Come Shine" with John Mayer, the virtual duet with Elvis Presley "Love Me Tender," "The Way We Were" with Lionel Richie, "What Kind of Fool (Am I?)" with John Legend, "People" with Stevie Wonder, "I Can Still See Your Face" with Andrea Bocelli, "Evergreen" with Babyface, and Streisand's first studio-recorded duet with her out gay son Jason Gould, "How Deep is the Ocean?"
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has announced the details of their 37th season, called Journey: Festive, Fearless and Fabulous. It includes their annual seasonal fare Home for the Holidays, with a world premiere by composer Ola Gjeilo, a 1980s nativity scene, and an ugly sweater parade (Nourse Theater, 12/12-13; Castro Theatre, 12/24); Love Is, featuring the world premiere of TwitterLieder by composer James Eakin and librettist Anthony Silvestri, and the SF premiere of composer Jake Heggie's choral opera For a Look or a Touch (Davies Symphony Hall, 4/1-2); and Hello, Yellow Brick Road, a Sir Elton John extravaganza and sing-along (Nourse, 6/24-26). Call (415) 865-3650 or go to sfgmc.org.
Author Christopher Lowen Agee's new book The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Liberal Politics, 1950-1972 (University of Chicago Press) grew out of a research project on the 1960 "gayola" scandal, and includes large sections on the relations between the SFPD and San Francisco's gay and lesbian communities. During the late 1990s, Agee interviewed a number of postwar activists, including B.A.R. co-founder Bob Ross, for the book. Tonight (Thurs., Aug. 28) brings a book signing and author Q&A, 7 p.m., at Alley Cat Books, 3036 24th St., SF; and there will be another book signing, at the GLBT History Museum, on Oct. 23.
San Franciscan author Monica Nolan presents her latest pulp novel Dolly Dingle, Lesbian Landlady at a book launch party on Wed., Oct. 15, 7 p.m. at The Green Arcade, 1680 Market St., SF. Hot on the heels of her pulps Maxie Mainwaring, Lesbian Dilettante and Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher, this is the latest installment in Nolan's Lesbian Career Girl series. Info: (415) 431-6800 or thegreenarcade.com.
More to come next week!
Newly appointed Executive Chef Josua Perez (yes, that's the spelling of his name, but he prefers Josh) showcased his California cuisine at the Americano restaurant in the Hotel Vitale with a three-course media luncheon last week, so OT put our eatin' dress on and booked over to the Embarcadero. The first course was a yummy heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, with feta, arugula, and poppyseed vinaigrette. The second course brought flatiron steak, early girl tomatoes, dandelion greens with herb salmoriglio. Also, pan-roasted Padrone peppers, fried green tomatoes, smoked onion coriander aioli and stone fruit panzanella. Dessert was olive oil cake, peaches, and honey mascarpone. We washed it all down with sauvignon blanc and a nice malbec, so we were some stoned fruit!
One food writer at the table complained that concepts like farm-to-table, locally sourced, sustainable ingredients were becoming cliches as more and more Bay Area chefs adhere to them. But that is what people expect of California cuisine right now, and they're not bad goals for chefs de cuisine and the diners who love them. Carry on, Chef Josh, we're bringing our appetite to dinner!