Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 43 / 23 October 2014

Paging Mr. Turner

Out There

Timothy Spall as J.M.W. Turner in director Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner.
Photo: Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics
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Recently found in the arts pages of The New York Times: "The honor of the week's best film [at the New York Film Festival] belongs to Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner. Its artistic title character is magnificently embodied by Timothy Spall."

Veteran tourists in London know what it means to go see the Turners at the Tate. The Tate Museum houses the world's largest collection of oil paintings, watercolors and sketches by the 19th-century artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, better known as J.M.W. Turner. But little has been known about his personal life until now, with the esteemed British director Mike Leigh's biopic Mr. Turner. Besides illustrating Turner's love of light and how it plays off the sea and ships and mountains, Leigh depicts the painter as bouncing from one sexual relationship to another. It's the role of a lifetime for Timothy Spall, a regular in Leigh's acting troupe who won Best Actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival and is on many critics' short list for an Oscar nomination. Meanwhile, an exhibition of Turner's works is coming to the de Young Museum in San Francisco in June 2015.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, the Mostly British Film Festival will be showing Mr. Turner at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 13, at the Vogue Theater, more than a month before the film begins its regular run. Best of all, Spall will be at the Vogue for a Q&A following the screening. The event is free, but you must e-mail your request for tickets (two is the limit) to You will get a confirmation, which you should bring to the theater that night. You will also get a preview of the Mostly British Film Festival, coming up on Feb. 12-19, 2015, and be able to buy a festival pass at the discounted price of $100. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us.


Late shows

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [BAM/PFA ] has announced the closing performances for its after-gallery-hours program L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA. As BAM/PFA plans to close its Brutalist-style galleries building to the public in late December in preparation for its move to a new building in downtown Berkeley in early 2016, the December L@TE offering will be its last. Here's the promo:

"Fittingly, the L@TE series will finish where it began with a performance by the iconic composer/pianist Terry Riley on Dec. 5. Riley opened the series in November 2009, and he has since returned every fall but one to perform. A trailblazer of Minimalism with a breadth of influence that spans across the classical, electronic, and rock worlds, and a devotee of Hindustani classical music as well as jazz, Riley remains one of the most dynamic compositional voices of the past century. Always highly anticipated, his performances possess an intimate character, with patrons seated or lying on the floor with pillows and blankets, surrounding the artist and his piano. Earlier in his career, Riley was known to play extraordinarily long sets, often running deep into the night and into the next morning. Approaching his 80th birthday next summer, Riley will perform for a lengthy three hours, joined by his son, guitarist and composer Gyan Riley."

Before this last in the series, Dalalaeoa: Music for Cellos & Electronics plays on Nov. 7; Inverness, CA-based musician and composer Jeremy Harris performs on Nov. 14; and pioneering avant-garde composer Pauline Oliveros and Thingamajigs Performance Group play L@TE on Nov. 21. You can find the complete listings at


San Francisco Symphony pianist Robin Sutherland.
Photo: Jeanette Yu

Symphonic riches

This week, the San Francisco Symphony's Oct. 23 & 25 concerts (Thurs. & Sat.) include longtime SFS pianist Robin Sutherland, much beloved in the community, taking a solo turn in Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 3. SFS concertmaster Sasha Barantschik is leading the entire program, and he's also soloing in "Summer" from The Four Seasons, as well as performing a Bach Concerto for two violins with another SFS violinist, Dan Carlson.

As a SFS spokesperson confided to Out There, "We're always excited when our musicians get to take center stage, especially a musician as popular as Robin!" Besides the Vivaldi and Bach, the program includes Tchaikovsky's Sextet in D minor for Strings, Op. 70, Souvenir de Florence. Both concerts begin promptly at 8 p.m.

This is also one of the Symphony's "split weeks," in which they offer a second program as well, with maestro Christian Zacharias conducting Copland's great Appalachian Spring. Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, Morton Feldman's Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety (first SFS performances) and
Haydn's Symphony No. 93 in D Major complete the program.
That's on tap at Davies Hall on Fri., Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m.; and Sat., Oct. 25, 8 p.m., at the Mondavi Center, UC Davis. For more info and tickets for both programs, go to


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