by Roberto Friedman
Zippy the Pinhead famously asked the existential question, "Are we having fun yet?" Edwyn Collins of the Scottish new wave band Orange Juice put it more piquantly: "Please tell me when the fun begins. As soon as you stop your whinging!" But for Out There and our trusty ward Pepi, the fun never seems to end.
In the past few weeks we've had more than a few of the kind of art experiences that qualify as "perfect moments" for us. These included taking in San Francisco Ballet's Programs 6 & 7, reviewed in last week's issue. The Shostakovich Trilogy by choreographer Alexei Ratmansky was such an evening-length thrill. There's no doubt that Dmitri S. suffered and was persecuted under the Soviet system, and the fact that he was still able to make great art under those circs is frankly mind-blowing to us. That a contemporary choreographer could create great ballet from his music is another rare good thing.
Live music is mother's milk to us, but live theatre has its store of perfect moments, too. The rewards this season keep coming, like last month's crazy-good Tartuffe at Berkeley Rep. This past week we were lucky to be present at opening nights of Kwame Kwei-Armah's Let There Be Love at ACT and Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes at Berkeley Rep, both reviewed in this issue, and both amply rewarding.
Young and handsome actor Jonathan Burke plays a supporting role in Head of Passes. He did a photo shoot with photographer Steven Underhill last time he was in town, with the touring Mary Poppins in 2013. Burke says he's happy to be back in the Bay Area for a longer stretch than the eight days he was here with Mary. He hopes the show is extended in Berkeley before it eventually heads to NYC.
Also in the supporting cast of Head, in a role of great mystery and import: one Sullivan Jones. He's 6'4", played basketball for Brown, and simply hard to miss.
Then Saturday night, we were back in our element at the War Memorial Opera House for SFB's penultimate program of the season, featuring the first-year run of choreographer Yuri Possokhov's ambitious Swimmer. Principal dancer that night was lanky brunet Joseph Walsh in a swimsuit. Enough said.
Something about author Fredrik Eklund , pictured on the cover of his new book The Sell – The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone (Avery; with Bruce Littlefield) looked familiar. The flap copy reads, "Ten years ago, Fredrik Eklund moved to New York City from his native Sweden with nothing but a pair of worn-out sneakers and a dream: to make it big in the city that never sleeps." Now he's one of the stars of the hit Bravo series Million Dollar Listing New York. But OT never watches TV, so that couldn't be it.
A little independent research revealed: Eklund is the male beauty who went by the name of Tag Erikkson in many an adult film of recent vintage. Hmmm, there's nothing about that part of his resume in The Sell. But in viewing his oeuvre, OT had fun, fun, fun, till our Daddy took our T-bird away.