The Chronicle’s guide to notable arts and entertainment happenings in the Bay Area.
Mostly British, Berlin and Beyond begin wave of film festivals back at full strength
Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason leads the family charge into the Bay Area
One of the most delightful bursts of artistic power and charisma to hit the world of classical music in recent years is Great Britain’s Kanneh-Mason family. Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, who first registered with a remarkable 2019 recording of the music of Clara Schumann, is a musician of notable artistry and expressive power.
She’s due for a San Francisco visit in partnership with her brother, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, but before that we have the chance to hear her in a solo recital. The characteristically thoughtful program includes works by living women — Sofia Gubaidulina and Eleanor Alberga — alongside music by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 7. $45-$70. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-392-2545. www.sfperformances.org
— Joshua Kosman
At the Make-Out Room, writers wrangle good from bad in Happy Endings reading series
The task is gargantuan: From the bad — be it minor embarrassment or unfathomable tragedy, depending on the month’s theme — wrangle something good. Oh, and in eight minutes or fewer, all with only your writer’s imagination.
Joe Wadlington and Danielle Truppi, the creators, producers and co-hosts of the 3-year-old monthly reading series Happy Endings, emphasize that they they’re not thoughtless Pollyannas. “The show in no way avoids painful realities, but acknowledges that joy and sadness are not entirely discrete, that humor can help us find the warm corners,” Truppi said in a statement.
Each month features five writers working in a variety of forms, from comedy to poetry. For March, whose theme is “Fashions, Distractions, Disguises,” one of the contributors is Fauxnique, a.k.a. Monique Jenkinson, whose memoir “Faux Queen: A Life in Drag” was recently published by Amble Press.
Happy Endings: Fashions, Distractions, Disguises: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8. Every second Tuesday of the month. $10 suggested donation. Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., S.F. https://bit.ly/happyendingsmarch
— Lily Janiak
Jane Austen becomes musical theater in TheatreWorks’ ‘Sense and Sensibility’
Sisters Elinor and Marianne can’t understand each other’s perspectives on the display of emotion. Of Elinor, Jane Austen writes, “her feelings were strong, but she knew how to govern them.” Of Marianne, “her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation.” For Marianne, to withhold is to be unfeeling. For Elinor, to display indiscriminately is not merely to be unwise but sometimes to hurt.
Such is the endlessly fascinating debate at the heart of “Sense and Sensibility,” the 1811 novel Paul Gordon has adapted into a musical, now in a TheatreWorks production with Sharon Rietkerk as the prudent Elinor and Antoinette Comer as Marianne, who goes “wild” for art, who’s excessively fond of long walks in the rain.
Gordon has previously adapted two other Austen novels, “Emma” and “Pride and Prejudice,” into musicals that played at TheatreWorks. Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley returns to the company to direct this tale of twin love stories.
“Sense and Sensibility”: 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, March 9-12; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 13. Through April 3. $30-$100, subject to change. Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 877-662-8978. www.theatreworks.org
— Lily Janiak
Legendary drag queen conquers cabaret with ‘Heklina’s Grand Opening’ at Oasis
San Francisco drag royalty Heklina is known for her range, from emceeing, stand-up comedy, television and theater to starting the hugely popular T-Shack/Mother events and even opening San Francisco’s beloved Oasis nightclub. Now, the duchess of deadpan delivery is trying her hand at the cabaret stage with her first one-woman show, “Heklina’s Grand Opening” — a night of storytelling and music with guest appearances by drag performers Matthew Martin and Trixxie Carr.
“It’s going to be kind of like a check-in with myself and everyone else but in a humorous, lighthearted way,” Heklina said. “We all just made it through the pandemic, we all have this collective trauma. Now I’m excited to get up in front of an audience and try something new.”
Although she doesn’t consider herself a singer, Heklina plans to put her unique spin on songs by Stephen Sondheim and tunes made popular by everyone from Liza Minnelli and Shirley Bassey to Meat Loaf. For anyone who has ever seen Heklina’s performance as Dorothy in “The Golden Girls Live!” and wished she had more stage time, “Heklina’s Grand Opening” promises to deliver.
“Heklina’s Grand Opening”: 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, March 10-11. $30-50. Oasis, 298 11th St., S.F. 415-795-3180. https://www.sfoasis.com/
— Tony Bravo
Berlin & Beyond Film Festival highlights the best of new German cinema
For 26 years, the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival — sponsored by the Goethe Institut — has provided Bay Area film lovers the opportunity for an annual immersion into the best of German cinema. Strangely, the nation that produced German expressionism, Fassbinder and “The Lives of Others” tends to be largely overlooked among American distributors, making this event even more necessary.
This year’s festival returns to in-person screenings in four locations throughout Bay Area, so check the website to see what’s available and closest to you. The opening night film, set to be hosted at the Castro Theatre Friday, March 11, is “Next Door,” directed by and starring Daniel Bruhl as a fictionalized version of himself as a vain movie star.
Early in the film, Bruhl stops at a bar near his house in Germany, and a man there, who says he lives in the building across from Bruhl, reveals that he knows a lot about him. He says that he has been looking through his window and that Bruhl’s wife is cheating on him with two men. That’s as much as can be discerned from the trailer, but just that much looks good.
26th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival: Friday-Wednesday, March 11-16. $10-$30. At the Castro Theatre (Mar. 11-13), the Aquarius in Palo Alto (Mar. 14), the Shattuck in Berkeley (Mar. 15) and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Mar. 16). www.berlinbeyond.com/2022
— Mick LaSalle
Music for strings as mandolinist Avi Avital joins Brooklyn Rider
The mandolin is a charming and versatile instrument, with a range of repertoire that extends from Baroque to bluegrass with many stops in between. The Israeli virtuoso Avi Avital embraces it all with skill and gusto.
He joins the equally eclectic string quartet Brooklyn Rider for a program that concentrates largely, though not exclusively, on recent musical fare, including world premieres by Colin Jacobsen (one of the quartet’s violinists) and Osvaldo Golijov. The recital also includes works by Caroline Shaw, Clarice Assad, Giovanni Sollima and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin — as well as a bit of Boccherini just for old time’s sake.
Brooklyn Rider and Avi Avital: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12. $45-$65. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-392-2545. www.sfperformances.org
— Joshua Kosman
‘The Art of Disability Culture’ comes to Ruth’s Table in San Francisco
Inclusive art center Ruth’s Table presents a group show by 12 local artists with disabilities. “The Art of Disability Culture,” which was originally presented at the Palo Alto Arts Center in 2021, explores the disability experience and highlights the Bay Area’s unique place in the history of advocacy and activism on behalf of the community.
The exhibition includes work from artists who advocated for the Americans with Disabilities Act before its passage in 1990, as well as artists of younger generations who came of age following the ADA’s passing. What unites both generations is the realization, especially following the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, of just how fragile those gains can be.
Featured artists include painter Bill Bruckner, who contributed several portraits to the exhibition; dancer-choreographer Antoine Hunter, whose short solo dance video “The Silence” features the use of American Sign Language; digital artist Michaela Oteri, who presents the self-portrait “The Future Is Accessible” and a memorial portrait of the late disability activist Stacey Milbern; photographer Anthony Tusler, who has documented pivotal moments in Bay Area disability activism for decades; and emerging artist Rachel Ungerer, who presents two works on repurposed denim along with a work on paper, “Disabled Strong,” that shows her take on the raised-fist symbol used in many activist communities.
“The Art of Disability Culture”: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday or by appointment. Through May 20. Free. Ruth’s Table, 3160 21st St., S.F. 415-642-1000. https://www.ruthstable.org/
— Tony Bravo
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