Article by Jon Bauer | SAT, JUL 13, 2019, 8:00PM – 2:00AM
Article by Jon Bauer | SAT, JUL 13, 2019, 8:00PM – 2:00AM
Article by Natalie Wiser
Based on the 2007 movie directed by Adrienne Shelly, enter a small town the deep south, where our heroine Jenna is stuck in a bad marriage, working overtime at a diner, and just found out she is pregnant. The one thing that keeps her going is her gift of baking pies. She can take any problem in her life and turn it into a delicious dessert that everyone loves. With the help of her coworkers at the diner, she is determined to win the national pie competition and get enough money for her and her new baby as a last attempt at happiness. However, she faces many challenges along the way, including a doctor who is new in town.
My take: this musical is exactly what you would expect in a musical. It’s fun, it’s heartwarming, and the songs will keep your toe tapping through the whole show. While it could be overly-cheesy at times, it still didn’t fail to make me laugh along with the characters and feel what they were feeling. What I liked most was that characters were well-written and real. They were dealing with real challenges that others in the audience might be facing.
The cast at SHN Golden Gate Theatre was extremely talented. Although I wish I was able to see Sara perform it herself, Christine Dwyer gave her own unique take on Jenna and performed flawlessly. My favorite character was Dawn, who was played by Jessie Shelton. Even though she had only one solo song, she sounded incredible. Not to mention she made it seem like she was a true American Revolution enthusiast.
Article by Natalie Wiser
If you’re looking to be amazed by raw talent, real music, and lots of witty banter, be sure not to miss the musical duo of EVAN + ZANE! featuring Evan Rachel Wood, actress in the HBO series Westworld and movie musical Across the Universe, and Zane Carney, guitarist for John Mayer, U2, Spider-Man on Broadway, and more.
On Monday (October 29, 2018), EVAN + ZANE came through my city of San Francisco and performed at the Great American Music Hall. I will say I was a bit tired and worn down from a tough workday. Fortunately, this show turned my whole mood around.
It was my first time at the venue, which has such a unique and intimate charm as a music venue. Evan + Zane simply walked onstage: no introduction or opening acts. As they welcomed the crowd, they jumped right into the music immediately afterward. Their set was Halloween themed and they covered lots of spooky Halloween favorites.
One of my favorite aspects about their set was that the first half was heavy on long guitar interludes. Zane is absolutely incredible! I wasn’t as familiar with him before the show and I was astounded on how fast his fingers move. He is brilliant and was nice enough to give us a mini music theory lesson on parallel minor chords. You could tell how passionate and knowledgeable he was about his craft.
Evan was equally amazing. She sounded like a 1920’s jazz club singer mixed with Gwen Stefani. I knew of her as an actress on Westworld and quickly realized she is just as good of a singer as she is an actress! Truly a double-threat. What I enjoyed most about Evan’s performance is that she took on the persona of the singer of each song they covered. While she kept her own personal flair, she really sounded like Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries when they covered “Zombie.”
My favorite aspect about this whole event is that Evan + Zane were so real and down to earth. They decided to throw in a last-minute song after the first half just for fun, and they still sounded amazing! The audience cheered for an encore and they told us that they played all of the songs they knew already. We got to hear them sight-read “Creep” by Radiohead, which again was still incredible. Oftentimes, I feel that concerts these days can be so artificial and focus more on the show than the music. This concert definitely was not that.
Overall it was a fantastic show. I hope they come back to San Francisco soon. Make sure you are able to check them out next time they come to your city!
Article by Jon Bauer
In a castle in the San Fernando Valley lies the lair of music icon Gary Numan. Outside is an enormous statue of a dragon, inside a St. Bernard (almost as large) greets you on arrival. He’s a new addition to the family – a rescue pup, and huge. The lord of this manor could be as outwardly intimidating as this entire set-up, but he’s a humble presence. Notorious for hits such as ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and ‘Cars’, Numan’s early career was too often misconstrued, tainted by a sometimes fraught relationship with the media and challenged by the hostility of the music industry at the time, still deeply committed as it was to the guitar, bass, drums approach of old. Numan, however, stuck to his guns, outlasted his naysayers, and became renowned not just as a pioneer but as an institution. Today, with a career that has spanned nearly four decades, his approach to electronic music remains an inspiration to artists across genres and eras, from stadium goliaths such as Depeche Mode, Prince and Nine Inch Nails to alternative heroes such as Beck, Damon Albarn and Marilyn Manson. Even Kanye West owes him a debt and David Bowie once credited him with ‘ writing two of the finest songs’ in British music. It’s no surprise he recently received the Ivor Novello Award for Inspiration.
Named after a skateboard movie from an 80’s skate film, Los Angeles band Nightmare Air emphasizes sonic momentum, during both live performances and in the studio.
Nightmare Air’s Dave Dupuis, a veteran of L.A. shoegazers Film School (Beggars Banquet Records), and Swaan Miller, whose stark acoustic album on Important Records melted hearts and faces everywhere, meticulously layer boy-girl harmonies, pulsing pop synths, psych noise loops and glam soaked walls of guitars. Add to that Detroit heavy hitter Jimmy Lucido on the drums (The Strays / TVT records) in their combined years of touring, these road veterans have supported heavyweights from Smashing Pumpkins to the The Jesus and Mary Chain. Headlining clubs and playing festivals around the world Nightmare Air have shared stages with The Kills, The Dandy Warhols, Teenage Fanclub, Cat Power, The Black Lips, The Soft Moon, No Age, The Wedding Present, The Buzzcocks, Ringo Deathstarr, Fishbone, The Cult and many more.
Article by Natalie Wiser
Be sure not to miss a free dose of culture this summer with Free Shakespeare in the Park – A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Enjoy the outdoors of the Presido with your family and friends while seeing this classic tale, free of charge!
For the rest of the summer, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is showcasing free Shakespeare outdoor plays across San Francisco. The events kick off with previews on September 1 and 2 and the full opening day show on Monday, September 3 at the Civil War Parade Ground. No reservation or ticket needed – just show up!
After producing Hamlet in 2017 to celebrate our 35th Anniversary Season, the company is turning to funnier fare with one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies. A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows the misadventures of four young lovers, a group of aspiring actors, and a team of mischievous fairies as they all enter the woods outside Athens on a summer night. The ensuing hilarity and chaos makes for a show filled with love and laughter that’s sure to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Bring your family and friends, a blanket, and a picnic to enjoy professional theater at no charge in a beautiful park setting!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be showing this September 8 and 9 at the Civil War Parade Ground in the Presido at 2PM. They will also be performing September 15 and 16 at 2PM, September 21 at 10AM, and September 22 and 23 at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in John McLaren Park at 2PM. The SF Shakespeare Festival will also be performing The Comedy of Errors on October 20.
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Celebrate the end of Fog-ust and get out in the sun with some free entertainment. You won’t want to miss it!
Written by David Henry Huang, who worked on famous plays and musicals such as M. Butterfly, Aida, Tarzan, and Yellow Face, enter what feels like a very Inception-like play about a musical based on a real story. David, a real Chinese-American man, fell in love with the popular Rodger and Hammerstein’s The King and I, but noted it’s odd story. A white Englishwoman travels to Siam, this “uncivilized” third-world, originally as a governess, but somehow knows how to “properly” rule a country and bring it into the family of greater nations. It was a diffverent time when this show was first created, but David decided to flip the switch. What if instead of Caucasian and European cultures being educated and enlightened, it was actually Asia that dominated the world? What if today’s world leaders learned a thing or two from Chinese culture to make their societies better?
This idea is then born into Soft Power quite literally: the show starts with a character named David Henry Huang (played by Francis Jue) based off of the real David and creator of the show. While floating in and out of fantasy and reality, this show is riddled with catchy songs, irreverent dance numbers, accurate Chinese language pronunciation, and of course political banter. A core event of the show is the 2016 election, which as David portrays was a dangerous time to be an immigrant in America, even though he had been born here and had live here his whole life. This show is full of political jokes, lots of large semi-automatic riffles, Budweiser, and other classic American icons that what make our country great. As a quick disclaimer, the show was predominantly one-sided and very, very blue, so perhaps it is not the best for easily offended conservatives.
Overall, it was a fantastic show. When first going into the theatre, I did not really know what it was going to be about besides Chinese culture. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t much actual Chinese culture in it; I was expecting real Peking Opera scenes or mostly Chinese dialogue. However, I did appreciate that it was an all-Asian cast for all of the Asian roles. It did get a little too political and satirical at times, but it quickly pulled you back at just the right times. The cast was extremely talented and the sets filled up the small Curran stage appropriately. You will feel moved, you will feel inspired, and you will laugh a lot when you go see this show.
Come catch Soft Power while it’s still here! You get to see Hillary Clinton dance, so if that doesn’t sell you on the show, then I’m not really sure what else will.
Photos by Jon Bauer
Afrolicious has established itself as both one of the most legendary weekly parties in San Francisco, and of the top live/electronic bands on the scene. Started as a weekly dance party featuring DJ’s and brothers Pleasuremaker and Señor Oz alongside percussionists, MC’s and horn players, and an amazing crowd from day one. Over the years it has evolved as founding DJ/Producer Pleausremaker (Joe McGuire) alongside brother Señor Oz (Oz McGuire) hooked up with some of the most exciting personalities in the Bay Area music scene and started writing original music under the alias Afrolicious.
Tiny Telephone was opened in September of 1997 to provide affordable hi-fi recording to San Francisco’s independent music community. We have three wonderful studios to work in. My name is John Vanderslice, I’m a songwriter, touring musician, and producer. I own and manage the studios and am happy to help guide anyone through the confusing (and thrilling) process of record making.
Antonia Bennett was the first act of the night. As the daughter of Tony Bennett, Ms. Bennett’s stage presence is captivating. The way she moves to whatever song she is singing draws you in like a fish towards a shiny lure. There is that Bennett influence to be sure, but she has her own swagger and style that is more sultry and alluring. Before you know it, you’re hooked, and then she hits you with a long, smooth, powerful note. It was a special treat to see her perform before her father.
She got things moving right off the bat with “Teach Me Tonight”, an upbeat, happy song. Some heartfelt emotions sprang to the surface when she said a few words about how much her father has influenced her, and she dedicated her next song to him, “You’re A Lucky Guy”. Her rendition of “From This Moment On” was the most memorable part of her performance. She is a serious performer who breathes emotion into her music with grace and power.
Next up was Tony Bennett. He strode onto stage and the place went wild… I mean, berserk. His arms outstretched, his hair perfect, his gleaming suit with the red pocket square; immaculate. It was Tony Bennett! He hadn’t even started singing yet, but we all knew, this is a star. The grand scale of the Davies Symphony Hall seemed to shrink down to the size of a small jazz club in North Beach back in the day. The whole stage was lit up, but Mr. Bennett shone like a beacon, dimming the rest of the room.
I have to admit that I’m fairly easily moved by good art, but by the 3rd song, there were definitely tears in my eyes. This guy was giving it everything he’s got. Every note was perfect, because Tony Bennett was singing it. There was a force behind the music emanating from his body that was like watching a prize fighter in the ring. It wasn’t physical power. It was artist power. All those years of training, all of the previous performances swirling around in his head were intuitively informing his every move. He is truly a master.
It was familiar and inviting, but simultaneously new and exhilarating. He treads new ground with every performance. Standards? These are not your standard standards. He was like a visiting ambassador of jazz from New York showing us how it’s done. We were humbled. We welcomed him with open arms. He is the real deal.
His iconic smile is infectious. He doesn’t even need to sing. He started out almost every song as if he was starting a conversation with one of his band members. He kept sneaking in little nuances, little improvisations, that flickered and disappeared. In the middle of “I’ve Got Rhythm”, he broke into a little scat. During “One for My Baby” he yells, “Band, take it!” He just has the tools at his disposal. He kept looking up into the balconies sharing his love with the audience and showing his appreciation like everyone in the hall was an old friend.
He is the king of sad songs. “Solitude” is a heartbreaker, but he turned that frown upside down. He somehow transformed it, and by the end, was emanating feelings of intense joy. His phrasing is impeccable. He rearranged his own songs in ways we’ve never heard them. “It Amazes Me” amazed me. He re-told the story of “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” like it was not even the same song.
The quartet is an essential part of the magic of Tony Bennett. There were times when he and his quartet acted as one. They communicated like a hive mind, moving and thinking together. Several times, Mr. Bennett left the lime-light to stand next to each band member in turn as they performed their solos. Billy Stritch on piano, Gray Sargent on guitar, Marshall Wood on bass, Harold Jones on drums are each incredible musicians in their own right and it was a thrill to hear them perform.
Then, Mr. Bennett broke away from the pack in a single bound. It was as if he was up there on stage all alone. Even though the music continued, he was by himself. He was able to convey incredible vulnerability. It was as if he would physically shrink. During the same song, he suddenly burst forth with unbridled power, in joy and laughter, seeming to grow in stature. He was able to penetrate right into our hearts with those golden vocals.
Of course he sang “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”.
But that was not the end of the show. When he put down the microphone and sang “Fly Me to the Moon”, it was a very special moment. He doesn’t need the band or the microphone to connect with the audience.
He received no less than five standing ovations during his performance. He never stopped to take a break. He seemed like he could keep going all night and we all felt like he really wanted to. Performing for a packed theater of a couple thousand people must be stressful for some, but he acts like it’s a walk in the park. Tony Bennett gets the last laugh.