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As noted in another post, in September, I finally had the chance to meet Stan Lai—the great Taiwanese playwright, theatre director and Berkeley grad— as part of a Berkeley-Taipei celebration.
How terrific then to be able see him and his work back in the Bay Area when his new work, THE VILLAGE, made its Bay Area premiere at the Flint Center in Cupertino. The show completely sold out the thousand plus auditorium, and I felt quite privileged to be in the midst of the exhilarated crowd. While I had read in advance as much as I could in English, I was still astounded by the poignance, humor, and scale of The Village.

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BAY AREA ARTS: PAI and Pocha Nostra

Last week offered the chance to experience two important time-based art initiatives in one evening. The Performance Art Institute, initially conceived with Marina Abramovic and now led entirely by her co-founder Stephen Tourrell, has an absolutely incredible space (I should say spaces) on Sutter Street.
As a partner in the already successful Toomey Tourrell gallery, Stephen has turned his attention to performance and has secured a multi-storied space for rehearsal, performance, and display. It also has rooms to house visiting groups and a variety of sequestered convivial spaces throughout. How did he do it?

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CHARETTE: Ken Goldberg

Ken asked us to invite a selected group of faculty to help him think about the formal structure of an installation entitled “Are We There Yet?” which will invite receivers to reflect upon the interrogative impulses behind the dynamic construction of past and contemporary Jewish identity. It will also be employing systems developed by Meyer Sound as well as Ken’s team of doctoral students in his robotics lab at UCB to create an installation that responds sonically to receivers’ movements in the space.

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BAY AREA ARTS: The Brother/Sister Plays

McCraney’s reputation as one of the “hottest” “emerging” American playwrights only begins to do justice to his skill and depth of vision, and the decision on the part of A.C.T., Marin Theatre, and the Magic to bring the trilogy to the Bay Area allowed audiences here to see why. McCraney grew up in the housing projects of Liberty City in Miami-Dade County and describes his work as an attempt to bring forward the theatricality of that landscape into theaters unused to experiencing it.

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BAY AREA ARTS: Etiquette at YBCA

I had the chance to experience “Etiquette” under the auspices of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts earlier this semester.
I have been interested in the admittedly over-used concept of “relational aesthetics” over the last couple of years, thinking in particular about 1) how this turn in contemporary visual art is part and parcel of a related turn in experimental theatre and 2) how and with what modifications this turn addresses socio-political issues, i.e. the vexed but intriguing question of “commitment” in art practice.

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SALON: Ed Campion

Ed is a leader in the fields of electronic and digital music composition, crafting what are not so much “scores” but alternate “systems” for composing, calibrating, integrating, and synthesizing musical and sonic forms. Cal Performances director, Matías Tarnalpolsky, joined us for a pre-show talk and a post-show reception to help us think about the beauty of Campion’s work, the challenge to “authorship” it launches, and the new skills it requires of its musicians.

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ARTS ELSEWHERE: The School of Social Work at the University of Washington recently reconnected with the historical formation of the field, that is, with what we would now call its nascent “interdisciplinarity” in the arts. The late 19th century reformers who sought something other than a charity model to address the social ills of their […]