Archive for June, 2010

Review: Fresh Voices X, Goat Hall’s festival of new works

Letter from Linda (Alden Jenks, text:Frank Polite)
Sutter Creek (Robert Denham)
Medea Alone (David Garner)
Theresa Kren (Mark Narins)
The Hunger Art (Jeff Myers, text: Royce Vavrek)

A recurring theme in this blog seems to be how hard it is to get people to care about new music or theater.  An artist blows hundreds of hours creating something, it gets performed once (maybe twice if they’re lucky), some friends and family may mumble some befuddled congratulations, but more often then not, the tree falls in an rather empty forest.

I believe that composers want feedback, preferably positive, but barring the most thin skinned of temperaments, negative feedback would be preferable to the icy silence that accompanies most new works.  Well considered, articulate, direct and honest feedback is perhaps the best gift you can give an artist. In that spirit I decided to write a bit about the works presented by Goat Hall’s Tenth Annual Fresh Voices festival last weekend.

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Jun 2010

Tobias Picker starts foodie trend in New York

June 2010 Playbill

Apparently, when Tobias Picker eats, broadway listens.  Mere weeks after Mr. Picker was spotted at a Petaluma Applebee’s, broadway heart-throb Hunter Ryan Herdlicka told Playbill magazine that Applebee’s was the perfect spot to catch a post-show snack.  He even singled out the spinach and artichoke dip!

Maybe the New York Times will send a critic to Taste of Petaluma this year to spot next year’s trends…


Jun 2010

Save the small theaters!

Oh man.  Another small theater is taken out of commission.  I just learned that Climate Theater has lost its lease and is moving operations to the Traveling Jewish Theater.  Chloe Veltman covered it on her blog.  (Somehow I keep crossing paths with Chloe Veltman.  I think I only met her in person once, very briefly at the opening night parties that Cutting Ball theater threw for their production of Mud, but she keeps on popping up.  First she’s friends with fellow Richter Scale Jerry Cain (via NY Times blogger Scott James).  Then she’s interviewing my composition teacher David Conte.  This time I was actually in Jessica Heidt’s living room getting ready to do some work on Failing That while Chloe was interviewing her. One of these days we might actually have a conversation. But I digress…)

As someone who prefers his theatrical spaces to be intimate (more accurately, someone who prefers theater that isn’t going to draw more than 50 people in any given night) this is a bummer. We need all the small spaces we can get. So as a tribute to the Climate’s lost space, why don’t you take a look at what’s playing in San Francisco’s teeny houses this weekend. Or next weekend. (But don’t wait too much longer, lest they lose their leases as well…)

The Real Kim Harmon is doing a performance piece in the art space/curio shop hybrid Viracocha in the mission

The Dark Room is continuing it’s Twilight Zone productions as well as their bad movie nights.

Stage Werx has Lisa Marie Rollins’ solo show  Ungrateful Daughter (which features a scene that came from a suggestion I made at one of W Kamau Bell‘s solo performance workshops…)

SF Playhouse is previewing their re-imagining of The Fantasticks set in a contemporary dystopia.

The Garage has got the athletic dance group the San Francisco Moving Men

Counterpulse has a new show about LGBTQ elders by Outlook Theater Productions

Intersection for the Arts is celebrating its 45th anniversary with a Gala auction.

And, of course, up in Petaluma, I’ll be performing in the closing night of Emmeline at teeny opera company Cinnabar.



Jun 2010

Cultural whiplash, aka Opera Sandwich, aka Free A Cappella TONIGHT!

One of the best things about singing in operas is that you rarely have performances (or rehearsals for that matter) two days in a row.  This is in stark contrast to plain ole musical theater where, for all intents and purposes, you might as well bring your toothbrush and sleeping bag, since you will be spending the bulk of your life in that theater for a couple of months.  There’s a reason Equity rules require a cot for each production (Section 58, C-8). Well, not a reason that makes much sense, but still it’s a reason.

Anyways, invariably those days between shows get filled up with other shows.  Like tonight. Fresh from performing in a contemporary opera about the cruelties of convention in puritanical early New England, I’ll be singing some a cappella ditties with my best friends, the Richter Scales. And then eighteen hours later, I’ll be back in the pre industrial age shunning my hapless daughter for sins she had no idea she committed.

Richter Scales – Puttin on the Ritz
7:30 pm
St Peter’s Church
178 Clinton Street
Redwood City, CA
Saturday, June 5, 2010

It’s fun.  And free. So if you’re in the bay area, come on by and say hi. I’ll be the guy with the ridiculous muttonchops waving his hands in the front.


Jun 2010