These are the doldrums months for theater, and as such perhaps a bit of a relief, though there’s always something tempting:
Here’s some long-running fun: at the Exit Stage Left on 156 Eddy Street, starting July 8 and running Thursday-Friday-Saturday for four weeks, No Nude Men Productions is presenting a series of twelve staged readings of new plays, each based on one of the classical Greek deities. The website is here but also check out Marissabidilla’s more detailed entry here.
Festival Opera in Walnut Creek (at the Dean Lesher Center, a short walk from the BART station) presents Madama Butterfly (July 10-18) and Lucia di Lammermoor (August 7-15).
Berkeley Opera presents Legend of the Ring, a revival of its much-praised one-evening condensation of the Ring Cycle.
Old First Concerts at 1751 Sacramento Street (that's Sacramento and Van Ness) continues its regular series of concerts; the one that jumps out at me is early music vocal ensemble EUOUAE performing the Messe de Tournai, which they describe as the oldest polyphonic setting of the Mass to have been collected under one cover. They are also doing several other interesting pieces; see the full description here.
The 15th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival runs from July 15 through July 18 at the Castro Theater. The big news here is Fritz Lang’s wild and wildly influential Metropolis, presented with 25 minutes of previously lost footage, but since Kino is releasing the new restoration on DVD this fall, I would rather see A Spray of Plum Blossoms (Yi jian mei), a 1930 Chinese version of The Two Gentlemen of Verona; or Rotaie, an Italian film from 1929 that sounds reminiscent of Murnau’s Sunrise; or L’Heureuse mort, a 1924 French comedy about a playwright whose alleged death makes him suddenly a valuable property. Oh, if I could stand the crowds I'd just stay in the theater from start to finish; all the films look enticing and they have some great live music from the Alloy Orchestra among others.
And the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is devoting its two top floors to its big summer show, Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection. Click here and here for SFMike’s two-part survey of Donald Fisher and his collection, complete with many lovely photos that give you a great sense of what's on view. I will say that since robber barons appear to be inevitable in our society, I’m grateful for any of them that direct their loot towards art, rather than running for political offices they don’t deserve to hold, and I'm talking about scum like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. You often hear it remarked (well, depending on the circles you travel in) that it’s puzzling that the public will resist modern music though not modern painting. I’ve wondered about that myself. There are a couple of points to consider though: one is that the audience for modern art need only be one person with enough extra cash, and live performance needs significantly more people for even a tiny audience, and all of them need to be available at the same time. The second is that if you want to establish your social credentials through art (or if you are in fact genuinely interested in it), the contemporary is often the only thing both available and affordable, whereas given the centuries of scores piled up, you have to be actively interested in contemporary music to choose to subsidize it rather than something less risky. Also, of course, it's easy enough to walk away from a painting on a wall, or to stare at it until you feel you "understand" it, which is a very different experience from being forced to sit quietly while strange sounds fleet by. Anyway here’s your chance to check out the new holdings even before SFMOMA builds its planned addition. There’s a beautiful room filled with paintings by Agnes Martin, though my favorite is still the one already in the collection (that’s the painting I’m looking at in my avatar up there).
I have no idea what's going on with the fonts in this entry, and why blogger won't let me fix them.