31 May 2017

Haiku 2017/151

shrimp curled on a plate
swimming in seas of strange sauce
we're so far from home

30 May 2017

Haiku 2017/150

brooding like a dove
a woman on a park bench
head down, muttering

29 May 2017

fun stuff I may or may not get to: June 2017

Again we begin with a warning about our ridiculous public transit system, BART, which seems to get worse by the day. As previously mentioned, on certain weekends between April and July they are rebuilding tracks between the Fruitvale and 19th Street stations, with free shuttle buses running between the two; the Lake Merritt station will be closed. Expect major delays and hassles, so if you are a BART user you may want to avoid buying expensive performance tickets on those weekends, or at least plan on leaving your residence an hour earlier than usual. Since BART tends to switch around the shut-down dates with little advance notice or publicity, you should also check their site for the current schedule. I ended up using the bus bridge a few weeks ago, since they changed their dates but I did not change my theater ticket. The bus bridge works but it is indeed a hassle and a time-suck. We had a "character" as a fellow passenger, one of those semi-crazy semi-street people who are engaging until they're annoying. We had an entertaining conversation as I helped him understand what the bus bridge was and how it worked (he was claiming he was late for a party in San Francisco with Cissie Houston, as in Whitney Houston's mother), but by the time our bus was pulling up to 19th Street and he was screaming, "We're on the bus to Dachau!" I had pretty much had enough. After shutting down most weekends in May, including the three-day holiday weekend, BART is currently scheduled for only one June shut-down, from 10 to 11 June – but as previously mentioned that could change. I only wish I could feel the service would be improved after all this, instead of just slightly less tragic.

San Francisco Playhouse presents The Roommate by Jen Silverman, directed by Becca Wolff, from 23 May to 1 July.

42nd Street Moon presents Kismet in Concert, a special two performance run on 2 - 3 June of the Borodin-based musical at the Marines Memorial Theater, directed by Daren A.C. Carollo with music director Daniel Thomas.

Shotgun Players presents brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee, directed by Margo Hall, from 15 June to 9 July.

The African-American Shakespeare Company presents The Winter's Tale, directed by L. Peter Callender, from 10 to 18 June in the Taube Atrium Theater (next to the Opera House).

Berkeley Rep presents the west coast premiere of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Eric Ting, from 23 June to 23 July.

Modern / New Music
Cal Performances continues its sponsorship of Ojai at Berkeley, the Bay Area version of the famous Ojai festival. This year's music director is Vijay Iyer, who will be joined by performers including Zakir Hussain, Jennifer Koh, Tyshawn Sorey, Wadada Leo Smith, Aruna Sairam, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steven Schick, and Stephan Crump to perform music by composers including Iyer himself, George Lewis, and Stravinsky. That's 15 - 17 June on the Berkeley campus; you can check out the full schedule here.

San Francisco Opera closes out this season with Rigoletto (31 May - 1 July), Don Giovanni (4 - 30 June), and La Bohème (10 June - 2 July).

The San Francisco Girls Chorus will be joined by the Trinity Youth Chorus, soprano Mellissa Hughes, and bass Jonathan Woody, in a program with the appealing (to me) title Mystics and Ecstatics, featuring music by Vivaldi, John Tavener, the US premiere of Song of Seals by Emily Doolittle, and choral improvisations led by Hughes. That's 4 June at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

Chanticleer, in a program they call Psalm, will perform songs of praise and thanksgiving by Dufay, Poulenc, Weelkes, Victoria, and Palestrina, as well as a world premiere of a new work by John Harbison; the concerts take place from 3 to 11 June; check here for specific dates and the various locations.

The San Francisco Symphony closes out its season with some enticing concerts, including: Susanna Mälkki conducting Stravinsky's Scherzo fantastique as well as Le Sacre du printemps along with Beethoven's Piano Concerto 1 (Garrick Ohlsson, soloist) from 9 to 11 June; Vasily Petrenko conducting Glinka's Capriccio brillante on the Jota Aragonesa, the Rachmaninoff Symphony 1, and Lalo's Symphonie espagnole (with violinist Joshua Bell) from 15 to 18 June; and then two programs led by Michael Tilson Thomas – first Music for a Modern Age, featuring works by George Antheil, Lou Harrison, Charles Ives, and Michael Tilson Thomas himself, and it looks as if it will be a multi-media extravaganza, directed by Patricia Birch, featuring projections as well as vocalists (mezzo-soprano Measha Brueggergosman, Mikaela Bennett, and Kara Dugan) and dancers (Kiva Dawson and Erin Moore), and that's 23 - 25 June, and then there's Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, with soloists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone), on 28 - 30 June and 1 July.

Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in a program that includes works by Clarice Assad, Laura Karpman, and Joe W. Moore III as well as Rossini and Ravel on 17 June at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Old First Concerts presents Zofo (the piano-playing duo of Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi, performing the west coast premiere of Akira Nishimura's Samudra Manthan (The Churning of the Ocean Milk) and Holst's The Planets, arranged by Nakagoshi, on 30 June at Old First on Van Ness Avenue.

Visual Arts
The Oakland Museum has a couple of interesting shows: Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing examines the photographer's work, particularly her shots of Dust Bowl migrants and Japanese-Americans in the camps during World War II; and Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest is the first full career retrospective for the artist, who died ten years ago. The Lange show runs from 13 May to 13 August and the De Forest show from 29 April to 20 August.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, from 24 June to 9 October.

The Legion of Honor has an exhibit with the self-explanatory title Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade; the show runs from 24 June to 24 September.

The annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival will take place from 1 to 4 June; as usual everything is at the beauteous Castro Theater with wonderful live music, and as usual they have a rich array of silent films, from the familiar to the obscure. This year's programs look so enticing I finally decided just to buy a membership and a pass so that I wouldn't have to decide what to see in advance. Sometimes it's just too difficult to cull the herd!

That's the Bay Area stuff. But since I'm taking a long-overdue trip, I should mention that the Boston Early Music Festival is going on between 11 and 18 June, with an exciting line-up including a fully staged production of André Campra's opera Le Carnaval de Venise.

Haiku 2017/149

rising with the sun
people whisper, talk, cry, shout
many-voiced music

28 May 2017

Haiku 2017/148

waiting for a train
that never shows up on time:
holiday weekend

27 May 2017

Haiku 2017/147

the fountain is still
water pooled in the basin
birds fly overhead

26 May 2017

Haiku 2017/146

bottles lie broken
down the disillusioned streets
we stare straight ahead

Friday photo 2017/21

morning, after a rain storm: the Tribune Tower in Oakland, March 2017

25 May 2017

Haiku 2017/145

in the fancy mall
beneath the fancy boutiques
such filthy toilets

24 May 2017

Haiku 2017/144

when the fog rolls in
when the birds have stopped singing
when night has fallen

23 May 2017

Haiku 2017/143

church bells are tolling
the church is invisible
there are only bells

22 May 2017

Haiku 2017/142

banks of nasturtiums
blazing out remember me:
green, yellow, orange

21 May 2017

Haiku 2017/141

The sky did nothing.
All day it shone, clear and blue.
Then it disappeared.

20 May 2017

Haiku 2017/140

three pearly pigeons
pecking at greasy wrappers
tossed in the gutter

18 May 2017

Haiku 2017/138

red geraniums
a blue house under blue skies
a white picket fence

17 May 2017

Haiku 2017/137

let the birds sing me
sweet forgotten lullabies
the world turns away

16 May 2017

Haiku 2017/136

blow briskly, breezes;
bending branches arabesque,
all flags are flapping

15 May 2017

Haiku 2017/135

the wind was graceful
dancing through the bending trees
but left quite a mess

14 May 2017

13 May 2017

Haiku 2017/133

fallen rose petals
carpet last year's fallen leaves:
pink and red on brown

11 May 2017

Haiku 2017/131

a tree's tangled roots,
twisted and grey like granite:
the sidewalk buckles

10 May 2017

Haiku 2017/130

in City Center
waiting for the light to change:
a whiff of cut grass

09 May 2017

Haiku 2017/129

strawberry baskets
glowing in marketplace stalls:
so deep a scarlet

08 May 2017

Haiku 2017/128

woke up, went to work
stayed there all day, left for home . . .
was this a new day

07 May 2017

Haiku 2017/127

leaning on a ledge
the stone still warm from the sun
though it's now in shade

06 May 2017

Haiku 2017/126

this is where we put
the shaft of light or bird-song
that changed time for us

05 May 2017

04 May 2017

Haiku 2017/124

bicyclists roll by
regardless of the stoplights
a man flips them off

03 May 2017

Haiku 2017/123

gardens in full bloom
waiting for the night-time dews
to freshen them up

02 May 2017

Haiku 2017/122

a jutting rose bush
blazing with angry roses
demands attention

01 May 2017

Haiku 2017/121

cake in the break-room
diminishing with the day
as workers succumb