This Week in Arts

Our lead writers bring you the latest and greatest in Bay Area arts and culture this week

Film

This week the Pacific Film Archive hosts four films by Michael Glawogger, an Austrian filmmaker who focuses on the plight of the working class amid an increasingly alienating global economy. Glawogger’s experimental aesthetic elevates these otherwise depressing films to a level of exhilarating beauty. His latest film, “Whore’s Glory,” interrogates the oldest profession in Bangkok, Bangladesh and Mexico; “Workingman’s Death” (2005) showcases the grime and gruel of hard manual labor in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe; “Kill Daddy Goodnight” (2009) is a thriller/family drama about Nazi-related secrets. And finally, “Megacities” (1998) examines the urban poor with split-screen, time-lapse and searing color scheme. Such dreary subjects couldn’t possible be so compelling without Glawogger’s purely cinematic. The screenings run from Friday May 4 to Sunday May 6.

Ryan Lattanzio is the lead film critic.
Visual Arts

What better way to close off the spring semester than with May’s Oakland Art Murmur. Like every month’s first Friday, 23rd street between Telegraph and Valley will be closed to traffic, street vendors will line the sidewalks and galleries in the area will open up to the public. This month, Hive Gallery is hosting Gared Luquet, who will be exhibiting textural mixed media paintings in his show “Remix” opening Friday. Jennie Ottinger is opening her show “What To Do With Your Orphan: A Manual” — paintings of orphans eating, playing and sleeping, in eerie renderings of anonymous, ghost-like children. Finally, “E = mc2” will be opening at Manna Gallery with paintings and mixed media sculpture by Mark Lightfoot that reflect on the relationship between energy, structure and motion. If you’re headed out of the Bay Area for the summer, soak up these last moments of visual art frenzy, wherever your First Friday leads you.

Anna Carey is the lead visual arts critic.

Theater

Finals week is never fun. You’re either stuck in the library or you’re stuck avoiding the library. In which case, that means it’s time for some serious distractions. Netflix Instant can only offer so much in terms of procrastination. Be like Disney’s “Hercules,” go the distance to get away from the books and travel to San Francisco for the premiere of “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit” by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.

It’s a work of ultimate imagination as it utilizes a free-form structure with no director or sets and several actors to enact what the press release describes as “the experience of a whole generation.” “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit” will be running May 4 to May 20 at the International Festival Lounge (540 Sutter St.) as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival. Of the words that start with “F” in this blurb, go with the festival over the finals.

Jessica Pena is the Arts & Entertainment editor.

Music

Who cares if summer doesn’t technically start until June 20? The soothing sounds of sunshine and freedom are all around us — especially in Oakland. This Friday and Saturday, the tranquil sounds of Snow Patrol will grace the Oakland Fox Theater venue with the similarly low-key Death Cab for Cutie to follow with shows booked May 8 through May 10. If you prefer a harder edge, The Black Keys will be performing at the Oracle Arena on May 4 (possibly drowning out the softer Snow Patrol with their bluesy bravado). Along with the local theme, San Francisco-based DJ and electronic artist, Bassnectar, will surely dazzle crowds on May 5 when he plays at The Independent. So, put down the books and buy up some tickets. Set aside your studies and turn up some tunes. All in all, this weekend boasts the beginning of what will surely be a wonderfully loud, bombastic and busy song-filled summer.

Jessica Pena is the Arts & Entertainment editor.