This Week in Arts

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If there was one Bay Area show this fall that could best capture what is currently happening in contemporary art, it would be “Stand Tall Pt. III” opening on Saturday night at Old Crow Tattoo and Gallery. This week, 38 artists are coming from near and far to install their work in the 800-foot gallery space in Oakland. The gallery is relatively small, so filling it with such an expansive, diverse group of artworks will undoubtedly be challenging, but if the gallery’s previous curating is any indication, extremely powerful. Many of the artists have had shows at the gallery before, and some have participated in the previous two Stand Tall shows (which occurred in the Spring of 2010 and 2011). Now, co-curator Barrett Moore brings them all together in an “International Art Showcase.”

At the event on Saturday, many of the artists will be in attendance and there will be live music and a shadow puppet performance. Old Crow certainly knows how to throw a party — this night is not to be missed.

 — Anna Carey


Three of Max Ophuls’s French films are showing at the PFA this weekend. Ophuls made the films during a productive period upon his return to France after his wartime exile in the United States. Though better known on this side of the pond for his Hollywood films like 1948’s “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” Ophuls also had a hugely successful French career. The PFA will be showing “La Ronde,” “Le Plaisir” and “The Earrings of Madame de…” a film that New Yorker critic and all round impossible-to-please film savant  Pauline Kael described as Ophuls’ masterpiece. Check PFA’s website for screening times.

The San Francisco Film Society’s festival of Hong Kong cinema gets started on Sept. 21 and will run pretty much non-stop at the Film Society’s cinema on Post Street. Highlights include Peter Chan’s “Almost a Love Story,” a 1996 classic which will screen on Saturday. Films like this rarely make it back to the big screen, so this is a rare opportunity to catch the victory lap of one of Hong Kong’s standout films.

— Thomas Coughlan


This week is chock full of new album releases. Besides the much anticipated Carly Rae Jepsen album release — just kidding, guys — Band of Horses, The Killers and Dinosaur Jr. are all releasing records this Tuesday. Another big one is Cruel Summer, a hip-hop collaboration with artists under Kanye West’s GOOD Music label. John Legend, Raekwon and Common are just a few of the artists joining West on the album. Multiple Top 40 artists are also releasing albums, such as Pink, Nelly Furtado and Wiz Khalifa.

Albums aren’t enough for you, you say? There are some concerts in the area  for you to check out as well. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to choose, since both bands are playing the same days. The quirky Animal Collective will be playing two nights at the Fox Theater in Oakland this Friday and Saturday. Alternatively, if you prefer something less experimental, Wilco will be playing the same two nights at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. Still not enough? Then check out some of the smaller shows going on at the Rickshaw Stop or Slim’s in San Francisco.

 — Ian Birnam


The play’s the thing,” declares the infamous Denmark prince during Shakespeare’s infamous play. He may be slightly deranged, but Hamlet’s not wrong here. The play is the thing — his play, to be specific. This Saturday, Sept. 22, the California Shakespeare Theater will premiere their new adaptation of the Bard’s tragic tale. Naturally, this isn’t the first time Cal Shakes has tackled “Hamlet.” In 2006,  the theater presented “Hamlet: Blood in the Brain” — a dramatic re-imagining of the story, set in a 1980s Oakland amid the backdrop of the crack cocaine trade. So, more or less the same story.

The new production, under the direction of veteran Shakespeare director Liesl Tommy, will also be a somewhat modern interpretation (though, it will likely have less drugs). Yes, instead of the traditional sabers, the Cal Shakes cast will don sleek suits. This is “Hamlet” for the 21st century — not the 20th century version with Ethan Hawke (gross). Set within the beautiful Bruns Amphitheater, this updated classic certainly looks to be an enterprise of “great pith and moment.”

— Jessica Pena


For those whose eyes tire of the pages of readers and wish again for the soft and worn pages of actual books, for those who forgot what it is like to read for fun, for those who want a cultured bookshelf and for those who just like to read: the San Francisco Public Library’s Big Book Sale will take place this Wednesday through Sunday at the Fort Mason Center.

Books won’t be the only media at the gargantuan sale — DVDs, CDs, and vinyls help make up the 10,000 boxes of “materials” that the sale boasts. The best part is that entry is free and everything is $3. On Sunday, everything is marked down to only $1.

In Melbourne, Australia, art collective Luzinterruptus just finished a month-long exhibition, “Literature vs Traffic,” which also made an appearance in New York two years ago. The group took 10,000 unwanted books from the Salvation Army and blanketed the streets with the winged and illuminated volumes. In a literally traffic-stopping way, the artists drew attention to reading. At the end of the festival, visitors were able to take any books they pleased.

 — A.J. Kiyoizumi

Contact Ian Birnam at 


SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

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