This Week in Arts

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If you’re not on a flight home come Wednesday evening, you might want to check out the Castro Theatre’s Jeff Bridges double feature. What better way to ring in the holiday season than with The Dude himself? Things get started at 7 p.m. with a screening of “The Big Lebowski” before moving back in time to one of Clint Eastwood’s earliest directorial efforts, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.” Bridges plays Eastwood’s sidekick, but unlike his more recent companions, Bridges is anything but an empty chair — indeed, this performance earned him an Oscar nomination.

If you’re staying in Berkeley this weekend, the PFA’s screening of Jean Cocteau’s  “Beauty and the Beast” on Saturday is something worth giving thanks for. Cocteau’s groundbreaking film famously subverted the story’s traditional happy ending by making the prince so perfect that “his transformation into Prince Charming would come as a terrible blow to Beauty, condemning her to a humdrum marriage and a future that is summed up in that last sentence of all fairy tales: ‘And they had many children.’”

— Thomas Coughlan



On Nov. 19, Adam Gopnik and Malcolm Gladwell will be speaking at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Gopnik is best known for his pieces in The New Yorker as well as collections of essays with his signature cultural insight. Gladwell’s best-selling pop psychology and sociology books, such as “Blink,” have dissected everyday actions, in turn inspecting their basic drives. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.

Also on Nov. 19, the audience-curated The Lit Slam intertwines live slam poetry and written word with its first book release. A panel of random audience members curates live poetry performances, and the anthology now is in a physical volume titled “Tandem.” The book-release party will have live music and readings in San Francisco at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and comes with a copy of the book.

 — A.J. Kiyoizumi


Similar to last week, a whole new slew of records comes out this Tuesday. Punk group Bad Brains will be releasing Into the Future, their first album in five years. Hip-hop legend Ghostface Killah will also be releasing an album this week, as will the post-hardcore Australian group Sienna Skies. Top 40 artists Pitbull and Rihanna will also be releasing new albums this week.

Starting off our concerts for the week, Nas and Ms. Lauryn Hill will be playing at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Nov. 19. However, if you’re looking for some concerts to sweat off the Thanksgiving turkey, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament’s latest project, RNDM, will be playing at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco this Friday in support of their debut album, Acts. Local group Wallpaper will be playing Slim’s in SF on Friday as well. Slim’s will also host metal group Killswitch Engage this coming Sunday.

— Ian Birnam


For centuries, artists have used the human figure as their muse, meditating over the curves and subtle idiosyncrasies of each and every individual. The newest exhibit at popUP Gallery in Alameda, “Every_Body,” will feature the work of 11 Bay Area artists who have created paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures inspired by the human body. They will explore the body as an aesthetic piece of art but also delve into themes like self-image, spirituality and everyday life.  If you’re staying in the Bay for Thanksgiving, PopUp Gallery’s exhibit is a great way to get your art fix.

In time for Black Friday, Berkeley artists and artisans will be opening up their galleries and workshops to the public beginning this weekend for Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. Maps and listings are available online and will also be printed in the East Bay Express. Participating venues are scattered all around Berkeley.

 — Anna Carey


Mary Zimmerman, a prominent playwright and renowned stage director, has become known for her innovative interpretations of classic stories. In 2002, her theatrical take on Ovid’s famous poem “Metamorphoses” earned her a Tony Award for Best Direction. In 2007, Zimmerman’s adaptation of the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, “Argonautika,” came to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Five years later, Zimmerman is now back with another lyrical reworking of a classic tale.

The White Snake” retells the Chinese legend known as “Legend of the White Snake” or, alternatively, “Madame White Snake.” The story follows a young scholar’s love for a woman who, unbeknownst to him, is actually a thousand-year-old snake in the form of a human. Running currently until Dec. 23, Zimmerman’s take on this traditional tale of love, sadness and wonder seems destined to impress once more.

— Jessica Pena