This Week in Arts

MUSIC

It’s the last week of classes, so you’re going to want some
music for those study sessions and some concerts for distractions. The Wu-Tang Clan and D-block, who together to form Wu-Block, are releasing their debut self-titled record this week. The soulful Alicia Keys will be releasing her album Girl on Fire this week as well. If you didn’t catch his set at the Treasure Island Music Festival, electronic act Araabmuzik will be playing the Rickshaw Stop in SF this Wednesday with Samo Sound Boy and DJ Matrixxman. The melancholy melodies of Blondfire will be at the Rickshaw Stop the following night as part of the Popscene Club Night. However, if you are looking for some metal, the Adult Swim animated group Deathklok will be at the Fox Theater in Oakland this Monday with openers Machine Head, All That Remains and Black Dahlia Murder.

— Ian Birnam
VISUAL ART

Start off  your dead week with some Bay Area art and head to Arc Gallery in San Francisco for SCRAP Art, an art exhibition about the potential of recycled material to inspire artists to create. Friday is the preview reception, and Saturday afternoon is the opening party with hands-on activities.Closer to home, shaman performance artist Frank Moore is bringing his event Risk For Deep Love to Temescal Art Center on Saturday evening. An exploration of the self through music, dance and performance, the show is meant to encourage creative freedom and altered realities in what his website calls “a ritual audience participation experience experiment.” “Are you human enough for this?” his poster asks. Also on Saturday, Oakland’s Johansson Projects will be opening two shows featuring artists Rachel Kaye and Casey Watson, who both create artworks that provide visual stimulation through the rendering of complex patterns. The exhibit will also be open for December’s First Friday in two weeks.

— Anna Carey
LITERATURE

Monday at The Booksmith in San Francisco, Ellen Forney will discuss her newest graphic novel, called “Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me,” about her experiences with bipolar disorder. The book debates the existence of a balance between the cursed and gifted aspects of the “crazy artist” stereotype. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Also, be sure to check out the Maurice Sendak exhibit on campus before the semester ends. Although it has been up since September, the exhibit shows some of the recently deceased author’s best illustrations and excerpts from “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Brundibar” and  “We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy.” The display is in the Reading Room of the Education Psychology Library in Tolman Hall and only up until December.

— A.J. Kiyoizumi
FILM

The Pacific Film Archive’s tribute to Chris Marker, the prolific French filmmaker and all-around renaissance man who passed away this July, continues on Friday with a screening of “To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter.” The film acts as director Emiko Omori’s homage to Marker, who was notoriously resistant to tribute and praise. Friends and admirers including Tom Luddy, David Thomson and Marina Goldovskaya, among others who contribute their recollections.

If that doesn’t sound like your schtick, the Paramount Theatre in Oakland gets festive this Friday with a screening of the 1947 classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” Edmund Gwenn plays Kris Kringle, who, after finding out that the man cast as Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is inebriated, assumes the role himself. As the film progresses, we learn that Macy’s might have hired a more realistic Santa than it ever intended to. Though I can’t profess to hating the 1994 remake as much as everyone else (it has Richard Attenborough in it, come on), there’s nothing quite like this original simple tale about the true meaning of Christmas. God, did I just write that?

— Thomas Coughlan
THEATER

It’s here! It’s finally here! The moment everyone has been waiting for! The end of This Week in Arts! Sorry, wrong moment. I meant to say, the premiere of “Book of Mormon” at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre, beginning Nov. 27. Written by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the hilarious-yet-touching story follows two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to a small Ugandan village. It’s a cultural clash of epic and absurd proportions that only Stone, Parker and Bobby Lopez (the composer/lyricist behind “Avenue Q”) could execute with equal measures comedy and compassion. It’s no surprise the show stole the 2011 Tonys, taking home nine awards, including Best Musical. Unfortunately, the show is sold out. But there is hope. Two hours prior to each show, there will be a lottery for a limited number of tickets at $29 each (cash only). It’s a narrow shot, but when else will you get the chance to see besuited men sing a piece entitled “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream”? Probably never.

— Jessica Pena