Drama Talk & Drinks: Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts I, II, & III) – “storytelling you have to work for”

After five years of Drama Talk & Drinks, we realized we had never reviewed a show at one of the premiere theaters in SF, A.C.T. It seemed like a good time to start, particularly with opening of Father Comes Home From the Wars, a play new play by Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Suzan-Lori Parks. So off we went to A.C.T for a night of drama talk and drinks.

Photo by Joan Marcus. A chorus of enslaved people—Second (Rotimi Agbabiaka), Third (Safiya Fredericks), Leader (Chivas Michael), Homer (Julian Elijah Martinez) and The Oldest Old Man (Steven Anthony Jones), Hero’s surrogate father—place bets over whether Hero will accompany The Colonel to the Civil War in Suzan-Lori Parks’s Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), performing at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater April 25–May 20, 2018.

Photo by Joan Marcus. A chorus of enslaved people—Second (Rotimi Agbabiaka), Third (Safiya Fredericks), Leader (Chivas Michael), Homer (Julian Elijah Martinez) and The Oldest Old Man (Steven Anthony Jones).

Brittany: I loved the first two acts. The staging was beautiful and the Greek chorus was cool. The third act, after the intermission, lost some momentum for me. I was weirded out by the talking dog. I think they were going for an Odysseus thing, but it jumped the shark for me. Still very much worth seeing, but be prepared for a bit of a let down at the end.

Katie: There were definitely some cool moments, but I didn’t love the preachy, greek tragedy, lots of monologues format. I was interested in the story and cared about the characters, but it was a 3 hour show…I guess I’m a product of a generation of really short attentions span, but it felt long. I also agree the third act was not as strong as the first two. At first it wasn’t even clear that the Greek chorus was playing different characters, and then when the dog-human ran out it totally took me out of it.

B: I didn’t mind all the monologues because they were performed by really strong actors, but you’re right, it was a long first act.

K: Agreed. The actors were incredible. The set was cool and artistic too.

B: I liked how they used the lighting and the shadows.

K: I appreciate that the play explored some pretty provocative topics too.

B: Definitely some very interesting subject matter. I think that’s why I was okay with the length of the play. Watching the characters explore the legacy of slavery in the United States and the struggle for black Americans to be valued when the dominant white culture only sees value in a black person if they can be owned was some powerful stuff. I think it was a valuable play in that way. I just really wish they didn’t have that dog character.

K: This is for people who love meaningful theater and storytelling you have to work for, but it’s totally worth it. I enjoyed myself.

The Verdict: It’s a long and heavy show, but very well acted, well staged, and well worth seeing.

The Drama Talk: Father Comes Home From the Wars is thought provoking. It’s the kind of a play you’re engaged in while it’s happening, and then when you think about it after the fact you start to realize all the clever things you missed. This is undoubtedly in part due to the extremely good actors who were able to keep the audience with them in the moment. The dramatic yet sparse set and highly contrasted lighting design provided just enough of a canvass to give the scenes shape, while still allowing one’s imagination to fill in the detail. Yes, it’s long, but it’s also smart, and totally worth checking out.

The Drinks: It was late by the time we got out of this 3 hour show, so we wanted somewhere chill where we could discuss what we just saw AND have cocktail and a snack. Luckily Bartlett Hall was open and had all of the above.

Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts I, II, & III) plays through May 20th at the ACT’s Geary Theater. Tickets range from $13.50-$115 and can be purchased on their website.

 

Bernie Sanders, the next President of the United States, taking a stroll on Mission Street just now

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Shaking hands with local politician Tom Temprano no less!

[via Tom Temprano on Instagram]

UPDATE: Another good shot by Linea Caffe!

Cool doormat

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Saw this last night at a new friend’s house.

One time about 8 years ago I did a Q&A with John McCrea from Cake, and he talked a little about a changing San Francisco (and it was about 8 years ago, so it was election season then too):

There are some things that happened in San Francisco politics that could happen nowhere else in country. I’m grateful things are as progressive as they are. Compared to all the other cities that we visit in the United States, it’s pretty remarkable. People lambast us using catch phrases like “San Francisco values”, but i just think values are shitty everywhere else, so… live it up. That said, all my friends have moved to Portland, and I’m not sure if San Francisco’s gonna be as livable without any musicians or degenerates. Sure there are lots of great musicians and bands, but they’re musicians that happen to have jobs at Yahoo! or something.

Lol at the Yahoo reference, am I right? So 8 years ago. Read on for the full Q&A.

Now let’s rock out to my two favorite Cake songs about evictions and gentrification:

Third annual 20th Street Block Party is this weekend!

This year’s 20th Street Block Party is looking bigger and better than ever:

Noise Pop and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group are proud to present the third annual 20th Street Block Party on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

The 20th Street corridor will be transformed into a free party to showcase and celebrate a diverse neighborhood that blends modern ideas with community traditions to create a new San Francisco experience. This free, delicious summer feast and dance party will feature some of the city’s best restaurants, local businesses and artisans as well as a variety of indie bands and DJs.

As we mentioned earlier this week, the newly reunited Dominant Legs are playing (at 4:20pm, don’t be tardy), but there’s also headliner Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, plus Nick Waterhouse and a bunch of other acts. See the lineup and schedule here.

As for food, they’ve got workshops and specials and enough food-related stuff to pack your afternoon. Full (really long) list of food vendors and programming here.

And if all that music and food isn’t enough, there are some art installations and some DIY activities and live radio! Read all about it here.

Lastly, if you wanna really live it up, get yourself a VIP ticket (which includes private viewing areas and restrooms, free drinks and food, limited edition merch, AND a mixtape).

A real live Toynbee Tile right here in SF!

Local hero the Fog Bender spotted it this afternoon near Church and Market and “nearly shit [his] damned pants.”

If you’re not familiar, the Wikipedia entry on the Toynbee Tiles phenomenon is helpful. Here’s some of it:

The Toynbee tiles (also called Toynbee plaques) are messages of unknown origin found embedded in asphalt of streets in about two dozen major cities in the United States and four South American cities. Since the 1980s, several hundred tiles have been discovered. They are generally about the size of an American license plate (roughly 30 cm by 15 cm), but sometimes considerably larger. They contain some variation on the following inscription:

TOYNBEE IDEA
IN MOViE `2001
RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER

Some of the more elaborate tiles also feature cryptic political statements or exhort readers to create and install similar tiles of their own. The material used for making the tiles was initially unknown, but evidence has emerged that they may be primarily made of layers of linoleum and asphalt crack-filling compound.

[via The Fog Bender on Instagram]

Coopers Pale Ale on tap in the United States for the first time ever thanks to Bender’s!

All the way from Australia!

[via Talent Is An Asset]

Is Christianity turning Dia de los Muertos into a bummer?

I mean:

  1. Christianity is a total bummer
  2. Without Christianity, white people (a people who are ruining Dia de los Muertos) never would have come to the new world in the first place
  3. Without Christianity, Dia de los Muertos wouldn’t even exist as we know it today, I mean
  4. Al Gore is Christian, and he invented the Internet, which destroyed Dia de los Muertos

So.

[Photo by Rusty Hodge]

The Gooch Palms, all the way from Australia, live onstage in SF tonight

The Gooch Palms are definitely my favorite new band of late, and even though they’re from Australia, they’re playing tonight right here in San Francisco:

It might be Sunday, but THAT DOESN’T MATTER cause it’s also Labor Day eve!!! So come celebrate having Monday off with killer cuties POOKIE & THE POODLEZ, Aussie punk sweethearts THE GOOCH PALMS and doo-wop punker ELVIS CHRIST!

August 31, 2014
8:30 pm – 11:55 pm
$7
Hemlock Tavern
415-923-0925
1131 Polk St. , San Francisco, CA 94109 United States [link]

Watch this video if you wanna hear the best song you’ll hear all day:

Save the world by drinking a bunch of booze tonight!

Mission-based human and environmental rights nonprofit Global Exchange is having a little party. Here’s the deal:

Come join Global Exchange and Dr. Teeth for a happy hour promoting social, economic and environmental justice! We’ve spent the past 26 years tackling some of the most critical issues of our time- and we couldn’t have done it without a little help from our friends! Connecting with you is a priority for us. We believe that as a network of allies and supporters, united in our shared vision, we can create a just and sustainable world. We’re excited to see you, share ideas and raise our glasses for change!

$3 beers, $4 well drinks. 10% of bar sales will be donated to Global Exchange.

‘Waiting for a Train’ the Toshio Hirano documentary now online!

If you know him, you love him. Toshio Hirano has been charming the hell out of Mission audiences with his country yodeling and hilarious stage banter for over a decade.

In 2009, director Oscar Bucher made a short documentary about how this fella from Tokyo fell in love with early country music and followed that passion to the United States. It had limited screenings, one of which I was lucky enough to catch then.

Finally, the film has been posted online for the rest of us, so check it out:

http://www.windriderforum.info/waiting-for-a-train/

Toshio still performs at Amnesia on 2nd Mondays and the Rite Spot Cafe on the 4th Tuesdays.