Drama Talk & Drinks: Head of Passes – “Bad things happen to good people”

At DT&D we love all theater, but we have a special place in our heart for new works. When Berkeley Rep invited us to a Represent night to see their production of Head of Passes, a new play by the “astonishingly gifted” (e.g. young and talented) playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, we jumped at the chance. Unfortunately for Katie, only Brittany was free, so she and her boyfriend Sam went out for a date night of Drama Talk & Drinks.

Actress Cheryl Lynn Bruce stars in the West Coast premiere of Head of Passes. Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com

Brittany: Did you like it?

Sam: I did. I feel like everyone in the play was made to represent one of the deadly sins. The son that was obsessed with how they would look to their church friends, Aubrey (Francois Battiste) was pride. The other son, Spencer (Brian Tyree Henry), was sloth. Cookie (Nikkole Salter) was…maybe gluttony…or greed. She was greed, she stole that stuff.

B: But the reason she stole stuff was for drugs which she was driven to because she was molested as a child.

S: Okay fair, but it’s still partially greed. And I guess the dead father is lust. And then the friends…

B: I don’t know if they’re really supposed to be the seven deadly sins. They’re just all imperfect people.

S: Maybe, but the guy, umm Creaker, he was anger. The doctor and Mae were gluttony since they drank all the booze. I don’t know who was envy…maybe Mae was envy.

B: I mean maybe, the play is definitely based in the Bible, but the characters were all too complex to just be emblematic of one sin. It’s a contemporary retelling of the story of Job, just set in coastal Louisiana. In Job people weren’t killed because they were sinful. God was testing Job’s faith. That’s part of what makes the story so tragic. Bad things happen to good people.

S: They didn’t teach Job in my Hebrew school.

B: Probably because it’s such a hard story. No one wants to hear that no matter how good you are, or faithful you are, or whatever, God will still test you and shit will happen.

S: Well the set was fantastic, it was one of the best sets I’ve seen in my life.

B: I really liked the first act. They really captured the cacophony of family drama. The second act was hard though. That final soliloquy is long and intense, and since the actress (Cheryl Lynn Bruce) had to call “line” a few times it lost some momentum.

S: In the pre-show talk the playwright said he added like 100 new pages to the script in the last two weeks. I can’t memorize 10 pages in two weeks, I was impressed she stayed in the moment as well as she did.

B: Definitely, the actress who played Shelah was amazingly talented, but having a prompters voice reading the line flat breaks the momentum no matter what. It was the biggest problem I had with the show. I feel like everyone in the audience was over it by the end. It’s like the Monty Python joke “I’m not dead yet.” She was supposed to die, and it just kept going as the house was crumbling around her.

S: But that was amazing, the set falling apart, and the water. Such cool staging.

B: I agree, but when I went to the bathroom I overheard someone else saying, “Thank God she finally died.” It’s a good show, I really enjoyed it, but the second act needs tightening.

The Verdict: Head of Passes is a promising new work. As always Berkeley Rep has extremely talented actors and designers. Go if nothing else to see a really cool set and well thought out design. By the end of the run (May 24th) it’s going to be great, but give the actors a week to work out the kinks of last minute additions to the script. Be prepared for an emotional night, if that final monologue is done to its full potential there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

The Drama Talk: Seriously, the set is dope. There’s lots and lots of water on stage which makes for really beautiful pictures and interesting sound effects. The show has the intimacy of a living room drama, the epic-ness of a Shakespearean tragedy, and the magical realism of a Kushner all rolled into one. This is only the second time this play has been staged (it was conceived and first performed at Steppenwolf in Chicago, the playwrights home theater), and there are still some kinks particularly in the second act, but McCraney is definitely a playwright to watch. The actors are all extremely talented, particularly Cheryl Lynn Bruce who play Shelah. She has the unenviable task of performing most of the second act alone with one of the most intense monologues we’ve seen in recent memory.

The Drinks: Berkeley Rep has a bar in the theater and since it was opening night they gave us passes for half-off drinks. Who can say no to half-off wine? We got our glasses and went over to the lobby of the proscenium theater and watched the final 15 minutes of Tartuffe on the monitor. One and ¼ of a Berkeley Rep show and half off drinks, not a bad date night.

Head of Passes runs through May 24th on Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage. Tickets are $29-$79 and available through Berkeley Rep’s website. If you’re still under the age of 30 half price tickets are also available for most performances. Those can also be booked online, but you’ll need to show an ID with proof of age to pick up your tickets.

 

Look at this photo depicting the theme ‘Market Street, SF’

[via Joe Aguirre]

Genius entrepreneur peddling homemade milkshakes in the park

And only $3! Look out, St. Francis Fountain!

[via Stephanie Meyers]

Check out this sick panorama of a rainbow bridging Potrero and Bernal

[via Zach Langley]

Music for the Mission: This week at Pop’s

Have you checked out M.O.M at POPS? Your number #1 reason to love Mondays is taking San Francisco by storm with 2 locations every Monday night. Motown on Mondays invites you to party hop between Madrone Art Bar & Pops Bar! M.O.M is a family of DJs, producers, musicians and music enthusiasts that all share a passion for the convergence of soul music and dancing. MOM DJs represent the most spirited soul parties with a unique vibration. Gathering their musical inspiration from Motown, soul, funk and disco with an emphasis on new and classic remixes/edits. Join the movement!

 

4/13/15 MONDAY

MOM at POPS: Motown on Mondays

It’s only Monday if you treat it like one.

M.O.M

9PM START, 1:30AM end

Hey!

Check out my

M.O.M.

Mondays at Pops

DJ GORDO CABEZA, TIMOTEO GIGANTE, THE CAPTAIN AND WEEKLY GUESTS

PLAY ORIGINALS, EXCLUSIVE REMIXES

AND CLOSE RELATIVES OF YOUR FAVORITE

MOTOWN SONGS…

(more…)

3D City: Launching off Jones

3D City is a year long stereoscopic photography project by Doctor Popular

Noel and I had just finished shooting a video for my comic book project, God Hates Dinosaurs, when we first met Toby Allender. He introduced himself as a BMX rider visiting from Australia and said he was on the hunt for a giant San Francisco hill that he could bomb on his bike. He saw our camera gear and stopped us to see if we’d like to help.

A couple hours later we were in Toby’s rental car driving around Russian Hill looking for a nice steep street and picking up any spare traffic cones we could find. We ended up at Jones and Union, a nice steep street with a nice flat section that would work great as a ramp. We set up some cameras, put on some orange vests, and waited for Toby’s signal once he was ready at the top of the hill. When he gave us the thumbs up, we placed the cones down at the intersection and kept our eye out for any cars pulling out of their parking lots.

I’d guess Toby was going about 40mph when he launched off of the intersection at Union, and he traveled about 40 feet before hitting the ground again. 15 minutes later we set it all up again for an even faster ride. Since I was in charge of blocking the intersection, I didn’t get to take many shots during the jump itself, but here are a few more from just before.


(more…)

1K Attend Mission Crit

Estimates indicate more than 1,000 lined the half mile race course earlier this evening for what was possibly the first legal bike race to take place in the Mission.

76 racers competed in two races that lasted about 40 minutes each.

“There was one crash but it was minor” said volunteer, Stephen Grady. “It seemed to be very well taken care of. The paramedics were on it but everybody walked away from it.”

Nearing the final lap, Marc Marino about to overtake his friend Chas Christiansen.

$700 in cash prizes were distributed to the podium finishers of both the women’s and men’s races.

Winners – Women’s

  • 1st Veronika Volok
  • 2nd Kora Colasuonno
  • 3rd Christina Peck

Winners – Men’s

  • 1st Manuel Barra
  • 2nd Marc Marino
  • 3rd Chas Christiansen

 

Inside the Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission, opening soon!

Today on the Alamo Drafthouse blog, former Roxie boss and new New Mission honcho Mike Keegan gives us the skinny:

What are we going to show at the New Mission? The short answer is, anything we think should be seen with an audience.  The slightly longer answer is: Hollywood blockbusters, independent pictures, classics, not-so-classics, foreign films, insane rediscoveries, restorations, rarities, documentaries, cult stuff, music stuff, interactive parties, and lots more.  From family-friendly sing-a-longs to gigantic space operas to brain-damaged total trash, it’s all under one gigantic roof at the New Mission.

Speaking of the New Mission, want to see how it’s coming along?

This is our big main room on the ground floor.  That scaffolding on the stage is where speakers are going to go, behind the screen.  Do you see those little holes in the ground?  Back in the day, each seat at the New Mission had individual heat blowers in the floor for each guest.  We’re not replicating that particular quirk, but we figure being able to eat and drink from your seat is a fair trade.  EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: We ARE replicating that personal atmospheric maintenance system!

Epic! Great work, Mike!

Read on for more pics and info.

The story of J. Rusten’s iconic California tables and desks

Last week, our pal Lil Tuffy submitted a suggestion regarding J. Rusten Furniture Studio, a Mission-based business doing some really cool stuff:

You should interview/feature businesses like this that are still in the Mission. There’s still a lot of cool stuff being made here and I’d love to see pictures of his shop and work.

I thought that was a really good idea — and then Jared Rusten himself answered all our prayers with an in-depth history of his famous California tables and desks on an Instagram #tbt yesterday:

1st Legal Bike Race in the Mission. Ever?

This Saturday about +70 people will be racing what may be the first fully legal, closed course bike race in the Mission District. Ever.

In NIMBY, USA it’s a miracle out of scripture that Mission Crit organizer, James Grady, was permitted (literally) to carve out a triangular velodrome on a Saturday night.

The total cost to produce the race is nearing $10,000, which is coming from a handful of sponsors and a crowdfunding campaign. In an unconventional move, the SFMTA agreed to waive the $30,000 fee normally charged to reroute buses. Some members of ISCOTT, the committee that regulates street closure permits, “were dumbstruck,” Grady said. Race registration fees go towards cash prizes for the winners.

Mission Crit features two 120 degree turns. Spectating should be good and harrowing.

Spectators can buy tickets to win prizes like Kryptonite locks, Tshirts, and GoPro cameras. Proceeds go to the San Francisco Bicycle Messenger Association’s Broken Bones Fund, which helps messengers in times of need.

Last year’s Mission Crit featured 20 racers in a parking lot. This year the mens race sold out and has a waiting list of 17. Two teams are coming up from Los Angeles.

In organizing the event, what was most remarkable for Grady was, “how supportive the Bay Area bicycle community is. I’m just a guy with an idea. This could not have happened without the overwhelming support of the community.”

Sunday’s 60 Minutes piece on the other coast’s brakeless fixed crit.

Like any track race on a real velodrome, all bikes are fixed (no coasting). And while it may seem counterintuitive, riding brakeless is essential to the participants safety.

“There’s been a dramatic increase in the popularity of cycling but there are very few opportunities to see an actual bicycle race” Grady said, explaining his motive for organizing the race. “The goal of the Mission Crit is to promote cycling and community.”

Wanna race?

The men’s race is at capacity but if you’re a woman (1 in 10 registrants at press time) there is still time. Register here. Winner gets $200 in cash.

Official Rules:

  • Fixed gear only (no freewheels)

  • No brakes. Even if they’re disconnected, take ‘em off.

  • Drop bars

  • Clipless pedals strongly encouraged

  • Lights and GoPros permitted

  • Helmets required

Wanna watch?

Just show up this Saturday, 4/11. The women’s race is at 8PM, the men’s at 9PM.

The best spots for watching should be 18th and Treat, or 17th and Harrison. If you want an inside corner (to get closest to the action), stake out a spot before the race begins. Crossing the course during the race is extremely dangerous for you and the racers.

To make sure the crit is invited back next year, pack out your trash and use the provided Port-a-potties.