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Horoscope for Wednesday, 9/28/16 by Christopher Renstrom

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 05:01:00 UT

ARIES. (March 19 - April 18): Fears are banished by the glow of accomplishment. Thank that person who kept pushing when you wanted to fold.

A celebration of Viennese cinema

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 02:47:50 UT

Last week, a major series began at Palo Alto’s Stanford Theatre that celebrates the Austrian capital’s rich cultural heritage — a series of films made in Vienna, about Vienna or made by someone from Vienna. Fritz Lang’s “M,” the haunting story of a hunt for a child killer that made former Vienna stage actor Peter Lorre a star; and Josef von Sternberg’s “The Blue Angel,” which introduced the dangerous seduction of Marlene Dietrich. Two dozen more films will screen through Nov. 13, when the series closes with two films about Viennese psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud — Montgomery Clift plays him in John Huston’s “Freud,” and Alan Arkin in Herbert Ross’ unusual look at Sherlock Holmes, “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.” The backbone of this series is Max Ophüls, represented by five films, all set in Vienna, from each of his major periods — his early work in Germany, his mid-career work in Hollywood and his late career in France. All of Ophüls’ skills are in display in the 1933 German film “Liebelei” (Oct. 6-7), about an ill-fated love affair at the dawn of the 20th century. The rise and fall of a narcissistic pianist played by Louis Jourdan is seen through the eyes of admirer Joan Fontaine in 1948’s “Letter from an Unknown Woman” (Oct. 15-16), Ophüls’ best Hollywood film. “For me, life is movement,” says Lola (Martine Carol), the scandalous woman whose romantic escapades among the artisans, military men and royalty of 19th century Europe becomes a three-ring circus in Ophüls’ visual feast. The traveling adventure-film festival arrives at the Castro Theatre with five new spectacularly photographed climbing films shot in exotic locales and various extreme weather conditions around the globe. Kaji was the poster girl of Pinky Violence, that female-centric 1970s Japanese film genre that pushed the envelope on sex and violence to lure audiences away from their TVs and back into the cinemas.

Bigger prizes don’t make lotteries a good bet

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 02:34:08 UT

Statistician Salil Mehta noted that ever-larger jackpots have been more the rule than the exception since Powerball, an interstate lottery, changed its formula. [...] with very few exceptions, buying lottery tickets is not money well spent. For each dollar spent in state-run lotteries, about 60 cents is returned to prize winners, according to U.S. Census Bureau data — and this doesn’t include the taxes assessed on prize money. Even slot machines have far better payouts than lottery tickets. People struggling to make ends meet are easy targets for Powerball, whose website exhorts people to “Grab a ticket and believe in something beyond belief!” According to reports, millions of Americans may be losing $1,000 or more a year. [...] financial experts encourage people to invest those dollars rather than buy lottery tickets.

Sia brings wigs and hits to Oracle Arena

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 01:02:34 UT

Ostensibly touring in support of her seventh studio album, “This Is Acting,” the reclusive 40-year-old Australian singer-songwriter brings with her a wealth of material, including songs she has written for pop superstars like Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Britney Spears. The show, part of the singer’s North American Nostalgic for the Present Tour — her first outing in five years, hitting Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Saturday, Oct. 1 — also features 13-year-old dance prodigy Maddie Ziegler, last seen pirouetting around Sia at the Apple launch event in San Francisco earlier this month. Southern California singer Miguel and the London electronic music duo AlunaGeorge will provide support.

DJ Shadow moving forward with ‘Mountain’

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:59:04 UT

DJ Shadow moving forward with ‘Mountain’ [...] the Bay Area native, who has been making music since he was an undergrad at UC Davis in the early ’90s, is more interested in looking forward. DJ Shadow: 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. $30.

Persian love story ‘Layla and Majnun’ to premiere at Zellerbach

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:36:46 UT

Morris’ “Layla and Majnun,” a work co-commisioned by Cal Performances, makes its world premiere in Berkeley this weekend. The Arabian tale of forbidden love, “Layla and Majnun” has many incarnations, but it is mostly associated with Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. Among the activities in conjunction with the performance is a series of films, in collaboration with Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, from Iran and the former Soviet Union about unrequited love, running through Saturday, Oct. 1. “Layla and Majnun”: Mark Morris Dance Group and the Silk Road Ensemble perform. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct; 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. $18-$146.

Harrell helps open symphony season in San Jose

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:33:20 UT

There are few cellists on the scene today who can match Lynn Harrell for his tonal power, his interpretive elegance or his long mastery of the repertoire for his instrument. Harrell will bring all those attributes to the South Bay this weekend, when he joins conductor John Nelson and Symphony Silicon Valley for a performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, a signature vehicle for him. [...] on the season-opening program are Berlioz’s “Le Corsaire” Overture and Brahms’ granitic Fourth Symphony.

The Scottish Play a story for all cultures

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:32:25 UT

Officially founded in 2013, Arabian Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to using Shakespeare’s plays to promote cross-cultural understanding. The play follows a Scottish general who seeks to kill and replace the king who promoted him, emboldened by a prediction from three “weird sisters,” his ruthless wife and his own greed. Starring as the power-hungry couple are Teddy Spencer and Radhika Rao; Terri McMahon directs a six-person cast in the Mission District’s intimate Royce Gallery.

Golden State Record’s storytelling show at Greek Theatre

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:32:13 UT

“‘What does California sound like?’ We took inspiration from that question, and created this really fun show,” explains Douglas McGray, editor in chief of the California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine, who’s helping organize the Golden State Record, a storytelling experience at the Greek Theatre on Friday, Sept. 30. The event — also partly inspired by the Golden Record launched into space by NASA in 1977 — will feature live-narrated stories paired with audio and visual elements by more than two dozen performers, including Berkeley-born rapper Lil B, Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down and Bethany Cosentino of the L.A. rock duo Best Coast. The Golden State Record is in collaboration with Noise Pop, the Bay Area entertainment group that produces events like Noise Pop Festival, 20th Street Block Party and next month’s Treasure Island Music Festival.

A free-for-all with 3 For All

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:48:11 UT

In 1996, Rafe Chase, Stephen Kearin and Tim Orr founded the improv troupe 3 For All in San Francisco; this weekend, the group celebrates its 20th anniversary with a one-night-only performance at Marines’ Memorial Theatre. 3 For All specializes in creating long-form improv with just three performers — a rarity in the improv world, especially at the time of the company’s founding. Sustaining a spontaneously devised but coherent (or semicoherent) scene for minutes on end requires near-infinite reserves of energy, creativity and openness, as well as trust in and understanding of your fellow performers.

Farruquito returns to SF for flamenco show, flash mob

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:45:22 UT

Farruquito returns to SF for flamenco show, flash mob The Bay Area is a hotbed for flamenco, and the big news is that Spain’s Farruquito, one of the foremost flamenco dancers in the world, returns for a performance at Herbst Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 1. At age 8, he was the star of the movie “Flamenco,” directed by Carlos Saura, and at 15, he was directing flamenco shows. “Farruquito and his group have an ease for improvisation that comes from living the art as part of everyday life,” says Bay Area Flamenco Artistic Director Nina Menendez.

Tegan and Sara swerve toward the dance floor

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:38:18 UT

Tegan and Sara, everyone’s favorite lesbian identical-twin singer-songwriters from Canada, keep things fresh on their eighth studio album, “Love You to Death.” The taut pop songs represent a swerve toward dance music without losing the signature touches that make them so lovable: their killer harmonies, rhythms and hooks. “We went pop because I wanted to make music that sounded different from what we were doing, and Tegan wanted to be more successful,” Sara told Rolling Stone.

'Star Wars' star ships designer reveals inspiration behind Death Star, X-Wing, and TIE fighter

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:30:40 UT

The name Colin Cantwell might not sound very familiar, but it should. The former modelmaker at Lucasfilm's Industrial Light and Magic VFX and Animation Studio had a big hand in the designs of many of "Star Wars"' most famous star ships.

Art installation reclaims Alhambra Theater for one night

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:11:30 UT

The cushioned chairs will not replace the workout equipment, but the big screen will loop a 15-minute video made of excerpts from movies shown there between the Alhambra’s grand opening in 1926 and its closing in 1996. The public is invited to help activate the project by partaking in choreographed movements based on the films. Or stand still and watch a cycle of six videos made by artists under the direction of curators Lynn Marie Kirby and Christoph Steger, both professors of fine art at the California College of the Arts. [...] part of the project is a neighborhood video tour with 17 stops accessed by a mobile app put together by Sam Elie.

A gripping ‘Dutchman’ in Livermore

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:04:11 UT

In tackling Wagner’s tautly dramatic tale of love and redemption among the seafaring set, the LVO certainly hasn’t made things easy for itself. With a cast drawn from the elite ranks of the Bay Area’s professional singers and a theatrical production that made canny use of visual projections to supplement the onstage action, this was a performance that focused attention on the essentials of Wagner’s dramatic and musical vision. On the most elemental level, “Dutchman,” with its otherworldly sea captain condemned to roam the world in perpetuity, slots right into the tradition of Gothic yarn-spinning. [...] as he moved into his early period of creative mastery, Wagner was also exploring the themes that would preoccupy him throughout his career, particularly redemption through love and the conflicts it can bring. Video of the crashing waves served as both a backdrop and a player in the drama, without upstaging Jean-François Revon’s economical set design, and the emotional struggles of the characters — particularly the love triangle among Senta, her betrothed Erik and the Dutchman himself — registered with striking immediacy. Artistic and Music Director Alexander Katsman elicited powerful playing from the orchestra in the opera’s most emphatic, brass-laden passages, but other parts of the score sounded undercooked, and his deliberate tempo choices didn’t always help. Philip Skinner brought robust vocal tone and tragic grandeur to the title role, not just in the great opening monologue (“Die Frist ist um”) that establishes his character and plight, but throughout the rest of the opera as well.