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‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ at Lucie Stern Theatre

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:19:02 UT

Get ready to clack your coconut shells together, say “ni” and “always look on the bright side of life.” The Tony-winning “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” affectionately adapted from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” features many of the classic film’s best bits, as well as original material by longtime Python member Eric Idle. Musical theater insiders who attend Palo Alto Players’ production will especially appreciate “The Song That Goes Like This,” which deconstructs sappy show tunes, down to where they typically change key.

Roomful of Teeth offers major moments of joy

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:10:29 UT

Like any self-respecting new-music ensemble, the choral group Roomful of Teeth has a host of unorthodox performing techniques at its command. The eight members can whoop and wail, mumble and whisper, sing from their throats and heads and everywhere in between. [...] the group’s signature stroke — one that recurred repeatedly during Roomful’s dazzling local debut on Sunday, April 23 — is one of the oldest tricks in the choral arsenal. When one of those harmonies hits, especially in the midst of something more eclectic or elusive, it’s like a sudden burst of absolute radiance. the Taube Atrium Theater was a co-presentation as part of San Francisco Performances’ Pivot Series and SF Opera Lab, and it offered an overdue chance to experience this group’s vocal magic in a live setting. Roomful of Teeth, formed in 2009 by Artistic Director Brad Wells, gathers each year in North Adams, Mass., and for many listeners, the group first swam into view four years ago, when Caroline Shaw’s “Partita for 8 Voices” — composed for the ensemble by one of its members — was a surprise winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Another member of the ensemble, Eric Dudley, contributed “QuietUs,” a meditation on “Hamlet” built out of a single distinctive melodic gesture clothed in ever-shifting counterpoint, and Anna Clyne’s “Pocket Book” put a pair of sonnets to work enlivening a limited harmonic palette.

Albert Einstein wildin’ out on Nat Geo

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:05:42 UT

The National Geographic Channel wants to allay any concern that its first scripted series will be all boring and science-y, so “Genius” opens with Albert Einstein with his pants around his ankles as he has his way with his mistress against a blackboard. “Genius” is a fully engaging, entertaining and informative look at the life of Einstein, whose family leaves him behind in Germany to finish school while they relocate to Milan. Einstein (Johnny Flynn) goes to study in Switzerland, where he bunks with the more liberal Winteler family and falls in love with their daughter, Marie (Shannon Tarbet). The series, whose first episode is directed by Ron Howard, has a kind of shuttlecock structure, zipping back and forth between young Einstein (Flynn) and the revered professor Einstein (Geoffrey Rush), who at first sees no reason to flee Germany as Hitler amasses power but soon acquiesces to his wife’s (Emily Watson) wishes to head to the United States. While the series’ structure mirrors Einstein’s notion that time is relative and flexible, Einstein wasn’t a film director. Samantha Colley is a standout as Mileva Maric, a young woman who demands a place in university classes only meant for men and who becomes an important part of Einstein’s life. The first two episodes do confirm that Nat Geo is heading in the right direction with scripted material. David Wiegand is an assistant managing editor and the TV critic of The San Francisco Chronicle.

Iconic Ansel Adams print sells for $42,500 at auction

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:29:12 UT

Part of the image's allure is in its origin story.

‘Great News’ borrows from the best, but the laughs are genuine

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:07:37 UT

The show is set in a local TV newsroom where Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan) is struggling to get her boss, Greg (Adam Campbell), to give her real stories to produce and not just fluff. The show was created by Tracey Wigfield, who also plays the wacky and weird weather reporter at the station (she dreams of being able to actually control the weather, and she’s not kidding). Oh, and Tina Fey is among the executive producers, as is her producing partner and “30 Rock” showrunner, Robert Carlock. The two shows also share a vision of weird misfits who bumble their way through their jobs in the background but still manage to produce TV. Viewers of a certain age will look at the self-important, terminally insecure news anchor Chuck Pierce (John Michael Higgins) and immediately think Ted Baxter. The writing is sassy enough to make you indifferent to the show’s source material, including, of course, the Robert De Niro movie “The Intern.” Martin dominates every scene she’s in and, in truth, the double Tony winner’s acting style, honed by multiple Broadway roles over the years, is so broad, only a powerful ensemble cast like this one could even share the screen with her. David Wiegand is an assistant managing editor and the TV critic of The San Francisco Chronicle and co-host of “The Do List” every Friday morning at 6:22 and 8:22 on KQED-FM, 88.5 FM in San Francisco, 89.3 FM in Sacramento.

Caitlyn Jenner tells all in new memoir

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:55:39 UT

NEW YORK — Caitlyn Jenner opened up Monday in an Associated Press interview about her rocky road to transition and why she wrote a tell-all memoir, “The Secrets of My Life.” Jenner says she just needed to get it all out, from thoughts of suicide as she was pursued by paparazzi to the women she loved, married and shared certain aspects of her gender dysphoria with. The goal, she says, is to remain a strong voice for others in the LGBTQ community without massive, media platforms like her own.

Kendrick Lamar announces tour, concert date in Oakland

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:53:59 UT

Seven-time Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar has announced a string of national tour dates taking place across the United States in July and August.

William Bell, Bay Area pianist known as Jazz Professor, dies

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:22:47 UT

William Bell, Bay Area pianist known as Jazz Professor, dies The acclaimed Bay Area pianist, who worked tirelessly as a performer and music educator at several major Bay Area institutions, died last month at his home in the East Bay. During a lengthy career, Mr. Bell served as music director for jazz singer Carmen McRae, played piano for the Supremes and led the group the Jazz Connection. “With talented people, if you can get them inspired enough to love something, they will take it the rest of the way,” he said in an interview with Jazz Now magazine in 1995, the same year he released “The Jazz Professor,” from which he took his nickname. “The Jazz Professor” was among a handful of albums Mr. Bell released throughout his career. Mr. Bell also performed in local clubs with a variety of jazz combos during that time and recorded “The Nifty Cat Strikes West” with the Roy Eldridge Sextet. By 1971, he recorded his first album, “Basically Bill Bell,” and he and his family returned to the Bay Area, where he became a music instructor at the College of Alameda. Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle’s pop music critic.

Dear Abby: Man comes clean too late with the truth about his STD

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 07:01:00 UT

Man comes clean too late with the truth about his STD When is the right time to tell someone you’ve got an STD? [...] how can I maintain my kid’s friendship, because he doesn’t have many friends? What he did shows a distinct lack of character. If you haven’t told him that already, you should, because all of your feelings are justified. Should we ignore our beliefs and honor the individual, or is there some other way to honor the person while maintaining (and funding) our “side” of this issue? Another way to honor the deceased would be to write a short note to the family expressing how much you admired their loved one and offering condolences. Dear Abby: I know some of your readers have middle school, high school and/or college yearbooks — theirs or a relative’s — they no longer want to keep. Instead of throwing them away, I’d like to offer the following options: (1) If the school still exists, see if they want it; (2) ask if the school’s alumni association would like to have them; or (3) offer them to the local library for its local history section.

Horoscopes for Monday, 4/24/17 by Christopher Renstrom

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 05:01:00 UT

ARIES. (March 20 - April 18): Say yes to a loved one's or friend's invitation to do something wildly different today. This could broaden horizons that have grown a little narrow recently.

Rita Moreno shines, even with a shiner, at Feinstein’s

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:26:48 UT

Rita Moreno is such a good actress, you almost believe her when she says she’s not a comedian, until you double over in laughter at one of her stories, delivered with expert comic timing. Moreno thoroughly bewitched the audience Friday night, April 21, at Feinstein’s at the Nikko with a combination of song, stories from her life and still vibrant career, and, most of all, disarming charm and candor. Early on, she apologized if her face looked odd to one side of the audience, because beneath artfully applied makeup, she was sporting “the king of shiners,” received when she fell filming a public service announcement a few days ago. Dressed in black sequined trousers and a red sequined top beneath a waist-length white jacket, Moreno delivered “Errand Girl for Rhythm,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “But Alive,” among other songs at the head of the show, that not only demonstrated her range but strategically complemented her life story. Moreno, 85, was as candid about her age, her eight-year relationship with Marlon Brando and her dates with Elvis Presley as she was about contemporary politics. The crowd roared its collective approval, prompting Moreno to repeat how much she loves living in the Bay Area, where she and her late husband, Dr. Leonard Gordon, moved to be closer to their daughter, Fernanda. [...] she makes it all look completely effortless, with the help of pianist Russ Kassoff, bassist Andrew Higgins and drummer David Rokeach. David Wiegand is an assistant managing editor and the TV critic of The San Francisco Chronicle and co-host of “The Do List” every Friday morning at 6:22 and 8:22 on KQED FM, 88.5 FM in San Francisco, 89.3 FM in Sacramento.

Celebrities spotted at Coachella Weekend 2

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:10:56 UT

Because one weekend of flower crowns wasn't enough!

Where to see drag shows in the Bay Area

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:00:00 UT

With everything from drag brunch buffets to suburban queen revues, there's a local drag show to suit most tastes.

Minerva’s horoscope for week of April 23

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:01:00 UT

Minerva’s horoscope for week of April 23 The natives are restless, the vibes intense as the new moon joins the sun in lusty Taurus. Jupiter continues to hang in lovely Libra. Saturn still holds sway in besieged Sagittarius. Lucky Jupiter in your contract house offers a clue. Taurus (April 19-May 19) As the sun and new moon snuggle in your sign, life takes on new magic. Consider your dreams a message from Goddess and pay close attention. [...] nefarious history has been known to repeat itself. Cancer (June 20-July 21) Jupiter livens up your home just as planetary movers and shakers settle into your wish house. 21 Wednesday’s sun/moon sortie in your celebrity sector accents personal communications. Make a wish, check it twice, now visualize the outcome. 21 Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger across a crowded train, plane or bus. 21 The crazed cancan of the new moon and sun in your hormone house makes for kinky impulses.Would a no-holds-barred discussion with a partner land you both on the same page? The current alliance between the new moon and sun shouts contracts. Sagittarius Nov. 21-Dec. A sizzling Saj like you may consider such things ho-hum, but nitty-gritty issues are what makes life work — or not. With that established, accept the script handed you and deal with it like the class act you are. Aquarius Jan. 20-Feb. 17 You think you’re not domestic, but suddenly you’ve an urge to trot out the family album. Life has a warm glow as the sun and new moon light up your home center. Throw a party that makes a statement about who you are. Pisces (Feb. 18-March 18) The mystical union of the sun and new moon sends off smoke signals that spell moment of truth. Or take a longer view, suck it up and learn a new skill, tuck new tools in your kit and then move on to something better suited to your taste.

Dear Abby: Widower in new relationship is shunned by sisters-in-law

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:01:00 UT

When my wife’s three sisters found out, I became the outcast. Why do people think there is a set time to grieve? There’s a story in the book of Genesis about a man named Lot, whose wife looked back during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt. What I take from the story is that sometimes it isn’t healthy for people to spend a lot of time looking backward, because if you do, you too can become “frozen” and unable to move forward with your life. Dear Taken Advantage Of: Because you feel that refusing to be your boss’ supplier could jeopardize your job, the safest way to handle this would be for you to quit smoking now. Talk to your doctor about a nicotine withdrawal system to help ease you through the withdrawal. [...] when Mr. VP asks to bum his next cigarette, give him a smile along with the good news that you’re kicking your addiction and suggest he join you.