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GLAAD finds more LGBTQ inclusion in film, TV

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:00:00 UT

The films “Call Me By Your Name,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Battle of the Sexes” are among the critical darlings dominating the nominations in the outstanding film category for the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards announced Friday, Jan. 19, by the LGBTQ antidefamation organization. Rounding out the category is “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.” The nominees this year, said Zeke Stokes, GLAAD’s vice president of programs, reflect a continuing rise in LGBTQ representations from year to year. Notably, there are five contenders this year in the wide-release category for outstanding film, unlike last year when only two made the cut — “Moonlight” and “Star Trek Beyond.

Dear Abby: Man comes up short learning how to date in high school

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:00:01 UT

Dear Abby: At what point does a man finally give up hope of finding a mate and accept that he may end up alone? I’m 29. I never had a chance to date in high school. My family farms, and when I was 14, my grandfather could no longer help my dad. Dad couldn’t take care of things alone, so I would go out and help him the minute I got home from school every day. Between the farm work and keeping up with my studies, I had to grow up fast. I graduated with a 3.5 grade point average, but because I had no time for dating, this part of my development has always been off. I have been set up by family and friends, tried meeting people in groups and on online dating sites. So far, it has been to no avail.

Horoscope for Friday, 1/19/18 by Christopher Renstrom

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:01:00 UT

ARIES. (March 20 - April 18): Many people are eager to advise you so listen to what they have to say. Entertaining diverse ideas confirms your strongest hunches.

‘Forever My Girl’ is a forgettable romance

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 05:00:00 UT

Like so many of the best country songs, “Forever My Girl” doesn’t leave much up to interpretation. It takes place in a small Southern town called Saint that always seems to be bathed in a yellow saintly glow, including over the small movie theater, also called the Saint. (Saints live here, people!) Good intentions go a long way with the family-friendly romance, about a country music star who leaves his fiancee at the altar, then comes back into her life. It’s not always a bad movie. But it’s a poorly made film, with rough edits, distracting staging and plot contrivances that can be predicted to the moment.

A fine double bill including the work of Rimsky-Korsakov at Island City Opera

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 22:00:43 UT

Unless you’re a world expert in Russian opera, you’re unlikely to have stumbled across either of the one-act operas by Rimsky-Korsakov that make up the fine double bill on offer from Island City Opera, the plucky little fledgling company that makes its home in Alameda. But nobody involved in this effort is relying on novelty alone. The company has assembled a cast of strong singers; brought in an excellent conductor, Lidiya Yankovskaya of the Chicago Opera Theater, to oversee the musical proceedings; and staged the two pieces — the terse two-hander “Mozart and Salieri” and the exotic fairy tale “Kashchey the Immortal” — with just enough theatrical dexterity to put both works across.

A ‘Birthday Party’ to celebrate at ACT

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:42:35 UT

Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party,” one of his so-called comedies of menace, is often associated with a feeling particular to a time and place: the fear of postwar Europeans who, still reeling from bombings and the Gestapo, knew that terror can strike capriciously, raining down at random, leaving no one, ever, completely safe. Yet nothing feels period about American Conservatory Theater’s production of the 1957 play, which opened Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Geary Theater as the last production Carey Perloff will direct for the company while still its artistic director. A longtime Pinter interpreter, she makes clear that Europe’s postwar dread has only become the dread we must all share.

Which movies to watch this weekend, Jan. 19

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:22:35 UT

The Commuter: This follows the usual Liam Neeson pattern of a decent, downtrodden guy who finds redemption and glory while facing great odds, but this transcends formula, with genuine thrills and a complicated and interesting story. It all takes place on a train. Rated PG-13. 104 minutes. — Mick LaSalle Lady Bird: Greta Gerwig’s debut as a solo writer-director is this unconventional coming-of-age tale about an extroverted high school senior (Saoirse Ronan), clashing with her mother and wanting to leave her native Sacramento. This is a warm, good-hearted, intuitive movie that could be the start of an exceptional filmmaking career.

A vision of hell on the Russian roads in ‘The Road Movie’

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:21:50 UT

The lesson we might draw from the Russian documentary “The Road Movie” is that something bad is going to happen sooner or later, and more likely sooner than later. The film is a compilation of found footage taken by dashboard cameras depicting many incidents of vehicular mayhem and some plain weirdness — after a while, it feels like we must be watching a real-life demolition derby. Dash cams are evidently common in Russia, and we can see why, given the strange, deranged and simply scary events we behold. Some of the bits are even funny, and overall there’s a keen sense of absurdity, such that, if you choose to believe the Russian people have a fatalistic streak, “The Road Movie” suggests why.

‘The Final Year’ of the Obama administration hard to watch 2 years later

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:20:10 UT

Maybe you think you had the worst 2016 election night party in America — you know, the one that ended early. But no, that distinction belongs to then-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, as evidenced in the new documentary “The Final Year,” about foreign policy during President Barack Obama’s last year in office. Power decided that it would be really fun if she invited every woman representing a country in the United Nations, nearly 40 of them. They came, and so did Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as secretary of state. To top it off, Power even had Gloria Steinem in attendance.

‘12 Strong’ is based on a remarkable story, but tells a different remarkable story

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 20:57:39 UT

A remarkable story inspired “12 Strong,” but the remarkable story actually told by “12 Strong” is a different remarkable story. Maybe the story is slightly different, and maybe it’s a lot different, but one thing is for sure — it happens to different characters. For a movie like this, an inspirational historical drama, this is a bit of a problem, because half the satisfaction comes from knowing (or believing) that everything on screen is at least grounded in fact. But in “12 Strong,” it’s all dramatized. Chris Hemsworth plays a character based on a real person, but the other American soldiers are fictional, which means the incidents and the details of the battles are fictional, too.

John Hawkes boosts smart, sharp detective story ‘Small Town Crime’

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 20:51:35 UT

A pimp who goes by the name of Mood has only just met Mike Kendall, and he has him nailed. “You’re nothing but a drunk in a 50-dollar suit,” he says. That’s so true — Mike is a mess, an alcoholic ex-cop who was kicked off the force in disgrace. And yet when he stumbles across a fatally wounded prostitute, he vows to solve the case, working toward something like redemption. Buoyed by an appealing lead performance by John Hawkes, “Small Town Crime” is a smart, sharply written detective story that, though not without humor, plays it straight and tough.

Top Shelf: Recommendations from City Lights

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:43:24 UT

Recommendations of recent books from the staffs of a rotating list of Bay Area independent bookstores. This week’s list is from City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco. (415) 362-8193. Nonfiction The End of Policing, by Alex S. Vitale: How the police endanger us, and why we need to find an alternative. Reinvent the faulty wheel.

Lit picks: recommended reading, Jan. 21

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:43:07 UT

We recommend these recently reviewed titles: Trumpocracy The Corruption of the American Republic By David Frum (Harper; 301 pages; $25.99) This account by the respected conservative author offers a persuasive and detailed account of how Trump is undermining American institutions, including the presidency itself.

Literary guide, Jan. 21

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:42:55 UT

Sunday David Biale “Hasidism: A New History.” 4 p.m. JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. Glenda Carroll “Drop Dead Red.” 4 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Nidhi Chanani “Pashmina.” 2 p.m. Books Inc., 3515 California St., S.F. Kassidat An afternoon of spoken word with Bloodflower, Timecat, Sarita de la Madrid, EK Keith, Taylor, Global Val, Hermon. 4 p.m. Adobe Books, 3130 24th St., S.F. www.adobebooks.

Grabbers: A selection of first sentences from new books, Jan. 21

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:42:40 UT

Whenever Karl Temperley felt that he couldn’t endure another moment he would imagine that he had just run over and killed a child. “The Transition,” a novel by Luke Kennard Jen sits in the bath, examining her face through the forward-mounted camera on a tablet computer. “Happiness for Humans,” a novel by P.Z.