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For New Century, new leadership and a new sound

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:46:36 UT

The Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg era at the New Century Chamber Orchestra is over, and on Thursday night, with a suave and often forceful concert in Berkeley’s First Congregational Church, a new chapter in the ensemble’s 26-year history began. It seems a little extreme to dub this the Daniel Hope era, if only because the British violinist hasn’t been named music director, the position from which Salerno-Sonnenberg stepped down in May after a starry nine-year tenure. Instead, Hope has adopted the obscure moniker “artistic partner,” with a three-year contract that suggests he’s serving as a bridge to the next real artistic boss.

San Francisco finally gets its hillside sign

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:41:28 UT

Hollywood has its name stamped into the hillside, and so does South San Francisco. The city itself, however, has gotten by without a mark of delineation — until now, with the installation of the word “DREAM” in shimmering capital letters on the east-facing slope of Bernal Hill. The public art, to be officially unveiled in a ceremony Friday, Sept. 22, is by Ana Teresa Fernández, but the concept is not original. For years Fernández has driven by “DREAM” in repeated graffiti on a building at the bottom of a hill near the Alemany freeway merge. That piece is derivative from the tagging of the late Oakland graffiti artist Mike “Dream” Francisco, who was shot and killed during a robbery in 2000.

Folsom Street Fair through the years: Best photos from the unique SF event

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:00:00 UT

You can always tell summer is coming to an end when Folsom Street fills up with leather and kink enthusiasts and exhibitionists. The annual Folsom Street Fair is going down Sunday, Sept. 24, meaning that the drag from Eighth to 13th streets will be packed, nearly shoulder to shoulder, with people letting out their inner kinkster. It’s the largest such gathering in the world.

Dear Abby: Family’s health problems have father considering paternity test

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:01:00 UT

Dear Abby: My first marriage ended in divorce 35 years ago because my wife cheated on me several times. I suspected then that I wasn’t my daughter’s biological father. Lately I have been wondering about my son, too. Both are in their late 30s now. Obviously, I decided to accept them as my own. My son and his daughter both have health problems. My granddaughter’s medical problems are very serious, but the doctors aren’t sure what she has. A saliva test to determine if he is my biological son might give him or my granddaughter some insight into their medical problems.

‘Battle of the Sexes’ an insightful re-creation of Riggs-King match

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 05:37:23 UT

The 1973 tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King was one of those crazy American events, a zany and outlandish spectacle that was, at heart, not a joke at all. Even at the time, people knew that Riggs and King would be remembered forever for this match, which became a flash point in American culture and remains a weird emblem of its era. “Battle of the Sexes” tells the story of that match and of the events leading up to it. For those not old enough to remember it firsthand — at this point, that’s most people — it captures the big day’s excitement and reminds us of its importance. This was something that everyone watched and almost everybody cared about.

Horoscope for Friday, 9/22/17 by Christopher Renstrom

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 05:01:00 UT

ARIES. (March 20 - April 18): Are you and a partner simpatico on how best to proceed? Make sure now. You don't want this person to pull the plug at an inopportune moment.

‘Young Sheldon’ tops parade of new CBS comedies

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:09:42 UT

CBS is lucky to have “The Big Bang Theory,” because it is such a ratings stalwart, the network can move it almost anywhere and viewers will follow. The show has been shifted around so much, it should be on roller skates. CBS will use “Big Bang’s” 11th season premiere on Monday, Sept. 25, as a lead-in for one of its new comedies, the “Big Bang” spinoff “Young Sheldon.” Then, after a few weeks, both shows will move to Thursdays. “Young Sheldon” is the strongest of three comedies premiering on CBS Sept. 25 and Oct. 2. It is, of course, a prequel of the network’s enduring ensemble hit, giving us a look at uber-nerd Sheldon Cooper when he was just a super-intelligent kid in East Texas.

Performances highlight challenging ‘Stronger’ biopic

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:23:28 UT

You could watch a dozen seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” and never see a full tracheal intubation. Most movies and television shows that deal with a medical crisis don’t linger on the removal of breathing tubes, or the first shower after a traumatic injury, or the first bar fight that breaks out around a man in a wheelchair. But “Stronger” runs screaming in pain from the kind of simplistic inspirational storytelling that the subject matter usually yields. It’s about sacrifice, hurtful choices and what you can’t recover during your recovery.

Manolo Blahnik, the man behind the shoes, explored in documentary

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:20:43 UT

If you say the name Manolo Blahnik to most women between the ages of 20 and death, you’ll likely get a nod of recognition and possibly a sigh of reverence. The 74-year-old shoemaker has been beloved in the fashion industry and by well-heeled ladies since the 1970s. He exploded even bigger in the pop culture stratosphere with the brand’s role as Carrie Bradshaw’s favorite footwear in the “Sex and the City” book, television series and film adaptations. But the documentary “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,” directed by Michael Roberts and out in theaters Friday, Sept. 22, delves deeper into the Spanish designer’s creative process and reveals the man behind the most celebrated shoes of recent decades.

BAMPFA’s Chantal Akerman series begins with ‘Jeanne Dielman’

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:42:47 UT

“I can defend every single shot in that movie,” Chantal Akerman once said of “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles,” her three-hour, 20-minute movie about a housewife (Delphine Seyrig) spending her day cooking, cleaning, doing dishes — and turning the occasional trick. “It was a movie about my mother. I’d spent my life watching her, so I understood everything.” The Belgian-born Akerman made dozens of films during an iconoclastic indie career, so two years after her death at age 65 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is focusing on nine of her most personal, autobiographical films. It begins (and ends) with “Jeanne Dielman,” her acknowledged masterpiece, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept.

‘School Life’: gentle documentary of a year at an Irish boarding school

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:44:27 UT

John and Amanda Leyden have been married since 1972, and for all of that time they have been teachers. And not just teachers who instruct, but those who nurture young minds, giving the kind of individual attention to their students that has become a lost art in education. Nearing 70 years old, they are close to retirement at Headfort, a boarding school in Ireland for ages 7 through 13. Housed in an 18th century estate, it is obviously a school for the children of the well-to-do. “School Life,” a documentary directed by Neasa Ni Chianain and David Rane, gently chronicles an entire school year, with John teaching rock ’n’ roll music, math, Scripture and Latin; and Amanda, theater and literature.

Recommended reading, Sept. 24

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:36:55 UT

We recommend these recently reviewed titles: Forest Dark By Nicole Krauss (Harper; 290 pages; $27.99) In her triumphant new novel, Krauss reprises the themes of loss and quest, and continues the structure of dual protagonists whose trajectories may eventually align. She has once again mastered a light touch in pursuit of weighty themes.

Literary guide

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:36:20 UT

Sunday Janna Barkin “He’s Always Been My Son.” 4 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Ilona Bray “Mossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook.” 3 p.m. East Bay Booksellers, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. Kathleen Buckstaff “Get Savvy.” 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Terry Allen Kupers “Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It.” 2 p.m. Copperfield’s Books, 850 Fourth St., San Rafael. www.

A selection of first sentences from new books, Sept. 24

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:33:22 UT

This is how I heard the story. “Moonglow,” a novel, now in paperback, by Michael Chabon Where was that nugget of old, dried-up s— weed I bought on the Venice boardwalk two years ago from a vagrant dealer who may or may not have sold me a thimble full of dirt mixed with oregano? “Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind,” by Jaime Lowe When I was eleven years old, I went looking for my grandfather in William Manchester’s book “The Death of a President.

Which movies to watch this weekend, Sept. 22

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:18:49 UT

Beach Rats: This bold, masterful character study concerns an aimless 19-year-old in Brooklyn who is struggling with his homosexuality. It’s not the feel-good movie of the year, but it’s one of the most exquisitely haunting LGBT coming-of-age stories ever told. Rated R. 97 minutes. — David Lewis The Fencer: This feel-good, heart-tugging film is basically an Estonian “Hoosiers” — a true story set in a 1950s small town, where a coach with a mysterious past (in this case, with Soviet police on his tail) arrives to shape a ragtag bunch of kids into tournament contenders. It’s a winner here, too. Not rated. 99 minutes.