10 Years Later: Zach Braff Discusses His Latest Film Wish I Was Here

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Focus Features

The follow-up to any major success is never easy. Just ask Zach Braff, whose 2004 breakthrough film Garden State, earnestly found its way into the canon of contemporary classics and remains a touchstone of post-millenial, twenty-something angst.

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Happily Never After: A Conversation with the Cast of "Into the Woods"

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Courtesy of SF Playhouse
Corinne Proctor as the girl who cried wolves

"Into the woods to bring some bread to Granny who is sick in bed. Never can tell what lies ahead, for all that I know, she's already dead." So sings "Little Red Riding Hood in "Into the Woods," a musical which takes two ancient mediums -- the fairy tale and the musical play -- and merges them into a sinister third entity.

In James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's ghoulish fairy tale mashup Jack experiences sexual awakening at the far end of the beanstalk, Little Red encounters rape culture, and Cinderella and Rapunzel's Princes' eyes wander to "a beauty asleep" in a tower and a maiden in a glass casket with a "dwarf standing by."

The crude, cautionary violence of the Grimm's tales is on mocking display, tempered in this production by additions like selfie-snapping stepsisters. Dark humor lights the morally gloomy woods, and Sondheim's score and lyrics are aurally breathtaking and orally tricky (the lyrics are very verbose).

The journey into the inconstant, metaphorically resonant woods is grim in every sense, but the SF Playhouse production, with its ingenious set and local talents like the golden-voiced Monique Halfon and painfully funny Jeffrey Brian Adams is anything but. The Exhibitionist got a chance to chat backstage with Monique Halfon (Cinderella,) Corinne Proctor (Little Red Riding Hood,) and Louis Parnell (Narrator and Mystery Man,) and the director and co-founder of the Playhouse, Susi Damilano.

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"PATTERNS": Emotionally Ticklish Amy Munz Talks Love in One-Woman Show

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Fall in Love with Amy Munz

Actor, singer, sculptor, painter, writer, founder, designer, creative director, children's booksmith, videographer... the list of Amy Munz's accomplishments in the arts is exhaustive and exhausting. We'll give you the CliffNotes: non-annoying, tri-lingual wunderkind Munz has an impressive resume that "performance artist" hardly covers.

Not halfway through her second decade on the planet, she is the visionary founder and creative director for The New Stage, a performance and community space for the arts that will features a single "platform" (designed by the indomitable Munz) that will function in whatever capacity artists and their communities call upon it to do. Her one-woman show, multimedia show "PATTERNS: For Some Reason, it Tickled Me," runs July 16-Aug.16 under her company, New Stages, Inc., at the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavillion (66 Page).

SF Weekly grilled Munz on how exactly she does it:

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Cesar Chavez Film from Diego Luna Hits Theaters Just in Time for Cesar Chavez Day

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Pantelion Films
Diego Luna directs "Cesar Chavez"

Actor and director Diego Luna's first introduction to Cesar Chavez was seeing the union activist's funeral on T.V. The 13-year-old Luna was impressed by all the people walking with his body and that Chavez was being buried in a wooden box. Then while working in California, Luna started seeing Chavez's image on murals and his name on streets and got curious about what Chavez had done. When Luna's son was born in Los Angeles, that really made him want to tell the story of Chavez, a Mexican American born in Arizona. Luna says he remembers when he got to be 9 or 10, noticing the income inequality in Mexico and struggling to make sense of things.

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"The Altruists" Aims to Occupy Your Funny Bone

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Courtesy of Julia Lienke
Cast of "The Altruists" from left to right: Ronald Walker, Lance Kunze, Sydney Whipple, Ethan Bedillion and Cybil Ingland

The question that's perhaps most frequently asked by the news-junky crowd, with an appreciation for irreverent humor, is "Too soon?"

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Want to be an Extra in a 1970s-Era Film? Now's Your Chance!

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Everett Collection/Shutterstock
What a groovy van

Last week we mentioned that Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard were in town filming The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and now you have the chance to be an extra in the film.

Project Casting has put out the call for extras that can pass for being a 1970s citizen of San Francisco; long-haired men are encourage to apply!

Here are the details:

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Our Q&A with The Pornographer's Daughter

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David Allen

Liberty Bradford Mitchell grew up in the shadow of the adult entertainment industry. Her father was Artie Mitchell, who, along with his brother Jim, opened the San Francisco strip club Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre in 1969. The club was praised by Playboy magazine and Hunter S. Thompson, famously despised by Dianne Feinstein during her tenure as mayor, and was one of the first strip clubs to offer fully nude lap dances.

The brothers also released several adult films, including the groundbreaking Behind the Green Door, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival. But their story turned tragic in 1991, when Jim shot and killed Artie.

Mitchell recalls growing up with this pornographic dynasty, and the circumstances surrounding her father's death, in her new solo show, The Pornographer's Daughter. She recently agreed to answer a few questions for SF Weekly.

With so much history at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater, how did you decide what to put in the show?
The show is about my experience, personally, growing up as the pornographer's daughter. I do give some tentpole reference to the theater, but really it's my personal experience growing up in my family. I just try to speak for myself.


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Stencils in the Shadows: Two Artists on a Mission

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The house on San Jose Avenue was perfect. There was plenty of sidewalk out front, and enough light to see clearly from the streetlamps overhead. With a couple of quick glances up and down the block, the pair set to work. They laid their handmade outlines down on the sidewalk, adjusted them to assure proper alignment, and then pulled out a spray can. The stencils were painted with a few quick hisses, and everything was packed back up in less than a minute.

Three messages now looked up from the sidewalk. "Tu Casa es Mi Casa," "The New Mission: Haute yet Edgy!" and "Tenants Here Forced Out."

The house wasn't chosen because of its ample sidewalks, but because of the occupants. It was the home of René Yañez, a Mission district artist known for his work at Galería de la Raza, and for bringing the famed Dia de los Muertos celebration to San Francisco. Yañez is currently facing an Ellis Act eviction.

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It's Not Easy Being Blue: Backstage at the Ocean-Themed Circus

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Jodi Lomask looks a bit frazzled when she answers the door. A reporter is visiting, a photographer is visiting (unrelated), it's the middle of rehearsal, and a new company member is auditioning. All of these things require her attention, and there is only so much of it to go around. The photographer and reporter are given brief introductions and then passed off to whoever is within earshot. Then she returns to her work.

Lomask is the artistic director and creator of Capacitor's dance/circus show Okeanos Intimate, currently playing in the theater at the Aquarium of the Bay. The show carries a message of ocean conservation, and maintains a water theme throughout the production.

And Lomask spends her entire evening swimming in the world she's created.

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San Francisco Film Society Honors Four "Impossible" Films and Spike Jonze Dishes on his New Project, Her

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The San Francisco Film Society just launched its first Annual Fall Celebration at the new private club, The Battery.

SFFS's inaugural panel of filmmakers didn't disappoint, drawing together Alexander Payne and June Squibb (Nebraska), writer/director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Spike Jonze (Her), and Jehane Noujaim (The Square).

SFFS executive director Ted Hope explained that this celebration and cross-pollination of innovative makers and shakers was one of his final acts as executive director. "These were my four favorite films this year," Hope said. "On a personal note, it just feels like, 'thank you.'"

"Every one of these movies stretches in some way and inspires to really be something," said moderator Steven Gaydos, executive editor for Hollywood magazine Variety. "If you've covered this industry as long as I have you know these kinds of movies are impossible to make, so it's nice to see people do the impossible."


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