Not My Republican Party: Citizen Koch Explores the Billionaire Brothers Impact on Politics

Categories: Film, Politics

Courtesy of Variance Films / Elsewhere Films
A protestor's sign at a rally in Wisconsin

Wanting to explore the impact of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which lifted limits on corporate spending in politics, filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin went to Wisconsin to cover how financing -- particularly from the billionaire conservative industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch -- was playing a role in Governor Scott Walker's push to limit collective bargaining for public employees. Lessin says the people protesting Walker's actions surprised her.

"They weren't the usual suspects. It wasn't just nurses and teachers and students -- they were fire fighters and cops," says Lessin. "There were also farmers on their tractors, coming down from rural areas. And we saw a lot of Republicans with signs saying 'Not my Republican party.'"

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Brouhaha: LGBT Activist Comedy Corps: Laugh Your Ass Off and Raise Your Social Consciousness

Manish Vaidya

Tired of racist and/or homophobic humor? Repulsed by rape jokes? Then this might be the stand-up show you've been waiting for. It's an idea who's time has come -- an evening of comedy featuring equality and social justice activists that might just inspire the audience to take action for peace and justice while they roll in the aisles.

On June 5, Brouhaha: the LGBT Activist Comedy Corps will debut as a part of the National Queer Arts Festival. The laughs will commence at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the African American Art & Culture Complex (762 Fulton).

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Tony Kushner Wrestles with Angels and Politics in "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures"

Kevin Berne
Mark Margolis (Gus), Tina Chilip (Sooze), and Joseph J. Parks (Vito) in The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures,

Winner of two Tony Awards, three Obies, an Emmy and a Pulitzer Prize, Tony Kushner probably remains best known for "Angels in America," his two-part epic play that involves love, loss, Mormonism, Valium addiction, imaginary trips to the Antarctic, drag queens, and characters from real life (including Roy Cohn, the chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy's Senate investigations in the 1950s and Ethel Rosenberg, who was executed for treason). And, of course, an angel.

So it's no surprise that Kushner's latest play, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre for its West Coast premiere, "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures," (his husband nicknamed it "iHo") also features big ideas, politics, religion, and lots and lots of argument in the story of three siblings whose father, a communist retired longshoreman in Brooklyn, threatens to commit suicide.

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Playwright Explores 2005's French Riots in Cutting Ball's "Communiqué n°10"

Laura Mason
Listening to news of the riot in 'Communiqué n° 10'

In France, unlike in the U.S., the suburbs (called banlieues), tend to be poor and predominantly immigrant-based, where racism and police brutality are common. And in October 2005, a group of friends from Arabic and African families were coming home from playing soccer in one of these banlieues, Clichy-sous-Bois, when a few of them hid from police officers in a power station. Three of them were electrocuted, and two of those died. That night riots broke out in Clichy-sous-Bois, spreading to other Parisian suburbs and then to the suburbs of other major French cities.

Samuel Gallet's play, "Communiqué n°10," which closes The Cutting Ball Theater's 15th season, was inspired by the riots and all the history leading up to them and explores the assumptions we make about immigrants and the preconceived ideas we have about their identities.

The Cutting Ball's artistic director Rob Melrose translated the play from the French and is directing this production. Gallet says he and Melrose share a love for August Strindberg's work, and he wanted this play, like Strindberg's work to show a tension between realism and poetry. Gallet spoke with us recently about that tension, writing as an adventure, and how art should add to reality.

Where were you during the riots in 2005? What did you think when you first heard about them?

I was in the Parisian suburbs when the riots started. First, the violence of the situation really affected me, and after I hoped that all this would lead to new ways of talking about the history of France, its immigration, the difficult conditions that a large part of our population have to endure. I was especially shocked by the way the media and most politicians talked about them: they totally ignored political, economical and historical facts or analysis and once again based their communication on fear, angst and confusion of facts and ideas.

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Contest to Design Nelson Mandela Monument in Bay Area

Categories: Design, Politics


Nelson Mandela's death in December 2013 was mourned by billions of people, and now the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa, the Oakland faction of the NAACP, and two cemeteries based in the Bay Area have joined together to create a monument to honor Mandela's life and legacy.

And they want you to create it.

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Talking with Bay Area-Born RT America Anchor Abby Martin About Art and Life

Categories: Art, Politics

Evan Thompson
Some of Martin's artwork at her SF art show

You probably know Abby Martin as the RT America anchor who ended an episode of her show Breaking the Set a few weeks ago by stating her personal opposition towards the Russian militant occupation in Crimea. What you probably didn't know is that she's also an artist.

Born and raised in Pleasanton, Martin grew up in an artistic family, but didn't start to really experiment with art herself until she was out of high school. Inspired by nature, National Geographic photos, and artist Andy Goldsworthy (you know, the guy who makes really cool rock balancing formations in nature), Martin "started painting abstract, weird things," she said. "Art became my therapy. It's an amazing outlet."

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"Wrestling Jerusalem": Telling the Complex Palestinian-Israeli Story

Ken Friedman
Aaron Davidman, wrote and performs 'Wrestling Jerusalem'

With "Wrestling Jerusalem," his solo show at Intersection for the Arts, playwright and actor Aaron Davidman wants to do something seemingly impossible -- present the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one of the most entrenched of our time, in a nuanced way- as a story rather than a diatribe.

"I like to say my play is not a protest play unless it's protesting polemic, in which case it is a protest play," he said. "To realize things aren't so black and white -- that's the new radical."

Davidman, former artistic director of the now defunct Traveling Jewish Theater in San Francisco, has written two other plays about the issue, which he feels is a central one for American Jews. Plus he thinks it makes great drama.

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SF Weekly Goes International, Interviews North Korean Expert

A common North Korea meme.

There's something fascinating about North Korea. A country with a government that controls almost all of the available information, ruled by a family dynasty of repressive dictators, is so foreign to western society it begs to be examined. It's kind of like a wreck on the freeway -- we just can't help but slow down and stare.

Of course, North Korea isn't something we can simply drive past. A United Nations panel recently found the country's boyish leader Kim Jong-un personally liable for crimes against humanity, and recommended that he be referred to the international criminal court. The regime has also been pursuing nuclear weapons for decades.

The Commonwealth Club of California hosts a discussion Friday about North Korea with Robert Carlin, a visiting scholar from the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation. As a primer for the event, SF Weekly caught up with Dr. Gloria Duffy, the president and CEO of the Commonwealth Club. Duffy is an expert on U.S.-North Korean relations, and a former nuclear arms treaty negotiator.

We spoke in her office.

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Former Miss Venezuela Leaves San Francisco Production Because of Tea Party Values

Categories: Politics, Theater


María Conchita Alonso has always shown her dedication to Latin culture through everything she does, including recording songs in Spanish, acting in Spanish-language theater productions, endorsing anti-immigration gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly -- wait, what?

Alonso resigned from her lead role in a Spanish production of "The Vagina Monologues" on Friday, January 17, after receiving a negative response to her appearance in a recent campaign video for Donnelly, in which he wears a cowboy hat and says things like "I want a gun in every Californian's gun safe."

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"Storefront Church" is the Last in John Patrick's Trilogy on Church and State

Monique Carboni
John Patrick Shanley, author of 'Storefront Church'

Along with winning a Tony and a Pulitzer for his play, "Doubt," and an Oscar for the screenplay of Moonstruck, John Patrick Shanley has another honor that means a lot to him -- a street named after him in the Bronx, where he grew up.

"As stuff like that goes, it was pretty cool," he said.

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