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

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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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Playwright Explores Faith and Connection in an Idaho Big-Box Store

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Will (Robert Parsons*), Pauline (Gwen Loeb*), and Leroy (Patrick Russell*) have lunch in the Hobby Lobby break room in 'A Bright New Boise'

Samuel Hunter, the New York-based playwright whose Obie-winning play, A Bright New Boise, comes to the Aurora Theatre this fall, doesn't want to give audiences characters they can pigeonhole right away.

"I'm more moved by dramatic stories where I'm brought to an understanding of someone I might not relate to immediately," Hunter says. "A lot of times when a play starts, the audience is thinking, 'Oh, who's my guy? Who am I asked to identify with?'"

In A Bright New Boise, Will applies for a job at a big-box craft store to connect with his son. This is something audiences can relate to, Hunter thinks. But then they learn some things about Will -- a fundamentalist who thinks the Rapture is coming soon -- that may make them look at him a little differently.


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Tourism for Locals: Saint Mary's Cathedral Puts Spin on Church Architecture

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Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
Our Lady of Maytag Cathedral.
San Francisco is the home for every type of individual -- from the quirky to the stoic, and the sexually deviant to the taciturn prude, all extremes and differing grades of personalities find places to congregate. Sometimes it seems the City's architecture reflects where distinct groups gather -- from the families in Noe Valley's single unti homes to the young tech employees in sleek skyscrapers.

However, the focus of this week's "Tourism for Locals" deviates from this stereotype and proves that exteriors don't classify those that inhabit them and vice versa. A building that features scenic views of the classic San Francisco skyline, but whose architecture contradicts the classic image of opulent and somber images associated with the Roman Catholic Church: The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.

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Student's Thesis Film Brings Jonestown Massacre to Life

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This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre -- one of the most infamous mass murders in American history.

The tragedy's origin is rooted in San Francisco, however, its journey to the big screen comes by way of Norwegian filmmaker David B. Berget.

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Kirk Cameron Answers Your Letters to God

Categories: Movies, Religion

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God's ways are hard for us to penetrate, but who better to try than born-again former TV teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron? This is not a serious question, yet Cameron has gone ahead anyway with a serious new film, called Unstoppable and in theaters everywhere today, in which he wonders why his God allows and indeed sometimes seems deliberately to cause human suffering.

"This is the question that turns Christians into atheists," narrates the onetime Growing Pains star, an atheist who turned into a Christian. Looking well-kept and still boyish for his 42 years, Cameron the evangelist nonetheless has the glazed aura of all unfortunate child actors who later in life become addicted to something. Although somewhat expositionally challenged, his film's inquiry, such as it is, seems to flow from the death of someone Cameron felt close to. He does manage to remind us that he and his wife run a summer camp for terminally ill kids.


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International Museum of Women Launches New Exhibit Muslima, Tackles Boston Bombing Backlash

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In a city that serves as a progressive paragon, it's easy to forget that American women didn't get the right to vote until 1920. And that's just one facet of the tumultuous history and continuing struggle for women's rights -- here and abroad.

The International Museum of Women (IMOW) -- an innovative online museum based in San Francisco -- has been championing female-focused issues since 2006, but its history of fierce feminism has roots stretching back to 1985.

First founded as the Women's Heritage Museum, this nascent organization operated as a museum "without walls" for 10 years, producing exhibits, sponsoring an annual book fair, providing fodder for teachers during Women's History Month, and of course, celebrating the lengthy lineage of women throughout the past, long overlooked for their accomplishments.

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Elizabeth Colton, original founder of IMOW
In 1997, a Bay Area woman named Elizabeth Colton was hoping to take her daughter to a museum dedicated to women's contributions to society...but she couldn't find anything. She called up Gloria Steinem, a noted feminist activist, who she didn't know, and asked her if such a place existed.

"Gloria told her 'no, but I think you should [start] one!'" says Catherine King, Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs at IMOW. "Elizabeth took that has a call to arms." Elizabeth soon corralled a group of Bay Area teachers equally disappointed by the current feminist offerings and established the International Museum of Museum.

"She thought, 'lets expand the mission, let's get global.'"


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Q&A: With Life of Pi, Director Ang Lee Films the Unfilmable

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20th Century Fox
Lost at sea, Pi (Suraj Sharma) Patel begins to make an extraordinary connection with a fearsome Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Director Ang Lee doesn't like to make the same kind of movie twice, as he proved with films like Sense and Sensibility, a period drama, The Hulk, an action film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a martial arts movie, and Brokeback Mountain, a love story between two cowboys.

Lee wants to do projects that scare him, and his latest film, Life of Pi, fits that bill nicely. The film contains big philosophical questions about God and faith, and a big chunk of the story centers on a teenage boy, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, on a boat with a tiger.

See also:

Interview: Ira Glass on His New Film Sleepwalk with Me

Talking with '80s Sweetheart and New Author Molly Ringwald About Her Debut Novel

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The Sweet Spot: S.F. Pussy Riot Organizer Speaks Out

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On February 21, five women wearing masks and bright colors stormed the priests-only section of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior and staged a punk prayer protest. Among candles and gilded altars, they danced, genuflected and called out to the Virgin Mary. Were they praying for husbands, health, a record deal? No. They were the members of Pussy Riot, an art-collective branch of the larger art-collective Voina ("war" in Russian) founded in 2006 to protest the existing Russian government and President Vladimir Putin through art. Voina has performed dozens of provocative and politically charged conceptual art performances. More than a dozen criminal cases have been brought against the group.

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Zarina Zabrisky

On August 17, Pussy Riot perfomers Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Ekaterina Samucevich were charged with public hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison. 

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The Sweet Spot: What a Pretty Pussy You Are

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"It is not clear in the Bible what Jesus thinks about lesbians, but it is pretty clear that he is okay with prostitutes." That is a rip-roaring line indeed, but writer and performer Maura Halloran already had me at Pussy, the title of her one-woman show that is part of DIVAfest, a theatrical festival that celebrates the work of established and emerging women writers, directors, and performers. 

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The show, which tells of the love "triangle" between three women and a cat, is not subtle in employing metaphorical and actual explorations of "pussy" in all its forms. As one audience member said of the show, "It was meow."

The amorous conflicts of a soft spoken, Christian woman who likes girls is a sweet story but the show also defies what many have come to expect from a one-woman show: therapy masquerading as art. The writer's sexuality is not the issue here, the details are not factual, and there are no torrid tales of childhood abuse.

Says Halloran, "In the post-Mike Daisey era, it seems imperative be totally transparent about solo work, so I feel I should state outright: I am not a cat. I also don't ID as lesbian. The story is inspired by true events and fleshed out by my own experiences of romantic love, but it's not autobiographical or documentary. It's just a story."


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Communists! Drive-In Movies! The Seven Female Erotic Zones! Estus Pirkle Saves Us

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While the previously discussed Blood Freak is the high point of turkey-themed ultraviolent Christian Scare Film, there are other, non-turkey-themed ultraviolent Christan Scare Films to consider, and none is more considerable than 1971's If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, produced and directed by Ron Ormond and starring a Baptist minister named Estus Pirkle. So let's consider it. (The clips are largely NSFW.)

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