SF LIFE INSIDERS GUIDE: Berkeley Rep, Art, Japantown, Music
Greetings Tomatoes. As much as a new year makes me want to buy tickets to everything and experience art, theatre, comedy and music, we have to slow down once more. Note that the things we write about are always subject to change thanks to you know what. But we have great hopes that shows planned at Berkeley rep will take place. The Bay area visual arts world is approaching 2022 optimistically too. Meanwhile, the fam and I spent many hours exploring Japantown, a great outing. And check out an exciting musical experience by Ragazzi alumni singers. May this year bring all of you great health, adventures, and experiences.
Coming Up at Berkeley Rep
Berkeley Rep is home to so many world premiere shows, one-man and one-woman evenings and is the perfect intimate venue in which to watch them. Coming up is Mike Birbiglia’s new one-man show called The Old Man and the Pool. This is a zigzagging exploration of middle age (not that we would know anything about that eh?) It’s a comedic exploration of life, death, and his visits to a highly chlorinated YMCA pool. Now through January 23.
Following her binge worthy hit Netflix series Pretend It’s a City, Fran Lebowitz returns to Berkeley Rep where she played to sold-out crowds in 2018. With her acerbic views on everything from current events and pet peeves to politics and the media, each performance promises to be unique and highly entertaining. Six performances only, January 21-26.
If you have not yet seen Swept Away, it has been extended again, so get yourself to Berkeley rep and grab a ticket. This world premiere musical is based on the music of multi-Grammy Award nominee The Avett Brothers, (and if you aren’t familiar with their music, look them up on YouTube), Begins January 9, 2022 and will now run through March 6. www.berkeleyrep.org
Jan. 30. Ragazzi Boys Chorus at Episcopal Church of St. Mary
Tomatoes, are you familiar with Ragazzi Boys Chorus? It is a wonderful organization here in the Bay Area that has brought young boys from the Bay environs together to give them performance opportunities and musical education. Founded in 1987, this superb group of singers has performed worldwide, and yes, even at Carnegie Hall! Many of the youth go on to train professionally.
Coming up on January 30th you can hear Ragazzi alumni singers Thomas Wade and Nathan Wilen perform works by Dufay, Couperin, J. S. Bach and others in a program that relates ancient texts to modern world issues. The selections explore the human experience as a circle that extends back in time as well as through life today. With Hasani Groce on continuo cello, the concert includes modern connections with dance and beat boxing by Jesse Buddington. Tickets at the door or through Eventbrite. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and masks required for admission. January 30th, 4 – 5:30, Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin in SF. Get tickets.
Events for Art Lovers
Art enthusiasts have hope for the bold offerings scheduled for this year. Here are a few we plan to attend – eventually!
The Minnesota Street Project is beginning the fourth installment of its California Black Voices Project that will bring inspiration in the form of a multi-media presentation titled Build or Destroy. Also showing at this innovative space is Framings, a solo exhibition by Oakland based artist David Wilson. The exhibition centers on two new large scale works on paper and in turn, two new large scale wood frames made in an active collaboration between artist and framer. Get the details.
You can always count on Fort Mason to provide inspiration in the artistic realm. One of the exhibits now through the 30th is Lawrence Weiner’s Out of Sight. In his ground-based mural OUT OF SIGHT, Lawrence Weiner addresses the viewer within a simple hopscotch pattern board. OUT OF SIGHT combines wit and whimsy in a game-like format, encouraging learning and self-actualization through the use of graphical phrases embedded throughout the work. By being able to stand, walk, or jump from one position to the next, OUT OF SIGHT taps into the dynamic “gamification” of learning and self-discovery. The viewer navigates the creation as they see fit — interpreting the work while interacting with it. Get the details.
Japantown Has It All
Craving ramen on these cold winter days? Head to Japantown where a host of restaurants await. SF’s Japantown is only one of three remaining Japantowns in the U.S. and it is a treasure trove of delicious food and unique shopping experiences. You can find vintage kimonos, kitchsy treasures and bonsai plants.
We wandered through the vast area and ate our way into a food coma. Marufuku Ramen has the longest line but is well worth the wait. Steaming hot and flavorful bowls of deliciousness await, paired with an ice-cold beer – nothing better. After you have been sated, you will not be able to resist heading to the Japanese stationary store Maido. Guarantee even if you think you didn’t need anything, you will find something to purchase.
After you continue browsing through the incense and bonsai plant stores, trying on vintage kimonos, you must stop at Mochill, a Japanese-style mochi donut store. The chewy treats are made from rice flour and are as light as eating a cloud. Grab a pal and your appetite! Get the details