Drop out. It’s such a leaden term. Yes, yes, Helen Brodsky dropped out of UC Berkeley in 1968, dashing the hopes and dreams of her Cal alumni-laden family. Before even declaring a major (she was leaning toward Russian Lit), she and her new boyfriend, John Meyer, an autodidact with a gift for tinkering and engineering, decided that unsettled times called for adventurous spirits, and lit out for the East, ending up in India.
We may aspire to La Traviata, but at a certain point, our inner groundling is going to opt for the sludge monster. Space opera, in other words, will always win out over—well, opera—in the hearts of the masses. The American masses, anyway.
Posted on March 4, 2015 - 4:04pm
Part of the challenge and much of the fun of performing contemporary music is navigating relationships with living composers—as the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players have discovered as they are halfway through their grandly ambitious Project TenFourteen.
Posted on February 21, 2015 - 11:18am
First off, let’s admit it: Comic books are fun. And that may explain America’s resistance to comics as a “serious” art form. Our national temper includes a Puritanical thread that looks askance at anything that might be fun.
Posted on October 16, 2014 - 3:57pm
Africa has its share of environmental problems, and the Nile River is a prima facie case in point. The longest river in the world, its basin supports about 300 million people. The demands on the Nile and its major tributaries are extreme—for urban water supplies, for agriculture, for hydropower and fisheries—and they are growing. And as the demands grow, the potential for conflict grows with it. Some of the flash points are especially fraught: A dam under construction in Ethiopia on the Blue Nile is the largest hydro project in Africa, and has enraged Egypt.
Posted on June 10, 2014 - 4:06pm
The First World War was an early preoccupation of Cal Performances’ director Matias Tarnopolsky, who lately rediscovered a book of poems he treasured as a child in England. At age 11, he had written his name inside.
“I was profoundly impacted by the British war poets—Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon,” he said, speaking in his office in UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on a recent chilly afternoon. As a music student, he would soon learn that the cataclysm of war accompanied a period of feverish experimentation in all the arts—in fact, the birth of modernism.
Posted on February 19, 2014 - 2:43pm
In some fine arts circles, “entertainment” has become something of a dirty word. But at Cal Performances, one of the country’s top presenters of artistic productions, the notion of art as entertainment is wholeheartedly embraced.
Posted on October 23, 2013 - 3:32pm