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Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter
End your week with a bit of culture to unwind and refresh. Sign up for our surprising and inspiring options in our weekly newsletter, delivered on Thursdays with news about Bay Area arts and entertainment.
The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here
• A double-bill reprise: You can’t keep a good opera company down. Livermore Valley Opera had its most recent, rave-reviewed double-bill cruelly shut down in mid-run by the spread of the coronavirus. But those ticket holders who missed out and all the rest of the world as well can watch “A Florentine Tragedy” (by Alexander Zemlinsky) and “Gianni Schicchi” (by Giacomo Puccini) come Friday night, when recorded versions of both will stream live on LVO’s YouTube channel. Baritone Robert Mellon has leading roles in both one-hour operas, the first a dark tale of infidelity and revenge, the second a satiric romp around the deathbed of a rich man whose relatives are hovering like the vultures they are. Streaming begins at 7 p.m. April 3, and LVO will continue its Friday Video Series with Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” on April 10, www.livermorevalleyopera.org.
• Virtual eccentricities: Raise your hand if you’re one of the Bay Area folks who’ve never gotten around to visiting one of San Jose’s most popular tourist attractions, the Winchester Mystery House (our hands are raised, but you can’t see us because we’re self-sheltering). And now, like other museums here, the Mystery House is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the 100-year-old, 160-room mansion designed by Sarah Pardee Winchester. Go to the attraction’s website, winchestermysteryhouse.com, and you’ll find a free 40-minute video tour of architectural curiosity, with its passageways leading nowhere and fake bathrooms that Winchester reportedly designed to confuse the ghosts she was convinced were tormenting her for all the lives lost to her family’s namesake firearms. Lots of family history and other juicy tidbits are woven into the tour, which will be available while the Winchester Mystery House is closed.
• ‘Love’ is on the internet: Add the Marin Theatre Company to the list of Bay Area arts providers that are streaming productions they were forced to cancel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world premiere production of “Love,” Kate Cortesi’s thought-provoking comedy about workplace sexual harassment, is available for viewing on the company’s website April 1-12. Streaming tickets are $35 at www.marintheatre.org. Meanwhile, the American Conservatory Theater, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, Theatre Rhinoceros, Shotgun Players in Berkeley and City Lights Theater in San Jose are among the other companies streaming full productions, readings or other stage content. In general, we suggest visiting your favorite art companies’ websites and see what they have going on and, if you can, make a donation. Most of these troupes are taking a huge financial hit from the pandemic.
• Hey Mike, what day is it?!? For the Smuin Contemporary Ballet Company, it’s “Hump Day Ballets,” which launches April 1 with a video intro and a pre-recorded performance of Amy Seiwert’s “Broken Open,” as curated by Smuin dancer and choreographer Ben Needham-Wood. The series will continue throughout April with a dance performance selected and hosted by a different company dancer, and each Hump Day video will remain available for 48 hours. “Broken Open” entered the company repertoire in September 2015 and is set to a score by cellist and theater and dance composer Julia Kent using electronics, looped cello and found sounds. The simplest way to access the videos is to sign up for an email blast at www.smuinballet.org that will get you a direct link and a password. The information will also be on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
• Pipeline to indie movies: Here’s a way to check out some cool independent films while aiding some popular and shuttered Bay Area movie theaters. Go the websites of the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, rafaelfilm.cafilm.org; The Roxie in San Francisco, www.roxie.com; and the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco, https://drafthouse.com/alamo-at-home and you’ll find links to stream several top independent films. Currently in the mix are “Corpus Christi,” the Oscar-nominated Polish film about an ex-con who makes a splash as a priest in a small town, and “Bacurau,” a drama about a Brazilian town beset by greed and corruption. The film offerings vary slightly by theater site and the lineups will change regularly. Screenings cost $12, representing some much-needed income for these theaters.