Critic Kevin Kirby wrote: “Those who attend expecting a conventional plot with conventional staging may be frustrated by Winnie’s static plight. But for those willing to accept Beckett on his own terms, there are ample riches to be discovered.” Kirby also had ample praise for Courtney Walsh, the gifted thespian who played Winnie and carried the bulk of the play as it explored humanity’s feelings of existential aloneness.
Walsh has a background in the law and, as it turns out, a few linguistic tricks up her sleeve. After SST’s production closed at Stanford, the troupe took the show on the road to present an unusual bilingual production of “Happy Days” in Montpellier, France.
Now SST is teaming up with Alliance Francaise of San Francisco to present two performances in the city: at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 (in English) and Nov. 15 (in English and French). Shows are in the alliance’s theater at 1345 Bush St; ticketing info is here.
Next up for SST: an Orson Welles festival starting in June. Artistic director Rush Rehm says the company plans to present Welles’ theatrical adaptation in blank verse of “Moby Dick,” along with a reenactment of his Mercury Theater broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.”
Pictured: Courtney Walsh in “Happy Days.” Photo by Stefanie Okuda.
In our young country, it seems inconceivable that a span of 200-plus years could be just “a period,” a fraction of our history. But that’s Japan (and most other nations around the world) for you.
"Mapping Edo: The Social and Political Geography of Early Modern Japan," a new small exhibit at the Cantor Arts Center, looks at the art of Japan’s Edo period. This span, which extended from the early 1600s into the 1800s, was marked by stability and growth, with much attention paid to the arts.
This is evident in the paintings, prints and archival maps now up in the Stanford museum’s Madeleine H. Russell Gallery. Everyday scenes mingle with pastoral landscapes, historical sites and castles from early modern Japan. Artists represented include printmakers Kitao Masayoshi and Utagawa Kunisada. The show is up through Feb. 2.
Pictured: “Plum Garden, Kameido,” an 1857 woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858).
Drawing the past and present
The lights are dim, and some of the images require bend-in, squint-close viewing. Magnifying glasses hang on the walls here and there. We’re grateful to find them.
It all makes sense when you reflect that we’re looking at fragile drawings on paper from hundreds of years ago. Can chalk and graphite really live this long? If the conditions are right.
Striking bright spots emerged where the artists used white chalk as highlights: on faces, figures, sparks of sky. In Theodore Rousseau’s 19th-century “A Marshy River Landscape” (pictured above), the glints of chalk in charcoal feel like hope on a dark day.
Facelift for Stanford totem poles
Outdoor art needs special treatment, even when it’s made out of trees. Stanford’s two totem poles carved and painted by Pacific Northwest artists recently got respectful facelifts by two fellow artists trying to preserve the original spirit.
Art Thompson’s “Boo-Qwilla,” which has stood in Dohrmann Grove since 1995, and Don Yeomans’ “The Stanford Legacy,” near Crown Quad since 2002, both needed cleaning and repainting. Enter the Cantor Arts Center, which detailed the project on its "Cross-Sections" website.
The Cantor’s Elizabeth Saetta cleaned the towering artworks and added preservatives to keep insects away. Then came artists and husband-and-wife team John Livingston and Maxine Matilpi. Livingston was a longtime friend of the late artist Thompson, and he and his wife clearly have great respect for the art of the totem pole. The pair were careful to use only paint that matched the originals.
Above are before-and-after photos of “The Stanford Legacy,” a totem pole that incorporates figures representing the Leland Stanford family. What do you think of the results?
SoCal meets Palo Alto in a new show of 15 paintings by PA native Bryan Ida. On round and rectangular panels, his thick epoxy layers recall his history with Southern California architecture: its boxes and lines, the experience of looking straight up at a tall building and losing all perspective. When a city becomes all abstract floaters, can you still feel connected to it?
Ida’s local ties (besides playing the French horn in the El Camino Youth Symphony) include his stint as a studio assistant for the late abstract expressionist painter Sam Francis in Francis’ Palo Alto studio. This was an influential time for the young artist.
"We often talked about the correlation between music and painting, how it is really the same thing just using different senses," Ida says on his website. "I have applied some of the same principles of music theory to my visual practice."
In case you were wondering, this is how you climb a pyramid. Especially if you’re in the 19th century and you’re being photographed by Felix Bonfils (1831-1885).
This photo, a print titled “Ascent of the Great Pyramid,” is part of a new small exhibition at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, showing 19th-century images of North Africa and the Holy Land. These photos were especially popular with Westerners who never left the States or Europe, either because they couldn’t or because they were afraid of being pushed up a pyramid.
Other vintage views include a print of the Mosque of the Emeer Akhor by Francis Frith (1822-1898), a Briton who was a grocer before his first jaunt to Egypt inspired him.
That sign certainly doesn’t mess around, Cantor Arts Center. I guess it’s so the people looking over from the new concert hall won’t get confused and think they’re at the de Saisset.
Photo by Rebecca Wallace
THIS is how you let people know about a lecture. I don’t know what’s better, the images or the event title. Either way, I seem to be obsessed with sharp event posters lately. Bravo, Mark Janse, research professor in ancient and Asia Minor Greek at Ghent University.