My_Neighbor_Totoro_-_Tonari_no_Totoro_(Movie_Poster)

We all remember that time in our childhoods when we stayed up watching classic, English-dubbed anime movies (on VHS!) from Studio Ghibli, such as “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989) and “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) … and to our parent’s irritation, usually over and over again for weeks on end.

Years later, of course, we connected the dots and learned that one of our favorite films in particular, “Spirited Away” (2001), was in fact something of an elaborate metaphor and social commentary on the child brothels of Japan, but that’s another story. Actually, we’ve created an extensively detailed infographic to illustrate how we think you should feel about this, in case you’re interested.

In any case, we still love a good dose of nostalgia. We’re very excited to remind all of our fellow Studio Ghibli movie fans that the Berkeley California Theatre’s Ghibli marathon has been extended another week! The theater will continue these one-time reruns of classic Ghibli films only until the first week of October, so take advantage of the pre-midterm lull while you still can.

Here are the new showtimes: read more »


rhinocerosLet’s face it: seeing a world-class performance of anthropomorphized rhinoceroses is on all of our bucket lists. With the legendary Theatre de la Ville coming to Zellerbach Hall on their first tour of the United States, now is our chance to cross it off! The Parisian theater company will be playing “Rhinoceros” by the famous playwright Eugene Ionesco, in a production that has been praised as “a masterpiece” by the major French newspaper “Le Monde.” It would be a shame to miss the opportunity to smugly tell our friends that we saw a one-of-a-kind performance targeted directly at our sophisticated taste when they ask us about our weekend.

All joking aside, this is a performance that any fan of theater cannot miss. As a classic of the theater of the absurd, its protagonist – an often drunk everyman character – witnesses everyone in his town turn into rhinoceroses until he is the only human left. Sounds pretty absurd, right? This allegorical premise deals with the consequences of the rise of fascism in pre-WWII Romania, where Ionesco spent a large portion of his life.

read more »


Stage

Some college students think that theater is boring and dead. Us Cloggers disagree. We went to see the California Shakespeare Theater’s outdoor production of “The Tempest” in Orinda, CA. The play is anything but dull and always entertaining, even if it’s not for the right reasons. read more »


InstrumentsIf you feel burnt out over the weekend during your effort to catch up on ten readings that mysteriously never got finished over the school week or become mired in a deepening spiral of procrastination where even checking Facebook for the 20th time loses its splendor, consider giving yourself a break by visiting Cal Performances’ annual Fall Free for All on the UC campus this Sunday, Sept. 25.

Starting from 11 a.m., there will be over 25 performances, ranging from music and dance to theater, throughout the day at various locations across campus. As the name “Free for All” suggests, all performances are free and require no tickets. Events include a performance by the Berkeley Symphony Wind Ensemble at Zellerbach Hall  at 5 p.m. and a presentation by Jane Lynch of the television show, “Glee,” regarding  her new book, “Happy Accidents,” at Pauley Ballroom at 2:30 p.m. read more »


This violinist is having an AWESOME TIME. Hey, you like free stuff, right? Come on, now. We know that was you we saw ravaging Caltopia like the freebie-hunting beast that you are. You little schwag-mongering mongrel, you. Growl.

What?! We’re not hitting on you, we’re just trying to tell you about Cal Performances’ Fall Free for All! Sheesh. Anyway, it sounds pretty cool. It’s not just free stuff. It’s free culture stuff. It’s free performances on four stages around campus from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 26.

The event is apparently a “preview of the artistic residencies and collaborations that you will find here throughout the year.” So, basically, they’re all really legit acts that most of the time you would have to pay a lot of money to see, like San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows and the Mark Morris Dance Group. Plus, if the day is anything like the image they’re using to promote it (see right) it’s gotta be ballin’. Just check out the schedule and see if anything strikes your fancy. Then, uh, give us a call. Wink! (Kidding … )

Fall Free for All [CalPerfs], via Berkeleyside


broadwayWhere would you go to see “Scalpel!,” a musical about murderous plastic surgery recipients or “Girlfriend,” the story of two boyfriends? Look no further than the Bay Area, which has recently established itself as the birthplace of offbeat musicals, some of which have been going on to conquer Broadway, for example.

You may remember “American Idiot,” the Green Day musical at the Berkeley Rep which transformed scoffs to shock when it made it to Broadway (it opens next Tuesday). Or “Passing Strange,” the bizarre compilation of a singer-songwriter and a rocker, which also recently made its Broadway debut.

The Bay Area has a reputation for being a supportive environment for nonconformity, and apparently the same applies to the theater world. Writers and directors come out here to test out their bizarre brain children away from the prying eyes of industry executives and New York critics.

The world of musicals has long favored “mass appeal over experimentation,” but the recent wave of quirky and successful works coming out of the Bay recently has begun to open a new niche in the musical market and draw in different kinds of viewers.

We don’t mind being musical guinea pigs, so long as we get to see Broadway musicals for cheap before they get big.

Image Source: Dom Dada under Creative Commons
Where Musicals Can Dare to Be Different [NYT Bay Area Blog]