Reviews, stories, news from San Francisco. Film, theater, stage, music, events and the arts.
Palo Alto Players - Into the Woods - Stark Insider Review

‘Into the Woods’ at Palo Alto Players (Review)

Into the Woods is a difficult show to perform, demanding split-second responses, with nary a rest. Fairytale characters busily weave their assorted tales, while simultaneously operating on a whole different level to subtly remind us that these archetypes live in our heads, inhabiting some deep part of ourselves. These...

Top 10 arthouse films of the last 10 years

The arthouse. Ah, don't we just love spending quality time there? If you're like me, movies -- films -- are best when they don't conform. Explosion-free fare that breaks filmmaking rules and, almost always, taboos is the name of the game. Nothing wrong, of course, with Marvel, Iron Man 3, or Star...

The Lion, a roaringly good new musical

“What makes a lion a lion?” Alone onstage with seven guitars, Benjamin Scheuer sings, “My father has an old guitar, and he plays me folk songs.” That’s the start of Benjamin’s passion for music, but it’s also a cause for his troubled relationship with his father. Depressed and quick to...

Stark Insider: Celebrating 10 years of San Francisco arts, indie film, music and wanderlust (Video)

10 years ago Loni and I started Stark Insider. I opened up a Netscape browser, loaded something called Typepad and "wrote" this piece of profundity.  I guess we still haven't really grown up, refusing to leave the creative bubble this site affords our lives. It's hard to believe a decade has already...
Swordplay - Targetsvideo

The Art of Swordplay on set of ‘Cyrano’ (Video)

"It has timeless romantic inclinations." Yes, and as I discovered when I visited the set of Cyrano, now playing at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, there's no shortage of dashing swashbuckling. Fight call! In this Stark Insider episode I meet up with the love-torn, nose-challenged Cyrano himself (J. Anthony Crane) and Jonathan Rider, a...
SF Opera Lab - Triplets of Belleville Review

A swinging Belleville rendezvous at San Francisco Opera Lab

In 2004, Finding Nemo won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. It beat out a very different finalist: the bizarre French-Québécois film The Triplets of Belleville. This near-silent movie with a swinging jazz score is an imaginative adventure set during the Tour de France. The cyclist Champion is...
SFGMC Tales of Our City Spring Concert Review

Opening the Pearly Gates: SF Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies

The audience was on their feet before raconteur, writer and de facto social historian Armistead Maupin regaled the audience without resorting to the old saw, he said, of “walking ten miles through the snow for a blow job."
Sweet Bean - Film Review

‘Sweet Bean’: Do you believe a recipe can change a person’s life? (Review)

Sweet Bean is a delicious film from Naomi Kawase, the Japanese director who gave us The Mourning Forest and Still the Water. It was an official selection of last year’s Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, and is highly recommended. The film is adapted from the novel...

Theater Picks: Cyrano, Tales of Our City, Triplets of Belleville, Colette Uncensored, Boeing Boeing, The Lion

"I think there is no world without theatre." - Edward Bond Looking for a show to see? Stark Insider is here to help. This edition of our theater and arts round-up includes new shows, some swashbuckling, mile high laughs, and a cinematic experience inside one of San Francisco's newest and most exciting...
Virtual Reality and Theater

Virtual Reality & Live Theater: On the virtual stage anything is possible

Three ways artists, content curators, and technology companies are coming together to bring theatre and other live arts to more viewers.