Sunday, October 23, 2005

Friday evening at Ameba Records in the Haight, the store was crowded full of shoppers,I was trolling around about the buy albums by Betty Davis and Lamont Dozier when I received a call from a friend. She had two tickets for the Balinese Tempest showing at Fort Mason in the Marina, the program began in 40 minutes. Well, I'm carless and taking the bus from the Haight to the Marina District is challenging but I was going for it. I laid the CDs down and headed out of the store. I was able to catch the 43 Masonic, its' a cross town bus which goes through the Presidio. I arrived near Fort Mason about 5 minutes before curtain time, sprinted for the theatre and just made it, public transit can work.

The show was wonderful, it was my first experience watching Balinese shadow puppetry. What I found fascinating was the integration of cinematic techniques within theatre, the use of closeup and wide shots with smooth film-like transitions. Did shadow theatre create this visual style or was the theatre company borrowing? I'll have to watch more traditional Balinese plays and do a little reading to find out.

I hadn't read or seen Shakespeare's Tempest , it was a fun play with romance and magic.
However, I couldn't help but focus on the character Caliban the enslaved. Caliban was portrayed as the evil character while the slave owner Prospero, the play’s protagonist was good. Also, Caliban is described as a savage, shown in silhouette as furry with a round nose but I felt I was seeing a representation of a black man hidden in fur. Was Caliban a justification of European colonization or symbolize native people? Ok I just googled and this discussion isn't new at least I was playing attention.

After the Tempest we headed over to the Great American Music Hall, Omar Sosa was performing as part of the SF Jazz Festival Fall Season. Omar Sosa is one of my favorite Jazz musicians, I find his piano playing exciting, energetic, and creative. The accompanying musicians were tight and included guest musician John Santos the hardest working musician in the Bay Area.

What was fun about the concert was the use of electronic instruments within the pieces mixers and turntables intergated with live jazz....very nice. While electronica fussion is not new, when see you Omar Sosa anything can happen musically this makes his shows so fresh.


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