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By Karen Nikos-Rose on January 20, 2021

We are stilling filling the arts menu with virtual events again this weekend, but first, we had an inauguration. And, predictably, Theatre and Dance's Larry Bogad was at the ready with performers dressed as dancing mailboxes. And the noon concerts are back today. And learn about Steve Martin's novel, and catch a stage production. Good stuff. Read on.

This blog compiled by Media Relations Intern Michelle Villagomez

UC Davis-led performance artists dance for Inauguration Day 

On Wednesday, performers dressed as mailboxes danced and sang, flash-mob style, in New York City; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; and Berkeley, California.

DELIVERING DEMOCRACY is a project of Larry Bogad, chair of the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance, who had the idea during presidential election season when voting by mail became a subject of controversy.  DELIVERING DEMOCRACY was created by Artistic Director/Producer Bogad (UC Davis/Center for Tactical Performance) and Theatrical Director Leese Walker of NYC’s Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble.

“This was democracy in action. I thought, what if the mailboxes just started dancing — celebrating the hardworking civil servants of the post office … and really, just celebrating working people everywhere who make democracy possible,” Bogad said about the project, which is nonpartisan and only advocates voting and democracy, not one candidate over another.  It was meant to be uplifting, but have a message too, he said.

Performers dressed as mailboxes — authentically blue contraptions that a team of individuals made of cardboard in Bogad’s Berkeley backyard — danced first in Pennsylvania, a swing state, moving to a reworked version of the pop tune “Please Mr. Postman” and handing out flyers with useful and accurate information about how and where to vote by mail, drop box or in person.

Dancing post
Mailbox dancers perform on Inauguration Day in Berkeley. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Later, after all ballots were counted, and Joe Biden won, Bogad said, the team decided, “why not just keep celebrating democracy on Inauguration Day?”

The troupe is made up of about 15-20 people, including Bogad, divided up now into the four cities in which they are dancing on Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

Shinkoskey Noon Concerts are back

Thursday, Jan. 21, 12:05 p.m. to 1 p.m., free, via UC Davis Music’s Youtube Channel.

The program includes several regional or world premieres of works written in 2020, including two for Chase Spruill

Michael Nyman: Images Were Introduced (2020)

Michael Nyman: Chasing the Shadows (2020)

written for Chase Spruill

Philip Glass: Sarabande in Common Time

Brian Reitzell: Blood Aria from the television series Hannibal (2020)

written for Chase Spruill

Zbigniew Preisner: Psalm—Forever Remembered

Nico Muhly: A Long Line

Violinist Chase Spruill has gained an international reputation as a performer of contemporary music, interpreting minimalist masters such as Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and Henryk Gorecki. 

He was a core faculty member with the nationally celebrated not-for-profit organization Community MusicWorks in Providence, Rhode Island, from 2012 to 2017, as well as a visiting professor of violin and orchestral studies at Wheaton College in from 2015 to 2017. Dedicated to exploring potential intersections between music and social justice, Spruill returned to his hometown in Vacaville to develop and run the music program at the new school Sierra Vista K–8 where he remains on faculty. He’s collaborated with other notable artists such as Kronos Quartet, composer/electric guitarist Steven Mackey (a UC Davis music alum ‘78), and BAFTA-nominated composer Brian Reitzell, releasing music from the critically acclaimed television series Hannibal. His recordings appear on the Philip Glass record label Orange Mountain Music and on Supertrain Records.

More information about the performance here

Next week, Shinkoskey Noon Concert features members of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Thursday, Jan. 28, 12:05 p.m. to 1 p.m, free, via UC Davis Music’s Youtube Channel.

Learn more here.

UC Davis’ Small Steps live-streaming starts today

In Small Steps, Skip Powers is fed up with the disappointment-filled world of gay online dating, so he volunteers to go to Mars. The National Association of Space Astronauts says, “Sure. You’ll do. You leave in a week.” Skip thinks he’s ready to leave the planet, but he’s a little less prepared when the Love of His Life tries to keep him on earth. This comedy about what it means to attempt to live your life in the pursuit of great things spans a million years and 55 million miles. Written by Davis native Briandaniel Oglesby, the play is being presented by Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank through the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance. The cast includes alumni Nate Challis and Charlie Lavaroni. This production is presented in collaboration with Bike City Theater Company. This performance is free and will be live-streamed from Jan. 21-23 at 6 p.m. Register here

For details about winter 2021 events, visit here. 

Artist Talk featuring Al Farrow at the Crocker tonight

Thursday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m., free, via Zoom. Register

In the shadow of the U.S. presidential inauguration, acclaimed sociopolitical artist Al Farrow discusses his quintessential work, The White House. Created from gun parts and ammunition, Al Farrow’s elaborate 2018 architectural work is especially relevant during this time of political transition. Tune into this talk presented by the Crocker Art Museum to hear the artist discuss his process, inspirations, and thoughts on how his work fits in the climate of today.

This program will last approximately 60 minutes. It will be recorded and available to view later on the Crocker’s YouTube channel. Learn more about the event here. More programs in Crocker from home here.

‘Opera 2021: Hopes and Challenges’ story and video are available

For those of you that missed the opera talk last week, here’s coverage of that event and a video of the conversation.

This event last week was a roundtable discussion about the challenges and hopes for the world of opera in the present crisis and in the foreseeable future. Pierpaolo Polzonetti, professor of music at UC Davis, interviewed the internationally recognized director of opera Francesca Zambello, and the conversation included orchestra conductor and UC Davis professor Christian Baldini, and two professional opera singers: Malcolm MacKenzie, who also teaches at UC Davis, and Brett Polegato. This event was co-sponsored by the Jan and Beta Popper endowed professorship in opera.

SFMOMA discusses: What is contemporary art? (Teachers welcome)

Saturday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m., free, via Eventbrite. Register.

How can art define, challenge, and question who we are? Contemporary artists, such as Jenny Holzer, Zanele Muholi, and Doris Salcedo, question and investigate intersections of identity and power. Co-presented by SFMOMA and Art21, this workshop is part of a series exploring three different aspects of the question, what is contemporary art? Each workshop encourages educators to think and work like artists, using thematic, inquiry-driven processes and strategies.

If you are a Bay Area–based teacher, please consider applying for our small group workshop that follows this webinar. Please note that you must be able to attend the 10 a.m. webinar to attend the small group workshop. To keep the conversation interactive, space is limited. You can apply here. Reach out to us at teachers@sfmoma.org for any questions.

Learn more about the event here.

Virtual Artist Talk at the Pence Gallery

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., free, via Zoom. Register.

Tune into this virtual event as Mariah Reading discusses the concepts behind her eco art, her love of found objects, and her travels in America’s National Parks, where she photographs her work in situ.

Coming up next week:

Mondavi's HomeStage presents ‘The Democracy! Suite’

Monday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., $0-$15

Led by trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis  and featuring seven of jazz's finest soloists, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet is a compact, but no less mighty, extension of the JLCO family. The evening will feature the premiere of The Democracy! Suite, a new Marsalis composition written during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as a response to the political, social, and economic struggles facing our nation. The Democracy! Suite  is a swinging and stimulating instrumental rumination on the issues that have recently dominated our lives as well as the beauty that could emerge from a collective effort to create a better future. UC Davis students can attend this event for free and the regular price is $15. For more information about the tickets and to purchase the tickets, go here.

This concert was filmed on Sept. 27, 2020 at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City in accordance with the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance on Media Production during the COVID-19 Emergency.  

Jazz at Lincoln Center
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet with Wynton Marsalis will perform virtually. (Courtesy photo)

Wynton Marsalis, trumpet/music director   

Elliot Mason, trombone   

Ted Nash, alto saxophone and flute  

Walter Blanding, tenor and soprano saxophones   

Dan Nimmer, piano   

Carlos Henriquez, bass   

Obed Calvaire, drums 

The Democracy! Suite 

1) Be Present 

2) Sloganize, Patronize, Realize, Revolutionize (Black Lives Matters) 

3) Ballot Box Bounce 

4) That Dance We Do (That You Love Too) 

5) Deeper Than Dreams  

6)  Out Amongst the People (for J Bat) 

7) It Come ‘Round ‘Gin 

8) That’s When All Will See 

More information here

The Crocker returns with their ‘Official Rogue Book Club’

Thursday, Jan 28, 6 p.m., free. Register.

Each month, the Official Rogue Book Club brings together readers, art-lovers, and special guests to discuss books that inspire us to look at art and life in new and unexpected ways. Kicking off 2021 with An Object of Beauty: A Novel, by Steve Martin.

Most people associate banjo player Steve Martin with pop culture staples like Roxanne, Saturday Night Live, or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. However, the comedian-turned-actor got his start in writing, starting with The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which won him an Emmy at age 23. Today, he is the author of several plays, including Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and the highly acclaimed novel Shopgirl. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

In An Object of Beauty, Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take on New York City’s art world. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to climb the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights — and, at times, the dark lows – of the art world and the nation from the late 1990s through today.

This program will last approximately 60 minutes.

Bay Area Annual ‘Night of Ideas’ goes virtual next week

Thursday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m, free, via Eventbrite. Register.

Animate your imagination at the third annual Night of Ideas, a special collaboration among SFMOMA, KQED, the San Francisco Public Library, Villa San Francisco and California Humanities.

Transformed from an all-night library takeover into virtual form, this year’s event continues the tradition of bringing together Bay Area thinkers, community leaders, artists, and performers to share their creative visions for the future. After a year that has created or exacerbated physical and metaphorical distance among us, we’ve invited these voices to imagine what could bring us closer together. How do we close the distances between each other? How do we close the distance toward a more just and vibrant Bay Area? This will be an evening of keynotes, conversations, and performances about how people are working on “Closing the Distance."

Hosted by KQED’s Mina Kim, this two-hour broadcast will feature a message from San Francisco Mayor London Breed, as well as video appearances and performances from a variety of guests, including Alice Wong, founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project; Corrina Gould (Lisjan Ohlone), co-founder/co-director of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust; Antoine Hunter and Urban Jazz Dance Company; VivvyAnne ForeverMORE! and Friends; artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez; and several others. Don’t miss Close to Home exhibition artist Tucker Nichols sharing a deeper look into his project Flowers for Sick People, as well as details on how you can pick up one of his flower prints for someone you care about.

To learn more about the speakers, presenters, and performers, go here.

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