Saturday April 2 @ 4:20 pm. Electric Tumbleweed at Occidental Center for the Arts. Let’s rock! don’t miss this well known psychedelic outlaw country band performance immediately after the Fool’s Day Parade! Electric Tumbleweed are: Scotty Brown, Bud Dillard, Rhyne Erde, Riley Hill; with Scott Guberman and Dave Zirbel. Tickets are $25 General/$20 for OCA Members @ www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. OCA is following current Sonoma County Health guidelines for masking and capacity. Fine refreshments including wine and beer available. Art Gallery exhibit will be open for viewing. OCA is a non profit performing and fine arts center accessible to persons with disabilities. Become an OCA Member and get discounts/free admission. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465, 707-874-9392.
Arts & Entertainment
Abby Gabrielson with Laurie Hartmann Perform Classical Music March 26 at Occidental Center for the Arts
Saturday March 26 @ 7 pm. Abby Gabrielson with Laurie Hartmann at Occidental Center for the Arts. Join us for a delightful evening of classical music with pianist Abbie Gabrielson, who will perform selections by Brahms, Mozart and Lili Boulnager, as well as a special set with vocalist Laurie Hartmann (Fauré). Tickets are $20 for OCA members, $25 for non-members @ www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. OCA is following current Sonoma County Health guidelines for masking and capacity. Fine refreshments including wine and beer available. Art Gallery exhibit will be open for viewing. OCA is a non profit performing and fine arts center accessible to persons with disabilities. Become an OCA Member and get discounts/free admission. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465, 707-874-9392.
OUR LIVES MATTER THEATER COMPANY – Theater to Take Home presents “UNEARTHING THE SILENT RUMBLINGS,” a new play about fighting racism will be staged at Congregation Ner Shalom (The Old Cotati Cabaret) 85 La Plaza, Cotati
Saturday evening, April 2nd – 7pm Sunday matinee, April 3rd – 3pm Saturday evening, April 9th – 7pm Sunday matinee, April 10th – 3pm
(Depending on demand, a matinee may be added on Saturday April 9th)
This Black production consists of 4 short plays sure to stir the hearts and minds of the audience. It is an invitation to talk about race in a safe place. Included will be a facilitated conversation and discussion after the show.
The playwright is Dianna L. Grayer, PhD.
For tickets and contact information: https://ourlivesmatterthea.wixsite.com/our-lives-matter
Saturday March 19 at 7 pm. Occidental Center for the Arts proudly presents Patrick Ball: Celtic Harp & Story. Don’t miss the return of one of our most popular performers who will be visiting from his home in Ireland! World renowned modern day bard and premier Celtic harpist Patrick Ball weaves the marvelous old Irish tales of wit and enchantment together with ethereally gorgeous Celtic harp melodies into a warm and magical performance that will leave the audience spell-bound. $30 General/$25 for OCA Members. Tickets/Info @ www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. OCA is following current Sonoma County Health guidelines for masking and capacity. Fine refreshments including wine and beer available. Art Gallery exhibit will be open for viewing. OCA is a non profit performing and fine arts center accessible to persons with disabilities. Become an OCA Member and get discounts/free admission. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465, 707-874-9392.
Sunday March 20 at 2:30 pm. ‘Winterlude’ at Occidental Center for the Arts. Please join us for an afternoon celebrating beautiful art, music and poetry to benefit our non-profit arts organization. Winterlude is an annual fundraiser for OCA organized by oboeist Daniel Celidore, who will perform in outstanding company with musicians Maria Caswell, Mazdak Khamda, Valerie Marshall, Emily Reynolds, and Antonio Aversano; with vocalist Yoo Ri Clark and poet Neal Grace.This performance is being held in conjunction with an exhibit of artwork created by Daniel Celidore on display in the OCA Gallery. Tickets are $25 General Admission, $20 for OCA members @ www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. OCA is following current Sonoma County Health guidelines for masking and capacity. Fine refreshments available. OCA is a nonprofit performing and fine arts center accessible to persons with disabilities. Become an OCA Member and get discounts/free admission. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465, 707-874-9392.
Rita Baghdadi’s feature documentary Sirens, which world premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, is a nuanced, intimate, and upbeat portrait of Lebanon’s only all-female thrash metal band, Slave to Sirens. Although it opens with footage of protests on the streets of Beirut with chants of “revolution” and shots of graffiti with phrases like, “homophobia is a crime”, Baghdadi’s focus for the first third of the film is introducing the band and giving us a sense of its history and the dynamics between the five members, rather than Lebanon’s uneasy social and political state.
Cut with a pace and an energy that captures the passionate spirit of the band by editor Grace Zahrah, it’s a refreshing, stigma-busting look at the country through the lens of these young women as they establish their identities that go against the grain and strive to build their careers in a place where there’s a lack of venues and a limited audience for their brand of music. As we’re given an engaging insight into the band’s creative process through fly-on-the-wall composing session and rehearsal footage, it’s clear how residual, generational scars from the country’s civil war and recent events, like the devastating Port of Beirut explosion in August 2020, feed into their music and performances.
We spend most of the film’s running time with founding members, rhythm guitarist Lilas Mayassi and lead guitarist Shery Bechara, following Lilas most closely. The two have a romantic history with one another, and although both have moved on in their dating lives by the time we meet them, some unresolved issues linger which start to complicate band life as we witness in some increasingly tense songwriting sessions. Baghdadi, who takes on much of the cinematography herself, clearly earned the trust of these young women and is patient as they begin to open up about themselves. We never get the sense that she’s forcing or manipulating what happens on screen, just there to capture it unfolding.
Lilas being filmed in lesbian bars, talking about making out with women, and allowing the cameras into her home when a girl she is dating travels across the border from Syria to visit would be exposing under any circumstances, but given that she lives with her mother in the suburbs of Beirut, it feels particularly brave. As a caption informs us, “Article 534 of the law is vague. It says that any sexual relations that ‘contradicts the laws of nature’ is punishable by up to one year in prison”. In spite of this, although understandably circumspect when necessary, we see Shery and Lilas beginning to live more openly and boldly as queer women. Meanwhile, we don’t get to know much about the other Sirens, bassist Alma, vocalist Maya, and drummer Tatyana, outside of their time in the band.
Pre-pandemic, we follow the Sirens to Glastonbury when a rare opportunity to perform internationally comes up. Taking in the crowds and atmosphere at the festival’s world famous Pyramid stage, we then see the band open their potentially career-changing set to an empty field, without so much as tumbleweed in the air. Before long though, there’s a small but appreciative group of Glasto headbangers getting into it. Throughout the film, Baghdadi only gives us sparing flashes of the band performing, which serve to convey their considerable musical talent and stage presence without being potentially off-putting to non-metalhead viewers whose ears might not being able to take too much of their intense sound. Not much of a mettaler myself, I did find myself wanting to hear more and immediately downloaded their 2018 EP Terminal Leeches, which I’m nodding along to as I write.
When it comes to other music in the film, there’s a beautifully poignant score by frequent Céline Sciamma collaborator, composer Jean-Baptiste de Laubier aka Para One, which makes for a striking contrast to the band’s output and helps to bring out the emotional layers. Frequently visually stunning, the interiors have a raw vertité style while there are some breathtaking shots of natural beauty in the nearby mountains; sunsets, vividly coloured flowers, and underwater camerawork, along with gorgeous behind the scenes tableaux of the band on photoshoots.
Ultimately, as the end credits rolled, it was the band’s creative talent and perseverance to succeed that stayed with me, and I’m excited about the potential of this film—produced by Natasha Lyonne and Maya Rudolph’s Animal Pictures—to introduce them to a wealth of new horn-signing, headbanging fans, even unlikely ones like me.
|Ready for some glitz and glamour? Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol is inviting you to celebrate Hollywood’s biggest awards night in style while raising funds for Food For Thought! |
It’s time to hit the red carpet and join us for a fabulous evening as we view the annual awards ceremony LIVE on the big screen.
Sunday, March 27, 2022Red Carpet 4:00 p.m.Show Begins 5:00 p.m.$50 per person
Tickets include passed appetizers and two drinks per person exclusively served inside the viewing room! Prizes offered for best dressed and best decorated mask.
6868 McKinley Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Showtimes: (707) 525-4840
If you are having a ticketing problem please call (707) 829-3921
Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination Required Beginning Wednesday, September 15
Effective September 15 Rialto Cinemas will require proof of vaccination for all customers, guests, vendors and employees ages 12 and above.
The health and well-being of our patrons and our community at large is a priority for us. We believe this step will help keep our patrons and staff safer and allow for us to remain open through this current wave of the pandemic.
For proof of vaccination, we will accept one of the following:
- your physical vaccination card
- a clear, legible photo of your vaccination card
- a digital vaccination record – CA residents may obtain a digital vaccine record at My Vaccine Record
- if you are legally exempt you must provide a letter of declination signed by letter holder and if applicable a licensed medical provider AND a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days prior – visit our website for more details
- AND a government issued photo identification that matches the name on the vaccination card
Visit our website for more details.
Saturday March 5 @ 7:30 pm. Dgiin at Occidental Center for the Arts. Sonoma County’s premier gypsy flamenco band is back on our stage! led by multi-talented siblings Mimi and Gabe Pirard, along with a fantastic ensemble of musicians. Get ready to de-stress and dance to the spellbinding sounds of Dgiin! $25 General/$20 for OCA Members. Tickets/Info @ www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. OCA is following Sonoma County Health guidelines for masking and capacity. Fine refreshments including wine and beer available. Art Gallery exhibit ‘Celebration of Black History” will be open for viewing. OCA is a nonprofit performance and fine arts organization accessible to persons with disabilities. Become an OCA Member and get discounts/free admission. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465, 707-874-9392.
A relatively recent newcomer to the West Coast, Rachel spent a decade in New York City working as a dance artist. Originally from Ireland, she has taught and performed in the UK, US, India, Costa Rica, and Austria. Recent work in Sonoma County includes Dancing Lessons at Cinnabar, Barely A Person (a film exploring postpartum depression) for Heroines, Harlots and Harpies at Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, Fairy Worlds for Shakespeare in the Cannery, Equus, and A Little Night Music at 6th Street. She is the founder of the expandance technique, a somatic movement practice. Learn more about Rachel’s company at expandance.com
Q. It’s been more than 50 years since HAIR was first produced, and the US and the world have seen major cultural changes. How do you think this play stands up to the test of time? What aspects of it are still relevant and how?
- Much of it is still relevant, unfortunately. We’re still living in a white supremacist, capitalist culture, and there are still wars globally, so this show is important because it talks about these things and yet there’s also hope and humor there. This show reflects a time when many of these issues were coming to a greater level of consciousness in American society, and there is a resurgence of the same in the last few years. It’s interesting to see some of the ways we’ve evolved in our thinking since that time, and some of the ways we’re still struggling to.
Q. How has the Omicron surge affected your rehearsal process? What challenges have been presented and how did you manage them?
- Even with stringent Covid protocols in place, (including masks, twice or thrice weekly testing, sanitizing, distancing etc) during the first couple of weeks of rehearsal back in January, I don’t think I had more than half the cast at a time in rehearsals, and I really felt for the cast. It was also definitely a challenge choreographically, as so many of the dance numbers in this show require the whole cast. But the last few weeks things have been better *knock on wood!* It’s been helpful having a strong dance captain in Peri Zoe who I can trust to get people up to speed as needed. And I think we’re all just so happy to be back working again, and that gratitude carries us through the challenges.
Q. What are the strong suits of your actors in terms of choreography?
- Their willingness and work ethic. They’ve been so open at everything I’ve thrown at them, which has been great. Between them they bring some pretty diverse skills to the show, so that’s been fun to work with.
Q. What do you think are the aspects of the play that will most appeal to our audience?
- The music, the dancing, the passion, the risqué bits!
Q. How has your background in choreography prepared you for your work on this play?
- I’ve been choreographing for over two decades now, and for a lot of that, improvisation has been an important part of how I work; not only in the choreographic process as a tool for creation but also as an art form in itself, and as a tool within performance. One of the original tenets of my dance company, expandance, was to include moments of improv among set choreography in all our shows. And with a lot of musicals, there often isn’t the space for that – every beat has a set movement. Hair is special because it presents so many opportunities for the actors to improvise movement between the set stuff. And these parts get rehearsed as much as the set movement, to the point where it feels as organic as anything else. It gives the actors a bit more freedom to embody their characters within the structure of the dancing, and I think that reflects Hair’scall for freedom and connection.
Q. What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience rehearsing the play so far?
- It’s been an honor getting to know new, awesome people. This cast has a diverse spectrum of lived experience – from BIPOC to LGBTQI communities, from theater newbies to Equity actors, from classically trained singers to yoga practitioners to circus professionals – and it’s been incredible to meet all these folks, witness their magic, and learn from each other. Cast members have brought conversations regarding race, history, consent, communication, etc. to the table. As a queer immigrant mom, I feel grateful to connect and learn from everyone in different ways throughout this process. Also, getting to meet and work with Aja has been awesome, and I hope we get to collaborate again.
Q. What project have you either just done or going to do (or both) that you’d like our audience to know about?
- I’m working on codifying the expandance technique, which involves synthesizing 15 years of movement practice and somatic exercises into readable, shareable documentation. So that’s my main project at the moment, outside of teaching and parenting duties. I’m excited to get to know the theater community in the area better and potentially explore work with directors and theaters around the County.
For tickets and information, visit https://6thstreetplayhouse.com/show/hair/
Chase Joynt’s follow up to his exceptional No Ordinary Man (co-directed with Aisling Chin-Yee) about the life of jazz musician Billy Tipton, is the equally thrillingly and similarly genre-defying feature Framing Ages—expanding upon his own 2019 short—which just had its world premiere in the NEXT lineup at Sundance. It’s a fitting section of the festival for the film to play given that it not only poses questions about what is next in the evolution of the representation of trans lives on screen, but also continually challenges broader notions about storytelling and form.
Agnes is the pseudonym of a trans woman who sought gender affirming surgery in the late 1950s, taking part in research interviews conducted by sociologist Harold Garfinkel at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Garfinkel would go on to write about his conversations with her as a case study, which became widely known when it was published in 1967’s Studies in Ethnomethodology. Agnes would later admit to fabricating elements of her medical history in order to gain the health care she needed. In the process of doing his own research on Agnes in the UCLA archives in 2017, Chase discovered a rusted cabinet containing case files on numerous other gender non-conforming folks who had also been interviewed by Garfinkel.
This isn’t a biographical documentary about his work at UCLA, instead it takes the radical approach of using the framing device of a contemporary TV talk show, inspired by The Mike Wallace Interview, with Joynt taking on the role of host and interrogator (asking Garfinkel’s questions), while some of toady’s most prominent trans creatives embody the case study subjects.
Artist Zackary Drucker takes on the rather enigmatic Agnes who doesn’t have any other gender non-conforming people in her life, but has a longterm boyfriend and works as a secretary. While Angelica Ross inhabits Georgia, a religious trans woman from the South who although is happily married talks about the discrimination she faces from police and her difficulty in finding employment. Silas Howard portrays World War II vet Denny who has steady work and wife, and is invasively questioned about using shared toilet facilities. We hear Henry, embodied by Max Wolf Valerio, discuss the difficulties that having official identification that does not match his gender identity has caused him, detailing an incident where a police officer pulled him over and scratched off the paint he’d put on his driver’s license to cover the prohibitive ‘F’. Trans teenager Jimmy, as played by Stephen Ira, brings a playful humour to many of is answers and exudes a relaxed confidence in himself and his gender identity that suggests a certainty that he is right and the rest of the world is wrong. We also learn the detail that his mother accompanied him to the session, a possible sign of her acceptance. Some of the most fascinating moments in the film come while Jen Richards is playing Barbara. Whereas Agnes describes being isolated from other trans people, Barbara, as interpreted by Richards, has a sense of joy as she discusses being part of a network of trans women which she describes as being “like a club”.
Cinematographer Aubree Bernier-Clarke captures each of these talk show performances in crisp black and white. While recreations are often used to pad out or to provide a visual element in other documentaries, here they form the heart of it; compelling, nuanced and emotionally rich, they offer a glimpse into the inner lives of these subjects with the actors mining the transcripts for subtext and exploring the nuance of what’s spoken and deliberately left unsaid. Brought to life in this way, I wanted to hear these transcripts in their entirety and to know every detail about these people. The TV talk show format is effective in exploring the wrestling power dynamic of cis interviewer and trans subject, while also acknowledges the importance of the talk show, for better or worse, in the history of trans visibility.
We also see brief out of character interactions between Joynt and the actors before the interviews begin, as they discuss a line in the script or consider how the scene might play out. These are “off camera” moments in a film where the cameras are never really off, but rather the frame shifts to capture another layer of meaning and another aspect of creating the film. In an insightful parallel, each performer is interviewed as themselves by Joynt about their participation in Framing Agnes, what it means to them to embody these gender non-conforming folks from the past and, as we also saw in No Ordinary Man, how the experiences of these case study subjects relate to their own lives. Angelica Ross for instance finds connections with Georgia, while voicing her initial reluctance about taking part in the project and her frustration with the way that her own story often gets framed as “exceptional”, just as Christine Jorgensen’s and Agnes’ stories were before her. While Max Wolf Valerio reflects on the way that Henry wrote about his own post-World War II life, just as Valerio has with works such as The Testosterone Files and continues to do so with his poetry.
While what the actors bring from the own lives allows them to fully inhabit these voices from the past, the film also raises questions about what assumptions we bring with us when we encounter historical trans folks. In reading and interpreting these medical transcripts from over half a century ago what imaginative license do we use and what do we ultimately want to get from these figures to help us navigate our own lives today? The dichotomy of medical and societal categorization that both affirms existence and places people in potentially restricting boxes is also examined. These questions emerge as the film progresses and are explicitly voiced by the eloquent Jules Gill-Peterson, Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University and author of Histories of the Transgender Child in an insightful and stimulating interview which is used extensively throughout the film. While the acting performances are extraordinary, and there’s so much power in even brief moments, such as an intimate exchange of glances between Angelica Ross as Georgia and Brian Michael Smith in church, these recreations are interrogated for what is being brought to them from our present day perspective.
Joynt and his collaborators begin by asking who Agnes was, her place in history, and how she should be framed now, and expand their own frame to question what we might hope to gain by looking back and how much of ourselves we might project on to those we discover, while continuing the conversation about trans visibility sparked by Disclosure. It is a declaration that it’s not enough for gender non-conforming people to tell their own stories, but new forms must be forged in which to do so. The result is an exhilarating endeavor, cerebral, but accessible and often deeply moving, that continually demands its viewer to be an active participant.
By James Kleinmann
Framing Agnes world premiered in the NEXT section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. For details of further screenings head to Festival.Sundance.org.