Playwright Eliza Clark’s Quack opens with an investigative reporter’s takedown of a Mehmet Oz-inspired TV-star doctor, then proceeds to topple a domino set of social shibboleths.

Medical ethics, journalistic practices, gender politics, anti-vaxxers, cancel culture and internet bullying are all on the table in this corrosive comedy-drama, mounted live-on-Zoom by Berkeley’s Shotgun Players through Saturday, August 15 (A recorded version will then be available from August 19–26).

Any production of this bracing show, chockablock with topicality, would leave audiences with a hell of a lot to talk about. The fact that Shotgun’s staging is a live-on-Zoom presentation provides all the…


For Lena Hall, limbo was a pre-existing condition.

Like virtually all performing artists, the San Francisco native, best known for her Tony-winning turn as Yitzhak in the Broadway run of Hedwig & The Angry Inch, has had her schedule-including a series of sold-out cabaret shows at placed on indefinite hold by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Concurrently, Hall’s biggest gig ever-a leading role in the TNT television adaptation of Parasite-director Bong Joon Ho’s 2013 sci-fi feature Snowpiercer -has kept her largely out of the public eye since 2017 when the series, co-starring fellow Bay Area actor Daveed Diggs, began shooting.

A full…


It’s been 27 years since Stephan Jenkins put together the first lineup of Third Eye Blind in San Francisco. But when the band-whose hits include “Never Let You Go,” “How’s It Going To Be” and the still-ubiquitous late-20th century anthem “Semi-Charmed Life” launches its recently rescheduled tour after coronavirus restrictions are lifted, Jenkins says it’ll by no means be a wallow in nostalgia, for either the musicians or the fans.

For “Screamer”, Third Eye Blind’s super crunchy new album, Jenkins wrote a song called “The Kids Are Coming To Take You Down.” He clearly counts himself as one of those…


Jenn Colella is best known for her portrayal of Beverley Bass, the first female captain at American Airlines, in the Tony-winning musical Come From Away, about travelers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland in the wake of 9/11. Colella was nervous about meeting Bass in person. Not because she was intimidated by meeting the inspiration for her role, Colella explained in a recent interview with the Bay Area Reporter, but because she’d done some research in preparing for the part.

“We first met up in La Jolla, where the show played before Broadway.” recalls Colella. “She spotted me across the room and…


“If the only work I’m remembered for is Hedwig,” says John Cameron Mitchell, “That wouldn’t be so bad. It’s something I can be really proud of.”

In the two-plus decades since Hedwig and the Angry Inchdebuted as an edgy Off-Broadway musical in 1998, Mitchell has steadily worked on other projects, among them directing Nicole Kidman’s Oscar-nominated performance in Rabbit Holeand, more recently, playing recurring television roles in shows including Girls, The Good Fight and Shrill and creating an original podcast musical, Anthem: Homonculus. …


“It was an interesting thing growing up with this face in an all white family in an all white town,” noted Joel Kim Booster in a 2018 Comedy Central stand-up set. Then Booster, 31, who was born in South Korea and brought to Illinois by his adoptive parents as an infant, takes his joke in an unexpected direction, explaining that “I literally knew I was gay before I was Asian.”

Unexpected directions have become a modus operandi for Booster, not only in his joke writing, but in his life and career paths. The boyband handsome 31-year-old was raised in a…


New Orleans is not the best place to revive a relationship. All those vine-strangled concrete caskets laying up on the surface of the earth. All that brass funeral music getting stuck in the sweaty air. I couldn’t stop hearing it.

But I was twenty, Nicky was 18, and nobody had told us that in Nawlins, in July, the brutal humidity is like an above-ground swamp, and that you’re instantly too tired to work on working anything out. We had trouble doing much more than avoiding each other’s glances and staring at shirtless, animal barbacks whose sweat dripped off their pecs…


Guy Branum, whose My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular Culture was published this month, is a stand-up comic. He created and hosts TruTV’s Talk Show, The Game Show.

But Guy Branum is also an unabashed intellectual, a country-fried Jew, an effortfully self-confident fat man and a sex-positive feminist with no time for your guff.

And its these latter aspects of Branum’s being — on abundant intersectional display in his singularly genre-busting literary debut — that have the potential both to thrill and perplex.

“I worry about this book getting into the right hands,” Branum acknowledges. Not that…


Everything’s up to date in Oklahomo!

A rousing revival at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Multicultural cowpokes work the wood. (Photo: Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival)

Raise your curtains of preconception and imagine a musical:

There’s a spunky, sexually adventurous gay boy pursued by a hardworking man, a few years older, who wants tame the young’n’s wandering eye and get domestic.

There’s a sheltered, uncomfortably ambiguous girl, torn between the attentions of a slow-burning hunk and a worldly woman.

The voice of wisdom belongs to an elderly transsexual aunt.

Is this the latest work from the creators of Hedwig? An acting maxi-challenge on Drag Race? The fever dream of a progressive millennial show queen?

In fact, it’s the…


Photo by Joan Marcus for American Conservatory Theater

At the end of this story, you will have the opportunity to “clap” for it to indicate that you enjoyed it. Please do so. It’s extremely helpful. Thanks! — JIM

Language that spans lifetimes

“True dat,” responds a trio of runaway slaves to a series of statements about the debilitating conditions endured by by Civil War-era blacks in Suzan-Lori ParksFather Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (in a co-production with the Yale Rep) through May 20.

“True dat,” they repeat. “True dat.”

The audience responds with almost audible smiles…

Jim Gladstone

San Francisco based creative director, cultural critic and writer. www.gladnauseam.com

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