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Sideways: The Musical - The Illustrated Pianist @ Old First - SF Mime Troupe: Tales of the Resistance - Persistence, Back To The Way Things Were

Author Rex Pickett in a vineyard
Orange Coast Magazine

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, guest host Angie Coiro talks with author Rex Pickett (pictured) and performer Emily Goglia, about A Concert of Songs from Rex Pickett's Sideways: The Musical, this weekend (Sept 11 - 12), at the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma. Also, a conversation about Current, a festival of piano music at Old First in San Francisco, organized by the Ross McKee Foundation, which starts this Saturday with The Illustrated Pianist. Plus, we wrap up the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s summer series Tales of the Resistance - Volume 2: Persistence, with the tenth and final episode: Back To The Way Things Were - An original musical! 

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, guest host Angie Coiro talks with author Rex Pickett (pictured) and performer Emily Goglia, about A Concert of Songs from Rex Pickett's Sideways: The Musical, this weekend (Sept 11 - 12), at the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma. Also, a conversation about Current, a festival of piano music at Old First in San Francisco, organized by the Ross McKee Foundation, which starts this Saturday with The Illustrated Pianist. Plus, we wrap up the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s summer series Tales of the Resistance - Volume 2: Persistence, with the tenth and final episode: Back To The Way Things Were - An original musical! 

A Southern California native, author and filmmaker Rex Pickett is perhaps best known for his novel Sideways, about a pair of friends on a road trip through California’s wine country. In 2004, the novel was adapted into a movie, directed by Alexander Payne, which won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

Sideways has now been turned into a musical, and this weekend’s Concert of Songs from Rex Pickett's Sideways: The Musical offers a sneak peak of Pickett’s new endeavor, with two alfresco concerts at the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma. Performers are Devin Archer, Audrey Cardwell, Nicholas Edwards, and Emily Goglia.

Also, we talk with pianist-composers Nicholas Pavkovic and Nicole Brancato about Current, a festival of piano music at Old First in San Francisco, organized by the Ross McKee Foundation, and involving quite a few Bay Area pianists.

The first concert of the three-week festival is this Saturday, September 11 (8pm), titled The Illustrated Pianist. This multimedia event, curated by Nicole Brancato, honors the 2020 centenary of American science-fiction author Ray Bradbury and the seventieth anniversary, this year, of his story collection, The Illustrated Man. The program contains new works by six accomplished composing pianists, each inspired by one of the stories in the collection, and will be presented both in-person and live-streamed.

On September 17, Sarah Cahill and others give a recital that focuses on new music and, in particular, music by women composers and composers of color. The festival wraps up on September 25 with Stephen Prutsman, who juxtaposes Bach with transcriptions of works by Genesis, Gentle Giant and Yes.

Plus, we broadcast the final episode of the Mime Troupe’s summer series Tales of the Resistance - Volume 2: Persistence.

Episode nr. 10 is titled: Back To The Way Things Were - An original musical! - Don’t we all wish we could just go back to normal? Back to the way things used to be - before Covid, before the floods and wildfires, before we had Nazis rioting in the streets and in the Capitol, before the news was full of racist cops and sexually abusive men and greedy corporatists, and before four years of a honey-baked ham-brained criminal in the White House? Doesn’t that sound nice… or does it? Before we try to revive the good old days maybe we should ask - was the old normal really that good? Was it good at all? Settle back as we present a trip down reality lane with “Back To The Way Things Were”.

Open Air with guest host Angie Coiro, heard live on Thursday, September 9 at 1pm, to be archived at this very location until the Internet dies. Listen now or anytime…

Niels Swinkels is a freelance journalist, musicologist, sound engineer, and radio producer. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he studied English and Musicology at the University of Nijmegen. Before moving to San Francisco, he was the Arts Editor, and Senior Classical Music & Opera critic for Brabants Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper. In addition to producing KALW’s Open Air, a weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, he is also a wine guy at Trader Joe’s Nob Hill in San Francisco...