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Sights & Sounds Weekly: 12/17/15

Shadow theater artist, Larry Reed

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene through the eyes and ears of local artists. Our guest is Larry Reed, artistic director of ShadowLight Productions, which has been making shadow theater for over three decades in the Bay and all over the world.

Reed told KALW’s Jen Chien about cool arts events happening this week around the Bay.


Z Space in San Francisco plays host to two productions this weekend. On Friday 12/18 and Saturday 12/19, Speak: Indian Kathak and American Tap uses two distinct dance forms that are deeply rooted in music to bridge the past and present in storytelling. The performance features spoken word/poetry, live jazz, tap dance, classical Kathak dance from North India, and classical Indian music.


Credit Julie Schuchard
Dancing Dan (Rotimi Agbabiaka, center) has a great idea with his pals, a Speakeasy Regular (Jackson Davis, left) and Charlie Bernstein (Søren Oliver, right) "Dancing Dan's Christmas"

Word for Word’s Holiday High Jinx show also runs this weekend at Z Space and continues through 12/24. Word for Word takes the written tales of authors and presents them in performance. This show features work from 1920’s and 1930’s era journalists Damon Runyon ("Dancing Dan's Christmas"), Joseph Mitchell ("The Cave Dwellers"), and E.B. White ("Christmas and Relative Pronouns", "Notes and Comment").

REED: Word for Word brings stories to life in a wonderful way, and Speak is gonna be a great dialogue.

Credit Dennis Scherzer
Percussionist, John Santos

CALI2CUBA Presents: Rhythmic Resistance: The Zen Chaos of Afro-Cuban Drumming on Saturday 12/19 at Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco’s Mission District. This lecture and demonstration of Afro- Caribbean music is led by award-winning Bay Area musician/percussionist John Santos, who currently directs the John Santos Sextet.


REED: John Santos is really a treasure of the Bay Area. He is one of the people who was most instrumental in bringing Latin jazz and Salsa here.
Credit JKA Photography
Janet Cardiff, 'The Forty Part Motet' (installation view, Gallery 308, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture), 2015.

The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff is at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture now through 1/18. Cardiff’s sound installation features a recording of the 16th century Thomas Tallis composition Spem in Alium as sung by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. Each vocal part plays individually through one of 40 speakers arranged in the space, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the entire group or focus on singular voices.

REED: We’re surrounded by noise. Musicians are against that; they don’t want music to be background, they want you to really hear them.