Thursday, February 21, 2002
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Pacific Repertory Theatre opens its 20th anniversary season tonight with a production of Little Shop of Horrors. Throughout this season, Pac Rep will be reprising its own history, presenting shows the company originally produced in earlier days and mostly in other places. The theater''s original production of Little Shop was originally mounted in 1990 inside the TheatreFest tent at Custom House Plaza and directed by the late Jim Sutty. This production, directed by John Rousseau, features Michael Jacobs as Mushnik the ill-fated florist and Tim Hart as his lovelorn assistant. Returning to reprise his role as the voice of Audrey II, the man-eating plant from another planet, is Daniel Simpson.
Preview performances Thurs. and Fri., 7:30pm; opening Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2pm. Pacific Repertory Theater, Monteverde and 8th, Carmel. 622-0700.
A Recipe for Diversity
A SLICE OF RICE, FRIJOLES AND GREENS The Great Leap cast brings together Asian American, Latina, and African American artists for a riotous look at modern American life. Through a compelling and often humorous combination of theater, music and movement, the performers share vivid insights on discrimination and bicultural identity. Paula Sahagun performs selections from the autobiographical "Nahuatl--Now What?" exploring her Aztec identity in its cross-border permutations. Asian American Dan Kwong shares his growing pains within an LA Model Minority family, where he also learns at the knee of an eccentric grandfather. Chic Street Man''s upbeat music is accompanied by lyrics that reveal the importance of spirit and community. Arlene Malinowski approaches the deaf American experience with her own life story as a hearing girl growing up with deaf parents. All in all, tonight offers a genuinely entertaining way to travel across cultural borders.
8pm. CSUMB World Theater, 6th Avenue, Monterey. General public $20, discount and groups $15, CSUMB students $5. 582-4580
THE BAR-KAYS AND THE DAZZ BAND It was more than a generation (and many personnel changes) ago that the Bar-Kays had their first and biggest hit, the infectious "Soul Finger." It was a new sound--the sound of Memphis, the capital of both rock ''n'' roll and soul music, boiled down to three minutes of pumping horns, shouted vocals, and dance grooves. It was the birth of funk. Until then, the Bar-Kays had been the Stax/Volt house band, backing Sam & Dave and Otis Redding himself. In ''68, while "Soul Finger" was still on the charts, half the band went down in the same plane crash that killed Redding. The surviving Bar-Kays invented a music they called Black Rock and opened for Sly Stone. They then morphed to herald the birth of disco, touring with Rufus Thomas and The Staple Singers, later putting out the seminal Freakshow On The Dancefloor. The ''80s version of the band rode the Funkadelic bandwagon through the ''90s, all the way to today, when they cruise into Planet Gemini. The Dazz Band, cut from the same cloth and just as funky, open.
Doors open at 8pm. Bands play after comedy opener. Planet Gemini, 625 Cannery Row, Monterey. $15. 373-1449.
16th ANNUAL MASTERS OF FOOD AND WINE Now that chefs have ascended to the same stratospheric elevations formerly reserved for rock stars, everyone has suddenly become a foodie. And why not? Haute cuisine and its exalted sibling, winemaking, are the hallmarks of a mature civilization, and this Peninsula tradition is one of its finest festivals. This year the chef-luminaries are Mark Miller of Santa Fe''s Coyote Cafe, pastry chef extraordinaire Claudia Fleming of Gramercy Tavern and the decorated Julian Serrano of Picasso at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The highlighted wines are the Pinot Noirs of Oregon''s Beaux Freres Vineyards, the biodynamic (similar to organic) European and Australian white wines of Michel Chapoutier, the superb Spanish reds of Vega Sicilia Unico and Salon Champagne. Chefs from the places we''ve all heard of--places with names like Spring, Clio, Tribute and the Inn at Little Washington--will be offering their creations at lunches and dinners. Tonight''s gala opening dinner and Friday''s demonstration and lunch are sold out, but there''s still time to get in line for the other events.
Thurs evening, Fri-Sat all day, Sun morning and afternoon. Highlands Inn, Hwy 1, Carmel Highlands. $150 per event and up. 620-1234.
HISTORIC PHOTO GALLERY OPENING If a picture speaks a thousand words, then The Robert Lewis Exhibit of Cannery Row Photography, set to open this week during the Centennial celebrations of Cannery Row and John Steinbeck, speaks volumes about the end of an era. To view the large-format black and white photos that make up this "living" exhibit is to travel back to what local historian Michael Hemp refers to as "the nadir of Cannery Row," a time that began in the early ''50s when a once-bustling fish industry had exhausted its resources. The barren leftovers of the Row''s heyday prompted Robert Lewis, now a 72-year-old yachtsman who resides in Annapolis, Maryland, to create the only known body of photographs from this time period. Now Lewis''s mesmerizing historical illuminations can be viewed for free in their extremely appropriate new home, the upstairs of the Monterey Canning Company warehouse.
Monterey Canning Company (upstairs), Cannery Row and Prescott, Monterey. Free. 648-8132
FANIA The Monterey Peninsula College Players, directed by Conrad Selvig, present Fania, an original play by local playwright Nina Solomita. The play is a fictional rendering of the experiences of an actress who studied and worked with Konstantin Stanislavsky at the Moscow Art Theatre in the early 1900s, when Russia--and the world--were going through turbulent times. While Selvig''s set promises to be minimalistic, the drama of the show, starring Mary Ann Schaupp, will be underscored by the use of large, rear-screen projections.
Fri., Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Guadalupe and Fourth, Carmel. $15. 626-6796.
No Animals Were Harmed
CIRCUS OF SONG In the days before every huckster with a seedy connection could get his hands on a tiger or a bear, circuses were pretty much showcases for talented humans of the most amazing variety. In the tradition of Cirque du Soleil and the Pickle Family Circus comes Circus of Song, a collaboration by legendary dancer Tandy Beal, the Bobby McFerrinesque a cappella group SoVoSo and a bevy of circus performers. To a background of SoVoSo''s rhythmic vocal pyrotechnics, a group of acrobats, contortionists, trapeze artists, clowns and jugglers from the US, Russia, China and Canada will entertain and astound in artful and costumed manner. This group will eventually tour outside the States, so now''s the time to catch them, while they''re here on home turf.
7:30pm Friday and 2pm Saturday. Henry J. Mello Center, E. Lake and Lincoln, Watsonville. $15/$13/$12. 763-4047.
Ray of Blue Light
KENNY "BLUE" RAY In a way, Kenny "Blue" Ray had no choice but to start playing the blues. His father was a bluesman who gave him his first guitar. At the young, impressionable age of 6 he spied Elvis on "The Ed Sullivan Show." And when his sister would listen to Wolfman Jack''s radio program, wee little Kenny would listen in too, absorbing Chicago, Memphis and the Delta blues through the riffs of Howlin'' Wolf, Jimmy Reed and the other greats. Now guitarist Ray is making his own mark, having scooped up a nomination this year for the Handy Awards'' Best Instrumentalist-Guitar. He''s played with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, Charlie Musselwhite and Little Charlie and the Nightcats, and tonight he plays for us.
9pm. Sly McFly''s, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey. Call for price. 649-8050.
Poetry in Motion
ORCHESTRAL PREMIERE There are probably a fair few people who have inspired a young musical enthusiast to write a song about them. However, to have an entire symphony composed in your honor, well, you have to be none other than John Steinbeck to merit that kind of response. "And in the air these sounds...," a 30-minute piece for baritone and orchestra commissioned by the Monterey Symphony to commemorate native son John Steinbeck''s birth, will make its world premiere in the city that is central to so many of his works. Set to the music of Allen Shawn, a composer known for his ability to create worlds within orchestral textures, with an original text entitled, "nocturne for the note your father left you in the pocket of his dead suit," written by award-winning author Jamaica Kincaid, the work brings together literature and music to offer a glimpse into the mind of the creator.
3pm, Sunday and 8pm Monday at the Pacific Grove Middle School Auditorium, 835 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove. $26-$46. 8pm Tuesday at Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main St, Salinas. $10-$35. 624-8511.
Sisters in Song
"SONGS FROM MAMA''S TABLE" It would be hard to conceive of two great singing groups hailing from more diverse traditions. Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir have for years dedicated themselves to the legacy of African American music, lending their rich, powerful voices to spirituals, slave songs and modern jazz numbers. Kitka, an eight-woman a cappella group from Oakland, perform songs from the Balkan and Slavic traditions. Kitka''s silky, spooky harmonies and dissonances sound enchantingly new to American ears, and when they team up with the Cultural Heritage Choir on "Songs from Mama''s Table," the result is something totally different.
3pm. World Theater, CSUMB, Sixth Ave., Marina. $20 general/$15 CSUMB faculty and staff; $10 general. 582-4580.
MOSE ALLISON At 74, the legendary singer-songwriter-pianist--who wrote such hipster standards as "Your Mind is On Vacation" and "Fools Paradise"--is at the top of his form. With Brian McConnell on bass. Chaz Mewhort sits in on drums. See preview on page 28.
7:30pm. The Jazz and Blues Company. The Crossroads, Highway 1 and Rio Road, Carmel. $30 ($15 for high school students). 624-6431.
STEINBECK & CANNERY ROW TURN 100 In 1902 the Monterey Peninsula changed forever. The first canning shed opened on a coastal street later coined Cannery Row, and literary giant John Ernst Steinbeck was born on February 27 in a little town called Salinas. Failing to show up for the Centennial celebrations of these two monumental events in local history might almost be seen as unpatriotic--at least in these parts. The event is sponsored by the non-profit Cannery Row Foundation and will feature performances by Monterey''s own Sweet Thursday Jazz Band, the Row Rats, and the Satin Dolls. Mayor Dan Albert, keynote speaker Leon Panetta, Thom Steinbeck, and other dignitaries will all be in attendance to honor Cannery Row and America''s most renowned Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author. Watch Steinbeck come to life as Taelen Thomas performs a dramatic and musical repertoire of infamous Steinbeck stories. Watch Steinbeck become life-size when Pacific Grove artist Jess Corsaut''s sculpture of the legendary writer is unveiled for the first time.
6-9pm. Monterey Conference Center, Serra Ballroom, One Portola Plaza, Monterey. Free. 648-8132. 372-8512.
This week''s Hot Picks were lit and blown out by Rachel Boyes, Jennifer Flowers, Alex Gilrane, Traci Hukill and Chuck Thurman.