Last week found Out There spinning all over town. We were in the house last Wednesday night for the opening of the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Kehinde Wiley/The World Stage: Israel show, the first major exhibition in San Francisco for the gay, African American artist who was a student at San Francisco Art Institute back in the 1990s.
The launch party featured a knock-out performance from Ethiopian-Israeli hip-hop artist Kalkidan Mashasha , who is the subject of several of Wiley’s World Stage: Israel portraits. Performing for the first time in the Bay Area, Mashasha came to the CJM direct from Israel. He was followed by Israeli Freestyle Champion DJ Alarm spinning international tunes in the main party room. In VIP quarters, we chatted with the artist and his identical twin brother.
The next night found OT deep in the homo hood at the Castro Theatre for an evening of grand spectacle as showmen Marc Huestis and Earl Dax presented famed cabaret artist Joey Arias singing his songs of love. Our date for the evening David Bonetti, who’d just arrived in town from blizzard-ravaged Boston, wondered if it dated us that we both recognized Cream’s "White Room," which Arias offered up as an art-song, from its opening bars.
This was an all-star event that included a fashion show by couturier Mr. David, spectacular video by Leo Herrera, Arias’ lovelorn duet with Connie Champagne, and a special opening act performed by Bay Area diva Veronica Klaus. Klaus’ rendition of the Nina Simone song "Wild Is the Wind" sent shivers down our slippery spines. Arias has performed with Klaus Nomi , David Bowie and Grace Jones, and now he can add the Castro to his memory list.
Next night we were Opera House-bound as the San Francisco Ballet hosted members of the Hamburg Ballet in John Neumeier ’s dance-theater epic Nijinsky , reviewed in this ish. The ballet was followed by the year’s first LGBT NiteOut reception up in Dress Circle bar. The swank party attracted dancers from the visiting ballet troupe. OT and our posse closed the place down, then repaired across the street to our bachelor pad.
Night after that, OT’s big brother was in town, so after mealtime at the meat palace Espetus Churrascaria, we legged it to Davies Symphony Hall to hear dynamic young conductor Pablo Heras-Casado offer Lindberg, Liszt (with pianist Stephen Hough) and, most spectacularly, the Prokofiev 5th. Find the concert reviewed in our next ish.