Category Archive for: ‘Woody Weingarten’

It’s a hot summer of love, rock and flower power

Guitarist Michael Lent backs up Kacee Clanton as she portrays the iconic rock/blues singer in “A Night with Janis Joplin.” Photo by Kevin Berne.

July can routinely be blistering hot in Atlanta, where my son lives.

But the same now can be true, I reckon, for these here parts — despite the quote erroneously attributed to Mark Twain that the coldest winter he’d ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

Regardless of what the weather brings (102 degrees in my San Anselmo home as I write this), I predict some local entertainment will be white hot next month.

“The Legend of Georgia McBride,” for instance.

You may want to create a personal heat wave rushing to the Marin Theatre Company for the dramedy about drag queens before it closes an extended run July 9.

My review cited superlatives in connection with the “theatrical soufflé” — “Hilarious. Fabulous. Dazzling. Side-splitting. Spectacular. Fun. Mind-blowing. Stunning. Breath-taking.”

I also proclaimed that “I enjoyed [it] better than…‘Hamilton,’ which I adored.”

July also habitually marks the Marin County Fair’s presence, and this year’s pays tribute to counterculture events that our broader culture integrated.

“Let the Funshine In: Summer of Love,” which will feature tie-dye and related contests, a light show and photo flashbacks to the ‘60s, is expected to draw more than 100,000 fairgoers between June 30 and July 4.

Just like several previous years.

I’m planning to be there during this Summer of Heat.

Are you?

Counting A.C.T.’s current “A Night with Janis Joplin,” I’ve seen four musicals about the rise and demise of the Marin-oriented Big Brother and the Holding Company’s lead singer.

“Night” is by far the most interesting — and best — probably because half the show spotlights black singers mirroring other legendary blues belters: Etta James, Odetta, Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone.

My evaluation’s apparently shared by others.

High ticket demand’s led to the American Conservatory Theatre extending the run through July 9.

Kacee Clanton, who’d portrayed the rock/blues singer on Broadway, plays the queen of rock ‘n’ roll so well I was able to close my eyes and imagine myself back when Joplin was still singing “Me and Bobby McGee, “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” “Down on Me” and “Summertime,” all tunes Clanton reproduces with precision Joplinesque phrasing while scream-singing a reasonable facsimile of Janis’ gravelly, booze-roughened voice.

Clanton’s biographical narrative (punctuated with frequent faux swigs of Southern Comfort and equally frequent dropping of f-bombs) is somewhat more earthbound — though that doesn’t matter because the two-hour play-cum-concert is really all about the music.

Joplin’s story, of course, isn’t exactly a joyous portrait (though the play glosses over her drug problems and her death — like those of rock stars Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones — at age 27).

But it’s definitely worth seeing.

And hearing.

“Flower power” was an outgrowth of the hippie movement 50 years ago. But flower power of a different sort is taking place nightly at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers.


Via a light art installation that uses projectors to transform the exterior of the all-white landmark with a series of scenes inspired by rare tropical flowers.

You needn’t put a petal to the metal, however — the show will continue every night through October.

Still another example of flower power — an effort to earn the Guinness World Records title for largest human flower — will be featured at the Asian Art Museum on July 15.

“Lotus Live” will be part human be-in, part artwork, part celebration in connection with the facility’s “Flower Power” exhibit that runs through Oct. 1.

Prefer sticking with air-conditioned, indoor entertainment?

Try the 37th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which opens July 20 in the city with “Keep the Change,” a romantic comedy about two folks with autism, and includes a Rafael Film Center stint from Aug. 4 to 6.

The fest, the world’s largest of its kind (with 65 films scheduled this year), attracts more than 40,000 filmgoers annually.

Marin screenings will include a mockumentary about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a romcom about a guy who’s taken for granted until he’s misdiagnosed with cancer, and “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” about a 1930s reel-life sex symbol who was an real-life inventor.

Meanwhile, a funny, family-friendly, “all ages” staged production of “The Music Man” (with professional and non-professional adults plus kids ages 8 to 18) will be on the boards of 142 Throckmorton in Mill Valley from July 27 to 30, then again Aug. 3 through 6.

The show about a fast-talkin’ con man first appeared on Broadway in 1957 and is something I’ve enjoyed multiple times.

Maybe 76 all told.

Contact Woody Weingarten at or

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