Oscar Voter discusses the “Controversy”

“I get close to a hundred ‘screeners’ every year, and I religiously go through them all, watching every single film,” says Bill Jasper of Sonoma. As a retired CEO of Dolby Laboratories, Jasper has been an active voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1999. This year’s ceremony – which…

Review: ‘Arches, Balance and Light’

‘There is never an easy time to do something that has never been done before.” True enough. In author-playwright Mary Spletter’s world premiere, Arches, Balance and Light, those words are more than just encouraging advice offered to a determined young pioneer; they form a kind of philosophical spine to a play that, in its own right,…

With Dave Pokorny’s ‘West Side Stories,’ this weekend’s ‘Hearth Tales, and next year’s big Storytelling festival, the art of weaving tales is thriving in Petaluma

David Pokorny once traveled the highways of America, living out of hotel rooms and telling jokes every night in comedy clubs large and small. Today, the stories he tells about that time on the road are priceless and often feature memories of working with major stand-up comics from Robin Williams and Bill Maher to Paula…

Review: ‘Kismet’ at Spreckels Performing Arts Center

Last year, Spreckels Theater Company staged an unconventional revival of Rogers and Hammerstein’s ‘Carousel,’ a play many have heard of but few have ever actually seen. Eschewing complex sets, shoreline scenery—and, you know, an actual carousel—director Gene Abravaya inverted the whole concept, hauling the orchestra up from the pit, and letting the show unfold in…

Bed Time for ‘Same Time’

Impressively detailed and charmingly convincing, the magnificent bed-and-breakfast set for Sonoma Arts Live’s production of “Same Time, Next Year” features a prominently positioned king-size bed, adorned with fluffy pillows and a thick, gold comforter. Less than a week before its Feb. 12 opening night, members of the design crew scamper up and down ladders, adjusting…

Talking Pictures: Tom Hooper discusses love, gender, and ‘the Danish Girl’

“What I want audiences to take away from The Danish Girl is the fact that this, above all else, was a great love story.” The remarkably soft-spoken Tom Hooper, British director of numerous award-winning movies including Les Miserables and The King’s Speech, is addressing a roomful of reporters and photographers on the opening night of the Mill Valley Film Festival, where…

Film Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

“I bet Jane Austen is spinning in her grave right now,” I overheard a matronly woman gleefully stating to a bored box office attendant, just seconds after purchasing a ticket for ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’ The kid behind the counter, slightly startled to have been addressed in such a conversational tone (and by someone so OLD), merely shrugged,…