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Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - August 19, 2011

Worth a look

Theater

Free mime

Summertime mime is coming up on Sept. 1, when the San Francisco Mime Troupe makes one of its pilgrimages down the Peninsula to give a free outdoor performance at Palo Alto's Mitchell Park.

The troupe, which is actually quite noisy in the tradition of the snarkiest satirical theater, is putting on its original "2012 — The Musical!" The story centers on a small political-theater troupe that is grappling with the question of whether to continue its biting satirical productions (that don't make any money) or to sell out by telling corporate-funded tales.

"Is it better to be a little capitalist and alive, or Red and dead?" the mime troupe asks in a press release.

The performance will take place on the park's South Field at 600 E. Meadow Drive, with music starting at 6:30 p.m. and the show at 7. A Sept. 14 show is also planned on Redwood City's Courthouse Square at the same times. For details, go to http://sfmt.org or call 415-285-1717.

New Works Festival

The closing weekend of TheatreWorks' New Works Festival includes a play with music about the 1957 integration of Little Rock Central High School, and a musical based on a novel by Lois Lowry.

Now in its 10th year, the summer festival gives audiences the chance to see plays and musicals while they're still being revised and rewritten. Audience members also get to contribute their own feedback.

Scheduled for two performances this weekend is "Little Rock," a "play with music" by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, who is also directing. It tells the story of the nine black teenagers who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Maharaj is the founder and artistic advisor of the River Voices theater festival for African-American and Latino playwrights, held at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Remaining "Little Rock" performances are set for Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 21 at 7.

Lois Lowry's futuristic novel "The Giver" is the inspiration for a new musical with music by Scott Murphy and book and lyrics by Nathan Christensen. The popular author describes the book on her website as a "haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world," one without poverty or unemployment, but also without rebellion or nonconformity. "The Giver" will be read Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.

Also scheduled for the weekend are Colman Domingo's dark family comedy "Wild With Happy," Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.; and the Joe Tracz play "Up North," about a mother searching a forest for the ghost of her son, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m.

All festival events are at the Lucie Stern Theatre at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. Tickets are $29 for "Little Rock" performances and $19 for others. Go to http://theatreworks.org or call 650-463-1960.

Art

Photos for a cause

Menlo Park photographer Frances Freyberg brought back many of the images in her current exhibition from locations thousands of miles away. Most were taken during her travels to Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Chile, New Zealand and Africa.

Now she plans to have the proceeds from the show travel far and wide as well. She's directing profits from the sales of the Portola Art Gallery show to Nuru International, a social venture that seeks to ease extreme poverty by helping the poor in various countries to become financially self-sustaining.

Programs include training people on planting and sanitation techniques. The organization was founded by Stanford Business School graduate Jake Harriman.

Freyberg, whom the Weekly profiled in 2009 after she took a year off to travel and photograph the world, focuses on color portraits of people and wildlife. Her current show also includes flower photos from the Filoli and Allied Arts Guild gardens here on the Peninsula.

The show runs through the end of the month at the gallery in Allied Arts, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Open hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Go to http://portolaartgallery.com or call 650-321-0220.

Music

Kaye Bohler Band

The blond-ringleted blues belter Kaye Bohler is bringing her band to Menlo Park next weekend for a show at the Oak City Bar and Grill. The singer/songwriter who sometimes bills herself as "The White Tina Turner" has been performing for 25 years and has released four CDs, the most recent called "Like a Flower."

Bohler has sung rhythm and blues for years, and has more recently branched out into jazz and contemporary music. She has performed regularly at Oak City, which has a full music calendar that often features jazz.

The band will begin playing at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the restaurant at 1029 El Camino Real in downtown Menlo Park. Late-night dinner is served until 11 p.m. on Fridays, with the bar open until midnight.

For more information, go to http://oakcitybarandgrill.com or call 650-321-6882.

Books

Ellen Sussman

One day in Paris. How would you spend it?

In Los Altos Hills writer Ellen Sussman's novel "French Lessons," three Americans each pass the sultry summer hours discovering the city with a French tutor.

One is a young teacher mourning the death of a lover; another is a lonely expat housewife; and the third is the husband of a big-name actress. Each also takes a walk of self-discovery through Paris.

Sussman, also an essayist, short-story writer and frequent judge in the Weekly's annual short-story contest, lived in Paris for five years. On Saturday, she'll be here in Palo Alto speaking about her new book. She's scheduled to give a free talk from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 20 in the program room of the Downtown Library at 270 Forest Ave. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Palo Alto Library.

For more information, go to http://ellensussman.com .

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