This week in Arts and Life

Jan. 11, 2015, 11:30 p.m.

Arts & Life takes a look at the best arts events happening on and off campus this week, from film screenings to concerts to book readings.


Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds himself the chief suspect behind the shocking disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary. Courtesy of Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds himself the chief suspect behind the shocking disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary. Courtesy of Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox.

Flicks is now officially up and running, and David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” which was among staff writer Will Ferrer’s best films of 2014, will be screening next Saturday (Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. in Cubberley). Off campus, the Aquarius Theatre in Palo Alto is still showing the slow but solid “Foxcatcher”, while the Palo Alto Square cinema continues to screen “The Theory of Everything” (starring the excellent Eddie Redmayne) and “Birdman” (one of staff writer Madelyne Xiao’s best of 2014). The Stanford Theatre is also back in business with “To Catch a Thief” and Hitchcock’s fantastic “Notorious” kicking off their 2015 Hitchcock festival line-up.

You might want to head further afield this weekend to catch a screening of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year,” as well as “Still Alice,” which garnered Jullianne Moore a Golden Globe win for Best Actress last night. “American Sniper” stars Bradley Cooper, and is based on the true story of  Chris Kyle, the American marksman with the greatest number of confirmed kills. “A Most Violent Year,” an unconventional gangster movie, stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, both of whom give amazing performances. Be sure to look out for our review of the film in this week’s edition of the Weekender on Friday.


This week marks the opening of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society’s annual Original Winter One Acts! This year features three plays: “Due Dates,” “Script Selector” and “Occam’s House.”

“Due Dates” is a play written by Daniel Johnson ’16 and directed by Nikke Hardson-Hurley ’17, featuring actors Jeffrey Abidor, Becky Aydin, Nishant Karandikar, Brian Levin and Amabel Stokes.

“Script Selector” is a play written by Kiran Magar and directed by Adi Chang ’18, featuring actors Ezra Jackson-Smith and Brandon Silberstein.

“Occam’s House” is a play written by Brandon Silberstein and directed by Brandon Powell ’14, featuring actors Harper Carroll, Heather Connelly, Maria Doerr, Rosemond Ho, Austin Lewis, Steve Rathje, Nikki Tran, John Valentine, Eliseo Valerio and Jeff Bennett.

Tickets can be purchased here or in White Plaza from 11 p.m. – 1 p.m. this week. Get more information at


This week is a fantastic week for instrumental music buffs. The Jazz Consortium will be hosting a concert by pianist Joe Gilman, the director of the Brubeck Institute, with the Brubeck Institute Fellows (Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Recital Hall). Stanford Live is back with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. On the program is Haydn – whom first violinist Geoff Nuttal described as “one of the greatest string quartet composers to have ever lived” – Beethoven, and a world premiere of contemporary composer John Adams’ Second Quartet (Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.).

The San Francisco Symphony is also celebrating a milestone, music director Michael Tilson Thomas’s 70th Birthday, with a lineup of classical music superstars — Emanuel Ax, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Jeremy Denk, Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet – all playing Liszt’s “Hexameron” for six pianos (Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.). Thomas will also conduct the SF Symphony in “The Soldier’s Tale” by Igor Stravinsky with Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Elvis Costello as narrator (Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 17 at 8 p.m., and Jan. 18 at 2 p.m.). As if this weren’t enough, legendary violinist Itzhak Pearlman will be paying a visit to Davies Symphony Hall for a solo program with pianist Rohan de Silva (Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.).

For fans of indie rock, California-based band the Cold War Kids will be playing at Mezzanine in San Francisco this week (Jan. 16 at 8 p.m.). While the show is sold out, there are plenty of tickets still available on resale sites.

If electropop is more your style, The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco is hosting Swedish singer Tove Styrke who will definitely get people dancing with her catchy single “Borderline” (Jan. 16 at 9 p.m.). And for the more adventurous, folk singer-songwriter Father John Misty will be playing in the small town of Felton, CA (between Stanford and Santa Cruz), also on Friday night (Jan. 16 at 8 p.m.).

Visual Arts

Robert Rauschenberg (U.S.A., 1925–2008), Hybrid, 1970, from the Stoned Moon Series. Lithograph. Lent by Stephen Dull. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Robert Rauschenberg, Hybrid, 1970, from the Stoned Moon Series. Lithograph.  © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Within and Without: Transformations in Chinese Landscapes,” an exhibition highlighting the aesthetics of Chinese landscape painting, is on view at Cantor through this month. The exhibit seeks to highlight the struggle that Chinese painters face in reconciling tradition with contemporary societal changes. A range of pieces, from ink drawings to oil paintings, are on display, showcasing the full breadth of the oriental aesthetic. “Loose in Some Real Tropics,” an exhibition also currently on view at the Cantor Arts Center, showcases the lesser known works of American pop artist Robert Rauschenberg and encourages us to reflect on the relationship between visual arts and cosmology. Read our interview with its guest curator James Merle Thomas.


Cheryl Strayed, the author of the memoir “Wild,” which has recently been turned into a film starring Reese Witherspoon (now playing in Menlo Park at the Guild Theatre), will speak at Stanford on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in CEMEX auditorium. On Thursday night, head to the Stanford Bookstore for a reading (6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) with poet Dr. Patrick Hunt, who will also be signing his recently released fifth poetry collection.


This article has been updated to reflect students’ current identities.


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