This Week in Arts & Life: Feb. 9–15

Feb. 9, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
"The Voices," starring Ryan Reynolds, is a black comedy directed by Marjane Satrapi. Courtesy of Reiner Bajo.
“The Voices,” starring Ryan Reynolds, is a black comedy directed by Marjane Satrapi. Courtesy of Reiner Bajo.

Each week, there are a barrage of films, theatrical productions, art exhibits and musical performances open to the public both on and off campus, and The Arts & Life Editorial Staff is here to help you wade through the muck. The following is a compilation of our suggestions for what to catch — and what to skip — this week in Arts & Life.


Unfortunately, the current selection feature films now playing in theaters is rather lacking. Both the Aquarius and The Guild have yet to shake up their lineups in recent weeks; while The Aquarius Theatre is still running “Still Alice,” “Wild,” and “Whiplash,” the Guild Theatre will be showing the Oscar-nominated short live action and animated films, which Film Deputy Desk Editor Madelyne Xiao recommends.

In wide release, Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsmen: The Secret Service” will be opening this weekend, and based on early reviews, it might actually be decent. There has been a fair amount of praise for star Taron Edgerton, and the film’s prospects seem strong. The embargo on reviews of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has yet to be lifted, so there’s no telling how Sam Taylor-Johnson’s take on the source material will fare with general audiences. Stay tuned for a review from Film Desk Editor Will Ferrer later this week.

Ryan Reynolds and Gemma Arterton star in Marjane Satrapi's "The Voices." Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
Ryan Reynolds and Gemma Arterton star in Marjane Satrapi’s “The Voices.” Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

Over on iTunes, Marjane Satrapi’s (“Persepolis”) “The Voices,” starring Ryan Reynolds, is now available to rent. A huge hit with Sundance audiences last year, Satrapi’s darkly comic tale about a troubled man, his sinister cat, and his kindly dog would make for a great midnight study break. “The Voices” also stars Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick — both of whom do excellent work. Also in VOD releases is “The Overnighters,” director Jesse Moss’s absolutely riveting documentary about a church-turned-shelter in rural North Dakota.

Lastly, at the exquisite Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto, you can catch Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes” and “Strangers on a Train,” the latter of which will be remade soon by director David Fincher (“The Social Network”), with “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn set to pen the screenplay.


Starting the week with a bang, Molissa Fenley and Company present three inventive, choreographed works — “Dance an Impossible Space,” “On the Other Ocean,” and “Entrance” — on Monday night at West Arrillaga Gym. The showing is free and open to the public.

Continuing the TAPS’ showcase series, director Vivek Narayan will produce “Far Away,” a work “where the promise of violence broods and nothing is to be trusted.” “The Downfall of Egotist J. Fatzer,” translated and directed by Jessi Piggott, will follow Narayan’s production. Both productions are free and open to the public. The performances will be held in Nitery Theater on Feb. 12–14 from 8 to 10 p.m.

Looking to get involved in on-campus theater? Try auditioning for Ph.D. candidate Sukanya Chakrabarti’s “A Bare Stage.” This hour-long experimental play is “looking for three actors: one female actor to play between the age of 25 and 35 years, and two male actors to play between the age of 25 and 40 years.” Contact Chakrabarti at sukanyac ‘at’ to schedule an audition slot.

Alternatively, Stanford Repertory Theater seeks performers and production interns for its 17th summer theater festival, which celebrates the work of acclaimed playwright Noel Coward. Auditions are this Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to  2:30 p.m.

l-r AIDAN KELLY (Bill Bones), HELENA LYMBERY (Dr Livesey) and NICK FLETCHER (Squire Trelawney). Photo by Johan Persson courtesy of National Theatre
l-r AIDAN KELLY (Bill Bones), HELENA LYMBERY (Dr Livesey) and NICK FLETCHER (Squire Trelawney). Photo by Johan Persson courtesy of National Theatre

If you’re itching for some London theater, you can catch the National Theatre’s production of “Treasure Island,” which will be broadcasted live at the Aquarius Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.


Classical music will fill the air this weekend. As part of the Live Context: Art + Ideas series from Stanford Live, the Stanford Chamber Chorale, the Stanford Chamber Strings, the Stanford Philharmonia Orchestra, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet will present three all-Haydn concerts at Bing Concert Hall from Friday, Feb. 13 to Sunday, Feb. 15.

If you’re looking to visit San Francisco, the San Francisco Symphony will present two concerts on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 titled “Mozart for Valentines Day,” with acclaimed pianist Peter Serkin. Conductor Herbert Blomstedt will be conducting the San Francisco Symphony’s  performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. Another distinguished pianist, Andras Schiff,  will be visiting San Francisco on Sunday; he will be featured in a solo recital at Davies Symphony Hall playing sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert.

Visual Arts

This week is the last chance to check out “The Political Line” at the de Young museum before it closes on Monday, Feb. 16, highly recommended by Visual Arts Desk Editor Eric Huang. The exhibition explores the rarely-exhibited work of maverick American pop artist Keith Haring, tracing his progression from a subway street artist to a prominent 20th century political activist. Haring’s colorful, large-scale paintings are as provocative as they are humorous.

Dive into the on-campus art scene with Hi5, an annual group exhibition featuring the work of first-year MFA students in art practice, on view at the Stanford Art Gallery until Sunday, Mar. 1. The pieces on display, which include work by Ashley Valmere Fischer, Simona Fitcal, Cy Keener, Masako Miyazaki and Justin Wood, explore a breadth of themes ranging from social to psychological issues.

Contact the Arts & Life editors at arts ‘at’

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