This week in Arts & Life: Feb. 17–22

Feb. 16, 2015, 11:38 p.m.

This week is saturated with opportunities to engage with the arts both on and off-campus. Whether its  catching a flick in Palo Alto or celebrating the Chinese New Year in Bing, Arts and Life has the low-down for what’s going on this week.


The line-up still hasn’t changed at The Guild Theatre, The Aquarius Theatre and The CinéArts at Palo Alto Square, so unless you’re still dying to catch up on some of this year’s Oscar nominees — some of which have already made their way to DVD — you might have to seek entertainment outside of the greater Palo Alto area.

There is no shortage of alternative programming this week in film. On iTunes, a number of solid films have recently cropped up for purchase or rent: Writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “Beyond the Lights,” Spike Lee’s latest feature, “Da Sweet Blood Jesus,” Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater” and Richard LaGravenese’s adaptation of the hit musical “The Last Five Years” are currently all available for download. Of the bunch, “Beyond the Lights” is probably your best bet for an enjoyable post-Valentine’s Day evening.

Taika Watiti and Jemaine Clement’s “What We Do in the Shadows” opens in San Francisco this Friday, and a review will be appearing in the paper later this week. A horror mockumentary about vampires in modern day New Zealand, “Shadows” is a darkly comic romp that is equal parts entertaining and disturbing. The film definitely stands out amidst this week’s crop of bland blockbuster fare and is worth the trip into San Francisco — unless you’d rather wait until “Shadows” hits the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park on Feb. 27.

On campus, there will be a screening of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Academy Award nominated “Ida” — also streaming on Netflix — on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room at the Bechtel I-Center.


This week in theater features another diverse mélange of productions, ranging from a riotous Tom Stoppard comedy to a multilingual production of the opera, “Die Fledermaus.”

Director Amy Freed. Courtesy of Arena Stage.
Director Amy Freed. Courtesy of Arena Stage.

The Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) Department presents Tom Stoppard’s Tony award winning “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” directed by Stanford Artist-in-Residence and Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Freed. Performances are Feb. 19–21 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at Pigott Theater in Memorial Auditorium. Featuring two minor characters from “Hamlet,” this play follows Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as they struggle to understand the rules of their static universe. Tickets range from $5-$15 and are available here; more information can be found at

The Stanford Shakespeare Company presents “Lear” — a modern spin on the Shakespearean tragedy — featuring Nora Tjossem ‘15 as the title character and directed by Kevin Heller ‘16. Performances are Feb. 18, 19 and 21 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at Elliot Program Center. The play follows Lear, a succes

sful lawyer, and her family as they “navigate the trials of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.” Learn more and get your free tickets at; join the Facebook event here.

The Music Department and Stanford Live present “Die Fledermaus in Miniature,” advertised as a “bite-sized romp through the world’s most popular operetta: ‘Die Fledermaus’ by Johann Strauss II.” Performances are Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Dinkelspiel Auditorium. The piece will be done with a mish-mash of languages and is intended to appeal to long-standing opera lovers as well as first-time theatergoers. Tickets are free; more information can be found here.


This week features performances from a diverse array of cultural traditions, beginning with The Nile Project, a dynamic musical group dedicated to raising awareness about the vital importance of the Nile River. See their performance at Bing at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

With Chinese New Year this Thursday, don’t miss the annual Stanford Pan-Asian music festival featuring the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra from China. Come celebrate the Year of the Sheep at their Chinese New Years Concert, 7:30 p.m. at Bing, with violin soloist Suli Xue from the L.A. Philharmonic and Chinese pipa virtuoso Zhao Cong. And if you’re feeling especially adventurous, come on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. to hear new music by Chinese composers, including “The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto” by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang and a preview of Bright Sheng’s mysteriously-titled opera, “The Dream of the Red Chamber.” Stanford students pay $10 for admission to both concerts.

But if you’re not into Asian music, join Jordi Savall, acclaimed Spanish conductor and multi-instrumentalist, who will be visiting Bing Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with his group Hespèrion XXI for an afternoon of  music from the Ottoman Empire Savall will also be hosting a lecture on Turkish and Iberian traditions on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Bechtel International Center.

If you’re looking for a free concert, come support Annalisa Taylor ‘16 in her junior voice recital, this Friday at 12:15 p.m., Campbell Recital Hall.

Indie singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez. Courtesy of Malin Johansson.
Indie singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez. Courtesy of Malin Johansson.

Jazz merges with hip hop as BADBADNOTGOOD, a jazz trio, will be releasing their new album “Sour Soul” on Tuesday, which features rapper Ghostface Killah on every track. Watch out for a review in the future. Meanwhile, check out other albums we’ve been raving about: Jose Gonzalez’s “Vestiges and Claws” and Punch Brothers’ “Phosphorescent Blues.”

Visual Arts

This week is the last week to catch “Within and Without,” an exhibition at Cantor Arts Center that features the work of contemporary Chinese landscape painters who use the age-old genre as a means of exploring cultural heritage and social change.

The Pacific Art League of Palo Alto is currently hosting two new exhibitions. The first, entitled “Abstractions,” is housed in the main gallery and features a range of paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints that are unified by the common theme of abstraction. The second, housed in the corridor gallery, is a solo exhibition of Palo Alto-based artists Ron Andrews’s digital collage works. Both are currently on view and will be open to the public until Thursday, Feb. 26.


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