This week in Arts & Life: Feb. 23 – Mar. 1

Feb. 23, 2015, 2:58 p.m.

Between all the new movies we’ve finally got — or are getting — in Palo Alto this week, including a special Stanford screening of “Red Army,” and all of the student concerts and productions, there’s no shortage of great things to do in Arts & Life this week. Here’s a look at our top recommendations.


Taika Waititi stars in "What We Do in the Shadows." Courtesy of Unison Films.
Taika Waititi stars in “What We Do in the Shadows.” Courtesy of Unison Films.

This week, a handful of local theatres are finally shaking up their previously static film slates. At the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s “What We Do in the Shadows” is now playing. Often funny, often frustrating, Clement and Waititi’s first joint venture, though not perfect, is worth a watch. Over at the CinéArts Palo Alto Square, tickets are currently on sale for Oscar nominees “Timbuktu” and “Song of the Sea.” Both are enjoyable viewings, but of the two, “Timbuktu” seems to be receiving the most positive word-of-mouth.

A still from "What We Do in the Shadows." Courtesy of Unison Films.
A still from “What Do We Do in the Shadows.” Courtesy of Unison Films.

In addition, Oscar-nominated producer Megan Bartel will be holding a screening and Q&A session for her short animated film “The Dam Keeper.” The event is free for Stanford students and will be held in Annenberg Auditorium on March 1 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. There will also be an exclusive screening of Gabe Polsky’s “Red Army,” a film about Soviet-era hockey, on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m at the Fisher Conference Center in Arrillaga Alumni Center. The film will be followed by a dialogue between Polsky and Michael McFaul, Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University, and former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. 


Ranging from the avant-garde to the political, there’s enough on-campus theater this week to keep you thinking.

On February 26–28 at 8pm, The Freeks present “Equus,” a drama about a psychiatrist fighting to unravel what’s wrong with his patient — a psychologically disturbed boy, fixated on horses. Made famous by the 2007 West End revival starring an often nude Daniel Radcliffe, “Equus” has become controversial for its usage of nudity, as well as its stance on religion. If you’re yearning to find out what that stance is, go see it at Elliot Programming Center this weekend.

If you’re seeking a work that deals with real-world issues, look no further than Casa Zapata’s production of “Watsonville: Some Place Not Here.” Written by Chicana feminist and TAPS professor Cherrie Moraga, “Watsonville: Some Place Not Here,” examines the struggles of Latina immigrants working in substandard conditions. It also explores themes of lesbianism, cultural identity and immigration. “Watsonville” will be held in Stern Dining Hall on Feb. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m.; it is free and open to the public. 


Student musicians are alive and well on the music scene this week with performances by the Stanford Jazz Orchestra, Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford University Singers, and more.

This Wednesday, Feb. 25, catch the Stanford Jazz Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. at Bing in a performance joined by saxophonist Dr. Aaron Lington, head of the San Jose State jazz program. Students can pick up free tickets one hour before the concert.

The Stanford Symphony Orchestra and the Stanford Symphonic Chorus will combine for a tremendous all-Brahms program on Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Bing. Don’t miss this majestic concert conducted by Stephen M. Sano. Students receive free admission with their SUID.

Ever wonder what a harpsichord sounds like? On Wednesday, harpsichord students of Elaine Thornburgh will be performing at Campbell Recital Hall for a free concert beginning at 12:15 p.m.

On Wednesday as well, the Stanford University Singers will be gracing Memorial Church at 7:30 p.m. with their lovely voices in works by Parry, Stanford, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Britten. They will be accompanied by organist David Parsons. Admission for students with their SUID is free.

Memorial Church will be occupied once again on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., this time for a concert presented by students of Music 184A, Editing and Performing Early Music. Together with the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale they will perform Francesco Durante’s (1684 -1755) Stabat Mater, a work once thought to be “incomplete and thus unperformable.” Admission is free.

Visual Arts

Head over to the CoHo to see an exhibition of artwork by Alli Rath, whose work utilizes elements of children’s imagery to touch upon the dichotomy between wild and tame animals. The exhibit is curated by Your Art Here, which is a program that coordinates student-run gallery spaces across the Stanford campus.

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Peninsula Museum of Art is holding an exhibition entitled “Five Perspectives: Lunar New Year,” which brings together the work of by five Bay Area artists of Asian descent. The pieces on display range from sculpture to mixed-media paintings, but are united by a commitment to highlighting Asian heritage in the Bay Area. Admission is free.

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