This week in Arts and Life Apr. 27 — May 4

April 27, 2015, 9:20 p.m.

From “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to “The Last Five Years,” here’s what’s going on this week in Arts and Life.


Last Thursday, The San Francisco International Film Festival began downtown. Featuring a meticulously curated selection of films, SFIFF runs until May 7, leaving plenty of time to attend any of the festival’s many exceptional premieres. If you’re not sure what to watch and what to skip, check out the Stanford Daily’s festival preview here.

Further, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the much-anticipated follow up to Joss Whedon’s 2012 feature “The Avengers,” begins its theatrical run this Friday. Early buzz is very positive and, with a star-studded cast that includes everyone from Robert Downey, Jr., to Julie Delpy, “Age of Ultron” seems poised to dominate the box office. Superheros may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this blockbuster monstrosity is a clear must-see.

In addition, Thomas Vinterberg’s “Far From the Madding Crowd,” an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, opens this weekend nationwide. Starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, a 19th-century farm owner forced to choose between three eligible bachelors, “Far From the Madding Crowd” looks like a pleasant balance between nuanced romance and cathartic melodrama. Vinterberg has also proven himself time and time again (if you’re interested in Vinterberg’s body of work, his directorial debut “Festen” is a masterpiece of Dogme 95) and I have few doubts that “Madding Crowd” will be yet another solid entry in the acclaimed Danish director’s canon.

On campus, there will be an advance screening of the first episode of USA’s new series “Mr. Robot” this Thursday in Art2 in the Cummings Art Building at 7 p.m. The show, created by Sam Esmail, stars Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin and Martin Wallström.


Cardinal Nights is hosting some exciting performances this week, including a trip to The Book of Mormon on Thursday (though due to high demand, tickets are only available through lottery) and Stanford’s Got Talent on Saturday.

In addition, right after finishing his incredibly well-received run of the musical Hairspray, Ken Savage is directing a concert production of The Last Five Years this Friday and Saturday at the Elliot Programming Center. Knowing Savage’s work in productions ranging from The Fantasticks to Sunday in the Park with George, The Last Five Years should be a rather enjoyable experience.


Stanford Taiko takes the stage at Bing this Saturday, May 2, for their spring concert. Experience the thunderous Japanese percussion tradition performed by one of Stanford’s premier student groups. Tickets are free for Stanford students with an SUID.

On Sunday, May 3, come join Israeli mandolin phenom Avi Avital at Bing Concert Hall for what is sure to be a stunning concert, with tickets starting at just $15 for Stanford students.

This Friday, May 1, don’t miss Blackfest, an indoor-outdoor music extravaganza hosted by the Black Family Gathering Committee. Starting at 7 p.m., various acts will perform in and around Dinkelspiel auditorium, with a special focus on student-led groups. Keep your eye out for headliner Jidenna, a Stanford alum who is signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland record label.

This week, we at the music beat will be looking out for Wu Tang icon Raekwon’s sixth studio album, “Fly International Luxurious Art,” set to drop on Tuesday. That same day, an up-and-coming rapper from Chicago’s SAVEMONEY hip-hop collective Towkio (formerly known as Towkio Shawn and Preston San) will be releasing his first full-length mixtape, “.Wav Theory.” Here’s a newly released single from the project featuring Frost headliner Kaytranada.

Visual arts

Shifting Currents,” an exhibition currently on view at the Cantor Arts Center, features a small but exquisite selection of contemporary Chinese art. The artwork provides insight into the culture of contemporary China and the integration of western elements into oriental artwork.

Additionally, this week is your last chance to check out “Drawn Together” at the Cantor, a series of  five short documentaries by first and second-year MFA film students.

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