Olivia Popp
Olivia Popp previously served as Managing Editor of Arts & Life for two years and is a former Editor-at-Large for the Daily's Board of Directors. Find her online at itsoliviapopp.com and on Twitter: @itsoliviapopp.

SF Playhouse brings Yasmina Reza’s brilliant, blistering, Tony Award-winning play ‘Art’ right to you

SF Playhouse makes a triumphant return in its premiere production of the 2020-21 season with Yasmina Reza’s 1998 Tony Award-winning play “Art,” translated by Christopher Hampton (originally in French) and directed by SF Playhouse artistic director Bill English. As a Bay Area theater that often brings new plays by both emerging and established playwrights to…

Frameline44, part 3: Family dynamics

At only 71 minutes, “Forgotten Roads” is quite short and has much more room to play. We never truly see the spaceships, but they’re spoken about everywhere; the allegory doesn’t quite land, but at the same time, it doesn’t detract from the narrative, either.

Frameline44, part 2: Coming-of-age tales

In these three LGBTQ films, all of which could be considered coming-of-age films beyond featuring teens or young adults, something is learned and hard, existential truths about the world are taught. This, of course, is often a hallmark of coming-of-age films. But “Alice Júnior,” “No Hard Feelings” and “Cocoon” all take the coming-of-age narrative and run with it in different directions, situated terrifically within their national and cultural contexts.

Shorts at Home: ‘We are always performing’

Former A&L Managing Editor Olivia Popp will be going through and handpicking a set of three excellent short films from a selection of current online film festivals, with emphasis on variety — genre, style, language, you name it — and the ability to watch the triptych in under an hour.

Shorts at Home: ‘I wish I could do something’

Former A&L Managing Editor Olivia Popp will be going through and handpicking a set of three excellent short films from a selection of current online film festivals, with emphasis on variety — genre, style, language, you name it — and the ability to watch the triptych in under an hour.

Filmfest Hamburg, part 2: The joyous ‘Wild Rose’

Unless something else quickly comes along (“Frozen 2,” I’m waiting!), “Wild Rose” is the heartwarming, emotional and uplifting musical film of the year. There have been films like “Yesterday” and “Blinded by the Light,” but none of them astound like “Wild Rose.”

‘Ad Astra’ is a stellar adventure

James Gray’s “Ad Astra” puts Brad Pitt in space, with a pleasant and dichotomously different character portrayal than his role in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” It’s perhaps the most satisfying space-themed film I’ve seen in a while, but it’s not without its flaws. Roy McBride (Pitt) is told that his long-lost astronaut father…

IQFF, part 2: Hit or miss films

This article is the second in a series of three articles on the 30th Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg), taking place from October 15, 2019, to October 20, 2019. The festival is Germany’s oldest and largest queer film festival. Of the numerous works at IQFF, many of the feature films screened…

IQFF, part 1: The breathtakingly intimate ‘And Then We Danced’

This article is the first in a series of three articles on the 30th Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg), taking place from October 15, 2019, to October 20, 2019. The festival is Germany’s oldest and largest queer film festival. Premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, Levan Akin’s Swedish-Georgian drama…

Sundance 2019, part 3: Best of the Fest

This is the third piece in a series of three 2019 Sundance Film Festival coverage articles. The Farewell “The Farewell” is one of the films that generated significant buzz before Sundance, becoming entirely sold out extremely early on — and will be guaranteed to skyrocket Lulu Wang to newfound success. Featuring Awkwafina in a dramatic…

Sundance 2019, part 2: U.S. Dramatic Competition

This is the second piece in a series of three 2019 Sundance Film Festival coverage articles. Them That Follow “Them That Follow” is perhaps most fascinating as a premise, following a snake-handling religious group devoted to its pastor. It also features an all-star cast including Walton Goggins, Olivia Colman, Jim Gaffigan and Kaitlyn Dever (in…

Sundance 2019, part 1: Quirky and boundary-breaking films

This is the first piece in a series of three 2019 Sundance Film Festival coverage articles. Per usual at the snowy festival, I watched a large variety of films — some pre-determined, some selected because of the buzz they were receiving at the festival — but most of which went above and beyond my expectations.…

‘Avenue Q’ brings laughs to the Bay Area

“Avenue Q” has always been an underdog musical (one that shockingly won the Tony for Best Musical in 2004), but its sardonic wit and strong grasp of parody made it an instant classic. The New Conservatory Theater Center (NCTC) boldly tackles the now 15-year-old work, seeking to de-problematize (or as much as possible) the elements…

SF Sketchfest brings great comedy to the Bay

Now in its 18th year, SF Sketchfest ended this weekend and featured a wide variety of performers in comedy all around the U.S. One of San Francisco’s biggest comedy festivals, Sketchfest has over two weeks of performances, shows, talkbacks and more. At the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco on Friday evening, SF Sketchfest offered…
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