Connect four

Pub date August 26, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionTheater

Photos by Jeffery Cross


SFBG Who is inspiring or revolting to you, in terms of art and performance, including political performance?

Guillermo Gómez-Peña The best and — most inspiring performance I’ve experienced took place in the Mexico City zocalo. A group of 100 indigenous men from the Coordinadora de los 400 pueblos, tired of waiting for the mayor to listen to their claims, decided to take off their clothes, each drink a liter of water, and pee in unison against the walls of the Palacio Nacional. The power of this action was not in the collective pissing ritual but rather in the exposure of the nude indigenous body, marked by the scars of hard labor and history. The image has been haunting me.

SFBG What do you hope will happen in the US presidential election?

GGP In the realm of symbolic politics, the best thing that can happen is for the United States to elect an articulate mulatto president, the son of a Kenyan immigrant, whose second name is Hussein. But in reality, it worries me that Obama’s project of hope sounds more and more like Hallmark humanism.

SFBG What is your favorite time of year in seasonless San Francisco?

GGP I love it when the sun comes out in earnest and tropicalism hits the streets for a few days. I love to bar hop in the Mission and watch the myriad subcultures show off their self-styled fashion, muscles, tattoos and nalgas palidas. But I also love certain neighborhoods under heavy fog. I feel I am walking in the middle of a British gothic novel. My worry is that this gorgeous city is slowly becoming a bohemian theme park.


Oct. 2, 5–8 p.m.; Oct.11, 3–5 p.m.; and Oct. 21, 5–8 p.m.; free, $5

SF Camerawork

657 Mission (second floor), SF

(415) 512-2020


Oct. 23–25; times and prices TBD

Project Artaud Theater

450 Florida, SF

(415) 863-9834



SFBG What are your plans for this fall?

MATTILDA BERNSTEIN SYCAMORE I’m going on a crazy cross-country book tour, starting with the book launch Oct. 8 at City Lights — check my Web site ( for details.

SFBG Your novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, is published by City Lights. A recent review in Publishers Weekly seems to think the book’s protagonist is a woman. What did you learn from that review?

MBS I learned most people are even more confused about gender than me. But guess what — the book is already available in Bay Area stores, so readers can rush to figure it out, just like the latest John Grisham.

SFBG So, are you allergic to oxygen?

MBS These days, who isn’t?

SFBG Where’s your favorite sex place in SF, or maybe better, where in SF needs to be turned into a sex spot?

MBS City Hall would be fun. So much elegance and charm, as long as they get rid of everyone who’s usually there. The 38 Geary would be perfect: I always get horny on that bus. Anywhere on my late-night walks — I usually walk up Leavenworth and Hyde from O’Farrell to Bush or so. Feel free to stalk me!

SFBG What do you want to happen in the presidential election?

MBS Do we still call that an election?

SFBG What is your favorite time of year in seasonless San Francisco?

MBS Anytime when the fog rolls in and I can breathe.


Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m.

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus, SF

(415) 362-8193



SFBG Your new show, Off Leash: Who’s a Good Girl?, ponders the canine-human continuum. What have you learned?

JoAnn Selisker In terms of interspecies relationships, I find human behavior and motivation to be much more strange and unfathomable (and sometimes disturbing) than that of the canine. I speak human, so I ought to understand where humans are coming from. If dogs weren’t so helpless, misunderstood, disregarded, and maltreated, I would prefer to be a dog.

SFBG What do you think of Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer?

JS I think he makes some nice dog beds. You can get anything he thinks your dog needs with his "brand" on it. You could call him the Martha Stewart of the dog world. She reaches us through Wal-Mart, and he reaches us through PETCO. They both give us simple how-to instructions and affordable, quality products. All we have to do is buy the videos, magazines, supplies, and accessories, follow step-by-step instructions, and … voilà! The perfect dinner party; the well-mannered pet.

SFBG In your earlier show, Begin with a Box, you put creative instructions by Twyla Tharp to the test. What did you discover?

JS Well, how interesting — Twyla Tharp is a lot like the Dog Whisperer and Martha Stewart! Each of these masters generously shares secrets to success, in simple, step-by-step format. We can all become Twyla Tharp, the Dog Whisperer and/or Martha Stewart.

I discovered that I will never become Twyla Tharp. I started the Begin with a Box project with a box, just like she says, and proceeded step-by-step to completion. I should now be a MacArthur genius, with name recognition and a project with Prince.


Oct. 8, 8 p.m.; Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $15–$18

Project Theater Artaud

450 Florida, SF

(415) 863-9834



SFBG What are your plans for this fall?

TIM SULLIVAN I traveled all summer, so I’m going to try my best to stay put. I have two shows opening this fall, one at SF Camerawork and one in Dallas. I’ll be teaching a class at San Francisco Art Institute and continuing to make things.

SFBG Your contribution to SF Camerawork’s fall exhibition, "I Feel I Am Free But I Know I Am Not," involves a rowboat. What should people expect if they step into the boat?

TS Everyone who gets into the boat will be instantly transformed into a movie star in a recreation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944). I really need people to come out and participate to make this work.

SFBG You’ve collaborated with George Kuchar before. Do you have a favorite Kuchar quote, or Kuchar story?

TS A few years back I was in Kuchar’s class film, Kiss of Frankenstein. On the first day he handed us the script, I was rolling on the floor laughing. The entire script is hilarious and quote-worthy! It was definitely the best reading I did in graduate school. The last line (spoiler alert!) always gets me: "Kiss me sloppy."

SFBG What is your favorite time of year in seasonless San Francisco?

TS Fall is always my favorite season. In my home state of Wisconsin I love it because the leaves fall off the trees. Here in SF I love it because the tourists leave and the streets thin out.


Sept. 4, 5–8 p.m., free; Sept. 13 and 27, 2–5 p.m., $5

SF Camerawork

657 Mission (second floor), SF

(415) 512-2020

>>More Fall Arts Preview