Hollywood star George, 58, is donating a signed £12,000 Omega watch to a gala charity event planned by the venue. It will be hosted by Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack at The Mill At Sonning theatre, next door to the Clooneys’ 17th century Oxfordshire mansion. West End stars will perform at the £60 a ticket Songs From The Shows event next Sunday, in aid of female victims of abuse.
Support from the Cloonys comes a year after the pair helped the theatre, run by friend Sally Hughes, address a woodworm infestation.
The venue won approval to build five new homes after the couple lodged no objections.
Profits from the sale of the flats will help pay a £1million bill to tackle woodworm at the former 18th century flour mill.
The US actor and barrister Amal, 41, have supported the theatre since moving to Sonning in 2014.
Dame Judi Dench’s daughter, Finty Williams, said George had watched her in a play there last year. She said: “He bought us all drinks afterwards.”
The cast of My Fair Lady were surprised when a bouquet of flowers arrived from the couple congratulating them on their performance.
Paul Harrison, a former Conservative councillor for the ward where the Clooneys live, said: “Both George and Amal have been a great asset to the community of Sonning.
“It’s fantastic to see their support for The Mill At Sonning theatre and the Women’s Resource Centre.”
George and Amal were seen outside their home in New York on Friday, their fifth wedding anniversary.
The couple, who wed in Venice in September 2014, have two-year-old twins Ella and Alexander.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 29
Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze: The 29-piece exhibition by the acclaimed artist known for empathetic, bold-colored, nearly life-size portraits of Harlem residents reflecting her interest in humanity, identity and community, runs through Feb. 20. [11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Cantor Arts Center, 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford University]
Folsom Street Fair: The annual event hosts some 250,000 fetish enthusiasts from all over the world, with 200 exhibitor booths selling fetish gear and toys, as well as entertainment and dancing. [11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Folsom Street, between Eighth and 13th streets, S.F.]
Trailblazer Race: Proceeds from the 25th annual benefit event — which includes 10K and 5K runs (on scenic, flat courses), a three-mile (5K) round trip Trail Walk in a wildlife refuge, along free kids’ activities and a festival area — go to Friends of Stevens Creek Trail. [7:30 a.m. check-in, Shoreline Park, 2905 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View]
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch: The film, a four-years-in-making “cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive re-engineering of the planet,” screens, followed by panel with filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky. 1:30 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.]
Paula Cole: Best known for the TV theme to “Dawson’s Creek,” the Grammy winning singer-songwriter has a new album, “Revolution.” [8 p.m., Yoshi’s, 510 Embaracadero West, Oakland]
Annalee Newitz: The award-winning Bay Area writer speaks about “The Future of Another Timeline,” which one critic called a “mind-blowing punk feminist sci-fi time traveling thriller.” [3 p.m., Borderlands, 866 Valencia St., S.F.]
Swan Lake: Russian Ballet Theatre’s production of the classic features Olga Kifyak as Odette/Odile and Evgeny Svetlitsa as Prince Siegfried. [6:30 p.m., Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., S.F.]
Taste the Panorama: Amazon’s Treasure Truck and Carnival Cruise Line host the free mini-food festival, which previews eats and drinks served on Carnival’s upcoming ship, The Panorama. [10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., MoMo’s, 760 Second St., S.F.]
Unitarian Universalist Sunday Forum: Rev. Arlington Trotman and Liduina Van Nes speak on racism, immigration and issues relating to the El Paso/Juarez border. [9 a.m., First Unitarian Universalist Society, 1187 Franklin St., S.F.]
Pharmakon: “Devour,” the new recording from New York City electronic artist Margaret Chardiet, is the “most intense output of her 12-plus years creating industrial noise.” [9 p.m., Gray Area, 2665 Mission St., S.F.]
Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan: Continuing through Dec. 8, the exhibit celebrates the friendship of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi and Japanese calligrapher and painter Saburo Hasegawa, and their significant contributions to mid-20th-century art and design. [10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.]
S.F. Symphony Chamber Music Concert Series: Works by Previn, Coleridge-Taylor, Ron Minor and Dvorak with jazz and folk undertones are on the opening program for 2019-20. [2 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]
International Art Museum of America Free Day: Works by Dorje Chang Buddha III as well as by artists from diverse backgrounds and time periods are on view. [10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1023 Market St., S.F.]
Tim Baker: The Canadian singer-songwriter who draws from both contemporary and 1970s folk-pop influences opens for Half Moon Run, an indie rock band based in Montreal. [9 p.m., Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.]
Lieder Alive!: Baritone Eugene Villanueva accompanied by pianist Peter Grunberg sings music by Schubert and Mahler. [5 p.m.,Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St., S.f.]
Sundays with The St. Lawrence: James Austin Smith, oboe, joins the St. Lawrence String Quartet in a concert of works by Debussy, Telemann, Haydn and Paul Wiancko. [2:30 p.m., Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford University]
A Jewish Music Potpourri: Community School of Music And Arts faculty member and flutist Marian Concus and pianist Joshua Horowitz play a free concert of Jewish holiday melodies and compositions marking significant Jewish historical events. [2 p.m., Tateuchi Hall, CSMA, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View]
MONDAY, SEPT. 30
Shura: The new single by English electro-pop artist born Alexandra Lilah Denton is “Religion (U Can Lay Your Hands On Me)”; NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Quinn Christopherson opens. [8 p.m., Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.]
Shafia Zaloom: The San Francisco health educator speaks about her book “Sex, Teens, & Everything In Between” with “Girls & Sex” author Peggy Orenstein. [7 p.m., Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera]
Angels & Airwaves: The alt-rock band started by Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 also features Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin and guitarist David Kennedy of Box Car Races. [7:30 p.m., Warfield, 982 Market St., S.f.]
Oh Sees: The garage-noise rockers (formerly of The City) open a two-night, sold-out engagement, promoting the new double LP “Face Stabber.” [8 p.m., Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.]
TUESDAY, OCT. 1
Vampire Weekend: The indie art-pop group is promoting “Father of the Bride,” its fourth album. [7:30 p.m., Bill Graham Civic, 99 Grove St., S.F.]
Alonzo King Lines Ballet: Jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran collaborate with the contemporary troupe in the first of seven-performances of an evening-length work. [7:30 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., S.F.]
Electric Cars 101: The free San Francisco Department of the Environment workshop offers consumer information about how to shop for and operate an electric auto. [6 p.m., Learning Studio, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]
Nilufer Yanya: The London singer-songwriter-guitarist of Turkish-Irish-Bajan heritage is on tour with her debut pop soul recording “Miss Universe.” [8 p.m., Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.]
Sovereignty: Marin Theatre Co. opens its West Coast premiere of the drama Mary Kathryn Nagle about a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her nation’s jurisdiction. [7:30 p.m., 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley]
Marie Lu: The best-selling young adult author appears at the ticketed talk to promote “Rebel,” the final volume in the Legend series. [7 p.m., Books Inc., 601 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]
John Freeman and Friends: The editor releases the latest volucme of the literary journal “Freeman’s: “The Best New Writing on California” with issue contributors Tommy Orange, Rabih Alameddine, Lauren Markham, H.R. Smith and Shobha Rao. [7 p.m., City Lights, 261 Columbus Ave., S.f.]
Bailen: Siblings Daniel, David and Julia Bailen harmonize well on their debut album “Thrilled To Be Here.” [8 p.m., Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market St., S.F.]
Plastic Picnic: Playing wavy guitar pop on its 2019 second album “Vistalite,” the Brooklyn indie quartet appears on a bill with Seattle’s Cataldo. [8 p.m., Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St., S.F.]
Cigarettes After Sex: The ambient-dream pop band from Texas is releasing its second album “Cry.” [8 p.m., Fox, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland]
Chicano on a Mission: Richard Montoya, drag queen Persia, Guillermo Gomez-Peña and artist-author Amalia Mesa-Bains appear in a performance and talk in conjunction with the exhibition celebrating late Mexican-American artist René Yañez. [6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Xavier Auditorium, Fromm Hall, University of San Francisco, 2497 Golden Gate Ave., S.F.]
Shaina McCoy-A Family Affair: Continuing through Oct. 26, the gallery show features the Minneapolis artist’s new personal portrait paintings based on a photographic archive of a black American family. [Noon to 5 p.m.,Ever Gold [Projects], 1275 Minnesota St., Suites 105-106, S.F.]
Pumpkin Spice Latte Day: Skin-care brand Native offers samples of pumpkin spice latte deodorant and free pumpkin spice lattes and doughnut bites from a food truck parked downtown. [7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 101 California St., S.F.]
James Verini: The frontline journalist discusses “They Will Have To Die Now,” his book about the climactic Battle of Mosul, and “the story of what happened after most Americans stopped paying attention to Iraq.” [7 p.m., Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera]
Good Day Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2019
If anything, Mark Latham’s fixed mindset on the issue supports the argument that growth mindset theory is probably more relevant and necessary than ever (”Brainy acts: experts raise doubts over ‘growth mindset’ phenomenon”, September 22). – John de Bres, Rose Bay
Learning from lockout
Michael Koziol predicts a relaxation of lockout laws by the government-led committee probing this issue (“Shots after midnight in lockout overhaul”, September 22). The same article alludes to Sydney’s “shuttered venues” and Melbourne’s nightlife ascendancy. The lasting solution is to restore Sydney’s stock of large commercial theatres. Currently there are three shuttered, large capacity theatres – The Royal in King Street, the Metro-Minerva in Kings Cross, and the Roxy in Parramatta, all of which have the potential to be returned to profitable use. If governments own and operate swimming pools, playing fields and art galleries, presumably because they are regarded as essential to public amenity and quality of life, why not revenue-generating theatres? Night-time economy, violence, tourism – theatres are the answer! – Robert Fox, president, The Roxy Theatre Action Group, West Pymble
Gladys Berejiklian seems hell bent on repealing the lockout laws. She says things have changed. Well of course they have, just ask the police and the doctors at St Vincent’s. I suppose we’d better ask Alan what he thinks. – Coral Button, North Epping
Show must go on
So the Berejiklian government can blithely accept a $500m blowout in the construction budget for the new Sydney Fish Markets – a commercial operation in which the private sector reaps the rewards of the public purse funding a brand new facility – and yet this government continues to procrastinate on the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct – putting at risk the future of the pre-eminent Australian Theatre for Young People (“Walsh Bay ‘a tragedy’ for youth theatre“, September 22). Just build what has been announced, designed and approved. The arts community needs it, the citizens of NSW deserve it and the local residents support it! – John McInerney, president, Millers Point Community Resident Action Group
Drowning in stadiums
Helen Pitt’s article speaks for us locals (”The real cost of a new pool for Parramatta”, September 22). This is the fastest, largest growing city in Australia. Yet those making decisions about its future have little knowledge of the type of city people want. We are now a mostly mixed migrant community. Many people coming from parts of the world that are stressed, violent and insecure.
Instead of peaceful community facilities like swimming pools, parks and walks, where people come together to play, socialise, exercise and enjoy their differences, we are replacing them stadiums where people drink, shout and yell in anger at each other. I’m not saying to have no stadium. But I am saying that our priority should not be stadiums. – Greg La Hood, Oatlands
Make space for farms
It is indeed sustainable to have urban farms close to the heart of our growing city (”Urban farms put down new roots in Western Sydney”, September 22). And of course Parramatta needs a public swimming pool. However public parkland that provides relaxing, uncluttered free space and bushland must not be ‘stolen’, for these purposes. There is now a proliferation of sophisticated rubberised children’s playgrounds and outside gyms also smothering our parks.
Our governments and councils are stingey because they are not increasing the amount of parkland needed to meet our growing population. Urban farms, playgrounds, outside gyms and pools are all needed, but on newly acquired land fit for such purposes, so that our net stock of open space increases for all, and the moment restful free space and bushland for wildlife is shrinking. – Sharyn Cullis, Oatley
John George fears that superannuation giants using their shareholder power to increase female representation on company boards is political correctness gone mad and will result in dumb women replacing competent men, poor company performance and plummeting dividend returns (Letters, September 22). There is good evidence that companies do better when they have women on their boards so it behoves the responsible purveyor of superannuation return to move investment money to companies where returns are better. – Marjorie Sutcliffe, The Rocks
When a new wave of Southern theaters lit up downtowns in the first decades of the twentieth century—vaudeville playhouses in the early 1900s and movie palaces in the 1920s—no expense was too great. Intricate plasterwork decorated opera boxes and prosceniums, crimson velvet curtains and matching seats adorned auditoriums, and orchestras and Wurlitzer organs played scores for silent movies. But as TV rose to prominence in the second half of the century and ticket holders relocated to the suburbs, these once-grand show places fell on hard times, threatened with becoming adult movie houses, storage spaces, even parking lots. Today many of the South’s cherished theaters are in the midst of a resurgence that’s bringing both long-overdue updates and a newfound respect for the role a theater can play in the life of a community (something viewers don’t experience streaming Netflix at home). Atlanta’s Fox Theatre has even developed a foundation to help other threatened gems throughout the region, providing more than $1.6 million in grants since 2008. “We know from experience how a healthy, restored theater can be infectious on a Main Street,” says Adina Erwin, the Fox’s chief operating officer. Save a seat this fall at one of these recently restored and stunning survivors, where the show indeed goes on—with some modern surprises.
photo: Alive Coverage
Patrons mingle in the lobby at the Fox in Atlanta.
The Byrd Theatre
“Talkies” had not yet become the standard when the Byrd showed its first movie, in 1928. Instead, silent films borrowed sound from a mighty four-keyboard Wurlitzer organ built directly into the stage and attached to a grab bag of noisemakers including a marimba, sleigh bells, tambourines, and a train whistle to enable a one-man soundtrack. To add to the drama, more than a dozen Arthur Brounet murals depicting mythological allegories and a mountain landscape at sunset decorated the walls, alongside intricate painted plasterwork by the Italian artisan Ferruccio Legnaioli. Unlike many of the era’s palatial theaters, the Byrd has operated almost continuously as a movie house since its founding, but the decades took their toll, and 2017 brought some much-needed updates, including new seats and improved access for people with disabilities. A second phase of planned upgrades will bring beer and wine sales, modernize the lighting, and introduce new programming ideas to attract younger audiences (November’s Big LeByrdski Festival celebrating the cult classic The Big Lebowski has been a popular ticket). “We want future generations to continue to experience film as a communal art form,” says Gibson Worsham, the Byrd’s former president and a member of its restoration committee. “All in a place that’s designed for it.”
Showing this fall: The Byrd will screen the 1925 silent film The Phantom of the Opera on October 25, with Michael Britt accompanying on the Wurlitzer.
photo: Fred + Elliott
A full house at the Byrd in Richmond
Greensboro, North Carolina
The “Showplace of the Carolinas” opened on Halloween night ninety-two years ago, dazzling theatergoers with an exterior Greek temple–inspired design. The stately Carolina weathered the Depression and World War II but struggled by the 1970s, when developers sized up the spot for a parking lot. Mercifully, Greensboro’s United Arts Council rallied in 1976 to save the landmark, which has since thanked patrons season by season in its role as a beloved community performing arts center. Although the stage draws national names such as Rosanne Cash, nonprofit groups put on about 60 percent of its events. The Carolina underwent a $2 million floor-to-proscenium face-lift last year, and 2020 will bring updates to the Crown, an intimate performance space at the top of the building where up-and-comers such as Rising Appalachia and Americana singer Emily Scott Robinson hone their styles.
Showing this fall: The Carolina welcomes humorist and North Carolina native David Sedaris on October 17 and hosts the Community Theatre of Greensboro’s twenty-fifth annual Wizard of Oz November 14–24.
After checking plaster upkeep and seat and sound improvements off its to-do list during a campaign that stretched across the 1970s and ’80s, the Fox is now focused on another aspect of preservation: “At the end of the day, the goal is to make sure the Fox Theatre is here for future generations to enjoy, and that means you have to make sure this historic building stays relevant in the changing market,” says the COO, Adina Erwin. To that end, the Fox introduced the Marquee Club in 2018, a $10 million expansion into a former jazz club next door that swaps popcorn and Milk Duds for cocktails, charcuterie, and red velvet cupcakes. Five bars spread across three levels and onto the rooftop, where guests can now perch for the first time in fifty years and soak in views of Midtown and the Fox’s twinkling marquee.
Showing this fall: Grab an old-fashioned made with local ASW whiskey from the Marquee Club before one of the Avett Brothers’ two shows at the Fox on November 21 and 22.
photo: Erik Meadows
Mattie Pettway (left) greets a guest at the Fox’s Marquee Club.
The Lyric Theatre
The Lyric sits on what was once the line of demarcation between downtown Birmingham’s black and white business districts. “The seating was segregated, but it was one of the very few theaters at the time where blacks and whites saw the same shows at the same time for the same price,” says its executive director, Brant Beene. “The whole community looks at the Lyric as a place it can call its own.” In the latter half of the twentieth century, it teetered among identities as an independent film house and at one point an adult movie theater before eventually shuttering. In 1993, the crumbling theater sold for just ten dollars to the nonprofit group Birmingham Landmarks. “The roof had a huge hole in the middle, and rain rotted all the floors and seats,” Beene says. “It was never air-conditioned, so you can imagine the musty odor.” Although it would take more than twenty years, $11.5 million in fund-raising, and a major restoration, on January 14, 2016, the Lyric reopened to a capacity crowd—102 years to the day after the curtain first rose.
Showing this fall: On October 2, the Lyric pays tribute to Georgia music: Chuck Leavell of Allman Brothers Band and Rolling Stones fame, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, and violinist Robert McDuffie perform songs by icons including Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, James Brown, and Otis Redding.
The Maryland Theatre
A fire scorched the Maryland Theatre in 1974, but the auditorium and its angel-laden balconies and intricate red-and-gold proscenium remained unscathed. So while the gem of downtown Hagerstown was able to reopen in the late 1970s, continuing to showcase the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, community theater productions, and traveling acts, the rest of the building remained a shell of its former self: The lobby could hold only about a hundred people, and the box office and concession stands sat at a different address down the block. But on October 11, the Maryland Theatre Association will cut the ribbon on a thirty-thousand-square-foot expansion that restores the original footprint, adding a new box office, airy lobby, and cocktail lounge all under one gilded roof. Now patrons can freshen up and order a drink without missing a minute of the second act.
Showing this fall: The Russian Ballet Theatre stops in Hagerstown on November 7 to present an updated version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, with hand-painted sets to match the Maryland’s revived splendor.
The Orpheum Theater
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Orpheum has long stood at the center of music history in New Orleans. “We’re footsteps away from the Storyville district, where people like Louis Armstrong got their start and participated in the formation of jazz,” says Ivy Mouledoux, the theater’s general manager. Today’s acts still write their legacies at the Orpheum—whether the hometown Revivalists and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra or such out-of-town greats as Gov’t Mule and Dwight Yoakam. After Hurricane Katrina sent water gushing through the bottom floor, the Beaux-Arts-style theater spent ten years at a standstill until a $13 million overhaul in 2015 restored the auditorium and brought the seats, restrooms, and concessions up to modern standards—plus added a new adjustable floor that can rearrange the auditorium for concerts, theater productions, weddings, and even Carnival balls.
Showing this fall: Best known for its musical roots, the theater was also once a movie palace and will honor that history by hosting the opening night of the New Orleans Film Festival on October 16.
photo: James Shaw
A gospel choir graces the stage at the Orpheum in New Orleans.
Intended by its Eastern European–born architect, John Eberson, to evoke a Mediterranean courtyard, the Tampa Theatre’s auditorium sports statues, columns, and gargoyles, and a faux night sky twinkles down on moviegoers. After more than ninety years of continual use, in 2017 the Tampa underwent a $6 million restoration that included a paint analysis of the reds, greens, golds, and blues that cover the plasterwork; new carpets and drapes; and wider and comfier seats inspired by the originals—only this time, with cup holders. “The architecture is spectacular,” says John Bell, the theater’s president and CEO. “That’s a big reason this building was rescued. But I think just as important is the humanity that’s represented. When you walk in, you’re in the company of the millions of people who have ventured through these doors before you.”
Showing this fall: The Tampa hosts a classic-scary-movie fest in October. Fittingly enough, employees have reported ghost sightings in the auditorium, the mezzanine, and the projection room.
The Show Goes On for Vintage Southern Theaters
The Democratic-controlled House made a second attempt Friday to overturn President Donald Trump ‘s use of emergency powers to raid military base projects such as schools and target ranges to pay for his long-promised border fence.
The 236-174 vote sent the legislation to Trump, who is sure to veto it just as he killed a similar measure in March.
The Senate passed the measure last week with about a dozen veteran Republican lawmakers rebuking Trump.
Friday’s vote was different because it followed the recent release by the administration of a list of 127 military construction projects totaling $3.6 billion that will be canceled to pay for the border wall, including numerous projects in GOP districts and states.
His supporters said Trump is justified in grabbing the money to defend a porous southern border and said Democrats were wasting their time.
Democrats countered that Trump is trampling on Congress’ power of the purse and warned the White House that Trump won’t get funding to replace the money taken from military projects.
“The administration’s decision also dishonors the Constitution by negating its most fundamental principle, the separation of powers,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “It’s an assault on our power of the purse.”
Only 11 Republicans broke with Trump on the vote.
“This is all about politics, making sure we have an open border,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. “What we are seeing today is nothing more than political theatre.”
“The president chose his wall over our national security and the needs of our service members and their families,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey , D-N.Y. “We will not give this president a blank check by backfilling these projects. Terminating the president’s fake national emergency declaration is the only way to restore the 127 projects whose funding he stole.”
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