6 Bay Area arts and entertainment events to check out this week, May 16-22

Fr. David Ebersole, author of “99 Miles from LA” Photo: Anthony Masterson

The Chronicle’s guide to notable arts and entertainment events in the Bay Area.

P. David Ebersole to read first novel ’99 Miles From LA’ at Fabulosa Books in SF

Filmmaker and author P. David Ebersole is about to visit Fabulosa Books for a reading and author discussion with Marc Smolowitz, about his debut novel “99 Miles From LA”

The book is a tough neo-noir crime story that uses Los Angeles and Palm Springs as sunny backdrops for the dark and twisted tale. The plot mixes show business regrets, the marijuana industry and a bisexual love triangle.

The Los Angeles native’s films as a director include documentaries “Mansfield 66/67” from 2017, “Dear Mom, Love Cher” from 2013 and “Hit So Hard” from 2011. Before working as a filmmaker and author, he worked as a child actor, play the lead role in the 1978 musical “High school.” Ebersole is a delight in interviews and doesn’t hold back when it comes to spilling juicy information on his subject.

Fr. David Ebersole in conversation on “99 Miles from LA”: 7 p.m. Monday, May 16. Free. Fabulosa Books, 489 Castro Street, SF 415-658-7015. fabulosabooks.com

-Tony Bravo

Marlène Dietrich and Jean Gabin in “Martin Roumagnac”. (1946) Photo: Mid-Century Productions

‘Martin Roumagnac’ a timeless artifact of the Dietrich-Gabin romance

The endless fascination of “Martin Roumagnac” is that it depicts a love story that is, at least on some level, real.

It stars Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich as star-crossed lovers, which the couple were like in real life. They met in Hollywood and were separated by World War II. They got together in France, made this movie and then went their separate ways – but each would never have fully recovered from the other.

The film is part of a two-day series on Gabin’s French Blacks, hosted by Don Malcolm, whose festivals at Roxie have been some of the biggest to play in the Bay Area in the past decade. Malcolm single-handedly put French noir on the map, and in doing so, he transformed the way we see American film noir.

All of its festivals are major events, and this one is no exception.

“Martin Roumagnac. 7 p.m. on Monday, May 16. $14. Roxie Theatre. 3117 16th St., SF (415) 863-1087. www.roxie.com

—Mick LaSalle

Director Darryl V. Jones works on a stage with cast during the rehearsal for “The Urban Retreat” at the Greater Cooper AME Zion Church in Oakland on March 7, 2019. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The Chronicle

Racial tensions boil over in Dominique Morisseau’s ‘Blood at the Root’ by Custom Made

In Custom Made Theater Company’s “Blood at the Root,” it all starts with a tree. But of course, it actually starts much earlier.

On the campus of a southern high school, there is a tree under which white children always sit. When black students decide they also deserve some shade on a hot day, long-simmering racial tensions boil over. Nooses hang from one of the branches of the tree. A fight breaks out.

by Dominique Morrisseau 2014 chorepoem — a form created by Ntozake Shange — is inspired by real-life incidents in Jena, Louisiana, in 2006 and 2007, which resulted in young black men being initially charged with attempted murder — charges many of which are seen as racially discriminatory.

In the play, the school administrators consider the nooses a mere prank. “Just because you call hate a joke, don’t make one,” said college student Raylynn (Elle Roe). “‘Especially when no one is laughing’.”

Darryl V. Jones directed.

“Blood at the root”: 8 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday May 19-21. Until June 5. $30-$55. Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason St., Ste. 601, SF 415-798-2682. www.custommade.org

—Lily Janiak

Soprano Rhoslyn Jones Photo: Kevin Clark Studios

West Bay Opera returns to the stage with a Tchaikovsky classic

Like so many arts organizations in the Bay Area and around the world, West Bay Opera patiently awaits postponements and cancellations of the COVID shutdown. Now the company is finally returning, opening its season with Tchaikovsky’s gripping operatic ghost story “Pique Dame” (“The Queen of Spades”).

West Bay last did the play in 2007, and the new production – helmed by Ragnar Conde and directed by general manager José Luis Moscovich – promises an elaborate display of elegant singing and elaborate direction. The cast is led by soprano Rhoslyn Jones as Liza, with tenor Michael Boley as Hermann and baritone Jonathan Beyer as Prince Yeletsky.

“Pique Dame”: West Bay Opera. 8 p.m. on Friday, May 20. Until May 29. $35 to $98. Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. 650-424-9999. www.wbopera.org

—Joshua Kosman

Mezzo-soprano Veena Akama-Makia Photo: Jessica Osber

The San José Opera relaunches a prestigious competition for up-and-coming singers

From 2006 to 2014, the Irene Dalis singing competition at Opera San José – named after the determined and generous opera star who founded the company and led it for decades – drew attention to a stream of gifted young singers from across the country and around the world. Now the competition has returned from a hiatus with a mix of online and in-person events.

The semi-final round will be streamed live for free on Wednesday, May 18, giving patrons a chance to hear the contestants in action and vote for an audience favorite. Afterwards, the finale will take place live at the company’s home, the California Theater.

The 11 semi-finalists go in alphabetical order from mezzo-soprano Veena Akama-Makia to tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven, and come from Costa Rica, China and South Korea as well as the United States.

Irene Dalis singing competition: 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. $50 to $225. California Theater, 345 S. First St., San Jose. 408-437-4450. www.operasj.org

—Joshua Kosman

Leslie Sandefur (left) and Michael Dailey in Wagner’s “No Love Allowed” at Pocket Opera Photo: Courtesy of Pocket Opera

Pocket Opera revives an early Wagnerian rarity

Before writing the ambitious and serious musical dramas that placed him in the pantheon of opera, Richard Wagner turned to comedy. For his second opera, “Das Liebesverbot” (“The Prohibition of Love”), the young Wagner took inspiration from Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” as raw material to create a lively and light story about the love and sex.

Because it is an early work, and out of step with the rest of Wagner’s catalogue, the piece is rarely – well, almost never – performed. But the late Donald Pippin, the longtime founder and impresario of Pocket Opera, saw the play’s charm and created an English translation, dubbed “No Love Allowed,” that brings it out with wonderful dexterity.

Those of us who heard the company play “No Love Allowed” in 1990 were eagerly awaiting a revival, and now it’s finally here. Jonathan Khuner is directing the production, with direction by Nicolas A. Garcia.

“No Love Allowed”: Pocket Opera. 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 22. Gunn Theater, Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave., SF 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 29. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. $62 to $69. 415-972-8934. www.pocketera.org

—Joshua Kosman

“Pilea in pot” by artist Klari Reis. Featured “Klari Reis – Life Forms” on Themes + Projects. Photo: Klari Reis

SF artist Klari Reis unveils ‘Life Forms’, the first exhibition in the city in a decade

“Life Forms” is San Francisco artist Klari Reis’ first show in the city in a decade, presented at Themes + Projects at the Minnesota Street Project. The exhibition features a series of botanically inspired works that demonstrate his technique of painting with epoxy resin (a form of liquid plastic), creating colorful explosions of shapes through his use of dyes and pigments in the material, which is then mounted on a form. for display. With their exuberant shapes and splashy quality, they are reminiscent not only of plants but also of life at the cellular level.

“The botanical works are the latest in my ever-evolving artistic exploration of the systems of biology and the beauty and design displayed in nature,” Reis said in an artist statement on the work. “My engagement with these systems has taken me from the microscopic workings of cells, as far as the strange reinterpretation of city maps as biological blueprints, to these new macro-paintings of nature triumphant, imposing its own order on the world. “

The idea for the series first came to Reis during nature walks with her family at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition is curated by Maria Di Grande of MDG Art Advisory.

“Klari Reis – “Life Forms”: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Through July 9. Free. Themes + Projects at the Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota St., SF 415-732-0300. https://www.themesandprojects.com/

-Tony Bravo

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Jennifer R. Strohm