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James Keith

James Keith is an Arts & Entertainment contributor to the California Beat. He covers music, the arts and society. In between reading sci-fi/fantasy novels and playing the viola, he keeps a soundtrack related blog at trackbits.blogspot.com.

He can be reached at jkeith@californiabeat.org.

Arts & Entertainment »

[By James Keith | 7 Aug 2010 | 2 Comments]
Actors Terry Stokes as John (left) and Charmaine Hitchcox as Deb (right).

Growing old. The joys of masturbation. Looming mortality. Spicing up one’s sex life. Finding new purpose in one’s later years. All are topics — and the subjects of some catchy tunes — in the new musical “Sex Tapes for Seniors” by Mario Cossa, playing this month at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco.

Arts & Entertainment »

[By James Keith | 17 Jul 2010 | No Comments]
From Left to Right, Jazmin (Amelia Mae Paradise), Dorothy (Sarah Mosby) and Kat (Helene J.)

Who knew the denizens of Oz could be so human? It’s true when the stand-in for Oz is colorful San Francisco, and the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man are all vibrant denizens of the lesbian community.

On Friday, under the arching whale bone proscenium of the Ashby Stage in Berkeley, Stephanie Reif’s musical “Left of Oz” played to a gregarious and engaged crowd of young and old, regulars and new attendees, and gay and straight couples.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts, Cover Stories, Oakland »

[By Steven Luo, Vanessa Guerra, Jennifer Courtney, Tashina Manyak, James Keith and Heather McDaniel | 9 Jul 2010 | No Comments]
A large banner reading "Oakland Says Guilty" was hung from a stoplight in Downtown Oakland during a gathering after the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

(7/9) — UPDATED 14:15 PDT — OAKLAND — A large, peaceful gathering of people in Downtown Oakland following former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter was followed by violence as the sun set.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts blamed the violence, which included looting shops and setting dumpsters on fire, on a small group of about 50 anarchists.

Music Scene, San Francisco »

[By James Keith | 7 Jun 2010 | No Comments]
Matthew Monfort (rear left) and Teja Gerken (rear right) tune up with the San Fransisco Guitar Quartet (JAMES KEITH/CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

(6/5) — In the cozy second floor of the Noe Valley Ministry, Matthew Monfort, Teja Gerken and the San Francisco Guitar Quartet performed a variety of pieces for the San Francisco Guitar Summit, an event put on as part of the Noe Valley Music Series supported by SF LiveArts.

An intimate audience of about thirty people were in attendance, the event opening with a mix of contemporary and traditional music by Teja Gerken, a practitioner of steel-string fingerstyle guitar.

Arts & Entertainment, Music Scene, San Francisco »

[By James Keith | 10 Apr 2010 | No Comments]
Davies Symphony Hall (Photo from Maestro Artist Management)

The San Francisco Symphony’s 6.5 Series continues to offer an eclectic blend of old warhorses and new compositions. Held on selected Fridays at 6:30 pm, the shows offer a comfortable medium for patrons interested in a more adult affair than the Music for Families series, but a more relaxed atmosphere and dress code than a formal Symphony Concert.

This Friday’s concert featured Edwin Outwater conducting Gounod’s Ballet Music from Faust along with more contemporary fare like Vivier’s Zipangu and Duncan Sheik’s Song Suite from Whisper House.

Music Scene »

[By James Keith | 19 Mar 2010 | No Comments]
The cover to Intrada's 2 disc edition of the soundtrack

Good movie soundtracks can sometimes go missing, but this is no longer the case for Alan Silvestri’s rousing score to the classic Back to the Future, long considered a holy grail among soundtrack collectors.

Oakland »

[By James Keith | 18 Mar 2010 | No Comments]
Huckleberry 4

When driving along Skyline Boulevard in Oakland, be sure to stop at Huckleberry Botanic Preserve, located right next to Sibley Regional Park. The preserve contains flora unique to the East Bay which can only be found along its twisting trails.