By C.J. Hirschfield

In 1964, renowned and prolific choreographer Merce Cunningham and his troupe embarked on their first world tour. In Paris, angry audience members threw eggs and tomatoes at him. “I wished it was apples; I was hungry,” he recalls. But when they performed in England, the response was dramatically different: “Merce Cunningham Conquers Conservatism,” read the headlines. And although Cunningham famously refused to define his work as modern or avant garde (preferring to let his audience define him based on their experience), he, and his partnerships with celebrated artists of the day, was in the center of an influential group changing the way we characterize music, visual art—and dance.

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The original Merce Cunningham Dance Company.                                                                            ©Robert Rutledge. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

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By Gary Meyer

It was opening day of the San Francisco production of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD and we found ourselves talking with a woman during the intermission of Part One. A friend invited her but she had been skeptical since other than being aware of Harry Potter she knew very little about the books, movies or characters beyond that it was a popular culture phenomenon. She had read the informative “Journey to the Eight Story” in the program book and that was helping her understand who and what are important in the narrative (see below). She said she was hooked by the first act and certainly the cliffhanger at its end was a mind-blower that had us all anxious for more.

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