Movers and Shakers

Our January Movers and Shakers

By Julissa James

High achievers on our radar this month, from Bay Area heavyweights to the next generation of power players.

All illustrations by Iris Lei.

Rita Moreno

Berkeley’s resident movie star has been tapped to play an original role in Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of West Side Story, set to begin shooting in summer 2019. Moreno won an Oscar for her unforgettable role as Anita in the 1961 version of the production. Spielberg calls it “one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed.” This time around, she’ll play a char-acter named Valentina, and serve as one of the film’s executive producers. “Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” Moreno has said. “And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! Then to work together with the brilliant play-wright, Tony Kushner — what a glorious stew! I am tingling!” As are we!

Esa-Pekka Salonen

The San Francisco Symphony scored the sought-after visionary as its new music director, succeeding Michael Tilson Thomas starting in 2020. Salonen, who helmed the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 17 years, has long declined offers from the most highly regarded orchestras around the world. Needless to say, news that he would bring his talents to our dear city made sound waves. He is regarded as one of classical music’s greatest innovators, a reputation he will continue to embrace at the SF Symphony alongside a group of eight young collaborators, including artificial intelligence entrepreneur and roboticist Carol Reiley, and Moonlight composer Nicholas Britell, among others.

Dominique Crenn

She is the first woman in America to receive three Michelin stars, a symbolic win for female chefs across the country flambé-ing their way to representation in male-dominated kitchens. San Francisco foodies fell for her upon Atelier Crenn’s opening in 2011, five years before her Chef ’s Table episode made the rest of the world (or at least those with a Netflix account) follow suit. The honor comes after her team’s expansion to include Bar Crenn, an elegant watering hole pouring French classics right next door — already a Michelin-starred establishment in its own right. Just when we thought Crenn’s public persona couldn’t be any cooler, this third notch on her belt proves otherwise. Brava, Dominique!

Soleil Ho

Another cause for feminist foodies to celebrate? The Chronicle has named Ho, the vibrant food and culture writer, as its new restaurant critic, taking over for the recently retired Michael Bauer. As a trained chef, host of the award-winning Racist Sandwich podcast, and frequent contributor to multiple well-respected publications, Ho explores the City’s food scene through a political lens — highlighting the roles that race and gender play in this region’s kitchen culture. Her perspective is one Chronicle editors (and we readers) are hungry for. “She was a clear choice: She has a fresh and modern approach to food journalism,” announced Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper.

Dawn Porter

The documentarian and UC Berkeley journalism professor is one of SFFILM’s Essential SF inductees this year, joining the ever-growing list of cinematic leaders recognized for their mark on the City’s film legacy. Essential SF is the most recent recognition of many for Porter, whose work explores personal and political intersections. She is fresh off the director’s chair for her Netflix docuseries Bobby Kennedy for President (2018), which depicts the rise of the political powerhouse that was. Among Porter’s long list of accolades: Sundance Film Festival’s Editing Award, and Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking for Gideon’s Army (2013) and Trapped (2016), respectively. Congrats, Dawn. You deserve it!

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