Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bay Area Performing Arts 2017 Summer Events


Where: ODC Theater, San Francisco
When:  June 2-10

Now in its sixth year, the Walking Distance Dance Festival features premieres by Bay Area artists.  This year, they feature performances by The Foundry, FACT/SF, Fauxnique, and tinypistol over the course of two weeks. A great primer for the renowned Bay Area dance community hailed for its innovation and talented core of choreographers, dancers, and production artists. ODC Theater is intimate, comfortable and does not have a bad seat in the house. A great way to spend a Friday or Saturday evening in the Mission District. Go on a date with friends or a sweetheart, grab some dinner and drinks, and enjoy some cutting-edge performances!

Where: Paradise Ridge Winery, Santa Rosa
When: June 18, 5-7pm

Join the MJDC for a special performance designed specifically for the sculptures within an exhibition of sculpture “Geometric Expressions: Ten Years of Voigt Family Sculpture” at Paradise Ridge Winery. Check the MJDC website for the latest information. Wine and hos d’ oeuvres will be served and tickets are guaranteed to sell out.


Where: San Francisco International Arts Festival, Cowell Theater
When:  June 2-3

A work for shadow theater, dance, voice, and Balinese gamelan that paints a story of a mythic tyrant whose arrogance poisons the rivers of knowledge, arts, and culture, casting the world into chaos. Saraswati, the goddess of arts, language, and learning fights a magnificent battle to restore balance. Balinese artists Dewa Berata and Emiko Saraswati Susilo work together with Larry Reed to lead 35 performers in a collaboration that is culturally specific yet globally resonant—a work that seeks a path to heal the wounds of a fractured humanity.

Where:  Custom Made Theatre, San Francisco
When:  July 14-23

The Bay Area Playwrights Festival has been going strong for more than 40 years! The festival is one of the few opportunities that the general public is able to get an early glimpse of the original voices and new works that the Playwrights Foundation is incubating. Over two weekends you are able to see six outstanding new plays and, if you are lucky, witness a legacy in the making.

Where:  Various locations in Pleasanton, Cupertino, Redwood City and San Francisco
When:  July 1-October 1

To mark its 35th year as the Bay Area’s beloved provider of free and inviting Shakespeare performances and education programs, SF Shakes will present Hamlet for the first time at Free Shakespeare in the Park. The play, about the questionable succession of King Claudius to the throne, speaks strongly about disenfranchisement, frustration, and the need for action during troubled times. “To be or not to be…” dear colleagues? There is no excuse not to given the 32 performances throughout the Bay Area are free, family, and dog-friendly.

Where:  Various locations in Oakland and San Francisco
When: June 15-25

Frameline Film Festival is first and oldest film festival devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer programming. Films are well curated and screened at theaters in San Francisco and Oakland. Two standouts in the 2017 line-up include “I Dream in Another Language” about a 50-year feud between two of the last speakers of a dying indigenous language (in Spanish with English subtitles and winner of the Audience Award at Sundance). The other is “After Louie” about a survivor from the early years of HIV/AIDS, played by the always beguiling Alan Cumming (pictured).

Where:  Brava Theatre, San Francisco
When:  June 9-11

At their 13th annual San Francisco International Queen Women of Color Film Festival, they screen films created through their programs, in addition to films by independent filmmakers from around the world.  It is unlike any other film screening you’ve been to.  A theater full of friends and family who are gathering to not only watch a film together, but to experience something new, to think differently, build community, and to participate in deep, lasting social change.


Sigmund Stern Grove, San Francisco
Every Sunday at 2pm, June 25-August 7th

This concert series is presented at an outdoor venue located in a magnificent grove of trees. It has a classically Northern California ambiance. This year’s diverse lineup includes Mavis Staples, Fantastic Negrito, Los Angeles Azules, Amadou & Mariam, WAR, and Brazilian Girls. Bring a blanket, picnic on the grass and enjoy some great music. Perfect summertime fun!

Where:  SFJAZZ Center, Joe Henderson Lab
When: July 22 at 7pm and 8:30pm

Mariachi Flor de Toloache is a risk taking, genre-bending, all-women mariachi group, the first and only of its kind from New York City. With multiple influences and mariachi swagger, the music is a fresh take on traditional Mexican music. SF Jazz is a Bay Area arts and culture cornerstone with a year-round diverse lineup of world-class performers from around the globe. Not a mariachi fan? Check out SF Jazz’s website and we’re sure you’ll find something to spark your interest. The theater is medium sized, comfortable and there is not a bad seat in the house. Lots of good restaurants to choose from in the vicinity.

Where: Oakland Museum of California
When: Every Friday night, 5-10pm

Enjoy spring and summer with Friday Nights @ OMCA, an evening of local music, food, art, and culture! Friday Nights @ OMCA is open an extra hour later this spring and summer and expands onto Oak Street, adding five more food trucks to help quench your thirst for delicious local cuisine. Savor California beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages around the Koi Pond at the Blue Oak beer garden. Enjoy half-price admission, live music, hands-on activities for kids, a pop-up art market in the Redwood Burl area, and extended OMCA Store hours. Get a taste of the hottest in Bay Area culture and food at Friday Nights @ OMCA!

Where:  Mountain View Center for Performing Arts
When:  June 7– July 9

Following his triumph as Irving Berlin, the brilliant Hershey Felder now brings Ludwig van Beethoven to life through the eyes of a Viennese Doctor who as a boy spent Beethoven’s last years by the Maestro’s side. Featuring some of the composer’s greatest works, from the “Moonlight Sonata” to the “9th Symphony” and the “Emperor Concerto,” this intense, illuminating, and unforgettable journey through time will immerse you.

Where:  St Cyprian’s Church, San Francisco
When:  June 24 from 8-10pm

Notes Against the Ban features the music of the seven Muslim countries banned from traveling to the United States in January 27th’s Executive Order #13769.  The songs may be religious, secular or folk, but in every case will showcase the most-loved, most typical music from each country -- the music that makes people think of home. Performed by internationally renowned and local musicians, the concert will express the complexity and many cultural layers of the seven countries  Libya, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan-- with music acting as an ambassador from these countries to our own.

Where: Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose
When:  August 11-13

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2017 returns for its 28th festival season from Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13 in and around Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose. A showcase for jazz, blues, funk, R&B, salsa and related genres, SJZ Summer Fest is also nationally recognized as one of the biggest Latin festivals in the country. A standout summer destination for music lovers, concert-goers and families alike, the three-day event features 120+ performances on 10 stages, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to downtown throughout the weekend.

Where:  AT&T Park
When: June 30 at 7:30pm

The San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants invite you to Opera at the Ballpark.  This free performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni will be simulcast live from the War Memorial Opera House.  Join 30,000 fellow attendees for an unforgettable evening of opera – and garlic fries – under the stars!

Friday, February 17, 2017

February Art Exhibitions in Silicon Valley

Anderson Collection at Stanford University
FREE admission

Current Exhibitions:
Nick Cave through August 14, 2017


Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University
FREE admission

Current Exhibitions:
The Conjured Life: The Legacy of Surrealism through April 3, 2017
The Wonder of Everyday Life: Dutch Golden Age Prints through March 20, 2017

Upcoming Exhibitions:
The Eye and the Sky: Trevor Paglen in the Cantor Collection March 15, 2017- August 31, 2017


Euphrat Museum of Art at De Anza College
FREE admission

Current Exhibitions:
Justice for All? through March 23, 2017


The New Museum Los Gatos
$10 general admission

Current Exhibitions:
A Visible Journey in Time: Los Gatos History Project through April 9, 2017
McMoons:  How a Band of Scientists Saved Lunar Image History through May 14, 2017
Making Contact: SETI Artists in Residence through March 5, 2017
Cement Prairie: The History and Legacy of the 1952 American Indian Urban Relocation Program through June 25, 2017
Back From Extinction: Muwekma Ohlone's Heritage, History and Legacy through June 25, 2017
A Call to Collect through June 4, 2017

Upcoming Exhibitions:
Abstracts from Life March 23, 2017- September 10, 2017


San Jose Museum of Art 
$10 general admission

Current Exhibitions:
Beauty-Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial  through February 19, 2017
Your Mind, This Moment: Art and the Practice of Attention through August 27, 2017
Life and Labor: The Photographs of Milton Rogovin through March 19, 2017
Koret Family Gallery:  Art and Science through May 21, 2017

Upcoming Exhibitions:
Diana Al-Hadid: Liquid City February 24, 2017- September 24, 2017


Triton Museum of Art
FREE admission

Current Exhibitions:
Doug Glovaski through May 7, 2017

Upcoming Exhibitions:
Unlikely Elements: The Rhythm of Repetition by Bill Gould February 25, 2017- May 7, 2017


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Montalvo Arts Center Garden Walk

With all of this rain we've had in Northern California this past week, it's nice to go outside and enjoy the sun.  Today, I packed up some onigiri (Japanese rice balls) and green tea and went for a picnic and walk at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga.  Their grounds and gardens are free, so it's a great place to go on a self-guided sculpture tour or hike.  After a week of rain, their trails were a little too muddy today, so I sticked to their 1.5 acre Great Lawn and and Italianate Garden.  This place is dog and kid friendly, so bring your little ones and enjoy the outdoor public arts.

Andalucia, presented by the Flamenco Society of San Jose

Last night's performance of Andalucia at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts has me now a big fan of the Flamenco Society of San Jose.  Andalucia begins with Manuel Valencia on the guitar.  He plays slowly, beautifully.  His fingerpicking made me wish I never gave up the acoustic guitar.  (By now, I would've been halfway decent).  Manuel is then joined by percussionist Luis Carrasco, on his cajon, a wooden box whose sounds are deep, yet also reminiscent of a snare.  The pace quickens, and enters singer Lela Soto Sordera and dancer Antonio Molina "El Chorro."  At this point, the audience is enchanted.  Lela's strong voice commands attention, while Antonio's moves are electrifying.  For those who missed this memorable performance, there will be a second showing tonight (February 12th) at the La Pena Cultural Center (if not already sold out).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lunar New Year Celebration at the SF Symphony

This past weekend I attended the Lunar New Year celebration at the San Francisco Symphony.  There was an anti-Trump/no wall protest going on at Civic Center that afternoon, so it was an interesting mix of emotions in the streets.  The Lunar Celebration was festive with plenty of opportunities to take pictures with a giant laughing Buddha, colorful dragons and beauty queens. Many were dressed in red, some were dressed in Chinese silk outfits.  I think I was the only person there who looked like I was at a business meeting.  Mei-Ann Chen was the conductor.  She was funny, lively, and perfect for the captive audience eager to learn more about Eastern cultures.  San Francisco native, Amos Yang, beautifully played the cello.  Tang Jun Qian, also known for her work in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, played the dizi, a traditional bamboo flute.  Overall, the performance was fun and interactive with dancing dragons and opportunities to sing along to gong xi gong xi.