Bay Area Arts, 5 Shows You Should Know – Marin Independent Journal | Candle Made Easy

There are some great shows to see and hear in the Bay Area this weekend, here’s a partial overview.

We celebrate the music of the old days

The Bay Area may be the high-tech and social media communications capital of the 21st century, but its dedication to old-time music remains intact. Berkeley, in particular, has long nurtured a bustling scene of bluegrass, Americana and like-minded musicians, and is home to the annual Old Time Music Convention, which returns this weekend. Five days of concerts, competitions, workshops, jams and square dancing. The convention begins on September 21 at 8pm with a party and square dance at the Ashkenaz Club in Berkeley. Thursday through Sunday, there’s a steady stream of daily and nightly events at the Freight & Salvage Club and a variety of indoor and outdoor venues around Berkeley. The musicians represent a wide range of Bay Area and national acts including the Corn Potato String Band, Piedmont Bluz, New Vintage Revelers, Alice Gerrard, Ann Savoy, Earl White Stringband, Tatiana Hargreaves and many more.

Details: 21-25 Sept; various venues; opening party $18-20, cargo concerts $28-32;,

Flying high with Atticus Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a kind and decent lawyer, Atticus Finch, who raises two children while confronted in the courtroom with stubborn Depression-era American racism, was one of those books you were thankful to read at school. With Lee’s unique writing style, historical story and enriching relationship between Finch and his children, Mockingbird remains an unforgettable literary experience. The 1962 film version was no disgrace either – it’s hard to imagine a more satisfying screen version of Finch than Gregory Peck. The book has also made it onto the stage – receiving a 2011 production from Walnut Creek’s Center Repertory Company – with the most recent adaptation being by celebrated playwright, screenwriter and director Aaron Sorkin in 2018. This adaptation, directed by the Broadway hitmaker Bartlett Sher is now playing at the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco. Finch is played in this production by Richard Thomas (best known as John-Boy from the TV series The Waltons), who seems like the perfect choice for a timeless character like Finch. Expect Sorkin’s remake to pay tribute to the original story while also incorporating observations about contemporary racist attitudes.

Details: Until October 9; $56-$256 (subject to change);

– Bay Area News Foundation

A dance about almost everything

The new multimedia production from San Francisco-based Dancing Earth touches on a variety of topics, from renewable energy and cultural heritage to togetherness and community, to finding humor in a society bent on self-destruction.

Between Underworld and Skyworld uses dance, storytelling, song and music, puppetry and immersive multimedia imagery to tell the story of young people from all types of cultures who seek humor, resilience and common ground in an apocalyptic world. Along the way, they delve into topics such as the quest for sustainable energy and lifestyles, and ways to bridge cultural differences.

Founded and directed by Rulan Tangen, Dancing Earth is a San Francisco-based performance group that collaborates with writers and artists, including Native Americans, people of color, and others, whose stories and talents are not often experienced in mainstream art productions.

Between Underworld and Skyworld will open the new season at the Presidio Theater in San Francisco.

Details: 7 p.m. Sept 24, 2 p.m. Sept 25; Presidio Theater, 99 Moraga Ave., San Francisco; $25-$45;,

– Randy McMullen, Associate

Brilliance flourishes in San Jose

San Jose’s City Lights Theater Company kicks off its 40th season with Every Brilliant Thing, the hit feel-good show about sadness.

Created by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe, the show is about a child whose mother is suffering from depression and is in the hospital after “doing something stupid,” as his father puts it. So he starts making lists to give his mom of all the brilliant and wonderful things he can think of, from funny movies to ice cream to a laugh out of his nose. As the protagonist grows older, he constantly updates the list and finds new ways to deal with his mother’s illness.

Although Brilliant is usually presented as a solo show, City Lights’ production is technically a duo performance, with Tasi Alabastro doing the speaking and Danish K. Lentz singing in American Sign Language. It also encourages some audience participation as the actors encourage viewers to share their own “brilliant things”. Also, unlike most theatrical performances, the show will employ standing room to encourage the informality of the production.

Brilliant originated as a short story by English playwright Macmillan and was developed into an 80 minute solo show with the help of comedian Donahoe. It premiered at the 2013 Ludlow Fringe Festival and has since performed around the world. HBO also made a film adaptation of Donahoe’s Broadway performance of the work. It can still be streamed on HBO Max.

Details: Until October 16; City Lights Theater, San Jose; $26-$54;

– Randy McMullen, Associate

Sculpture fair makes waves

For the third time, Menlo College is hosting the Silicon Valley Sculpture Fine Art Fair, featuring 30 works by local and national artists that will be spread across the college campus. Guests are invited to roam the grounds and take in the evocative and provocative works.

The theme of this year’s show is water – timely as the state finds itself in the midst of a prolonged drought. But the theme goes deeper, intended to raise awareness of issues such as ocean acidification, the fragility of its ecosystems, and the monumental impact of water on every aspect of life.

In addition to viewings of sculptures, the three-day fair on Saturday will also feature film screenings and a panel discussion on art and sustainability. Can sculptors create eco-friendly works? Can they help reduce our carbon footprint?

If you’re only interested in art and are attracted to a specific work, know that Sunday’s fair will also be auctioning off select sculptures.

Details: 23 Sept 12-6pm 9am-6pm 24 Sept 10am-3pm Set. 25; Menlo College, 1000 El Camino Real, Atherton; $25-$35,

— Brittany Delay, staff

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