13 July 2020

Museum Monday 2020/28

detail of a "bureau-cabinet" from England, around 1730, now in the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

06 July 2020

Museum Monday 2020/27

Shimomura Crossing the Delaware, by Roger Shimomura, seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; as a child, Shimomura and his family were put into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans

26 June 2020

22 June 2020

Museum Monday 2020/25

an 18th century Italian altar set in gilt bronze by Leandro Gagliardi, with Cristoforo Stati's Samson and the Lion in the background, in the Art Institute of Chicago

16 June 2020

Your God was a Jew

Off with you, says Martin to the jarvey.

The milkwhite dolphin tossed his mane and, rising in the golden poop, the helmsman spread the bellying sail upon the wind and stood off forward with all sail set, the spinnaker to larboard. A many comely nymphs drew nigh to starboard and to larboard and, clinging to the sides of the noble bark, they linked their shining forms as doth the cunning wheelwright when he fashions about the heart of his wheel the equidistant rays whereof each one is sister to another and he binds them all with an outer ring and giveth speed to the feet of men whenas they ride to a hosting or contend for the smile of ladies fair. Even so did they come and set them, those willing nymphs, the undying sisters. And they laughed, sporting in a circle of their foam: and the bark clave the waves.

But begob I was just lowering the heel of the pint when I saw the citizen getting up to waddle to the door, puffing and blowing with the dropsy and he cursing the curse of Cromwell on him, bell, book and candle in Irish, spitting and spatting out of him and Joe and little Alf round him like a leprechaun trying to peacify him.

– Let me alone, says he.

And begob he got as far as the door and they holding him and he bawls out of him:

– Three cheers for Israel!

Arrah, sit down on the parliamentary side of your arse for Christ' sake and don't be making a public exhibition of yourself. Jesus, there's always some bloody clown or other kicking up a bloody murder about bloody nothing. Gob, it'd turn the porter sour in your guts, so it would.

And all the ragamuffins and sluts of the nation round the door and Martin telling the jarvey to drive ahead and the citizen bawling and Alf and Joe at him to whisht and he on his high horse about the jews and the loafers calling for a speech and Jack Power trying to get him to sit down on the car and hold his bloody jaw and a loafer with a patch over his eye starts singing If the man in the moon was a jew, jew, jew and a slut shouts out of her:

– Eh, mister! Your fly is open, mister!

And says he:

– Mendelssohn was a jew and Karl Marx and Mercadante and Spinoza. And the Saviour was a jew and his father was a jew. Your God.

– He had no father, says Martin. That'll do now. Drive ahead.

– Whose God? says the citizen.

– Well, his uncle was a jew, says he. Your God was a jew. Christ was a jew like me.

Gob, the citizen made a plunge back into the shop.

– By Jesus, says he, I'll  brain that bloody jewman for using the holy name. By Jesus, I'll crucify him so I will. Give us that biscuitbox here.

– Stop! Stop! says Joe.

Once again, a very happy Bloomsday to my mountain flowers.

15 June 2020

Museum Monday 2020/24

Day* from Day & Night (El día y la noche) by Antonio López García, outside of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

* That's the official title, but I think of it as Giant Creepy Baby Head

12 June 2020

Friday Photo 2020/24

detail of a building in Chicago, October 2019 (not sure what it was originally built as, but it's now a Bloomingdale's)

08 June 2020

01 June 2020

11 May 2020

04 May 2020

01 May 2020

27 April 2020

Museum Monday 2020/17

a detail of Midsummer Night or Iris by John Atkinson Grimshaw, in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

20 April 2020

13 April 2020

Museum Monday 2020/15

Edith Wharton by Edward Harrison May, from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery: yes, that is the future novelist, having her portrait done as an eight-year-old, because she really was from the social class she (mostly) wrote about

03 April 2020

Friday Photo 2020/14

stairway at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art (formerly the US Patent Office)

30 March 2020

27 March 2020

16 March 2020

Yeah, none of this is happening: fun stuff I may or may not get to: April 2020

This is as far as I got with my April preview last week when events started happening very quickly; first a couple of presenters cancelled, and then there was a flurry that was difficult to keep up with, until it became safest to assume that whatever you were looking forward to was not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. We had galleries for a few days, or maybe it was hours, until most museums went from cancelling events to closing down entirely. Now bars, restaurants, and gyms are being shut, and in my California county we are being told to "shelter in place" as much as possible for several weeks.

So what can you do? First, take care of yourself. Follow recommended and reasonable precautions, particularly if you are in a high-risk category: wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your mouth (preferably vampire-style) when you cough or sneeze, disinfectant questionable surfaces, avoid crowds.

And I don't need to tell you how to entertain yourselves; we live in a time of unprecedented access to books and movies and recorded music. If you can spare the money, now would be a good time to donate to your favorite arts groups. Donating back the tickets to cancelled events instead of asking for a refund would be a worthwhile supportive gesture. Lisa Hirsch has a list of livestream links and ways to assist artists and performing arts groups.

And, of course, there's a grotesque obscene toad squatting over the Executive Branch, but he's just a symptom: his entire party has been dedicated for years to destroying whatever social safety net actually exists in this country, villainizing the poor, blaming the unlucky for their own misery, and, of course, destroying whatever tiny support for the non-corporate arts exists. Next time you have to vote, remember that, and BURN. THOSE. MOTHERFUCKERS. DOWN.


Aurora Theater has Joe Orton's sardonic farce Loot, directed by Tom Ross, from 3 April to 3 May.

New Conservatory Theater presents the west coast premiere of Donja R Love's Sugar in Our Wounds,  a love story between two male slaves in Civil War-era America, directed by Shawnj West, from 3 April to 10 May.

The Berkeley Playhouse presents In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's first musical, from 3 April to 3 May.

Cutting Ball Theater offers Cyrano, a new version of Rostand classic by Marissa Skudlarek, directed by Ariel Craft, from 9 April to 10 May. I think very highly of Skudlarek, but I'm not sure that's enough for me to get over my basic dislike of the play (in case you're wondering, and of course you are, I dislike it for the same reason I dislike Auntie Mame and most drag queens: theoretically, they show us all the way to live capital-L Life, but in reality the relentless self-dramatizing of one's own fabulosity just sucks the air and energy out of every room).

The African-American Shakespeare Company closes its current season with Noël Coward's Private Lives, running from 11 to 26 April at the Marines' Memorial Theater; the only other time I saw this play, it starred Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, both about 100 years too old for their parts, and the production left me traumatized for decades; perhaps this version, set in the sophisticated milieu of black society in 1920s Paris, can help me, at long last, to heal.

42nd Street Moon revives the Adler & Ross musical The Pajama Game, directed by Ryan Weible with music direction by Dave Dobrusky, from 15 April to 3 May at the Gateway Theater.

The Shotgun Players Champagne Reading Series hosts Anna Moench's Man of God, directed by Michelle Talgarow, on 20 - 21 April (Henry V is on the mainstage through 19 April),

ACT presents Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show from 23 April to 17 May at the Geary Theater, in case you feel like doing the Time Warp again. I did think this was an odd choice for ACT, as Ray of Light Theater presents this show every year around Halloween; it's a fun show but that's a lot of theatrical real estate it's taking up.

Cal Performances presents John Malkovich in The Music Critic, conceived and written by violinist Aleksey Igudesman, in Zellerbach Hall on 30 April; Malkovich is the eponymous critic, attacking classics of the repertory until the musicians stop playing those pieces and switch to one attacking him.


Philharmonia Baroque is giving us the glorious gift of a fully staged production of Leclair's Scylla et Glaucus, conducted by Nicholas McGegan and starring Chantal Santon Jeffery, Aaron Sheehan, Véronique Gens, Judith van Wanroij, Douglas Williams, and the New York Baroque Dance Company; all performances are in Herbst Theater, 15 and 17 - 19 April.

Pocket Opera presents its version of Wagner's early opera Das Liebesverbot (which is his version of Measure for Measure): No Love Allowed, directed by Nicolas A Garcia with music director Jonathan Khuner, and that's 26 April at the Hillside Club in Berkeley and 3 May at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.


The San Francisco Symphony presents Yefim Bronfman in an all-Beethoven solo piano recital on 5 April at Davies Hall.

On 17 April Old First Concerts and the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco present pianist Gabriele Baldocci playing Liszt's transcription of the Beethoven 5, along with other works by Baldocci himself, including improvisations on Beethoven.

Louis Langrée leads the San Francisco Symphony on 23 - 25 April in the Mozart 31,the Paris, the Mozart Violin Concerto 3 with soloist James Ehnes, and the Beethoven 5.


At the San Francisco Symphony on 16 - 18 April Teddy Abrams conducts Barber's Second Essay for Orchestra, the Tchaikovsky 5, and Mason Bates's Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra (a west coast premiere and SFS co-commission).

The San Francisco Symphony presents Europe's Chineke! Orchestra, conducted by Kevin John Edusei, on 19 April, when they will perform the Brahms 2, Coleridge-Taylor's Ballade for Orchestra in A minor, and Stewart Goodyear's Callaloo – a Caribbean Suite, featuring the composer as solo pianist.

Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan crosses the bay on 30 April and 1 - 2 May to lead the San Francisco Symphony in the SFS premieres of Carlos Simon's AMEN! and Florence Price's Symphony 3 in C minor, along with the Brahms Alto Rhapsody (with soloist mezzo-soprano Melody Wilson) and Franck's Le Chasseur maudit (The Cursed Hunter).


The San Francisco Symphony Chorus gives its annual concert on 4 April in Davies Hall, when Ragnar Bohlin will lead them in Bach's Magnificat, Handel's Dixit Dominus, and Arvo Pärt's Salve Regina.

Lynne Morrow will lead the Oakland Symphony Chorus in a Passover/Easter concert on 18 April at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, where you can hear selections from Bach's St Matthew Passion and Handel's Messiah and Israel in Egypt as well as seasonal works by modern composers.

Clerestory goes Into the West on 18 April at the David Brower Center in Berkeley and on 19 April at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Robert Geary leads the San Francisco Choral Society in Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, and works by Duruflé and Bruckner at Calvary Presbyterian in San Francisco on 18 and 19 April.


The San Francisco Opera's Schwabacher Recital Series has two concerts this month: on 1 April mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon and pianist Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad will perform works by Gabriel Fauré, Fernando Jaumandreu Obradors, Maurice Ravel, Manuel de Falla, Franz Liszt, Carlos Guastavino, Claude Debussy, and others; and on 22 April soprano Esther Tonea, tenor Victor Starsky. and baritone Timothy Murray with pianist Warren Jones will perform works by Amy Beach, Charles Ives, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Rossini, Verdi, and Liszt.

On 19 April Old First Concerts presents the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco with guest artist Simone McIntosh (a mezzo-soprano and current Adler Fellow) in Respighi's Il tramonto along with Debussy's String Quartet.

Tenor Mark Padmore visits San Francisco Performances (both times at Herbst Theater) this month; on 27 April he and pianist Marc-André Hamelin will perform Schubert's Winterreise, and on 29 April he will perform arias by Bach and Handel accompanied by the San Francisco Conservatory Baroque Ensemble.

Chamber Music

The Spektral Quartet comes to Cal Performances and Hertz Hall on 5 April to perform works by Philip Glass, Franz Schubert, and Samuel Adams (a world premiere and Cal Performances co-commission).

Old First Concerts presents Kiku Day and Cornelius Boots, both masters of natural (jinashi) and bass-size Zen bamboo flutes, along with special guests the Heavy Roots Shakuhachi Ensemble (Kevin Chen, Chris Adkins, and Darrell Hayden) on 5 April.

The San Francisco Symphony presents a chamber music concert in Davies Hall on 26 April, featuring Bryce Dessner's Murder Ballades, Bloch's Concertino for Flute, Viola, and Piano, and Dvořák's Piano Trio in E minor, the Dumky.

San Francisco Performances, that reliably excellent presenter of intimate concerts featuring the celebrated and the soon-to-be-so, is celebrating its 40th anniversary year on 26 April at Herbst Theater with a special concert featuring Marc-André Hamelin playing his new quintet with the Alexander String Quartet, and tenor Nicholas Phan performing a new song cycle by composer Gabriel Kahane; in honor of the 40th anniversary, all seats are $40. It's always tricky calling these things in advance, but this looks special.

Keyboards & Strings

The KDFC Salon Series at San Francisco Performances continues on 15 April at the Education Studio in the War Memorial Veterans Building on Van Ness with pianist Edward Simon and flutist Marcos Granados playing music of South American (both men are from Venezuela), including works by Simón Díaz and Simon's own Venezuelan Suite.

San Francisco Performances presents pianist Marc-André Hamelin performing works by Scriabin, Prokofiev, Feinberg, and Schubert at Herbst Theater on 23 April (Hamelin will be back at Herbst on the 26th as part of SFP's 40th anniversary concert and on the 27th with Mark Padmore to perform Winterreise; see the former under Chamber Music and the latter under Vocalists).

The San Francisco Symphony presents cellist Gautier Capuçon and pianist Yuja Wang in recital at Davies Hall on 28 April, when they will play works by Chopin and Franck.

Modern / Contemporary Music

Other Minds Festival 25, Moment's Notice, will explore improvised music from 2 to 5 April in the Taube Atrium Theater; you may buy a pass for all four days or just tickets to individual concerts.

Slow Wave (clarinetist Kyle Beard, violist Justine Preston, and pianist Naomi Stine), a group dedicated to "exploring the slower end of the sound wave spectrum",  comes to Old First Concerts on 24 April, when they will play selections from Max Bruch's Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, along with Paraphrase by Brett Austin Eastman and world premieres from Bryan Lin, Emma Logan, and Kyle Hovatter.

Center for New Music

World Music

Yamato: The Drummers of Japan comes to Cal Performances on 7 April.

Cal Performances presents Bollywood Boulevard: A Journey Through Hindi Cinema Live at Zellerbach Hall on 9 April.


Trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar brings his Rivers of Sound Orchestra to Cal Performances and Zellerbach Hall on 14 April, when they will continue their exploration of western jazz and traditional middle eastern sounds.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater makes its annual visit to Cal Performances with four different programs in Zellerbach Hall from 31 March to 5 April.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch returns to Cal Performances and Zellerbach Hall from 24 to 26 April with Palermo Palermo.

Museum Monday 2020/11

the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, June 2019

13 March 2020

09 March 2020

Museum Monday 2020/10

a detail of one of the quilt tops from Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective, on view at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive until 19 July

02 March 2020

Museum Monday 2020/9

detail of a painted door from Tibet, currently on view at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as part of the special exhibit Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment

25 February 2020

fun stuff I may or may not get to: March 2020

ACT presents Lydia R Diamond's Toni Stone, directed by Pam MacKinnon and choreographed by Camille A Brown (who also choreographed this season's Porgy and Bess at the Met, if you saw that either live or live cast), at the Geary Theater from 5 to 29 March; this is the true story of the first woman to play professional baseball on a men's team, the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League.

Custom Made Theater along with Those Women Productions offers the world premiere of The Lady Scribblers by Michaela Goldhaber, directed by Tracy Ward, from 6 to 29 March; we are promised a play written in the style of its subjects, the women playwrights of the Restoration.

The New Conservatory Theater presents the world premiere of The Book of Mountains and Seas by Yilong Liu, directed by Becca Wolf, from 6 March to 5 April.

Gil Marsalla directs Anne Carrere in Paris! Le Spectacle, a celebration of French popular songs of the post-WWII era, at Herbst Theater on 19 March, presented by SF Jazz.

Berkeley Rep presents School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh, directed by Awoye Timpo, from 19 March to 3 May.

Over at Shotgun Players, Patrick Dooley directs Henry V; you may go once more unto the breach from 19 March to 19 April at the Ashby Stage.

Austria's Mnozil Brass brings Cirque to Zellerbach Hall on 21 March under the aegis of Cal Performances.

Cal Performances presents actress and activist Laverne Cox at Zellerbach Hall on 12 March.

Benjamin Balint talks about the posthumous history of Franz Kafka's papers, a saga that might best be described as "Kafkaesque", on 31 March at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco; the event is free but you are asked to make advance reservations.

Pocket Opera presents its adaptation of Don Giovanni on 1 March at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, 8 March  at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and 15 March at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto; they follow that with a double-bill of Offenbach's The Cat Who Became a Woman and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana on 29 March at the Hillside Club and 5 April at the Legion of Honor (except for the Palo Alto show, these are all matinees).

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music Baroque Ensemble, led by Corey Jamason and Elisabeth Reed, will perform Handel's Ottone (in concert rather than staged) on 15 March; the performance is free but reservations are recommended.

Desiree Mays will speak to the Wagner Society of Northern California about The Wagner Dynasty and Changing Philosophies at Bayreuth on 21 March at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.

One Found Sound presents Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat on 28 March at the 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco.

San Francisco Opera's Schwabacher Debut Recital series continues on 4 March at the Taube Atrium Theater where mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh, tenor Zhengyi Bai, and pianist Robert Mollicone will perform works by Messiaen, Bellini, and Richard Strauss.

The SF Jazz Center presents the west coast premiere of Ogresse, a 90-minute song cycle created by Cécile McLorin Salvant in collaboration with Darcy James Argue, who will lead the chamber ensemble that accompanies Salvant, and that's 11 March at the Paramount Theater in Oakland (not the Jazz Center in San Francisco).

The San Francisco Symphony presents An Evening with Bernadette Peters, and the evening in question is 27 March, at Davies Hall.

Sacred & Profane joins with the Circadian String Quartet to perform works for choir and string in a program they're calling Luminous Resonance, featuring pieces by Beethoven, David Conte, Eric Whitacre, and Karin Rehnqvist, and you can hear them 13 March at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley and 14 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6, a celebration of the Manhattan Transfer's 45th anniversary, on 20 March in Zellerbach Hall.

Paul Flight leads Chora Nova in Marvelous Miniatures: Songs for Chorus (including Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music) on 21 March at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Pianist Jonathan Biss completes his traversal of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas for Cal Performances on 7 and 8 March at Hertz Hall.

Old First Concerts launches BEET250VEN, a series of four festivals celebrating you-know-who's you-know-what, on 15 March, with a three-hour concert meant to evoke those of Beethoven's time, when a fairly miscellaneous set of movements, arias, and short chamber works would provide the entertainment and enlightenment; this concert will be followed by a beer & bratwurst reception.

The Alexander String Quartet and Host / Lecturer Robert Greenberg continue their Saturday morning exploration of the Beethoven String Quartets for San Francisco Performances at Herbst Theater on 21 March with the String Quartet 13 in B-flat Major, Opus 130 and the Fugue for String Quartet in B-flat minor, Opus 133.

Cal Performances presents the Rotterdam Philharmonic, conducted by Lahav Shani, in Zellerbach Hall on 22 March, when they will perform Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra and Beethoven's Piano Concerto 5, the Emperor (with soloist Nelson Freire).

Sir András Schiff will play some of Beethoven's piano sonatas at Herbst Theater on 26 March for San Francisco Performances.

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in the Mahler 6 on 6 March.

On 8 March in Davies Hall the San Francisco Symphony presents the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, headed by concertmaster and solo violinist Michael Barenboim, playing works by Schubert, Tartini, Mendelssohn, and a new work by Benjamin Attahir commissioned by the Ensemble.

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in his own Street Song for Symphonic Brass, the Shostakovich Cello Concerto 2 (with soloist Gautier Capuçon), and Stravinsky's Firebird, and that's on 12 - 14 March.

Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque in Cherubini's Overture to Démophoon, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto (with soloist Alana Youssefian), and the Schubert 9, the Great; that's 11 March at Bing Concert Hall in Palo Alto, 13 March at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 14 - 15 March at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Music Director Michael Morgan conducts the Oakland Symphony on 20 March at the Paramount Theater in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Ballade, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with soloist Rubén Rengel, and the Brahms 4.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music Chamber Orchestra, led by Steven Schick, will perform Messiaen's Des Canyons aux étoiles on 20 March.

Music Director Joseph Young leads the Berkeley Symphony in a jazz-inflected program on 26 March at Zellerbach Hall, featuring Darius Milhaud's La creation du monde, Gershwin's An American in Paris, and trumpet soloist Sean Jones in Bernd Alois Zimmerman's Trumpet Concerto as well as (with the Berkeley High Jazz Combo) Gunther Schuller's Journey into Jazz.

Chamber Music
Nomad Session will perform works by Grieg, Percy Grainger, Roger Zare, and Marc Mellits on 6 March as part of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music's Alumni Artist Insights Series; the concert is free but reservations are required. You can hear them again on 29 March at Old First Concerts, when they will play works by Holst, Malcolm Arnold, Percy Grainger, and Marc Mellits.

San Francisco Performances presents the superb Pavel Haas Quartet with pianist Boris Giltburg on 10 March at Herbst Theater, where they will play an all-eastern-European program by Bohuslav Martinů, Antonín Dvořák, and Béla Bartók.

Chamber Music SF presents the Quatuor Danel on 14 March at Herbst Theater, where they will play works by Debussy, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky.

San Francisco Performances presents violist Tabea Zimmermann and pianist Javier Perianes performing works by Schubert, Brahms, de Falla, Albéniz, Villa-Lobos, and Piazzolla at Herbst Theater on 27 March.

San Francisco Performances presents the Jerusalem Quartet playing Haydn, Shostakovich, and Brahms on 28 March in Herbst Theater.

Keyboards & Strings
Cal Performances presents pianist Louis Lortie performing Liszt's Années de pèlerinage in Hertz Hall on 1 March.

Old First Concerts presents pianist Enrico Elisi in a Chopin birthday concert on 1 March; the program is mostly Chopin, of course, but also includes pieces by Bach and Liszt; the doors open early for champagne and birthday cake.

Chamber Music SF presents pianist Olga Kern, with special guest pianist Vladislav Kern, on 1 March at Herbst Theater, playing pieces by Beethoven, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, and Balakirev.

Improvisational pianist Hiromi Uehara will perform at the SF Jazz Center from 12 to 15 March.

Guitarist David Russell will play works by de Saint-Luc, Couperin, Regondi, Bach, Assad, and Barrios on 21 March at Herbst Theater for San Francisco Performances.

The San Francisco Symphony presents pianist Hélène Grimaud in a solo recital at Davies Hall on 22 March, when she will play pieces by Valentin Silvestrov, Debussy, Satie, and Chopin,

Pianist Rafal Blechacz will visit Herbst Theater on 29 March under the auspices of Chamber Music SF, and he will be performing works by Bach, Beethoven, Franck, and Chopin.

Garrick Ohlsson returns to San Francisco Performances and Herbst Theater on 31 March for the final concert in his two-year, four-concert survey of the complete music for solo piano by Brahms.

Early / Baroque Music
On 19 March at the Italian Cultural Institute you can help Ars Minerva usher in the first day of Quinquatria (an ancient Roman festival of Etruscan origin dedicated to Minerva and celebrating the spring equinox with women's rebirth rites); Artistic Director Céline Ricci, harpsichordist Kelly Savage, soprano Aura Veruni, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, artist Entropy, and Professor Lisa Pieraccini from UC-Berkeley will discuss Ars Minerva's future projects and the history of Quinquatria and there will be music by Claudio Monteverdi, Antonia Bembo, and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre; admission is free but an RSVP is required.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents violinist Rachel Barton Pine and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour in an all-Bach program of sonatas and partitas on 20 March at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 21 March at First Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 22 March at Church of the Advent in San Francisco.

The Cantata Collective offers its next free concert on 22 March at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley, where Eric Tuan will lead the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir along with adult soloists Michael Jankosky (tenor) and Simon Barrad (bass) in BWV 95 and BWV 139.

Old First Concerts hosts the Junior Bach Festival on 22 March.

Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in Faire Is the Heaven, a program of works by Bach, Bruhns, Buxtehude, Rosenmuller, Weckmann, and Schütz (the Musikalische Exequien) with soloists Nola Richardson and Clara Rottsolk (sopranos), Nicholas Burns (countertenor), James Reese and Steven Brennfleck (tenors), and Jesse Blumberg and Jared Daniel Jones (baritones), and that's 27 March at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 28 March at First Congregational in Berkeley, 29 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 30 March at Davis Community Church in Davis.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The 11th Annual Hot Air Music Festival, a student-led, day-long, free exploration of contemporary sounds, is 1 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble explores the world of fairy tales on 8 March at the Berkeley Hillside Club and 9 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; they will perform Schumann's Fairytale Pieces Opus 113, along with Chris Castro's Coyote Goes to the Sky and Birds of Fortune (these are Left Coast commissions, featuring guest story-teller Susan Strauss), and the world premiere of Carl Schimmel's Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

Ensemble for These Times presents Mothers & Daughters on 8 March at the Noe Valley Ministry; the program features world premieres of Ensemble-commissioned works by Elinor Armer, David Garner, and Brennan Stokes, along with works by Anna Clyne, William Grant Still, and Chen Yi.

The Del Sol String Quartet hosts the second annual Pacific Pythagorean Music Festival on 21 March at Old First Concerts; the festival is "devoted to music that uses mathematically 'pure ratios'" and this year features the world premiere of the late Ben Johnston's Symphony in A and a new work by Jung Yoon Wie as well as other, as yet unspecified, pieces (the predicted run time of the concert is four hours).

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players offer a weekend celebrating Louis Andriessen's 80th birthday and his influence on following generations of composers; on 27 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music you can hear works by Angelica Negrón, Kamran Adib, Moya Gotham, and David Chisholm as well as Andriessen, and on 28 March at Flight Deck (1540 Broadway in Oakland, easily accessible by BART) you can hear works by Missy Mazzoli, Taylor Joshua Rankin, and David Chisholm, as well as more Andriessen; more information is here.

Ninth Planet New Music (created last year in a merger of Wild Rumpus and Composers Inc) presents the west coast premiere of Jack Frerer's Spiral Sequences as well as other, as yet unspecified, new pieces on 27 March at Old First Concerts.

Earplay offers its second concert of the season, Earthly Luminosities, on 30 March at the Taube Atrium Theater, where they will perform US premieres by Brian R Banks and Haris Kittos and a world premiere (and Earplay commission) by Josiah Catalan, along with works by George Walker and this season's featured composer, Kaija Saariaho.

And here's my monthly review of concerts that caught my eye (and potentially my ears) at the Center for New Music (to confess my bias: I don't much like electronica, electric guitars, or rock, and am likely to omit any events that might rely too heavily on those things; you can always check out the full calendar here): student composers, performers, and poets at San Francisco State University hold their third annual Songfest on 6 March; there's music by Ric Louchard and Michael Rothkopf on 8 March; Desert Magic and Meg Baird premiere a new song cycle based mostly on Ursula Le Guin's version of the Tao Te Ching on 14 March; the Taylor Ho Bynum Quartet pays a visit on 16 March; and Rory Cowal performs solo piano works by George Lewis, Kris Davis,and Anthony Davis on 28 March.

Davina & the Vagabonds and Hot Club of Cowtown play the SF Jazz Center on 8 March.

The San Francisco Ballet presents three programs this month: Program 4, A Midsummer Night's Dream (music by Mendelssohn, choreography by Balanchine) runs from 6 to 15 March; Program 5, featuring 7 for Eight (music by Bach, choreography by Helgi Tomasson), Mrs Robinson (a world premiere, with music by Terry Davies and choreography by Cathy Marston), and Anima Animus (music by Ezio Bosso, choreography by David Dawson) runs from 24 March  to 4 April; and Program 6, featuring Classical Symphony (music by Prokofiev, choreography by Yuri Possokhov), Appassionata (music by Beethoven, choreography by Benjamin Millepied, staged by Janie Taylor and Sebastien Marcovici), and The Seasons (music by Glazunov, choreography by Alexei Ratmansky) runs from 26 March to 5 April.

The Joffrey Ballet returns to Zellerbach Hall under the auspices of Cal Performances on 6 - 8 March, when they will perform works choreographed by Stephanie Martinez (Bliss!, a California premiere, with music by Stravinsky), Nicolas Blanc (Beyond the Shore, a Bay Area premiere and Cal Performances co-commission, with music by Mason Bates), Justin Peck (The Times Are Racing, a west coast premiere with music by Dan Deacon), and Liam Scarlett (Vespertine, a California premiere with music by Bjarte Eike, Dowland, Corelli, and Geminiani.

Cal Performances presents innovative tap ensemble Dorrance Dance on 13 - 15 March at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Beloved ballet parody group Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to Cal Performances and Zellerbach Hall on 14 - 15 March.

Visual Arts
Starting 4 March (and running until 24 May) the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive is hosting When All That Is Solid Melts into Air: Exploring the Intersection of the Folk and the Modern in Postcolonial India.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, a showing of the late painter's personal effects, opens at the de Young Museum on 21 March and runs until 26 July. It will be interesting to see if this show offers anything more than a chance for the museum to cash in on the lucrative cult of Kahlo.

The San Francisco Symphony presents Buster Keaton in The General, with live accompaniment on the organ by Cameron Carpenter, at Davies Hall on 22 March (I love Keaton and realize this film is from a different time, but it's always been difficult for me to accept that the hero he plays is a Confederate soldier).

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive launches a number of interesting film series this month: the African Film Festival 2020 starts 4 March (Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé will appear in person from 12 to 15 March, in conversation with Nigerian writer and scholar Akin Adesokan, in conjunction with the three films by Cissé being shown); Francis Ford Coppola and 50 Years of American Zoetrope starts 5 March, and in addition to films by Coppola includes Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Kagemusha, and KoyaanisqatsiEast Meets West: The Films of Ulrike Ottinger starts on 8 March, in conjunction with the exhibit of her photographs opening at the museum on 25 March (she is the cinematographer as well as director of her films); the GLAS Animation Festival at BAMPFA 2020 runs this year from 20 to 22 March; and The Cinema of the Absurd: Eastern European Film 1950–1989 starts 26 March – there's lots this month for the cinematically adventurous.

24 February 2020

Museum Monday 2020/8

a bas-relief plaque showing a Portuguese man, made from a copper alloy about 1530 - 70; the anonymous artist was African but my blurred and partial photograph of the label doesn't tell me where in Africa and I couldn't find this item in the on-line collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

17 February 2020

14 February 2020

Friday Photo 2020/7

lanterns for the lunar new year at the Westfield Mall in San Francisco

10 February 2020

Museum Monday 2020/6

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, in the Art Institute of Chicago (I always have to remind myself this painting isn't titled Sunday in the Park with George)

03 February 2020

Museum Monday 2020/5

a reclining lion and lioness modeled for the Meissen porcelain factory in the mid-eighteenth century by Johann Joachim Kaendler, who perhaps was more used to seeing pug dogs than lions; in the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

31 January 2020

fun stuff I may or may not get to: February 2020

In the years I've been doing these previews, I don't recall another month that has had so many last minute switches and cancellations, or performers yet to announce their programs, or concerts that turned out to be sold out (as I generally don't include those) . . . I hope the listings below are accurate, but please let me know if you spot any errors.

The Ubuntu Theater Project opens its 2020 season with a three-actor version of Macbeth, directed by Michael Socrates Moran, from 7 February to 8 March at the FLAX Building in Oakland; Ubuntu is also presenting A Plurality of One: The Song of Walt Whitman, created and directed by Joe Christiano with a soundscape by Justin J Jones, examining the legacy of Whitman's Song of Myself, and that runs Wednesdays and Saturdays (matinees) from 12 to 29 February.

ACT presents Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Eric Ting, from 13 February to 12 April at the Strand Theater.

Gatz, Elevator Repair Service's celebrated six-hour rendition of the The Great Gatsby in its entirety, comes to Berkeley Rep from 13 to 23 February, directed by John Collins; I've heard nothing but raves about this but . . . I still hesitate. It's always a question whether the fascinations of a performance can counteract the claustrophobic irritations of sitting in the audience, and six hours is a long time to feel trapped.

Theater Rhinoceros presents the world premiere of Radical, written and directed by John Fisher, taking on the world of politics, mostly local but no doubt also national, and that's at the Sparks Art Gallery (4229 18th Street in San Francisco) between 13 February and 1 March.

The African-American Shakespeare Company examines cultural stereotypes of black women in Karani Marcia Leslie Johnson's The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae, directed by Sherri Young, which runs from 15 February to 1 March at the Taube Atrium Theater.

Culture Clash comes to Berkeley Rep from 20 February to 5 April with Culture Clash (Still) in America, their latest satirical take on American culture from a Chicano viewpoint.

Cal Performances presents We Shall Overcome, a mostly musical celebration of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, featuring Damien Sneed along with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and others, in Zellerbach Hall on 20 February.

Cal Performances presents Hotel from Cirque Éloize in Zellerbach Hall on 22 - 23 February.

The Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hayward presents Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy, directed by John Maio, from 20 February to 8 March.

Golden Thread Productions and Crowded Fire Theater explore the worlds of migrants and refugees in Sedef Ecer's On the Periphery, translated from the Turkish by Evren Odcikin and directed by Erin Gilley, from 23 February to 4 April at the Potrero Stage.

42nd Street Moon presents A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, based on the same source material as the film Kind Hearts and Coronets and winner of the 2014 Tony winner for Best Music, from 26 February to 15 March.

Cal Performances presents John Cameron Mitchell in The Origin of Love Tour, with special guest Amber Martin, featuring songs by Stephen Trask from and inspired by the beloved music Hedwig and the Angry Inch; that's in Zellerbach Hall on 29 February.

Clerestory celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment with Suffragette, a program including suffrage songs and "innovative female perspectives in modern composition", and you can hear it 1 February at the David Brower Center in Berkeley and 2 February at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Ragnar Bohlin leads Cappella SF in (currently unspecified) music of the Nordic Countries on 15 February at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland and 16 February at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco.

South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo comes to Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on 22 - 23 February.

Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in Renaissance-influenced works by twentieth-century British composers Herbert Howells and Ralph Vaughan Williams on 28 February at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 29 February at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 1 March at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley.

Volti explores the voice as an instrument in Almost Speechless, in which Robert Geary will lead the ensemble in new works by Mark Winges and Tonia Ko as well as revived pieces by Zibuokle Martinaityte and Danny Clay, and that's 28 February at Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco and 29 February at the Hillside Club in Berkeley.

Cal Performances presents mezzo-soprano Susan Graham with pianist Malcolm Martineau on 9 February at Hertz Hall, where they will perform . . . well, the site says Mahler's Rückert-Lieder and Berlioz's Les nuits d'été as well as pieces by Handel, Mozart, and Hahn, but if you click through to check ticket availability the program is listed as the Rückert-Lieder, selected songs by Hahn, and Jake Heggie's Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian, so I guess you have to go to know.

On 7 - 9 February, Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt leads the San Francisco Symphony in the Beethoven 2 and the Brahms 4.

San Francisco Performances is offering some Beethoven for your Saturday mornings: on 8 February, bass-baritone Dashon Burton and "host-lecturer" Robert Greenberg, along with pianist Daniel Cromeenes, with violinist Fred Lifsitz and cellist Sandy Wilson, explore the words and music of Beethoven's songs; then on 22 and 29 February, once again hosted by Robert Greenberg, the Alexander String Quartet continues its exploration of the corpus (this time it's No. 9 in C Major, Op 59, No. 3, No. 10 in E-flat Major, Op 74, and No. 11 in F-minor, Op 95 on 22 February and No. 12 in E-flat Major, Op 127 and No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op 131 on 29 February).

Saturday mornings are not the only times San Francisco Performances is presenting Beethoven: on 8 February in Herbst Theater violinist Isabelle Faust, pianist Alexander Melnikov, and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras will perform Beethoven trios for you.

On 6 February in Zellerbach Hall Music Director Joseph Young leads the Berkeley Symphony in You Have a Voice, a program featuring a world premiere from Xi Wang, the Bay Area premieres of Voy a Dormir by Bryce Dessner (with soloist mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor) and Become Who I Am by Mary Kouyoumdjian (with the San Francisco Girls Chorus; the work is a celebration of the 19th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act), and the Brahms 1, the culmination of his long struggle to find his own symphonic voice under the mountainous shadow of Beethoven.

The San Francisco Symphony explores French Masters with conductor Fabien Gabel and soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who will perform Dukas's La Péri, the US premiere of Aaron Zigman's Tango Manos, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and the Saint-Saëns Symphony 3, the Organ, on 14 - 16 February.

One Found Sound performs Caroline Shaw's Entr'acte, Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915 (with soprano soloist Julie Adams), and Ravel's Ma mère l'Oye at the Heron Arts Center in San Francisco on 21 February.

On 22 February in the Paramount Theater, Music Director Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony in Steve Martland's Crossing the Border for double string orchestra and ballet dancers (featuring the Oakland Ballet Company), Vivaldi's Concerto in F major for Three Violins and Strings (featuring violinists Terrie Baune, Liana Bérubé, and Dawn Harms), and the Mahler 4 with soloist Elena Galván (the symphony is part of the Violins of Hope program, which features instruments used by Jewish victims of the Holocaust).

Music Director Designate Esa-Pekka Salonen visits the San Francisco Symphony for two programs: the first, with soprano soloist Julia Bullock, explores the worlds of the fairy-tale surreal, featuring Steven Stucky's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, Britten's Les Illuminations, and Ravel's Three Poems of Stéphane Mallarmé as well as his Ma Mère l'Oye, and that's 20 - 22 February; the second, with solo violinist Leila Josefowicz, features Beethoven's Overture to King Stephen, the Nielsen 5, and Salonen's own Violin Concerto, and that's 27 - 29 February.

Music Director Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in a Violins of Hope concert at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 29 February, when they will perform the Boatswain's Mate Overture by Ethel Smyth, Chris Brubeck's Interplay for Three Violins (featuring Kay Stern, Robin Mayforth, and Harms), and the Mendelssohn 3.

Chamber Music
Old First Concerts presents Duo Concertante (violinist Nancy Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves) on 2 February, playing Frisson, a work they commissioned from Randolph Peters, along with works by Bach, Schumann, and Beethoven (the Kreutzer Sonata).

San Francisco Performances continues its Salon Series on 5 February with pianist Edward Simon, violinist Hrabba Atladottir, and cellist Eric Gaenslen playing Piazzolla's Cuatro Esaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), arranged for piano trio by José Bragato.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents the Apollon Musagete Quartet at Herbst Theater on 9 February, when they will play works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Dvořák.

Lieder Alive! presents mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, pianist Jeff LaDeur, and the Alexander String Quartet performing the Brahms Quintet in F minor Opus 34 and selections from Schubert's Winterreise on 9 February at the Noe Valley Ministry (this is advertised as a "Gala Benefit" but the music looks more substantial than is usual at such affairs and the ticket prices more in line with what you'd pay for a regular concert, so I'm bending my "no benefits" rule).

As part of the Violins of Hope program, which highlights string instruments used by and music composed by Jewish victims of the Holocaust, the San Francisco Symphony chamber group will perform works by Hans Krása and Gideon Klein (as well as Malcolm Arnold and Brahms) on 23 February at Davies Hall.

Strings & Keyboards
Garrick Ohlsson returns to San Francisco Performances on 4 February to continue his two-year survey of the complete solo piano music of Brahms; this time around he will be playing the Two Rhapsodies, Op 79; Seven Fantasias, Op 116; Variations on a Theme of Paganini Book 2, Op. 35; and the Piano Sonata 3 in F minor, Op 5.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo at Herbst Theater on 15 February, when they will play works by Beethoven, Brahms, Cohen ("Hallelujah" Variations, as prepared by the duo themselves), and Lennon & McCartney.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian playing Grieg, Schumann, and other works "to be announced" at Herbst Theater on 22 February.

The San Francisco Symphony hosts pianist Yuja Wang in a solo recital on 23 February at Davies Hall; the program has not yet been announced.

Early / Baroque Music
Philharmonia Baroque's Music Director Designate Richard Egarr conducts (and plays the harpsichord for) an all-Bach program, including the Harpsichord Concertos 7 and 1, the Orchestral Suite 3, and the Coffee Cantata with soloists Nola Richardson (soprano), James Reese (tenor), and Cody Quattlebaum (bass-baritone), on 7 February at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 8 and 9 February at First Congregational in Berkeley, and 12 February at Bing Concert Hall in Palo Alto.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents violinist David Greenberg and Musica Pacifica in Airs of Caledonia, an exploration of Scottish traditional and baroque music, on 14 February at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 15 February at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 16 February at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

San Francisco Renaissance Voices presents The World at Prayer and Play, as shown in the music of (among others) William Byrd, Palestrina, Orlando Gibbons, and Philippe de Monte, on 21 February at The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in San Francisco and on 29 February at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble gives us French Sublime, featuring Lili Boulanger's Nocturne (from Deux Morceaux), Debussy's Premiere Rhapsody, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, and One Wing, a world premiere from Kurt Rohde, and you can hear the results on 2 February at the Berkeley Hillside Club or 3 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. There will also be a free lecture and preview, Messiaen and the End of Time, on 31 January at the Doug Adams Gallery on Le Conte Avenue in Berkeley.

The Wooden Fish Ensemble returns to Old First Concerts on 9 February, when they will play Korean folk songs for haegeum and kayageum and Frederic Rzewski's Which Side Are You On?, along with a number of works by Hyo-shin Na, including four US premieres and one world premiere.

Earplay opens its 2020 season with Sky Dances, featuring the west coast premiere of Terrestre by this season's featured composer, Kaija Saariaho, along with Laurie San Martin's Fray (an Earplay commission), Late Shadow by Gilad Cohen (the 2019 Earplay Aird Prize winner) and the art of disappearing by Bruce Christian Bennet and Twilit by Addie Camsuzou (both world premieres and Earplay commissions), and you can experience them all on 10 February at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents A Thousand Thoughts, a live documentary / concert / discussion focusing on the Kronos Quartet and its contributions to musical life for the past almost half century; Terry Riley will also be on hand, to celebrate his 85th birthday and his long working relationship with the quartet; that's 13 February in Zellerbach Hall.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, led by Nicole Paiement and joined by guitarist David Tanenbaum, will play Leo Brouwer's Cuban Landscape with Rain, Alexina Louie's Winter Music, and Peter Sculthorpe's Nourlangie on 21 February; the concert is free but reservations are recommended..

The New Moon Duo (mezzo-soprano Melinda Martinez Becker and pianist Anne Rainwater, joined this time by special guest Natalie Raney on cello) presents the world premiere of Canto Caló by Nicolas Benavides, along with pieces by Gabriela Lena Frank, Enrique Grandados, Manuel de Falla, Tania León, and Brahms, on 28 February at Old First Concerts.

Cal Performances presents the Eco Ensemble at Hertz Hall on 29 February, when they will play pieces by Myra Melford, Ken Ueno, Cindy Cox, Keeril Makan, and Edmund Campion.

Here are some things that strike me from the current listings at the Center for New Music: cellist  Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir performs Portraits on 1 February; Areon Flutes and the Siroko Duo play new music for flutes by Izabel Austin, Michael Kropf, Chelsea Loew, Julie Barwick, Jane Rigler, and Igor C Silva on 8 February; the MANA Quartet playing the west coast premieres of works by Belinda Reynolds, John Halle, and Randy Woolf, along with works by Kevin Villalta, Philip Glass, and others on 13 February; the Mana Sax Quartet and the Friction String Quartet joining John Halle to perform his "obliterations and reconfigurations" of jazz standards by Monk, Rodger, and others on 14 February; new music for vibraphone and oboe by Eldad Tarmu (with Glenda Bates) on 21 February; pianist Jared Redmond performing contemporary works for piano by Pierre Boulez, Ji-ye Noh, Jung-eun Park, Kurt Rohde, Michael Finnissy, Giacinto Scelsi, and himself on 26 February; and music by Kyle Hovatter performed by the Colibri Duo alongside artwork by Josh Dorman on 28 February.

Jazz & Folk
Myra Melford has arranged an Evening of Jazz Duos Onstage for Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall on 9 February, when you can hear saxophonist Tim Berne and pianist Matt Mitchell as wekk as saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and pianist Kris Davis.

The fabulous Dianne Reeves returns to the SF Jazz Center from 20 to 23 February to celebrate Nights in Brazil with guitarist Ivan Lins.

The Nora Stanley Quintet appears at the SF Jazz Center for two performances on 22 February.

On 25 February you can celebrate The Harlem Renaissance at 100 at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, where the Marcus Shelby Quartet will perform, Cynthia Glinka will lead swing dancing, and then Mark Cantor will show films of some of the great artists of Harlem, such as Bert Williams, Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Willie “The Lion” Smith, the Nicholas Brothers, and more.

San Francisco Performances presents Edward Simon in a solo jazz piano program on 26 February as part of its Salon Series.

Cal Performances presents The Chieftains in The Irish Goodbye, part of their farewell tour, on 28 February in Zellerbach Hall.

The Martha Redbone Roots Project comes to Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on 28 February.

Living Legend Taj Mahal brings his quartet to the SF Jazz Center from 27 February to 1 March.

San Francisco Ballet offers two programs this month: Program 2 runs from 11 to 22 February and features Bespoke (music by Bach, choreography by Stanton Welch), Sandpaper Ballet (music by Leroy Anderson, choreography by Mark Morris), and a piece to be named later; and Program 3 runs from 13 to 23 February and features The Infinite Ocean (music by Oliver Davis, choreography by Edwaard Liang), The Big Hunger (a world premiere, with music by Prokofiev, featuring pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, and choreography by Trey McIntyre), and Etudes (music by Knudåge Riisager, after Carl Czerny, with choreography by Harald Lander staged by Johnny Eliasen, with Artistic Advisor Lise Lander).

The Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to the Yerba Buena Theater under the auspices of San Francisco Performances with two programs: Program A (Company B, Esplanade, and the west coast premiere of Concertiana) on 19, 22, and 23 February, and Program B (Cloven Kingdom, Polaris, and Piazzolla Caldera) on 20 and 21 February.

San Francisco Performances presents The Day, performed by dancer Wendy Whelan and cellist Maya Beiser, with choreography by Lucinda Childs and music and words by David Lang, at Herbst Theater on 27 and 28 February.

On 29 February at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Berkeley Ballet Theater, joined by The Living Earth Show and the Amaranth Quartet, all come together for Rightfully Ours, an evening inspired by the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment and the on-going struggle for social justice; the guest choreographers are Alexis Borth, Raymond Ejiofor, Danielle Rowe, Vanessa Thiessen, Chuck Wilt, Ky Woodward-Sollesnes and the composers are Sahba Aminikia, Carla Kihlstedt, Libby Larsen, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Ysaye Barnwell, Angélica Negrón, and Aviya Kopelman, the latter two with world premiere works.

On 19 February the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco hosts a showing of the 1924 Austrian film The City Without Jews, accompanied by original music performed live by violinist Alicia Svigals (performing on one of the Violins of Hope instruments) and pianist Donald Sosin; I saw the film a year or so ago when this restored version had its premiere at the Jewish Film Festival in San Francisco, where it was presented jointly with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival; it's a provocative and enjoyable movie, though its light satirical touch (including a scene parodying the seminal Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari) is darkened for us, and rendered a bit inadequate, by our knowledge of the horrifying real-life tragedy that happened a few years later. At the Festival showing, the grand-daughter of Hugo Bettauer, who wrote the novel on which the film was based (for this and other activist works for social justice, he was murdered by a fascist thug), spoke briefly, describing how her dead grandfather had been a powerful presence in her family's refugee life in the United States, and how seeing this film had helped her understand the history of her family and their times. It was a short speech, but one of the most effective I've heard.

Visual Arts
Two fabric-related shows both open at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on 13 February: Threads of Jewish Life: Ritual and Other Textiles from the San Francisco Bay Area and Levi Strauss: A History of American Style.

Dawoud Bey: An American Project, a retrospective of the photographer's exploration of African-American life and history, opens at SFMOMA on 15 February.

Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective of the late quilt-maker's stunning works, opens at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive on 19 February.

Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI opens at the de Young on 22 February.