'An Audience with Meow Meow'
If you like your cabaret on the safe side, with softened sexuality and rote balladry, then by all means, feel free to miss this run at Berkeley Rep. But if you're a theatergoer who believes cabaret should be thrilling, risk-taking and interactive, the Australian-born cabaret performer Meow Meow never fails to deliver. Known for what's been dubbed "kamikaze cabaret" (e.g., she occasionally crowdsurfs), the fearless artist injects a shot in the arm of the Sally Bowles tradition with every show. Details and ticket information here.
The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival
San Francisco got lucky when comedian Louis CK chose Davies Symphony Hall as a venue on his 2012 tour, for which he sold $45 tickets with no service charges or sales tax through his own website. Now, the top comedian in the country headlines at Shoreline Amphitheatre, and what lacks in venue this time around is made up for in the stellar lineup of openers: Sarah Silverman, Marc Maron, Demetri Martin, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Hardwick, Whitney Cummings and Moshe Kasher all make huddling on the lawn worth it. Details and ticket information here.
If you've ever been out in public in the past four years, there's a 97% chance you've heard Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" squawking out of a speaker somewhere. Yet even those who cursed the overproduced earworm found catharsis in Owen Pallett's widely shared musicological dissection of the
evil predatory forces at work clever production and songwriting elements that made the track a monster hit. Despite the silly title of his first solo album (He Poos Clouds), Pallett is a vastly smart composer and arranger, having received an Oscar nod for his film score to Her and having shared stage and studio time with Arcade Fire. His latest full-length, In Conflict, is poetically restrained; live, he can be transcendental. Details and ticket information here.
'Multiple Mary & Invisible Jane'
For years, the all-female dance company Flyaway Productions has surprised casual onlookers with free dance performances staged on fire escapes, billboards, cranes, rooftops and flaming chandeliers—"anywhere from two to 100 feet off the ground." This is no flash-mob gambit, though; the company interweaves social justice into the vertical performances, as in Multiple Mary & Invisible Jane, which seeks to shine a light on the plight of older homeless women in San Francisco. The show runs on the outside wall of UC Hastings near the Tenderloin sidewalks of so many of its subjects, in plain view, for free. Details here.
Ever the literary songwriter, Richard Buckner once released an album, The Hill, based entirely on characters from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. Fourteen years later, Buckner's affection for the small-town America depicted in Masters' poems hasn't ceased, having embarked on whole tours where he plays in strangers' living rooms in minor cities that most artist tour itineraries overlook. Hailed by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon as an influence, Buckner casts the sort of spell that can last for years in fandom. Details and ticket information here.
'Last Weekend' with Tom Dolby
Patricia Clarkson is no stranger to characters stuck in dysfunctional families; her defining television role in Six Feet Under as Aunt Sarah, along with Academy and Golden Globe nominations for Pieces of April, attest to her knack for the situation. In Last Weekend, Clarkson is again at the center of family dysfunction in an acclaimed new film filmed entirely on location in Lake Tahoe. After this week's screening at the Vogue Theatre, Do List co-host David Weigand conducts a Q&A with screenwriter / director Tom Dolby. Details and ticket information here.