Sketchfest 2015 Lineup
The almighty comedy festival Sketchfest returns, and its lineup, announced today, is excellent as usual. A Spinal Tap reunion with Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean; podcast maestro Marc Maron; The Best Show hosts Scharpling & Wurster; "Weird" Al Yankovic in conversation with Chris Hardwick; salutes to film favorites like But I'm a Cheerleader, The Princess Bride, Better Off Dead; and comedians and musicians galore, including Penn & Teller, Maya Rudolph, Bill Nye, Natasha Lyonne, John Hodgman, Kristen Schaal, Janeane Garofolo, John Darnielle, Margaret Cho, Bob Mould and many, many more. See the full lineup here.
Sir Neville Marriner with Symphony Napa Valley
Among the best-selling classical soundtracks of all time, Amadeus introduced a new audience to the work of Mozart upon its release in 1984. The esteemed conductor of that motion picture recording and founder of Academy of St. Martin's in the Fields, Neville Marriner, comes to Napa to conduct the Symphony Napa Valley in a program of music from Amadeus and other Mozart pieces. Violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky guests in this special evening at the scenic Lincoln Theater, set on the lush grounds of the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. Details and ticket information here.
Katelyn and Laurie Shook, identical twins, first started playing their brand of rural folk music in Idaho ten years ago. Since relocated to Portland and expanded to a quartet, the band's just put out their fourth full-length, What We Do. Details and ticket information here.
San Francisco One-Minute Play Festival
"I saw 80 plays this year." It might sound like an outlandish boast to make at your holiday party. Of course, if you attend one of the two nights of the 5th Annual San Francisco One-Minute Play Festival, you could up the ante and claim, "I saw 80 plays last night." The event, which has sold out in its previous incarnations, will offer more than six dozen lighting-fast pieces, all penned in the last few months by 53 Bay Area playwrights. Details and ticket information here.
Mythbusters: Behind the Myths
Massive explosions, spectacular car crashes, and inventive problem-solving -- that’s the bread and butter of the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters team. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have been doing their part to entertain and enlighten TV audiences for more than a dozen seasons and, for a few years now, they've also taken their show on the road. That inevitably means these geeky gurus have their live performances running like a finely tuned rocket car, which is not to say there won't be a surprise or two. The busting will commence at San Jose's City National Civic on December 16. Details and ticket information here.
San Francisco's own Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is the current in-house playwright at Z Space, and his first commission hit the stage of Z Below in November. The Totalitarians follows Penny, a candidate for state office in Nebraska, and her underhanded plans for the state. Penny's eloquent sidekick Francine and her husband, a doctor, get involved in a play about politics, trust, and the truth.
Details and ticket information here.
Christmas Without Tears
To fans of Spinal Tap or The Simpsons, Harry Shearer needs no introduction. Suffice it to say that he’s one of the funniest men in America, and he co-hosts a special night that benefits the Mental Health Association of San Francisco. As for the night’s music, Judith Owen’s new album is a 1970s singer-songwriter throwback with a crackerjack Laurel Canyon band; Doña Oxford is a consummate boogie-woogie pianist; and Amy Engelhardt sings one of the funniest Christmas songs of all time (“How Did This Thing Get In Me?“). Also on the bill is British singer Julia Fordham (“Porcelain”). Comedians include Will Durst, Josh Kornbluth and more. Details and ticket information here.
Yung Lean & Sad Boys
Drake may have popularized the idea of a rap star wearing one's heart on his sleeve, but Sweden's unlikely upstart Yung Lean has definitely perfected it. After releasing two albums packed with slow, atmospheric beats and ruminative, slightly Autotuned "sad rap," the 18-year-old phenomenon embarks on a tour of North America playing to crowds that typically more closely resemble a Twilight fanfic convention than a Raiders game. A highlight from Yung Lean's latest album Unknown Memory is "Leanworld," a slow burn that peddles in unrequited love and the desire to achieve more in life. Details and ticket information here.