The Outta Sites
There may only be six actual dances in the Wilson Pickett hit song "Land of 1,000 Dances," but if you're headed to the weekend's show by the Outta Sites, you might want to brush up on some of the classics: the Hully Gully, the Mashed Potato, the Twist and more. Culling liberally from the big-beat sound of the mid-1960s, the band often appears in matching suits, choreographed dance moves and that wonderfully tinny organ sound that permeated so many scratchy 45s. Two members come from the band Los Straitjackets, so rest assured, they know their vintage sound like the back of their Stratocasters. Details and ticket information here.
The Crucible, the industrial arts hub in West Oakland, has tasked designers with an almost spiritual quest: Create designs inspired by the four elements—air, earth, fire and water. The result is a pyro-tastic fashion spectacle with 38 designs from 10 different designers. Needless to say, there will be fire extinguishers handy as models sashay down the runway. Details and ticket information here.
The Flesh Eaters
Even if the Flesh Eaters had only released the singular album A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, they'd have carved their place in Los Angeles punk rock history. Luckily, the album is newly reissued by Superior Viaduct, which has triggered the wonderful consequence of a West Coast tour featuring the classic Flesh Eaters lineup: vocalist Chris D, along with John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake from the band X, Steve Berlin from Los Lobos, and Bill Bateman from the Blasters. There are entire tunnels of terror in Chris D's morbid vocals, and, surrounded by esteemed players, they should enjoy a fine jazz- and blues-influenced backing over which to soar for this reunion show. Details and ticket information here.
Wendy Whalen, Restless Creature
Wendy Whelan, who retired from a 20-year career at New York City Ballet last fall, has named this program of duets between her and four of New York’s most adventurous dancer-choreographers aptly. Sinewy as a Greyhound, Whelan has always seemed more “creature” than ballerina. She is known for her sharp intelligence, and it shows in her choice of commissioned artists. Brian Brooks is a mesmerizing minimalist, Kyle Abraham combines a hip-hop background with formal rigor, Alejandro Cerrudo tends towards slinky European-influenced movement, and Joshua Beamish is a heart-laid-bare Canadian more accustomed to choreographing for women on pointe. Restless Creature is a chance to sample four important new creative voices, and one arresting dancer. Details and ticket information here.
Alexander String Quartet
The Alexander String Quartet continues its ambitious Mozart in Vienna series on Jan. 17 at the SFJAZZ Center. Joined by guest viola Andrew Duckles, the masterful quartet performs Mozart’s Quartet in D Major (“Hoffmeister”) and Viola Quintet in C Major. Hosting the special 10am performance is composer and music historian Robert Greenberg. Details and tickets here. The group also plays Mozart with Greenberg on hand on Jan. 11 at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis; details and ticket information here.
Michael Tilson Thomas 70th Birthday Gala
Between officially tying the knot with longtime partner Joshua Mark Robison and launching the terrific classical-nightclub series SoundBox, Michael Tilson Thomas has had quite the eventful year. And look at that—the guy's turning 70, too. The San Francisco Symphony Music Director celebrates with a performance of Liszt's Hexameron, a piece rarely performed due to one obvious obstacle: it calls for six pianos to be lugged onto the stage. Tilson Thomas has assembled a who's-who of pianists to perform the challenging work with symphony orchestra, including Emanuel Ax, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, Jeremy Denk, and Marc-André Hamelin in what's sure to be a thrilling performance. Details and ticket information here.