Cheap Thrill: Jazz Mafia’s Residency
Jazz Mafia, the sprawling collective of musicians that produces playful, accessible jazz with strong hip-hop and electronic influences, knows how to collaborate: they’ve worked with everyone from bassoonist Paul Hanson to rapper Lyrics Born, and even jammed with Stevie Wonder when he hopped on stage at one of their shows. This month they’re bringing some of their many friends to Doc’s Lab, where they host a new act for free every Wednesday, ranging from jazz-fusion trio The Hogan Brothers to Squid Ink, who describe themselves as “bossa nova meets Coldplay." Details and ticket information here.
Where Angels Fear to Tread
While Where Angels Fear to Tread is familiar to Forster fans -- the novel explores many of his standard themes of forbidden love and cross-cultural conflict -- it’s a fresh challenge for Opera San Jose. They're presenting it as an opera for the first time, using a score that author Mark Lanz Weiser composed over two decades ago as a student at the Peabody Institute. The opera, the company's first world premiere since their 2000 season, will be performed in English and will run for six shows at the California Theatre. Details and ticket information here.
Irma Thomas & Lee Fields
In a pairing called 'Blues at the Crossroads,' this tour of soul survivors brings the tunes from soul music's classic era—think record labels like Stax, Chess, King and Atlantic—and revives them for the modern day. Irma Thomas, best known for the song "Time is on My Side" (popularized by the Rolling Stones), leads the group, but don't miss dynamic belter Lee Fields, a colleague of Sharon Jones whose earthy recent output actually outshines his 45s from decades ago. There's even the option of a Louisiana dinner beforehand from Healdsburg's Parish Cafe, who we can say from experience serves up Po' Boys like no other. Details and ticket information here.
A Lie of the Mind
Not as often performed as many of Sam Shepard’s plays, ensemble saga A Lie of the Mind tells the story of two families, exploring the brutal nature of romantic and familial relationships and the eponymous lies that color our lives. While rehearsing, director Loretta Grecco told her cast to “think of all those little lies that we tell ourselves just to get through the day.” A Lie of the Mind is part of the Magic Theatre’s five years of Sheparding America in preparation for their 50th anniversary in 2017, a fitting series for the theater where Shepard served as resident playwright in the '70s and '80s. Details and ticket information here.
City Lights Theater Company in San Jose presents the Northern California premiere of Build by Michael Golamco. The plot centers on a couple of video game programmers up against a deadline who deal with the loss of a friend, a lover, and artificial intelligence. Build offers some real insights into life in Silicon Valley. Details and ticket information here.
For nearly a decade, San Francisco-based duo the Dodos have tirelessly poured out new material, managing to stay true to the core of their anthemic beats and evocative vocals while trying on fresh musical accessories like seasonal coats. Singer/guitarist Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber’s trimmings have encompassed everything from an acoustic guitar and single floor tom to a 26-piece orchestra collaboration. The pair gets back to their roots on their just-released sixth studio album, Individ, and their first North American tour as a two-piece since 2007. Details and ticket information here.
An enfant terrible no more, this Canadian spawn of folk-pop legends Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III has now been around long enough to release a Best Of collection culled from his seven studio albums to date. This two-night stand in Oakland showcases that body of work, and may even include pieces from such idiosyncratic side projects as his Judy Garland tribute and two original operas. Whatever he performs, the Canadian songwriter is sure to transfix with his distinctive, mellifluous tenor, and amuse with acerbic between-song banter. Two shows nightly, at 8pm and 10pm. Details and ticket information here.