Esprit de Django et Stephane Gypsy Jazz Festival
Here's a two-day event celebrating the legacy of the 1930s' Paris-based duo, Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, who revolutionized jazz by introducing lively strings to counteract the laid-back big-band sound that was popular at the time. Free events like busking and belly dancing are interspersed with performances by the Leftover Cuties, Tin Hat, the John Jorgenson Quintet (pictured at right) on Saturday; followed by Beso, George Cole Quintet, Mr. Sun, and Vaud & the Villains on Sunday. Purchase single show tickets or Saturday and Sunday passes for the showcases that start in the afternoon and go well into the evening. Details and ticket information here.
Stories by Alice Munro
Z Space and Word for Word Performing Arts Company present a double feature of plays based on the short stories of eminent Canadian author and 2013 Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. "The Office" centers on a fledgling writer who determines that she needs her own office to succeed, before facing an obstacle from her landlord. In "Dolly," an elderly couple struggles with the reemergence of one of the husband's old lovers. Details and ticket information here.
The Lake Effect
The Bay Area can't get enough of playwright Rajiv Joseph, from his Glickman Award-winning two-person high school suspense thriller The North Pool at TheatreWorks to the sprawling and grim Iraq War fantasia Bengal Tiger at the Iraq Zoo at San Francisco Playhouse. Now Joseph’s back with The Lake Effect, in which an estranged brother and sister reunite in their late father’s Indian restaurant in Cleveland. When their dad’s former gambling bookie shows up, the sibs find out how little they knew about their own family. Details and ticket information here.
Along with discoveries from all over, the Bay Area’s preeminent Asian-American film (and food and music) festival spotlights former and current Bay Area filmmakers. Arthur Dong presents the world premiere of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor and his re-mastered 1989 excavation of local Chinese-American history, Forbidden City, USA. Academy Award-winner Ruby Yang follows underprivileged Hong Kong students mounting a musical in My Voice My Life, and reprises her 2009 study of movie theaters in San Francisco’s Chinatown, A Moment in Time. In Chinese Couplets, Felicia Lowe bravely explores her mother’s experiences as an adult in America and a child in China. As they say, all history is personal. Details and ticket information here.
From his 1970s work fronting the Soft Boys to his classic 1984 album I Often Dream of Trains, Robyn Hitchcock appeared out of the gate as a wry, clever songwriter with a literate sensibility and approachable-yet-emotive voice. All too often, these types of promising songwriters fall into obscurity, or become caricatures of themselves, or recycle old folk and blues forms to death. Hitchcock, to the benefit of smart ears everywhere, has instead remained fiercely creative, as evidenced on his 2014 album The Man Upstairs -- which includes among its original songs unique covers of the Psychedelic Furs, Grant Lee Phillips, and Roxy Music. There's even a version of "The Crystal Ship" by the Doors that, in Hitchcock's hands, resurfaces all the mysticism and strangeness of hearing Jim Morrison for the first time. Hitchcock's back catalog is hundreds deep, so there's no telling what you might hear when he performs -- but each show is rewarding, and special. Details and ticket information here.
Kristin Hersh, of Throwing Muses, performs a solo set at the Chapel in San Francisco. Hersh founded Throwing Muses with her stepsister while still in high school, before becoming a pioneering group in what would later be known as alternative rock. Following two breakups in the 1990s, the band reunited in 2004 and continues to tour. Hersh also founded 50 Foot Wave and has recorded solo material regularly since the early '90s Details and ticket information here.
The Juliana Hatfield Three
Recently reformed after nearly twenty years, The Juliana Hatfield Three plays together at the Chapel in San Francisco. The trio was originally formed by Hatfield in 1992 following the breakup of college rock band Blake Babies. The Juliana Hatfield Three is most well known for their song "My Sister," which topped the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1993. Their 2015 release, Whatever, My Love, is the band's first album since 1993. Details and ticket information here.