From Gandalfs and Ginsbergs to Fischers and Finger Puppets

Fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy have the chance to see all three films with live symphonic orchestra accompaniment in San Jose.

Lord of the RingsSymphony Silicon Valley and 'Lord of the Rings'

Howard Shore’s score to the Lord of the Rings film trilogy is full of emotion and drama, and those aspects of the music are sure to be magnified when Symphony Silicon Valley presents a screening of all three films with live symphony orchestra and choral accompaniment. Conducted by Shih-Hung Young, who specializes in live-score performances, the show is all about going big: not only is the film projected in HD on a 48-ft. screen, but between the musicians and singers — from the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, Cantabile Youth Singers, and Ragazzi Boys Chorus — the number of people on stage totals 250. This same series sold out at Lincoln Center in New York City with a Swiss orchestra, making Symphony Silicon Valley the first American orchestra to undertake the ambitious project. Details and ticket information here.

LearsShadow'Lear's Shadow'

A longtime Bay Area comedic treasure from his early days in the Pickle Family circus to his many hilarious roles at Berkeley Rep and ACT, Geoff Hoyle unveils his latest solo show at the Marsh, where his son Dan also frequently performs. Now Hoyle the Elder takes on the role of a Fool so iconic that he has no other name, the one from King Lear, at last getting a chance to tell his own side of the story. Details and ticket information here.

Lear_0020'King Lear'

Sebastopol husband-and-wife team Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, aka theater company the Independent Eye, unveil a two-person King Lear in which all the other characters are played by almost 30 puppets — some life-sized, some hand puppets and some finger puppets. The old king and his Fool are the only true humans here, Lear obsessively reenacting the story of his tragic fall in the confines of an aluminum cage as the Fool spurs him on. Details and ticket information here.

DALisa Fischer

If you’ve ever seen the Rolling Stones in the past 25 years, you’ve heard the voice of Lisa Fischer. And if you saw the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom — about the talented, out-of-the-shadows backup singers of the world — you learned her story. Born in Brooklyn and brought into the spotlight by Luther Vandross, Fischer would go on to perform as a backup singer with the Stones, Tina Turner, Sting, David Bowie and many more. In the years since her minor 1991 hit, “How Can I Ease the Pain,” Fischer’s solo career has turned toward jazz standards and unique pop interpretations. Details and ticket information here.

TR PROMO 1-1The Relationship

Back in 2006, Weezer guitarist Brian Bell met Die Hunns/former U.S. Bombs guitarist Nate Shaw, and a rough-hewn but eminently lighthearted brand of pogo-ready power pop was born. While the former’s band has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past year after releasing a respectably rocking record (and Weezer fans will likely find plenty to enjoy here), the Relationship is its own animal. The band’s new 7-inch, featuring jaunty ’70s guitar riffs and glam-rock piano with a punk sensibility on the single “Oh Allen” and chunky, Cars-esque hooks on “Temptations,” should land the four-piece a spot on at least a few summertime driving mixes. They’ll test-drive the new tunes at two affordable Bay Area shows this week, hitting Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz on April 16 before cruising to San Francisco. Details and ticket information here.

Kenneth Rexroth (Courtesy Peter Maravelis)'Beat Explosion'

One Friday evening in October 1955, a young, then-unknown writer named Allen Ginsberg stood before a crowd at 3119 Fillmore Street in San Francisco (then home to the Six Gallery) and delivered the first public reading of “Howl,” the filthy, exuberant, book-length poem that would become the subject of a landmark First Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Some 60 years later, the Beats’ influence is still keenly felt in San Francisco’s literary scene, in no small part thanks to the poem’s original publisher and City Lights Books founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who celebrated his 96th birthday last month. This North Beach celebration, co-presented by City Lights and Stanford Continuing Studies, will see rising Bay Area poets Joshua Merchant, Gabriel Cortez, Joyce Lee, Daniel Riddle Rodriguez and Lisa Evans in character, reading the work of their forebears — including Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, and Philip Whalen — to recreate that fateful first performance hosted by Kenneth Rexroth (pictured). Music from the Ear Candy Trio kicks off the evening. Details and ticket information here.

Santa Clara County Poet Laureate David PerezSixth Annual Poetry Invitational

While San Francisco is busy celebrating the 60th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s iconic “Howl,” this annual South Bay event highlights local scribes of the present and future. Bay Area poets from multiple generations perform new, original works inspired by the exhibits currently on view at San Jose Museum of Art, while surrounded by the source of their inspiration. Featured this year are San Mateo County Poet Laureate Caroline Goodwin; Livermore Poet Laureate Kevin Gunn; Connie Post, former poet laureate of Livermore; and more. David Perez (pictured), the poet laureate of Santa Clara County, a repeat guest on NPR’s “Snap Judgment,” and a formidable author in his own right, serves as host for the evening, which is co-sponsored by Poetry Center San Jose. Details and ticket information here.

MatsThe Replacements

Among the more frustrating aspects of the Replacements’ 2013 reunion was that the band only played scattered festivals, leaving a full tour -- and the entire Bay Area -- in the dust. Which is what makes their show at the newly remodeled Masonic on Nob Hill so exciting for fans. And for those suspicious that the band might play mostly songs from their later albums like All Shook Down and Don't Tell a Soul, uh, look at this setlist from their first show since 1991, in Toronto. Look at it! For those who didn't see our Ticket Alert about the show, all tickets are sold out, but we feel compelled to mention it in case longtime fans want to try the secondhand market. Details and ticket information here.

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