Billy Cobham's Spectrum 40
Perhaps once best known as a founding member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the Panama-born drummer, composer and bandleader Billy Cobham has played a role in shaping jazz and jazz fusion for more than 40 years now. A former sideman for the likes of Miles Davis and Horace Silver, Cobham is known as a relentless innovator, so expect more than a touch of fresh material at each of these three performances in Santa Cruz and Oakland. Details and ticket information here.
Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally
The now-iconic television roles of Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson, Parks & Recreation) and Megan Mullally (Karen Walker, Will & Grace) serve as just a hint of what can be expected when the married couple hits town on a standup comedy tour. Between Offerman’s “man’s-man” comedy and Mullally’s strong, independent style, sparks are sure to fly. Read more on the duo from Gabe Meline on KQED Arts, and get details and ticket information here.
San Francisco International Film Festival
The crown jewel of the Bay Area’s crowded film festival calendar has polished and updated its time-tested formula. Interactive events such as Miranda July’s “New Society” (Apr. 28 and 29 at Brava Theater), and an intriguing array of non-film guests (such as the musical duo Cibo Matto), augment the lineup of Bay Area premieres of intense dramas and artful documentaries from around the globe. The films competing for Golden Gate Awards provide a tempting sample of the SFIFF discoveries on offer. Festival passes and 10-packs are now on sale. Check out Michael Fox's picks for the fest's best documentaries on KQED Arts, and get details and ticket information here.
Bay Area Dance Week
Did you know that the Bay Area is the largest per capita region for dance in the United States? Naturally, then, our local take on National Dance Week is jam-packed with free performances and classes — more than 400 free events over the course of a 10-day festival. You can learn West African Funk with Dimensions Dance Theater in Oakland, take your little one for a behind-the-scenes peek at Ballet San Jose’s Cinderella, or learn Nordic Folk Dances in Menlo Park. You could just watch Bay Area Dance Week — but it’s so much more fun to join the groove. Details and event times here.
For an artist who, by a lot of schedules, should just now be fighting off the sophomore slump, Katie Crutchfield sure sounds confident. And with good reason: Her band, Waxahatchee, just released Ivy Tripp, its third album inside three years, its first on Merge, and her songwriting — salty-sweet, confessional indie-pop with more than a shake of Alabama grit and soul — is only growing more sophisticated with each record. Waxahatchee doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon, but if you catch her this time, you can still safely say you liked her way back when. Details and ticket information here.
Astronomy Day at Foothill College is Saturday, April 25 -- free activities and telescope viewing stations for kids and families, presented by the Peninsula Astronomy Society.
Merle Haggard, living master of the rough-edged Bakersfield sound, will perform at the Marin Center on Tuesday, April 28 and at the Fox Redwood City on Thursday, April 30. Details and tickets here.