Longtime Berkeley resident Lyrics Born is among the most prolific members of the Bay Area’s indie hip-hop scene, but between mixtapes and collaborations with the likes of Blackalicious, it’s been four years since the rapper issued a full-length of his own. Real People, out May 5, sounds (unsurprisingly) like a breath of fresh air for the MC, who traveled to New Orleans to infuse the record with the sounds of Trombone Shorty, Galactic, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and more. Lyrics Born's live shows are famously energetic and he’s basically bursting with local pride, so grab this chance to see him play a hometown show before he heads out on the festival circuit for the summer. Watch KQED's exclusive video of the rapper performing "Rock-Rock-Away" here, and get details and ticket information for the show here.
'One Man, Two Guvnors'
Richard Bean’s swinging ’60s London update of Carlo Goldoni’s 1743 comedy The Servant of Two Masters was a huge hit on the West End and Broadway starring James Corden (the new host of CBS’s The Late Late Show) as a charming idiot who finds himself working for two criminals who are linked in surprising ways and has to somehow keep each one from finding out he’s also working for the other. Now Berkeley Rep gives One Man, Two Guvnors its West Coast premiere with a stellar cast featuring acclaimed clown Ron Campbell, Oregon Shakespeare Festival mainstay Dan Donohue, Cal Shakes and Berkeley Rep favorite Danny Scheie, and local up-and-comer Sarah Moser. The play runs through June 21 at the Berkeley Repertory Theater; get tickets and show information here.
The woman Ella Fitzgerald once called “the greatest white female singer in the world” has been singing for more than half a century, and she’s still going — and sounding better than ever — at the age of 78. Marilyn Maye, who appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson a whopping 76 times (the most appearances by any singer) is considered a national treasure by many — including the Arts Council of the Smithsonian Institution, which included her RCA recording of “Too Late Now” in their album of the “110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth Century.” The singer brings her signature brand of cabaret and show tunes to Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco. Details and ticket information here.
'You Are You: Photographs by Lindsay Morris'
The flurry of controversy that surrounded the appearance of a natty-looking 8-year-old Shiloh Jolie-Pitt in a handsome dark suit at the premiere last year of mother Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken shows exactly how hard it is for some to wrap their brains around the idea of gender-nonconforming children. Laying some of the groundwork toward understanding and acceptance are Lindsay Morris’s photographs, taken at an annual summer camp for gender-creative children and their families for 2012 New York Times Magazine feature. There, kids get to try out their interpretations of gender, whether it means donning gingham or butterfly wings, gathering blossoms, playing games or simply communing with kids who get them. Parting the veil with her photographs, Morris offers a palpably evocative glimpse into a sunlit world of safe exploration. Get details and ticket information for the show at Rayko Gallery here.
The roiling ferment of Oakland’s indie music scene has a new outlet. Spinning off an upcoming compilation, OIM Records takes over Leo’s for three successive Thursdays starting on May 21 with the crystalline art popsters Foxtails Brigade, the gutbucket roots soul of Whiskerman, and Perhapsy, a new solo project by Belles Atlas guitarist and songwriter Derek Barber. Assembled by Oakland Drops Beats founder and musician Angelica Tavella, producer and engineer Jeff Saltzman, and Sarah Sexton, the owner of the Oaktown Indie Mayhem production company, OIM: Vol I casts a wide net to document the vivid menagerie of acts emerging on the East Bay scene. While the album doesn’t officially drop until June 23, the first 50 people through the door for each night of the residency will receive the 13-song compilation on limited edition cassettes. Get details and ticket information here.
You can’t stop the rock — or the fabulosity — when it comes to Mary Timony and her current DC band, Ex Hex. The Wild Flag player emerged in the ’90s as the front woman of Helium, where she displayed a cunning way of wrapping her sultry vocals around a jig-worthy folk-/prog-rock melody line. Ex Hex’s latest full-length, Rips, finds her taking a more direct tact, tilting toward a late ’70s/early ’80s throwback rock ‘n’ roll sound. Guitars, it seems, are still where the fun is, judging from the videos for “Don’t Wanna Lose,” a takeoff of the ’80s midnight movie Ladies & Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, and “Hot and Cold,” a Jell-O salad lover’s dream costarring a more surly than sassy Ian Svenonius. Ex Hex plays the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco on Tuesday and Harlow’s in Sacramento on Wednesday; details and ticket information here.
West Virginia seven-piece Asleep at the Wheel hit Slim's, City Winery, and the Rio Theatre on May 17, 18, and 19, respectively. They'll be playing music from their newest album of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys covers.
And Hella Love Oakland, an equal parts charming and challenging play by Robin Lynn Rodriguez about the race and love and family in The Town, runs this weekend at Thick House in San Francisco, as part of the Playground Festival of New Works.