Jan. 8: I first heard of Dave Mason because the hippest, best-looking guy in my dorm would play Traffic's 1967 debut album Mr. Fantasy really loud every day. Mason has bounced around a lot since his on and off and on and off again career with Traffic, recording with Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and George Harrison; and briefly joining Derek and the Dominos. Mason bills this concert as a two-hour musical biography. Hope he has some juicy stories to tell. Dave Mason and Traffic Jam play the Fox in Redwood City.
Jan. 7 - March 5: Peter Hujar was a part of New York's downtown art scene, and he's best known for his black and white portraits. They're intense and intimate and strange. This show features portraits of Diane Vreeland, Susan Sontag, and Divine, plus unexpected shots of the New York skyline (pre-9/11) and a beautiful dog, a boxer. The show continues at the Fraenkel Gallery through March 5.
Jan. 13 - 17: Fraenkel is also opening a new small gallery in Hayes Valley with its first show in April to be curated by filmmaker John Waters. There's a pop-up show this coming week, though, to break in the space, featuring Reanimation (Snow White), a freakishly colorful video by the British artist Oliver Beer.
Jan. 9 - 10, and Jan. 18: Violinist Itzhak Perlman is celebrating his 70th birthday with three concerts in Davies Symphony Hall. He's the epitome of a superstar soloist, starting on a toy violin at the age of three, and giving his first recital, in Tel Aviv, at 10. Perlman also just won a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The program this weekend offers ample pleasures: the Beethoven Romances 1 & 2, Mozart's Symphony #25, and Brahms #4. Then Perlman is joined by Emanuel Ax for what should be an amazing recital January 18.
Feb. 5 - March 20: A few years ago, the Berkeley Repertory Theater asked 20 playwrights to each write a short play about food. Julia Cho has turned hers into a full-length piece called Aubergine, about eggplants, we assume, but also about the death of her father. The show will also be the first chance to critique Berkeley Rep's renovated Peet's Theatre, especially to see how its new Meyer Sound Constellation Acoustic System works. The system has worked brilliantly in the San Francisco Symphony's experimental space, Soundbox. But this will be the Constellation's first use in North America in a stage theater. There's an open house to show off the new space Jan 9.
Jan. 9: I should be so over the craze for retro soul and R&B, except groups like San Francisco's Midtown Social are so good. (along with San Francisco's Con Brio and a few others). David and I especially love listening to lead singer Kisura Nyoto,. And I love her hair. Details here.
Jan. 11: We're shouting it out for ShakesBEERience — a staged reading of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale at Café Stritch — so a pint and a play. This is the brainchild of director John McCluggage — who adapted the play for drinkers with short attention spans.