Feb. 9, 10 & 14: Every year a few local clubs offer a taste of Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 9) or thereabouts. This year, British-born, New Orleans-based musician Jon Cleary brings his band -- the Absolute Monster Gentlemen to Yoshi's Feb. 10, and Sweetwater in Mill Valley Feb. 14 to give us a taste of what Mardi Gras is like in New Orleans. Cleary is a serious worshipper at the altar of NOLA funk. Tuesday San Francisco's Jazz Mafia Collective NOLA Funk Sextet does a horn heavy show at Brick and Mortar with guests Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, and the Stanford Marching Band. Sounds like a sweet recipe for chaos. We'd also tell you to check out the great Aaron Neville at SFJAZZ on Tuesday, except that show is sold out. Don't forget to wear your beads.
Now through March 13: We're eager to see the new play Valley of the Heart by Luis Valdez, a pioneer of Latino theater who wrote and directed La Bamba and Zoot Suit. His new play is a love story, based on his own family history, about a Latino boy falling in love with a Japanese American girl in the Santa Clara Valley during WWII, and what happens when the girl's Japanese family is sent to an internment camp. Valdez debuted the play in 2014 at the theater company he founded, El Teatro Campesinoin San Juan Bautista, and now it gets a second production from the San Jose Stage Company.
Now through March 5: The Nether, by Jennifer Haley, is a thoroughly creepy play — in a good way. It's about a kind of Matrix/post-apocalyptic future in which some people live their whole lives online, and what happens when those people indulge some truly disturbing fantasies revolving around humankind's twin obsessions: Sex and death. It's shudder inducing and thoughtful. Details of the San Francisco Playhouse run are here.