Feb. 13-May 31: Hunger Games: The Exhibition is coming to the Innovation Hangar at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts. The show is a collection of costumes and sketches for costumes, including the Mockingjay dress and armor; plus Mockingjay pins and lots of white roses. I’m a sucker for adventure stories featuring strong women, and anything starring Jennifer Lawrence, and this should be a fun diversion for young adults who've read Suzanne Collins' trilogy five times or seen the movie quartet (bloat) 10 times. But beware the gift shop. Details here.
Feb. 26-July 31: Oakland photographer Richard Misrach teams up with composer/musician Guillermo Galindo for Border Cantos at the San Jose Museum of Art. Misrach heard that Galindo, a Mexican born US Citizen, had been making regular trips to the US-Mexican border, but stopped after a series of confrontations with Border Patrol agents. So Misrach began collecting objects cast off by Mexican immigrants, and those patrolling the border, and sending them to Galindo, who then fashioned them into musical instruments. According to the catalog, "A discarded food can becomes the resonating chamber of an instrument modeled on a single-stringed Chinese erhu; empty shot gun shells are strung together to create a variation of a West African shaker.” I can't wait to see this show. Details here.
Feb. 12 & 14: These days we take for granted historically informed performances of Baroque and classical music, but you can thank Conductor Nicholas McGegan for helping pioneer the approach. McGegan celebrates a milestone this year, 30 years leading the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and providing the Bay Area with hundreds of great performances. McGegan and the PBO are often at their best when doing vocal music, and this weekend they've got Susan Graham, the powerful mezzo-soprano and trouser-role specialist, joining them for an all Handel concert at the Mondavi Center in Davis, and at Weill Concert Hall at Sonoma State.
Feb. 20: South Africa-born Trevor Noah has become one of the leading commentators on American politics and culture as the not-so-new anymore host of The Daily Show. My co-host David Wiegand covers television for The San Francisco Chronicle and he thinks Noah is getting pretty good at nailing the fatuous and the foolish, perhaps not such a tough job in an election year. Noah performs in two shows at The Masonic Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Continuing through Feb. 28: Director and playwright Mark Jackson loves to put his characters in extreme situations and then squeeze a bit to see what happens. Now he's adapted and directed Little Erik, a rewrite of Little Eyolf, a little known play by Henrik Ibsen, about a wealthy woman, her slacker husband, their injured son, an aunt who may be a sexual predator, and a magical realism character named the Rat Woman (think the Pied Piper). "For me the reason to put relationships like that onstage," Jackson says, "in which people are struggling and are making choices that are perhaps not the best, it’s very much about compassion to me and being tolerant of the people we care about when they’re struggling and trying to do their best, but failing." And there's the drama. It's at Berkeley's Aurora Theater.
Feb. 18-28: I tried to count all the bands at Noise Pop this year, and lost track around 120. The festival seems overstuffed (again), straying far from its "noise-pop" roots and featuring Carly Mae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe") and LA's Kamasi Washington (The Epic), a very hot name in jazz right now. But who cares. I'm dying to see Washington, and I know our producer Suzie Racho is keen on the jazz-influenced Kneebody and Daedulus and the synth-pop of The Metric (Pagans in Vegas). Don't miss some of our favorite Bay Area's bands including Be Calm Honcho, Foxtails Brigade, and more. Details here.