March 16: Miles Davis recorded one of the classics of cool jazz in 1961 with his album In Person Live at the Blackhawk, once a popular jazz club in the Tenderloin. Now the terrific trumpeter Sean Jones is going to recreate that set. That alone makes this worth a Do List mention, but it's also the second in a series of concerts under the heading "Pivot New Adventures in the Performing Arts" from San Francisco Performances (SFP). Like so many arts organizations, SFP is trying to lure younger audiences with hipper late night shows in a smaller venue (the Strand Theater's Rueff Room), and at lower prices ($25 for all the Pivot concerts). The lineup for Pivot look fabulous if not all that radical: the Kronos Quartet plays Friday 03/11, Jones plays two shows Wednesday 03/16, and the polyrhythmic percussionists of Third Coast Percussion are there Monday March 28.
March 11-13: San Francisco Opera is taking a more ambitious approach to a similar challenge of graying audiences. The Bay Area's biggest performing arts company is launching its new SF Opera Lab at the War Memorial Veterans Building. This is a long dreamed of project for outgoing General Director David Gockley: a 299 seat theater (OMG-the seats have cup holders) perfect for chamber opera, recitals and experimental work. He’s hired opera director Elkhanah Pulitzer to run the place, "You either adapt and change with the times, and what’s viable, or what’s the famous quote? Experiment or die." The first program is a multi-media collaboration between South African artist William Kentridge, German baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Markus Hinterhäuser, with Goerne singing Winterreise, Schubert's song cycle of despair. Details here.
March 11: We didn’t get to say goodby to David Bowie here on The Do List. We loved his music, but also his work as an actor in movies including his film debut in Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth from 1976. Bowie plays an alien on earth to find water for his planet, which is dying from a severe drought. Sound familiar? Bowie co-starred with Candy Clark, who'd snagged an Oscar nomination for her work in American Graffiti. Clark will be at the Castro Theater for a screening of the film. Details here.
March 11-13: The Mark Morris Dance Group is bringing one of its finest works to Cal Performances. Morris's wonderfully normal looking dancers romp in this evening length performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, an oratorio from Handel, with the poetry of John Milton. It's colorful, witty, and grand, and the music is played by the Bay Area's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorus. You can't wrong. Details here.
Now - April 3: Food is so popular these days on Bay Area stages. The warm and funny Aubergine runs through March 27th at Berkeley Rep, and Theatreworks is debuting Tokyo Fish Story, by Kimber Lee, a young playwright whose work we haven’t seen in the Bay Area yet. This is about a sushi master and the apprentice who wants to shake things up a bit. Details here.
March 11-13: Rockage is a perfect festival for Silicon Valley, a part of the world that is so eager for the future, it sometimes fails to honor its nerdy past. Eric Fanali's little festival offers unlimited retro video game arcade play and indy rock at five venues in San Jose's SOFA district. Geek out to San Jose's Super Soul Bros, Bit Brigade, Sweet Peaches and other bands, and let your fingers fly on the blaster buttons. Details here.
Not enough? David and I have some shoutouts:
Now through March 20: CAAM fest — the Center For Asian American Media’s annual film and music event continues in San Francisco and Oakland. The festival features lots of small and worthy films- just one highlight the Oscar nominated Sanjay’s Super Team from Pixar’s Sanjay Patel.
March 13: The Steinway Society-The Bay Area presents Haochen Zhang, gold medalist in the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition. He was the first Chinese and the youngest pianist ever to win the Gold Medal. Details here.