May 7 & June 4: Lucius singers and keyboard players Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig dress as identical twins (though they're not) for all of this band's gigs as "sort of a giggle." And the band's videos are mostly a giggle too, which is clear from the one we posted above. But the musicianship is first rate, whether Lucius is indulging in synth-heavy beats from the '80s that are still perfect for dancing, or a great R&B hook, or a really sensitive folk arrangement with close harmony and acoustic guitar. Details for their Catalyst show in Santa Cruz are here. And they're part of the lineup for the Live 105 B-F-D June 4 show at Shoreline Amphitheater.
May 6 - June 11: In its Dance Series Two, Smuin Ballet is presenting a new ballet about water called Oasis by choreographer Helen Pickett, with an original score by jazz trumpeter Jeff Beal, who wrote the wonderfully effective theme music for the TV show House of Cards. Imagine groups of dancers moving in unison and ripples, like the flow of water in a river. There isn't a more timely topic in a state that may be in perpetual drought. Oasis is on the program with a neo-classical piece by the great Val Caniparoli, which is set to the music of Vivaldi and has an irresistible title: Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino (Everything but the Kitchen Sink). Details here.
May 11 - 25: The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown is a love story with a twist. It's about a relationship between an aspiring actor and making-it-big novelist, and it doesn't have a happy ending. That's not a spoiler because the story is told in both reverse and normal chronological order. The American Conservatory Theater staged a winning concert version of Brown's 2001 stage musical last year, after the modest success of the movie starring Anna Kendrick. No Anna in this fully-staged version at ACT's Geary Theater, but the very worthy Margo Siebert (from the Broadway production of Rocky), and Zak Resnick (Broadway's Mama Mia) co-star in this two-hander. The show includes the song "Shiksa Goddess," so it's a must-see for every inter-denominational couple in the Bay Area. Details are here.
May 14 - Forever: Here’s the big story for this month: A week from Saturday, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) re-opens in its huge new whale of an addition, that makes it the biggest modern art museum in the U.S. Director Neal Benezra isn't just boasting when he told us, "The collection we now have of art is as good as any in the world. Not just the numbers of works, but the quality of work and the depth of our holdings of certain great artists: Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly. We become a destination for anyone interested in late 20th Century art." The galleries are spacious and bright, and beautifully set off the 1,100 works donated by Don and Doris Fisher (founders of clothing store chain the Gap), and more than 3,000 new works from various donors. Critics are noting some things need fixing, like how the new works skew toward artists who are white men from New York, but Benezra and his curators seem ready to address those challenges as they reconfigure galleries for future shows. It's free Saturday, May 14, but it's also sold out. Things should calm down by mid-June. Details and tickets available here.
May 6 & 7: Rogue Wave is one of the Bay Area's great indie bands. Songwriter, singer, guitarist Zach Rogue and drummer Pat Spurgeon are still the real core of the group that formed in Oakland back in 2002 in the wake of the dot-com bust (in which Rogue lost his job.) Their new album is Delusions of Grand Fur. (I guess that's a pun on delusions of grandeur?) No delusions -- Rogue and Spurgeon play superb California pop. Details for their show at Sweetwater Friday night are here, and details for their show at The Independent Saturday night are here.