July 16: Parker Milsap sings about Hades's (Greek god of the underworld) love for Persephone in the song "Hades Pleads" on his new album (and above). "I’m gonna take you to my house on the Styx, On a long black train going clackety-click." Great lyrics from a guy who definitely knows his ancient texts. Milsap was a choir boy growing up in his parent's Pentacostal church. You can hear the influence of Elvis and rockabilly (acoustic bass and fiddle) on his sound, but at just 23, you have to figure Milsap will just get better and better. Details for his show at Slim's in SF are here.
July 16 - Oct. 9: So many Californians, my in-laws included, heard California calling and discovered those wide open spaces along Route 66 in the mid-20th Century. Artist Ed Ruscha (roo-SHAY) was one of them, and his paintings, prints, and photos of auto repair shops, billboards, sunsets and roadways have plumbed the myths and realities of Los Angeles and the West ever since. Ed Ruscha and the Great American West is one of the shows featuring Ruscha, 78, at the de Young Museum. Details here.
Now through Sept. 3: There’s another Ed Ruscha show, this one of prints he made in San Francisco at Crown Point Press. That's a CHEAP THRILL! Admission is always free, even if the prints aren't. Details here.
Now through Sept. 11: And Ruscha is in very good company with Western artists like Chiura Obata, Albert Bierstadt, Maynard Dixon, Ester Hernández, and more in Wild West: Plains to the Pacific at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Details on that show are here.
July 16 - 30: The Carmel Bach Festival combines a beautiful setting with gorgeous music and fresh approaches to the repertory from Artistic Director and Conductor Paul Goodwin. The festival's mission is to study the deep influence of Bach on music of the past 300 or so years. For Goodwin, that means a production of Mozart's Idemeneo, Cloudburst, Eric Whitacre’s 1992 composition for chorus, and so much more. Details here.
Now through Aug. 7: Theatreworks Silicon Valley in Palo Alto is opening a brand new play called Confederates. A presidential candidate’s daughter shows a photo of herself wearing her father’s Confederate flag, and nothing else, to an African American reporter and things get very, very complicated. Playwright Suzanne Bradbeer and director Lisa Rothe (ROW-th-ee) developed this play through Theatreworks New Works Festival and in readings in New York. "I don’t think we’re trying to solve any problems," director Rothe said, "but maybe make people think in a different way. And hopefully theater does that. Especially this year, when politics is looking like theater or reality television." You can't vote in November without seeing it. Details here.
July 20: Holly Miranda has a reputation for making any song sound sad, or more accurately, I think, sound soulful. Her new EP is a set of covers including songs by Drake, Morphine, Sparklehorse and others. She's toured with Tegan and Sara, and was part of the band Jealous Girlfriends. I'd call her a musical explorer and I love following her. Details for her (CHEAP THRILL!) show at The Chapel are here.
July 16: And we have a shout out for a performance of ghost stories from the spooky podcasters at Welcome to Night Vale. Details for their show at the Fox in Oakland are here.