KQED's Cy Musiker and David Wiegand share their picks for great events around the Bay Area this week.
Here at the Do List, we are mourning the death of Sharon Jones at just 60 years old. She brought such joy and power to her music. But we're happy to have survived Thanksgiving family potlucks, and to point you to music and shows that will bring you joy. Try the Dynamic Miss Faye Carol singing the songs of Duke Ellington at San Jose's Cafe Stritch on Nov. 26, and ODC's 30th anniversary revival of The Velveteen Rabbit, about a stuffed rabbit that comes to life and dances beautifully, running Nov. 25–Dec. 11.
And now for the main list.
Nov. 27: When the Nobel Prize Committee announced that a singer-songwriter was receiving the prize for literature, Leonard Cohen seemed as likely a choice as Bob Dylan. On Sunday, devoted Cohen fans will want to flock to a memorial show featuring the 30-member a cappella choir Conspiracy of Beards, San Francisco's Chuck Prophet, Cohen biographer and singer Sylvie Simmons, singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek, Sarah Bethe Nelson, Christopher Owens and others. My favorite songs: "Suzanne," because I loved both Cohen's version and the Judy Collins' cover in college, and "Everybody Knows," which is one reason I never play craps. Details for Songs of Love and Hate: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen at The Chapel are here.
Continuing through March 12: Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now has just opened at SFMOMA with images that cover the period from the end of World War II, after the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, to the nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima. Curator Emeritus Sandra Phillips assembled the show from SFMOMA's huge (and exceptional) permanent collection and a donation from the Kurenboh Collection. The photos reveal multitudes about Japan and its conflicted relationship with the United States. Co-host David Wiegand reviewed the show, and liked it so much, he went back to see it again. Details here.
Nov. 30–Jan. 14: It all started with the play Parfumerie by the Hungarian/American writer Miklos Laszlo, about two shopkeepers who hate each other in person but fall in love as anonymous correspondents. The play inspired movies; The Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan), The Good Old Summertime (Judy Garland), and You've Got Mail (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) -- and the terrific musical She Loves Me, a big success on Broadway in 1963 which saw a revival last year. Its success is no surprise, considering the songs are by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, the team responsible for Fiddler on the Roof. She Loves Me is at San Francisco Playhouse, where Susi Damilano directs the wonderful Monique Hafen and Jeffrey Brian Adams as the tumultuous couple heading a huge cast. Details here.
Nov. 30–Dec. 31: Here's another musical with nothing but romance on its mind. Theatreworks is restaging Daddy Longlegs (2010), based on the same Jean Webster novel that inspired the movie starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. It's set in suffragette-era New England, where a spirited orphan girl is sent to a fancy college by a mysterious benefactor. True love ensues. Co-stars Hilary Maiberger and Derek Carley sound terrific in the video above, singing songs by Paul Gordon (who wrote Emma, another Theatreworks production). Escapism has never looked so inviting. Details here.
Nov. 27, Dec. 9–10, Dec. 24: The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus always loves to get merry for the holidays. But this year, they're also planning a "Building Bridges" tour of Southern states in 2018, ahead of the mid-term elections, as a way to let other LGBTQ people know they're not alone -- and perhaps change some minds among people who voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Those who find that a refreshing approach will want to join them for Home for the Holidays at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa on Sunday. Details here. Or catch their Babes in Joyland show at San Francisco’s Nourse Theatre, on Dec. 9th and 10th, or a show at the Castro Theatre on Dec. 24th. Details for the San Francisco shows are here.
Nov. 25: George Watsky calls himself a typical "Bay Area Kid," raised on a diet of Iraq War protests by open-hearted progressive parents in San Francisco. So naturally, this fast-rapping author, recording artist and graduate of Youth Speaks and Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam has felt obligated to talk about the election during his current tour. He told me he wrote "a science-fiction rap" about Donald Trump becoming President, never expecting it to come true. But now he's trying not to wallow in depression as he plans his homecoming concert. "I’m going to acknowledge the political situation," he said by phone, "but I also don’t want to spend the whole concert pandering to people who mostly share my views. I’m going to speak my mind, but I’m also going to play the concert, and not let the whole thing be consumed by that." That's a balance we all might seek to find in the next few months and years. Details for Watsky's Warfield show are here.