Cy and David's Picks: Dancing in the Streets, Bouncing with Big Freedia, and Silicon Valley Superheroes

7 min
The SETI Insitute will be joining the nerds and cosplayers at Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017 (Photo: Courtesy of SETI Institute)

KQED’s Cy Musiker and David Wiegand share their picks for great events around the Bay Area this week.

It's a weekend for science and sorcery in San Jose. On the Do List this week, you'll find details for the Steve Wozniak's Silicon Valley Comic Con, with its weird mix of Trekkies and techies (maybe not so weird). Then a contingent of scientists will march at 11am on Saturday at San Jose City Hall as part of a national movement fighting the suppression of science data under President Trump. And just for fun, there's the SOFA Street Fair. Now here's the show.

April 21-23: The so-talented Aoife O’Donovan (pronounced EE-fuh) is often a guest on A Prairie Home Companion, so she's familiar to NPR listeners. Her voice ranges from ethereal to earthy, with a big dose of Celtic folk tradition. She grew up in suburban Newton, Mass., but used to spend summers playing music in Ireland. No matter where in the Bay Area you live, you have a chance to see O'Donovan. She's touring with -- and opening for -- the great guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge. They have two shows at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz April 21 -- details here. Then Lage, Eldridge and O'Donovan play a sold out show April 22 at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley -- details here. And Sunday April 23 they're at the Mondavi Center in Davis -- details here.


April 21-30: We've talked about Bay Dance Week (really a 10-day event) before. But it’s such a cool festival, a celebration of not just all the amazing professional troupes based in the Bay Area, but also the many tap, ballet, modern, and ethnic dance academies we’re lucky to have. The festivities kick off at noon on Friday, April 21, at San Francisco City Hall, with a dance party and flashmob that anyone can join. (See the instructional video above featuring Rhythm and Motion's Dudley Flores), and check out the 100 or so free dance events -- cheap thrill alert! -- from San Jose (including the sjDANCEco Festival @ Santana Row) to San Rafael. Details here.

April 21-22: The Colorado River is among the most scenic, the most loved and the most abused of American rivers, as it winds from the Wind River Range in Wyoming to where it runs dry from overuse as it approaches Mexico's Sea of Cortez. (The Colorado supplies 60 percent of the water used in Southern California, so as a state, we're are part of the problem.) Now, the director Murat Eyuboglu and producer and composer Paola Prestini have collaborated on The Colorado, a documentary screened with live music. It's what Prestini calls an eco-cantata, "a piece that is in this cantata form in that it has an overarching narrative," Prestini told me on the phone, "but at the same time it’s equal parts a cautionary tale about the environment, and a profound musical experience that hopefully involves many different kinds of audiences.”

For a show at Stanford, Roomful of Teeth, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, and percussionist Glenn Kotche (Wilco) provide the live accompaniment, with gorgeous music composed by Prestini, John Luther Adams, William Brittelle, Glenn Kotche, and Shara Nova. Details for the performance April 21 and 22 at Stanford's Bing Hall are here. Roomful of Teeth is also doing a sold out show at the San Francisco Opera Lab April 23. If you're lucky you might find a friend with an extra ticket to that show. Details here.

April 21-23: I was nerding out on Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel (and Jim Steranko) way before they were cool. So I’m happy to include Silicon Valley Comic Con on our list this week. David and I aren't sure why actor John Cusack (Say Anything, High Fidelity) is there, but you'll find all the familiar comic con tropes: a costume contest, and appearances by Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Grant Gustin (The Flash), Billy Boyd (Pippin), and any number of Star Trek actors. But with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak producing the show, you'll also find scientists and engineers making presentations, including researchers from the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Life), space scientists from NASA, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a real superhero. Details here. 

April 27: Big Freedia is the Queen of Bounce, a style of hip-hop out of New Orleans. Her life has bounced high and low the past few years: She worked with Beyoncé on the "Formation" video, but then she nearly went to jail last year over charges she was illegally using federal housing funds. That hasn't slowed down her reality TV show or her touring schedule. Expect a lot of twerking and a great deal of fun. As David said, we need that right now. Details here.