KQED’s Suzie Racho and Gabe Meline share their picks for great events around the Bay Area this week.
The seasons are changing, the sun is out, and this week we've got not one, not two, not three but four free events in the show. One of them is the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival in Oakland -- a large annual party in San Antonio Park with street art, breakdancing, spoken word and music, including a set by the great jazz saxophonist David Murray and his trio. Details here. We also need to give a quick mention to Rajeev Taranath a master of the the Indian Lute, who's at the Freight and Salvage on Tuesday. Details here. Now on with the show.
May 20: The fun, accessible live-music smorgasbord Porchfest is a tradition running for 10 years now; it started in New York and eventually came west. The idea is simple: instead of going to a nightclub or ballroom to see music, attendees can walk or ride bikes around the neighborhood and see music performed on front steps, porches, or backyards. This year there are over 50 bands, from folk to punk, and it takes place all over the Mission District in San Francisco -- though centered on Valencia Street. Details here.
May 20: When an abandoned warehouse in Santa Rosa was taken over in 2013 by dozens of street artists, it was the talk of the town. After all, the 4,000-sq.-ft. warehouse once housed a printing press, but has become a building of mystique -- the Wonka Factory of downtown Santa Rosa, if you will. So it's a thrill that Out Of Order is opening its doors again and returning for a second run, with over 30 artists taking part in covering the walls, doors, and every available surface with huge graffiti murals. It's free, it's at the Corner Store Collective, and details are here.
May 19–21: Liss Fain Dance often bases its works on fiction or literature, like that of William Faulkner or Virginia Woolf. For Known Once, they partnered with 826 Valencia and The Redwoods to create a performance from real life, pulling together seniors and kids for a piece about personal experience and similarities across generations. Six years in the making, it finally premieres this week at Z Space. Details here.
May 21: Oakland City Hall on Sunday hosts the city’s annual Oakland Book Festival, where this year’s theme is Equality/Inequality. There are panels on arts advocacy after the Ghost Ship fire, the free press and fake news, and authors like Ishmael Reed and Jeff Chang. There's also this book that everyone's been talking about -- OG Told Me, written by teacher and journalist Pendarvis Harshaw, an true story about growing up on the streets of Oakland and the lessons he learned from his elders and peers. He's on a panel about race and place in the Bay Area, and it's a guaranteed way to get a copy of OG Told Me -- not the easiest thing to do, since right now, Harshaw's just riding his bike around Oakland and selling it out of his backpack. Details here.
May 20: San Jose is one of only six cities in the United States hosting the current tour by Shankar Mahadevan, a Bollywood composer who's scored over 65 films. Mahadevan is a huge star in India, and he specializes in a rhythm-heavy sound bolstered by extra production -- though he's also written for small combos as well. For this tour, a benefit for literacy causes, he's got a 20-piece orchestra and a set list sure to get people dancing at the City National Civic. Details here.