Cy and Ariana's Picks: Poets on Art, Drawing on Everything, and Jazz for a Summer's Day

7 min
Wall and paintings by Shantell Martin at Chandran Gallery in San Francisco

This week we welcome back as co-host KQED Youth Media Manager and music geek Ariana Proehl. Despite the fact that it's summer, we are overstocked with cool stuff: We didn't have a chance to talk about the incredible John Luther Adams festival, running July 26–30 at SFJAZZ (and outdoors, at Sutro Baths). It looks like a huge deal, with a world premiere by the Alaskan composer on the schedule — details here. And there's no place better to be for families than at the free 30th annual Berkeley Kite Festival, running July 29-30 at the Berkeley Marina. Details here. Now on with the show.

Aug. 11–13: San Jose Jazz Sumer Fest always features a lot of salsa — and this year, the woman from Benin, Angélique Kidjo, does her own tribute to the musical style. The gifted Cuban singer Daymé Arocena also delivers her intoxicating mix of rumba, Santeria and jazz, and the Bay Area's dance kings, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, is also there. But the festival embraces all kinds of music, with a strong hit of R&B and funk this year, with Maceo Parker, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic representing the past, and East Bay band The Seshen exemplifying the future. Traditional jazz lovers will be happy to catch bassist Eddie Gomez (in a quintet with George Cables, Randy Brecker, Javon Jackson and Jimmy Cobb), and B3 organ jazz master Dr. Lonnie Smith. Details here.

Aug. 4: One extra jazz note as the gifted ukulele player Taimane, who gets a huge sound with her three finger technique, follows her San Jose Jazz performance with a gig at Don Quixote’s in Felton, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, on Aug. 15. Details here. And then she's at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on Aug. 16. Details here.

Work by Duhirwe Rushemeza part of the show 'Ease of Fiction' at MOAD in San Francisco
Work by Duhirwe Rushemeza, part of the show 'Ease of Fiction' at MOAD in San Francisco. (Photo: Courtesy of Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD))

Aug 3, 10 and 17: Who better to interpret challenging visual arts than poets? That's the idea behind Community Voices: Poets Speak at the The Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) — where every week a new poet offers their insights into the exhibition The Ease of Fiction, which presents the work of four African artists living in the United States. Poet Arisa White is the curator for the series, tapping fellow Bay Area members of Cave Canem (Latin for "beware the dog"), a poetry fellowship for African-American poets. As Ariana notes, what a beautiful and fun way to experience visual art — with a poet as your guide. Details for upcoming evenings (featuring Oakland poet George Higgens and former San Francisco Poet Laureate devorah major) are here.

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Continuing through Aug. 5: Music at Menlo, now underway, is just the nicest little chamber festival you can imagine, with concerts and seminars, international stars and student ensembles lecturing and playing in intimate concert halls. A stone's throw from Facebook HQ, the annual festival hasn't exactly seen the tech-worker crowd embrace it yet, but that's a side note when the music is of such high quality. This year's theme is The Glorious Violin, featuring violin music from the Baroque to brand new works. Details here.

Aug. 1, 2, 8, and 15: Boz Scaggs began his career in the dawn of the "San Francisco Sound" playing in the Steve Miller Band, later scoring hits in the '70s with blue-eyed soul and disco favorites. Ariana says she bonded with a boyfriend in her youth over the soulful groove of "Lowdown," and Scaggs is still mixing it up in 2017, with a new album featuring his takes on songs by Fats Domino (see the video for "A Fool to Care" above), Al Green, and even the Spinners. Even though he owns Slim's music club in San Francisco, Scaggs plays the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa on Aug. 1, Monterey's Golden State Theater on Aug. 2, Saratoga's Mountain Winery Aug. 8, and Livermore's Wente Winery Aug. 15. Details here.

Continuing through Aug. 18: Shantell Martin is an artist who likes to draw on everything -- metaphorically and literally. She grew up in a public housing complex in East London, where she drew behind the curtains and on the floor under her bed to avoid getting in trouble. Now, galleries are eager to have her use her Sharpies on their walls, because she's become an international art star. Her style is a bit like Keith Haring, with a more whimsical streak. Her newest show is Charge Your Self, and speckled among the googly eyes of the faces she draws are affirmations like "Share your voice. Use your magic." Ariana says she got a lot of energy from the show. We both felt charged up. Details for Martin's show at Chandran Gallery in Union Square are here.

Thanks, Ariana!

Ariana Proehl and Cy Musiker at the Chandran Gallery for the Shantell Martin show
Ariana Proehl and Cy Musiker at the Chandran Gallery for the Shantell Martin show. (Photo: Courtesy of Chandran Gallery)

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