A Beast in a Jungle's weekly list of the best of what to see and hear in the Bay Area has returned. Labor Day weekend and the week prior are a good time to go out because a whole lot of people are at Burning Man. The downside is that very little is going on because so many people are at Burning Man. Still, there's plenty for those not feeling the burn...
Music: San Diego-based pianist Kyle Adam Blair premieres Brazilian composer Bruno Ruviaro's Pós-Tudos, "a collection of piano etudes based on copying, borrowing, and stealing" at the Center for New Music on September 2nd.
La Misa Negra, "an 8-piece band from Oakland that plays a unique blend of 1950's and 60's style cumbia and high-energy, Afro-Colombian dance music," plays the Independent on September 3rd, and it's your best bet during a week that's traditionally a musical graveyard.
Brooklyn-based jazz singer/composer Tammy Scheffer performs at the Red Poppy Art House on September 4th.
Heads up: The San Francisco Symphony launches its 2016-17 on September 7 with its annual Opening Night Gala. To start its 105th season, superstar opera singers Renée Fleming and Susan Graham join Michael Tilson Thomas and the orchestra. Steve Reich's 80th birthday will be celebrated during the night with a performance of his Three Movements, and Fleming and Graham will sing Italian and American songs, including some by MTT. The pricey tickets benefit school music programs and include the always marvelous post-concert after party. September 9–10 performances feature Three Movements and Reich’s Double Sextet performed by contemporary chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird side-by-side with SFS musicians and pieces by Aaron Copland. On September 11 SFS presents Steve Reich: An American Maverick, a special birthday celebration in honor of the composer’s extraordinary musical contributions, including performances by SFS members, Kronos Quartet, and Eighth Blackbird. And if the Symphony season is about to get underway, that means it's also time for San Francisco Opera to open the doors of the War Memorial Opera House for another season, which begins on September 9th with the long-awaited return of Andrea Chénier, Umberto Giordano's verismo classic about an ill-fated love triangle during the French Revolution. The cast's leads are largely unknown around here, but Chénier is high on the list of interesting things on the company's fall schedule. Learn more by attending one of the previews taking place this week around the Bay Area. Also of interest is the world premiere of Bright Sheng's Dream of the Red Chamber, with a libretto by Sheng and David Henry Hwang based on Cao Xueqin's Chinese novel about, um, another ill-fated love triangle, which begins on September 10th.
All of What You Love and None of What You Hate , the latest offering in SF Playhouse's Sandbox Series, opens on August 31 for a month-long run in the Rueff Space at ACT's Strand Theatre. Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe directs Phillip Howze's new play. Howze's work has been seen at Cutting Ball, Sundance, BRIC Arts-Media, and Yale Cabaret. He's the is the 2015-16 Artist Fellow at Lincoln Center Education, a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers Group and the 2016 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival.
The second production of Quantum Dragon Theatre's inaugural season is Speed of Light by Bella Poynton, and it's now playing at the Mojo Theatre. Quantum scored their first time out with Civil, a very effectively rendered look at a dystopian future. The company specializes in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror-themed material. Check them out.
Caught, by local playwright Christopher Chen (The Late Wedding, The Hundred Flowers Project) gets underway at Shotgun Players with previews beginning this Thursday. Opening night is Sept. 7. Caught just opened at LA MaMa - read more about it in this NYT preview.
SF Playhouse's production of City of Angels continues through September 17th. The staging is typically SF Playhouse brilliant, but others were more enthusiastic than I about what was on the stag.
Aurora kicks off its 25th season on September 2 with Dear Master. Berkeley playwright Dorothy Bryant's two-hander uses the correspondence between George Sand and Gustave Flaubert to examine a host of subjects.
The Line, which is being billed as a "meta-musical comedy" about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, gets its world premiere at PianoFight September 1- 3 in 10:00 pm performances.
5 Plays 5 Days, a week-long series of staged reading of works by local playwrights, takes place at ZSpace August 29th - September 3.
Champagne White is DISASTROUS!, the latest outing from D’Arcy Drollinger, finds the not-quite-yet-iconic femme fatale in Acapulco. It's sure to be equal parts raunchy and funny. At the Oasis September 1 - 17.
Last call for Cal Shakes production of George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell, which ends on September 4th. Director Lisa Peterson updates the setting of the romantic farce to modern times.
The SF Mime Troupe's summer season of scathing, funny and on-point political satire winds down its summer of free Bay Area performances of Schooled, a dystopian look at the state of American education. Thursday at the Bayview Opera House (6:30), Saturday in Peacock Meadow in Gate Gate Park (2:00), Sunday and Monday in Dolores Park (2:00). Check out the trailer here.
Heads up: The SF Fringe Festival takes over the Exit Theatres (with additional shows at PianoFight) September 9 - 24 with 150 performances from 38 companies over 16 days... King Charles III, ACT's coproduction with Seattle Repertory Theatre and DC's Shakespeare Theatre Company of Mike Bartlett's Olivier Award-winning play, opens at the Geary on September 14. Let's keep our fingers crossed this production is at the same level as those that wowed critics in New York and London... Theatre Rhinoceros will be performing The Brothers Size, the middle play of Tarrell Alvin McCraney's (Choir Boy, Head of Passes) Brothers/Sisters triptych at the Eureka Theatre September 24th - October 15. Read more here.
Film: The Balboa has two weekends of Alfred Hitchcock double features coming up and Kubrick's version of Lolita kicking off a month-long retrospective of his films on Thursday nights through September. Wednesday night the Castro has a noir double feature of Kiss Me Deadly and Five. Pacific Film Archive screens the classic spaghetti westerns The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on Friday and A Fistful of Dollars on Sunday, as well as Yasujiro Ozu's masterpieces Late Spring on Thursday and Tokyo Story on Saturday.