The most promising event of the week comes from outgoing San Francisco Performances President and founder Ruth Felt. She's invited the Alexander String Quartet, Marc-André Hamelin, and Midori to play the three Bs and a bit of Schumann on Sunday night at the Herbst Theatre for a night being billed as the Concert of Gratitude. At $37 dollars at ticket (the price represents the number of years Felt led the organization), the line-up is a steal. Thank you, Ms. Felt -- you will be missed.
There are two big musical benefits this week. The first is on Tuesday night when American Bach Soloists, Ars Minerva, Musa, Music for a Viol, Philharmonia Baroque, musicians from the Valley of the Moon Festival, and baroque music ensemble Voices of Music all perform at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley to raise funds to restore the nearby First Congregational Church, the longtime home of many Bay Area music groups that was recently damaged by a fire. All proceeds go to restoration efforts. The second takes place on Sunday night, when an extremely talented line-up of jazz musicians will crowd onto the the stage of the main room at the SFJazz Center and pay tribute to the recently departed master vibraphone and marimba player Bobby Hutcherson, a longtime Bay Area resident. All proceeds go help Hutcherson's family pay off medical bills. McCoy Tyner, Paula West, George Cables, Mary Stallings, and Billy Childs are just some of the participants.
The biannual Rubin Institute to save classical music criticism from death is back in town, and once again, they didn't invite me. Not being petty, their short-sightedness won't prevent me from pitching a free concert they're presenting Thursday night at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music featuring the marvelous ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) performing a tantalizing program of new and recent cutting edge music. Read all about it here.
San Francisco Performances presents Jonathan Biss, Hsin-Yun Huang, and the Brentano Quartet at Herbst on Wednesday night performing Bach, Elgar, Gesualdo, and Mozart.
On Thursday night the Del Sol Quartet continues its innovative Soundings series at the Center for New Music with Estonian-American composer Lembit Beecher's string quartet These Memories May Be True paired with the composer's own animated drawings.
Cal Performances presents Georgian polyphonic specialists Ensemble Basiani in a program celebrating the Eastern European choral tradition on Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performs Beethoven's 6th Symphony and his 3rd Piano Concerto (with guest Robert Levin on the pianoforte) Friday at Herbst and Saturday at First Presbyterian.
Pianist Denis Matsuev's Sunday afternoon recital at Cal Performances' Hertz Hall is sold out, which is pretty exciting. Get yourself on the waitlist, or better yet just show up. Someone will have an extra ticket.
I can't stand Alisa Weilerstein, so there's no recommendation to go hear the SF Symphony this week, but on Sunday a terrific group of SF Symphony musicians will be performing an enticing chamber music program featuring the music of Shostakovich, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tsintsadze at Davies Symphony Hall, which I do recommend.
Pick of the week: Previews begin this week at A.C.T. for Tom Stoppard's latest play, The Hard Problem, "a provocative drama of sex, science, and supercomputing." Directed by Carey Perloff, the cast includes some of the Bay Area's finest actors.
Every 28 Minutes is a new festival of short theater pieces inspired by recent events and Black Lives Matter, presented by A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, FaultLine Theater, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, and Campo Santo. It begins on Tuesday with a marathon at A.C.T.'s Rueff Theatre (inside the Strand), followed the next day by more at Berkeley Rep's Osher Studio. From there the action moves to PianoFight for performances every Thursday - Saturday through November 12. All are free of charge and open to the public.
Central Works has the premiere of Karen Zacarias' Into the Beautiful North, which was inspired by The Magnificent Seven.
TheatreFIRST's Bagyó (Tagalog for storm), a contemporary look at SouthEast Asian culture wars and inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, is now onstage at Berkeley's Live Oak Theatre Thursday - Sundays through November 5th.
Richard Montoya's Nogales opens at the Magic on Wednesday (a collaboration with Campo Santo).
From A.C.T.'s conservatory program comes The Taming of the Shrew, Thursday - Saturday night only.
For more theater listings, check out posts from previous weeks.
Pick of the week: The Seven Year Itch is at the Balboa on Thursday, which is the night after the final Presidential debate, which might make it the perfect time to revisit this Billy Wilder classic about a middle-aged married man who develops a serious thing for his young upstairs neighbor (Marilyn Monroe) while his wife and kids are out of town for the summer. It's not Monroe's best, but it is an iconic classic well worth seeing on a large screen. Plus, the fantasy sequence where Ewell tries to seduce Monroe using Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto is one of the greatest things ever.
The weirdness of Super Shangri-La show continues at the Balboa on Wednesday with 1970's Equinox (aka The Beast -- no relation, beloved by George Lucas and Sam Raimi) and the "Little Girl Lost" episode of Twilight Zone.
The Castro has two terrific pre-Halloween double features this week: on Thursday it's Fritz Lang's classic M paired with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Saturday is The Exorcist and Poltergeist. Alejandro Jodorowsky's legendary and surreal El Topo screens on Friday, with the rarely screened Blindman, a spaghetti Western featuring Ringo Starr.
BAM/PFA's ongoing Anna Magnani retrospective continues with The Bandit, The Volcano, and Many Dreams Along the Way. See the schedule for days and times. Also screening this week are Kamikaze '89, Eva Hesse, and Second Breath.
YBCA screens the four-part documentary portrait of John Berger, The Seasons of Quincy this Thursday - Sunday. The retrospective of Andy Warhol shorts and rarities series continues on Sunday with My Hustler and Blowjob.
Pick of the week: Sweden's Cullberg Ballet brings Deborah Hay's Figure a Sea, with a score by Laurie Anderson, to Cal Performances, Saturday and Sunday only.
The 7th Annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival is at the Brava Theater Tuesday - Sunday.
Only in SF:
Red Prom, with your host D'Arcy Drollinger, Friday night at ODC.
Top photo: Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch.
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See you next week!