Cirque du Soleil's "Amaluna" plays through Jan. 12 in San Francisco (Photo courtesy of Martin Girard/Cirque du Soleil)

Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter

End your week with a bit of culture to unwind and refresh. Sign up for our surprising and inspiring options in our weekly newsletter, delivered on Thursdays with news about Bay Area arts and entertainment.

The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here

• Cirque du Soleil: If you still have an appetite for acrobatic thrills and spectacle after the holidays, Cirque’s touring production of “Amaluna” is still running in San Francisco. The show is loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” but we doubt the Bard would have imagined the kinds of stunts this cast pulls off. The production runs through Jan. 12 at Oracle Park in San Francisco; tickets are  $54-$285; 877-924-7783,

• Mighty pipes: The weekend after New Year’s can be a pretty desolate time for lovers of classical music, but this Sunday holds a golden opportunity for them. Jens Korndörfer, the triple prize winner of the Canadian International Organ Competition and a force to be reckoned with at the keyboard, makes his San Francisco Symphony debut on the massively thunderous Ruffati organ that dominates the stage at Davies Symphony Hall. On his program are works that span the Baroque to the modern eras, including selections from Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier,” Dupre’s “Variations sur un Noel” and the West Coast premiere of Pmela Decker’s “Windows of the Spirit.” Concert time is 3 p.m. Jan. 5 at 201 Van Ness Ave., and $30-$40 tickets are available at 415-864-6000 and

• On the ‘Border’: Dan Hoyle is a Bay Area treasure. The actor, monologist and writer tackles tough topics with his solo stage shows, but is more intent on informing and entertaining us than preaching or politics. For “Border People,” Hoyle interviewed 11 people living in all sorts of border situations. The true magic of the performance is not so much what he learned, but how he portrays the people he met along the way. “Border People” has been extended through Jan. 18 at The Marsh in San Francisco before heading off for a New York run. Tickets are $30-$100 at

The Pacific Mambo Orchestra will hit the stage at Yoshi’s in Oakland. (Photo courtesy of Pacific Mambo Orchestra)

• Pacific Mambo Orchestra: Nothing like kicking off the new year with a blast of hard-charging Latin jazz, which this Grammy-winning Bay Area band serves up, in spades. The band just turned 10 and is releasing its third album, “The III Side,” and celebrating all of this with four gigs at Yoshi’s nightclub in Oakland. Performances are 8 and 10 p.m. Jan. 1 and 2; tickets are $26-$63 at It’s part of a big weekend for the nightspot, which also welcomes the terrific pop/rock singer-songwriter KT Tunstall for two shows on Jan. 3 ($37). 

• Comedy ‘Kiss Off’: Legendary Bay Area political humorist Will Durst suffered a stroke in October, and while we all will pray for his recovery and return to action, his annual “Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show” has not missed a beat. The touring show is continuing with his remaining cast of “merry pranksters,” as they like to call themselves. These include his wife, Debi, along with Michael Bossier, Johnny Steele, Mari Magaloni, Arthur Gaus and a variety of special guests. The show is nearing its final weekend, with performances in Pleasant Hill, Healdsburg, Mill Valley and San Francisco. Tickets are $25-$40. Go to for more details.