The Joffrey Ballet performs March 6–8 at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, presented by Cal Performances. (Photo by Cheryl Mann/Joffrey Ballet))

Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter

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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

• Ballet bounty: Two of the best ballet companies in the country will be performing in the Bay Area this weekend. Of course, one of them is based here. That would be the San Francisco Ballet, which is reviving its production of Balanchine’s fanciful take on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the first time in 34 years on March 6-16 at the War Memorial in San Francisco ( $35-$399; Meanwhile, Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet returns to UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on March 6-8 with a wide-ranging program that includes several Bay Area or West Coast premieres ($21-$148;

Celia Stahr will discuss her book, “Frida in America,” on March 5 at Book Passage in San Francisco.

• An artist emerges: World-renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was once known only as Señora Diego Rivera. But an important new biography traces her evolution and argues that it was the three years from 1930-32 that she spent in America, as a new bride traveling with her muralist husband to San Francisco, New York and Detroit that set her firmly on her own path to fame. University of San Francisco modern art professor Celia Stahr talks about “Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist” (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)  at 6 p.m. March 5 at Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco,

• It’s a twofer: Hey, opera lovers  Why settle for one fine production when two will do so nicely? For the price of a single ticket, Livermore Valley Opera is presenting both “Gianni Schicchi,” Puccini’s only comedy, and his contemporary, Viennese composer Alexander Zemlinsky’s “A Florentine Tragedy.” Both operas are set in Florence during World War I, but the first is a hilarious story of eagerly greedy relatives gathering around a family member’s deathbed and the second is a much darker tale of infidelity and murderous vengeance. Baritone Robert Mellon dons two hats — he sings the role of Gianni Schicchi and then takes on the persona of the aggrieved husband Simone in Zemlinsky’s work. The running time is about an hour for each opera. They open at 7:30 p.m. March 7 and repeat at 2 p.m. March 8 at Livermore’s Bankhead Theatre. Two more productions take place at the same times the following weekend. Tickets, $20-$90 are at 925-373-6800 or

• Embarrassment of cinematic riches: San Jose’s fun-loving annual Cinequest film and AI festival boasts more than 300 movie screenings, awards ceremonies featuring such luminaries as actor Jesse Eisenberg and beat generation icon Ruth Weiss, parties, augmented reality attractions and more. The event runs through March 15 with film showings in San Jose and Redwood City. Most screenings cost $6-$12, admission for awards ceremonies and other events varies. A complete schedule and other essential information is at

Clairdee will perform a tribute to Lena Horne on March 8 at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. (Photo courtesy of Freight & Salvage)

• Celebrating a legend: Clairdee is one of a seemingly endless supply of creative and talented jazz/blues singers who call the Bay Area home. She recently released a new album paying homage to Lena Horne, not just because the Hollywood icon is associated with scads of great songs, but also because she has served as utterly classy role model for countless African American women getting into showbiz. Clairdee brings her “Love Letter to Lena” show to Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage at 7 p.m. March 8. Tickets are $24;