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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
• Happy birthday Shakespeare: The Bard turns 456 on April 23 (we credit TRX training and tanning sessions for why he still looks so good) and the California Shakespeare Theater is throwing an online party. And with all the world being a stage — you are definitely invited. Tune into the company’s website on the big day and you’ll find all sorts of Shakespeare-related content: selected highlights from London’s Royal Shakespeare Company and Canada’s Stratford Festival; a presentation on the Bard featuring Cal Shakes resident dramaturg Philippa Kelly; and much more. It’s all free and it’s all at www.calshakes.org.
• Art auction for a good cause: Like most museums, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing an uncertain financial future. So several African American artists are rallying in support with an online art auction featuring more than two dozen donated paintings, sculptures and photos and prints. Maybe you can’t afford to buy any of the works, but it doesn’t cost anything to look at, and the works are stunning (and there is a link to make a donation if you can). The auction, organized in collaboration with the online art auction site Artsy, runs through May 5 at artsy.net/moad.
• Balanchine revisited: Set to beautiful music by Tchaikovsky, choreographer Garrett Ammon’s “Serenade for Strings,” his own particular, humor-infused take on a classic Balanchine ballet from 1934, streams for 48 hours beginning April 22 as part of Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s current “Hump Day” presentations. To access it, you need to get yourself on Smuin’s email list for instructions — sign up at www.smuinballet.org — or go to the company’s Facebook or Instagram accounts. Ammon created the work for his Denver-based Wonderbound troupe in 2013, and Smuin gave it its West Coast premiere in the fall of 2014. Smuin teacher and former dancer Valerie Harmon will introduce the performance in an accompanying video.
• Virtual street fair: San Jose’s annual celebration of music, the SoFA Street Fair, has been postponed due to the coronavirus, but organizers have arranged it so you can enjoy SoFA right from your sofa. Yes, the street fair has been reborn as an online music festival. Instead of 15 stages, you’ll find 15 channels full of all manner of performers, from mid-20th-century French pop revivalists Amour de Seine to the terrific Silicon Valley singer-songwriter Ren Geisick. The festival will be livestreamed from 2-9 p.m. April 26 with some 100 acts slated to perform. “Virtual vendors” will sell various merchandise, but the main show is free. Go to www.sofamusicfestival.com.
• Arr, mateys! Shiver your timbers with the National Theatre of London’s lively production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure story, “Treasure Island,” streaming April 22 and 23 on the company’s YouTube channel. Murder and mutiny on the high seas will keep you glued to the screen. The production stars Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver, Patsy Ferran as Jim Hawkins and Joshua James as Ben Gunn. The performance is free, but consider supporting the world-renowned theatrical company — a treasure itself — after you watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwNvC8sFTEU.