The Ray Bradbury Centennial Read-A-Thon.

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.

• The books are burning – for a full fortnight: “It was a pleasure to see things burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.” Join celebrated sci-fi writer Neil Gaiman as he solemnly intones the opening of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 classic, “Fahrenheit 451.” So named for the temperature at which book paper catches fire, the dystopian novel, considered Bradbury’s masterpiece, is the subject of a marathon online reading  that began streaming on Aug. 22, the centennial of the author’s birth. Sponsored by the Library of  Congress and a host of other high-minded literary organizations, the Ray Bradbury Centennial Read-A-Thon deploys high profile folks like Gaiman, Susan Orlean and William Shatner as well as librarians, regular people and young readers to dispatch the entire work. It takes place in three segments: “The Hearth and the Salamander” starts it off and takes a little over two hours to complete; “The Sieve and the Sand” stretches on for about an hour and a half; and Part 3, “Burning Bright,” brings things to a close at just under two hours. That’s a significant investment of time, but the event, streaming on YouTube, is ongoing through Sept. 5, so you can take it in all at once or at your own pace. Find it at raybradburyreadathon.com.


Cuban pianist and composer Omar Sosa is among the featured acts at a virtual concert/celebration hosted by Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage. (Photo courtesy of Omar Sosa)

• Freight date: Berkeley’s famed Freight & Salvage nightclub is among the venues around the Bay Area and across the country looking for sources of revenue while live music remains sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fans of the music hall can check in at 5 p.m. Aug. 27 for a celebration/fundraiser featuring such A-list musicians as folk-rocker Lucy Kaplansky, guitar great Bill Frisell, slack key guitar star George Kahumoku Jr., Cuban pianist/composer Omar Sosa, singer-songwriter-activist Holly Near and more. Donation packages range from $50-$1,000. Check into the Freight’s website, www.thefreight.org, by 4:45 p.m. Aug. 27 to access the event.


• Trotting out the talent: Mark your calendars for 1 p.m. Aug. 30, opera lovers! That’s the appointed hour for Opera San Jose to introduce us all to the company’s 2020-21 resident artists in its first livestream broadcast of its annual Resident Artist Showcase. Those who will be singing howdy (and giving us other examples of their talent) include the impressive baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, who sang the Marcello role in Baz Luhrmann’s Broadway production of “La boheme,” and mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, an alum of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellowship program and a Grand Finals winner of the 2018 National Council Auditions at the New York Met. Their equally gifted colleagues this year are soprano Maya Kherani, conductor Christopher James Ray, tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli, baritone Efraín Solís and bass-baritone Nathan Stark. Find out more about all of them and RSVP for the free livestream at www.operasj.org.


• Inside Outside Lands: Earlier this month, thousands and thousands of people were slated to flock to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the annual Outside Lands Festival, the annual three-day explosion of A-list music acts, amazing food and tasty adult beverages. The coronavirus pandemic put an end to that but this weekend serves up Inside Lands, two days of virtual programming Aug. 28-29 featuring sets from previous Outside Lands shows, interviews with musicians and more cool stuff. Among the acts you can catch are J. Cole, Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, Jack White, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, Haim, Leon Bridges and many, many more. The content is all free and accessible at www.twitch.tv/sfoutsidelands. And like the festival, musical acts and appearances will be assigned set times. You can find the complete schedule at www.sfoutsidelands.com/insidelands.


Author/playwright Laura Harrington will be on hand for a Q&A about her 19th Amendment-themed musical “Perfect 36” during a livestreamed event Aug. 26 hosted by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley)

A ‘Perfect’ musical: Aug. 26 marks the 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women’s right to vote, To celebrate, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and the Women’s Club of Palo Alto are presenting a streaming production featuring excerpts of Laura Harrington and Mel Marvin’s 1996 musical “Perfect 36,” which recounts the women’s suffrage movement’s hard-fought campaign to secure the 36-state majority needed to pass the amendment. (Tennessee was the final state, and it did not come easily.) The production, hosted by TheatreWorks artistic associate and director of new works Giovanna Sardelli, livestreams at 5:30 p.m. and includes a Q&A with Harrington. You’ll find it all at www.theatreworks.org. The show is free, but donations are encouraged. If you can’t catch the livestream production, the show will be available afterward on demand at the same website.