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.
Freebie of the week: One of the Bay Area’s best free concert series is back this week for what likely will be a balmy evening and lovely summer celebration. Point Richmond Music’s Summer Concert Series runs the second Friday, June through September, with an extra show on September’s final Friday, just for good measure. The music runs from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m., featuring two bands. Shows take place at Park Place and Washington Avenue in a communal atmosphere, with lots of restaurants and other businesses open for those who develop a thirst or an appetite. There are works by local artists on display and face-painting available for the kids, and dancing on the street is heartily encouraged. Organizers put a lot of work into selecting bands and musicians each season, resulting in fun, high-quality performances. On Friday, the lineup includes Blu Egyptian, starting at 5:30 p.m. The quartet out of Chico is known for tight, high-energy shows (the group apparently performs at least one concert pretty much every week) blending genres from funk to bluegrass to reggae to EDM. Blu Egyptian will give way to Barrio Manouche, the popular, very danceable eight-piece Bay Area band fronted by talented guitarist Javi Jiménez. The band plays a percolating mix of flamenco, jazz manouche (aka gypsy jazz), Brazilian and Latin jazz, roots music and more. Point Richmond Music organizers keep busy year-round, staging an acoustic music series and a jazz series that run October through June at the First United Methodist Church. More information is available at pointrichmondmusic.org
Everybody’s dancing: You could spend an entire year traversing the Bay Area and watching scores of recitals to get a full understanding of how rich, diverse and exhilarating the region’s dance scene is. Or you could go to San Mateo this weekend. That’s where the Peninsula International Dance Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, with a lineup that is truly impressive: More than 200 performers from some 20 troupes representing dance traditions from Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Congo, Greece, Hawaii, India, Mexico, Native America, Peru, Philippines, Spain and more; and styles ranging from folkloric to ballet to hip-hop and jazz and on and on. Performing troupes include Amor do Samba (Brazil); Antara Asthaayi Dance (India); Azteca Dancers/Calpulli Tonalehqueh (Mexico); Bolivia Corazón de América (Bolivia); Charya Burt Cambodian Dance (Cambodia); the famed Chitresh Das Institute (India); Eddie Madril/Sewam (Native American); and Feng Ye Dance (China), among others. The event, hosted by Peninsula Dance Theatre, is at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 N. Delaware St., San Mateo. Tickets are $35-$60; www.peninsulaballet.org.
Titan of tap: For those who think tap dancing is primarily an adrenaline-filled burst of showy athleticism swimming in a sea of clackety-clacks, Savion Glover is here to remind us that it is a true art form addressing various themes and stoking a variety of emotions. He’ll prove that again this weekend, in two very different shows during a short stint Thursday through Sunday at the SFJAZZ in San Francisco. On the first two nights, Glover will perform a show titled “SoUNDz’ SaCRoSaNcT,” which is described as a heartfelt tribute to his teacher, mentor and longtime friend, the legendary late performer Gregory Hines. The show will also shine a light on the 1920s and ‘30s dancers who pioneered tap. On Saturday and Sunday, Glover pivots to a program devoted to the music, art and cosmic eclecticism that was Sun Ra. Born Herman Poole Blount, the bandleader, composer and keyboardist arose from the Chicago jazz scene in the 1940s, adopting the name Sun Ra and proclaiming himself a traveler from outer space who came to Earth to preach peace. He was also a groundbreaking figure in the advent of experimental and improvisational jazz as well as Afrofuturism. Glover’s show, as organizers put it, will incorporate a “meditative sound and dance intended to take the audience on an interstellar journey into Sun Ra’s heliocentric worlds.” Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (Friday’s performance will also be available for live-streaming by SFJAZZ members). Tickets are $25-$110 and are going for Thursday and Friday’s shows. Go to www.sfjazz.org.
Davies Hall is alive: Yes, with “The Sound of Music,” as the Summer with the Symphony program now underway in the San Francisco Symphony concert hall brings that multiple-award winning 1965 film starring an effervescent Julie Andrews and the ramrod-straight Christopher Plummer to us for an audience singalong Sunday afternoon. No live orchestra will be present, but the film will be shown with subtitles, and host Sara “Toby” Moore and a cohort will be on hand to egg on enthusiastic vocal participation. Appropriate costumes are strongly encouraged as well, and there will be free “magic moment fun bags” distributed as part of the show. Resounding boos and raspberries for every appearance of a Nazi trooper is also most appropriate. Show time is 2 p.m. Tickets, $18.75-$129, are available at sfsymphony.org and (415) 864-6000.
A desperate diva: Floria Tosca, both proud and jealous and the most famous soprano in all of Italy, gets caught up in political skulduggery and murder when she struggles to rescue her beloved Mario from the deathly clutches of Baron Scarpia, who can lay clear claim to being among the most dastardly villains in all of operadom. That quick and nimble little company, San Francisco’s Pocket Opera, brings its version of the Puccini masterpiece “Tosca” to Bay Area stages for three performances, beginning with Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. show at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Soprano Michelle Drever sings the title role, and tenor Alex Boyer is Maria Cavaradossi. Baritone Spencer Dodd dons his bad boy suit to channel that lecherous snake Scarpia. Tickets are only $30 for those 30 and under if purchased by phone at (415) 972-8934. Other tickets, $69-$75, are also available at pocketopera.org. Repeat performances are at 2 p.m. July 23 at the Berkeley Hillside Club and 2 p.m. July 30 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.