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Fall Arts Preview: 100 Binge-Worthy Shows, Books, Films, Concerts, Plays, and Cultural Happenings

Giant moss-people statues, a graffiti party in Marin, and Robert Redford busting out of San Quentin: A season’s worth of must-see arts events.

SLIDESHOW

Chen Zhen’s Precipitous Parturition, coming to SFMOMA in November.

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An installation by artist Sofie Ramos headed to Fort Mason in October.

Photo: Sofie Ramos

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Marcus Gardley in Black Odyssey, which is reprising its run at Cal Shakes this fall.

Photo: Kevin Berne

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Charles and Ray Eames in their 1959 film Glimpses of the USA.

Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins

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Work by street artist Zio Ziegler, whose first solo museum show opens at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in September.

Courtesy of Marin Moca

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A piece by Isamu Noguchi in the show Dimensionism, opening at the Berkeley Art Museum in November.

Photo: Dwight Primiano/© Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum

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Melissa McCarthy in Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Photo: Mary Cybulski

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A dance performance choreographed by Adam Linder.

Photo: Courtesy of Wattis Institute

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A make-believe memorial from Sandow Birk's Imaginary Monuments, opening at Catharine Clark Gallery in October.

Photo: Courtesy of Catharine Clark Gallery

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Peter H. Chang's documentary Cuba.

Photo: Courtesy of Peter H. Chang

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1. AN 85-FOOT CHINESE DRAGON MADE OF BICYCLE PARTS
That’s our attempt to describe Chen Zhen’s Precipitous Parturition, the massive work hanging from the atrium ceiling at SFMOMA—and giving birth to hundreds of plastic toy cars—as part of Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World. Nov. 10

2–3. THE FESTIVALS MOVE EAST
Our new music capital is Oakland, as evidenced by a pair of top-drawer fall fests relocating to the Town: The Treasure Island Music Festival (Oct. 13–14) settles in at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, headlined by Tame Impala and A$AP Rocky. And hip-hop megafest Rolling Loud (Sept. 15–16) moves from Shoreline Amphitheatre to the Coliseum, bringing a who’s who of rap acts including Wiz Khalifa, Rae Sremmurd, and local girl Kamaiyah.

4. A MULTISENSORY SCANDAL
When is a painting of the Prophet Muhammad not a painting? How about when it’s digitized, pixelated, translated into source code, and fed into a custom-built sound-and-light system? That’s the idea behind Haroon Mirza’s The Night Journey, a not-quite-blasphemous audiovisual installation at the Asian Art Museum. Sept. 7–Dec. 9

5. A 70-CARAT DIAMOND
No, it’s not the plot of Ocean’s 14: The Idol’s Eye, the largest blue diamond in the world, will be on display at the Legion of Honor as part of East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas, an exhibition on Indian jewelry and its influence. But keep George Clooney away anyhow. Nov. 3–Feb. 24, 2019

6. ANDY WARHOL’S BOUDOIR SHOTS
Among the 130,000 photographic frames in the Cantor Arts Center’s Contact Warhol: Photography Without End are a bunch of never-before-seen shots, including X-rated pics Warhol took of longtime friend Victor Hugo (the boyfriend of fashion designer Halston) engaged in the, um, act. A rare peek at Warhol’s entrée into 1970s gay culture. Sept. 29–Jan. 6, 2019

7. MAD MAX AS MODERN DANCE
The postapocalyptic wasteland of Mad Max: Fury Road serves as the artistic setting for Fury, choreographed by SFDanceworks' Danielle Rowe. Dancers from S.F. Ballet and Alonzo King Lines Ballet duke it out as the road warriors. Sept. 14–15, The Midway

8. A MOTHER’S TRIP TO THE STATE OF JEFFERSON
Parenting, alcohol, and secessionism collide in Lydia Kiesling’s buzzy debut, The Golden State (Sept. 4, MCD), about a young mother who flees her Bay Area life for rural NorCal.

9. AN LGBTQ ELEGY
This fall at Grace Cathedral, composer, singer, and Bay Area native Holcombe Waller will perform his monumental choral work Requiem Mass: A Queer Divine Rite, intended as a prayer of peace for all deceased people who suffered persecution for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Says Waller of the Episcopal congregation, “I mean, they’ve degendered God. They’re cool.” Nov. 16–17 (open workshops Sept. 18, 20, 25, 27), ybca.org 

10. A MUSIC VIDEO ABOUT WORKPLACE BEHAVIOR
Oakland’s Madeline Kenney has been a microbiologist and a baker and is now a fast-rising indie musician. But she sure knows her way around an office cubicle—at least if footage of her maniacally underlining the word “synergy” on a conference room whiteboard while tap-dancing on a table is any indication. The video is for “Cut Me Off,” the lead single from Kenney’s second full-length album, Perfect Shapes (Oct. 5, CarPark Records).

11–12. FORT MASON AS COLOR BOMB
A pair of installations inject a shot of color into Fort Mason Center: San Francisco artist Sofie Ramos takes over a guardhouse with Space to Breathe, one of her vibrant, cartoony transformations. Later, Brazilian art collective Assume Vivid Astro Focus installs a tripped-out roller rink in the fort’s parking lot. October


13–15. BAY AREA AWARDS BAIT: 
Sizing up three new works by the local grandes dames of lit.

Alice Walker, Taking the Arrow out of the Heart (Oct. 2, Atria)
Author CV: National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize
Awards outlook: Dim. A bilingual book of praise poetry is a testament to a life well lived, not Man Booker material.

Anne Lamott, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope (Oct. 16, Random House)
Author CV: Guggenheim Fellowship
Awards outlook: Possible. Finding brief moments of joy feels crucial these days.

Joyce Carol OatesHazards of Time Travel (Nov. 27, HarperCollins)
Author CV: National Book Award, O. Henry Prize
Awards outlook: Promising. A young girl sent back in time as part of a punitive rehab campaign? Now we’re talking.


16–17. YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS

Two doped-up-in-S.F. flicks couldn’t be any less alike: Tom Hardy takes some pills and grosses out bad guys in Marvel’s Venom (Oct. 5). And Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet play father and son David and Nic Sheff in the tearjerker Beautiful Boy (Oct. 12), based on their twin memoirs about Nic’s meth addiction.

18. THE ALMOST-ANONYMOUS GRIOT
Eugene O’Neill, August Wilson…Lauren Gunderson? Yup, the most widely produced playwright in America (thanks to her Pride and Prejudice spin-off Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley) is back at the Marin Theatre Company with a follow-up, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley. Catch her before the secret is out. Nov. 15–Dec. 9

19. A NARNIAN STREET LAMP
British light artist Bruce Munro transforms the Mon­talvo Arts Center in Saratoga into a C.S. Lewis–themed wonderland, including the surrealist street lamp The Good Seed. Oct. 27–Mar. 17, 2019


20–23. FREAKY
 SPECIESArtists turned mad scientists take over four gallery shows.

Funk-inspired Oakland sculptor Woody de Othello traffics in cartoonish glazed ceramics with Play-Doh-like childish qualities. Sept. 13–Oct. 27, Jessica Silverman Gallery

Finnish artist Kim Simonsson shows off his “moss people”—life-size sculptures of children and animals covered in green nylon fiber—as part of No Time, meant to coincide with S.F.’s Global Climate Action Summit. Sept. 21–Jan. 19, 2019, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts

San Francisco–based Robert Bowen stages his violent half-machine, half-animal robo-killer imagery as well as new works. Through Sept. 29, 111 Minna Gallery

Patricia Piccinini, an Australian mixed-media artist, presents her hyperrealistic sculptures of grotesque humanoid figures. Dec. 1–Jan. 26, 2019, Hosfelt Gallery

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