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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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24. “NEGRO SUNSHINE”
Prints from leading African and African American artists make up the Museum of the African Diaspora’s Second Look, Twice, including one of Glenn Ligon’s well-known neon work Warm Broad Glow (Reversed), which spells out “Negro Sunshine.”

25–26. MARK KOZELEK CHANNELING DAVID CASSIDY
Come for the AC/DC; stay for the Partridge Family’s “Come On Get Happy.” Covers fly fast and furious when Sun Kil Moon (Sept. 20, The Fillmore) take the stage. The eyebrow-raisers continue on the indie-folk outfit’s new album, This Is My Dinner (Nov. 1, Caldo Verde Records), including a musical adaptation of John Connolly’s Laurel and Hardy novel, He.

27. A TRIUMPHANT HOMECOMING
No excuses this time: If you somehow missed Oakland-born playwright Marcus Gardley’s Black Odyssey last year, you’re getting a rare reprieve. Because like Odysseus returning from the war, Gardley has found his way to the East Bay yet again, following last year’s sold-out run. Sept. 25–Oct. 7, calshakes.org

28–29. TWO EXCURSIONS INSIDE BROKEN SYSTEMS
Two East Bay muckrakers report from the front lines of America’s dysfunctional institutions: Berkeley’s Michael Lewis recounts the fumbling incompetency of the Trump administration’s early days in The Fifth Risk (Oct. 2, W.W. Norton & Co.), while Shane Bauer expands on his Mother Jones report about his year as a security guard in a private prison in American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment (Sept. 18, Penguin Random House).


30–32. RAP ROYALTY: 
Which hip-hop monarch to pledge fealty to?

Jay-Z and Beyoncé: The first family. Sept. 29, Levi’s Stadium
Drake: The king in the north. Oct. 26, Oracle Arena
Nicki Minaj: The pop-chart princess. Nov. 16, SAP Center


33–34. THE JUKEBOX-MUSICAL STANDOFF: 
Two shows mining the hits of different eras.

On Your Feet
Sept. 11–Oct. 7, SHN Golden Gate Theatre
The inspiration: Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s journey from Cuba to the top of the pop charts.
Adaptability: C’mon. “Conga” is just begging for a chorus line of Cuban dancers.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story
Oct. 5, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
The inspiration: The folk kings of Queens.
Adaptability: As if “Bridge over Troubled Water” wasn’t destined to be belted out in a work of musical theater. 


35. A SILK ROAD RUNNER

With its rich, Russian-style brocade and indigo ikat fabric, the 19th-century Uzbek women's coat on display in the Contemporary Jewish Museum's Veiled Meanings—along with the silk Iraqi abaya—nods to centuries' worth of Jewish and Middle Eastern trade, making this exhibit as much a sociopolitical master class as a textile show. Aug.30—Jan. 6, 2019

36. A VERY GROWN-UP KIDS’ BOOK
In 2015, the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed ashore in Turkey—a reminder of the dangers refugees face daily. Now, San Jose’s Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) has penned Sea Prayer (Sept. 18, Riverhead Books), a slim tribute to Kurdi, intended for young readers.


37–39. SOOO MANY NON-WHITE GUYS: 
An antidote to the usual comedy suspects.

Aparna Nancherla
Sept. 29, The Independent
Where you’ve seen her: Netflix’s The Standups and Master of None, Comedy Central’s Corporate.

Amanda Seales
Sept. 27–29, Cobb’s Comedy Club
Where you’ve seen her: HBO’s Insecure, on YouTube chewing out Caitlyn Jenner during a live-streamed dinner hosted by Katy Perry.

Anjelah Johnson
Sept. 14, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
Where you’ve seen her: Netflix special Not Fancy, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.


40. AN ANIMANIAC IN CONCERT

Rob Paulsen, the voice behind Pinky of the seminal ’90s cartoon Animaniacs, performs the zany, totally insaney tunes from the show at—get this—jazz lounge Feinstein’s at the Nikko. Sept. 28–29

41. THE 1,152-LED DANCER
Jim Campbell’s 2011 light sculpture Exploded Views is among the work on display at 836M gallery for Through-Lines: The Art of Ballet, celebrating Alonzo King Lines Ballet’s 35th anniversary. Sept. 20–Jan. 17, 2019 

42. A THREE-MINUTE SILENCE
Music by John Cage, the experimental American composer, is challenging to begin with. But his little-known Electronic Music for Piano can be downright painful—particularly the extended silences. Mission district gallery the Lab hosts Tania Chen’s rendition of the intellectual work. Oct. 6


43–45. AN EPIC BALLAD THROWDOWN: 
Which musical-theater hit will bring down the house?

“She Used to Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles
From: Waitress (Oct. 16–Nov. 11, SHN Golden Gate Theatre)
Representative cathartic lyric: “She is messy but she’s kind / She is lonely most of the time / She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie.”

“You Will Be Found” by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
From: Dear Evan Hansen (Dec. 5–30, Curran)
Representative cathartic lyric: “When you need a friend to carry you / And when you’re broken on the ground / You will be found.”

“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf
From: Bat Out of Hell (Dec. 4–23, SHN Orpheum Theatre)
Representative cathartic lyric: “And some days I pray for silence / And some days I pray for soul / Some days I just pray to the God / Of sex and drums and rock ’n’ roll.”


46–47. THE FOREBEARS OF SCI-FI

Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard are the fathers of modern sci-fi; now Bay Area–born writer Alec Nevala-Lee sheds light on the equally influential John W. Campbell in his biography Astounding (Oct. 23, HarperCollins). Meanwhile, the first lady of the genre is the subject of a new documentary by Bay Area filmmaker Arwen Curry, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin (Oct. 18, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema).

48. TOTAL EAMES ENVELOPMENT
Here in California, we’re surrounded by the aesthetic sensibilities of Charles and Ray Eames. But for complete immersion, check out their 1959 seven-channel film Glimpses of the USA at the Oakland Museum of California’s new show The World of Charles and Ray Eames; visitors watch while reclining on an Eames lounge chair and ottoman. Oct. 13–Feb. 17, 2019

49. A SAN QUENTIN BREAKOUT
Robert Redford plays gentleman stickup king Forrest Tucker in The Old Man & the Gun (Sept. 28). The real-life Tucker broke out of the Marin prison in 1979 at age 70—one of an alleged 18 escapes.

50. A GRAFFITI PARTY IN THE NORTH BAY
Marin-born Zio Ziegler, at 30 already an internationally influential street artist, gets his first solo museum exhibition, at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. The show includes several newly created works. Sept. 22–Nov. 11

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