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6 cool shows to see this weekend and beyond

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6 cool shows to see this weekend and beyond

From ODC Dance to The Boss (yes, you can still get tickets) to a musical about Betty Reid Soskin, there are a lot of cool shows and concerts to catch this weekend in the Bay Area. Here’s a partial rundown.

ODC heads back to ‘Downtown’

With founder and co-artistic director Brenda Way recently being inducted into the California Hall of Fame, this popular San Francisco contemporary dance company has something to celebrate — besides, that is, the return of its annual Dance Downtown mini-residency at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

With an intriguing, two-program lineup, this year’s Dance Downtown offers three world premieres among its five major pieces. One of the premieres is Way’s “A Brief History of Up and Down,” which finds the choreographer reflecting on the “evolution of beauty” over the 50-plus years she has watched the development of ballet and contemporary dance.

Also in offing is a revival of one of last year’s breakout ODC works by Way, “Collision, Collapse and a Coda,” a reaction to the exhausting nature of society’s 24-hour news cycle, set to music by Aphex Twin, David Lang, Jay Cloidt and Chopin. And another world premiere, “Inkwell,” is ODC associate choreographer Kimi Okada’s homage to the quirky yet iconic black-and-white cartoons and illustrations of “Betty Boop” creator Max Fleischer. Dance Downtown will also feature a revival of KT Nelson’s 2015 climate change-themed work, “Dead Reckoning.” The run also includes the company’s annual gala on Friday.

Details: 7:30 p.m. March 28 and 30, 8 p.m. March 29 (as part of the company’s annual gala), 5 p.m. March 31; Blue Shield Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; $30-$100; tickets, full schedule and more information at odc.dance.

— Randy McMullen, Staff

The Boss is back in town

Bruce Springsteen fans have been counting down the days until “The Boss” finally hits town.

And it’s been quite a wait — a much longer one than originally expected — given that the 74-year-old New Jersey native had to push back his two Bay Area dates, which were originally scheduled for last December, to continue treatment for his peptic ulcer disease.

Fortunately, those two rescheduled dates are now upon on us — with The Boss and his mighty E Street Band set to rock Chase Center in San Francisco tonight March 28 and 31. The shows are mostly sold out, but there were plenty of resale ducats available the last time we checked on ticketmaster.com.

We can testify that — without a shadow of a doubt — Springsteen is still well worth the money. We had the chance to see this current tour a couple of times in early 2023, during shows in Portland and Seattle, and were overjoyed with the energetic and engaging performances. The Boss definitely still ranks as one of the best front men in rock ‘n’ roll history and the E Street Band may well be the genre’s greatest backing band.

Although the setlists vary somewhat from night to night, fans can count on hearing a goodly assortment of classics — such as “Badlands,” “Thunder Road” and, of course, “Born to Run” — as well as newer material. Both San Francisco shows should be nothing short of epic.

Details: Both shows 7:30 p.m.; $135-$399 (subject to change); www.ticketmaster.com, www.chasecenter.com

— Jim Harrington, Staff

Classical picks: Music @ Menlo, Yo-Yo Ma

A preview for one of the Bay Area’s top summer music events, and the return of a superstar cellist are this week’s classical highlights.

Menlo Spring events: Music@Menlo, the annual chamber music festival and institute founded by the husband and wife duo of cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, returns for its 22nd season this year. Titled “French Reflections,” it has dozens of concerts, recitals, talks and more on the calendar. The season won’t go into full swing until July, but this week offers an attractive preview with two events titled “Through the Composer’s Lens.”

First is a Thursday evening “Behind the Music” panel on film music featuring six Menlo musicians — violinists Sean Lee and Kristin Lee, cellist Dmitri Atapine, clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester, and pianists Gloria Chien and Hyeyeon Park – talking about how the movies inspire composers to write for film, and how their works connect us to the silver screen. On Saturday, the sextet performs in concert, with works by Shostakovich, Korngold, Nino Rota, Libby Larsen and other film composers.

Details: “Behind the Music,” 7 p.m. today at Martin Family Hall, $25; concert, 4 p.m. March 30 at Spieker Center for the Arts, both venues at Menlo School, Atherton; $30-$65; [email protected].

Yo-Yo Ma at Davies: The celebrated duo featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott returns to San Francisco on Tuesday evening with a program of works by Dvorak, Faure, Shostakovich, Nadia Boulanger, Sergio Assad, and Arvo Pärt, among others.

Details: 7:30 p.m.; Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco; $279-$599; sfsymphony.org.

— Georgia Rowe, Correspondent

‘Pipeline’ decried in Morisseau drama

Sometimes a play is so explosive and so completely owned by the actors, it seems to flash by before we’ve had a chance to catch our breaths. Such is the case with award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau’s “Pipeline,” getting a production by San Francisco’s African-American Shakespeare Company helmed with focus and fire by company director L. Peter Callender.

The title refers to the way high school minority students are often shuffled to the justice system for their misdeeds — the school-to-prison pipeline — rather than dealt with by school authorities.

In “Pipeline,” which premiered in 2017, single mother Nya (Leontyne Mbele-Mbong), is trying to raise her son Omari (Atlantis Clay), who has attacked a teacher after being harassed in the classroom. It is his third strike, and his chances of avoiding the “pipeline” look dim. His well-heeled but indifferent father (Michael Gene Sullivan) is of little help. Desperate and raw, “Pipeline” unfolds with a strong and unsettling sense of inevitability in every line.

Details: Through March 31; Taube Atrium Theater, San Francisco; $15-$40; www.african-americanshakes.org

— Caroline Crawford, Bay City News Foundation

Spring Fest offers free movies

The Proxy Spring Film Festival – a monthlong series of free Friday night movies – kicks off Friday at the walk-in outdoor theater at 432 Octavia Street in the Hayes Valley section of San Francisco. And for the one or two of you who missed it when it came out, the first selection, airing at dusk (“doors” open at 7:15), is Greta Gerwig’s smash hit “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and an utterly adorable Ryan Gosling as her Ken. Various merchants around the area are supporting the festival, and you’re invited to stop by one of the newest sponsors, Hayz Dog, just a block away at 364 Hayes Street for a yummy frank on a bun – proceeds go to support the festival. Bring your blanket or low camp chair to enjoy the show. Meanwhile, another festival sponsor, Brooklinen, at 519 Hayes, will be dishing out free popcorn to all festivalgoers from 7 to 8 p.m.

Details: More information is at proxysf.net.

— Bay City News Foundation



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