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FORUM: Election Season Getting You Down? Get Into Art
KQED Arts

August 31, 2016

OK. So you’ve had your fill of Clinton and Trump and it’s not even September yet. What to do? KQED’s crack team of arts aficionados are here to provide some much needed respite from election season madness with great suggestions of happenings across the Bay that will stimulate your brain, lift your soul, and move your body.
Look out for our fall cultural guides, launching next week across an array of areas from music and visual art to theater and dance. To whet your appetite, here are some suggestions that KQED’s senior arts editor, Chloe Veltman, shared with Michael Krasny on KQED Forum on Tuesday, Aug. 30. You can listen to Chloe’s segment here, and/or read on for more details.
CONCEPTUAL ART
Friday, Sep. 9 – Saturday, Dec. 10 Jill Magid: The Proposal at San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco
A fascinating and bizarre conceptual art project that tells the story of Brooklyn artist Jill Magid and her unflagging quest to repatriate the archive of famed Mexican architect Luis Barragán. Magid’s journey, which was chronicled in The New Yorker, involved growing a two-carat diamond from the architect’s cremated remains and setting it in a ring which she is using as a bartering tool to get the architect’s professional archive out of the hands of its current private owner and back into the public domain.
DANCE/MUSIC/VISUAL
Friday, Sep. 30 – Sunday, Oct. 2: Cal Performances, Mark Morris Dance Group and The Silk Road Ensemble present Layla and Majnun at Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
An A-List team of creators including choreographer Mark Morris and his dance company, painter Howard Hodgkin, Azerbaijani superstar singers Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova, and the members of the world-famous music group, the Silk Road Ensemble, unite for this world premiere retelling of an ancient Persian love story through dance, music and colorful visuals. Like Romeo and Juliet, the couple at the center of this narrative are forbidden to wed. And things only spiral downwards from there.

Azerbaijani mugham vocalists Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova oin the Silk Road Ensemble and the Mark Morris Dance Group for the world premiere performances of Layla and Majnun Friday, September 30 – Sunday, October 2, 2016 in Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley
Azerbaijani mugham vocalists Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova oin the Silk Road Ensemble and the Mark Morris Dance Group for the world premiere performances of Layla and Majnun Friday, September 30 – Sunday, October 2, 2016 in Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley (Photo: David O'Connor )
VISUAL
Saturday, Sept. 10 – Sunday, Dec. 18: FOR-SITE Foundation presentsHome Land Security at Fort Winfield Scott, San Francisco
The long disused military bunkers in The Presidio overlooking the Bay are the site of an art installation of works by artists from all over the world examining the complex way humans think about borders, privacy, and surveillance today. Masterminded by the team behind the successful Ai Wei on Alcatraz show a couple of years ago, this high-profile show features sculptures, sound art pieces and video installations by renowned art world figures like Liza Lou and Bill Viola.
VISUAL, PERFORMANCE, FILM, TALKS, CONFERENCE  ETC,  OAKLANDSaturday, Oct. 8 – Sunday, Feb. 12: All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 at Oakland Museum of California, Oakland
October 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party in Oakland and the Oakland Museum is hosting a big exhibition examining the legacy of this controversial and influential political group, told from multiple perspectives. The show features, among other gems, rare historical artifacts like the original copy of the Panthers’ founding ten-point platform, and a video installation in which former Panthers share their recollections of life in the Party. Oakland Museum is just one of many organizations creating artworks inspired by this anniversary. Also look out for Dimensions Dance Theater’s Project Panther (Oct 15 at Oakland’s Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts), Impact Hub Oakland‘s events series exploring how the Panthers’ work influences the way people think about contemporary issues of equity , cultural identity, and social justice today, and more. 

Emory Douglas, H. Rap Brown (Man with Match), 1967. Poster, 17 x 22 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. All Of Us Or None Archive. Gift of the Rossman Family Emory Douglas, H. Rap Brown (Man with Match), 1967. Poster, 17 x 22 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. All Of Us Or None Archive. Gift of the Rossman Family
Emory Douglas, H. Rap Brown (Man with Match), 1967. Poster, 17 x 22 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. All Of Us Or None Archive. Gift of the Rossman Family
Emory Douglas, H. Rap Brown (Man with Match), 1967. Poster, 17 x 22 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. All Of Us Or None Archive. Gift of the Rossman Family (Photo: Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California)
MUSIC
Saturday, Oct. 15 – Sunday, Oct. 16: Treasure Island Music Festival, Treasure Island
This year marks the final year that this scenic music event will be presented on Treasure Island owing to oncoming development plans for the island. The 2016 lineup includes everything from hip-hop artists Young Thug and Ice Cube to indie stars James Blake and Sigur Ros. The organizers are looking for a new location for the festival.
PERFORMANCE ART
Wednesday, Sep. 14 – Aug 14: Nick Cave’s Soundsuits at The Anderson Collection, Stanford
Multidisciplinary artist Nick Cave is best known for furry, multicolored, full-body sized sculptures known as “Soundsuits.” The suits are often worn as costumes and performed in. They are incredibly fun and tactile, kinda like a Wookiee fell into a cotton candy-making machine. But they also make a serious statement about identity because they completely conceal the wearer’s identity, hiding his or her race, gender, and age.
THEATER
Thursday, Oct. 13 – open ended run: The Speakeasy at secret venue near Chinatown and North Beach, San Francisco
This long-anticipated immersive theater experience seeks to recreate the atmosphere of a 1920s speakeasy, complete with showgirls, gambling and secret passwords. A choose-your-own-adventure collection of character studies of a bunch of shady characters mobster and moll types, it all unfolds in a labyrinthine space in North Beach. Audiences are encouraged to dress up in period costume, and prepare lots of audience participation.

The Speakeasy. Megan Wicks as Velma.
The Speakeasy. Megan Wicks as Velma. (Photo: Peter Liu)
DANCE
Thursday, Sep. 1 – Thursday, Oct. 20: City of San Jose presentsCityDance San Jose at Plaza de César Chávez, San Jose
This weekly happy hour, outdoor dance party to live music is a great way to let off some steam as the weekend approaches. Instructors are on hand to help you perfect your moves across an array of genres, including the two-step, foxtrot, and merengue. The event features a beer garden and food trucks so you can stay fueled up while getting on down.
OPERA
Saturday, Sep. 10 – Thursday, Sep. 29: San Francisco Opera presentsDream of the Red Chamber at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco
This world premiere opera is based on an 18th century literary masterpiece by Cao Xueqin — a massive epic in six volumes and featuring around 50 main characters — detailing a love triangle between an aristocratic young man and two very different women.
San Francisco Opera has commissioned a quartet of A-list Asian artists for the project: Bright Sheng, one of the most important contemporary Chinese American composers; Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang; Tim Yip, Academy Award-winning designer behind Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon; and famed Taiwanese director Stan Lai. Sung in English with Chinese and English supertitles.

Costume design for Bao Yu, one of the main characters in ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, a San Francisco Opera world premiere. Designs by Tim Yip Studio.
Costume design for Bao Yu, one of the main characters in ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, a San Francisco Opera world premiere. Designs by Tim Yip Studio. (Photo: Courtesy of San Francisco Opera)
MUSIC/THEATER
Saturday, Sep. 24 – Sunday, Sep 25: NapaShakes and Folger Shakespeare Library present Measure + Dido at Lincoln Theater, Yountville and Green Music Center, Rohnert Park
Sir Derek Jacobi, one of the world’s greatest classical stage performers, stars alongside actor-director Richard Clifford and members of the Folger Consort early music ensemble from Washington D.C. in an epic world premiere mashup of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The show moves to the Kennedy Center in October.
BLOCK PARTY
Monday, Sep. 5: Hiero Day, 3rd Street & Chestnut Street, Oakland
In only five years, this colorful street festival has risen to become a Bay Area Labor Day must. The event features family friendly activities, street art, and food trucks. But music is the biggest draw and this year’s lineup looks to be the best yet. It includes local talent like the Daly City DJ crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz and out of towners such as New Jersey’s Just Blaze who’s produced hits for the likes of Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West. This KQED Arts’ video captures the spirit of last year’s event.


Hiero Day 2012. ( Photo: Hieroglyphics / Ineffable)
LITERARY/VISUAL/FILM/PERFORMANCE
Tuesday, Nov. 1 – Sunday, Nov. 13: City Lights presents Dada World Fair in San Francisco
November 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding at a cafe in Zurich Switzerland of the Dada Movement — the radical literary, performance and visual art movement which rocked western society in the early 20th century. This city-wide celebration of the emergence of Dada features lectures, performances, film screenings, and art installations from a range of participating artists like poet Chinaka Hodge, composer Luiciano Chessa and the all-male Leonard Cohen tribute choir Conspiracy of Beards.

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