7 shows and festivals to enjoy this weekend

There are plenty of amazing festivals and shows to see in the Bay Area this weekend. Here are a few that should be on your radar.

Lots to love in Litquake

Litquake, San Francisco’s popular annual literary festival, returns this week and the program, as always, promises to be spectacular.

Gatherings, panel discussions and guest appearances at the event range from an evening with Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, the first female mountaineer to conquer the legendary Eight Summits, and who released a new memoir (Friday); a reading by Oakland novelist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, whose new work “On the Rooftop” is set in 1950s San Francisco’s Fillmore jazz scene (Friday); and an appearance by author, activist, educator and former Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins (Wednesday).

Other events include Litquake Out Loud, a celebration of the Bay Area’s LGBTQ+ writer scene; the ever-popular Poetry World Series and the iconic Lit Crawl Closing Party, a series of events held at the Mission’s drinking establishments.

In all, there are over 100 events at notable and historic stages all around San Francisco, including the Valencia Room, Yerba Buena Gardens, Page Street Writers Cafe, Italian Cultural Institute, Cafe Du Nord, the Mothership, SF Botanical Gardens, Club Verdi and many more.

Details: Tonight until October 18; various times and places in San Francisco; most events are free; tickets, a full schedule and more information are at Litquake.org.

—Brittany Delay, staff

Classic Picks: SF Music Day, “Firebird”

Dozens of performances under one roof in a single day? It’s SF Music Day, back this weekend. It tops the highlights of this week’s classical music schedule.

Everything in one place: There’s no other event like SF Music Day, which brings together artists from across the region for a day of free performances in one venue. This year’s edition – the organization’s 15th – features more than 25 local ensembles, including the Del Sol Quartet, Ninth Planet, the John Schott and William Winant Percussion Group, the Dynamic Miss Faye Carol and her Sextet, the Terrence Brewer and Marcus Shelby Duo, and Ensemble for These Times. Details: noon to 7 p.m. Sunday; the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center; free; www.intermusicsf.org.

“The Firebird” by Salonen: Following his dazzling journey through the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s opening weekend and subsequent performances of Mahler 2, Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and the orchestra return with “The Firebird.” Stravinsky’s masterpiece shares this weekend’s program with the US premiere of Daniel Kidane’s ‘Sun Poem’ (commissioned by the SF Symphony) and Sibelius’ ‘Luonnotar’, with soprano Golda Schultz as soloist . Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco; $20 to $165; www.sfsymphony.org.

“Changing the Tides” in Saratoga: The San Jose Wind Symphony returns this weekend with “Changing Tides,” a program featuring guest conductor Craig McKenzie leading a program of works by Holst, Vaughan Williams and others. Details: 3 p.m. Sunday; McAfee Performing Arts Center, Saratoga; $17 to $22; www.sjws.org.

—Georgia Rowe, correspondent

sjDANCEco wraps up a landmark season

For the final performances of its 20th anniversary season, sjDANCEco pulls through with a little help from its friends. Among the works in a program titled “Onward” presented this weekend are those of three guest choreographers – Nhan Ho, Dominic Duong and Gabriel Mata – who are all former members of sjDANCEco.

These works include the world premiere of “Threads” by Ho, set to music by Michael Wall; Duong’s “Written in Calligraphy,” set to music by Eddie and Kiyoshi Yoshida, which the company released in 2016; and the company premiere “Off White,” by Mata and Gary Chamip, set to music by Michael Wall.

The recital also includes the first company of “Lunaris” by Fred Matthews, on an electronic score by Ivo Malec and Bernard Parmegiani; a cover of “Path Reset” by Maria Basile, set to music by David Crowell; an encore of Gary Masters’ “Between Tomorrow and Yesterday,” set to music by Bay Area composer Anica Galindo; and the first accompanied by an untitled work by Fred Strickler, on Ravel’s “Sonatina”.

Details: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; California Theatre, San José; $25 to $100; www.sjDANCEco.

— Randy McMullen, staff member

An “indecent” opening

San Francisco Playhouse kicks off its new season with a reminiscence of a 1920s controversy that rocked Broadway to its core.

We’re talking about Paula Vogel’s 2015 play “Indecent,” which recounts the fury that rocked New York City in 1923 when playwright Sholem Asch’s play “God of Vengeance” opened on Broadway. The play is about a Jewish brothel owner who tries to whitewash his business by feigning respectability within the Jewish faith. Although many warned Asch that the play, which included scenes dealing with prostitution and lesbianism, was inviting trouble, he continued to promote the work until it opened on Broadway. Soon after, the entire cast, management team, and theater owners were charged with obscenity.

“Indecent,” by award-winning playwright Paula Vogel (who tackled other burning issues with “How I Learned to Drive”), recalls the Broadway controversy that erupted over the play, the performers who risked their career (and life) to run it and the combination of money and politics that help govern what is considered appropriate for public entertainment. SF Playhouse, in conjunction with the Yiddish Theater Ensemble, presents the Bay Area premiere of the play, directed by Susi Damilano and featuring a live klezmer score.

Details: Until November 5; 450 Post St., San Francisco; $15 to $100; www.sfplayhouse.org.

– Bay Area News Foundation

Happy birthday, Mr. Wainwright

With anyone else, releasing an album called “Lifetime Achievement” might seem selfish or full of bitter self-mockery. But with Loudon Wainwright III, it’s about taking stock of his life, which he did consistently over the course of his career as one of the world’s finest folk/Americana artists of the 20th and 21st. centuries. The inspiration for “Lifetime Achievement,” released earlier this year, was Wainwright, who was 75 (he’s actually 76 now). As quoted in his Shore Fire Media biography: “I was a little obsessed with my numbers all the way down the line…I had ‘Watch Me Rock, I’m Over Thirty.’ I had a song, ‘The Birthday Present’, which I sang a capella in a shower about turning 50. So 75 is a new number, but it’s just another number.

Here are some other numbers. He’s released 26 albums over his career, fathered three children who are well-known musicians themselves – Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche – and appeared in about 20 films and movies, ranging from “Ally McBeal” to “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” (whose soundtrack he also co-wrote), and was one of millions of young folk in the 1970s to be dubbed “the new Bob Dylan” (but perhaps the only one to write a song making fun of her). Wainwright’s wit, songwriting ability and storytelling prowess will be on full display Friday when he performs his “Lifetime Achievement” tour at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.

Details: 8 p.m.; $30 to $34; go to thefreight.org

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