There is a lot to see, hear and do this weekend in the Bay Area, from adorable Disney dogs and cats to the Kronos Quartet’s annual festival of new music.
Here’s a partial roundup.
Disney canines, kitties get the spotlight
“Animals have personalities like people,” Walt Disney once observed, “and must be studied.” That philosophy was reflected in his approach to animation; he initiated a training program in 1930 allowing studio artists to better understand the anatomy and motion of animals. And it’s certainly reflected in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ storied output, which has delivered some of the most popular and iconic critters ever to grace the big or small screen.
Now the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco is set to host a traveling exhibit featuring some of Disney’s most beloved four-legged furry creations. “Disney Cats & Dogs,” developed in 2021, includes some 300 original studio sketches, paintings, animation drawings, posters, photographs, digital artworks and more that explore the design evolution of such iconic characters as Pluto, Lady and Tramp, Pongo and Perdita from “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” Duchess from “The Aristocats,” Lucifer from “Cinderella” and Percy from “Pocahontas,” among many others.
After being shown at the Walt Disney Animation Research Library in Glendale and in Tokyo’s famed Matsuya Ginza department store, “Disney Cats & Dogs” makes it U.S. museum debut at the San Francisco museum that bears his name. The exhibit also makes it clear the approach was more than a calculated drive to win over kids and parents; delving into Walt Disney’s lifelong love for animals, captured in photographs, quotes, and a collection of personal stories.
Details: June 24-Jan. 14; 104 Montgomery St., in San Francisco’s Presidio; open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays; $5-$15; www.waltdisney.org.
— Randy McMullen, Staff
Kronos Quartet gets festive
The ever-amazing Kronos Quartet launches its eighth annual Kronos Festival this weekend, one that promises an action-packed three days of music.
The Grammy-winning quartet has a strong lineup for the festival’s events at the SFJAZZ Center, with featured works by composers Rhiannon Giddens, Philip Glass, Angélique Kidjo, Terry Riley, Wu Man, Zakir Hussain and a host of others.
Among the guest performers are Aizuri Quartet, Friction Quartet, Soo Yeon Lyuh, Rafiq Bhatia, Victoria Shen and Attacca Quartet. Many of the works were commissioned as part of the Quartet’s Fifty for the Future project, announced in 2015, which aims at developing a 21st-century blueprint for stringed quartet works.
There is a decidedly global aspect to the lineup, with works from composers representing Benin, Colombia, India, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, and the U.S. — on opening night alone. The international theme is also a big part of the Quartet’s free Family Show on Saturday morning, which features works from Canada, China, Iran, Ireland, Mali, the U.S. The program also includes a Q&A with Kronos Quartet.
Details: Six performances today through Saturday; SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco; free-$65; 866-920-5299, kronosquartet.org.
— Georgia Rowe, Correspondent
Stern Grove Fest is back
Few Bay Area traditions are as grand and lovely as the Stern Grove Festival – and not just because all of the music is delivered for free. The festival, now in its 86th year, delivers great concerts from mid June through late August at stately Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard.
As for the musical acts, we are not talking about a guy with a gutbucket and a dog who plays the kazoo. These are A-list acts and this year’s lineup is one of the best we’ve seen in a while: folk icons Indigo Girls and opener Neko Case on Sunday, genre-bending singer-songwriter Santigold with opener Ogi on July 2; Lyle Lovett with opener Andrew St. James on July 9; Angelique Kidjo with opener Jupiter & Okwess on July 16; the San Francisco Symphony performing sections of classic film scores on July 23; Bob Moses with opener Neil Frances on July 30; Buddy Guy with opener Eric Gales on Aug. 6; Patti Smith with opener Bob Mould on Aug. 13 and the season-closing “Big Picnic” concert featuring the Flaming Lips on Aug. 20.
Shows begin at 2 p.m. and are free, although — and this is important — reservations are required. The reservations open for each show a month in advance and spots are routinely released up until the day of the performance. So even though the Indigo Girls, touring behind their recently released 16th album, “Look Long,” are listed as sold out, keep checking for newly released tickets. And if all else fails, you can live-stream the concert at home.
Details: Make reservations and find other information at www.sterngrove.org.
— Bay City News Foundation
Rising jazz star lands in Bay Area
Though he just turned 25, tenor and soprano saxophonist Isaiah Collier has been playing in the big leagues for almost a decade, delivering spiritually charged performances that evidence a direct communion with some of jazz’s heaviest ancestors.
A Chicago native who’s now partly based in Brooklyn, Collier is making his Bay Area debut as a bandleader with a four-night run at the Black Cat jazz joint in San Francisco, though his Brubeck Institute stint circa 2018 included a showcase at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
He’s performing with powerhouse drummer Michael Shekwoaga Ode, his interlocutor on the 2021 duo album “I AM”; pianist Julian Davis Reid and bassist Micah Collier (who like his cousin attended the Brubeck Institute).
Collier will be back in the Bay Area Aug. 12 with the Chosen Few for a Hammer Theatre performance as part of San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest (more information is summerfest.sanjosejazz.org).
Details: Thursday through Sunday; 400 Eddy St., San Francisco; $25-$45; 415-358-1999, blackcatsf.com.
— Andrew Gilbert, Correspondent
A busy Blanchard takes the stage
If you’re wondering what happens to an acclaimed musician’s performance schedule when he or she lands a high-profile administrator/curator’s gig, Terence Blanchard offers an encouraging glimpse. Blanchard, a world-renowned New Orleans trumpeter and composer whose opera “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” this year became the first work by an African American composer produced by the New York’s Metropolitan Opera Company, was on June 8 named the new executive artistic director of SFJAZZ Center, replacing founder Randall Kline.
Far from giving his trumpet a vacation, however, Blanchard will be on stage at Bing Concert Hall on Saturday night during opening weekend of the Stanford Jazz Festival. He’ll be leading the star-studded E-Collective (featuring pianist Taylor Eigsti, guitarist Charles Altura, bassist David Ginyard and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr.), which will be joined by the acclaimed Turtle Island Quartet. The musicians all teamed on the acclaimed 2021 album “Absence,” a tribute to the legendary Wayne Shorter, who died in March. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $30-$100.
The Stanford Jazz Festival, meanwhile, runs through Aug. 5 with a dazzling lineup including Indian jazz singer Mahesh Kale with saxophonist George Brooks (Sunday), singer Clairdee (July 1), composer and percussionist Omar Sosa (July 8) and many more.
Details: Most Stanford Jazz Fest tickets are $52-$62; stanfordjazz.org
— Bay City News Foundation
Greetings from the underworld
The fair Eurydice has had it up to here (picture hand under her chin) with her sketchy fiddle-playing husband Orpheus and takes up with the shepherd Aristeus, who turns out to be Pluto, whom she willingly accompanies to his kingdom waaaay down below. That’s just the beginning of the tomfoolery in composer Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld,” a hilarious and satirical burlesque on Greek mythology that incorporates Jupiter (disguised as a fly!), Juno, Cupid, Mercury, Mars, Minerva and, of course, the wine-swilling Bacchus in the cast. The feisty Pocket Opera company opened it to a full house last week in Berkeley but has one more production to present at 2 p.m. June 25 in the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park. Soprano Amy Foote sings as Eurydice, tenor Andrew Metzger is Pluto, and tenor Nathanael Fleming is Orpheus, who, truth be told, couldn’t care less if he gets Eurydice back or not. You’ll surely recognize the tune when the second act ends with everyone cavorting around to Offenbach’s famous can-can.
Details: Tickets are $30-$75; pocketopera.org.
— Bay City News Foundation
Arias al fresco
Walnut Creek-based Festival Opera is gearing up for its 2023 season (and will have a production of Bizet’s “Carmen” coming in August) by tempting opera lovers to a free concert at 6 p.m. June 22 in Orinda Community Park at 28 Orinda Way. General director Zachary Gordin hosts a program of highlights from “Don Giovanni,” “Carmen” and “La Boheme” along with hits from Broadway shows “Camelot” and “Les Misérables” and songs by George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill and Irving Berlin. The scheduled singers are Aisha Campbell, Dalyte Kodzis, Matheus Coura, Michael Foreman and Matthew Lovell, with Chun Mei Wilson backing them on piano.
Lawn seating will be available. and there will be trucks on hand selling food and wine.
Details: For more information, check festivalopera.org.
— Bay City News Foundation
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