music in the park san jose

.Fall Arts Guide

music in the park san jose

Though it’s not even the last week of August, school is already back in session and fall has fully fallen upon us. Thankfully, with another yearly change in leaf-coloration comes another exciting season of art openings, theater premieres, marquee touring acts and music made with the distinct flavor of the South Bay. Here, a season full of mind-expanding experiences await. Friendship ended with summer. Now fall is my best friend.

Selections by Mike Huguenor and Amani Hamed


Sept 1

Os Mutantes

The Ritz, San Jose

No other genre has achieved the glorious highs of tropicalia. The Brazilian psychedelic movement effortlessly combined freaky rock music with sun-bleached bossa nova, and Os Mutantes were one of the leading charges. Though the wonderful Rita Lee is no longer with us, “A Minha Minena” still goes as hard as ever. (MH)   

Sept 2

50 Cent + Busta Rhymes

Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View

Two titans of millennial tongue-twisting come to Shoreline this September. In an era of fierce individuals, Busta Rhymes was one of the fiercest, a flow like no other displayed on bizarre bangers like “Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check” and “Gimme Some More.” 50 Cent, star of PS3 game 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, meanwhile, needs no introduction. The only question is: will he enter hanging upside down? (MH) 

Sept 14

Dengue Fever 

Guild Theatre, Menlo Park

Fronted by Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol, Dengue Fever faithfully capture the sounds of ’60s Cambodian psychedelic pop. This fall, the LA-based band return with their first new full length since 2015’s the Deepest Lake. Lead single “Touch Me Not” rocks a contemplative groove, while the more mysterious “Room 720” finds the band working in shades of noir. In either case, they remain a vital voice in contemporary indie rock. (MH) 

Sept 16 

Chile, Mole, Pozole Festival

Mexican Heritage Plaza

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day in style with the return of the Chile, Mole, Pozole Festival. This year’s performers include San Jose’s excellent Discos Resaca Collective, the group behind the recent East Side San Jose album, with heart-string tugging souldies group Mariposas del Alma on vocals. Dance troupe Calpulli Tonalehqueh will pay stunning homage while keeping Aztec culture current, and there certainly will be no shortage of delicious delicacies to go around. (MH) 

Sept 22

Joshua Redman

Bing Concert Hall

Berkeley-born jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman returns to the Bay to open Stanford Live’s ‘23-’24 Season with his new album Where We Are. The new album is the venerated musician’s first release with Blue Note music and his first ever album to feature vocals. Joined by entrancing vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Joe Saunders and Brian Blade on the drums, Redman and his group kick off the fall season at the Bing Concert Hall.  (AH)

Sept 30

Jethro Tull

Mountain Winery, Saratoga

Legendary rock band Jethro Tull are headed to Saratoga’s Mountain Winery. They’ve been shredding for 56 years in a storied career that’s spanned decades and several sub-genres of rock and roll. Not ones to be placed on the pedestal of rock historical fame and hang their hats on their astonishing reputation, Jethro Tull have released two new original albums this side of the 21st century (not including their 2003 Christmas album), and both The Zealot Gene (2022) and Rökflöte (2023) are solid offerings in the prog-rock tradition, but with incredible mastering worthy of the most advanced headphones and discerning melomaniacs. (AH)

Oct 6

Trippie Redd

Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View

More than just a Soundcloud rapper, Trippie Redd was the spearhead of a generation of young rappers making moves online. Fueled by heavy beats, swirling atmospherics and a hard flow, Trippie’s been on a rise to the top since 2017 and the release of his debut mixtape A Love Letter to You. Earlier this month, he dropped his fifth Love Letter tape, but he sends a personal one to Shoreline this October. (MH)

Oct 7


Mountain Winery, Saratoga

Francophiles, electro-rockers and Nicolas Winding Refn fans, unite. This Fall, the uniquely cinematic sounds of French electronic duo M83 will flow into the valley from up on the Mountain Winery. Already acclaimed by the time of their second album, 2003’s Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts, M83 shot to superstardom in 2011 with the shouty hit “Midnight City.” The city is their church, but the winery is their venue. (MH) 

Oct 8 & 10

Becky G

San Jose Civic, San Jose

Now a decade into her career, Becky G is still “Becky From the Block” and still blending Latin ritmos with huge pop hooks. This year’s dancefloor shaker “Arranca (ft. Omega)” was made for warm nights but the heavy reggaeton bounce of her 2017 hit with Bad Bunny “Mayores” is bound to get the Civic moving. A natural singer, Becky got her start on YouTube, so it’s only natural she drops by Silicon Valley so often. (MH)

Oct 15

Michelle Branch

Guild Theatre, Menlo Park

Singer/guitarist Michelle Branch brings her decades of pop sensitivity to the peninsula this October. The “Everywhere” singer got her start gigging in Sedona before breaking through to the mainstream in 2001 with her major labor debut the Spirit Room. However, she’s also known as the vocalist accompanying the Bay Area’s own Santana on the smash hit “Game of Love.” (MH) 

Oct 19-21

The Wallflowers

Guild Theatre, Menlo Park

Alt-rock wordsmiths the Wallflowers come from esteemed pedigree. The Dylan of singer/songwriter Jakob Dylan is that Dylan, his father, which helps explain the Wallflowers’ unexpected lyrical choices and cool, breezy delivery. It may be almost thirty years since they dropped eternal hit “One Headlight,” but like all good pieces of craftsmanship, it can still drive you home. (MH)

Nov 3

Hip Hop Made the Bay

SAP Center, San Jose

Hip hop really is in the water in the Bay Area, the home of some of the genre’s largest and in-chargest characters. At Hip Hop Made the Bay, a host of local titans join international superstars on the mic. Ice Cube and E-40 headline, but the Luniz, Warren G, Bone Thugs, Amanda Perez and MC Magic all help keep things rocking. (MH)


Aug 27

Lowrider Art Showcase

Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga

Without a doubt, San Jose is one of the most important locations for lowrider culture in the world. The home of Lowrider magazine as well as the “storied” intersection of King and Story, this valley is really the valley of the cruiser’s delight. So it’s only appropriate, then, that Montalo Arts would host a show centered around this most San Josean of traditions. Worry about crying later, smile now at the Lowerider Art Showcase. (MH)

Aug 26


Triton Museum, Santa Clara

Bay Area artist Julie Grantz returns to Triton Museum following her Best in Show win at last year’s Salon at the Triton competition. Grantz’s work reveals the deep textures of memory via large scale drawings full of intricate shading, longing glances and memento moris. (MH)

Sept 2


Triton Museum, Santa Clara

It’s just amazing the way things just sort of happen. One day, Jeff Owen discovered that his father-in-law had a welder’s set he wasn’t using. Upon that one discovery, Owen began to build a career sculpting bold and striking metal works. Creatively free, with a spirit of odd playfulness, Happenstance celebrate the little moments in life that just seem to happen—and then change everything from there. (MH)  

Sept 16

Leymusoom Garden


Artist Heesoo Kwon cultivates a uniquely feminine landscape with Leymusoom Garden: Following Naked Dancing and Long Dreaming. The hypnotic multimedia exhibition combines Korean mythology and shamanic practice with queer longing to evoke grasses greener than any seen in the suburbs. (MH)  

Sept 27


Cantor Arts Center, Stanford

Sabelo Mlangeni’s images of Capetown take viewers directly into moments of intimate connection. The South African photographer excels at dispelling distance and dropping you directly into a scene. For Imvuselelo: the revival, Mlangeni dives into the African Zionist movement (amaZioni), a uniquely transnational religion which combines traditional African faith with rituals from American Christianity and counts many millions among its flock. Mlangeni’s eye is sharp as ever. (MH) 

Oct 13

The Hiking Club

New Museum, Los Gatos

Bay Area artist Linda Simmel has lived a restless creative life. She’s been an artist in residence in both California and Iceland. In Berlin, where she was a member of art collective Atelierhaus Panzerhalle e.V., she worked in a former military barracks, where her raw, darkly rendered images easily found inspiration. For her solo exhibition at NUMU, Simmel explores our connections to nature through stunning and sometimes harsh images rendered in drawings, etchings and paintings. (MH)


Aug 18

Mads Tolling & Mads Men

Tabard Theatre, San Jose

Two-time Grammy winner Mads Tolling is a violinist on a hot streak. A member of Bob Weir’s band and former sideman to Stanley Clarke, Tolling excels in just about any environment. At Tabard, he and his 1950s-60s inspired project Mads Tolling & the Mads Men bring the South Bay back to a smokier era, with mid-century classics played in a mad, mad style. (MH) 

Sept 9

Romeo & Juliet

California Theatre, San Jose

Opera San Jose is opening its 40th anniversary season with Romeo et Juliette, adapted by Charles Gounod as a French libretto, for the first time in almost 20 years. The new production is crafted by Shawna Lucey, her first time directing a production since becoming OSJ’s 4th General Director. Conducted by Music Director Joseph Marcheso leading the Opera San Jose Orchestra, will also feature new resident players and guests in debut roles. (AH)

Sept 15-17

Shakespeare Festival

Hammer Theatre, San Jose

The Hammer Theater presents The National Theatre Live’s Shakespeare Festival. A cinematic experience of the British National Theatre’s lineup of Shakespeare classics Othello, Hamlet, and King Lear, the Hammer’s weekend-long fest features actors from stage and screen. Giles Terera of Hamilton fame plays the titular character in Othello. Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role of conflicted Dane Hamlet, and Sir Ian McKellan, a titan of Shakespearean stagecraft, takes on the prideful and exacting King Lear. Showings will rotate in repertory style with a matinee and evening performance on each day, offering multiple chances to see each incredible reimagining of a Shakespeare classic.  (AH)

Sept 21

Smuin Series 1

Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View

The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts presents the Smuin Contemporary Ballet company in its 30th anniversary season, with a series of performances featuring Smuin favorites and premieres. In series one, the celebrated San Francisco-based corps performs James Kudelka’s The Man in Black, set to songs recorded by Johnny Cash, as well as Val Caniparoli’s Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino, and Darrell Grand Moultrie’s choreography set to Cuban Jazz by Charles Fox. Always an innovative presence in a classical artform, the Smuin are set to once again delight audiences with beloved and daring performances. (AH)

Oct 7-8

Sankai Juku

Stanford Memorial Auditorium, Stanford 

Butoh, a startling dance of white-painted dancers that emerged from the ashes of post-war Japan, challenges taboos and explores forbidden subjects like death and sexuality. Butoh dance company Sankai Juku bring this contemporary Japanese artform to Stanford Live with KŌSA – Between Two Mirrors, exploring grief and anxiety with unnerving and stunning visuals. Directed, choreographed and designed by Sankai Juku founder Ushio Amagatsu, the performance is a cathartic meditation on the anxieties suffered by the world the last several years. (AH)

Oct 11


Bing Concert Hall, Stanford

Playful and maybe a bit eccentric, Hiromi is called a pianist but her performances go far beyond simply playing the piano and transcend into a form of performance art in which the instrument is secondary to Hiromi Uehara’s genius. A jazz pianist and composer, a Grammy winner and professional since the age of 14, Hiromi played at the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hiromi’s playing takes the piano and cracks it open, transforming its sound into whatever she desires, unbound even by the physical form of the piano. She takes the rebel spirit of jazz to new heights, and now brings her intense and fun performance style to Stanford Live’s Bing Concert Hall. (AH)

Oct 13

Dracula – The Ballet

Hammer Theatre, San Jose

The original eccentric billionaire, Count Dracula, takes the stage this October. Long before Peter Thiel injected himself with young blood to live forever, Dracula was getting it straight from the source. In an evocative, gothic performance, San Jose Dance Theatre bring Bram Stoker’s classic to vivid life. (MH)

Oct 29-30

Hip Hop Halloween

Fox Theatre, Redwood City

Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Hip Hop Halloween is a visionary take on a spooky event. Classic monsters like the Mummy and Frankenstein (the monster) work their characteristic stomps and lurches, but this time with jaw-dropping rhythm and fluidity as they turf and juke their way through a host of haunted proving grounds. It’s a nightmare on my street, and damn does it have moves. (MH)

Nov 11

Barber of Seville

California Theatre, San Jose

Opera San Jose is bringing The Barber of Seville to The California Theater. From Giaochino Rossini’s composition and Cesare Sterbini’s Italian Libretto, Count Almaviva, Rosina, and the barber himself, Figaro, return to the stage in one of opera’s most iconic and beloved comic operas. The lively romantic comedy centers, of course, around a love triangle, disguises, and one woman’s ability to substitute secret love letters for banal chore lists. A great introduction to opera for first-timers, a joyous and familiar return for those who have been enjoying opera for years, The Barber of Seville’s “whimsical new production” will be led by Maestro Joseph Marcheso, Opera San Jose’s Music Director. (AH)


Sept 7

Significant Other

Bus Barn Theatre, Los Altos

With “Significant Other” Los Altos Stage Company dives into some very grown-up material about growing up and growing apart. From Joshua Harmon, acclaimed playwright of Bad Jews and Admissions, the darkly comedic Significant Other premiered on Broadway in 2017. The play centers around Jordan Berman, a young gay man slowly being abandoned by his close female friends as they get married and leave him in the dust. Will he ever find his own Mr. Right? And what happens when the people you grow up with outgrow you? (AH)

Sept 8

Noises Off

The Pear, Mountain View

Directed by Katie O’Bryon Campion, The Pear Theatre’s 22nd Season kicks off with theatre comedy staple Noises Off. The new whimsical production makes use of The Pear’s intimate playspace in ways that bring the audience into the production like never before. The story of actors rehearsing an awful flop of a play, they can do nothing right, and every mishap and mixup is another chance for a physical comedy bit. The audience alone reaps the benefit of the actors’ disastrous dalliances and chaotic clamoring. (AH)

Sept 13

Bald Sisters

The Stage, San Jose

Siblings don’t always see eye to eye. In Bald Sisters, two Cambodian American sisters navigate their family’s affairs together even though they can’t stand each other. Written with humor and tenderness by Cambodian American playwright Vichet Chum, Bald Sisters is a recent play but has already won much critical acclaim. This September, it makes its West Coast premiere as the opening of the Stage’s 2023/2024 season. (MH)

Sept 14


City Lights, San Jose

In an intense and topical story, the survivors of a school shooting meet back up in the room where it all happened to work out their trauma together. Written by City Lights’ own Kit Wilder,  Toxic takes some of the most toxic elements of American culture and puts them under the spotlight. (MH) 

Sept 26


Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose

Talk about a smash hit. Since transitioning to Broadway after its 2006 Vermont premiere, this mythic mash-up has won eight Tony awards, including the much coveted Best Musical. Hadestown takes the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice (the don’t-look-back one) and sticks it in a blender with other underworldian mythology for a bold new musical with some seriously high stakes. (MH)

Oct 17

Les Miserables

Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose

Inmate 24601 returns to the stage as Les Miserables comes to the Center for the Performing Arts this fall. By now, the musical Les Mis has far outpaced Victor Hugo’s original 1862 novel in popularity (though certainly not in narrative digressions). Famous for inspiring songs like “I Dreamed a Dream” and “One More Day,” the sweeping tale of perseverance and the fight for justice returns in bold fashion this October. (MH)


Sept 1-3

Alingon Mitra

Rooster T Feathers, Sunnyvale

Since first winning over television audiences on Last Comic Standing, Alingon Mitra has quickly proven himself in the industry. Way back in 2015, he was joking about the excremental realities of a Trump administration, defending himself from accusations of being too pro-Clinton by saying “Just because I hate diarrhea doesn’t mean I love constipation.” The very funny Daily Show writer brings four sets to Sunnyvale this September. (MH)

Sept 2

San Jose Comedy Explosion

Tabard Theatre, San Jose

Two very funny local comedians come together for the San Jose Comedy Explosion this September. Jay Rich has made a name for himself in the Bay and online, going viral on IG and landing a finalist spot in the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition. Meanwhile, East Bay native Jose Contreras has an off the cuff delivery, asking the audience to snap as he offers spontaneous poetry about dating in the Bay. (MH)

Oct 20-21

Frankie Quinones 

The Improv, San Jose

Best known as Luis, the well-meaning, fast-taking, ex-gang affiliated, all around fool on Hulu comedy series This Fool, Frankie Quinones, in fact, contains multitudes. Beyond his on screen persona, Quinones takes a few others on the road with him as a stand up, including Creeper, star of the Cholo swimming lesson “Choloquatics”. (MH) 

Oct 26

Michael Ian Black

The Improv, San Jose

Rick a tick a tick tock, tick tock tock, Michael Ian Black is coming to the Improv. The alt-comedy superstar and master of the deadpan is known for iconic roles in Stella, The State, Wet Hot American Summer and of course his recurring punditry in the I Love the… decade series, but truly has too many credits to list in one place. He comes to San Jose for one day only—just don’t call him a Steven. (MH)


Sept 22

Mana (music)

SAP Center, San Jose

Oct 13

Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke (music)

Hammer Theatre, San Jose

Oct 16 

Bobby McFerrin (music)

Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga

Sept 6

Morris Hierschfeld Rediscovered (art)

Cantor, Stanford

Sept 15

Culture of the Americas Exhibition (art)

Citadel, San Jose

Sept 15

Excellence in Fibre VIII (art)

SJ Quilt & Textiles Museum, San Jose

Sept 12

SF Stand-Up Competition Semifinals (comedy)

Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga

Sept 29

Bert Keirschner (comedy)

SAP Center, San Jose

Oct 6

New Ballet (dance/classical)

San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose

Oct 27-28

Ghost Dances (dance/classical)

Fox Theatre, Redwood City

Nov 3

The Wizard of Oz (dance/classical)

Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto


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