.Summer Heartstrings

Performing arts keep it light this summer, while the museums take a deeper dive

Intro | Concerts | Festivals | Arts | Movies | Food & Drink

An illustration from the 1931 graphic novel ‘Manga Yonin Shosei.’ TheatreWorks is producing ‘The Four Immigrants,’ a musical version of the manga.


City Lights Theater, San Jose | Jul 13-Aug 20
In 1892, a man and his wife were brutally axed to death in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Accused of the crime is the man’s daughter, Lizzie Borden. The infamous American trial is now retold in a riotous musical led by four women fronting a six-piece rock band as the sounds of revenge, anger and ultimate catharsis shake the stage.

The Toxic Avenger
San Jose Stage Company | Jun 7-Jul 17
While attempting to clean up the putridly polluted Tromaville, New Jersey, our hero, Melvin Ferd, falls into a vat of radioactive sludge. He emerges as The Toxic Avenger—a superhuman mutant hellbent on cleaning up his home state. Based on the campy 1984 movie of the same name, this musical was written by the same team that gave us the Tony Award-winning Memphis.

Hershey Felder, Beethoven
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts | June 7-July 9
After bringing Irving Berlin to life, Hershey Felder is setting his sites on Beethoven. The production features Felder playing some of Ludwig van’s greatest hits, including “Moonlight Sonata” and “Emperor Concerto.”

The Four Immigrants
Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto | Jul 12-Aug 6
At the turn of the 20th century, four Japanese immigrants arrive in San Francisco. Facing possibility and prejudice—as well as an inspiring world’s fair and terrifying temblor—The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga is based on the 1931 graphic novel Manga Yonin Shosei.

[title of show]
Bus Barn Theater, Los Altos | May 25-Jun 24
A musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical, this unique and comical feat of metatheatrics came to be when writer Hunter Bell and lyricist/composer Jeff Bowen realized that their conversations about what to write about for the New York Musical Theatre Festival were more interesting than what they were actually writing. It premiered off-Broadway in 2004 and went on to win the Tony Award for best book of a musical.


CosÌ fan tutte
California Theatre, San Jose | Sep 9-24
A tragedy posing as a comedy, this Mozart opera is the first production of Opera San Jose’s 2017-18 season. It deals with themes of love, deception and heartbreak as two seductive clowns put their fiancées’ fidelity to the ultimate test.

Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto | May 26-Jun 4
If you love someone who doesn’t love you back, get your creepy king to decapitate their head so you can kiss it. Such is the story of Salome, a one-act opera that offers a disturbing look at desire, death and human depravity. Composed of a wide range of keys, symbolic leitmotifs, and tonal ambiguity, Salome‘s harmony is just as unusual as its titular character.


Misa Tango
California Theatre, San Jose | Jun 3-4
In Symphony Silicon Valley’s final performance of its 2016-17 season, director Carlos View takes on tango. Featuring bandoneon soloist Juan Pablo Jofre and the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, SSV will play the music of Astor Piazzolla, Horacio Salgan and Luis Bacalov.

Louise Nevelson’s 1957 work ‘Sky Cathedral #2’ will be on display at the San Jose Museum of Art.


Environmental Exposure: Photography and Ecology after 1970
May 24-Sept 18
As the American ecological movement began to take shape — spurred on by the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 — so too did the consciousness of American photographers. Taken in the 1970s and early ’80s, these works transform familiar images of landscapes into commentaries on pollution, construction and waste.


June 2-Aug 13
A timely exhibit, Shelter/Refugio (Refuge) examines the meaning of what it means to have a safe and secure home. Artists like Elena Guzman, Monica Martinez and Sergio de la Torre look at what that means for longtime residents facing unaffordable housing, as well as immigrants and refugees living in sanctuary cities.


Abstracts From Life: Bay Area Figurative Past and Present
Thru Sept 10
Paintings that take their point of departure from the Bay Area figurative movement. Without denying the influence of abstract expressionism in the 20th century, these artists are also reacting against it by including the human form in their work. But faces are almost entirely absent on these canvases. The individual is abstracted but that only increases the sense of nostalgia for a forgotten friend or absent loved one.


June 25-Sept 10
An exhibition that’s not about what’s new. Over 100 artists will contribute what’s left over, the bits and pieces that didn’t make it on the canvas. Kevin B. Chen, Lisa Ellsworth, and Lordy Rodriguez are the guest curators.

Heather Wilcoxon: At Sea
June 25-Sept 10
These paintings of boats and the sea are atypical of work in the nautical genre. There isn’t a hint of cloying, pastel sweetness or calm harbors. The hulls are skeletal, in various stages of decomposition. The world depicted here cannot recover from the aftermath of a terrible storm.


Fragile Waters: Photographs by Ansel Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly
Thru Aug 6
The California drought has ended. For now. To remind us of our endangered rivers, lakes and seas, the entire main floor is filled with watery images. Over one hundred black-and-white photographs are arranged for our ecological engagement and aesthetic enjoyment. The famous photographers captured an era of innocent abundance among our national parks and pristine shorelines.

Carlos Rodriguez’ 2017 mixed piece ‘Untitled’ is part of MACLA’s ‘Shelter/Refugio’ exhibition.

The Darkened Mirror: Global Perspectives on Water
Thru Aug 27
In a half-dozen films, several international artists take stock of our planet’s water supply. What they’ve found doesn’t look good. Humans have polluted the water supply, taken it for granted and ignored the warnings about climate change. The projected images carry weight as they fight against our thoughtless tendency to waste a precious resource.

Your Mind, This Moment: Art and the Practice of Attention
Thru Aug 27
Sit down, relax, put your feet up. Listen to a guided meditation as you contemplate a few paintings on the wall. This exhibit is less about art and more about your ability to quiet the mind. Instead of breezing through the gallery, find a work that you feel drawn to and settle in for a contemplative moment of personal, and artistic, discovery.

Beta Space: Victor Cartagena
Thru Sept 4
The artist Victor Cartagena cast a mold of a farm worker’s face and made it out of sugar beets. A row of his head hangs along a long white wall and they’re starting to melt. On the opposing wall, they stare out at an enormous mural that merges bureaucrats with donkeys. It’s a vision of hell that applies to every immigrant’s life as they negotiate the territories of estrangement and assimilation.


ArtsAbled: Seeing the Unseen
Thru Aug 13
ArtsAbled is a seasonal series that features artists living with disabilities who, despite certain physical limitations, pursue their chosen artistic field. The first exhibition, Seeing the Unseen, presents work by blind artists and their conception of the world.


Hi-Dutch, Yusuke Hani & Katsuo Design
Opens June 9
A trio of up-and-coming artists in a group show. Hi-Dutch’s paintings combine his knowledge of surfboard repair with carpentry, yarn and resin. Both born in Japan, Hani and Katsuo Design are illustrators cum fine artists. From T-shirt slogans to concert posters, their aesthetic reads DIY 1970s all the way.

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