A staple of Santa Rosa art and music culture for the last 23 years, Izzy’s Tattoos and Blues Festival once again brings together ink masters and music makers for three days of skin and sounds. Among the highlights at the festival are dozens of artists, bands like Snake Alley and even fire dancers. Choosing the ever-popular pirate theme for this year, dressing up (or down) in costume could win prizes—or at least get some looks on the street, which is cool, too. The Tattoos and Blues Festival runs Feb. 28 to March 2, at the Flamingo Resort and Spa. 2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. Doors open Friday at noon. $20—$35. 707.545.8530.
When the words “Playboy magazine” are uttered, the face that comes to mind is Hugh Hefner’s, the publication’s storied founder. But Hefner wasn’t alone when he started the company in 1953. In fact, he didn’t even come up with the name for the magazine. That honor belongs to Hef’s friend and co-investor Eldon Sellers. As well as naming the iconic Playboy, Sellers was a major factor in the early success of the company, investing and guiding the entrepreneurial avenues that led to Playboy’s astounding success. Now a North Bay resident, Sellers talks in person on the “Business of Playboy,” Friday, Feb. 28, at Loveable Rogue bookstore. 867 Grant Ave., Novato. 7pm. $7. 415.895.1081.
Formed in 1960, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a world-renowned South African vocal chorus. With over 50 albums to their credit, the all-male choral group became a well known a cappella act stemming from their involvement in Paul Simon’s 1986 album Graceland. Since that initial breakthrough, the group has gone on to earn multiple Grammy awards and platinum record sales. Their latest release, Always with Us, is a tribute to the late wife of the group’s vocal leader. Also acting as world ambassadors for mbube, a South African singing style, Ladysmith Black Mambazo return to the North Bay Tuesday, March 4, at the Wells Fargo Center. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $29—$39. 707.546.3600.
Back in 2008, author Kelly Corrigan rocketed into the spotlight with the release of her first bestselling memoir, which revolved around her and her father’s concurring bouts with cancer. Now Corrigan is back with another tale of trials and lessons gleaned in her new memoir, Glitter and Glue. Chronicling her time spent as a nanny when she was 24, the author, now 46, relates the experience to her relationship with her mother and their reconciliation after years of tension. Down-to-earth and easily accessible, Corrigan has been praised for her warmth and humor, which she shares when she reads from Glitter and Glue on Wednesday, March 5, at Angelico Hall, Dominican University. 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael. 7pm. (Presented by Book Passage.) $32 includes signed book. 415.927.0960.
Formed in New York, N.Y., in 2005, the four musicians that make up the acclaimed Escher String Quartet take their inspiration from the artist they’re named for. M.C. Escher was known for his complex paintings that featured mind-boggling and paradoxical concepts. Moving these principles from a visual to aural medium has given the Escher String Quartet a reputation for dazzling interplay within a cohesive and moving artistic expression. The group has played the world over, from Paris to Beijing, and even performed on the BBC a few years back. Now they bring stirring classical music to the North Bay courtesy of the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society, Sunday, Feb. 23, at Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church. 410 Sycamore Ave., Mill Valley. 5pm. $15—$30. 415.381.4453.
In the annals of television comedy, improvisation has proven to be a fickle mistress. Either you get it—like the late Sid Caesar—or you don’t. Even the idea of putting on a program sans scripted laughs seems unlikely given the big bucks behind it. So how is it that a show like Whose Line Is It Anyway? could be so dominating, and so funny, on both U.K. and U.S. TV sets for decades? Look no further than stars of both incarnations Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, two of the original stars now performing as a two-man group delivering “Live and Dangerous Comedy.” Just like the format of Whose Line, the funnymen will take audience suggestions and run wild. This never-to-be-repeated night of comedy happens Friday, Feb. 21, at the Marin Center’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $30—$60. 415.499.6800.
Emphasizing minimalist electronic compositions, Petaluma’s Vespertine Orchestra (in fact, a duo) put their classical training to use to create eerily dark and intriguing pop. Partners Sadie Sonntag and Jesus Contreras do it all. Both music teachers are comfortable in many genres, combining mezzo-soprano voice and multi-instrumental mastery in songs that carry a throwback new wave sound seamlessly into the new century of electro-pop-influenced music. The Vespertine Orchestra play Saturday, Feb. 22, at Clear Heart Gallery. 90 Jessie Lane, Petaluma. 7pm. $20. 707.322.0009.
On the morning of May 4, 1961, a small gathering of civil rights activists boarded a bus in Washington, D.C., bound for New Orleans in the first Freedom Ride. That year hundreds of activists joined in, traveling to the Deep South in mixed-race groups to challenge local laws that enforced unconstitutional segregation in seating. These were the first steps in what became the American Civil Rights movement. As part of the Black History Month Film Festival at the Arlene Francis Center, the award-winning 2010 documentary Freedom Riders is screened as a benefit for the Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline. Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Arlene Francis Center. 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 7pm. $5. 707.528.3009
From busking the streets of Fremantle, in western Australia, to world tours fronting his own roots Americana trio, John Butler has seen it all. Forming the John Butler Trio in 1998, the singer-songwriter has led the group through six acclaimed albums, including three consecutive records that all went platinum and topped the Australian charts. Highlighted by a dusty rock sound and spontaneous jam-band aesthetics, the John Butler Trio appear in concert free and early courtesy of KRSH radio station to promote the band’s latest release, Flesh & Blood. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 7:30pm. Free. 707.829.7300
Consummate storyteller and comedian extraordinaire Bill Cosby simply will not stop. Nearing 80 years old (he’s 76) and blind in one eye, Cosby’s presence in the spotlight saw a significant decline at the beginning of this century. After 40 years of game-changing comedy albums and ground-breaking television shows, the legendary performer has recently returned to the stage more regularly and even recorded his first television concert special in 30 years, Bill Cosby: Far from Finished, late last year via Comedy Central. The Coz brings his stories and his humor to the stage once again on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Marin Center’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenue of the Flags. San Rafael. 8pm. $40—$75. 415.499.6800.