An eclectic celebration of cinema and culture, the Wine Country Film Festival marks its 30th anniversary this year and offers four days of international and independent films screening in Kenwood. Highlights of this year’s film festival include Mexico’s submission to the Academy Awards, 600 Miles; the Mediterranean-set animated film The Prophet, produced by Salma Hayek; and The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, a vivid look at the philosopher written by Tilda Swinton. The fest also boasts several short films, live music, special guests and more, Thursday through Sunday, Sept 22–25, at various venues in Kenwood. $25 and up. wcff.eventbrite.com.
The second oldest festival in California, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, is 119 years old, though it’s still a fresh mix of music, food and fun for the whole family. This year’s opening gala on Sept. 23 features ’80s dance band Notorious belting out the hits while attendees sample food and wine from local Sonoma restaurants. The party continues through the weekend, and features everything from 5k and 12k runs, grape stomps, the annual firefighter bucket brigade, art and music galore and a Saturday-night parade sure to light up downtown Sonoma. The community gets vintage Friday to Sunday, Sept. 23–25, Sonoma Plaza, First Street East, Sonoma. Free admission. valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com.
Petaluma native Stella Heath grew up on the jazz of greats like Louis Armstrong and New Orleans–infused swing and Gypsy music, and she incorporates all of that into her work as vocalist for French Oak. A worldly blues and jazz outfit, which also features members of Gypsy dance band Dgiin, French Oak is ready to unveil its debut album, Sunnyside, this weekend. Recorded in Santa Rosa and performed in both French and English, Sunnyside’s collection of standards and originals spotlights Heath’s magnetic vocals and the band’s tight rhythms, all of which is on display in an appropriately underground speakeasy-esque jazz club on Friday, Sept. 23, at the Big Easy, 128 American Alley, Petaluma. 8pm. $5. 707.776.4631.
Twenty years ago, a group of Marin residents conceived of a plan to transform a piece of their community and connect with others through an art center. That idea is now known as Art Works Downtown, a multi-gallery space chock-full of talented artists and exciting exhibits. This weekend, the collective commemorates the last two decades with a new show, ‘20/20 Vision,’ that looks on the past, the present and to the future. The opening reception boasts live music from Danny Click, Jerry Hannan and Shana Morrison, art demonstrations and plenty of local food and wine. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Art Works Downtown, 1337 Fourth St., San Rafael. 6:30pm. $45–$55 and up. 415.451.8119.
Healdsburg Center for the Arts’ ‘Masks, Puppets & Games’ features live performances centered on themes of identity and imagination. On Thursday, Sept. 15, the Raven Players stop by HCA for a dramatic reading of a new script, The Germans Upstairs, by playwrights Francine Schwartz and Jack Leidner and based on events that Schwartz’s family went through in German-occupied Paris during WWII. Then on Saturday, Sept. 17, performance artist Eliot Fintushel shows how we all use facial recognition in our daily lives with his show Masks: Inside & Behind. 130 Plaza St, Healdsburg. 707.431.1970.
The Napa Valley Museum’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” is an exciting, playable exhibit of innovative video games that explores not only what video games are capable of now, but also where they might be headed in the future. And while we’re all looking ahead, the museum invites patrons to look back with a Retro Game Marathon that lovingly revisits the pioneers who cemented video games into our collective consciousness. This 21-and-over event will dust off the old Ataris and serve beer and wine while players conquer classic games like Super Mario Bro. and Sonic the Hedgehog on Friday, Sept. 16, at the Napa Valley Museum, 55 Presidents Circle, Yountville. 8pm. $10. 707.944.0500.
Hosted by San Francisco nonprofit group Roots & Branches Conservancy, the second annual Sound Summit festival once again offers top-notch musical acts performing in the scenic surroundings of Mt. Tam. Headlining this year’s summit is veteran rock and roll band Wilco. Led by songwriter Jeff Tweedy, Wilco just released their 10th studio album, Schmilco, this month and bring their electrifying live show to the North Bay with a little help from fellow performers Los Lobos, Bill Frisell’s Guitar in the Space Age, the Stone Foxes and Matt Jaffe. The musical summit happens Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Mountain Theater, 801 Panoramic Hwy., Mill Valley. 11am to 7pm. $50–$100 and up. soundsummit.net.
Born in London to Jamaican parents, raised in New York City and now living in the North Bay, classically trained pianist and songwriter Eki Shola brings a multicultural wealth to her original compositions and embraces music’s healing properties. In her life as a doctor, Shola sees how stress and fatigue take a physical toll. She creates a relaxing blend of jazz and ambient piano on her debut album, Final Beginning. Shola performs on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 8pm at Brew, (555 Healdsburg Ave., Santa Rosa) and offers and a performance on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 6:30pm at Heart Space Music Healing Center (1445 Technology Lane, Petaluma; musichealingcenter.org).
Not exactly a concert film, not exactly a documentary, director Andrew Domini’s latest film, ‘One More Time With Feeling,’ is like no other. It’s appropriately mysterious, given that the film stars Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performing their haunting ne
w album, Skeleton Tree, while exploring the record’s dramatic origins and evolution. The film captures the group live onstage and in several interviews woven around a theme of the artist finding his way through darkness. Also mysteriously, the film screens in theaters one night only across the country, playing on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth St., San Rafael; 6:45pm and 9pm; 415.454.1222) and Rialto Cinemas (6868 McKinley St., Sebastopol; 9pm; 707.525.4840).
Bolinas-based artist and sculptor Sha Sha Higby makes art she can wear, in the form of complexly crafted sculptural costumes that she performs in during her hauntingly poignant live shows inspired by Noh Theater and shadow puppetry. This week, Higby premieres her latest whimsical and wondrous work, ‘Paper Wings,’ in conjunction with Petaluma Arts Center’s ongoing exhibit “Journeys Through Light and Dark,” which explores dolls as storytelling devices. Recently returned from Korea, where she spent the last several months teaching and performing, Higby makes her return to the North Bay with her brand-new show on Friday, Sept. 9, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 40 Fifth St., Petaluma. 8pm. $15–$18. petalumaartscenter.org.