Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oct. 2: Hope for Ella at the Arlene Francis Theatre

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Ella Velouria Stewart is an incredibly charming, smart, funny six-year-old girl whose face is most likely familiar to half of the combined Facebook users in Santa Rosa. Ella, as we hate to report, is currently in a coma at a hospital in Oakland. Diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, Ella underwent three surgeries last month and currently lies motionless in a hospital bed, her head shaved, her body on a ventilator and monitors. The doctors’ diagnoses are hopeful that she will recover and awake to laugh and dance and sing again like six-year-old girls should do. In the meantime, fundraising for the family takes a loud turn with the Benefit Concert for Ella, featuring Low Five, Odd Bird, StarSkate, Litany for the Whale, A Pack of Wolves and more on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Arlene Francis Theatre. 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 7pm. $5.
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Oct. 2: Jamie Lidell at the Mystic Theatre

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM

There he was, all the way across the club but with a presence larger than the Chrysler Building. Flailing like a balloon quickly inflated and popped, over and over. Howling, strutting, hyperextending his vertebrae as if continually struck by lightning. He was Jamie Lidell, the opening act I’d never heard of, and he completely blew my goddamned mind with his live, all-vocal loops and frenzied showmanship. That was five years ago, and Lidell’s white-guy soul chops have only amplified since. With an in-the-pocket live band including analog synthesizers and bongos, and a ferociously danceable new album, Compass, Lidell is poised to totally blow away a dance floor full of sweaty Petalumans on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Mystic Theatre. 21 N. Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. 9pm. $20. 707.762.3565.
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Oct. 2: Nick Lowe at the Woods

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

After 10 years of playing sleepy solo sets to audiences praying he would one day rock again, the estimable British songwriter Nick Lowe is finally on a much-clamored-for full-band tour. That’s not the only old thing new again in Lowe’s old world: his albums The Impossible Bird, Dig My Mood and The Convincer are all seeing vinyl reissues this month, he’s playing a co-headlining set with Elvis Costello at the Great American Music Hall and he returns to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival alongside an incredible lineup with Patti Smith, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Lucero, Randy Newman and tons of others. While he’s here, he and his band play an intimate show at Mill Valley’s newest venue on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Woods Music Hall. 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 9pm. $25. 415.389.6636.
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Oct. 1-3: Pacific Pinball Expo at the Marin Center

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:45 AM

There is a defiant jubilance to the fact that the Pacific Pinball Expo, now in its fourth year, takes place in the shadow of George Lucas’ ranch in Marin County. After all, it was Lucas who helped kill the pinball division of the Williams company after his incessant interference on their production of the Star Wars: Episode I pinball game rendered the machine costly, technically unrefined and altogether unpopular. Hundreds upon hundreds of other, better pinball games will be on display this weekend at the expo, which brings together collectors and enthusiasts for a mind-blowing cacophony of bells, solenoids, plunger springs and multiball alerts echoing throughout the exhibition hall. Games are free with admission Friday–Sunday, Oct. 1–3, at the Marin Center. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 10am daily. $15–$25 daily. 510.769.1349.
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Oct. 1: Diane Reeves at the Napa Valley Opera House

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Mistaking sleepiness for style, there are certain jazz singers who would best be marketed on the labels of Ambien prescriptions. Diane Reeves will never know such a fate. Peppered with scatting, legato slides and excursions from form, Diane Reeves' phrasing is as if someone put little firecrackers all along the melody. With a husky tone inspired by Sarah Vaughan yet propelled by a wildly imaginative, multiple-octave vocal range, the jazz singer's interpretations often reach for—and crack—the stratosphere of syncopation. Reeves’ latest, When You Know, mixes well-chosen pop songs (“Just My Imagination,” “Lovin’ You,” “Windmills of Your Mind”) with lesser-known standards (the incredible “Midnight Sun”). She appears Friday, Oct. 1, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 8pm. $40–$45. 707.226.7372.
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Sept. 29-Oct. 6: Across the Bridge

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Neon Indian

Texas chillwave pioneers play with Prefuse 73 and free Red Stripe beer.

Sep 30 at the Mezzanine.Matt & Kim

Seriously the most positive two people in the universe, naked or clothed.

Sep 30 at the Fillmore.Roy Ayers

Soul-jazz vibist brings sharp-dressed lovers into the sunshine.

Oct 1 at Yoshi’s SF.Flaming Lips

More confetti and blood from Oklahoma’s inflatable bubble band.

Oct 1-2 at the Fox Theater.Henry Threadgill

Avant-garde jazz saxophonist and composer in combo with cello and tuba.

Oct 3 at Herbst Theatre.Guided By Voices

Original mid-’90s lineup with Robert Pollard refusing to go out lightly.

Oct 5 at the Warfield.

More San Francisco events at

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 26: Eoin Colfer at Osher Marin Jewish Community Center

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Famed Irish author Eoin Colfer has penned nine books in the celebrated Artemis Fowl series. He’s completed three standalone novels. He’s even taken up Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy duties, writing a sixth novel in the series. With over 9 million Artemis Fowl books sold and with the original Artemis Fowl still No. 7 on the New York Times’ bestseller list, Colfer is basically the J. K. Rowling of the teen fantasy market. He’s just released Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, and to celebrate he brings his tales on the road with a show called Artemis Rocks. Yes, Colfer will be singing and rocking live and onstage between videos, onstage interviews and audience Q&As. Even Artemis himself is promised to be there when Colfer dazzles the kids on Sunday, Sept. 26, at Osher Marin Jewish Community Center. 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. Noon. $27, includes signed book. 415.927.0960.
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September 26: Handcar Regatta at Depot Park

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Unless you’ve got tickets to see the pennant-racing Giants play that day, there is no understandable reason for missing out on the fantastic Third Annual 2010 Great West End & Railroad Square Handcar Regatta & Exposition of Mechanical & Artistic Wonders, otherwise known as the Handcar Regatta. For the uninitiated, the Regatta is the region’s foremost cultural hodgepodge of all things wildly imaginative, including but hardly limited to art, music, costume, magic, vaudeville, marching bands and sculpture. The Regatta’s raison d’être is ostensibly the foot- and hand-powered vehicles of all crazy design barreling down the railroad tracks, but the carnival atmosphere surrounding the races is worth the price of admission alone. Oh, you hadn’t heard? Yes, the Regatta is charging admission this year. Here’s the great thing: it’s only $1. Don’t miss it on Sunday, Sept. 26, at Depot Park. Railroad Square, Santa Rosa. 11am–6pm. $1.
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September 26: Mose Allison at Napa Valley Opera House

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Over 50 years ago, the pun-toting jazzman Mose Allison first laid out his cerebral troubles in a song called “Lost Mind.” “If you could be so kind / To help me find my mind,” he deadpanned in trademark bluesy inflection, “I’d like to thank you in advance.” Now 82, the wry pianist and singer appears to have finally unearthed his elusive treasure. “My Brain” opens his most recent album, The Way of the World, and in copping the form and melody of “My Babe,” a hit for Little Walter, he sings, “My brain is always ticking, my brain / Long as I am alive and kicking.” The album is recorded with an organic, warm tone and is another success for his new home, Anti-Records, who’ve regenerated the careers of Merle Haggard, Bettye LaVette, Rocky Erickson and Mavis Staples. Allison is always on the road, playing with pick-up bands in each city, and he plays an afternoon show on Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 4pm. $25–$30. 707.226.7372.
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September 25: EarleFest at Earle Baum Center

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 10:47 AM

As the son of novelist Larry McMurtry, the terrifically somber guitarist and singer James McMurtry has a rich DNA when it comes to words. From the poignant vignette of “Chocataw Bingo” to the stunning recession rant of “We Can’t Make It Here,” McMurtry captures details to paint an often bleak portrait of life in America. (An early album was titled Where’d You Hide the Body.) McMurtry headlines this year’s EarleFest, an annual concert presented by the Earle Baum Center for the Blind, but causing an equal amount of excitement is the presence on the bill of Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women. With a crackerjack all-female band including fiddler Laurie Lewis and dobro and steel-guitar master Cindy Cashdollar, who played on Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind album, Alvin is in especially fine form. The Belleville Outfit, St. Peterbilt, Tone Bent and Three at Last open on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Earle Baum Center. 4539 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. Noon–7pm. $20–$25. 707.523.3222.
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