This is a rare chance to see the Oscar-nominated actor in conversation with his mother, the acclaimed author and actress Betsy Franco. The two will discuss James' new book A California Childhood, a new-age memoir of personal snapshots, sketches, paintings, poems, and stories. Consider it your opp to get up close and personal with the local stud.
When: 7 p.m., Mon. 5/13
Where: Kepler's, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park
The Oakland neo soul chanteuse left us for Brooklyn, but she's back to steal our hearts again with four nights of back-to-back shows.
When: 8 & 10 p.m., Thurs. 5/16–Sun. 5/19
Where: Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St.
artMRKT and ArtPadSF
May in SF means a duo of annual art fairs. Touching down for the first time at Fort Mason, artMRKT brings local gallery vets Catharine Clark and Paule Anglim together with newcomers, including New York's Jen Bekman Gallery and Philly's Gallery Joe. ArtPadSF again transforms the Phoenix Hotel with two floors of mini galleries and an outdoor video installation by Bay Area artist Andrew Benson on opening night.
When: Thurs. 5/16–Sun. 5/19
Where: Fort Mason, Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St.; Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St.
SF Symphony with Janelle Monáe
The soulful hip-hop/R&B artist has been having a little bit of a love affair with the SF Symphony lately. She's back for this year's gala with the newly Grammy-cloaked symphony—the two collaborated on Grammy song of the year "We Are Young." This one's not to miss.
When: 8 p.m., Thurs. 5/16
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave.
So maybe the references to Outkast are old at this point, but that's how I came to love Big Boi. The Grammy-winning rapper hits up the club for one night only with Killer Mike. You might want to call in sick on Friday.
When: 8:30 p.m., Thurs. 5/16
Where: Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St.
Lenora Lee Dance
Currently an artist fellow at the de Young, Lenora Lee will have her works in progress on display in an open studio format at the museum's Kimball Education Gallery during the entire month of May. Particularly of note is the short performance she'll be doing on Friday as a preview of the two world premieres she'll be debuting in November. Her latest works is inspired by the stories of Chinese immigrant women who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century.
When: 7 p.m., Fri. 5/17
Where: de Young Koret Auditorium, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
No Man's Land
In case you missed it, a lot of acting talent will be hitting the East Bay later this summer. Broadway stars Ian McKellen (you might also know him from Lord of the Rings) and Patrick Stewart (yeah, the Star Trek guy) will join Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley in a performance of Harold Pinter's celebrated No Man's Land—about two writers who may or may not actually know each other. The show's not until August, but tickets are in high demand. Your chance at any remaining tickets comes this Sunday, 5/19, when whatever's left over goes on sale. Get your calling or clicking fingers ready.
When: Sat. 8/3–Sat. 8/31
Where: Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley
I stumbled upon Denver rock and hip-hop group Flobots at Neumo's in Seattle a few years ago and became an instant fan. Their live show is pretty electric. Check 'em out at this intimate show.
When: 7:30 p.m., Sun. 5/19
Where: Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market St.
Beck's latest "album" Song Reader (published by the local McSweeney's) comes in the form of individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded. He's making a quick stop in Santa Cruz to show it off, but you'll have to turn to Craigslist if you want in on this one.
When: 8 p.m., Sun. 5/19
Where: Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz