Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - September 13, 2013

An exuberance of culture

Fall offers a plethora of art, music, dance, theater, film and books

by Rebecca Wallace

Though the weather's not exactly what you'd call "crisp" yet, a few trees are tentatively going scarlet. And rain or shine, local arts groups are all set for autumn.

Now is the time when theaters, concert halls, cafes and galleries shake off any late-August snoozes and open their doors to a new arts season. Is that a pair of violas tuning up, a curator straightening a painting, an actor rehearsing an explosive scene from "God of Carnage"?

As always, our fall arts preview gives you a taste of what's new and notable on the Midpeninsula this season. This time around, that includes: contemporary photographer Carrie Mae Weems documenting the African-American experience, a pair of twin bluegrass musicians in concert and appearances by the French choreographer Jerome Bel. The Israeli actor Topol will also drop by Palo Alto during a film-festival screening of his classic movie musical "Fiddler on the Roof." L'chaim!

Music

Would you think of wearing 3-D glasses in a concert hall? You will for "Linked Verse," Stanford Live's big world premiere this season.

Stanford composer Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, a faculty member in the music department, has joined forces with the digital artists of the New York City-based OpenEndedGroup to create a multimedia concerto about the relationship between Japanese and Western cultures. The piece is billed as an "evocation of otherness and union" that looks at both the ancient and modern worlds.

The concerto will feature Maya Beiser playing the cello and Ko Ishikawa on the sho, a Japanese instrument of bamboo pipes. Their notes will be blended with voice, other sounds and live 3D stereoscopic visual projection incorporating photos and videos from Kyoto, New York and San Francisco. Performances are set for Dec. 7 and 8 in Bing Concert Hall. No need to bring glasses: Stanford Live's got you covered.

Other musical notables set to perform via Stanford Live this season include: violinist Itzhak Perlman and a myriad of prodigies on Sept. 22, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on Sept. 29, fado singer Mariza on Nov. 1, violinist Joshua Bell on Feb. 8, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel on March 16, and soprano Deborah Voigt on April 11. (Bing Concert Hall members and performance sponsors can also catch musical-theater royalty Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin on April 26.)

For details on the season, go to live.stanford.edu or call 650-724-BING.

In bluegrass country, Redwood Bluegrass Associates kicks off its season with an unusual pairing: identical twin musicians, that is. The Canote Brothers (Greg and Jere) have been fiddling, strumming and singing together for years, including a 13-year stint on the NPR program "Sandy Bradley's Potluck." Now based in Seattle, they grew up in the South Bay.

The brothers are set to play RBA's home stage at the First Presbyterian Church at 1667 Miramonte Ave. in Mountain View on Oct. 26. For the full season line-up, go to rba.org.

Also this season, it's birthday 50 for the Midpeninsula choral group Schola Cantorum, which celebrates its birthday with an anniversary concert on May 17 at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road. The program features works by founder Royal Stanton together with a new piece by Eric Tuan.

Other premieres at Schola Cantorum this season include "How Long We Wait," a new piece with oboe obbligato by Frank Ferko, a former Mountain View resident. It will be performed March 15 at the Los Altos United Methodist Church at 655 Magdalena Ave., and March 16 at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. Contact the chorus at scholacantorum.org or 650-254-1700.

Meanwhile, the Palo Alto music scene also boasts many student groups who regularly perform in this area (when they're not off touring internationally in the summer, as some of them do). They include: the Ragazzi Boys Chorus (ragazzi.org), the Silicon Valley Boychoir (svboychoir.org), the California Youth Symphony (cys.org), the Cantabile Youth Singers (cantabile.org), the El Camino Youth Symphony (ecys.org), the School of Rock Palo Alto (paloalto.schoolofrock.com), the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (pacomusic.org) and the iSing Girlchoir (isingsv.com).

Other highlights of the 2013-14 music season include:

The Aurora Singers

The annual winter concert for this community chorus is planned for 4 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, where it rehearses. 505 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto, aurorasingers.net

Bay Choral Guild

The concert season in Palo Alto features a festival of Mozart's choral works in February and March, along with "Poet's Corner" performances in June: contemporary settings of poetry by writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Omar Khayym and Shakespeare. First Baptist Church, 305 N. California Ave., Palo Alto, baychoralguild.org

California Bach Society

First up for this Palo Alto choral group: a "Monteverdi Vespers of 1610" concert on Oct. 11-13, followed by "Christmas with Peter Warlock and Henry VIII" in December and "German Cantatas circa 1700" in February and March. All Saints Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto. 650-485-1097, calbach.org

California Pops Orchestra

The swinging Palo Alto-based orchestra kicks off its season Sept. 22 with a variety show of Big Band music, show tunes and jazz and pop songs, featuring pianist Chin Beckmann and theater singer Carly Honfi. Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. 650-856-8432, calpops.org

Chamber Music San Francisco

The February-May series in Palo Alto kicks off with the Eroica Trio on Feb. 10, followed by violinist James Ehnes on March 10 and the Vogler Quartet on April 7. Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Organization contact: 415-759-1756, chambermusicsf.org

Fortnightly Music Club

This 100-plus-year-old organization hosts free concerts every two weeks, often featuring local musicians and composers. The season starts Oct. 6 at the Lucie Stern Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. fortnightlymusicclub.org

Ives Quartet

A new string quartet by jazz artist and composer Julian Waterfall Pollack will be premiered by the Palo Alto-based Ives Quartet on April 25 and 27. He's a fan of both standards and minimalism. Before that, the season begins with a program of Britten, Puccini and Verdi on Nov. 1. St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. 650-224-7849, ivesquartet.org

Master Sinfonia

In April, the Midpeninsula community orchestra will premiere the fifth movement of Jeremy Cavaterra's "Monterey Suite." Each segment is dedicated to a spot in or near the county, including "The Aquarium" and "Steinbeck Country." Concerts are planned for 8 p.m. April 26 at Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road, Portola Valley; and 2:30 p.m. April 27 at Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave. mastersinfonia.org

Music@Menlo

Not just for summer anymore, the Music@Menlo chamber-music festival now regularly holds concerts in other months. Coming up: the Emerson String Quartet on Oct. 13, "Pianists in Paris" on Feb. 9, and pianist Alessio Bax on May 11. Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton. 650-330-2030, musicatmenlo.org

New Century Chamber Orchestra

The University of Michigan's Michael Daugherty is the orchestra's featured composer this year, weaving music replete with American cultural references. The Sept. 26 concert, "Daugherty Perspectives," includes "Viola Zombie" (for two violas) and "Elvis Everywhere" (for string quartet and tape). At 8 p.m. at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St. 415-357-1111, ncco.org

New Esterhazy Quartet

The quartet's season of local concerts at All Saints Episcopal Church in Palo Alto kicks off this weekend, with a program called "The Cellist King: Music for Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia" offering up Haydn, Boccherini and Mozart on Sept. 15. 555 Waverley St. 415-520-0611, newesterhazy.org

Palo Alto Philharmonic

The first full orchestra concert of the season serves up ample dishes of Wagner and Verdi on Oct. 19, with soloists including soprano Juyeon Song and tenor Ben Bongers. Cubberley Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. paphil.org

Peninsula Symphony

The Los Altos symphony explores works by Ernest Bloch in its concerts with the Stanford Symphonic Chorus on Nov. 22 and 24. Baritone/cantor Stephen Saxon is also along for the ride. At Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University. 650-941-5291, peninsulasymphony.org

Peninsula Women's Chorus

Besides presenting a regular season of concerts on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, the group hosts a New Music for Treble Voices Festival each spring and invites other choruses to join in. Next year's festival performance is set for March 22 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto. 650-327-3095, pwchorus.org

Philharmonia Baroque

At the season opener on Oct. 2, the period-instrument orchestra features countertenor David Daniels and soprano Carolyn Sampson in Pergolesi's bittersweet "Stabat Mater." Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton. The orchestra also performs several times at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall as part of the Stanford Live season. philharmoniabaroque.org

Saint Michael Trio

"Europe's Master Impressionist: The Genius of Claude Debussy" is the trio's Oct. 4 concert, which the musicians dub an "informance," complete with commentary and slides. Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. saintmichaeltrio.com

San Francisco Early Music Society

Palo Alto concerts include "Venetian Christmas Mass" by the choral and instrumental group Magnificat, on Dec. 20 at the First United Methodist Church at 625 Hamilton Ave.; and the Galax Quartet with contralto Karen Clark playing "avant-garde from the 16th century and early music from today," on Jan. 31 at First Lutheran Church, 600 Homer Ave. 510-528-1725, sfems.org

Soli Deo Gloria

Something new for this choral group: traditional Christmas carols freshly arranged by Bob Chilcott, Michele Weir and Allen H. Simon, the group's artistic director. The holiday concert is Dec. 7 at the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, 305 N. California Ave. 888-SDG-SONG, sdgloria.org

Stanford Jazz Festival

This annual array of performances, workshops, classes and jam sessions takes place on campus every summer, with many shows in Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Campbell Recital Hall and Bing Concert Hall. 650-736-0324, stanfordjazz.org

Stanford Music Department

The Now Hear Ensemble, a new-music quintet, is touring California music schools to work with local composers and perform their work and then recording the whole process as a documentary film. On Oct. 12, they'll be at Stanford, playing music by university composers Ivan Naranjo and Eoin Callery on the CCRMA Stage at The Knoll. Also planned: the university's annual "Harmony for Humanity" tribute concert to the late journalist Daniel Pearl, on Oct. 9 in Memorial Church. music.stanford.edu

Twilight Concert Series

The City of Palo Alto is one of many municipalities and malls offering a free outdoor concert series in the summer. Shows are typically in parks around town, often featuring rock bands, brass bands, jazz combos and teen garage groups. The schedule should be up next year at cityofpaloalto.org.

World Harmony Chorus

This community chorus is big on being inclusive: Singers of all levels are welcomed. This year's theme is "Love Songs," with tunes from Puerto Rico, Kenya, Finland and other areas and a concert set for Jan. 28. Community School of Music and Arts, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. instantharmony.com

World Music Day

Musicians of all stripes and some dancers, too converge on downtown Palo Alto each Father's Day, playing free street-corner, sidewalk and plaza shows from the afternoon to the evening. Next year's event, the sixth one in P.A., is set for June 15. pamusicday.org

Other local venues for live music include:

CoHo Stanford Coffee House

The indie bean scene at the CoHo includes the San Diego rock band Never Come Down, scheduled to bring in its distorted-guitar sound on Oct. 1. 459 Lagunita #1, Stanford University. 650-721-2262, coho.stanford.edu

Community School of Music and Arts

Saxophones come in four varieties at the "Saxes for the Season" concert on Dec. 5: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. This show, one of several at the school's Tateuchi Hall, features faculty member Mark Russo. 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. 650-917-6813, arts4all.org

Red Rock Coffee

Upcoming: dobro musician Matt Bradford on Sept. 20, Celtic-folk player Jon Rubin on Sept. 27, Esther Berndt and her jazz band on Sept. 28, the jazz of The Night Quintet on Oct. 5, and many others. 201 Castro St., Mountain View. 650-967-4473, redrockcoffee.org

Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

The season includes the Oct. 13 "Silicon Valley Schubertiade," a free musical "salon" concert with the piano, vocal and chamber music of Franz Schubert played by Patricia Cheng, David Saslav, Melissa Smith, Kevin Jim and Monica Chew. 500 Castro St., Mountain View. 650-903-6000, mvcpa.com

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

Highlights include: the return of the popular multilingual performances of "Peter and the Wolf," on Dec. 15; Venezuelan music with the VNote Ensemble on Dec. 17; and Arts Bravura featuring the Branford Marsalis Quartet on May 1. 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. paloaltojcc.org

Museums and collections

The African-American experience comes to vivid life in the photography of contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems. In her "Kitchen Table Series," for instance, she tells the story of a modern black woman, using images, text and herself as a model. Other series have looked at racism, Afro hairstyles, African-American women performers.

Born in 1953 in Oregon, Weems has been producing thoughtful, well-received bodies of work for decades. Now her first major museum retrospective is headed for Stanford's Cantor Arts Center on Oct. 16, after showings in Cleveland, Portland and Nashville. "Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video" will run through Jan. 5, featuring about 100 photos, installations and videos.

Other new exhibitions in the Cantor's upcoming season include "Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th-Century Art," with 75 works by Margaret Bourke-White, Salvador Dali, Man Ray and other American and European artists. It runs Nov. 13 through March 16.

The center is at Museum Drive and Lomita Way. Go to museum.stanford.edu or call 650-723-4177.

Over at the Palo Alto Art Center, books as instruments of creativity take center stage this fall. In "Bibliophilia," which opens Sept. 21, 15 artists focus on books: fashioning their own, or photographing libraries and other books, or transforming discarded tomes into altogether new works of art.

Presented together with the Fine Arts Gallery of San Francisco State University, the show includes works by Robert Dawson, Ala Ebtekar, Laurent de Brunhoff, Patricia Curtan and others. It will be up through Dec. 15 at 1313 Newell Road in Palo Alto.

Also planned this season at the art center: the annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, with pumpkins and other glass objects on exhibit Sept. 24 through 27 and on sale Sept. 28 and 29. 650-329-2366, cityofpaloalto.org/artcenter

Anderson Collection

This huge private Menlo Park collection of some 820 works of 20th-century American visual art offers free public tours on the third Thursday of the month (except in July, August, December and January). Reservations required. 650-854-5160, ksaracino@aacollection.com

Computer History Museum

The museum's lecture series begins this fall with an Oct. 8 talk by Justin Rattner, who was Intel's chief technology officer as well as director of Intel Labs from 2006 until this year. Ongoing exhibits look at computers past and present, with artifacts that may inspire a spark of recognition. 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View. 650-810-1010, computerhistory.org

Hoover Institution Library and Archives

Dramatic moments in history as seen by the artists who witnessed them: That's the theme of the current exhibit "Art and History: Treasures from the Hoover Library and Archives." Works include sketches of life in the gulag by Thomas Sgovio and art journals from pre-revolutionary Russia. Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion, Stanford University. 650-723-3563, hoover.org

Los Altos History Museum

As part of its current exhibit, "A Place to Call Home: Two Centuries of California Living," which is up through Oct. 6, architect Jonathan Pearlman will give a free talk Sept. 22 on "The Evolution of the American Home." Before that, the museum's annual Train Days celebrate model railroading on Sept. 14 and 15. 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. 650-948-9427, losaltoshistory.org

Museum of American Heritage

TV is a mere tot in the new MOAH exhibit opening Sept. 27. "Television: A History" explores the tube in its early days, displaying sets from the 1940s and '50s and showing programs from the '50s and '60s. To complement all this: a collection of TV-show lunchboxes. The exhibit runs through March. 351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto. 650-321-1004, moah.org

Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

Fifty-some species of animals make their home at this family zoo, along with science programs and shows including a performance by the Amazing Bubble Man on Sept. 15. 1451 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-329-2111, cityofpaloalto.org

Stanford University Libraries Special Collections

Green Library frequently hosts exhibits of rare books, manuscripts and other literary-themed artwork in the glass cases in the Peterson Gallery and the Munger Rotunda. Opening Sept. 23: "Art Meets Technology: Core Samples from Nine Archives," with items from the collections of Buckminster Fuller, Arthur H. Benade, Rich Gold and others. http://library.stanford.edu/spc

Galleries

When you've flown more than a million miles, it's nice to give those long schleps an artistic purpose. Laura Oliphant does just that with her photography. Her images of the planet from above, shot from the windows of commercial airliners, have won her prizes and exhibits. This month, many of them are on display at Gallery 9 in Los Altos.

The Redwood City artist sees a lot of beauty, but "translating it into the camera is a technical challenge," she said in a press release. "At the very minimum, the shooting platform is moving at 600 miles an hour, never mind the scratched and dirty windows. But ... I've learned to bring out the beauty of the world as I see it."

The exhibit is up through Sept. 29 at 143 Main St. Go to gallery9losaltos.com or call 650-941-7969 for more.

At the Pacific Art League this month, longtime local photographer Judy Kramer is taking a different direction with her work. A past president of the Palo Alto Camera Club, she's known for her abiding interest in wildflowers. Now she has a solo show up of photos she took on a recent humanitarian trip to Guinea in West Africa, documenting a campaign against tetanus in mothers and newborns.

Kramer is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto, and the effort, called The Eliminate Project, is organized by the Kiwanis and UNICEF. On her trip last fall, she followed a regional immunization campaign in a remote town. "It was such a privilege to watch lives being saved," she said.

The exhibition is up through Sept. 26 in the art league at 227 Forest Ave. in downtown Palo Alto (its temporary location while its home is being renovated nearby). 650-321-3891, pacificartleague.org

art@PARC

The research and development company PARC frequently hosts exhibits of work by contemporary artists. Photographer Michael Kern, who captures spirited images of reptiles, amphibians and birds, has a solo show up through Oct. 31 called "Finding Beauty in the Beast." 3333 Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto. 650-812-4000, parc.com

Bryant Street Gallery

Peter Roux, he of the atmospheric oil paintings and the "fog of spirits" series, has a solo show up through Sept. 30. 532 Bryant St., Palo Alto. 650-321-8155, bryantstreet.com

EcoCenter

Art with a nature and often Baylands theme is periodically exhibited at the Environmental Volunteers' EcoCenter out by the Bay. Now up: the finely detailed paintings of wildlife and open space by Dale Beliveau, who has a particular fondness for birds. His show is on display through Dec. 7, with a reception set for Oct. 26. 650-493-8000, ext. 340, evols.org

Gallery House

Kristine Taylor, whose bronze sculptures are a menagerie of beasts and fowl, has a solo show of her animal-themed works on the gallery walls through Sept. 21. Paintings by Midori McCabe and Wendy Fitzgerald go up Sept. 24. 320 S. California Ave., Palo Alto. 650-326-1668, galleryhouse2.com

Mohr Gallery at the Community School of Music and Arts

An exhibit of quilts by Mountain View day workers opens Oct. 11, with a reception planned for Oct. 25. 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. 650-917-6800, arts4all.org

Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

Solo shows are hung periodically in the center's lobby, to be viewed before performances or at noontime on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Vibrant oil paintings by Elizabeth Jimenez-Montelongo, who often explores the culture of the indigenous American nations, go up Oct. 15. 500 Castro St., Mountain View. 650-903-6000, mvcpa.com

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

Up now at the JCC through Oct. 21: "Peace in Mind," Lori Greenblat-Wick's framed Judaic art of handmade paper, found objects and other materials; and "Tree House," Neta Levi's nostalgic mixed-media works of paint and fabric on canvas. 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 650-799-1854, paloaltojcc.org

Palo Alto City Hall

The lobby often houses art exhibitions by one or more artists. Details for 2013-14 were not yet available at press time; keep an eye on cityofpaloalto.org. 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.

Portola Art Gallery

The first exhibit of the fall is "Orphaned Elephants of Tsavo and Recent Works," oil paintings by Marsha Heimbecker, many of them depicting elephants who are cared for at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. The show is up through Sept. 30. At the Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. 650-321-0220, portolaartgallery.com

Smith Andersen Editions

"Greetings From the Lost Edge" pays tribute to the American artist David Gilhooly, who died recently after a long career that included being influential in the Bay Area's funk ceramics movement. The solo exhibition draws on four years of the artist's collage work and runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 31, with a reception Oct. 5. 440 Pepper Ave., Palo Alto. 650-327-7762, smithandersen.com

Stanford Art Spaces

Contemplative lithographs and paintings by 100-year-old Japanese artist Toko Shinoda are on display in a retrospective exhibit through Oct. 17. Stanford Art Spaces shows work in the Paul G. Allen building (C.I.S.) and the David Packard building. 650-723-3622, cis.stanford.edu/~marigros/

Viewpoints Gallery

Red barns, verdant bluffs and dynamic skies fill the pastels of artist Teresa Ruzzo, whose solo show "Reflections" is up through Sept. 29. 315 State St., Los Altos. 650-941-5789, viewpointsgallery.com

Theater

As is its wont, TheatreWorks this season is bringing in several shows that haven't been seen in the area (or, in some cases, the state) before. Next up is the Kenneth Lin drama "Warrior Class," about a rising political star, the son of Chinese immigrants, who gets dubbed "The Republican Obama" but is threatened by a youthful indiscretion. The play opens Oct. 12 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 500 Castro St.

The protagonist of Lauren Gunderson's "Silent Sky" faces other hurdles as a woman astronomer at the turn of the century, one of the few females in her profession. The play opens Jan. 18 at the Mountain View center.

Also on the docket is a goofy adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Hound of the Baskervilles," revamped as a comedy play by Steven Canny and John Nicholson. It stars a small horde of actors playing a host of roles, and opens April 5 at the Mountain View Center.

Other shows in TheatreWorks' season are the musical "Little Women," "Once on This Island" and "Marry Me a Little." 650-463-1950, theatreworks.org

Meanwhile, the Pear Avenue Theatre answers the dramatic question "Can one actor play both Clarence and Mr. Potter?" He can if he's theater veteran Michael Champlin, doing a one-man version of "It's a Wonderful Life," called "This Wonderful Life." He brings his show, in which he plays all the characters, to the Pear from Dec. 6 through Dec. 22.

Other titles in the Pear season are: "The Tempest," "A King's Legacy," "Quality of Life," "Fool for Love," "Pear Slices 2014" and "Pygmalion." Shows are at 1220 Pear Ave., Unit K, Mountain View. 650-254-1148, thepear.org

Foothill Music Theatre

Foothill's musical-theater extravaganzas attract singers, dancers and actors from the community at large. On deck: "Little Shop of Horrors," going up in February at the Lohman Theatre. 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. foothill.edu/theatre/music.php.

Los Altos Stage Company

Formerly known as the Bus Barn Stage Company, the group has these shows planned for the coming season: "The Fantasticks" (now playing through Sept. 29), "The Sunshine Boys," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Harold and Maude" and "Company." 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. 650-941-0551, losaltosstage.org

Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

Besides hosting many TheatreWorks and Peninsula Youth Theatre productions, the center sometimes brings in other theatrical productions. "Manya: A Living History of Marie Curie," a one-woman show starring playwright and actress Susan Marie Frontczak, runs Sept. 19-24. 500 Castro St., Mountain View. 650-903-6000, mvcpa.com

Palo Alto Children's Theatre

Mainstage season: "The Jungle Book," "The Nutcracker," "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat" and "Seussical The Musical." 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-463-4930, cityofpaloalto.org

Palo Alto Players

"In the Heights" (now through Sept. 29), "God of Carnage," "The Heiress," "Young Frankenstein," "The Farnsworth Invention." 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-329-0891, paplayers.org

Peninsula Youth Theatre

CenterStage Musicals performed at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts: "Peter Pan," "The Sound of Music," "Oliver!" and a to-be-announced PYT premiere. 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Company contact: 650-988-8798, pytnet.org

Stanford Summer Theater

The annual festival of theater and film just concluded a season centering on Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett; next year's details will be up at summertheater.stanford.edu.

Dance and opera

With live simulcasts of New York operas, London musicals and other productions proving popular at the cineplex, Stanford Live is getting in on the act. Two free opera showings are planned this season (with tickets required).

On Oct. 11, Frost Amphitheater audiences will take in a live simulcast of San Francisco Opera's "Falstaff," starring Bryn Terfel. They'll be sitting outdoors with Verdi, but it'll be almost like being at the War Memorial Opera House. Then, on Feb. 16, Dallas Opera's production of the evening-length opera "Death and the Powers" will be aired at Bing Concert Hall. The new Tod Machover work is about a businessman who wants to transcend corporeal limits.

In dance, the French choreographer and conceptual artist Jerome Bel will make several appearances at Stanford University through Stanford Live. His 2001 work "The Show Must Go On" will be performed by professional dancers and Stanford students, faculty and staff on Nov. 13, followed by a Nov. 18 performance of "Cedric Andrieux," an autobiographical piece created by Bel and Andrieux and performed by Andrieux.

Dance meets film on Dec. 2, when 2005's "Pichet Klunchun and Myself" will be shown with Bel on hand for a Q&A. The film depicts Bel and the classical Thai dancer Klunchun in an "exhange of ideas and movement."

The Brazilian ballet company Grupo Corpo will bring its mix of Afro-Brazilian dance forms and ballet to Stanford Live for performances on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. For details on the Stanford Live events, go to live.stanford.edu or call 650-725-ARTS.

This season's offerings also include a piece by Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian, presented by San Francisco's Smuin Ballet. Rarely seen on the West Coast, the work "Return to a Strange Land" is set to four piano pieces by the choreographer's countryman Leos Janacek. A press release describes it as "a meditation on loss, healing and hope," inspired by the choreographer's mentor, the late John Cranko.

Smuin will perform the piece during its March shows at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, with two other sets of performances planned in December and May. The center is at 500 Castro St. smuinballet.org

Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

The CPA has a lot more going on in dance and opera than Smuin Ballet and various "Nutcracker" productions by several groups in November and December. The companies who drop by to take the stage include San Francisco's Lamplighters Music Theatre, who on Nov. 24 will perform "Upside-Downton Abbey," an original "Downton Abbey" parody with most of its music by Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan fame. 500 Castro St., Mountain View. 650-903-6000, mvcpa.com

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

Dance offerings this season at the JCC include tango dance parties with the Redwood Tango Ensemble, on Jan. 4 and May 17; and the annual benefit performance by Firebird Dance Theatre on April 13. 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 650-799-1854, paloaltojcc.org

San Francisco Opera Guild, Peninsula chapter

Opera scholars often give local preview lectures for San Francisco Opera productions. Oliver Prezant is scheduled to speak on "Show Boat" on May 27. At the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 650-329-1374, sfopera.com

Stanford Savoyards

Gilbert & Sullivan are the stars of this long-lasting university group. The Savoyards' 92nd production, "The Mikado," goes up next February. Performances at Stanford's Dinkelspiel Auditorium. stanford.edu/group/savoyards

West Bay Opera

The upcoming season features "Tosca," "L'elisir d'amore" and "Die Zauberflote," along with an afternoon of opera classics on Dec. 8. Performances in the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-843-3900, wbopera.org

Books and film

The Israeli actor Chaim Topol has been known for decades for playing that singing milkman Tevye in the popular film version of "Fiddler on the Roof." Palo Alto audiences can get up close and personal with the 77-year-old Golden Globe winner in October, when he's scheduled to make guest appearances at the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival.

On Oct. 19, Topol will speak during a tribute evening that also includes a reception and the showing of scenes from his films. He's also set to pop in on a sing-along screening of "Fiddler" the following evening. Other festival events will include an audience Q&A with actor Elliott Gould after a screening of his comedy "Dorfman in Love" on Nov. 17.

These events are at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center at 3921 Fabian Way in Palo Alto; other festival screenings are being planned in San Jose and Campbell. For details, go to svjff.org or call 800-838-3006.

In the literary world, Kepler's Books continues its panoply of free author talks and readings. Upcoming events include a Sept. 20 evening of YA authors: Kendare Blake, Anna Carey, Michelle Gagnon and Stacey Jay Friday talking about antigoddesses, dystopian romance, sinister projects and blind princesses. Then local history is the topic of the night on Sept. 25, when Menlo Park author Nick Taylor, who teaches in the MFA writing program at San Jose State, speaks on his historical novel "Father Junipero's Confessor."

Kepler's is at 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. 650-324-4321, keplers.com

Books Arts Jam

Palo Alto's Jamila Rufaro has a Stanford Ph.D. in education and a passion for creating and altering books to make new works of art. Her style is sometimes architectural and sometimes steampunky; viewers can check out her creations and others at the annual book arts jam on Oct. 19. At the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. booksartsjam.org

Books Inc

Author talks on tap at the Palo Alto store this month: Anthony Marra ("A Constellation of Vital Phenomena") on Sept 17; John K. Landre ("On the Way: Growth and Transcendence of Personal Consciousness") on Sept. 18; Pam Withers ("Jump-Starting Boys") on Sept. 19. At Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real. 650-321-0600, booksinc.net

Le French Film Club

The next screening: "Ce Que Le Jour Doit A La Nuit," a 2012 Alexandre Arcady film set in Algeria, to be shown Sept. 20. Film nights are social, with French-themed refreshments. 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto. 408-761-8158, lefrenchfilmclub.org

Palo Alto International Film Festival

The festival which screened about 75 feature films and shorts last year is still planning its 2014 lineup. For details, keep an eye on paiff.net or @paiff on Twitter.

Silicon Valley African Film Festival

This short festival offers up feature films, shorts and works of animation in hopes of educating audiences about "the real Africa." Oct. 11-13 at the Community School of Music and Arts, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. 650-917-6800, arts4all.org

United Nations Association Film Festival

Now in its 16th year, the festival is scheduled for Oct. 17-27, with documentary screenings from various countries planned in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and San Francisco and at Stanford University. This year's theme is "Individual to Universal," covering such topics as cyberbullying, human trafficking and LGBT refugees. unaff.org

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