Bay Area Best Bets | July 25 – 28

The Formosa Quartet, joined by a cellist and a violist, will perform Mozart’s Grande Sestetto Concertante on the opening program of the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival. (Photo courtesy of Shervin Lainez)

The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.

• A genuine single dad: Brian Copeland, the author, playwright, comedian and talk show host whose “Not a Genuine Black Man” became the longest-running solo show in Bay Area theatrical history, has another autobiographical work to share with us. His new one-man show, “Grandma & Me,” is rooted both in him being raised along with four siblings by his 57-year-old grandmother and his experiences many years later as a single father to his own three children. Copeland will read his play at noon July 28 at Orinda Books, 276 Village Square, Orinda. A free performance is also scheduled at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., San Francisco. 

• Exploring the “classics”: The lovely Piedmont Center for the Arts is the setting for an unusual three-concert festival of chamber music that will cover works as diverse as Mozart’s Grande Sestetto Concertante, featuring the Formosa Quartet augmented by an additional cellist and a violist, to a Mongolian-themed work by Lei Liang and Paul Hindemith’s Violin Sonata. The Piedmont Chamber Music Festival opens at 7:30 p.m. July 24 with the Mozart piece and works by Poulenc and Ranjbaran. A 7:30 p.m. concert on July 26 highlights works by Liang, Turina, Gibbons and Brahms, and the concluding concert at 4 p.m. July 28 features works by Haydn and Hindemith and a Paul Schoenfied “Cafe Music” free-for-all that will cover multiple music traditions, including jazz and klezmer. The festival is at 801 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont; $15-$30 per concert, or $80 for a full festival pass;

• Gilroy Garlic Festival: This a huge weekend for outdoor festivals in the Bay Area and this one may be the grandest of them all. With scores of chefs preparing every garlic-themed dish you can think of (and there are garlic-infused cocktails, in case you were wondering), the three-day festival also serves up a variety of arts and crafts, fun stuff for kids and live entertainment, including singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat. The fest runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. July 26, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. July 27 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 28 at Gilroy’s Christmas Hill Park; admission is $12.99-$20 (kids under 9 get in free);

Fantastic Negrito will hit the main stage at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Art + Soul festival in Oakland. (Photo courtesy of Art + Soul Oakland)

• Art + Soul Oakland:Singer Estelle and Oakland’s own Fantastic Negrito, an exhilarating singer and musician, are the headliners at this annual Oaktown celebration of art and music. The event also features the Jazz Mafia and the West Coast Blues Society Caravan of Allstars, a wide variety of Bay Area dance troupes and other performing artists, plus arts and crafts and plenty to eat and drink. It all happens noon-6 p.m. July 27-28 in downtown Oakland (accessible via BART to Oakland’s 12th Street exit); tickets are $8-$18;

• “Cabaret”: You have two options for seeing the classic Kander and Ebb musical about a decadent Berlin nightclub operating precariously under the specter of the rising tide of fascism (another show that falls under the “newly relevant” label). City Lights Theater Company in San Jose is performing the musical through Aug. 25 ($25-$46; and San Francisco Playhouse is staging it through Sept. 14 ( $35-$125;

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *