Best Bets for the Weekend | Nov 8 – 10

“STOMP” returns to the Bay Area for a short run, through Nov. 10, at A.C.T’.s Geary Theater. (Photo courtesy of STOMP)

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.

• “STOMP”: What started as a street-performance gig in London not quite 30 years ago has mushroomed into a global juggernaut witnessed by millions of fans — proof that it can be really fun to watch people beat on stuff. OK, “STOMP” amounts to a little more than that — the performers create compelling rhythms and employ wild choreography and a variety of stage techniques as they arm themselves with sticks, brushes, lids and other items and … beat on stuff. A touring production of the hit show is at the American Conservatory Theater, where it plays through Nov. 10 at A.C.T’.s Geary Theater. Tickets are $39-$114 at 415-749-2228 or visit

• The superb Simone: You’re unlikely to encounter a pianist of as uncommon sensitivity and elegance as the American artist Simone Dinnerstein, who jump-started her now flourishing career in the mid-2000s by talking her way into a Carnegie Hall booking and then self-financing a 2007 recording on the Telarc label of Bach’s famous “Goldberg Variations.” It shot immediately to the top of the classical charts, outselling Bruce Springsteen for a while in the process and becoming the stuff of legend. That seminal work is not in the offing as Dinnerstein takes over as artist-in-residence for the New Century Chamber Orchestra, but other glorious music from Bach fills the evening. Conducting from the keyboard, Dinnerstein serves as soloist for Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5.” Other works on the program are his keyboard concertos in D minor, E major and F minor and a Bach-Busoni chorale prelude. The concert series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, repeating at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9 at First United Methodist in Palo Alto and Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, respectively, and winding up at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael. Tickets, $30-$67.50, are at 415-392-4400 and

• It’s a poet-apalooza: Has there ever been a conclave of poets laureate as large as the one coming together at Eastwind Books in Berkeley? Five current and former poets laureate, all hailing from the Bay Area, are gathering to read on the theme of social justice. Chief among them is Kim Shuck, San Francisco’s seventh poet laureate and the city’s first of Native American descent. A member of the Cherokee Nation and a part of the Cherokee diaspora of Northern California, she has just authored “Deer Trails” (City Lights Publishers, $13.95, 96 pages), described by its publisher as a celebration of “the enduring presence of indigenous San Francisco as a form of resistance to gentrification, urbanization and the erasure of memory.” Joining her are Cynthia Bryant, former poet laureate of Pleasanton; Amy Glynn, current poet laureate of Orinda and Lafayette; former Emeryville poet laureate Sarah Kobrinsky and former El Cerrito poet laureate Maw Shein Win. Join them at 3 p.m. Nov. 9 at 2066 University Ave. in Berkeley. Visit or call 510-548-2350 for more information.

Daniel Radcliffe stars in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” playing this weekend at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

• Harry Potter and the night at the symphony: Matching movies with live orchestra accompaniment has become an entertainment phenomenon, and few have had better success with it than Symphony Silicon Valley and its Harry Potter series. This weekend, the series resumes, with “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” getting the big-screen, high-def treatment as the San Jose-based orchestra and its chorale perform the soundtrack live. “Half-Blood Prince” is the tense, sixth chapter in the film series as the fight to the finish between Harry and his mortal foe Voldemort begins to take shape. Performances are at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $50-$100 at 408-286-2600 or visit

• “Nassim”: Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour’s hit touring show deals in a peculiar sort of theater. “Nassim” stars a different actor each night who does not even see the script until he or she walks on stage. Soleimanpour is there, too, but acts more as a silent moderator, responding to what the primary actor does with his script. The show, which explores how people deal with language and other cultural differences, plays Nov. 7-10 at Stanford University’s Bing Studio ($15-$50; 650-724-2464, and Nov. 12-16 at the Magic Theatre at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco ($20-$75; 415-441-8822,

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