Best Bets: Chanticleer, Bay Area Book Festival, Emeryville Art Exhibition, and more

The Bay Area's own Chanticleer wil close out the Live From London series with an a cappella concert. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Kohler)

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.

• Let’s all crow for Chanticleer: They saved the best for last at the Live From London festival of vocal music, which has been presenting concert broadcasts featuring the best of the world’s a cappella groups every Saturday since Aug. 1. The Bay Area’s renowned dozen singers close out the 10-week festival at 11 a.m. Oct. 3, with “Love, always,” a one-hour program of their standards, plus music by Palestrina, Lusitano, Stevie Wonder, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Matt Alber, George Walker and a world premiere of “Birds of Paradise,” by Steven Samtez. Other groups who have participated in the festival include The Gesualdo Six, The Swingles, Stile Antico and the Academy of Ancient Music, and you can buy tickets for all 10 concerts, viewable through Oct. 31, for $100 or tickets just for Chanticleer for $15 through the ensemble’s website, www.chanticleer.org


Warriors coach Steve Kerr and comedian/TV personality W. Kamau Bell will discuss a wide range of current events in a streaming Berkeley #UNBOUND event moderated by UC Berkeley professor of psychology Dacher Keltner. (Image courtesy of Bay Area Book Festival)

• #UNBOUND and profound: The Bay Area Book Festival gives a nod to Berkeley this weekend with two days of streaming events featuring authors, teachers, activists, academics, celebrity chefs and others with ties to the East Bay. The marquee event of the weekend takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 when Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and comedian and TV personality W. Kamau Bell dish on “Politics, Race and the State of Play in Our Country.” Berkeley #UNBOUND will also includes discussions on a wide variety of topics featuring activist Judith Butler, poet Ishmael Reed, author Shanthi Sekaran, sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, chef/author/activist Alice Waters, Rep. Barbara Lee, YA author R.C. Barnes and many more. The Kerr/Bell event costs $10, all other events are free. Future Bay Area Book Festival #UNBOUND events feature the legendary punk poet Patti Smith (Oct. 8) and Oakland musician Fantastic Negrito (Oct. 14). You can find it all at www.baybookfest.org.


Artist Michael Murphy’s acrylic painting “Tinker” will be featured at the 34th Emeryville Art Exhibition. (Image courtesy of Michael Murphy)

• An arty bunch: Did you know that the East Bay enclave of Emeryville is a hotbed of artistic activity? Check it out all month long, starting with an opening night Zoom party at 6 p.m. Oct. 2, as the 34th annual Emeryville Art Exhibition throws open its virtual doors and stays open through Nov. 1. The curated show will highlight 169 works by 85 of the city’s most creative people — painters, sculptors, clay artists, ceramicists, glass artists, photographers, printmakers and more — and the online exhibition will also feature artist interviews, videos, a downloadable art map showing where the works have been put on public display in the city, an art shop and a poetry workshop. Pour yourself a tall one and settle in for the opening night festivities, which will feature an introduction by Emeryville Mayor Christian Patz, music by The doRiaN Mode jazz and blues band, a slideshow of the artwork and more. It’s all free, but you may purchase any of the artworks online, and of course, donations are most welcome. Sign up at www.emeryarts.org


• Pickin’ and grinnin’ and streamin’: In a normal year, the first weekend in October would find San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park hosting the massive, free three-day musical bash known as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. This year is anything but normal, but HSB is still serving up some great free music — online. From 2-5 p.m. Oct. 3, organizers will present “Let the Music Play On,” a streaming production featuring Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle and the Halfgrass Dukes, Carrie Rodriguez, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and many more. You can access the streaming show at the event’s website, www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com, as well as the festival’s Facebook and YouTube pages. It’s all free, but donations are encouraged and proceeds will benefit musicians, who are struggling from the pandemic and its near-total shutdown of the live music business.


Amy Seiwert’s Imagery members, from left, Shania Rasmussen, Ben Needham-Wood and Gabriel Gaffney, will be featured in the upcoming online dance/film series “Sketch Films: Red Thread.” (Photo courtesy of Chris Hardy/Amy Seiwert’s Imagery)

• Lights, camera, dance: Bay Area choreographer Amy Seiwert and her troupe Imagery have converted their acclaimed annual Sketch dance recital series into a set of streaming dance films titled “Sketch Films: Red Thread.” The films kick off this week with Seiwert’s own “Crack the Dark,” a collaboration with Oscar-nominated filmmakers Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas featuring an original score by Kishi Bashi and Emily Hope Price. The film’s storyline is inspired by famed Sacramento chef and mental health activist Patrick Mulvaney, who, like many in the food industry, has had to reinvent his career after losing his restaurant to the coronavirus pandemic. The film streams at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1 and includes a Q&A with the artists involved, and the film itself will be available on demand through the weekend. Future Sketch films will spotlight works by New York choreographer Jennifer Archibald (Oct. 16), Chicago choreographer Stephanie Martinez (Nov. 5) and choreographer and frequent Imagery guest dancer Ben Needham-Wood (Nov. 20). Access to all works is free but donations are encouraged. Go to www.asimagery.org/sketchfilms.

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