Best Bets: SF Art Walk, Linklater’s Indigenous art, ‘Omar,’ Takács Quartet, hip-hop dance  

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.

Freebie of the week: The San Francisco Art Walk is like a huge buffet line for people who like art, music and dance. Back for its 10th year, Art Walk unfolds along Market Street, between Fifth and Eighth streets, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Along the three-block stretch you’ll find 25 sites hosting art works, dance performances and live music.

At the Orpheum Theatre, musicians Michelle Lambert and Austin Waz will perform on Saturday, and Makrú and Andre Thierry perform Sunday. The United Nations Plaza will host a hip-hop dance performance on Saturday and Alonzo King LINES Ballet on Sunday. The Warfield Theatre will feature a mural by Clare Rojas as well as live music by Baycoin Beats (Saturday) and the Rudy Colombini Band (Sunday). American Conservatory Theater’s Strand stage will host live drag performances and a concert by members of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on Sunday.

All displays and performances are free. The easiest way to access Art Walk, which is presented by the Mid Market Community Benefit District, is to take BART (with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference going on, you do not want to drive due to street closures) to the Civic Center station and head east along Market Street. The attractions run through Fifth and Mason streets, and the Powell Street BART station is one block away. More information and a handy map of the attractions are at

A work incorporating teepee poles is included in the exhibit “Duane Linklater: mymothersside” at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. (Courtesy Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive) 

Art that asks questions: Duane Linklater has become a renowned figure in the arts world by questioning almost everything about it, from the limiting nature of museum exhibits to the relative lack of works by Indigenous people offered in mainstream venues. The Canadian Omaskêko Ininiwak artist is known for works that explore contradictions between traditional and contemporary Indigenous life and how they presented in art and the media, as well as what he calls “the physical and theoretical structures of the museum.”

Now the 47-year-old artist is getting his first major survey exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. “Duane Linklater: mymothersside” includes more than 30 of his works, ranging from paintings and sculptures to performance videos and installations. Many incorporate teepee poles, representing a powerful symbol of Indigenous life and representation. The pieces also feature a wide mix of cultural references, from current and ancestral traditions of the Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario to The Cure and Taj Mahal, two of the artist’s favorite music acts.

The exhibit runs through Feb. 24. Hours at BAMPFA are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $12-$14, free to BAMPFA members, University of California students and those 18 and under. More information is at 

Jamez McCorkle as the title character and Brittany Renee as Julie appear in San Francisco Opera’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Omar.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

Of human bondage: The true story of an Islamic scholar who was seized from his West African home in 1807 and forced through the Middle Passage to enslavement in South Carolina took to the stage in operatic form this week in “Omar,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning work by Grammy-winning folk musician Rhiannon Giddens and composer Michael Abels. Co-commissioned by San Francisco, the opera had its world premiere at the Spoleto Festival USA last year and was praised as “a sweeping achievement” by the New York Times.

Tenor Jamez McCorkle, who starred as Omar ibn Said in that premiere, reprises his role for the San Francisco Opera production, which has four remaining performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 15, Nov. 17 and Nov. 21. Giddens, who is also a MacArthur Fellow, based her libretto on the unedited texts of the autobiography ibn Said wrote in Arabic in 1831, and the music is infused with the sounds of American bluegrass, African kora, spirituals, folk music and jazz.

Tickets are $26 to $426, available at (415) 864-3330 and

However (and this is a stellar opportunity), Saturday’s performance will be livestreamed and made available for 48 hours, beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are $27.50 for the virtual version; access them at 

The world-renowned Takács Quartet brings a world premiere piece to Hertz Hall at University of California, Berkeley campus on Sunday afternoon. (Courtesy Amanda Tipton Photography)

A world premiere: Entering, astoundingly enough, its 49th season, the sublimely talented Takács Quartet makes its first of two visits this season to Cal Performances Sunday afternoon to give California composer and prize-winning violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s “Flow” its first performance.

Commissioned by the quartet, which wanted a work that expresses the themes of the natural world and climate change, “Flow” is partially explained by its composer in these words: “Systems layered upon other systems revealed a common flow to existence tying us to the initial outburst of energy and matter at the birth of our universe. We, as biological creatures, flow through life. Conversely, the flow of existence is temporarily housed in all living creatures of each generation.” 

Also on Sunday’s program, which takes place at 3 p.m. in Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, are Haydn’s String Quartet No. 63 in B-flat Major, the “Sunrise,” and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 8 in E minor. Find tickets, $98, at or (510) 642-9988. 

The London-based Flawless dance troupe is among the performers at the 25th annual International Hip Hop DanceFest this weekend in San Francisco. (Courtesy International Hip Hop DanceFest) 

Hip-hop hooray: Hip-hop dance plays a central role in two big performances this weekend. First, the International Hip Hop DanceFest returns for its 25th year this weekend in San Francisco. Presenters aren’t kidding about the international part — the event draws artists from Paris, Brussels, London, Detroit, San Mateo, Santa Rosa and Philadelphia.

The bill features a variety of hip-hop and its sub-genres, including breaking, popping, locking, waacking, house, jit, as well as such styles such as modern, salsa, cumbia, merengue, bachata, swing, and even Charleston. There will also be several events to commemorate the milestone anniversary. Among the performers are London-based Flawless, House of Jit, Selasi Dogbatse, Versa-Style Dance Company, Wanted Posse and many more.

Performances are at 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., San Francisco.

Tickets are $53-$67 at

Meanwhile — and if you’re insisting it’s too early to think about winter holidays, you might be fighting a losing battle — the popular annual “Hip Hop Nutcracker” on tour stops at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, in Oakland, on Saturday. Directed by Tony Award-winning director Jennifer Weber, this family-friendly show sets New York City-style break and hip-hop dances to the traditional “Nutcracker” score and story. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $51.50-$88.50. Go to 

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