Best Bets: Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Sin Wai Kin, Jade Catta-Preta, and Esther Povitsky

Gabriel Chaile’s installation “Rosario Liendro, 2022, The Milk of Dreams” is on display at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. (Courtesy Andrea Rosse/BAMPFA)

At the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive the provocative Matrix series shines a light on new experimental and non-traditional art works. “Gabriel Chaile: No hay nada que destruya el corazón como la pobreza” (“There is nothing that destroys the heart like poverty”) features the acclaimed Argentine artist whose large-scale clay sculptures blend Inca-influenced pre-colonial styles from his homeland with contemporary effects and pointed social commentary. The exhibit, centering on a new large work commissioned by BAMPFA which Chaile will complete on-site, runs through April 14.

Meanwhile “Sin Wai Kin: The Story Changing” includes two video works from the Toronto-born artist and performer (who identifies as they/them), “Dreaming the End” (2023) and “The Breaking Story” (2022). Their works incorporate various personas – ranging from Cantonese and Peking opera characters to 1950s London drag performers to archetypal fashion models – to comment on conventional concepts of gender, beauty and identification. Sin’s exhibit runs through March 10.

Both artists are getting their first solo U.S. shows through the Matrix program. While you’re at BAMPFA, you might want to check out “Duane Linklater: mymothersside,” the Canadian artist’s collection of large-scale sculpture and installations that challenges concepts of Native American life and art. That exhibit closes Feb. 25. The museum at 2155 Center St., Berkeley is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Worth noting: Admission to BAMPFA is free the first Thursday of each month and $12-$14 otherwise. Go to

The Bay Area-based Pacific Mambo Orchestra performs four shows at Yoshi’s Jan. 5-6. (Courtesy Pacific Mambo Orchestra)

Big band, big sound: The Pacific Mambo Orchestra has earned big-time cred in the music world. The Bay Area-based big band that formed 13 years ago won a Grammy Award for best tropical Latin album for its self-titled 2014 debut release and has been invited to perform at prestigious festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Aspen Jazz Festival, Mexico City’s Tribute to Salsa, and, of course, the Monterey and San Francisco jazz festivals.

It’s been credited with helping ignite a rebirth in Latin big band music with its genre-spanning catalog of original tunes and classy covers of composers ranging from Stevie Wonder to Dizzy Gillespie to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Still, the 20-member band really wants you to have a blast listening to its crisply delivered music, preferably with your dancing shoes on. You have four chances to do that this week when the band, directed by pianist Christian Tumalan and trumpeter Steffen Kuehn, comes to Yoshi’s in Oakland.

Performances are 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the nightclub near Jack London Square. Tickets are $32-$65; go to 

Los Angeles comedian and actor Jade Catta-Preta has four dates at San Jose Improv Jan. 5-6. (Courtesy Jade Catta-Preta)

From L.A., with attitude: Two Los Angeles comedy stars on the rise are headed north this weekend to serve up the yucks at San Jose Improv.

On Friday and Saturday, the comedy at 62 S. Second St. joint hosts Jade Catta-Preta, a Brazilian-born comic who might be best known for hosting the ill-fated 2020 comeback by the iconic talk-comedy show “The Soup.” The revival of the show got yanked off the air by COVID complications, only to return and get yanked again when it was abruptly canceled. (If that doesn’t give you some comedic material, nothing can).

She’s now hosting the Hulu humor-infused food/dating show “Hotties,” and is credited with holding together a show with a flimsy setting —couples meet and cook together in a sizzling desert locale — with her humor and personality.

Known for a high-energy, anything-goes stand-up show, Preta performs at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets run $20-$70.

On Sunday, comedian and actor Esther Povitsky takes the stage. She is known for her starring turns on the TV comedies “Dollface” and “Alone Together” (which she co-created), but might be better known for her popular, very tongue-in-cheek series of TikTok posts titled “Things Hot Girls in L.A. Are Currently Obsessed With.”

The theme — she has dubbed herself “the Jane Goodall of L.A. hot girls” — continues to be prominent in her routine. Povitsky performs at San Jose Improv 7 p.m. Sunday; tickets are $75 and going fast. Tickets and more information are at

Popcorn and arias: Biblical splendor and high drama play out on Cinemark theater screens across the Bay Area this Saturday as the New York Metropolitan Opera’s current production of Verdi’s 1842 masterwork “Nabucco” is livestreamed in high def.

Baritone George Gagnidze stars in the title role of Verdi’s “Nabucco” in the New York Met’s current production. (Courtesy Marty Sohl/New York Met)

Set in Jerusalem in the sixth-century B.C., the action revolves around the struggles the Israelites are having with the Babylonian king, who is vandalizing the city. Baritone George Gagnidze stars as the warmonger (you might have heard of him as Nebuchadnezzar), and soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska is his scheming daughter Abigaille.

This is an early work of Verdi’s that set him on the path to a long and stellar career. The running time is three hours and 10 minutes; tickets are a bargain at $25-$27. It plays at 9:55 a.m. at the Cinemark Century Walnut Creek and multiple other movie theaters in Larkspur, Pleasant Hill, Hayward, Daly City, San Mateo, San Jose and more.

To access the venues and purchase tickets, go to, click on Saturday and scroll down to the Metropolitan Opera: Nabucco 23-24. 

Pianist Sarah Cahill (Courtesy Christine Alicino)

Music for the new year: Berkeley-based but known across the country (the New York Times has called her “an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde”), the superb pianist, new music champion and classical radio host Sarah Cahill kicks off 2024 with a concert of music that spans the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Hosted by Old First Concerts, the event takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday in San Francisco’s Old First Church at 1751 Sacramento St. Works on the program are by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Amy Beach, Ruth Crawford, Terry Riley, Ann Southam, and Evan Ziporyn.

Tickets are $25 at, where you will also find an option to livestream the concert for a suggested donation of $20. 

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