Best Bets: ‘Barbie,’ Joyce Yang, ‘Dos Mujeres,’ Alonzo King’s Lines ballet, ‘Kite Runner’  

Freebie of the week: The Proxy Spring Film Festival—a monthlong series of free weekend movies—is happening Saturday at the walk-in outdoor theater at 432 Octavia St. in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. For the one or two of you who missed it when it came out, the selection airing at dusk (“doors” open at 7:15 p.m.) is Greta Gerwig’s smash hit “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and an utterly adorable Ryan Gosling as her Ken. Various merchants around the area are supporting the festival, and you’re invited to stop by one of the newest sponsors, Hayz Dog, just a block away at 364 Hayes St. for a yummy frank on a bun—proceeds go to support the festival. Bring your blanket or low camp chair to enjoy the show. Meanwhile, another festival sponsor, Brooklinen, at 519 Hayes St., will be dishing out free popcorn to all festivalgoers from 7 to 8 p.m. Find more information at 

A passion for the piano: When she was just a curious 4-year-old living at home in Seoul, South Korea, Joyce Yang received an incredible birthday present from her aunt: a white piano that the little girl came to regard as her own massive toy. But her crafty aunt, a piano teacher, wouldn’t let her play it until she cleaned her room, ate her vegetables and did her chores. So of course she fell madly in love with it! Fast forward to 2005. The gifted keyboardist is, at 19, the youngest competitor in the 12th annual Van Cliburn International in Fort Worth, Texas, walking away with the silver medal, the best performance of a new work prize and a best chamber music performance award she won playing the Dvorak Quintet with the Takacs String Quartet, an ensemble she continues to collaborate with today. Now the celebrated artist and Grammy nominee makes a stop on her international tour at 7 p.m. Sunday in Burlingame to play in the Music at Kohl Mansion series. On her program are selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons,” seven preludes by Rachmaninoff and Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” Find tickets, $30-$58, at or (650) 762-1130.  

From left, San Francisco Ballet dancers Davide Occhipinti, Jacob Seltzer, Isabella DeVivo and Alexis Francisco Valdes appear in the Frida Kahlo-inspired “Broken Wings.” (Courtesy RJ Muna/San Francisco Ballet)

A milestone worth dancing about: Exciting things have been going on at San Francisco Ballet. The company is in its first season under artistic director Tamara Rojo, who made it a goal to program exciting, bold and topical new works. That task got a little easier recently, thanks to a stunning $60 million anonymous donation, the largest such contribution in the company’s history and reportedly one of the largest single donations to an American dance company ever recorded. Rojo is also keen on broadening programming, and this week’s “Dos Mujeres” is evidence. It’s the first presentation in the company’s history devoted solely to works by female choreographers and first devoted to Latin-themed stories. It includes “Carmen,” a commissioned premiere by Arielle Smith that radically reimagines the classic Prosper Mérimée novella and features a score by famed Latin jazz composer and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill. Also on the bill is the North American premiere of “Broken Wings,” Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s look at the life and art of Frida Kahlo, set to a Mexican folk music-inspired score by Peter Salem. Performances are Thursday through April 14 at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Tickets are $29-$495; go to

Josh Francque performs with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, which brings its spring program to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco April 5-14. (Courtesy RJ Muna/Alonzo King LINES Ballet)

Alonzo King’s spring bloom: Alonzo King’s LINES ballet program this week includes a revival of King’s acclaimed 2018 “The Collective Agreement.” The dance, commissioned by the San Francisco Ballet, features a collaboration between King (famous for his collaborations) and jazz pianist-composer Jason Moran. But this isn’t a revival with minor revisions. The new take is described as a “transformative re-envisioning by King, the LINES Ballet dancers and light installation artist Jim Campbell.” The bill also features the 2013 work “Concerto for Two Violins,” which transforms Bach’s 1730 work into an examination of human relationships. There’s also a world premiere on the lineup. King has revealed little about it, except that it’s called “Spring” and set to a score built on African American spirituals. Performances run Friday through April 14 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Blue Shield of California Theater in San Francisco. Tickets are $45-$125; go to

“The Kite Runner,” an adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s epic novel about Afghanistan, runs at the Hammer Theatre April 3-7. (Courtesy Joan Marcus/Hammer Theatre)

Flying high: “The Kite Runner” has such a deep history in the Bay Area, it’s nice to see it back in town for a weekend visit. Originally, it was the 2003 award-winning best-seller by Mountain View physician-turned-author Khaled Hosseini, who was born in Kabul. The novel is about an Afghani boy growing up among tumultuous events that defined modern Afghanistan, from the fall of the country’s monarchy to Soviet occupation to the rise of the Taliban. Central to the tale, however, is a look at family and cultural life in Afghanistan; and Hosseini has said he considered “The Kite Runner” a father-son story as much as anything. In 2007, the literary phenomenon was made into a movie and also adapted for the stage by playwright and San Jose State University professor Matthew Spangler. It played at the now-defunct San Jose Repertory Theatre two years later. Now, after runs in London’s West End, on Broadway and theaters around the world, “The Kite Runner” is coming home. A touring production kicks off its U.S. trek this week at the Hammer Theatre Center in San Jose, with seven performances Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are $65-$125 at

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