Best Bets: Non Stop Bhangra, Smuin ballet, Patsy Cline tribute, Puccini hits, violinist Mayuko Kamio 

The popular free dance party and street fair Bhangra and Beats Night Market returns to San Francisco’s Financial District on May 10. (Courtesy Non Stop Bhangra)

Freebie of the week: One of San Francisco’s more popular dance parties is back in action. So is one of its more popular street fairs, complete with fun shopping, excellent food and killer cocktails. They’re part of the same event: Bhangra and Beats Night Market, frequently cited as one of the city’s best free dance parties, marks its first 2024 celebration on Friday. The thriving scene runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday in a three-block area near Battery and Clay streets in the Financial District (conveniently close to BART). Infectious rhythms will be unleashed by co-presenter Non Stop Bhangra, a local group known for lively dance performances and events mixing Bhangra (a traditional form of Punjabi folkloric music and dance) and a host of other contemporary dances and rhythms. The dancers (many affiliated with Dholrhythms Dance Company) are backed by first-class DJs, percussionists and musicians. In addition to the music and moving, vendors on hand will sell Indian street food, delicious drinks and other wares.

Admission to the party is free, and more Bhangra and Beats are slated for July 12, Sept. 13 and Nov. 15 in the same location. The event is co-presented by Into the Streets, and the city’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development. More information is at

Smuin Contemporary Ballet presents the premiere of its ode to Elvis Presley “Tupelo Tornado” in Dance Series 2, which tours several Bay Area venues through May 30. (Courtesy Chris Hardy/Smuin Contemporary Ballet)

Smuin does Elvis: Fascination with Elvis Presley never wanes. In the past few years, we’re seen big-budget movies featuring the King of Rock and Roll (Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” and Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla”), and now San Francisco’s popular Smuin Contemporary Ballet is takes on the icon with a world premiere work titled “Tupelo Tornado.” The new work by acclaimed choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, part of the company’s season-closing Dance Series 2 program, promises a rollicking if impressionistic look at Presley’s life and music (both the highs and lows) set to his best-known tunes and soundbites.

Also on the program are Smuin Associate Artistic Director Amy Seiwert’s “Broken Open,” set to a sweeping score by composer, cellist and electronics master Julia Kent; Smuin dancer Brennan Wall’s “Untwine,” set to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” reinterpreted by Max Richter;  and company founder Michael Smuin’s ode to relationships, “Starshadows.”

The touring show plays through Sunday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, as well as May 16-19 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; May 24-25 at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, and May 30-31 at the Sunset Center in Carmel. Tickets are $25-$89; go to 

Bay Area singer Margaret Belton brings her Patsy Cline tribute concert to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on May 11. (Courtesy Margaret Belton)

Honoring Patsy: Bay Area crooner Margaret Belton has won fans locally and across the country with her vast mastery of Americana stylings, from classic country and country-swing, to blues, cabaret and more, all delivered with a warm, crisp delivery and a clear passion. But Belton is best known as a first-rate interpreter and performer of Patsy Cline songs. She starred in the award-winning multimedia show “Always … Patsy Cline,” and she founded the Patsychords tribute band in 2010.

On Saturday, Belton returns to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to perform the 10th anniversary of her Patsy Cline tribute concert “Today, Tomorrow and Forever,” which features Cline classics and rarities, along with stories about the country music icon’s life and career drawn from a wealth of books and anecdotes from those who knew her. She’s backed by a terrific Americana band featuring Maurice Tani on guitar (who will also perform a solo opening set), David Phillips on pedal steel, Henry Salvia on piano, Mike Anderson on bass and Ken Owen on drums. Kathleen Salvia adds additional vocals and Jeanine Richardson chips in with percussion, tambourine and spirited dance moves.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-$35; go to

Symphony San Jose’s “Passionate Puccini” concert marks the 100th anniversary of the Italian opera composer’s death. (Courtesy Symphony San Jose)

Arias, duets and choruses on tap: The debate may rage on forever as to who was the quintessential operatic composer — Giuseppe Verdi or Giacomo Puccini — but both were pretty much at the top of their game most of the time, at least on the Italian stage. Symphony San Jose, on the 100th anniversary of his death, is coming down squarely in favor of the younger composer, with two concerts at the California Theatre this weekend called “Passionate Puccini.”  Conductor Carlos Vieu leads the orchestra, the Symphony San Jose Chorale, soprano Jennifer Schuler and tenor Ben Gulley in a program of selections from his most famous works, including “La Bohéme,” “Manon Lescaut,” “Turandot,” “Madame Butterfly” and more. We can expect to hear renditions of “O mio babbino caro” (from “Gianni Schicchi” but rendered familiar to opera ignoramuses everywhere in the movie “A Room with a View”) and the powerful “Nessun Dorma” from “Turandot,” which the late great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti famously adopted as his signature tune.

Concert times are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Find tickets, $55-$115 at

Violinist Mayuko Kamio plays recitals presented by Chamber Music San Francisco on May 12-13 in The Bay Area. (Courtesy Hirofumi Isaka)

Mom will love this! Mayuko Kamio’s recital for Chamber Music San Francisco in Walnut Creek Saturday is sold out, but there are still seats for the acclaimed Japanese violinist’s Mother’s Day performance at 3 p.m. Sunday in San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. Kamio, who made her debut at age 10 in Tokyo under the baton of Charles Dutoit, was the youngest artist ever to capture the top prize at the Menuhin Violin Competition in 1998 at 12. In 2007, she won the first prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition. On her program are sonatas by Mozart and Brahms, a Bach Partita, Elgar’s “Salut d’ Amor,” Dvorak’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” Ponce’s “Estrellita,” Dinicu’s “Hora Staccato,” Monti’s “Czardas,” Tchaikovsky’s Waltz-Scherzo, Kreisler’s “Liebesfreud” and “Liebesleid” and Rachmaninov’s achingly beautiful “Vocalise.” 

Accompanied by pianist Noreen Polera, Kamio also appears at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Find tickets, $45-$70, through

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