July 20, 2024
From great stage shows to fun fairs and festivals, there is a lot to do in the Bay Area this weekend and beyond.

From great stage shows to fun fairs and festivals, there is a lot to do in the Bay Area this weekend and beyond. Here is a partial like.

Free seats for Copeland’s ‘Waiting Period’

Brian Copeland, who has recounted numerous facets of his life in a series of solo stage shows at The Marsh and other Bay Area venues, is a sharp, funny and engaging actor and storyteller. He’s so good at what he does you could be excused for thinking he’s just one of those people to whom things come easily and naturally. That is, unless you’ve seen his show “The Waiting Period.” The piece, which debuted in 2012, recounts his extended bout with depression and suicidal thoughts; the title comes from the mandatory 10-day waiting period he encountered before taking possession of the gun he had purchased with the intention of ending his life.

The show is compelling and often quite funny, but is also intended as a message to others fighting depression that they are not alone. Copeland has said that based on responses and anecdotes he’s received over the years that he has no doubt “The Waiting Period” has helped more than a few people who have grappled with depression as he has. “This show saves lives,” he says. Now Copeland is bringing “The Waiting Period” back to the Marsh for four performances and all general admission seats are free. Those willing and able can pay $50-$100 for reserved seats, with the funds going toward future free shows. 

You can also donate to Copeland’s gofundme page to raise funds for future free performances; www.gofundme.com/f/xs47d-help-us-help-people-with-depression.

Details: Noon Aug. 20 and 27, Sept. 10 and 17; The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., San Francisco; themarsh.org.

— Bay City News Foundation

TheatreWorks New Works Fest is on

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley may be fighting for its life these days, but that isn’t stopping the Tony Award-winning Palo Alto stage company from doing one of the things for which it is most acclaimed – bringing new plays into the theater world. The 52-year-old company announced last week that its financial condition is so dire it will have to shut down if it doesn’t raise $3 million by November. This would be a large and tragic loss to the Bay Area theater scene for several reasons, one of which is on display through this weekend, during which the company is staging its 20th annual New Works Festival. TheatreWorks’ commitment to staging new plays  is well-known in the Bay Area. It has performed more than 70 new shows and premieres over its history, including the musical “Memphis,” which went on to win a best musical Tony Award. And its annual New Works Festival is one of the best you’ll find in the Bay Area and beyond. Theater fans this weekend can take in readings of several new plays, including Min Kahng’s “Happy Pleasant Valley: A Senior Citizen Sex Scandal Murder Mystery Musical” (7 p.m. Wednesday and 8 p.m. Saturday); “Nerve,” by  Minita Gandhi, a dark comedy about the power of family and good cooking (3 p.m. Saturday); Bess Welden’s “Madeleines,” another food- and family-centric play, which won the National Jewish Playwriting Contest last year (7 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Sunday); and Michael Gaston’s “Low Expectations,” an epic family history inspired by a true story (noon Saturday). The festival also includes a performance by transgender activist and actor Shakina (NBC’s “Quantum Leap,” Hulu’s “Difficult People”) at 7 p.m. Friday, and a Meet the Artists event at noon Sunday.

Details: Performances and events at the Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; festival passes are $55-$60; single events are $20; theatreworks.org.

— Bay City News Foundation

A global array of fairs & festivals

There’s a jam-packed weekend of Bay Area festivals ahead, with a big India Day parade, arts and crafts, live music, Assyrian culture and a car show on tap. Among the highlights:

Festival of India: The 31st annual FOG (Festival of Globe) celebration of Indian culture features entertainment, food, a Saturday dance competition, a two-day fair (mela) with more than 120 booths and a Sunday parade with more than 50 floats and 100 cars.  Details: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday (free health fair from 10 a.m. to noon) and Sunday (parade from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.); 39439 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont; free admission; https://fogsv.com/.

Assyrian Food Festival: The annual event boasts culinary treats from what’s called the cradle of civilization, along with live music, dancing, children’s activities and a Samovar Alley featuring teas, coffees and pastries. Details: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 19, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 20; Assyrian Church of the East, 680 Minnesota Ave., San Jose; free admission; www.assyrianfoodfestival.org.

Burlingame on the Avenue: Featuring arts and crafts and food booths, live music on two stages and community entertainment on a third stage. Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both Aug. 19 and Aug. 20;  Burlingame Avenue between El Camino Real and California Drive; free admission; burlingamechamber.org.

Scotts Valley Art, Wine and Beer Festival: Featuring fine art, food, live music, kids’ activities, wine and beer. On Saturday there’s a Cops ‘n’ Rodders car show; Sunday is Dog Day. Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 20; Skypark, Scotts Valley; free admission; www.svartfestival.com.

— Linda Zavoral, Staff

The Mustangs ride again

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the all-female band the Mustangs emerged from the SoCal cowpunk/alt-country music scene and became a West Coast club and festival staple with its sharp three-part harmonies, nimble fretwork and and a sound described as a blend of Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. The group jammed and toured relentlessly until breaking up in 1997, as members decided to pursue other musical interests. Ten years later, three of the original Mustangs – Sherry Rayn Barnett (electric guitar, vocals), Suzanna Spring (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), and Holly Montgomery (bass, vocals) – decided to reunite and added new members Suzanne Morissette (drums, vocals) and Aubrey Richmond (fiddle, vocals). They band has renamed itself Mustangs of the West to avoid legal complications, but the tight musicianship, tighter harmonies and fresh take on Americana music remain intact. You can hear for yourself as the road-happy band performs this weekend at the Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, The band has a wealth of mostly original material in its catalog, but expect to hear several cuts from its new album, “Sea of Heartbreak,” released in July.

Details: at 8 p.m. Aug. 19; $25-$55; livermorearts.org

— Bay City News Foundation

Love-ly book talks

Love reading about love? This Saturday, a dozen Bay Area indie bookstores are joining in the national Bookstore Romance Day festivities — it’s a celebration of romance novels, not a profession of love for your favorite bookstore, although sure, go ahead. The series of bookish events for Bay Area romance readers, include a conversation with two authors at Books Inc. in Campbell, discounts on romance novels at Pegasus Books in Oakland and Berkeley and a queer rom-com book and wine pairing in Mountain View.

Campbell’s Books, Inc. will host a discussion between romance authors Evie Blum and Lexie Sloane on Aug. 19. Blum is the author of “Ship It,” a romance novel set at a Silicon Valley start-up, while Sloane’s latest, “Broken Summit,” is set during a mountain getaway. The conversation starts at 1 p.m. at Books Inc. Pruneyard at 1875 S. Bascom Ave. #600; www.booksinc.net.

And at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Mountain View’s Books Inc. is doing a romance and wine book club gathering at nearby Rootstock Wine Bar, 331 Castro St. Prepare to sip and dish on Taleen Voskuni’s “Sorry, Bro,” a new queer rom-com and celebration of Armenian culture all in one.

Also participating: Danville’s Rakestraw Books, Pleasanton’s Towne Center Books, San Jose’s Hicklebee’s and Morgan Hill’s Booksmart. Learn more at https://bookstoreromanceday.org/. If you want to go virtual, check out @bkstoreromanceday on Instagram for the latest updates.

And if you can wait until next month, there’s another romance novel event on the horizon: Menlo Park’s Kepler’s Books will host a Sept. 16 panel discussion featuring authors Ali Hazelwood, Rosie Danan, Christina Lauren and Susan Lee, whose new novel, “The Name Drop,” is about to drop.

— Kate Bradshaw, Staff