Here are xx cool shows and festivals to watch

There’s plenty to see, hear and do this weekend in the Bay Area. Here’s a partial rundown.

A Berkeley ‘goddess’ takes wings

Musical acts from Green Day to The Temptations to the Avett Brothers have launched musicals at the Berkeley Repertory Theater that have gone on to Broadway runs. Now Devi Marimba hopes to do the same. Well, sort of.

According to Zulu mythology, Marimba was a goddess who was cursed by her own mother to be disastrously unlucky in love. “Goddess,” the new musical making its world premiere at the Berklee Rep this week, is set in an affluent Mombasa, Kenya, Afro-jazz nightclub, where a jaunty singer casts a spell over everyone in attendance, including a young homeboy. from America, and is expected to adopt his political lineage into a powerful family and marry his fiancee. We don’t know how the myth of the marimba plays into the story, but, apparently, they had us in a thriving Mombasa Afro-jazz nightclub part.

“Goddess” features music and lyrics by Jocelyn Bio (“School Girls; Or, African Mean Girls Play”) and Michael Thurber. The work was conceived by Kenyan Sahim Ali, who also directs the show. Bioh, Thurber and Ali teamed up a few years ago in a much-acclaimed revival of “Merry Wives of Windsor” in Central Park. Expect the music to be out of this world and the story to be engaging. “Goddess” plays Aug. 24-Sept. 25 at the Rhoda Theater at Berkeley Rep. Tickets are $30-$138; go there

Read more about the show here.

– Bay Area News Foundation

Silicon Valley’s Comic-Con returns

SiliCon is an annual pop culture and technology convention — essentially Silicon Valley’s answer to Comic-Con — and it’s back this weekend.

This year’s event offers something for everyone, featuring the biggest names in pop culture, technology, science, makers, artists, cosplay, gaming, comic creators and writers.

You’re invited to sit on panels from the best in science and technology, including NASA astronaut Kjell N. Lindgren, who will join via livestream from the International Space Station. Silicon will also feature celebrity guests, of course, such as Christopher Lloyd (from “Back to the Future”), George Takei (“Star Trek”), Karen Gillan (“Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Doctor Who”) and Kari Byron and Tory Belleci (Bay Area set “MythBusters”).

Also on the guest list is engineer Frank Peeler – aka Frankly Built – known for creating the famous cosplay Iron Man suits and more.

Centered around the theme of “Impossible Creation”, SiliCon is not only about your science and celebrity heroes talking about their creations, but also about creating your own. The event has a dedicated Makerverse, where makers of all ages and experience levels are invited to explore a 4,500-square-foot makerspace hosted by SiliCon creative director and renowned special effects designer Adam Savage (another “MythBusters” alum).

Details: The event starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; San Jose Convention Center, 150 W. San Carlos St., San Jose; Tickets and weekend passes range from $35-$400, with child, senior citizen and military discounts;

– Brittany Delay, Staff

Roger Dean’s work “The Quest” is on display at the Haight Street Art Center. (High Street Art Center)

Covers on Roger Dean’s eye-popping album SF

Back in the days when people listened to albums and bands hired artists to create stunning images for their album covers, UK artist Roger Dean’s artwork was ubiquitous and obscure.

His trippy imagery that appeared on album covers for prog rock bands like Asia and especially Yes was unforgettable (even if you didn’t like it). He designed famous logos for this band as well as Virgin Records, and later branched out into home decor, creating the famous “Retreat Pods” that were a pop culture hit and appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s film “The Clockwork Orange.” “

Dean generously passed on his eclectic talents to his daughter Freyza, who has since launched her own career defined by dreamy, otherworldly images.

The two Deans have launched a touring exhibition together, “The Secret Path: The Art of Roger and Freyza Dean,” which opens this weekend at, appropriately enough, the Haight Street Art Center, in the heart of a neighborhood that equals trippy imagery. For the course.

More than 50 works from the father-daughter team will be on hand, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, textile art and other items. As Dean notes, “We are all fellow travelers on life’s secret path. The signposts along the way are our artifacts, but the destination — the future — is everyone’s.”

Details: The exhibition runs from August 25 to October 30; 215 Haight St. at Laguna Street. noon-6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; Admission is free but donations are encouraged;

– Randy McMullen, Staff

Brazilian buffet for music fans

Fans of Brazilian music, with its vibrant rhythms, delicate melodies and adventurous spirit, are in luck this weekend. Iconic guitarist, composer and singer Guinga arrives in the Bay Area for the first of many shows lined up. Meanwhile, Bay Area-based Choro Ensemble also plans a show.

Guinga’s arrival is eagerly anticipated, first because his musicianship and composition are respected around the world (his songs have been covered by artists including Sergio Mendes, Alice Regina and Ivan Lins) and also because he rarely comes to the Bay Area. He performs with singer Anna Pace at the Sound Room, 3022 Broadway, Oakland, on Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.50-$27.50 and are going fast. If you can’t catch him on Saturday, you have other chances: He’ll play Sept. 4 in Berkeley (, and as part of a trio featuring the outstanding vocalist Claudia Villella and sax and clarinet player Naylor “Proveta” Azevedo Sept. 7 Kuumba Jazz Center in Santa Cruz ( and September 8 at the Hammer Theater Center in San Jose ( In the meantime, you can catch the acclaimed Choro Ensemble, a group of terrifically talented musicians formed in 2010, in concert Sunday at St. Albans Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave., Albany, with some musical guests. Music starts at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25; go there

– Bay Area News Foundation

Courtney Barnett visits Stanford

Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Courtney Barnett was bitten hard by the rock ‘n’ roll bug at a young age. Not only did she dream of becoming a musician, but she also envisioned starting her own touring rock festival, designing commemorative t-shirts.

Those dreams have come true for Barnett (we, we’re not sure about the T-shirts). Not only is she an acclaimed rock singer-songwriter, but she kicks off a 15-stop U.S. touring festival coming to Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater on Friday.

Barnett, known for his fuzzy, lo-fi alt-rock sound, nimble guitar work, sharp lyrics and deadpan delivery, released the 2015 album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit,” which earned him critics. ’ His last album, “Things Take Time, Take Time,” released late last year and a favorite in his native Australia and the U.S., drew equally rave reviews.

Her touring Here and There Festival (which takes its name from a song she wrote when she was 10) includes alt-pop band Japanese Breakfast, fronted by Korean-American artist Michelle Jauner; LA soul/psychedelic-rock band Chicano Batman; and fellow Aussie singer-songwriter Julia Jacqueline.

Details: 6 pm August 26; $49.50-$59.50;

– Randy McMullen, Staff

The Italian festival returns to North Central

If you’re jonesing for a little Italian food and culture this weekend, head to North Beach on August 27 for the annual Festa Coloniale Italiana.

Featuring a wide mix of music, dance, acrobatics and pizza-dough-tossing acts — and, of course, plenty of food and drink — the festival takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon between Stockton Street, Union and Filbert. There will also be booths representing many food and beverage purveyors as well as Bay Area vendors such as Lianna Soap, Giovanni Specialties, True Delicious, Zoe Aquila Jewelry, Amelia Imports and more.

Performers include Bela Ciao, the Rico Italian Dancers, “Dear San Francisco,” world champion pizza tosser Tony Gemignani, and accordionist Steve Albini and acrobats from the cast of Il Sole.

There will also be a children’s entertainment zone with puppet shows, face painting and dance lessons.

Description: free admission; More information at

– Randy McMullen, Staff

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