Autumn arts almanac

A guide to a few of fall's finest art offerings

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Autumn is always a fruitful time for arts and entertainment on the Peninsula, with an abundance of theater openings, intriguing art exhibits, concerts, lectures and more, and this year is no exception. We've harvested a few choice highlights to present in our annual fall arts preview. For continuing coverage, always check Palo Alto Online, subscribe to our Weekend Express email (sign up here) and peruse event listings at our community calendar (and maybe even submit some of your own). To paraphrase The Kinks: Yes, yes, yes, it's our autumn almanac!


'The Butterfly Effect: Art in 1970s California'

You've likely heard some variation of "The Butterfly Effect" before: A butterfly flapping its tiny wings in, say, Palo Alto can affect the weather across the ocean. It's a term that originates from a 1972 paper by scholar Edward Norman Lorenz, who described the impact one small insect could have on greater events as a metaphor in his explanation of chaos theory. The Palo Alto Art Center, also born in the 1970s and celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, is taking inspiration from Lorenz by presenting a new exhibit, "The Butterfly Effect: Art in 1970s California," this autumn. The exhibit will feature works in a variety of media (including painting, photography, sculpture, video, collage, assemblage, and printmaking) drawn (no pun intended) from movements and styles including Feminism, Pattern & Design, Kinetic Art, Photorealism, Spiritualism, Protest, Light and Space, the Paper Renaissance, and Color Theory, and will include artists such as Carol Summers, Elaine Badgley Arnoux, Bill Owens, Fletcher Benton and many others. An opening celebration will be held Friday, Sept. 16, 7-10 p.m. with opportunities to meet some of the artists, make some new art and purchase refreshments.

Where: Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road

When: Sept. 17-Dec. 30

Cost: Free

Info: Go to Palo Alto Art Center.

Other art exhibits worth a peek:

* Nick Cave at Anderson Collection, Sept. 14-Aug. 14, 2017, anderson.stanford.edu/

* "Object Lessons: Art & Its Histories" at Cantor Arts Center, Sept. 15-ongoing, museum.stanford.edu

* Louise Nevelson at Pace Palo Alto, Sept. 29-Nov. 27, pacegallery.com

* "The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch," Palo Alto Art Center, Sept. 27-Oct. 2, greatglasspumpkinpatch.com

* "Landscapes, Seascapes & Urbanscapes" at Pacific Art League, Oct. 7-27, pacificartleague.org

On stage

'The Life of the Party'

TheatreWorks presents the U.S. premiere of "The Life of the Party," a celebration of the work of the Tony Award-nominated composer Andrew Lippa, starring Lippa himself, along with some big names from Broadway, including Teal Wicks and Sally Ann Triplett, and the West End's Damian Humbley. The show (which, parents be warned, contains mature subject matter) is a lively revue featuring hit numbers from Lippa's career, drawn from musicals such as "The Addams Family," "Big Fish," "The Wild Party" and "I Am Harvey Milk." The show was a hit in London; if it moves on to the Great White Way, local theater lovers will get to boast that they saw it before the New Yorkers. Other Theatreworks offerings coming up this fall include October's Irish romantic comedy "Outside Mullingar" (runs Oct. 5-30 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts) and "Daddy Long Legs," a musical by the creator of TheatreWorks' mega-hit "Emma" set in suffragette-era New England (runs Nov. 5-30 at Palo Alto's Lucie Stern Theatre).

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

When: "Life of the Party" runs through Sept. 18

Cost: $35-$75

Info: Go to TheatreWorks

Other on-stage highlights:

* From Palo Alto Players: "Disney's The Little Mermaid," Sept. 16-Oct. 2; "The Diary of Anne Frank," Nov. 5-20, paplayers.org

* From Dragon Theatre: "Waiting for Godot," Sept. 16-Oct. 2; "On the Verge: Or the Geography of Yearning," Oct. 14-Nov. 6, dragonproductions.net

* From West Bay Opera: "Le Nozze di Figaro," Oct. 14-23, westbayopera.org

* From The Pear Theatre: "Major Barbara," Oct. 28-Nov. 20, thepear.org

* From Stanford TAPS: "Spring Awakening," Oct. 27-Nov. 5, taps.stanford.edu

* From Los Altos Stage Company: "Assassins," Sept. 1-25; "Circle Mirror Transformation," Nov. 17-Dec. 11, losaltosstage.org

* From EnActe Arts: "Chaos Theory," Cubberley Community Theater, Oct. 14-15; "Sundar Ramayana," Nov. 11-12, enacte.org


Yael Naïm

Remember "New Soul," the winsome and infectious breakout hit featured in an Apple commercial a few years back? That tune belongs to French-Israeli singer-songwriter, producer, pianist and guitarist Yael Naïm, who will perform in Palo Alto on Sept. 13. The trilingual (English, French and Hebrew, born to Tunisian parents) musician, who was named France's Artist of the Year for 2016, will release her new album, "Older," in the U.S. on Sept. 2. She may be an "older soul" now but her chamber-pop sounds are no less fresh than when Steve Jobs first catapulted her into the spotlight in 2008.

Where: Oshman Family JCC, Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

When: Tuesday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m.

Cost: $55-$65

Info: Go to OFJCC

More concerts worth a listen:

* Palo Alto Philharmonic's autumn concerts, First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, Sept. 10, Oct. 22 and Nov. 12, paphil.org

* Mariachi Festival, Angelica's, Sept. 16-17, angelicasllc.com

* Shoreline Ampitheatre presents: Dolly Parton on Sept. 24; Gwen Stefani on Oct. 8; Bridge School Benefit on Oct. 22-23, shoreline.amphitheatermtnview.com

* Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, Backyard Coffee, Sept. 25, concertacrossamerica.org/

* Stanford Live presents: The Complete Piano Études by Philip Glass on Sept. 29; Omara Portuondo on Oct. 1; Emel Mathlouthi on Oct. 5 and "Icons of Sound: Hagia Sophia Reimagined" on Nov. 4, Bing Concert Hall, live.stanford.edu

* New Millennium Chamber Orchestra, Lucie Stern Community Center Ballroom, Oct. 2, nmchamberorchestra.org

* Kathy Kallick Band/RBA 25th anniversary concert, Mountain View Masonic Lodge, Oct. 22, rba.org

Lectures, films, dance and more

Jessica Bennett in conversation with Rachel Thomas

Interested in fighting sexism and smashing the patriarchy? Join journalist and author Jessica Bennett (creator of "Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace") and Rachel Thomas, founder of the Palo Alto-based organization Lean In, for a discussion on tactics for battling gender discrimination in the modern-day workplace. "Feminist Fight Club," which publishes Sept. 13, is described by its publisher, HarperCollins, as "Part manual, part manifesto," and includes a blend of personal stories and historical research, original illustrations, "Feminist Mad Libs," a "Negotiation Cheat Sheet" and other sexism-fighting techniques.

Where: Kepler's, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park

When: Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10 student/$20 general/$40 includes book

Info: Go to Keplers

More events worth a look:

* Julie Lythcott-Haims: "How to Raise an Adult," Stanford in Redwood City Speakers Series, Fox Theatre, Sept. 8, redwoodcity.org

* "The Art of the Pas de Deux," Western Ballet, Oct. 8, westernballet.org

* Book Arts Jam, Palo Alto Elks Lodge, Oct. 16, bookartsjam.org/

* Silicon Valley African Film Festival, Community School of Music and Arts, Oct. 14-16, svaff.org

* Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival, Oshman Family JCC (and in Saratoga), Oct. 27-Nov. 20, svjff.org

* United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford and Palo Alto locations, Oct. 20-30, unaff.org

* Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco's 50th anniversary, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Nov. 4, theatreflamenco.org

Especially for kids

'The Ballad of Phineas McBoof'

The Palo Alto Children's Theatre will be home to a world premiere: the theatrical production of "The Ballad of Phineas McBoof" by Doctor Noize (also known as Los Altos native and Stanford music grad Cory Cullinan), opening this November. The show will star a cast of local kids and is based on the first two Doctor Noize albums and books (the titular Phineas McBoof, by the way, is a "rock-star monkey" who heads off on adventures with his guitar and a rowboat and meets a host of new friends, each representing a different instrument, along the way).

Where: Palo Alto Children's Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.

When: Nov. 3-13

Cost: $12 child/$14 adult

Info: Go to PA Children's Theatre

More family-friendly happenings:

* "Adventure in Space" interactive play, Mountain View Library, Sept. 9, mountainview.gov/library

* Andy Z and the Andyland Band, Courthouse Square in Redwood City, Sept. 18, redwoodcity.org

* Storytelling Festival, Menlo Park Library, Sept. 18, menlopark.org/

* Inside/Out: Arts Open House, Bing Concert Hall, Oct. 9, live.stanford.edu

* "The Wizard of Oz," Peninsula Youth Theatre (at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts), Nov. 12-20, pytnet.org/

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