Fall 2021 may not be unfolding as we all expected just a few heady months ago, but local arts groups have ensured that the return of music, theater and art to our lives has not been delayed, even if a full reopening has.
Building on the experience of more than 18 months of shifting restrictions, many groups are navigating a still-changing landscape by adapting how they reach audiences, both where we have been for a year and a half — online — and welcoming us back to their spaces, in person, with some precautions in place.
Though how we experience their offerings may be evolving, the Midpeninsula's cultural institutions are still doing all the important things that we rely upon the arts to do, especially in challenging times.
They are raising questions, pushing for change, helping to heal, bringing joy and laughter: in short, reminding us why it's so good to be at the theater, a concert, a gallery or author talk — whether it's face to face or virtually.
Below are some highlights of the coming season. Check the website and call before you go: Many venues now require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for in-person attendance, and due to changing public health restrictions, events may be canceled or delayed with short notice.
Performing arts organizations
In the spotlight: After multiple postponements, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley plans to make its long-awaited return to live, in-person performances with the indie-rock musical "Lizard Boy," by Justin Huertas (who's also in the cast, along with Kirsten "Kiki" deLohr Helland and William A. Williams), running Oct. 6-31 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St. "The fast-moving plot recounts the mysterious event that changed Trevor's life forever, launching him into a life-long search for identity and acceptance," according to TheatreWorks' website. Selections from the comic-book influenced show were first performed for local audiences at TheatreWorks' New Works Festival Online in the spring. More information, including on health and safety plans, is available at theatreworks.org.
Club Fox at the Fox Theatre: Zeppelin Live (Aug. 28); The Cheeseballs (Sept. 4); The Sun Kings - A Beatles Tribute (Sept. 10); Mustache Harbor (Sept. 11); Kulaiwi — Native Lands (Sept. 17); Back to Roxann (Sept. 18); Neon Velvet (Sept. 25). clubfoxrwc.com.
Community School of Music and Arts: Peter & Will Anderson — Charlie Parker Celebration (Aug. 28); A Salsa-cional Saturday with El Grupo Sinigual (Sept. 25) Both shows presented via livestream and in person; arts4all.org/events.
Dragon Productions Theater Company: "Thea L'Anna" (September 2021); dragonproductions.net.
Los Altos Stage Company: "Tiny Beautiful Things" (Sept. 9-Oct. 3); losaltosstage.org.
Palo Alto Philharmonic: Baroque Concert (Sept. 11); "Epic Renewals" (Oct. 23); Fall Chamber Concert (Nov. 6); paphil.org.
Palo Alto Players: "Aren't You...?" (through Sept. 5) offered online and in person, "Working" (Sept. 17-Oct. 3), "The Revolutionists" (Nov. 5-21); paplayers.org.
The Pear Theatre: "Mothers of the Bride" (through Sept. 12) offered online and in person, "Somewhere" and "The Tempest" (in repertory, Oct. 1-21), "Eight Nights" and "The Thanksgiving Play" (in repertory, Nov. 19-Dec. 12); thepear.org.
Peninsula Symphony: Beethoven & Rhapsody in Blue with Jon Kimura Parker (Oct. 29-30); All-Brahms program with Stanford Symphonic Chorus (Nov. 19-20); peninsulasymphony.org.
Smuin Ballet "Limitless Michael Smuin: A Virtual Series” presented online (Sept. 9-Oct. 4). “The Christmas Ballet” (Dec. 2-5) in person at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. smuinballet.org.
Stanford Live: iskwē (Sept. 29-30), "A Thousand Thoughts" (Oct. 6), Dropkick Murphys and Rancid (Oct. 7), Derek Gripper and Yacouba Sissoko (Oct. 8), Anjuna Family Reunion Tour (Oct. 8-9), Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (Oct. 9), The St. Lawrence String Quartet (Oct. 10), "Fandango at the Wall" (Oct. 13), Joe Russo's Almost Dead (Oct. 23), Mac DeMarco (Oct. 24), "The War of the Worlds" (Oct. 28-29), Quinteto Astor Piazzolla (Nov. 4), "Queer Horror Gravest Hits" (Nov. 5), "Carla Rossi Does Drag" (Nov. 6), National Geographic Live (Nov. 10), William Prince (Nov. 11), Jaz Sawyer (Nov. 12-13) and Vienna Boys Choir (Nov. 29); live.stanford.edu.
Redwood Symphony: "Undistant" (Sept. 25); "Rendering Glass" (Nov. 20); redwoodsymphony.org/37th-season.
United Nations Association Film Festival: (Oct. 21-31); unaff.org.
Museums and galleries
In the spotlight: The Palo Alto Art Center's fall show, "The Art of Disability Culture: Artists with disabilities dispelling myths, dissolving barriers and disrupting prejudice," opening Sept. 11, is a celebration of disability experience — personal and "infinitely varied," as the show's description says.
Every artist in the exhibition has one or more disabilities, whether visible or invisible, and the show offers works in a variety of media, including both traditional and digital portraiture, tactile paintings, video, installations, an interactive labyrinth, ceramics and a site-specific sculpture. With the pandemic shining a floodlight on myriad inequities in our society, the exhibition also aims to provide a space for discussion on "how disability culture can strengthen our communities through the practices of interdependence, accessibility, and inclusion." The show, viewable both in person and online, will feature numerous accessibility components, such as audio descriptions, Braille labels, social narratives for visitors with autism and American Sign Language interpretation and live captioning during public programs. (Through Dec. 11). cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/artcenter.
ACGA Clay & Glass Festival: (Sept. 11-12) at the Palo Alto Art Center. acga.net.
"The Flying Dreams" by Carlos Estevez (through Sept. 5); Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares (Sept 11.-Oct. 24); Fernando Escartiz (Oct. 30-Dec. 12); David Gumbs (opening Dec. 18) at the Art Kiosk. fungcollaboratives.org/projects/current/art-kiosk.
"Essential Farmers and Farm Workers" (opening Aug. 28) at Art Ventures Gallery. artventuresgallery.com.
"Light and Shadow" by Michael Patterson (through Aug. 31); Group show (September-October 2021) at Bryant Street Gallery. bryantstreet.com.
"Reaching Toward Warmer Suns" outdoor installation by Kiyan Williams (through Dec. 5); "Sam Richardson: Islands, Ice, and Sand" (Sept. 23-March 13); "Eamon Ore-Giron: Non Plus Ultra" (Sept. 23-Feb. 20); "Hostile Terrain 94" installation (ongoing) at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. anderson.stanford.edu.
NOTE: The Anderson's building is closed until Sept. 23 for the installation of new exhibitions, but outdoor installations on the grounds are open.
"The Marmor Collection: Frank Stella and Claes Oldenburg" (through Nov. 28) "Paper Chase: Ten Years of Collecting Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Cantor" (Sept. 29-Jan. 30); "Art/Object: Contemporary Works Between Mediums" (Oct. 18-31) in person at Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center. museum.stanford.edu.
The Stanford museums also offer virtual exhibitions and programming through the Museums From Home at museum.stanford.edu/museums-home.
"Exploring Beauty: Watercolour Diaries from the Wild" (ongoing); "Sacred Places: Watercolour Diaries from the American Southwest" (ongoing); "Retrospective Exhibition: The Art of Tony Foster" (ongoing) at The Foster. Virtual tours available on The Foster's YouTube channel. thefoster.org.
Paintings and drawings by Joseph Fuchs (through Aug. 29); New works and acrylics by Jan Meyer (September 2021); Alcohol ink and watercolor by Maria Pazos (October 2021); Oil paintings by Gene Zukowsky (November 2021); Works by Ayelet Gal-on (December 2021) at Gallery 9. gallery9losaltos.com.
"Some Like It Hot" group show (through Aug. 29); monthly group shows by member artists at Gallery House . Also viewable online. galleryhouse.art.
Great Glass Pumpkin Patch: (Oct. 2-3) on the lawn of the Palo Alto Art Center. greatglasspumpkinpatch.com.
Kings Mountain Art Fair: (Sept. 4-6) held online for 2021. kingsmountainartfair.org.
"The Photography of J. Gilbert Smith" (through Sept. 19); "Gold Fever!" (through Aug. 29); "Annie Knapp Fitz Paints" (Sept. 9-Feb. 6) at the Los Altos History Museum. losaltoshistory.org.
Mountain View Art & Wine Festival Sept. 11-12 in downtown Mountain View. mountainview.miramarevents.com.
"100th Anniversary Exhibition" (Nov. 5-Jan. 20) online and in person at Pacific Art League. pacificartleague.org.
"Recent Acquisitions" (through Aug. 29); Don Scott MacDonald (September 2021); Fernando Reyes (October 2021); Danielle Eubank (November 2021) in-person exhibitions at Pamela Walsh Gallery. pamelawalshgallery.com.
"Interlaced" textile works by Josh Faught, Terri Friedman, Robert Kushner, Hung Liu, Kiki Smith, William Wiley, Xiaoze Xie (through Oct. 1) at Qualia Contemporary Art. Also viewable online. qualiacontemporaryart.com.
Silicon Valley Sculpture 2021: Sculpture festival (Sept. 23-26) at Menlo College. siliconvalleysculpture.com.
"Summer Days" group show (through Aug. 29); Veronica Gross (September 2021): Maura Carta (October 2021); Patricia Accorinti & Vered Binyamini (November 2021); Julia Seelos (December 2021) in-person exhibits at Viewpoints Gallery. viewpointsgallery.com.
Bookstores, libraries and more
In the spotlight: Kepler's Literary Foundation hosts an online event for the family on Sept. 28 with Bay Area-based author Joanna Ho, who discusses her new picture book, "Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma," due to be published this fall. The book, with colorful illustrations by Teresa Martinez, tells the story of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the concert he played in the spring of 2019 at the Texas-Mexico border, where he performed Bach's cello suites. There was much symbolism in his musical choice, as the book description points out, Yo-Yo Ma, himself an immigrant to the United States, "played a song written by a German composer that was nearly forgotten and rediscovered in a second-hand shop in Spain on an instrument made of parts from all over the world." Ho's book explores the concert and Yo-Yo Ma's aim of using music to build bridges across borders and time. Other online author events at Kepler's include: Saumya Roy with Geeta Anand (Sept. 8); Literary Seminars: Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Sept. 20 and 22); Max Chafkin on Peter Thiel's pursuit of power (Sept. 23); Story Time with Kevin Henkes (Oct. 7). keplers.org.
Books Inc.: (Mountain View and Palo Alto) Online author events include: City Arts & Lectures presents Joy Harjo and Rita Dove (Aug. 29); Colson Whitehead (Sept. 17); Mary Roach (Sept. 29); booksinc.net.
Fox Theatre Speaker Series: Malala Yousafzai (Oct. 28); Jason Alexander (Nov. 18). foxrwc.com.
Mountain View Library: Online events include: NASA's free-flying robots (Sept. 16); Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs (Sept. 25); Author talk with Marjorie Liu (Sept. 30). mountainview.libcal.com.
Menlo Park Library: Online events include: "Touch Each Life; Teach Each Child: Achieving Excellence in the Context of Equity for All," (Aug. 31); "Implicit Bias: The Equal Opportunity Virus," (Sept. 14); "Opportunities Denied, Promises Not Kept: Racism and Bias — The African American Journey" (Sept. 28); "Beyond Cultural Competence to Embracing Cultural Humility: The Challenge of Diversity in a Culturally Pluralistic Society" (Oct. 21); menlopark.org/library.
Santa Clara County Libraries: Online events include: Takes on Shakes (Sept. 11); Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, "Quit Like a Millionaire" (Oct. 2) sccl.bibliocommons.com.