The Chronicle’s guide to notable arts and entertainment happenings in the Bay Area.
Catalyst Quartet launches a four-concert series to champion overlooked composers
The redoubled energy with which classical artists are finally working to broaden the performing repertoire has been a heartening thing to witness. After seemingly endless decades of neglect, there’s been a detectable effort to move the music of female and non-white composers into the spotlight.
The Catalyst Quartet’s “Uncovered” series — four concerts presented over the course of the season by San Francisco Performances — promises a focused exploration of that repertoire, each event in partnership with a different collaborator.
Pianist Stewart Goodyear helps inaugurate the series with a program of chamber music by the Black composers George Walker and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Catalyst Quartet: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7. $45-$65. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-392-2545. www.sfperformances.org
— Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Fleet Week 2021: A guide to this year’s in-person return
Acclaimed New York variety burlesque show ‘Blunderland’ comes to Great Star Theater
Eric Schmalenberger’s “Blunderland” is known for its outrageous mélange of burlesque, circus, cabaret and performance art, all wrapped together in an aesthetic drawn from New York’s bygone queer nightlife scene. Think of the point of view as “1990s club kids taking over an abandoned carnival side show on mescaline” and then multiply that by ten.
The variety show now makes its West Coast debut at the Great Star theater, hosted by Justin Elizabeth Sayre, with a mix of local and out-of-town talent including stripteaser Dirty Martini, nude body poet Jett Adore, international cabaret superstar Lady Rizo, San Francisco “wild woman” artist Snatch Adams, Bay Area surrealist clown troupe Fou Fou Ha and San Francisco’s own multi-talented Alotta Boutte.
In a moment where circus arts and live variety shows are having a post-pandemic comeback, “Blunderland” offers one of the more risqué options; inspired by both classic American Burlesque and sex positive performance art. Audiences are encouraged to dress in the spirit of the show and “be your own icon.”
“Blunderland”: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7; 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 8-10. $25-$650. Great Star Theater, 636 Jackson. 415-735-4159. Proof of vaccination and use of face coverings, is required to attend. Masks are required to be worn at all times unless actively eating or drinking. .greatstartheater.org
— Tony Bravo
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company brings work in progress to sites in S.F., Healdsburg
Margaret Jenkins has been making thought-provoking postmodern dance in San Francisco since 1973, and her creative gears do not slow down during a pandemic.
The coolly precise, warmly human Margaret Jenkins Dance Company will bring excerpts from its new work in progress, “Global Moves,” to San Francisco and Healdsburg in a series of free performances in October. On Saturday, Oct. 9, the performance will be staged in the newly renovated plaza of the Presidio Theatre, where the full work will premiere at a later date. The second, set for Sunday afternoon, will take place inside a former warehouse in Healdsburg, where a new outdoor sculpture by designer Nilus de Matran will anchor the dance’s prologue.
The Presidio performance offers time to talk with the dancers about the evolving work (which is being created via video collaboration with dancers in China and India), while the Healdsburg event is followed by an artists’ reception.
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company: 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Presidio Theatre Performing Arts Center, outdoor plaza, 99 Moraga St., S.F.; 4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 10, at 444 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Free. RSVP required. www.mjdc.org/performances
— Rachel Howard
‘The Faithful’ is a 20-year study of obsessive fandom
Fandom can sometimes cross into worship and obsession. That is the subject of the documentary, “The Faithful: The King, the Pope, the Princess,” by Annie Berman. Made over the course of 20 years, it follows obsessive fans of Pope John Paul II, Princess Diana and Elvis Presley, concentrating on the artifacts that the various groups find and cherish.
We are centuries away from the days in which church’s would collect relics — such as the embalmed finger of a saint or a vial of a saint’s blood. Berman’s film shows that human nature hasn’t quite moved off from those earlier times. The need behind those impulses — the desires to connect and transcend and stave off a sense of aloneness — remain ever present.
Filmmaker Annie Berman is set to appear and take questions from the audience following the screening at the Roxie.
“The Faithful: The King, the Pope, the Princess.” 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. $8-13. Roxie Theater. 3117 16th Street, S.F. www.roxie.com
— Mick LaSalle
‘Capote Tapes’: In conversation with filmmaker Ebs Burnough and columnist Tony Bravo for Litquake
Truman Capote’s stories, like “A Christmas Memory” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” dazzled readers with their evocative language and sensitive portraits of outsider characters. His 1965 book “In Cold Blood,” recounting the murder of a Kansas family, created a new genre of true crime writing while winning him international acclaim. But for all his talents, Capote suffered from a familiar cocktail of loneliness, regret and addiction that would plague him until his death in 1984 at age 59.
Ebs Burnough’s new documentary, “The Capote Tapes,” explores both the writer’s brilliance and his darkness, using hours of taped interviews with Capote’s longtime friends, captured by biographer George Plimpton, as its foundation. For devoted fans of Capote, Burnough’s attention to the writer’s mysterious unfinished novel “Answered Prayers,” a subject of fascination and speculation for decades, will be especially rewarding.
The screening is presented by Litquake, SFFilm and The San Francisco Chronicle, and will conclude with a conversation between Burnough and Chronicle columnist Tony Bravo, a longtime Capote fan.
“The Capote Tapes”: Presented by Litquake. Film screens at 5 p.m.; conversation screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. $11.25, registration required. Available to stream up to 48 hours following premiere. www.litquake.org
— Chronicle staff
Danish String Quartet premieres commissioned work in response to Schubert
With the return to live performance, the Danish String Quartet launches an ambitious — and frankly thrilling — multiyear commissioning program. Titled “Doppelgänger,” the program pairs string works by Schubert with new pieces written in response to those familiar scores.
The first installment will have its U.S. premiere in a recital presented by Cal Performances that combines Schubert’s G-Major String Quartet with a premiere by the Danish composer Bent Sørensen. Still to come in future seasons are pieces by Lotta Wennäkoski, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Thomas Adès.
Danish String Quartet: 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10. $58-$92. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. 510-642-9988. www.calperformances.org
— Joshua Kosman
For more Datebook Picks and to browse our events calendar, click here.