October 2019 | Arts, music & events calendar

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 takes over Golden Gate Park Oct 4-6. Photo courtesy of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Facebook

Fall has officially started and October's line up of arts, music and events is starting to heat up. From the spooky, to the quirky, and everything in between, this calendar is bound to have a little something for everyone. 

Freight & Salvage brings Madeleine Peyroux, an adventurous and poetic contemporary jazz artist to Berkeley Oct 3. Photo courtesy of Freight & Salvage

Madeleine Peyroux (Oct 3-6) by Downtown Berkeley

Madeleine Peyroux’s extraordinary journey is one of the music industry’s most compelling. Eight albums and twenty-two years since her debut, Dreamland, Peyroux continues to challenge the genre lines of jazz, venturing into the fertile fields of other contemporary genres with unfading curiosity. Peyroux’s new album, Anthem, finds the singer-songwriter collaboration with Patrick Warren, Brian MacLeod, and David Baerwald, who are also the rhythm section musicians on the album. Together, they cast a sober, poetic, and at times philosophical eye on the current state of the world. Anthem is an album born out of the team being together in one room, musing over world events and letting personal experiences spark ideas. Tickets are available online and range from $45-$60. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk two minutes to Freight & Salvage. 

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct 3-5) by Downtown SF stations 

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park is one of the Bay Area's early autumn treasures. This free musical celebration takes over the park for three days and features over 40 artists. Getting to the festival can be tricky so check out our guide to getting to the festival via BART and MUNI. More information and the schedule can be found online

Fog City Flea (every Sunday) by Embarcadero

A curated market of makers and merchants from the Bay Area and beyond, Fog City Flea at the historic Ferry Building highlights the Bay's very best in handcrafted jewelry, apparel, accessories, and more. In conjunction with the market, families can now experience the Family Flea Circus, a kids' activity area that includes face painting, arts and crafts stations, a coloring zone, a Lego zone, games and more, with a weekly rotating theme. The market itself is free but the Circus area is $10 per guest and will cover all activities. Tale BART to Embarcadero and walk four minutes to the Ferry Building. 

Top Girls is at A.C.T.'s Geary Theatre until Oct 13. Photo courtesy of American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). 

Top Girls (now through Oct 13) by Powell St

We’re blasting through the glass ceiling as we chase Marlene, the main character of “Top Girls,” as she chases success. She meets famous women from history, including explorer Isabella Bird and Lady Nijo, the mistress of a Japanese emperor. Written by Caryl Churchill and directed by Tamilla Woodard, this play examines women’s roles and the definitions of success. Tickets can be purchased online. Take BART to Powell St and walk seven minutes to A.C.T.’s Geary Theatre.

HOT MIKADO (now through Oct 13) by Embarcadero

HOT MIKADO takes the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta masterpiece and amps it up with a killer jazz interpretation of the score performed by a multicultural cast who will have you dancing in the aisles! Welcome to Titipu, a town turned upside down by the arrival of Nanki-Poo, a roving trumpet player looking for his lost love, Yum Yum. Before long, he’s embroiled in the topsy-turvy machinations of Titipu’s powers-that-be, with hilarious results. Tickets are available via 42nd Street Moon. Take BART to Embarcadero and walk nine minutes to The Gateway Theatre. 

Macbeth (now through Oct 13) by Orinda
Ambition is brutal. Determined to fulfill a prophecy of greatness, Macbeth’s hunger for power consumes all he holds dear. How far would you go to take what you’ve been told you deserve? And who will rise up to stop you?  Just ten minutes from Berkeley, Cal Shakes’ outdoor amphitheater—nestled in the hills of Orinda—is a gorgeous setting for the play. Arrive up to two hours before the show to enjoy the beautiful grounds. Purchase food and beverages at the cafe and bar or bring a picnic to enjoy in the groves or amphitheater.  Tickets are available online.  Take BART to Orinda and catch the free shuttle.
The Great Wave (now through Oct 27) by Downtown Berkeley 
Based in a Japanese coastal town in 1979, The Great Wave follows two sisters who run onto the beach during a tremendous storm on a dare. One sister is swept out to sea, while the other survives and swears that three mysterious men were on the shoreline when her sister disappeared. When authorities deem the incident a drowning, the sister's mother insists her missing daughter is still alive. Spanning over 20 years and two vastly different countries of Japan and North Korea, this production is a powerful story of unshakable bonds between a mother, a daughter, and a sister who refuse to give up hope. The Great Wave is at the Berkeley Rep, five minutes from Downtown Berkeley station until October 27. Tickets are available online and range from $45-$97.

Book lovers get ready, Litquake is back with over 165 venues, many of them BARTable. Photo courtesy of Litquake

Litquake (Oct 10-30) by Various Stations 

Words matter. Litquake sparks critical conversations and inspires writers and readers to celebrate the written word with diverse literary programming, interactive workshops, and a literary festival. One of the West Coast’s most beloved annual literary festivals, this smart, eclectic, 80% free ten-day gathering draws book lovers of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy words and ideas, straight from the artists’ mouths. Now with 165 venues in its 20th year, the festival’s uniquely portable format provides even greater access to literature. The schedule is now live, and tickets are available online

Othello (Oct 12-27) by Powell St

African-American Shakespeare Company Artistic Director, L. Peter Callender, makes his debut in Othello. Directed by Carl Jordan, this production will be set in a contemporary milieu that places an emphasis on Othello as “the other”—an outsider who grew up in Africa attempting to balance his Muslim background against the Christian society he is marrying into. Othello is playing at the Marines Memorial Theatre from October 12-27, a 10-minute walk from Powell St station. Tickets are available online from $40. 

Elevada (Oct 17-Nov 17) by Ashby
We meet a couple on their first date. One has a wild scheme to sell his personality to the highest bidding corporation. The other has cancer. Despite these obstacles, they make plans to meet again. Elevada explores family ties, tango, and romance under the most unlikely circumstances. Expect to be whisked off your feet with this incisively witty tale. Tickets can be purchased online.  Take BART to Ashby and walk 2 minutes to the Shotgun Players at the Ashby Stage.
White Noise (now through Nov 10) by Downtown Berkeley 

Leo, Dawn, Ralph, and Misha are old friends. The two 30-something couples are educated, progressive, and cosmopolitan. But when a racially motivated incident with the police leaves Leo shaken, he makes a radical proposition to Ralph that forever alters the relationship between these four friends—and their view of the world. Brave, intelligent, and eviscerating, White Noise by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most talked about new plays tackling our rapidly unraveling social contract. Berkeley Rep is proud to be the only regional theatre outside New York to present White Noise this year and it's showing through November 10 at Peet's Theatre, just five minutes from Downtown Berkeley station. Tickets are available online and range from $30-$97. 

Friendship of two artists, in search of a new direction after the Second World War, Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan is now at the Asian Art Museum. Photo courtesy of the Asian Art Museum

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan (now through Dec 8) by Civic Center/UN Plaza

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan considers the consequential friendship of two artists, one Japanese American but drawn to Japan, the other Japanese but influenced by the West, both in search of a new direction for modern art in the aftermath of the Second World War. This exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, a five minute walk from Civic Center/UN Plaza, is now through December 8. Tickets are available online

Testmatch at the Strand (Oct 24-Dec 8) by Civic Center/UN Plaza

A time-traveling world premiere viewing colonialism, gender, and power through the lens of cricket. American Conservatory Theater's Testmatch will be at the Strand Theater, minutes from Civic Center/UN Plaza, October 24 through December 8. Tickets range from $25-$55 and are available online

Oakland Museum of California | No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man (Oct 12-Feb 16) by Lake Merritt 

Marvel at the spectacular artwork and large-scale installations from one of the most widely-celebrated cultural events in the world when No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man takes over the Oakland Museum of California beginning October 12. Each year the weeklong Burning Man event attracts over 70,000 people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Participants create and build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where experimental art installations—some ritually burned to the ground—are the centerpiece for innovators, makers, and a burgeoning artistic community. The exhibition will illuminate the values of Burning Man through its guiding Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. Don't miss the West Coast debut of the first major museum exhibition of its kind. More information and tickets can be found online. Take BART to Lake Merritt station and walk five minutes to the museum. 

The legend of Harry Potter continues on stage with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Curran, beginning Oct 23. Photo courtesy of the Curran

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (begins Oct 23) by Powell St

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne is coming to San Francisco’s Curran. With record-breaking productions currently running in London and New York, as well as the February 2019 opening of the first Australian production in Melbourne, the San Francisco production will mark the fourth engagement of the smash hit play, as well as its West Coast premiere in North America. Tickets can be purchased online and start at $59. Take BART to Powell St and walk seven minutes to the theater. 

Let's get social!
Keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see all of the best BARTable events and places to eat and have fun around the Bay Area. Tag us in your October (#SFBARTable @SFBARTable) adventures for a chance to win some BART merchandise and to be featured in our community feed, which you can find at the bottom of our homepage! 


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