September arts, music, events calendar

Summer’s winding down, but Bay Area events are not! There are a vast variety of happenings this month, from outdoor festivals to one of the Bay’s hottest music concerts — hop on BART and check out the great events this month!

Andy Warhol — from A to B and Back Again (ends Sep. 2) at Montgomery Street
Brightly colored screen prints of Campbell’s soup and Marilyn Monroe are only a few works by one of America’s most iconic artists, Andy Warhol. This Warhol retrospective is the first organized in the U.S. since 1989 and occupies three full floors of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, including a dozen works unique to the museum. Tickets can be purchased online. Take BART to Montgomery and walk six minutes to SFMOMA.

Exploratorium: "Self, Made” (ends Sept. 2) at Embarcadero
The Exploratorium is full of interactive exhibits, and “Self, Made” proves to be just as bold and playful with dozens of new interactive exhibits, artifacts and artworks, including the costumes worn by Shuri and T’Challa in Marvel’s "Black Panther" and work by Kehinde Wiley, the painter of the official White House portrait of Barack Obama. Take BART to Embarcadero and walk 15 minutes to the Exploratorium.

The 28th annual San Francisco Fringe Festival at EXIT Theatre celebrates community and collaboration. Prepare for a festival that promises and delivers some tears, some laughter, some thought-provoking work, and always a few surprises!  This year’s festival runs September 5 through 14 and includes a multitude of performances by various indie theater companies. Descriptions of all the Fringe shows, locations and tickets can be found online

Autumn Moon Festival (Sept. 7-8) at Montgomery
Mooncakes filled with sweet lotus paste, savory salted duck egg or minced pork are just a taste of Autumn Moon Festival celebrations. San Francisco Chinatown is going all out with a two-day celebration - Saturday kicks off with an opening parade and ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by several live performances and activities. This year will feature a “Crazy Rich Asians” costume contest! Costumes that most closely resemble characters from the film have the opportunity to win a “Crazy Rich Asians” jacket designed by Victor Tung and a photoshoot in his studio. The festival closes with a dragon parade, on Sunday at 5pm. Grant and Pacific avenues will be pedestrian only, local vendors will be selling mooncakes and much more! Take BART to Montgomery and walk 13 minutes to Grant Avenue.

Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival (Sept. 7-8) at Pittsburg/Bay Point
Find fried calamari, bbq lobster tails, crab cakes, grilled prawns and more at the Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival! Returning for its 35th year, the Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival brings out the best foods and music to the marina. With three stages featuring performances from "NOVA", "The Purple Ones", "The Velvet Hammer Band" and other artists, it’s sure to be a fun weekend of good eats and tunes. Take BART to Pittsburg/Bay Point and take the free Tri Delta Transit shuttle to the Pittsburg Marina.

California Historical Society Exhibitions (ends Sept. 8) at Montgomery
"Mark Ruwedel: Westward the Course of Empire" is a collection of photos by Rudwedel that chronicle the fates of abandoned or incomplete rail lines as they fight with nature and alter the landscape. The exhibit "Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad" explores how rail access to California stimulated population and industry growth, as well as its reputation as a tourist destination and a land of opportunity. The gallery is closed Mondays, and admission ranges from $5 to $10. Take BART to Montgomery and walk three minutes to 678 Mission St.

Wright follows up her GRAMMY-nominated Concord Records debut "Freedom & Surrender" with her latest release, "Grace", featuring sparking covers of Nina Simone’s “Seems I’m Never Tired Lovin’ You” and Frank Perkins’ immortal 1934 standard “Stars Fell on Alabama.”  The New York Times exclaims, “Lizz Wright is celebrated for one thing in particular: her sumptuously earthy voice, which commands strict and often spine-tingling attention.”  Tickets at can be purchased online.  Take BART to Civic Center and walk 10 minutes to SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium.
Iconic Beethoven (Sep. 14-15) at Walnut Creek
The California Symphony’s 2019/20 season opens with Beethoven’s "Fifth Symphony", one of the best-known and most popular pieces of music ever written. Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway joins to perform music by Mahler and Bay Area composer Gabriela Lena Frank. Mahler was so in demand as a conductor that he never had chance to write an opera, and his "Lieder" are the closest he came to fulfilling his dream. Berkeley-born Frank’s "The Keeper and the Dove" imagines Mexican artist Frida Kahlo returning as a spirit to her beloved husband during the "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) festival. Tickets range from $20-$72 and can be purchased online.  Take BART to Walnut Creek and walk 8-10 minutes to the Lesher Center for the Arts.
Top Girls (Sept. 19 - Oct. 13) at Powell
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 and walk seven minutes to A.C.T.’s Geary Theatre.
Battle for the Bay (Sep. 21) Oakland and San Francisco
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced they are leading volunteers from their two cities to face off in a cleaning and greening competition on Saturday, September 21, 2019 as part of the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. The challenge is on to protect the treasured Bay by cleaning and greening neighborhoods in both cities!  The challenge is dubbed "The Battle for the Bay", in honor of the 30th anniversary of the 1989 “Battle of the Bay” Major League Baseball World Series. The battle is a friendly competition for the most impactful cleanup effort. Residents and businesses are invited to show love for Oakland, San Francisco, and the environment, by volunteering to help on "Battle for the Bay".  Visit for details and locations.
Lafayette Art, Wine & Music Festival (Sept. 21-22) at Lafayette
Find beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces at the Lafayette Arts & Wine Festival, which boasts over 300 arts and crafts booths, as well as a local artists alley. A wide selection of wine, beer and food booths are also available, not to mention the various establishments in the heart of downtown Lafayette. Take BART to Lafayette and walk one block to the festival. There is also a free continuous shuttle service that runs between BART and the festival entrance at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Oak Hill Road that starts at 9:30 am and runs until 30 minutes after the festival ends.
The Flick (ends Sept. 22) at Ashby
2014 Pulitzer Prize winner “The Flick” serves up a slice of Americana, following the lives of three employees at a movie palace who explore race, class and the universal quest for intimacy. The New York Times hails it as “funny, heartbreaking, sly and unblinking.” Run time is almost three hours, with a 10-minute intermission. Tbe play officially opens August 29 and runs until September 22. Tickets can be purchased online, and range from $25 to $37, while the previews are pay-what-you-can. Take BART to Ashby and walk three minutes to The Ashby Stage.
“More than movies. A movement.” The San Francisco Green Film Festival brings viewers to the front lines of the fight to protect and preserve our environment. Five days of screenings of over 50 environmental films starts with opening night at the Castro Theatre. Other venues include Roxie, 518 Valencia, Manny’s, the Exploratorium and Swissnex. Find the schedule and buy tickets online. Take BART to Powell and take MUNI line M to the Castro Theatre. Other screening locations vary.
Rolling Loud Festival (Sept. 28-29) at Coliseum
Some of the biggest names in hip-hop and rap are coming to the Bay for Rolling Loud, a Miami music festival that has made its way to the West Coast. Saturday’s headliners are Travis Scott, Meek Mill and the Wu-Tang Clan, and Sunday’s headliners are Lil Uzi Vert and A$AP Rocky. Take BART to Coliseum and walk about four minutes to the Oakland Coliseum.
The Barbara Lee & Elihu Harris Lecture Series presents Ari Berman, an expert in voter rights and voter suppression, speaking at the Oakland Marriott City Center on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7pm. Berman is the author of the book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. Call (510) 434-3988 to RSVP. Take BART to 12th St/Oakland City Center and walk three minutes to 1001 Broadway.
Aurora Theatre Company: Exit Strategy (ends Sept. 29) at Downtown Berkeley
What to do when school’s out…forever? Aurora Theatre Company is ringing in a new school year with "Exit Strategy", a play about a Chicago high school facing being shut down and the small group that works to save it. Five teachers, the school’s vice-principal and a driven student come together to save their school. Tickets can be purchased online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk about two minutes to Aurora Theatre Company.
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