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50 Plays, Films, Art Shows, Concerts, Books, and Dance Performances to Feed Your Fall Culture Binge

Where to go and what to see.

An American in Paris comes to SHN September 2.


Read more from the Fall Arts Preview from our September 2017 issue here.

 The Fall's Best Curtain Raisers

An American in Paris
Set in post-WWII France, the Tony Award winner features the music of George and Ira Gershwin. Sept. 12–Oct. 8, SHN

Reefer Madness
A musical comedy send-up of the 1936 propaganda film. Sept. 15–Oct. 7, Ray of Light Theater

Robert O’Hara’s story of a disastrous family intervention. Sept. 26–Nov. 11, S.F. Playhouse

The Mineola Twins
A lesser-known Paula Vogel work revolving around the lives of twin sisters. Sept. 28–Oct. 29, Cutting Ball Theater

Imaginary Comforts, or the Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit
Daniel Handler again teams up with Tony Taccone. Oct. 5–Nov. 19, Berkeley Rep

Salt, Pepper, Ketchup
Race relations heat up at a restaurant in a gentrifying neighborhood. Sept. 29–Oct. 8, S.F. Theater Company

Small Mouth Sounds
Bess Wohl’s spoof follows a group searching for inner peace at a silent retreat. Oct. 11–Dec. 10, A.C.T.

The Lion in Winter
The classic tale of Eleanor of Aquitaine confronting her husband, King Henry II. Nov. 2–Dec. 9, Custom Made Theater Co.

The Royale
The Bay Area premiere from Marco Ramirez (Orange Is the New Black), on African American boxer Jack Johnson. Nov. 3–Dec. 3, Aurora Theatre

Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets
An adaptation of the dark William S. Burroughs fairy tale, with music by Tom Waits. Nov. 9–Dec. 31, Shotgun Players

 The Shows and Films of the Prestige Season

Wisdom of the Crowd
Jeremy Piven stars in this procedural as a Bay Area tech innovator who builds a crowdsourcing app to solve his daughter’s murder. Oct. 1, CBS

The adaptation of Kem Nunn’s San Francisco–set noir, starring Hugh Laurie as a psychiatrist bottoming out, returns for a second season. Oct. 11, Hulu

Napa Valley Film Festival
The wine country fest returns for a seventh year with a lineup that includes the premiere of Quest, based on the true story of a Bay Area teacher, and the documentary The Untold Tales of Armistead MaupinNov. 8–12,

Daddy's Home 2
Redwood City–raised Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks, Bloodline) reprises her role as Sara for Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s comedy Daddy’s Home 2Nov. 10

Oakland’s Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) turns in his first major film role in Wonder, a heartstring puller based on the bestseller by R.J. Palacio. Nov. 17

Marvel's Runaways
Sacramento’s Virginia Gardner stars as Karolina Dean, Marvel’s first gay on-screen superhero, in this adaptation of the teen comic series. Nov. 21, Hulu

The Greatest Showman
Zendaya, the multi-hyphenate Oakland native, stars as the trapeze-artist love interest in this showstopper about P.T. Barnum. Dec. 25

 A Rundown of the Fall's Must-See Exhibitions

Soil Erosion
Shannon Ebner curates a group show about erosion—whether natural, cultural, or metaphysical—featuring artists including Walker Evans. Sept. 7–Oct. 28, Altman Siegel

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic
The first large retrospective of the Chinatown-raised painter, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1999. Sept. 20–Dec. 10, BAMPFA

Idea of a Boundary
A group exhibition centered on how space is marked and the ways people negotiate with each other. Sept. 22–Jan. 20, 2018, SFAC Main Gallery

Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid
A group exhibition of new and commissioned works from 17 artists responding to tales from Jewish folklore—including sculpture by Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor and mixed-media paintings by Inez Storer. Sept. 28–Jan. 28, 2018, Contemporary Jewish Museum

The largest group show to date at the Wattis Institute is an exploration of machinery. Oct. 12–Feb. 24, 2018, Wattis Institute

Klimt and Rodin: An Artistic Encounter
In the third part of a series marking the centennial of Rodin’s death, the French sculptor’s work is paired with that of Austrian modernist Gustav Klimt. Oct. 14–Jan. 28, 2018, Legion of Honor

Couture Korea
The first-ever major U.S. museum exhibition of Korean fashion showcases traditional Korean garments and their influence on contemporary designers, including Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld. Nov. 3–Feb. 4, 2018, Asian Art Museum

Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules
Another big-time retrospective, this one of the late artist who once placed a car tire around the neck of a stuffed goat. Nov. 18–March 25, 2018, SFMOMA

Isaac Julien, the British filmmaker and installation artist, will show three films about the effects of capitalism. Dec. 1–Feb. 11, 2018, Fort Mason Center for the Arts

 A Handy Guide to This Fall's Page-Turners

Close Enough for the Angels
All Over Coffee’s Paul Madonna returns with a heavily illustrated mystery about stardom and success. Sept. 5, Petty Curse Books

Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory
Berkeley writer Elizabeth Rosner investigates how generations inherit trauma. Sept. 12, Counterpoint

Logical Family
Armistead Maupin recounts his arrival in San Francisco. Oct. 3, HarperCollins

Desperate Measures
Stephen G. Bloom profiles an early S.F. abortion clinic. Oct. 3, Simon & Schuster

Manhattan Beach
Jennifer Egan is back with a WWII-era mystery about a female diver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Oct. 3, Scribner

Real American
Julie Lythcott-Haims offers a poetic memoir about growing up biracial. Oct. 3, Henry Holt and Co.

Where the Past Begins
Amy Tan’s memories of early trauma, self-doubt, and a challenging family. Oct. 17, Ecco

Dawn of the New Everything
Jaron Lanier explains how VR can enrich our lives. Nov. 21, Henry Holt & Co.

 A Roundup of the Season's Most Important, Eclectic Performances

Mae: Motion Aftereffect
Freya Olafson, Yagiz Mungan, and Kinetech Arts, recipients of the Combustible Residency at CounterPulse, present a new work interrogating virtual reality and big data. Sept. 7–9, 14–16, CounterPulse

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group: Moses(es)
A work inspired by Zora Neale Hurston’s writing and Wilson’s travels to North Africa. Sept. 23–24, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley

Smuin: Dance Series 01
Ballets by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Garrett Ammon, along with Michael Smuin’s tribute to Sinatra, Fly Me to the Moon. Sept. 29–Oct. 7, Palace of Fine Arts Theater

Margaret Jenkins Dance Company: Skies Calling Skies Falling
The company’s 43rd season opener and a world premiere. Oct. 12–14, San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center

Epiphany Dance: Trolley Dances
Back for its 14th year and featuring dance from Hope Mohr Dance, Little Seismic Dance Company, and more. Oct. 21–22, various locations

Michelle Dorrance Dance: Three to One, Myeli-Nation, and Jungle Blues
Three works of boundary-pushing tap dance from the MacArthur “Genius” grant fellow. Oct. 27, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley

Oakland Ballet: Luna Mexicana
A family ballet celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead. Nov. 3, Paramount Theatre, Oakland

Hope Mohr Dance: Radical Movements
A series of dance and theater performances revolving around meanings of gender. Nov. 3–12, CounterPulse; Joe Goode Annex

Lines Ballet: The Propelled Heart
A collaboration with singer Lisa Fischer. Nov. 15–19, YBCA

A Selective Sampling of the Sounds of This Fall

Madeline Kenney: Night Night at the Fist Landing
The debut full-length album from the dream-pop vocalist. She’ll play September 7 at the Mezzanine. Sept. 1

Deerhoof: Mountain Moves
The longtime San Francisco noise-rock outfit celebrates its 12th full-length album with a September 21 show at the Great American Music Hall. Sept. 8

The Stone Foxes: Visalia
The San Francisco rockers wind up a world tour supporting their new EP at the Independent November 17. Sept. 15

Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White: Self-Titled
Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon) teams up with composer Ben Boye and drummer Jim White. Oct. 6

Negative Press Project: Eternal Life: Jeff Buckley Songs and Sounds
The Oakland nu-jazz outfit takes on Jeff Buckley’s seminal 1994 album, Grace. Nov. 17

G-Eazy: The Beautiful and the Damned
Following on the enormous success of 2015’s When It’s Dark Out, the East Bay’s James Dean of hip-hop returns with his third full-length album. Date TBD

Kamaiyah: Don't Ever Get It Twisted
The Oakland-born rapper behind the hit “How Does It Feel” drops her sophomore album, featuring the lead single “Build You Up.” Date TBD


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