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Fall Arts Picks

Highlights from the 2019-2020 Arts Season

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Art, BART, and the WWE

Self-taught artist Luis Estrada lives around the corner from the newly redesigned Richmond Main Street/Richmond Visitor Center, right next to the BART station. Since 2004, he's been creating paintings at the city's NIAD (Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development) Center, which works with artists with disabilities. His color-filled canvases, swirling with images inspired by the daily weather forecast, the day's BART schedule, or the plot of an episode of World Wrestling Entertainment, are the current featured exhibit of Richmond's 2019 Art in Windows Program, "Art Through Transition." Through Oct. 12, see the work displayed in the Visitor Center's windows, or, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, tap on the lobby doors to enter and view the paintings close up. — Janis Hashe

Free closing reception and community dialogue, Oct. 12, 1600 Nevin Plaza, Richmond. RichmondMainStreet.org

Air From Other Planets

San Francisco's ever-adventurous Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents "Air From Other Planets," a disparate program that includes Schoenberg's groundbreaking Second String Quartet from 1908 and C Major String Quartet, K. 465 by Mozart, who was a primary influence on Schoenberg. Accompanying these masterworks are two world premieres, bassoonist Jamie Leigh Sampson's Waving Goodbye for guitar, voice, and string quartet, and Berkeley guitarist John Schott's Movement for Viola And Guitar (Eye Contact). Known as an invaluable creative force on the Bay Area improvised music scene, Schott makes a rare foray into classical music inspired by guitarist Michael Goldberg, who's performing the piece with Left Coast's Phyllis Kamrin. The ensemble presents the same program Nov. 4 at the SF Conservatory of Music. — Andrew Gilbert

Nov. 2, The Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley, BHCweb.wixsite.com/hillsideclub

Biss And Beethoven

It's been a multi-year endeavor; pianist Jonathan Biss is near to completing his nine-year, nine-disc project to record and perform all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. In honor of the composer's 250th birthday, Biss returns to Berkeley this season to perform the full cycle — a monumental endeavor that begins this month with the first of three appearances this season. His first performance, 8 p.m. Sep. 21 in Hertz Hall, includes the Waldstein sonata; the next afternoon at 3, Biss continues the journey in a performance that features Beethoven's Appassionata. That's just the beginning; Biss will return in December and March with programs devoted to the remaining sonatas. — Georgia Rowe

Sep. 21 and 22, $34-76, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley, 510-642-9988, CalPerformances.org

Sitkovetsky Joins Gold Coast

Under violist and Artistic Director Pamela Freund-Striplen, the Gold Coast Chamber Players often pair top Bay Area classical musicians with touring artists and ensembles. The chamber music group launches its 2019-20 season in Lafayette and Piedmont with a special guest: acclaimed Russian violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, who joins Freund-Striplen, violinist Grazia Raimondi, cellist Luigi Piovano, and pianist Bernadene Blaha in a program devoted to Robert Schumann. The program features the composer's Violin Sonata No. 1 in A minor for violin and piano; Fantasiestücke for cello and piano, and Piano Quintet for piano and string quartet. Kai Christiansen gives a pre-concert talk 30 minutes prior to each performance. — Georgia Rowe

Sep. 14, Lafayette Library Community Hall; Sep. 15, Piedmont Center for the Arts; $15-45; 925-283-3728; GCCPMusic.com

Bring Me an Avocado

The Oakland-made Bring Me An Avocado explores the hardships of everyday life for people who are victims of crime. It incorporates Oakland's diversity into an intimate story about grief, family, and friendship. The story picks up as Robin (Sarah Burkhalter) is coming home to a surprise party that her loving husband George (Bolivian actor Bernardo Peña) is carefully orchestrating with Robin's sister Greece (Molly Ratermann), her best friend Jada (Candace Roberts) and their two daughters (California Poppy Sanchez and Michaela Robles). Due to an unfortunate series of events, Robin is the victim of gun violence and a loving reunion turns into a night spent at the ER with Robin in a coma. At its best, the movie feels unpretentious and real; the performances avoid melodrama and deliver raw vulnerability. Writer and director Maria Maella depicts the complexity of loss, which extends beyond sadness to include boredom and even fun. But perhaps the film's biggest accomplishment is that it manages to tell a story about a topic rarely explored in mainstream American cinema: betrayal. — Maria Leon

Sep. 29, $15, Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, 415-771-0183, SFLatinoFilmFestival.org

MC Hammer, Tony! Toni! Toné

In the early '90s, two Oakland acts dominated the charts: MC Hammer and Tony! Toni! Toné. Hammer, of course, will forever be known for his Rick James sampled "U Can't Touch This," but was always a diverse artist who straddled the lines between hip-hop and R&B with several other hits. His 1990 record Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em has sold more than 18 million copies and is the top selling rap album of all time. Tony! Toni! Toné had a string of R&B hits from 1988 till 1993, and still managed to chart up until they broke up in 1997. The first time the group reunited was in 2003, but it wasn't with the entire lineup. They come to the Oakland Arena with the full original lineup. As for Hammer, he's sporadically released music ever since the '90s, in additional to doing work as a minister. He's all ready to go in full on MC Hammer mode for the Oakland Area. — Aaron Carnes

Oct. 12, $42-167, Oakland Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, TheOaklandArena.com

Mott The Hoople at the Fox

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