Picks of the Week: Madonna, Memorial Day and modern art

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Laura Berger/Courtesy

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Happy Monday, Berkeley. Before you read any further, open up Spotify or Apple Music or Tidal or whatever service you use to listen to music, and put on “Called Out In The Dark.” Cue up “Just Say Yes” and “Chasing Cars.” This week is about Snow Patrol. And CHVRCHES. Add “The Mother We Share” and “Leave A Trace.” Both bands are releasing new albums Friday. For Snow Patrol, this is a big update — Fallen Empires, after all, is from back in 2011.

Now that you have a proper soundtrack, let’s pop back over to the beginning of the week. Today, Monday, is a choose your own adventure.

René Magritte: The Fifth Season opened this weekend at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Magritte is the Belgian guy who painted “The Son of Man.” That’s the picture of the bowler hat-clad man with a green apple hovering over his face. It’s famous.

The SFMOMA exhibition is the first of its kind to look exclusively at Magritte’s late career, from the 1940s to the 1960s (Magritte died in 1967). The nine galleries comprising 70 artists are surrealist and modernist. For a $27 young adult ticket, you can spend your Monday wandering the concrete halls, including admission to the museum’s general galleries. If you are 18 or younger, the tickets are free.

Or maybe a day of posh art patrons and hushed tones doesn’t tickle your fancy. That’s OK — there’s plenty more to do. At 4:30 p.m. and again at 8 p.m., the Castro Theatre in San Francisco will be playing an unrestored 70 mm print of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which Warner Bros. Pictures is releasing in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary. If you go, pay special attention to the bone-to-satellite match cut (beginning at 1:33 in the link).

Also at 6 p.m. is a joke workshop happening at Mutiny Radio on 21st Street in San Francisco. The creator and founder of MutinyRadio.fm, Pam Benjamin, will work with you on the fundamentals of stand-up comedy. The event is free, although Benjamin won’t say no to a donation. And speaking of stand-up, if you’re looking for some inspiration before the workshop, check out Ali Wong’s new Netflix special, “Hard Knock Wife.” Or, if jokes about childbirth and gender politics aren’t really your speed, try Hari Kondabolu’s “Warn Your Relatives” for jokes about identity, politics and his mango obsession, also on Netflix.

Whatever you did Monday, Wednesday is for staying in, maybe for hosting a midweek dinner party. Listen to Madonna, which was remastered in 2001 on this very day, while you prepare an Eating Berkeley dessert recommendation: healthy and easy watermelon-coconut Popsicles. While you’re enjoying your homemade treats, here are some more music facts from past May 22s that you can use to dazzle your dinner companions:

May 22, 1966: Bruce Springsteen and one of his first bands, the Castiles, recorded their first and only record, which was never released.  

May 22, 2003: The working manuscript of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, annotated by none other than Beethoven himself, was sold for $3.43 million at auction.

And before you know it, it’ll be Thursday. Thursday is the last day of the festival hosted by the Center for Asian American Media, known as CAAMFest. At 7 p.m. at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Bay Area storyteller and activist Brenda Wong Aoki will present her live show, “Aunt Lily’s Flower Book: One Hundred Years of Legalized Racism.” Tickets are $20.

And that brings us to the end of the week and the edge of a three-day weekend. Consider going to the Mezzanine’s “Late Registration” Memorial Day kickoff party, serving up strictly 2000s hip-hop. Listen to THE CANDY RAIN, s4nta mu3rte and SEAN G, as well as the “best crunk, hyphy, jerk, snap, and sensitive thug jams” 2000-something had to offer — Mezzanine’s words, not mine. If you RSVP in advance, it’s free.

But before I go and leave you to your week, there is a new trailer for “Bohemian Rhapsody” that is a rhapsody in and of itself. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is out Friday, and showtimes will be utterly swamped, so go catch a showing of “A Quiet Place” instead if you haven’t already seen it, then listen to John Krasinski narrate this “Anatomy of a Scene.” Laura Berger makes some truly beautiful feminine art — the image at the top is by her.

And finally if you have a minute and want to bookmark an article to read as you wait for any of the above events to begin, we suggest our former music beat reporter Annalise Kamegawa’s “I love you, but you’re bringing me down.” It’s a poignant personal reflection on going to concerts, being in a relationship and being alone — imbued with Kamegawa’s signature blend of humor and wisdom.

Editor’s note: The arts & entertainment department is changing the format of
“Picks of the Week” to a weekly newsletter. 

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Olivia Jerram is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].