This Week in Arts

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Beginning next week, artists and art groups will fill public spaces in San Francisco’s Central Market neighborhood with their latest artwork, crafts, and performances as they collaborate in the 24 Days of Central Market Arts Festival. With special events and activities running through the entire few weeks concentrated along just a few blocks, the festival is open to the public and completely free.

Next Saturday marks the festival’s kick off with its first of two art walks, “2 Blocks of Art — Urban Solutions.” The Sixth Street corridor (Sixth Street between Market and Howard) will be closed off to cars and will feature the works of more than 100 artists. Craft-making vendors will take over the alleys off of the street. On Market between Fifth and Seventh streets, performers of all kinds will be showcasing their talents all evening, and restaurants and bars throughout the area will have food and drink specials. From visual art to music to comedy to food, the event is meant to capture the lively artistic community of the area and prime the public for the festival’s future events.

— Anna Carey


French villagers who transform into rhinos and political assassins. Yes, it’s one of those wild weeks.

From Sept. 27 to 29, Cal Performances is hosting the Parisian theater company Theatre de la Ville’s performance of playwright Eugene Ionesco’s subversive and surreal work “Rhinoceros.” Set in an unnamed French village, the play follows the town’s inhabitants who begin transforming into  rhinos — save for one man, Berenger, who must cope with decision to conform or to combat.

This theme of political and social submission continues with one of Stephen Sondheim’s lesser-known works, “Assassins.” Everybody knows the story of Lincoln’s murder and the tragedy of John F. Kennedy’s last ride through Dallas. However, Sondheim’s musical is less about the famous political figures than it is about the marginal figures who set out to destroy them. It’s a provocative show rife with spectacle and cynicism and beginning Sept. 27, Berkeley’s Shotgun Players will be holding previews of their upcoming adaptation, which officially opens on Oct. 5.

— Jessica Pena



J.K. Rowling is finally back this Thursday, Sept. 27, with her first novel for adults, “The Casual Vacancy.” It has been five years since the last Harry Potter book was published, but amid the development of movies, games, fan websites and theme parks, Harry Potter is far from forgotten. For ’90s kids, weird adults and even the younger generations who caught onto the movie versions of the author’s magically popular Harry Potter series, her full return to writing is both exciting and nerve-racking.

The novel is said to be full of dark humor, again showing Rowling’s talent for storytelling. A prominent member of the town of Pagford dies unexpectedly, slowly unravelling a town that is at war in the midst of politics and religion. Although the novel is greatly anticipated, Rowling has released very few details about the book, perhaps to preserve that excitement. It seems doubtful that the author will ever write anything to overshadow “Harry Potter,” but it will be interesting to see how her style and even her popularity might change with her switching of genres.

— A.J. Kiyoizumi



If, as JFK said, the Cold War was all about letting them “come to Berlin,” then it’s a jolly good thing that now that it’s all over, Berlin can come to us — well, to the Castro Theatre, at least. The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival runs this entire week and includes such highlights as a German version of “Tom Sawyer,” a new version of Goethe’s classic “Faust” and Veit Helmer’s “Baikonur.” Hiemer will be present at the screening, along with some behind-the-scenes footage. I’m crossing my fingers for a German blooper reel.

This week, the PFA begins a new film series showcasing the films of Alex Cox. Called “Rebel Without Applause,” the series charts Cox’s controversial and subversive career since the mid ’80s. This Friday, the PFA gets the series off to a good start by screening a double feature of Cox’s films, this year’s “Straight to Hell Returns” and Cox’s first film, “Repo Man,” from 1984.  “Straight to Hell Returns” includes appearances from Elvis Costello, The Pogues and Courtney Love. And if you stick around for “Repo Man,” you’ll be treated to pre-Mighty Ducks Emilio Estevez kicking about the down-and-out streets of Los Angeles.

— Thomas Coughlan



Feeling a little punk this week? Same here, and those going to Green Day’s sold-out show at the Fillmore this Friday are extremely lucky. The band will be celebrating the release of their album Uno! this Tuesday, the first in a three- part series. The only way into the concert — besides trying your luck at Craigslist or Stubhub — is to win tickets through Live 105. If you aren’t able to get any, there are luckily plenty of other albums and concerts this week to enjoy.

New albums from Deadmau5, Lupe Fiasco and No Doubt are all coming out this week. Fiasco will be releasing the much anticipated Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt.1, the sequel to his debut studio album. Hopefully it’ll prove to be a better effort than the disappointing Lasers album.

If you can’t afford to catch Train play at the Greek Theatre this Friday, then check out Fleet Foxes’ ex-drummer J. Tillman’s side project, Father John Misty. The folksy rocker will be playing a free show on Lower Sproul this Friday at noon, courtesy of SUPERB. Misty will also be playing two nights at the Independent in San Francisco on Wednesday and Friday.

— Ian Birnam