This Week in Arts

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Our lead critics recommend the latest and greatest in culture. 

MUSIC:

A wide variety of albums await your ears this week — at least for those who haven’t already started torrenting them. Both the Berkeley-based hip-hop indie rock group Why? and Oakland’s own Zion-I will be releasing albums this Tuesday. In addition to the local groups, there are a lot of big name artists releasing. Matt & Kim, the Wallflowers and Flying Lotus all have new albums out this week as well.

And then, of course, Muse is releasing their latest record, The 2nd Law. The band has slowly deteriorated into a hollow shell of its former self, case in point with their incorporation of dubstep into the new album. Whether you dig the new album or not, it’ll be interesting to see how Muse will progress from here on out.

However, not all is glum in the music world. The experimental band Deerhoof will be playing at Slim’s in San Francisco on Monday. Famed guitarist Slash will be playing the Fox Theater in Oakland this Tuesday with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. If you’re looking for something more mellow and with a little scat thrown in, heartthrob Jason Mraz will be playing the Greek Theatre in Berkeley on Thursday.

— Ian Birnam

VISUAL ART:

As the first few days of October arrive, they bring with them the month’s First Friday Art Walk. Oakland Art Murmur has changed significantly over the years, with even more participating galleries and a broader geographic stretch of festivities. Although the walk is less concentrated now and has lost some of its intimacy and bustling excitement, Art Murmur is still at the top of the list when it comes to visual art in the East Bay.

After checking out Art Murmur on Friday, head to the city Saturday to see Colin M. Day’s latest show. Day is a San Francisco-based photographer and videographer who has done a lot of interesting projects capturing artists on film and creating engaging videos, which themselves are works of art. Now, he brings his talents to San Francisco’s Gallery Three in his show “Grey Areas.” Featuring large- and small-scale photographic works, he is documenting the gray areas of the marijuana industry and the urban art movement, both of which involve ever shifting uncertainties, rules and freedoms. Through the exhibition, Day asserts the legitimacy of these artists and farmers.

— Anna Carey

LITERATURE:

A festival borne out of the idea that San Franciscans spend two times the nation’s average on booze and books, SF Litquake starts this Friday and continues through Oct. 13, ending with a “Lit Crawl” — an event that embodies the original spirit that creators of the festival had.

With almost 200 events and 850 authors at the festival this year, it is clear that the Bay Area literary scene is expanding and deepening. From talks of “cowboy noir” to the project of turning “Moby Dick” into an opera and authors ranging from local star Dave Eggers to 20 random audience members who at “Pitchapalooza” have a minute to pitch their book concept, the events are crafted to spur discussion and, of course, further interest in the Bay Area literary community.

The “Lit Crawl” finale involves taking over various venues in a neighborhood (a bee-keeping shop has been used in the past) for authors to showcase their work on a more personal level with bookworms for free. Details on this year’s crawl are available on the Litquake website, along with tickets, schedules and descriptions of events.

— A.J. Kiyoizumi

THEATER:

Now that it’s October, we can look forward to two things. One: The election is near — so there’s still time for Romney and Obama to make that “Lethal Weapon” redo we’ve all been dreaming of. Two: Halloween and its glorious, candied treasures are soon to be enjoyed (and thrown up soon after if you’re like me). Alas, these events are still a month away. Luckily, the Bay Area theater scene has some shockingly exciting shows to fill these long, dreaded weeks of midterms and melancholia.

First up, this Monday, Oct. 1, Berkeley’s own Shotgun Players will be hosting a cabaret of presidential proportions. “Stand By Your Man: Women of the White House Sing Karaoke” will feature all the classic leading ladies — Michelle, Hillary, Nancy, Jackie — crooning to their hearts’ content. The image of Hillary Clinton singing seems a frightful sight more likely found in the Grand Guignol-style “Extravaganza of Terror & Titillation” of “Shocktoberfest 13: The Bride of Death” presented by San Francisco’s own Thrillpeddlers. Running Sept. 27 to Nov. 17, this parade of panic promises musicals, one-acts and spook shows suited to stir us students out of our midsemester stasis.

— Jessica Pena

FILM:

This Wednesday, student curatorial interns at the PFA are exhibiting a program of Bay Area student film. Titled, “Universal, Unique, Untouched,” the films being showcased represent the work of talented film students from across the bay area. Many of the filmmakers will be present and will hopefully answer questions. One only hopes the cine-Bears … the film-Bears … or whatever we call our student filmmakers, fare well against the several Stanford filmmakers who will be making the trip to show their work.

Anna Boden will be at the San Francisco Film Society theater on Oct. 4 showing her film “Sugar.” Billed as a fresh take on the classic rags-to-riches sports film, Sugar charts the growth of a young Dominican baseballer trying to make it in America. Boden will be present as part of her two-week-long artist in residence program to answer questions and help young filmmakers find their way and network. Those inspired by the “Universal, Unique, Untouched” should take note!

— Thomas Coughlan