Worth a look Nov 17 | November 17, 2023 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Arts & Entertainment - November 17, 2023

Worth a look Nov 17

by Staff

Shannon Takaoka

Bay Area author Shannon Takaoka presentes her new YA novel, "The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne," at a Books Inc. Palo Alto event this month, in conversation with friend and fellow local author Deborah Crossland ("The Quiet Part Out Loud"). Takaoka's latest book, set in the 1980s, follows an awkward teen who finds she can shape reality by writing about it in a magical journal, and was called "moving and emotionally satisfying" by Publisher's Weekly. Takaoka is also the author of the 2021 YA novel "Everything I Thought I Knew."

Nov. 19, 3 p.m., Books Inc. Palo Alto, Town and Country Village, 855 El Camino Real, #74, Palo Alto. booksinc.net.

Anat Cohen with Marcello Goncalves

Renowned jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and bandleader Anat Cohen — whom the New York Times called "a revelation" — returns to the Peninsula, joined by Brazilian guitarist Marcello Goncalves, to perform at Palo Alto's Mitchell Park Community Center. The New York-based, Tel Aviv-born Cohen is perhaps best known to local jazz aficionados thanks to her involvement with Stanford Jazz Workshop, and has a love for Latin music styles. Earthwise Productions, the Palo Alto promoter organizing the event, is offering two seatings for the duo's performances: one at 7 p.m. followed by a second two hours later.

Nov. 17, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, $25. eventbrite.com.

Bay Choral Guild

For the sheer scale of their sound, masses are impressive compositions, but there's nothing that says such a work also has to be ponderously long — or even exist in completed form, for that matter — to be a masterpiece. Bay Choral Guild, a 35-voice community choir, performs two masses from the Classical era that are brisk in length, and bright in sound. The choir's "Majestic Masses" program on Nov. 18 features Franz Schubert's spirit-lifting Mass No. 2, which is not only (relatively) short and sweet but it's said that it took Schubert only about a week to compose. The piece is joined on the program by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's lush Mass in C minor, K. 427, which is considered one of his greatest works, according to the choral guild's website even given the fact that some movements are missing. The choir performs Helmut Eder's 1985 reconstruction of the mass.

Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. The choir performs the same program Dec. 17 in Campbell. baychoralguild.org.

'District Merchants' and 'William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead'

The Pear Theatre presents, if you'll forgive the pun, a pair of sharply comedic shows running in repertory, both offering fresh twists on Shakespeare. "District Merchants, an Uneasy Comedy" written by Aaron Posner, reworks "The Merchant of Venice," setting it "among the Black and Jewish populations of an imagined time and place that is simultaneously Shakespearean, Reconstruction-era Washington, D.C., and today," according to the Pear. "William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead," by John Heimbuch, features the Bard himself as a character, defending his new play "Henry V" while a vile plague is sweeping through London and the theater finds itself under quarantine. And yes, there are zombies. Both shows are directed by Pear head Sinjin Jones and are rated PG-13.

"William Shakespeare's The Land of the Dead" runs Nov. 17-Dec. 9. "District Merchants" runs Nov. 18-Dec. 10. The Pear Theatre; 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View, $38-40. thepear.org.

Con Brio

Energetic, seven-piece Bay Area soul-and-funk group Con Brio (the name comes from the musical direction meaning "with spirit"), known for their lively performances, headlines at the Guild, following the October release of their fourth album, "Scream At It." Santa Cruz-raised roots rocker Anthony Arya — a contestant on NBC's "The Voice" in 2018 as a teen — will open the show with his band. His own forthcoming fourth album is due out in early 2024.

Nov. 22, The Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 8 p.m., $33. guildtheatre.com. n


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