.Culture Crush—Bryan Bielanski, Polar Bears and More

Sonoma
Bryan Bielanski 

An evening of dinner and drinks while listening to acoustic rock? There are worse ways to spend a Saturday. Step out to the Starling Bar in Sonoma and check out singer-songwriter Bryan Bielanski. Inspired by rock greats like Tom Petty and REM, Bielanski also brings his own distinct musical style and lyrics, which inspire thought and reflection over a great beat. Bielanski is a critically acclaimed musician, who has been traveling the United States and abroad for the last 10 years. He has played everywhere from Belgium to China to Louisiana to Greece to New Jersey. The man’s well-traveled, and his music reflects it. “…intelligent and musically coherent power pop with soul,” wrote Woody Mitchell (Charlotte Observer daily periodical, Charlotte, NC). “East Coast singer-songwriter packs more hooks than a tackle box!” according to Erika Boling (Metrospirit Magazine, Augusta, GA). Bielanski plays Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Starling Bar, 19380 Highway 12, Sonoma. 6-9pm. Free. www.starlingsonoma.com 

Petaluma
Polar Bear Fundraiser

Why not get a taste of Christmas in October? David Templeton’s solo show, Polar Bears: A True Story About a Very Big Lie, is on this Saturday, to support Templeton and raise money for his New York City performance of the show later this month. Written and performed by Templeton, Polar Bears is at once funny, touching and poignant, telling the story of a young father, desperate for his children to believe in Santa for longer than he did. (At four, he recognized the polar bear wrapping paper “Santa” had used to wrap his presents, and the dream was shattered.) His increasing obsession with the details of a perfect Christmas experience only amplifies when a family tragedy strikes. But things start to spiral out of control and everything, including the family’s celebration of Christmas, takes an unpredictable turn. Polar Bears: A True Story About a Very Big Lie is Saturday, Oct.. 15 at 145 Keller St., Petaluma. 6:30pm. Tickets $27. www.davepokornypresents.com 

Larkspur 
Mill Valley Film Festival 

Opening night featured such glitterati as Kate Hudson and Kathryn Hahn, and the festivities have only just begun. Now through Oct. 16, don’t miss The Mill Valley Film Festival. This year, as always, come to celebrate the best in independent and world cinema, across multiple genres. Nicknamed “the filmmaker’s film festival” and now in its 45th year, MVFF was founded in 1977 by director Mark Fishkin. It’s a non-competitive, film-loving atmosphere that invites thorough reflection on and enjoyment of film. See work from new and established filmmakers, and meet fellow film lovers. Screenings are in Larkspur, Mill Valley, Berkeley, San Rafael and San Francisco Oct. 6-16. Tickets $90-$145. www.mvff.com 

San Rafael
Fall In Festival

Come get to know Marin’s thriving Jewish community at the Marin Jewish Community Center’s Fall In Festival. This free, harvest-themed event features food, activities, crafts, music and a chance to get to know your neighbors. Hear about the JCC’s offerings, from Camp Kehillah and early childhood education to adult learning programs and fitness and aquatics offerings. Learn about making a ritual bouquet for the harvest holiday of Sukkot, and make leaf garlands that can be planted once the season is over. Participate in Harvest Yoga and Bountiful Bootcamp, learn harvest stories, view sukkah pop-up art installations—which will be completed live during the festival—listen to music and devour pastries. The Fall In Festival is Sunday, Oct. 16 at 200 North San Pedro Rd., San Rafael. 2-5pm Free. www.marinjcc.org 

—Jane Vick 

Jane Vickhttp://janevick.com
Jane Vick is a journalist, artist and writer who has spent time in Europe, New York and New Mexico. She is currently based in Sonoma County. View her work at janevick.com.

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