Culture Crush: Five festivals and other events this week

St. Helena

Now in its second week, Festival Napa Valley’s 2021 live summer season continues to showcase world-renowned artists such as operatic and orchestral conductor Kent Nagano, who makes his festival debut in a performance of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at Charles Krug Winery. A California native, Nagano was best known in the Bay Area as the Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2009. He regularly conducts and works with the world’s leading international orchestras and opera companies, and this week he leads stars such as baritone Lucas Meachem, soprano Mikaela Bennett, tenor Mario Rojas, mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh and Festival Orchestra Napa on Thursday, July 22, at 2800 Main St, St. Helena. 6:30pm. Festivalnapavalley.org.

Petaluma

In addition to housing retailers and restaurants, Petaluma’s East Washington Place Shopping Center is going to be home to several artists this weekend at the Chalk Festival. The event showcases the work of 15 local artists who will create an array of eclectic life-sized chalk murals on the pavement using hundreds of sticks of pastel chalk. The festival will also offer family-friendly activities including a Kids Chalk Zone, where children will be invited to create their own chalk masterpieces and a spin-to-win prize wheel. Join the fun on Saturday, July 24, at 401 Kenilworth Dr., Petaluma. Noon. Free. Eastwashingtonplace.com.

Novato

Several Northern California artists and Bay Area sculptors will display innovative and culturally vibrant works at the MarinMOCA this summer. Described as a “visual quilt,” the group exhibit “Invincible” will pay tribute to the vibrant culture, heritage and resiliency of the LatinX community. Additionally, the group show “Continuous Clay: Trends & Innovations” will feature nine inventive Bay Area artists working in ceramics today. Finally, “Dialogues,” a paired exhibition with artist members Gary Marsh and Donna Wallace-Cohen, will include sculpture and paintings informed by deeply personal experiences. All exhibits open with a reception on Saturday, July 24, at 500 Palm Dr., Novato. 5pm. Marinmoca.org.

Napa

This weekend, nonprofit group Napa Valley Music Associates and Conservatory of Music will present its first live performance since Jan. 26, 2020, at the Napa Valley Guitar Festival. This concert will feature renowned concert guitarists and composers including Eric Symons, Marc Teicholz, Matthew Grasso, George Benton England and Florante Aguilar, who will perform musical selections including “Claire de Lune” by Claude Debussy and “Portrait of Antonio Lauro” by Sergio Assad. The event will also help fund tuition scholarships for music students. The festival commences on Sunday, July 25, at the First Presbyterian Church, 1333 Third Street, Napa. 4pm. $10–$15. Napavalleymusicassociates.org.

Fairfax

Before longtime Marin musician Velvy Appleton moves to Grass Valley this summer, he’s playing one more show in the North Bay with the ensemble Little Gems. The indie-folk sextet played its first official shows only two weeks before the lockdown last year. This weekend, the group plays its first show since March 2020 in a backyard somewhere in Fairfax, and the evening will feature two sets of music with the full band performing new original songs, old favorites and some choice covers. The house concert happens on Sunday, July 25, at an address provided upon ticket purchase. 5pm. $20. Littlegemsband.com.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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