Feature: 2016 Fall Arts Guide

By Charlie Swanson

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: fall is our favorite season. It’s not only because temperatures cool and leaves crunch underfoot; it also has to with the fact that the North Bay annually offers up a bounty of entertainment over the next three months. From Labor Day through Thanksgiving, there are huge music festivals, live theater productions, extravagant wine country weekends, festive art fairs and so much more happening in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. You can’t do it all, but our annual Fall Arts Guide lays it all out.


Marin Shakespeare Company

The company’s bold outdoor presentation of Othello features former California State Prison inmate Dameion Brown making his stage debut in the complex and powerful title role. Sept. 2–25. Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican University, 890 Belle Ave., San Rafael. $10-$35. 415.499.4488.

Marin Theatre Company

Producing provocative and passionate works from the best playwrights of this century and last, the company starts its landmark 50th season with the richly entertaining family drama August: Osage County, running Sept. 8–Oct. 2. Next, playwright-in-residence Lauren Gunderson’s charming holiday romance Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley acts as a continuation to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Nov. 25–Dec. 18. 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.5200.

Marin Society of Artists

The society has a new location in San Rafael, though their commitment to local arts and artists has remained steadfast. Upcoming exhibits include themed shows like “Introspection,” featuring a reception on Sept. 11, and “In Your Dreams,” opening Sept. 29. Later this fall, the “89th Annual Members Show” runs Nov. 3–Dec. 1. 1515 Third St, San Rafael. Wed.–Sun., noon–4pm. 415.454.9561.

Mountainfilm Festival

Annual touring film fest comes to Mill Valley and packs dozens of documentaries covering extreme sports and environmental activism into four days of screenings, with guest speakers and special events. Last year’s event sold out, so buying your ticket in advance is suggested. Sept. 14–18. Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 415.383.9600.

Ross Valley Players

Operating in Marin continually since 1930, the players once again present a season packed with classic works and world premieres. First up, a dog and her adoptive couple make for wholesome comedy when Sylvia runs Sept. 16–Oct. 16. Next, Gilbert and Sullivan take audiences to the H.M.S. Pinafore on Nov. 11 through Dec. 18. 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. 415.456.9555, ext. 1.

Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

The sculpture, painting, ceramics and photography of some 150 different artists are on display under the redwoods at the foot of Mount Tamalpais. This 60th annual festival also includes live music by Lowell Levinger (aka Banana), Faust & Fox, the Milestone and others, with a children’s grove of activities making this a family-friendly festival. All profits go to local schools and charities. Sept. 17-18. Old Mill Park, 320 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 10am–5pm. $5–$10; kids under 12, free. 415.381.8090.

Stepping Out to Celebrate Life

Breast-cancer fundraiser gala returns for its 21st year with the theme “Stepping into the Future.” Cocktails and a silent auction will kick off the night, followed by a fashion show featuring men and women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Entourage provides the music for dancing, and a live auction will raise money to support underserved breast-cancer patients. Sept. 24. Marin Center Exhibit Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 5:30pm. $250. tocelebratelife.org

Gallery Route One

The nonprofit art organization wraps up its annual “Box Show” on Sept. 18 and then offers diverse and admired artists through the fall. Fine art and performance artist Diana Marto’s “Golden Room–Canto XXV,” runs Sept. 23-Oct. 30, and oil painter Johanna Baruch’s “Cosmos Paintings,” runs Nov. 4-Dec. 11. 11101 Hwy One, Point Reyes Station. 11am–5pm, closed Tuesdays. 415.663.1347.

Floating Homes Tour

The Sausalito water-bound community invites visitors into some of the world’s most unique and beautiful homes for this annual tour that also includes exhibits by local artists, authors and maritime-oriented nonprofits, food and refreshments, and live music throughout the day. Sept. 24. Kappas Marina, Sausalito. 11am–4pm. $50-$60. 415.332.1916.

Italian Film Festival

The 40th annual event is your best chance to savor the Italian experience, featuring critically acclaimed Italian films, both comedy and drama, shown over eight days with special guests and more. Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 24-Nov. 5. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 5:30pm. $15–$112 (series ticket). 415.473.6800.


The history of fine-food production in coastal Marin from 1834 to today is on display in this exhibit curated by Elia Haworth and Sandy Dierks. Items include maps, photographs and historic equipment that tell the story of agriculture in Marin through the eyes of those who live it day-to-day. Sept. 24-Dec. 31. Bolinas Museum, 48 Wharf Road, Bolinas. Friday, 1–5pm; Saturday–Sunday, noon–5pm. 415.868.0330.

Here I Am with Jonathan Safran Foer

Brooklyn author of two bestselling, award-winning novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as well as the nonfiction work “Eating Animals,” presents his first novel in 11 years. Here I Am is an inventive and intimate portrait of a fractured family that explores concepts of identity and conflict in the modern world. Sept. 28. Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera. 7pm. $30, includes signed copy of the book. 415.927.0960.

Beyond the Book Bash

The seventh annual benefit for Mill Valley’s public library brings letter-wielding big shots to a local haunt, and features top-tier literary stars and musical guests. Proceeds from the event will help provide funds for the library’s programs, technology and services. Sept. 30. Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. mvlf.org

“20/20 Vision”

The past, present and future all come together as Art Works Downtown celebrates their 20th anniversary of presenting exciting and engaging art and connecting the community with artists in downtown San Rafael. Sept. 24–Nov. 11. 1337 Gallery, 1337 Fourth St., San Rafael. Tues.–Sat., 10am–5pm. 415.451.8119.

Sound Summit

This festival is dedicated to raise funds for, and to celebrate the spirit and beauty of Mount Tamalpais State Park. The daylong event takes place at a stone amphitheatre at the top of the mountain, and this year’s stellar lineup includes Wilco, Los Lobos, the Stone Foxes, Matt Jaffe and Bill Frisell’s Guitar in the Space Age. Combine that with a great selection of food and beverages, and you have a festival that can’t be beat. Sept. 17, Cushing Memorial Amphitheater, Ridgecrest Blvd., Mill Valley. 10am–7pm. Adults: $100; $50 kids. soundsummit.net.

Novato Theater Company

With its origins in 1919, the Novato Theater Company has evolved over the years to become a dependable source for great local theater. This season includes classics such as Tennessee Williams’ passionate A Streetcar Named Desire, running Sept. 9–Oct. 2, and A Christmas Carol: The Musical, from Dec 2–18. Novato Theater Playhouse, 5430 Nave Dr., Novato. novatotheatercompany.org.

6th Street Playhouse

Housed in the heart of Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, the popular playhouse continues to engage the community with plays and musicals designed to delight and entertain. Currently, the playhouse revives the classic Marx Brothers’ comedy Animal Crackers through Sept. 18. Up next, actor Charlie Bethel offers a premiere one-man-show performance of Call of the Wild, Sept. 10–25, in the Playhouse’s studio theater as part of a Jack London festival. Satirically brilliant, The Threepenny Opera musically muses onstage Sept. 30–Oct. 23, and TV actor Charles Siebert portrays Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Nov. 25–Dec. 23. 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 707.523.4185.

Wine Country Weekend

Get up close and personal with Sonoma County winegrowers, winemakers and chefs in one of America’s top wine-focused fund-raisers. Friday includes Sonoma Starlight, an evening of wine, dinner and live music under the stars at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Saturday’s Taste of Sonoma event at MacMurray Estate Vineyards immerses you in over 200 wineries pouring thousands of glasses. Sunday’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. John lets you take it home. Sept. 2–4; sonomawinecountryweekend.com.

Main Stage West

Sebastopol’s intimate theater space presents another fall schedule of impressive works. First up, a world-premiere performance of playwright Rebecca Louise Miller’s Capacity shines light on the often-overlooked brilliance of Mileva Maric’ Einstein, wife of Albert, from Sept. 2-18. Next, modern-theater classic Dancing at Lughnasa runs Oct. 14–30, and the poignant musical Hope runs Nov. 25–Dec. 18. 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. 707.823.0177.

SOMO Concerts

The solar-powered outdoor venue hosts several shows throughout September to close out their sunny season of fun. On Sept. 2, a flock of ’80s bands like Cutting Crew, Berlin, Dramarama and others pack the stage for the Lost ’80s Live showcase. On Sept. 17, the popular EarleFest benefit concert moves to SOMO for a day of Americana music featuring Lucinda Williams and the Mavericks. On the 18th, the California Conscious Music Fest welcomes Kool & the Gang, Sol Horizon and others for a day of thoughtful jams. Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center, 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park; somoconcerts.com.

Cinnabar Theater

The revered Petaluma theater presents its 44th season of musicals and dramatic works. The heart-warming musical The Most Happy Fella starts the season with smiles Sept. 2–25. Then, dramatic and life-affirming The Quality of Life makes its North Bay premiere Oct. 14–30. 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 707.763.8929.

Sonoma County Cajun Zydeco & Delta Rhythm Festival

This popular New Orleans–inspired festival turns 21 this year and expands into a full weekend of fun, with nationally known acts like Louisiana’s Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, Henry Butler and Zigaboo Modeliste & the New Aahkesstra, along with local favorites such as Frobeck and Zydeco Flames. Also on hand: Art, wine, beer, Cajun cuisine and more. Sept. 3–4, Ives Park, 400 Willow St., Sebastopol. 11:30am–7pm. $25–$50; kids under 12, free; winecountrycajun.com.

Sausalito Art Festival

Sausalito has long been hailed as an artist’s paradise, so hosting this perennial and excellent arts fest is a no-brainer. This year marks the 64th festival, and features top-name musical entertainment from the likes of Blind Boys of Alabama, Edgar Winter, Todd Rundgren, and the Zombies. Plus, there’s gourmet food and beverages—not to mention more art on display than you’ll find at most museums! Sept. 3-5. Marinship Park, Sausalito. Saturday–Sunday, 10am–7pm; Monday, 10am–5pm. $20–$25; children under 12, free. 415.332.3555.

Green Music Center

There’s almost too many events coming to Sonoma State University’s world-class venue to name, but we’ll try to list them anyways. On Sept. 3, iconic songwriter Melissa Etheridge plays her empowering music. On Sept. 11, multi-platinum-selling and multifaceted songwriter Gavin DeGraw performs solo. Other acts include indie folk rockers the Avett Brothers on Sept. 15, husband-wife comedy team Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally on Sept. 18, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis on Oct. 1, and even O.G. rapper Ice-T in a special spoken-word appearance on Oct. 28. 1801 East Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, 866.955.6040.


There will be fun and food at Fishstock, the annual fundraiser for the Jenner Community Club. Enjoy chowder tasting, barbecued salmon, offerings from local wineries and breweries, live music, an ice cream parlor, a raffle and more. Sept. 4. 10398 Hwy., Jenner. 11am–5pm. $5; kids free. visitjenner.com.

National Heirloom Exposition

Dubbed the “World’s Pure Food Fair,” this massive expo of food providers and enthusiasts brings together chef demos, displays, live music, a giant-pumpkin contest, antique tractors and plenty of good food benefiting school gardening education programs. Sept. 6-8. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $15–$30. theheirloomexpo.com.

Luther Burbank Center

for the Arts

The newly rebranded nonprofit venue hosts a wide swath of talent, including Grammy-winning songwriter Ray LaMontagne on Sept. 7, funny woman Wanda Sykes on Sept. 10, eloquent songwriter Emmylou Harris on Sept. 30, flute-stomping Jethro Tull on Oct. 25 and Monty Python founders John Cleese and Eric Idle together in an uproarious live show on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600.

Lucky Penny Productions

Napa’s nonprofit theater company opens its 2016-17 season with a splash, presenting Big River, the musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Sept. 9–25. Next on the list is an original speakeasy-set musical, I Wanna Be Bad, written by locals Shannon Rider and Barry Martin, running Oct. 14–23. After that, another classic takes the stage as The Miracle Worker relates the story of Helen Keller and her relationship with teacher Annie Sullivan, running Nov. 4–20. 1758 Industrial Way, Napa. 707.266.6305.

Left Edge Theatre

Continuing in the traditions of longtime Santa Rosa company Actors’ Theatre, Left Edge presents another season of imaginative productions that push the envelope on a local level. The Big Meal, running Sept. 9–25, sets the season’s table with an expansive and expressive family drama piled high with humor and heart. The satirical gem Zombie Town, running Oct. 14–30, finds a San Francisco theatre troupe in the heart of Texas and talking with survivors of a recent outbreak of the undead. The celebrated comedy Bad Jews rounds out the fall, Nov. 18–Dec. 4. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa. leftedgetheatre.com.

American Roots Music Festival

This is the third annual event to benefit Lifeschool’s Wilderness Adventures and features Free Peoples, Frankie Boots, Next of Kin, Sonoma Aroma and Dixie Giants with vendors, great food, live auctions and more. Sept. 10. 16951 Bodega Hwy, Bodega. 2pm to 9pm. $25, kids under 10 are free. goadventure.org

Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival

A rich tradition of blues and jazz marks 40 years of fun on the river with headliners Chaka Khan, Jonny Lang, Keb’ Mo’, Sheila E., Bobby Rush and others performing at the best little beach on the Russian River. A wine garden, international food court and kayaking and canoeing also await you. Sept. 10–11. Johnson’s Beach, 16241 First St., Guerneville. 10am–6pm. $55 and up. 707.869.1595. russianriver


Best. State. Ever. With Dave Barry

Pulitzer Prize–winner and New York Times–bestselling author hilariously defends his home state and finds the funny in Florida stereotypes, in his newest book. Sept. 12. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera. Noon. $55, includes book. 415.927.0960. Montgomery Village Copperfield’s Books, 750 Village Court, Santa Rosa. 7pm. Free admission. 707.578.8938.

Chautauqua Revue

The revue is back for its 14th year. New twists with musicians, dancers, storytellers, performers and clowns keep audiences on their toes while honoring the traditions of the original Chautauqua events from a century ago. Sept. 15–17. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, 15290 Coleman Valley Rd., Occidental. Thurs.–Sat., 7:30pm; children’s matinee, Saturday, 2pm. $6–$44. Kids under five are free. 707.874.1557.

Spreckels Theatre Company

The semi-professional resident theater company presents another season of critically acclaimed productions and show-stopping musicals. The world’s greatest detective—this side of Batman—is on the case in Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, in which five actors portray over 40 characters, Sept. 16–Oct. 9. Then, the dramatic Titanic: The Musical runs Oct. 14–30 and Peter and the Starcatcher tells another side of Neverland on Nov. 25–Dec. 18. 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. 707.588.3400.

Music Festival for Brain Health

Musician and humanitarian Michael Franti & Spearhead headlines this fundraising affair, which also includes science symposiums and wine tastings. Sept. 17. Staglin Family Vineyard, 1570 Bella Oaks Ln, Rutherford. music-festival.org

Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival

This event is all about the beer. A short list of participating breweries includes Henhouse, Petaluma Hills, Lagunitas, 101 North, Moylan’s, Woodfour, Fogbelt and St. Florian’s Brewery. There’s also food tastings, live music and more on Sept. 17, Water Street, Petaluma (21 and over only). 1–5pm. $40; $20 for designated drivers. petalumarivercraftbeerfest.org.

Art for Life 2016

Support Face to Face/Sonoma County AIDS Network in their mission to end HIV in the North Bay, and get some fine art from hundreds of generous donors at this 29th annual auction and party. Sept. 17. Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 South High St., Sebastopol. 2–6pm. $50 and up. 707.544.1581.

Old Grove Festival

It’s hard to find better acoustics in the heart of the Armstrong Woods than the 1930s-era, open-air Redwood Forest Theater, home of the annual Old Grove Festival. Headlining the festival this year is Poor Man’s Whiskey and songwriter David Luning. Bring flashlights, seat cushions and warm clothes. Sept. 17. Redwood Forest Theater, 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. 4:30pm. $30–$75. One child free with each paying adult. 707.869.9177.

“Artistry in Wood”

Sonoma County Woodworkers Association presents its 28th annual exhibit, regarded as one of the best woodwork shows in the country. Only the finest examples of artistic works and beautiful pieces of furniture will be on display. Sept. 17-Oct 9. History Museum of Sonoma County, 425 Seventh St, Santa Rosa. Tues.–Sun., 11am–5pm. $7–$10; 12 and under free. 707.579.1500.

Napa Valley Aloha Festival

The Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation hosts this ninth annual event covering two days and including live music and dance from the Hawaiian and Polynesian communities, Hawaiian food, and arts and crafts. Sept. 17–18. Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa. Sat., 10am–6pm; Sun., 10am–4pm. Free (bring a canned food for donation). 707.418.8588.

Open Studios Napa Valley

Art studios from all stretches of the Napa Valley are open for this 29th annual event, taking place over the last two weekends in September. Self-guided tours feature dozens of diverse artists working in several media. The event is juried, and unlike other open studio tours in the North Bay, the artists run the entire affair. Many of the artists also show their work at Art Gallery Napa Valley, 1307 First St, Napa. Sept. 17-18 and 24-25. 10am to 5pm. Maps and info at artnv.org.

Petaluma Poetry Walk

Bipedal-powered literary event is back for its 21st year. Readings are scattered throughout downtown Petaluma locales that are within walking distance of each other and feature celebrated poets and music. Sept. 18. 11am–8pm. Free. Check website for schedule. petalumapoetrywalk.org.

Fiesta de Indepencia

Celebrate Mexico’s independence and Latino Heritage Month with a daylong fiesta featuring authentic food, music, games and activities for the entire family. Dance to live mariachi bands and swing at piñatas—and don’t miss out on the salsa contest. Sept. 18. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1pm–6pm. Free. 707.546.3600.

New Century Chamber Orchestra

The orchestra kicks off its 25th silver season with a debut appearance by Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan, currently New York Philharmonic’s artist-in-association, on Sept 18. Then, Australian-Taiwanese violinist Ray Chen leads the orchestra in a program of Mozart, Elgar and Britten on Nov. 13. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 5pm. $29–$61. 415.392.4400.

Wine Country Film Festival

Cinematic magic takes over the Valley of the Moon for the 30th annual festival. Feature-length and short films of every genre are presented throughout Kenwood and Glen Ellen, as well as live appearances by industry specialists and workshops. Sept. 22–26. wcff.us/2016

Raven Players

The players present another year of lively plays that run the gamut from farcical to frightful. The world’s most dangerous barber, Sweeney Todd, offers a bloody good time from Sept. 23–Oct. 9. Then, Victorian frights come alive when The Woman in Black runs Oct. 20–29. For the holidays, the players present It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play from Dec. 8–18. 115 North St., Healdsburg. 707.433.6335.

Sonoma Bach

Local countertenor Christopher Fritzsche joins Sonoma Bach resident vocal ensembles the Green Mountain Consort and Live Oak Baroque Orchestra in songs and instrumental pieces from England, Italy, Germany and Spain in the season opener, titled “Garden of Delights,” on Sept. 23. Then, “Songs of Praise and Thanksgiving” features Live Oak Baroque and Circa 1600 along with the Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, Nov. 18–19. Schroeder Hall, Green Music Center, 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. 707.303.4604.

Cloverdale Performing Arts Center

The nonprofit center continues its 2016 theater season with the farce Run For Your Wife, about a London cabbie juggling two wives and two lives with hilarious results, Sept. 23–Oct. 9. Then, the classic children’s book, The Adventure of Mr. Toad, gets a musical adaptation that runs Dec. 2–18. 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. $12–$18. 707.894.2214.

Santa Rosa Toy Con

Nerd-tastic convention offers three buildings of comics, toys, games and collectibles from over 200 vendors. Special guests include actors Vincent M. Ward (The Walking Dead), Catherine Sutherland (Power Rangers) and Phil Lamarr (Futurama). There’s also the annual cosplay competition, Lego exhibition and more in store. Sept. 24. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Early-bird opening at 9am. $25; regular opening, 10am. $15. santarosatoycon.com.

Much Ado About Sebastopol

The seventh annual fair again partners with the many Renaissance guilds in the area to reproduce a merry autumn day in an imaginary English Tudor town circa 1578, replete with fencing workshops, local food and drink, vendors, artisans, family-friendly fun and—oh, the costumes! Sept. 24-25. St. Ives Park, 7400 Willow Ave., Sebastopol. Sat., 10am–6pm; Sun., 10am–5pm. $10–$16; kids under 10, free. muchadoaboutsebastopol.com

Measure + Dido

NapaShakes and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC presents the world premiere event that combines dramatic readings of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure with excerpts from Henry Purcell’s chamber opera Dido and Aeneas. Starring renowned actor Derek Jacobi and actor-director Richard Clifford—and featuring the acclaimed musicians of DC’s Folger Consort—this event appears twice in the North Bay before moving to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Sept. 24, at Lincoln Theater, 100 California Dr, Yountville. 7pm. $35–$125. Sept. 25, Green Music Center, 1801 East Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. 7pm. $35–$75. NapaShakes.org.

Sonoma County Philharmonic

Community-based nonprofit organization revels in a new season of orchestral performances. First, conductor Norman Gamboa leads the symphony for a playful program titled “Prankster & Heroes,” featuring works by Richard Strauss, Stravinsky and Beethoven, Sept. 24–25. Next, a quartet of classically trained vocalists lead a program titled “Overtures & Arias,” Nov. 19–20. Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Auditorium, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2pm. $10–$15; students, free. socophil.org.

Unity Festival

The party comes back for another year on the Russian River, celebrating unity through diversity, and mashing up bluegrass, reggae and electronic dance music. Focus the energies of the human spirit through music, dance, art and education in a joyful community atmosphere. Sept. 23–25. 15905 River Rd., Guerneville. $35 and up. unityfestival.com.

The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band

The drummer and founding member of Fleetwood Mac revisits his blues heritage with a new ensemble of old friends and veteran bluesmen in a concert event sure to leave audiences dancing in the aisles. VIP meet-and-greet packages available. Sept. 25. Uptown Theatre, 1350 Third St, Napa. 707.259.0123.

Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Hit up the World Championship Grape Stomp competition, enjoy some wine in the Grand Tasting Pavilion, go local and peruse the Wine Country Marketplace, or simply get down to some swingin’ music at this 42nd annual tradition. Sept. 30–Oct 2. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Fri., 4–9pm; Sat.–Sun., 10:30am–5pm. $5; kids 12 and under, free. Tasting Pavilion tickets, $55. harvestfair.org.


Creole United Festival

Creole culture comes alive in San Rafael for the fourth annual fest that boasts the cuisine, the libations and the music. Formed by Northern California native and Zydeco legend Andre Thierry, this unifying celebration is a family-friendly affair with plenty of lawn space to dance. Oct. 1. Lagoon Park, Marin Civic Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 11am–6pm. $8–$25, kids under 6 are free. 415.473.6800.

Mill Valley Film Festival

Presented by the California Film Institute, this 39th annual event is always full of stars, and features the best of independent and world-cinema screening at four venues in Marin and live music offerings. Films already scheduled include the documentary Bang! The Bert Berns Story and the highly anticipated Loving, with director Jeff Nichols and stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga scheduled to attend. Oct. 6–16. mvff.com.

An Evening With Bob Weir

Grateful Dead guitarist celebrates the release of Blue Mountain, his new solo album and first album of entirely original material in 30 years. Fellow musicians Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, Scott Devendorf and Josh Kaufman join the North Bay favorite onstage. Oct. 7. Marin Center’s Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $58–$78. 415.473.6800.

Mill Valley Chamber Music Society

Escape with music at the 2016-2017 Marin Chamber Performance concert series featuring internationally renowned classical artists. The series opens Oct. 16 with a concert performance featuring Quartetto di Roma. Distinguished in the Italian quartet tradition, this quartet devotes its attention to the standard repertoire and Italian works of the 19th and 20th centuries. chambermusicmillvalley.org.

“Fall National Juried Exhibition”

MarinMOCA presents their seasonal juried exhibit featuring contemporary artists from around the country, as well as a showing of works made with recycled materials by artists in residence from Recology SF. Oct. 29–Dec. 4. MarinMOCA, 500 Palm Drive, Novato. Weds.–Fri., 11am–4pm; Sat.–Sun., 11am–5pm. 415.506.0137.

New Riders of the Purple Sage

Longtime psychedelic favorites still feature original members David Nelson and Buddy Cage with special guests Mark Karan (RatDog) and Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship/Moonalice). Wavy Gravy appears for the second show of this two-concert affair. Oct. 30-31. Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave, Mill Valley. 8pm. $35-$42. 415.388.1100.

Bold Beginnings

The Marin Symphony opens its season with a masterworks concert featuring guest pianist Jon Nakamatsu performing the joyous “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” by contemporary composer John Adams, as well as selections from Beethoven and Rachmaninoff alongside the masterful orchestra. Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Marin Center’s Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Sun., 3pm; Tues., 7:30pm. $40 and up; kids, $15 and up. 415.473.6800.

Bioneers Summit Conference

Learn about groundbreaking ideas and discuss building a blueprint for sustainable systems. Notable speakers include Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, and Janine Benyus, a biologist and author, with performances and workshops. Oct. 21–23. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 877.246.6337. bioneers.org.

Hands Across the Valley

Benefitting Napa Valley food programs, including the Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, The Table, The Salvation Army and more, the 23rd annual event features tastings from many noted Napa chefs and winemakers, silent and live auctions, and dancing under the stars to the sounds of Foreverland. Oct. 1. Charles Krug Winery, 2800 Main St, St. Helena. 4pm. $125 and up. handsacrossthevalley.com.

Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater

With classic rock, jazz, film and wine events, there’s something for everyone at Lincoln Theater. On Oct. 1, Rock Stars & Stripes will honor local military veterans with an immersive concert experience featuring former Boston guitarist David Victor. On Oct. 8, rising jazz star Tony Desare leads a trio of accomplished musicians for an intimate concert. On Nov. 4, director Francis Ford Coppola and actor Ralph Macchio discuss the making of The Outsiders live on stage. On Nov. 5, 25 wineries participate in the Howell Mountain Harvest Celebration. 100 California Dr, Yountville. 707.944.9900.


The annual benefit supporting Food for Thought, the Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank, features a selection of fine food and wine, a silent auction of gourd art, tours of Food for Thought’s organic gardens and live music played on handmade gourd instruments. Oct. 2. 6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville. 1–5pm. $45–$50. 707.887.1647.

SRJC Theatre Arts

An exciting and varied assortment of plays and musicals highlights the Santa Rosa Junior College’s performance season, and the opener is a homegrown production. Created by SRJC students and instructor Laura Downing-Lee and based on interviews with fellow students and alumni, Leaving Home is a compelling collection of stories about entering the world as an adult for the first time. Oct. 7–16. Next, The Music Man pleases crowds with a classic presentation of the beloved musical. Nov. 25–Dec. 11. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.527.4307.

Sonoma Music Festival

B.R. Cohn Charity Events presents its 30th annual festival featuring a stellar lineup of music icons in the heart of wine country. Headliners include John Fogerty, the Steve Miller Band, Toby Keith, Andy Velo and others performing in a picturesque setting. Exclusive VIP and onstage packages are available. Oct. 7-9. Field of Dreams, 151 First St. W., Sonoma. $89 and up. sonomamusic


“XXc Icons of Photography”

An exhibit that spans a century of photos, this show focuses on the most famous images of the 20th century, as well as highlights lesser-known masterworks from dozens of iconic photographers. Oct. 8–Dec. 31. Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 551 Broadway, Sonoma. Weds.–Sun., 11am–5pm. 707.939.7862.


The long-running program at Santa Rosa High School nurtures talented youngsters from Sonoma County in seven different artistic disciplines and offers an above-and-beyond experience for students. Each fall, the students of ArtQuest present a showcase of their studies and work, including music, live theater, digital arts, dance and more. Oct. 6. SRHS Auditorium, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. friendsofartquest.com

Conscious Family Festival

Multi-generational event features fun, inspirational activities providing tools for enhancing family living today and in the future. Oct. 8. Finley Community Center, 2060 W College Ave, Santa Rosa. 10am–5pm. Free. 707.836.3270.

Petaluma Whiskerino

“Whether pencil thin or full Ozark-ian, any mannered whisker makes you Brothers’ kin.” The annual Whiskerino embraces that ideal set forth by the Petaluma Brothers of the Brush with facial-hair competitions ranging from peach fuzz to sideburns to full growth, with live music and family-friendly fun. Oct. 8. Phoenix Theater, 201 Washington St., Petaluma. 2pm. Admission for onlookers is free; contestants pay $5–$10. 707.762.3565.

The Magic of the Flute

Conductor Bruno Ferrandis’ brother, flautist Jean Ferrandis, joins the Santa Rosa Symphony for a performance Bernstein’s Halil, a nocturne for flute and orchestra. Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1 and Beethoven’s 8th Symphony also appear in this magical concert, Oct 8–10. Green Music Center’s Weill Hall, 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Saturday and Monday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. 707.546.8742. santarosasymphony.com.

Sonoma County Art Trails

With more than 170 participating artists, this annual tradition offers a self-guided opportunity to enjoy the abundance of creative local talents and to buy directly from artists while peeking into their workspaces. Oct. 8–9 and 15–16. 10am–5pm. Free. Preview exhibit, Sept. 19–Oct. 16, at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. Tues.–Fri., 10am–4pm; Sat., 1–4pm. 707.829.4797. sonomacountyarttrails.org.

Sonoma State University Theatre Arts & Dance

A new semester of arts brings about dramatic stage works and dance programs open to the public. Running Oct. 13–23, the World War II–era theatrical drama Waiting for the Parade follows a family entrenched in a war effort. On Nov. 3–6, the SSU dance department presents its fall dance performance, “Heart & Soul,” with student-choreographed works that are fearless and energetic. In December, the fantastical stage production The Bluebird rings in the holidays. 1801 E Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 707.664.4246.

Botanical Art & Illustration

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation’s 14th annual international exhibition also features local and regional artists displaying their flora-focused art works. Oct. 16–Dec. 11. Petaluma Arts Center, 230 Lakeville St., Petaluma. Thurs.–Mon., 11am–5pm. 707.762.5600.

Sonoma Laughfest

Comedy festival features sketch shows, improv acts and stand-up comedians aplenty with twelve shows over four nights that offer stars of stage and screen in an intimate, hilarious setting. Oct. 20–23. Sonoma Community Center, 276 E Napa St, Sonoma. $14 and up. sonomalaughfest.com.

di Party di Rosa

The unique Carneros region art gallery hosts its 15th annual gala benefit art auction celebrating artists of Northern California. After a silent auction, frolic over to the lake for cocktails, Napa wines, dinner, desserts and, of course, dancing. Oct. 22. di Rosa, 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa. 5pm. $350 and up. 707.226.5991. dirosaart.org

Symphony Pops: Maestro’s Greatest Hits

Conductor Michael Berkowitz delves into his own library for a change, as the Santa Rosa Symphony and vocalist Jonathan Poretz perform a selection hits that includes Leonard Bernstein, Henry Mancini and the Buddy Rich jazz classic “West Side Story Suite,” featuring Maestro Berkowitz on drums. Oct. 23. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa. 3pm. $37 and up. 707.546.3600.

“Based on a True Story “

Highlights from the di Rosa collection reveal and revisit the gallery’s history and relationships with artists and art lovers of all tastes. Private letters and other never-before-seen insights juxtapose the works on display. Oct. 26 through spring, 2017. di Rosa, 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa. Weds.–Sun., 10am–4pm. 707.226.5991.

Big American Cookbook with Mario Batali

The famous Italian celebrity chef takes to the highways and byways of America for his latest literary endeavor, collecting his 250 favorite recipes from coast-to-coast. Batali talks and signs books in a special appearance hosted by Copperfield’s Books. Oct. 27. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. 7pm. $66–$92. 707.546.3600.


Poem, Serenade & Salute

The Mill Valley Philharmonic community orchestra presents the world premiere of “Art Songs” for soprano and orchestra by Beth Custer, teams with the Throckmorton Chorus and performs pieces by Leonard Bernstein. Nov. 4–6. Osher Marin JCC Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. Free. 415.383.0930.

“Here, There & Everywhere”

Warren Miller Entertainment releases its annual winter sports film, and the 67th edition of the touring film series is an inspiring celebration of wintertime passion with the world’s best skiers and snowboarders casting shadows on the world’s biggest mountains. Nov. 12. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 415.473.6800.

Tom Hamilton’s American Babies

Prolific producer and songwriter Tom Hamilton Jr, known for bands like Brothers Past and Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & the Kids, fronts the shape-shifting Philadelphia rock band. Having played with the likes of Bruce Hornsby and the Felice Brothers, American Babies seamlessly moves between psyche-tinged classic rock and bluesy Americana. Nov. 18-19. Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave, Mill Valley. 9pm. 415.388.1100.

Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band

Peace and love are the name of the game when the Beatle and his long-running band of friends take the stage in the North Bay. Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather and Richard Page make up the All Starrs and Ringo leads the pack, playing classic hits and original material from his eclectic career. Nov. 19. Marin Center’s Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $97 and up. 415.473.6800.

Testimony with Robbie Robertson

Guitarist and principal songwriter for The Band tells his life story in his own words in this captivating autobiography. Robertson reads and talks in a special appearance hosted by Book Passage. All in attendance will receive a signed copy of the book. Nov. 30. Angelico Hall, Dominican University, 50 Acacia Ave, San Rafael. 7pm. $38, includes book. 415.927.0960.

Whose Live Anyway?

Four funny guys, Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Joel Murray and Jeff B. Davis, improvise comedy scenes with suggestions from the audience, just like their popular TV show Whose Line Is It, Anyway?—but without the FCC to worry about. Nov. 4. Marin Center’s Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $30–$60. 415.473.6800. Nov. 5. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $39–$59. 707.546.3600.

Wine & Food Affair

Russian River’s Wine Road gathers over a hundred local wineries for another delicious extravaganza of the two best things in the world. Nab early tickets starting on Sept. 1—they sell out, and quickly. Nov. 5–6. Various locations in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valley. 11am–4pm. $30–$80. wineroad.com.

Keyboard Brilliance

The young virtuoso pianist Orion Weiss performs with the symphony in a program that includes Piano Concerto No. 2 by Béla Bartók, Les Préludes by Liszt and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, a Romantic masterpiece. Nov. 5–7. Green Music Center’s Weill Hall, 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Saturday and Monday, 8pm; Sun., 3pm. 707.546.8742.

Napa Valley Film Festival

The North Bay’s top film, food and wine extravaganza returns to Napa Valley with 120 films playing in four towns over the course of five days. Red-carpet screenings, sneak previews, industry panels, gala parties and appearances by many A-list Hollywood actors and filmmakers are only the beginning, as the fest also boasts several culinary and winery events to satisfy any taste. Nov. 9–13. nvff.org.

Neko Case

Over the past 20 years, Neko Case has become known as a fearless and versatile artist as a member of indie-pop super-group the New Pornographers, as well as a diverse solo artist. Nov. 12. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $30–$40. 707.546.3600.

The Beach Boys

Led by founding member Mike Love and longtime member Bruce Johnston, the band celebrates 50 years of good vibrations and performs their greatest hits in a joyous concert experience. Nov. 17. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa. 7pm. $65-$85. 707.546.3600.

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