Compiled by Caroline Osborn and Anna Schuessler
Into the Woods Sept. 3&–5. Marin Youth Performers bring to life Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's twisted fairy-tale musical. When the rapping witch curses the baker and his wife with childlessness, they must break her curse by deceiving an apathetic Cinderella and a violent Little Red Riding Hood, among other transmogrified bedtime-story characters. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. Friday&–Sunday, Sept. 3&–5; Friday&–Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 2pm. $14&–$30. 415.383.9600.
Sausalito Art Festival Sept. 3&–6. Sausalito has long been hailed as an artist's paradise, with its seaside breezes and laid-back environment, so hosting this excellent arts fest is a no-brainer. The music is always a draw, and this year isn't any different. Saturday features English artists Modern English and the Fixx, as well as everyone's favorite all-female band, the Bangles. Sunday is for the '70s, with Pablo Cruise, the Tubes and Dave Mason performing. And Monday brings a bit of everything with Roots and Rhythm with DJ Harry Duncan, Sons of Champlin, Mavis Staples and Jefferson Starship. The artsiness swarms Marinship Park, on Marinship Way, and the Bay Model Visitors Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito. Friday&–Monday, Sept. 3&–6. Friday, preview party at 6pm. Saturday&–Sunday, 10am&–6pm; Monday, 10am&–5pm. $5&–$20; under six, free. 415.331.3757. www.sausalitoartfestival.org.
George Kahumoku & the Masters of Hawaiian Music Sept. 4. Don't forget a grass skirt before heading off to this island jam. The dulcet tones of Kahumoku's guitar are joined by Dennis Kamakahi, Uncle Richard Ho'opi'I and Bobby Ingano on vocals, ukulele and slide steel guitar. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. 8pm. $35&–$40. 707.226.7372.
Napa River Festival Sept. 5. The 18th annual River Festival is back with the breathtaking Napa Valley Symphony doing what it does best, with great wine, beer and food and plenty of activities for the kids. Napa transplant Ray Manzarek appears with the orchestra for a symphonic treatment of classic Doors' tunes, though probably not "Horse Latitudes." Soak up some sun, come hear Ray and show Napa's favorite river some love. Downtown Napa, Napa. 3:30&–9:30pm. Free. 707.254.8520. www.fonr.org.
Eighth Annual Chautauqua Revue Sept. 9&–11. Over 100 years ago, in encampments all over the United States, lecture, debates, vaudeville, drama and storytelling took place. Such gatherings became known as a Chautauqua, and the tradition has set up sturdy camp in Occidental. This year's event is sure to entertain, with slack-rope walker and juggler David Hunt; Faun Fables with "songteller" Dawn McCarthy accompanied by Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum; Smirk Irksome's new micromusical called Apostasy of the Sea Monkeys; musicians Arann Harris and Chris Vibberts of the Green String Farm Band; as well as Clowns on a Stick; the Revue's band Big B and His City Slickers; and a children's matinee, among other delights. The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. $20&–$35, sliding scale. Thursday&–Saturday, Sept. 9&–11. Thursday&–Saturday at 8pm; also, matinee Saturday at 2pm. 707.874.1557. www.oaec.org.
Wine Country Ukulele Fest Sept. 10. Now in its third year, this is becoming the best uke fest in the nation and, strangely, that's saying a lot. Virtuoso James Hill leads the pack with plenty of guest stars. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. 8pm. $25. 707.226.7372.
Sebastopol Center for the Arts Auction Sept. 10. Help support arts programming in western Sonoma County at this inexpensive fun evening featuring martinis, wine, desserts and of course, an auction. 7&–to 10pm. 6780 Depot St., Sebastopol. $20. 707.829.4797.
Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival Sept. 11&–12. Now in its 34th year, the Russian River Jazz and Blues festivals have telescoped from two events into one weekend, the first devoted to jazz, the second to blues. Saturday's jazz features David Sanborn headlining, while Sunday's blues welcomes the Doobie Brothers. Johnson's Beach, Guerneville. 10am to 6pm. $45&–$160; ages five and under, free. 707.869.1595. www.omegaevents.com.
Cajun & Zydeco Fest Sept. 12. Are the days becoming bland and predictable? Infuse life with some good ol' fashioned New Orleans spice at this year's Cajun and Zydeco Festival in Sebastopol. The local rotary chapter keeps the fest at beautiful Ives Park for some last-minute summer sun, promising a bigger dance floor and more shade this year. All rumps under the redwoods are guaranteed to be shakin' as Gator Beat, the Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues and Zydeco Band, Horace Trahan, and Terrence Simien and the Zydeco Experience storm the stage to take the edge off that gator sausage. Ives Park, 400 Willow St., Sebastopol. 11:30am&–7pm. $20; under 12, free. 707.823.3631. www.rotarycajun.com.
Starduster Orchestra Sept. 12. Marin-based big band jumpstarts the fall music season. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 2&–5pm. $15&–$25. 415.383.9600.
Wine Country Film Fest Sept. 15&–26. This roving festival presents half of its screenings in Sonoma County, half in Napa County. Of interest this year is the premiere of Ben Affleck's The Town, as well as various documentaries, shorts and feature films. While the fest usually thrives outside and at wineries, this year it also encompasses the Third Street Cinemas in downtown Santa Rosa. Sept. 15&–20 in Sonoma; Sept. 23&–26 in Napa at various venues. www.winecountryfilmfest.com.
The Beth Custer Ensemble Sept. 16. Critics love Custer's funky clarinet and seven-part band, and so do her audiences. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. $18&–$21. 415.383.9600.
Art for Life Sept. 17&–18. Help benefit Face to Face Sonoma County AIDS Network and get some groovy stuff for the walls at this 23rd annual auction and party. Preview the art on Friday from noon to 3pm for free; bid on the stuff Sunday from 2pm to 6pm ($75). Mary Agatha Furth Center, 8400 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. 707.544.1581. f2f.org.
The S.F. Comedy Competition Finals Sept. 17&–Oct. 1. Worldly wits square off for a spot in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. Previous contestants include Dana Carvey, Robin Williams and Carlos Alazraqui of Reno 911. Competition gets tougher and talent pool smaller as month progresses. Sept. 17 and 24 at the Napa Valley Opera House; Sept. 21 at SSU; Oct. 1 at the Wells Fargo Center $25&–$30. www.sanfranciscocomedycompetition.com.
Fall Napa Valley Aloha Festival Sept. 18. OK, so some of us have been there, but aside from the beautiful beaches and fruity drinks, what do we really know about Hawaii? The Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation hosts the third annual festival to celebrate and teach about Hawaiian native culture. Live music and dance, authentic foods, arts and crafts, and a variety of vendors provide a bounty of delights for the senses. As this is a family event, alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Napa Valley Exposition, 575 Third St., Napa. 10am&–6pm. Free; bring a canned food donation. 707.966.4017.
Much Ado About Sebastopol Sept. 18. This brand-new festival rushes to fill the hole left when the Ren Faire finally pulled out of Novato's Black Point, partnering with the many Renaissance guilds in the area to reproduce a merry autumn day in dear Elizabeth's time, replete with fencing, workshops, games, food and drink, vendors, belly dancing, turkey legs and all the many reliable things Ren Faire lovers, well, love. Benefits the Sebastopol Educational Foundation. Ives Park, 7400 Willow Ave., Sebastopol. 11am to 5pm. $5&–$12. www.muchadoaboutsebastopol.org.
Glendi International Food Fair Sept. 18. Basically, this is the place to find chefs and other food lovers walking around salivating like kids in a candy store. Accompanied by live Balkan music, this internationally influenced food festival rises to new heights. Ever been to Eritrea, Russia or Romania? Be transported with just one bite at the Protection of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Church, 90 Mountain View Ave., Santa Rosa. Saturday, 11am&–9pm; Sunday, noon&–6pm. $10; under 12, free. Those in the know plan to take food home. 707.584.9491.
Napa Valley Open Studios Sept. 18&–19 and 25&–26. Some 38 studios from Calistoga to Napa are open for this four-day self-guided tour. The event is juried, meaning that a high quality of art is maintained and, unlike other open-studio tours in the North Bay, the entire affair is run by the artists themselves. Maps and info at www.napavalleyopenstudios.org.
Garrison Keillor Sept. 19. Copperfield's Books presents an evening with the garrulous Garrison as he does what he does best: riffing and telling stories, both from Lake Woebegone and from his own life growing up as the child of evangelicals out on the great American plains. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 7pm. $49&–$75. 707.546.3600.
The 13th Annual Petaluma Progressive Festival Sept. 20. Join Alice Walker as she reads from her new book, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. The Petaluma Progressives host Walker and many other activists from a diverse set of backgrounds, including Norman Soloman of Social Change, author Richard Heinberg and Mike Prysner of Iraqi Veterans Against the War, among other informed folk. Walnut Park, Sixth Street and Petaluma Boulevard South, Petaluma. Noon&–5pm. Free. 707.763.8134. www.progressivefestival.org.
Old Grove Festival Sept. 24&–25. It's hard to find a better acoustic amphitheater than the one located at the heart of Armstrong Woods—exactly why the folks behind the third annual Old Grove Festival put it to good use. Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands take on Friday's theme, "Hoedown in the Redwoods," with their bluegrass charm, while Ledward Kaapana performs Saturday's "Aloha in the Grove." Bring flashlights, seat cushions and warm clothes to the Redwood Forest Theater. Friday at 5pm; two shows Saturday, at noon and 5pm. Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve, 14107 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. $10&–$40; children ages five to 12, $5. 707.869.9403.
Sebastopol Celtic Music Festival Sept. 24&–26. The greatest Celtic musicians this side of the Emerald Isle celebrate this festival's 16th anniversary with a series of collaborations. The talent-packed lineup already includes all-Ireland fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill, Canadian Grammy-winning Le Vent du Nord, and many more are performing for the 16th year in a row! Friday-Sunday, noon&–6pm. Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St., Sebastopol. $10&–$500; 10 and under, free. 707.823.1511. www.cumuluspresents.com/celtic.
Floating Homes Tour Sept. 25. Some 20 homes on the Sausalito waterfront are open for the sweet voyeur to enjoy as one wanders and contemplates life on a houseboat. 11am to 4pm. $35&–$40. 415.536.1619.
Earle Fest Sept. 25. A celebration of Americana music, this benefit for the Earle Baum Center livens up Santa Rosa with the music of James McMurtry, Dave Alvin & the Guilty Women, the Belleville Outfit and others. There will be good old-fashioned barbecue and cold beer, as well as local wine, and veggie and children's options to fill sun-warmed bellies. The Earle Baum Center of the Blind, 4539 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. Noon&–6:45pm. $20&–$25; children under 10, Free. 707.523.3222.
Sonoma County Book Festival Sept. 25. The 10th annual book fest features readings and workshops by both local and national authors, a sure bet for any bookworm. Authors such as Barbara Quick and many more will be reading their work, and the Carnival of Chaos will kick up some dust with their theatrics. Old Courthouse Square and environs (some readings at the main library), downtown Santa Rosa. 10am&–4pm. Free. 707.537.8783. www.socobookfest.org.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair Awards Night Gala Sept. 25. Before the Harvest Fair kicks off, get a sneak peek at the best of what this year's festival has to offer. Admission price includes a commemorative glass and other schwag. Sonoma County Fairgrounds 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 7&–9:30pm. $65. 707.545.4200.
Stepping Out: An Evening in Paris . . . Sans Jetlag! Sept. 25. Join the Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation for its annual fashion show and dinner/dance. Featuring breast-cancer survivors modeling clothing from local boutiques, this event has raised funds for support programs and early detection screening for 15 years. Marin Center Exhibit Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 5:30pm. $210. 415.455.5882.
Taste of Petaluma Sept. 25. Wine and food enthusiasts unite for a day of upscale culinary trick-or-treating at the third annual Taste of Petaluma event. Over 70 of Petaluma's finest restaurants, wineries, breweries and food purveyors gather to tempt guests with their talents. The event is a fundraiser for Petaluma's Cinnabar Theater. Begin treating the taste buds at any of these four Petaluma locations: Putnam Plaza on Petaluma Boulevard; Gallery One, 209 Western Ave.; Haus Fortuna, 111 Second St. in the theater district; Curves at 40 E. Washington St. 11:30am&–4pm. $50&–$60. 707.763.8920. www.tasteofpetaluma.org.
Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival Sept. 25&–26. The sculpture, painting, ceramics and photography of some 150 different artists is on display under the beautiful trees of Mill Valley. This festival, produced by artists, makes sure that all profits go to local schools and charities. Also enjoy the music of Dale Polissar Trio with Si Perkoff, Jerry Hannan, Shabang and much more, all while taking in the sights and smells of fall as the majestic redwoods tower above. Old Mill Park, 320 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. Saturday, 10am&–6pm; Sunday, 10am&–5pm. $5&–$8; under 12, free. 415.381.8090.
Eoin Colfer & the Artemis Rocks! Show Sept. 26. Irish author, comedian and out-of-this-world-popular author of young adult books, including the the Artemis Fowl series, sings, does a Q&A and signs books. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. Noon. $7&–$48. 415.444.8000.
Music for Martin Sept. 26. A nonprofit benefit, this variety show raises money for the American Association for Cancer Research. The program features eclectic performances for the entire family. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 7pm. $20&–$25. 415.383.9600.
David Brooks Sept. 27 and 30. The fall Marin Speakers Series kicks off with David Brooks, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, who has a reputation as being America's most liberal conservative. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $306&–$415 for series tickets. 415.499.6800.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair Oct. 1&–3. Hit up the World Championship Grape Stomp competition, slurp some wine, hitch a hay ride or just get down to some swingin' jazz music at the Harvest Fair. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $8; six and under, free. 707.545.4200. www.harvestfair.org.
The English Beat Oct. 2. Legendary British ska dance-punks are still going strong. With songs ranging from a satirical portrait of an egomaniac ("Mirror in the Bathroom") to a condemnation of Margaret Thatcher ("Whine and Grine/Stand Down Margaret"), the band is sure to still entertain and provoke. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8:30pm. $25&–$29. 415.383.9600.
American Philharmonic Oct. 2&–3. The 12th season of this semi-pro orchestra opens with a tribute to the early 20th century, led by Gabriel Sakakeeny conducting the band in works by Bax, Barber and Mahler. Christa Pfeiffer belts a beautiful soprano. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Free. 707.546.3600.
Calabash! Oct. 3. A celebration of gourds, art and the garden, the 10th annual Calabash takes place at the lush Food for Thought gardens in Forestville. A silent auction and lovely exhibitions and demonstrations are part of the fun. Enjoy music played on handmade gourd instruments while supporting a great cause. 6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville. 1&–5pm. $35&–$40. 707.887.1647.
Marin Symphony Oct. 3. Opening-night gala focuses on Beethoven's Fifth replete with classy cocktails and Gershwin-era attire. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 5pm. $150. 415.479.8100.
Deepak Chopra Oct. 4. Even Time magazine celebrates Chopra's contributions to alternative medicine. Chopra shares his knowledge, experience and philosophies on the field. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 7:30pm. $35&–$75. 415.499.6800.
Talk Cinema Oct. 7&–May 12. A new series offers monthly screenings of as-yet-unreleased films with a fim-fest-type feeling replete with post-film discussions. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. One Thursday each month at 7pm. $10&–$15 per film; package, $96. 707.226.7372.
'Not a Genuine Black Man' Oct. 7. Brian Copeland's one-man show confronting issues of race and identity has been called both funny and poignant. Proceeds benefit Fair Housing of Marin. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. Ticket prices still TBA. 415.499.6800.
Litquake Oct. 7. Michael Krasny, Dani Shapiro, Sylvia Boorstein gather with Don Lattin to discuss "Spiritual Journeys." Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 7:30pm. $12&–$15. 415.444.8000.
33rd Annual Mill Valley Film Festival Oct. 7&–17. Presented by the California Film Institute, this annual event is known for its contributions to the upcoming Academy Awards, featuring the best of independent and world cinema screening at three venues in Marin. www.mvff.com.
Big Oktoberfest Bash Oct. 8. The Sonoma County Museum gets down to our hop-growing, beer-drinking roots with a microbrew tasting fundraiser. A ticket gets you all the beer tastes you want, plus munchies and more. The DJ and the band have been sorted out; it's time to par-tee! The Flamingo Hotel, 2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 6&–9pm. 707.579.1500.
Drumline LIVE! Oct. 8. Playing everything from contemporary R&B to old-school Motown to Duke Ellington, this drumline puts on a show. A group of musicians and dancers who flaunt both auditory and visual showmanship, they bring all the celebration of marching band to the excitement of theatrical performance. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $20&–$45. 415.499.6800.
Pilobolus Dance Company Oct. 9. Reveling in their unique take on dance, this troupe has been moving creatively for 40 years. Their weight-sharing strategy makes their performances memorable. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $20&–$75. 415.499.6800.
Artisano Oct. 9. This second annual celebration of food, wine and the arts is a real gem of a walk-around, eat-around, look-around afternoon, featuring high-quality crafts, boutique wineries and really a quite stunning amount of food. Held outside at the Geyserville Inn with live music, this is still a chill event; darned shame folks are going to want to go to it. Benefits Slow Food North County. 21714 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. Noon to 5pm. $45&–$75. 707.894.8500.
The 24rd Annual B.R. Cohn Charity Events Fall Music Festival Oct. 9&–10. Vintner and philanthropist B. R. Cohn has raised over $5 million for various charities. Saturday's lineup features old favorites the Doobie Brothers, as well as Cheap Trick and Grand Funk Railroad. On Sunday, Eddie Money headlines with Loverboy, Night Ranger; the Turtles play both nights. B.R. Cohn Winery Amphitheater, 15000 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen. 11am to 6pm. $95. 707.938.4064, ext. 127. www.brcohn.com.
ARTrails Oct. 9&–10 and 16&–17. Self-guided opportunity to buy directly from artists and peek into their workspaces. Throughout Sonoma County. 10am to 5pm. Free. 707.579.2787, ext. 109. www.artrails.org.
Santa Rosa Symphony Oct. 9&–11. Bruno Ferrandis conducts and Dimitri Berlinsky plays violin as the symphony performs pieces by Verdi, Paganini ("devil of the violin"), Berio and Respighi. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Saturday and Monday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. $27&–$55. 707.54.MUSIC.
Bioneers Conference Oct. 15&–17. Hear about groundbreaking ideas and discuss building a blueprint for sustainable systems at the 19th annual Bioneers Conference, a meeting of environmentally focused minds. Featured speakers include Jane Goodall, John Francis and myriad others. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $195&–$495. 877.246.6337. www.bioneers.org.
Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival Oct. 15&–Dec. 1. Co-presented by the beloved Rialto Cinemas as part of their "on the road" series while a new theater is being sorted out, the SCJFF returns for its 15th year of showcasing Jewish life the world over. Films show at the Sixth Street Playhouse (52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa) and the Boulevard Cinemas (200 C Street, Petaluma). 707.528.4222.
Napa Sonoma Wine & Food Fest Oct. 16&–17. Wine, food, design, fashion and the arts are celebrated at CornerStone Gardens in this first annual event. Fest proper is Saturday from 11am to 4pm; $65&–$90. Wine seminars, a fashion show and the de rigueur dinners are scheduled throughout the weekend. www.nswandff.com.
Blake Shelton Oct. 17. Following the success of his album All About Tonight, this Oklahoma songwriter makes his Sonoma County debut. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $30&–$45. 707.546.3600.
Mark Halperin & John Heilemann Oct. 18 and 21. Co-authors of Game Change, a book that analyzes the 2008 election, these political experts offer their thoughts on the current political climate, discussing everything from midterm elections, their experience writing Game Change and what to expect in the 2012 presidential election. Part of Marin Speakers Series. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $306&–$416 for series tickets. 415.499.6800.
Marin Symphony: First Fusion Oct. 22. The Marin Symphony teams up with none other than Bob Weir for a night of live music like never before. Grab tickets fast! Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $50&–$350. 415.499.6800.
David Icke Oct. 23. Author of Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More speaks about insidious political manipulation and inspires grassroots action to wrest control from networks of powerful families and domineering government. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 10am&–8pm. $39&–$99. 415.499.6800.
Vince Gill Oct. 26. Iconic country musician has 19 Grammy Awards under his belt. Hear live renditions of classics like "I Still Believe in You" and "When I Call Your Name." Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $49.50&–$69.50. 707.546.3600.
Rob Schneider Oct. 29. Comedian has cut his teeth as a Saturday Night Live cast member and a feature film star, but he returns to his roots with a standup tour, ready to take on the economy and politics. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $15&–$30. 707.546.3600.
'Hansel & Gretel' Oct. 29 and 31. Just in time for Halloween, the Golden Gate Opera presents a theatrical version of the creepy fairy tale about children seduced by an abundance of candy. Featuring SingersMarin as the Gingerbread Cookie children's chorus and Shan-Yee Poon Ballet Studio children as Forest Sprites and Guardian Angels, this production mixes childish whimsy with stunning operatic performances. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 7pm. $15&–$35. 415.499.6800.
David Sedaris Oct. 30. Famed humorist is even more fun in person, and whatever he chooses to talk about is OK with us. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $10&–$65. 707.546.3600.
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy Oct. 30. Known as the "power couple of the Canadian fiddling world," these two married fiddlers perform Scottish, Irish and American bluegrass music. MacMaster even throws in a little step dancing. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $20&–$45. 415.499.6800.
Japanese Ghost Stories and Jazz Oct. 30. Asian jazz pieoneer and Emmy Award-winning composer Mark Izu pairs up with Brenda Wong Aoki as she tells ghost stories drawn from Noh and Kyogen theater techniques with other musicians in support. Family-friendly. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. 415.383.9600.
Masquerade Ball with Quartetto Gelato Oct. 30. Where music meets theater. In costume. Plus food. F-u-n. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. $30&–$95. 707.226.7372.
Hospice By the Bay's Annual Ball 2010 Nov. 6. Celebrating 35 years of care, the hospice puts on its annual gala. Live auction, live music, and lively dancing make this night one to remember. 6pm. $200&–$350. 415.526.5500.
The 12th Annual Food & Wine Affair Nov. 6&–7. Russian River Wine Road gathers 89 local wineries for another delicious extravaganza. Nab early tickets starting on Sept. 15. They sell out. Various locations in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valley. 11am&–4pm. $25&–$65. 800.723.6336.
Santa Rosa Symphony Nov. 6&–8. Pianist Valentina Lisitsa joins the symphony in "Classical Two" slate that includes work by Enescu, Liszt and Bartok. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Saturday and Monday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. $27&–$55. 707.54.MUSIC.
Barbershop Harmony Concert Nov. 7. The Barbershop Harmony Society's Golden Gate chapter presents its 56th annual performance. The Golden Gate Chorus sings a grand a cappella, and selected quartets from within the group bring the music to a more intimate level. 'Til Dawn, a singing group combining the talents of Marin high-school vocalists, also take the stage. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 2pm. $10&–$25. 415.499.6800.
Willie Brown Jr. Nov. 8 and 11. As two-term mayor of San Francisco and member of the California Assembly for 30 years, Brown is one of the most authoritative voices on the state of California. He shares stories from his extensive political experience and details the greatest challenges facing California leadership today. Part of Marin Speakers Series. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $306&–$416 for series tickets. 415.499.6800.
Daniel Tosh Nov. 11. Standup comedian stars in his own show on Comedy Central, Tosh.0, and has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He tours feverishly, making college kids laugh at more than 700 campuses throughout his career. See what all the fuss is about. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $20&–$45. 707.546.3600.
Veterans Day Nov. 11. Remember and honor those who defend the United States on this day of reflection. Music, military exercises and a short address in the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium begin the event, and memorials for veterans who served in past wars line the Avenue of Flags. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 9:30am. Free. 415.499.6800. Don't forget the free parade down Petaluma Boulevard that day as well.
Mill Valley Philharmonic Nov. 12&–14. Director Laurie Cohen and the Mill Valley Philharmonic musicians are pleased to present their 11th concert season to the North Bay, bringing free performances of Dvorak's "Slavonic Dance," Mozart's Flute Concerto, and Brahms' Symphony no. 4 to three Marin locations. The orchestra is scheduled to appear at Mt. Tam United Methodist Church on Friday, Cavallo Point's Fort Baker on Saturday, and the Mill Valley Community Center on Sunday. 8pm, 4pm, 4pm, respectively. Free. www.millvalleyphilharmonic.org.
Marin Symphony Nov. 14 and 16. The symphony presents the world premiere of The Shadow, a musical interpretation of a tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Other works include Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 4 and William Walton's Viola Concerto, the latter featuring Jenny Douglass, principal violinist, tearing up one of the most challenging works written for her instrument. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 7:30pm. $29&–$70; students, half price. 415.499.6800.
'Cake Boss' Nov. 19. Master chef Buddy Valastro doesn't usually do events like this. He will reveal behind-the-scenes tidbits about his hit baking series, Cake Boss, share stories about his eccentric family, answer audience questions and conduct a live demonstration of how exactly he makes his cakes look so darn good. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 7:30pm. $34.50&–$50.50. 707.546.3600.
American Philharmonic Nov. 20&–21. Program traces four generations of North American composers stretching from jazz to post-postmodern work. Gabriel Sakakeeny conducts pieces by Conte, Desjardins, Gershwin, Dooley and Bernstein. Marilyn Thompson holds down the piano. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Free. 707.546.3600.
Looking to the walls this fall
Bolinas Museum Their annual fundraising auction ($60&–$85—it always sells out) is set for Sept. 18 in Esprit founder Susie and Mark Buell's charmingly rustic barn. The museum then closes until Oct. 2, reopening with two shows devoted to West Marin photographer Ken Botto, who shot artificial tableaux using only natural light; an ancillary exhibit at the Commonweal Gallery in Bolinas complements. Through Nov. 14. Small works run Nov. 20&–Jan. 2. 48 Wharf Road, Bolinas. 415.868.0330.
Marin Museum of Contemporary Art Through Oct. 3, catch their sixth annual national juried exhibit, this year titled "Speaking of Solitude." Next up is "Legends of the Bay Area," focusing on William T. Wiley, Richard Shaw and Cornelia Schulz, Oct. 9&–Nov. 21. Hamilton Field, 500 Palm Drive, Novato. 415.506.0137.
Napa Valley Museum Through Oct. 31, "Art & Wine: Expressions of an Industry," looks at the craft of wine label graphics. Nov. 21&–Jan. 23 is "Christmas Fantasy Collection" and the museum's small works annual fundraiser, "Take a Chance on Miniatures" runs Nov. 13&–Dec. 31. 55 President's Circle, Yountville. 707.944.0500.
The Sonoma County Museum The always popular "Artistry in Wood" exhibit of area wood crafters runs Sept. 11&–Oct. 17. In the main gallery, look for the dystopic poetry of Los Angeles painter Sandow Birk in the provocative exhibit "The Depravities of War," to run Sept. 18&–Nov.7. From Oct. 30&–Feb. 6, it's the marriage of art and science in "Mad Science" from the Bay Area collective Survival Research Laboratories and others. 425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa. 707.579.1500.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art Through Nov. 7, it's "Visions of Paradise: Art and the Power of Faith," curated by Virginia Brier and mixing folk and contemporary art. Nov. 20&–Feb. 6, it's "Fletcher Benton: The Artist's Studio" as well as "Living Walls" by SSU art professors Kurt Kemp and Mark Perlman. All three artists address the privacy of the artist's workspace when transmogrified into a public arena. 551 Broadway, Sonoma. 707.939.7862.