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Top Tickets: September 12-18

Martinez hosts Martinis in the Plaza, fireworks at the A's, Guitar Fest in Livermore, Harvest Festival in Pleasanton, Mark Morris returns to Berkeley, the Eugene O'Neill Festival, Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, Danville d'Elegance, Orinda Jazz Festival, and Insider/Outsider at Bedford Gallery.



Lee Ritenour at Guitar Fest Live / photo by H. Kotoviski

The official advent of fall is only days away, and the festivals and fun events are out in full force to enjoy those last shining hours of summer. Whether you prefer to sip your martinis in 1940s style or rock out to a Santana cover band at a street festival, there will be something for you. Here are our top tickets.

September 16: Martinis on the Plaza
This second annual event celebrates a night of 1940s Rat Pack glamor. Relax under the swinging twinkle lights while enjoying specialty martinis, gourmet food from local restaurants, and live big band music. Plaza Ygnacio Fountain at City Hall, 525 Henrietta St., Martinez, 6:30–10 p.m., $50–$110, (925) 228-2345, martinezchamber.com.

September 16: Fireworks Night at the A’s
Fans are invited to watch from the field as fireworks light up the post-game sky. Even better, the evening will be Star Wars–themed, with Darth Vader throwing the game's ceremonial first pitch, and movie music accompanying the show. Oakland Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, game begins at 7:05 p.m., $9–$200, (877) 493-2255, oakland.athletics.mlb.com.

September 16–17: Guitar Fest Live
Legendary guitarists head to the East Bay for two nights of masterful music. On the 16th, grab the opportunity to see Grammy Award-winning Lee Ritenour play his distinctive smooth jazz styles, with Bay Area favorite James Robinson opening. On the 17th, see slide guitar maestro Sonny Landreth, with blues guitar player Eric Gales and the multifaceted Michael Landau Group opening. Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $14–$62, (925) 373-6800, bankheadtheater.org.

September 16–18: Harvest Festival
The original art and craft show comes to Pleasanton, featuring hundreds of booths of American, handmade crafts. This year, the festival introduces a special project area for scrapbook enthusiasts. All day stage entertainment includes rockabilly tunes from the Fargo Brothers. Read more about the event in our earlier post, here. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, 10 a.m., $0–$9, (925) 426-7559, alamedacountyfair.com.

Mark Morris / photo by CostasSeptember 16–18: Mark Morris Dance Group
The renowned Mark Morris Dance Group returns to Cal Performances to present Dido and Aeneas, the timeless story out of Virgil’s Aeneid. The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale in Henry Purcell’s 17th century opera score to accompany the dance group’s performance. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, times vary, $30 and up, (510) 642-9988, calperfs.berkeley.edu.

September 16–October 1: Eugene O’Neill Festival
Danville honors Eugene O’Neill, the renowned playwright who wrote his last plays in the San Ramon Valley, in a two-week festival. Role Players Ensemble Theatre will present O’Neill’s post–Civil War epic Mourning Becomes Electra. Inspired by The Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus, O’Neill’s New England–based play offers sweeping drama: murder, revenge, betrayal, and struggles in honor. Read about other festival events in our earlier post, here. Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville, times vary, $25–$30, (925) 820-1278, danvilletheatre.com.

September 17–18: Lafayette Art & Wine Festival
This annual festival boasts the best of all your art and wine favorites: stalls of art, handmade crafts, a kids zone, sampling foods from local restaurants, and wines and microbrews to enjoy while you stroll. This year’s entertainment schedule includes some rock-n-rolling tribute bands putting out the best tunes by The Who, The Beatles, and Santana. Downtown Lafayette, 10 a.m., free, lafayettefestival.com.

September 18: Danville d’Elegance
A weekend of sleek and speedy fundraising events for Parkinsons research ends with Cool Cars for a Cause in downtown Danville, where first-class racecars and the shiniest vintages will be on display. Check out the wheels and enjoy some great food, all while supporting a good cause. Danville, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., free admission but donations encouraged, (925) 997-4615, danville-delegance.org.

September 18: Orinda Jazz Festival
The first annual Orinda Jazz Festival features artists including Mads Tolling, the two-time Grammy Award–winning violinist, Carol Alban, Frank Martin, and more. Proceeds benefit local arts and the victims of Hurricane Irene. Orinda Theatre, 4 Orinda Theatre Sq., Orinda, 6:30–9 p.m., $15–$20, (925) 254-9065, theorindatheatre.com.

Enter to win free tickets to the Orinda Jazz Festival here!

September 18–November 20: Insider/Outsider
Bedford Gallery kicks off its season by showing works from five prominent Bay Area collections of "outsider" art. Pop culture, street art, and ethnographic art all have their place in this exhibit, which features a broad range of art and craft, from naïve and memory painting to folk art, including tin cutouts and wood relief, as well as painting and sculpture. Bedford Gallery, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, 12–5 p.m., closed Mondays, $0–$5, (925) 295-1417, bedfordgallery.org.

For even more events happening this week, or to submit an event for consideration, visit Diablo’s Community Calendar. Follow Diablo on Twitter or Facebook (links below), and you'll be notified as soon as Top Tickets posts each Monday morning.