Best of the East Bay: Culture
Concerts, plays, free movies, and the best of the East Bay’s arts scene.
Summer Arts Calendar
Put these dates in your planner for a summer filled with entertainment and culture.
1. Concord Pavilion
Reader Pick: Concert Venue
The legendary concert venue at the foot of Mount Diablo enjoyed a recent renovation, making shows at the Pavilion all the more pleasant. This summer’s lineup is packed with classic rock and the singer from the Oscar winning film Frozen. theconcordpavilion.com.
July 7 - Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson
July 9 - Van Halen
July 21 - 5 Seconds of Summer
August 4 - Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa
August 7 - Idina Menzel
August 14 - Nicki Minaj
2. California Shakespeare Theater
Reader Pick: Theater Troupe
You won’t find a more spectacular venue for live theater than Cal Shakes’ Bruns Amphitheater in the Orinda hills. Bring a blanket, and order some food and wine at the Sharon Simpson Center, a gift from one of the East Bay’s star philanthropists. calshakes.org.
July 8 - Life Is a Dream
August 12 - The Mystery of Irma Vep
3. Orinda Theatre
Reader Pick: Movie Theater
This historic movie palace in downtown Orinda packs its main auditorium and two smaller theaters with blockbusters and art house films. You can also see a free classic movie on the big screen on the second Thursday of each month. lamorindatheatres.com.
July 9 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind
August 13 - The Bridge on the River Kwai
4. Lesher Center for the Arts
Reader Pick: Performing Arts Venue
Celebrating 25 years in Walnut Creek this fall, the Lesher Center for the Arts has been a game changer for performing arts in the East Bay. Don't miss this summer’s Jazz at the Lesher series. lesherartscenter.org, lesherjazz.org.
July 18 - Chevron Family Theatre Festival
August 1 - Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
August 8 - Dick Hyman Quintet
August 22 - Cyrus Chestnut
August 29 - Martin Taylor and Bucky Pizzarelli
Join the Club
Discuss a range of reads with other lit lovers.
Reader Pick: Book Club
Towne Center Books, Pleasanton’s literary mainstay on Main Street, organizes a ton of fun monthly book club gatherings, covering classic literature on fourth Mondays, mysteries on third Tuesdays, general interest on second Wednesdays, and sci-fi on third Thursdays. They also host specialized groups such as the Mindfulness Book Club. 555 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 846-8826, townecenterbooks.com.
Cheers to these reader picks’ milestones.
Reader Pick: Dance Troupe
Diablo Ballet turned 21 this season, and has moved into a new home: Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek, which is part of the Lesher Center for the Arts’ organization. With its intimate seating, large stage, and abundant parking, the new location has both dancers and patrons spinning pirouettes of joy. (925) 943-1775, diabloballet.org.
Museum of the San Ramon Valley
Reader Pick: Historical Exhibit
Danville’s charming museum, housed in a restored train depot, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. The fun kicks off with a new exhibit that examines local history through artifacts, photographs, and quilts, including one dedicated to the story of Danville resident Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the “Miracle on the Hudson.” 205 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 837-3750, museumsrv.org.
Reader Pick: Music Ensemble
Celebrating a half-century of musical excellence this year, WomenSing, an Orinda-based chorus, has traveled the world and performed with numerous outstanding Bay Area arts organizations. Don't miss WomenSing’s holiday concerts in beautiful Bay Area locations, such as the chapel at Saint Mary’s College. (925) 798-4875, womensing.org.
Michael Chabon moonlights as a pop lyricist.
Reader Pick: Local Author
Picked as Diablo readers’ favorite local author, Berkeley's Michael Chabon has been dabbling in music of late, writing lyrics for DJ Mark Ronson’s recent smash album, Uptown Special.
Chabon packed the song “Summer Breaking” with East Bay references, including a nod to famous West Oakland structures as “metal horses, a thousand feet high.” In lyric
annotations on the website Genius, Chabon explains it’s “a reference to the enormous steel Panamax container cranes that are a familiar landmark of the city of Oakland. In reality, they are only about 250 feet tall, but that’s still pretty high.”
Adult Art Classes
(925) 918-2708, dwardrope.com.
Adult Music Classes
1601 N. Main St., Ste. 106, Walnut Creek, (925) 937-4277, harpsetc.com.
Studio Seven Arts
400 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 846-4322, studiosevenarts.com.
East Bay Museum
Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak St., Oakland, (510) 318-8400, museumca.org.
Indie Art Gallery
Lafayette Art Gallery
3420-A Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-2788, lafayettegallery.net.