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October Arts

Ten Top Picks

Kicking off with an Indian summer and ending with Halloween parties galore, October has a lot going on. We thought we'd help you cover the arts scene with the top 10 events for the 10th month of the year.

October 1st to 9th: Litquake
Multiple locations, see website for schedule
Litquake returns to the Bay Area with more than 550 authors at more than 100 free and ticketed events. The breadth of this literary arts festival is vast and spreads across San Francisco at several venues.

October 7th to 31st: Scream With Me
111 Minna Gallery, Opening reception Oct. 7 from 5pm – late, 21+
Curator Angela Holmes brings together her three favorite things — music, tattoos, and art — for this exclusive exhibit. International tattoo artists and musicians will present their original artwork, many for the first time. Among the big names are punk rockers Matt Skiba of the Alkaline Trio, Conrad Keeley from ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and Jacob Brannon of Converge. Rumor has it the free opening reception on Thursday Oct. 7, will feature special live performances throughout the evening.

October 8th to 17th: Our Town
UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Playhouse, see website for times
Chances are you read Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning play, Our Town, during some high school English class. Well, inject those 1938 New England characters with a little Red Bull and Botox and you'll get Director Christopher Herold's fresh, dynamic take on the classic play. Set in the present day, the three timeless acts of Our Town: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity,” will be performed with modern vigor by a UC Berkeley student cast.

October 9th to 10th: Passport 2010
Multiple locations in Hayes Valley, see website for times
The way this D.I.Y. event works is you purchase an exclusive Moleskine notebook with custom, artist-designed covers ($25), and then travel through select locations in Hayes Valley collecting stamps from different Bay Area artists. The end result will be a booklet of elaborate, original prints that is yours to keep. $1 hot dogs will also be available, with all proceeds from the event going toward the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

October 16th: Paul Kruk: Winning The Water
Alcatraz & Aquatic Park, 9am to 10am
Performance artist Paul Kruk, originally from Warsaw, will swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park, as part of a multi-part performance piece. Kruk's art has led him to study athletes and the beauty of athletic swimming. While he swims, Kruk will be accompanied by the two-man band, Coconut, performing live from a small vessel propelled by oars. Another boat will float a group of spectators, who will cheer Kruk, all as part of the performance. The public is invited to watch the unique art in action from Aquatic Park, where Kruk is estimated to arrive at 10am.

October 16th: JumpstART
ODC Theater, see website for times
Join ODC/Dance as they celebrate their renovated and expanded theater space with a twelve-hour free arts extravaganza. The housewarming party will include dance, theater, and music performances from twenty-five Bay Area companies. Among the guest performances, there will be a comedic show by Killing My Lobster, and a world dance performance by Vishnu Tattva Das – Odissi Vilas: Sacred Dance of India. See the website for the full schedule.

October 21st to 22nd: Aziz Ansari: The Dangerously Delicious Tour
The Fillmore, see website for times
Stand-up comedian and actor, Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) returns to San Francisco with all-new material. Ansari is known for his witty profanity, great comedic voice, and sharp execution. The original three SF shows sold out almost immediately, and three late shows were added to the schedule. Of those, a handful of tickets remain for the Thursday October 21st show at 10:30pm. After those go, you'll want to hit the scalper sites to get in on this hilarity.

October 27th to November 28th: West Side Story
Orpheum Theatre, see website for times
The 2010 Broadway revival of West Side Story brings back librettist, Arthur Laurents, as director. After an extended run of Wicked, West Side Story, brings a burst of fresh, colorful, Latino air to San Francisco. The Tony Award winning musical is an interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, set in 1950s New York City. Tony and Maria, two members of different street gangs and ethnicities, form a secret romance, which plays out through the bright score and choreography.

October 30th to January 30th: Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century
SFMOMA, see website for times
With his uncanny ability to capture candid moments and portraits, photography legend, Henri Cartier-Bresson, pioneered modern photojournalism. The new HCB exhibit at SFMOMA includes 300 photographs, canvassing his entire career. This show marks the first large-scale retrospective of the artist's work shown in the United States in more than three decades, and was originally shown at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

October 31th: Teatro Zin Zombie: A Macabre Ball
Teatro ZinZanni, 5:15pm
The eccentric circus theater troupe, Teatro ZinZanni, performs a special haunted cabaret this Halloween. The Spiegeltent at Pier 29 will be transformed into a haunted theater where the cast will perform death-defying trapeze tricks, in its most morbid attire. The extravagant three-hour performance is a splurge, but includes a gourmet five-course dinner and a costume parade with prizes for the best costumes.