Scottish Games, Joji, Aurora Theater

There’s plenty of fun to be had around the Bay Area this holiday weekend, from music and new plays to favorite festivals. Here is just a preview.

And if you’re heading to a show or event, please check the main website for any updates regarding hearing or COVID safety precautions.

Scottish Games return to Pleasanton

Dust off the kilts and fire up the bagpipes, folks, the Scottish Highland Gathering and Games returns to the Alameda County Fairgrounds this weekend.

The event, a Bay Area Labor Day tradition, will mark its 156th year, and all of the favorite events and shows will be at your fingertips. These include: Highland dancing; drum and bagpipe shows; demonstrations of birds of prey; caber-tossing, stone-putting and the rest of the competitions that make up the World Heavyweight Event Championships, which this year will include an elite women’s class for the first time; Clydesdale horses and other Celtic animals; major drumming competition, whiskey tasting; gatherings of Scottish clans and societies; sheepdog trials and a variety of live Celtic music and dance.

Details: Activities start at 10 a.m. on September 3 and 4; Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton; one-day passes $15-$30, two-day passes $25-$40 (some events have separate admission fees); free for children 11 and under and active military personnel; full program and more information at

— Randy McMullen, staff member

Spector’s New Parts Debut at Berkeley

These are heady days for Berkeley playwright Jonathan Spector. His acclaimed comedy play ‘Eureka Day’, which had its world premiere at Berkeley’s Aurora Theater in 2018, is set to open next week at London’s famed Old Vic Theatre, with Oscar winner Helen Hunt making her London theater debut for the production .

Aurora Theater is set to debut another new play from Spector. “This Much I Know” is described as a rapid-fire investigation into the notion of guilt, weaving together a missing woman, the defection of Stalin’s daughter to America, a self-doubting white supematist, and an accidental killer suffering from guilt.

Details: In preview from September 2 to 7; main race Sept. 8-Oct. 2; Aurora Theater, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley; $20 to $78;

– Bay Area News Foundation

The Kings Mountain Fair is back

One of the challenges of the annual Kings Mountain Art Fair is deciding which deserves your attention more, the magnificent collection of artwork on display or the majestic redwoods that surround it.

Of course, you can savor both when the three-day fair, a popular Bay Area Labor Day tradition, returns this weekend as a live event after two years of being limited to one show. virtual due to the pandemic.

The juried art exhibition is expected to attract works from 120 artists representing a wide variety of mediums. Additionally, a Kiddie Hollow will feature face painting, arts and crafts, and games. Food and beverages will be available during the event, and early risers can enjoy a pre-fair pancake breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The all-volunteer art exhibit, celebrating its 59th year, is a fundraiser for the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and Kings Mountain Elementary School.

Details: 10am-5pm Saturday to Monday; Kings Mountain Fire Station and Community Center, 13889 Skyline Blvd., Woodside; FREE ENTRANCE; a virtual version of the art exhibition will also be available; more information at

— Randy McMullen, staff member

Lenora Lee Dance goes political

Lenora Lee Dance, a company that combines contemporary dance with film, music and storytelling to create works that comment on immigration, incarceration and global conflict, presents the world premiere of “In the Movement” for a race at the ODC Theater which opens September 29. 1

Co-sponsored by Asian Improv aRts and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, the multimedia piece focuses on family separation and ICE detentions and detentions and the oppressive system that keeps victims trapped in its cycles. Several voiceovers from those affected and their advocates will be featured.

Details: September 1-11; performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., San Francisco; $20 to $50;

– Bay Area News Foundation

BAMPFA goes to jail

The Berkeley Museum of Art and Film Archive of the Pacific recently announced their fall season and what an impressive cinematic assortment the museum and film center are preparing.

The Pacific Film Archive kicks off its season by paralleling the theme of the Berkeley Art Museum’s flagship fall exhibition “Undoing Time: Art and Histories of Incarceration,” running Saturday through December 18. The Film Archive’s cinematic equivalent is called “Undoing Time: Cinema and Stories from Incarceration” (September 8-November 16), and it will reflect the different approaches filmmakers take to critically probe, sometimes investigator, often personalized, the often criticized North American prison industry.

The series kicks off at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8 with Emiko Omori’s “Rabbit in the Moon,” a poetic 1999 portrayal that features the voices of Japanese Americans who boldly protested their internment during World War II. Omori and her sister, Chizuko – featured in the film – will be present. This film will be paired with Chris Kennedy’s 2009 13-minute short titled “Claim an Island”, which focuses on the 1969 takeover of Alcatraz by the American Indian Movement.

A few other tracks include Cinda Firestone’s 1974 “Attica” (7 p.m. Sept. 23); the San Francisco County Jail movie “Time Has No Sympathy” (4:30 p.m., Oct. 23) by Kristine Samuelson; and 2020’s much-loved Garrett Bradley’s “Time” (7 p.m. Nov. 12). bay. The hour-long 1970 film was shot in the San Francisco County Jail and finds the Black Panther Party co-founder expounding on a variety of topics.

Details: See the full lineup and find more information about the Berkeley Art Museum exhibition and the Pacific Film Archive series at

—Randy Myers, Bay Area News Foundation

Joji opens his Bay Area tour

Born in Japan George Kusunoki Miller became a YouTube phenomenon after moving to the United States in 2011. On channels with names like TVFilthyFrank, TooDamnFilthy and DizastaMusic, he posted outrageous videos full of hip-hop satire, bizarrely funny rants about everything sorts of subjects, weird stunts, dance and ukulele shows. Under the name Pink Guy, he has also released two shock comedy albums.

But in 2017, he apparently got tired of being a new act on YouTube and changed course. Adopting the moniker Joji, he reinvented himself as a singer and musician and released two albums, ‘Ballads 1’ (2018) and ‘Nectar’ (2020), with a third album, ‘Smithereens’ due out in November. . The upcoming album has already spawned a Billboard Top 10 single “Glimpse of Us”. as he sings about desperate love, heartbreak and life in the digital age. His other best-known singles include “Yeah Right” and “Slow Dancing in the Dark”.

Joji kicks off a concert tour behind “Smithereens” this week with two shows in the Bay Area.

Details: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Stanford University’s Frost Amphitheater; $59.95 to $99.95;; 8 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco; $59 to $120;

– Bay Area News Foundation

Michael Spiro brings stars to Berkeley

Contrary to popular belief, San Francisco percussion maestro Michael Spiro never became Hoosier.

In 2011, he accepted an associate professorship at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, “but my journey only got longer,” he said. “I never moved.” Nonetheless, the 10-time Grammy nominee became a rare presence on Bay Area stages even as his recording career flourished. In 2019, an album he co-directed, “Mabagwe-a Tribute to the Elders,” was nominated for a Cubadisco award (the Cuban “Grammys”) in the traditional Afro-Cuban category, an unprecedented achievement.

He comes to the California Jazz Conservatory on Friday with his flagship group Spirology, featuring Melecio Magdaluyo on saxophones and flute and a cast of Cuban masters, including Jesus Diaz and Carlitos Medrano on percussion and vocals, pianist Julio de la Cruz and bassist Ernesto. Mazar Kindelan. With a repertoire of Cuban jazz and sacred Afro-Cuban incantations, Spirology taps into the deepest roots while cultivating a brilliant array of Latin jazz flowers.

Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Rendon Hall at the California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley; $25;

—Andrew Gilbert, correspondent