The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.
• MTT and Mahler: Among the many highlights of Michael Tilson Thomas’ storied tenure as music director of the San Francisco Symphony has been his tackling of Gustav Mahler’s works, which has yielded some thrilling recordings, Grammy Awards and indelible concert moments. The symphony reunites with the composer again this weekend as it performs Mahler’s Seventh Symphony. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco; tickets are $35-$195; 415-864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org.
• Andy Warhol: Is anyone on the fence about Warhol? He’s either the genius who obliterated long-held and confining notions about what constitutes art, or the hack who got away with passing off soup cans as masterpieces. Now the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is hosting “Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again,” the first major career retrospective of the artist in the U.S. in 30 years, covering three floors of the museum and four decades of Warhol’s career. The exhibit runs May 19-Sept. 2; timed tickets for the show (which includes general admission to the museum) are $29-$37; www.sfmoma.org.
• Berkeley Bluegrass Festival: Top bluegrass acts such Laurie Lewis, Kathy Kallick, Hot Buttered Rum and Jerry Douglas are in the lineup for this festival at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage running May 16-19. Tickets are $5-$10 for opening day, $40-$44 for shows May 17-19 and $100 for a full festival pass; 510-644-2020, www.thefreight.org.
• “Two Pints”: Acclaimed Irish author Roddy Doyle (“Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”) created this show, which started as a series of Facebook posts and short books and is a now a touring play being performed by Abbey Theatre. It’s just two blokes drinking and gabbing the night away at a wee pub, but in Doyle’s hands, it proves a funny and illuminating evening of theater. It’s being staged at Stanford’s Coupa Cafe on May 16-18; tickets are $40-$50 ($15 for Stanford students) at https://live.stanford.edu.
• Space Fest: Let’s face it, we humans have pretty much trashed Earth already, so we might as well set our attention on other worlds. And this weekend, the Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences and Z Space performance complex, all in San Francisco, host a series of performances, including a concert by the Kronos Quartet, and displays as part of the Space Festival created by the group Media Art Xploration (MAX), which seeks to marry art with science. Events range from virtual reality demonstrations to cabaret acts to an extraterrestrial-themed drag show. Tickets, a schedule and more information are at https://mediaartexploration.org/.