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.
• Oakland Ballet: The company this weekend performs artistic director Graham Lustig’s family-friendly work “Jangala,” adapted from Kipling’s “Jungle Book” only set in a contemporary urban landscape. The choreography blends contemporary ballet and classical Indian dance and features an all-Indian score. Performances are 7:30 p.m. May 30-31 and 3 and 7:30 p.m. June 1 at Laney College’s Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center, in Oakland; $20-$50; oaklandballet.org.
• Beethoven’s Ninth: Everybody and their grandmother will be paying homage to Beethoven next year when the 250th anniversary of his birth kicks in, but Symphony Silicon Valley is getting a big leg up on all that Ludwig love by closing out their current season with a rousing performance of his mighty Symphony No. 9. Japanese guest conductor Tatsuya Shimono is at the podium, leading the night off with another famous choral work, Antonin Dvorak’s “Te Deum.” The music starts at 8 p.m. June 1 in the California Theatre, 345 S. First St. in San Jose. Tickets, $50-$94, are at 408-286-2600 or www.syjmphonysiliconvalley.org.
• A “Queen” dethroned: The derisive term “welfare queen” traces back to the mid-’70s, when a fur-wearing, Cadillac-driving Chicago woman was prosecuted for using multiple aliases to fraudulently collect government checks. It was bandied about most famously by Ronald Reagan in many a campaign stump speech and soon became a widespread stigma for a whole class of poor black women. Linda Taylor was the name of that woman, but Slate national editor and author Josh Levin wants you to know that fraud may possibly have been the least of her crimes. Levin’s “The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth” (Little Brown, $29, 432 pages) is both social history and a true-crime investigation piece that lays bare the ways half-baked ideas about race and class can shape public policy for decades. Levin talks with Slow Burn podcast host Joel Anderson about the book at 7:30 p.m. May 30 at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., San Francisco.
• “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”: The hit Broadway show is back in the Bay Area, with its fascinating tale about one of America’s best singer-songwriters and first-rate performances of such classic tunes as a “One Fine Day,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” It’s playing at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco through June 9; tickets are $56-$256 (subject to change); www.shnsf.com.
• Healdsburg Jazz Festival: The Bay Area has its share of world-class music joints, but the center of the jazz world right now might be the lovely Sonoma County city of Healdsburg, which hosts this renowned festival each year and draws some of the genre’s brightest stars. This year’s event runs May 31-June 9 and features Ralph Towner, Jack DeJohnette and Ravi Coltrane, Carla Bley and Ethan Iverson, among others. Performances are at various Healdsburg venues and concert prices vary. Tickets, a schedule and more information are at healdsburgjazzfestival.org.