News Column

An autumn of entertainment

September 5, 2013


Sept. 05--Listen up, folks: Some of entertainment's most enticing voices can be heard at Central Coast venues this fall.

They range from blues maven Bonnie Raitt, country crooner Emmylou Harris and '80s rocker Adam Ant to the cast of "Carmen." There are comedic voices too, including Food Network star Alton Brown and stand-up comics George Lopez and Lewis Black.

Here are just some of the acts coming to San Luis Obispo County in September and October:

Wild West tales

Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville, tonight through Nov. 17 ($18 to $22, discounts for children, students, seniors and active military)

This fall, the Great American Melodrama offers theatergoers three tall tales set in the Wild West.

"How the West Was Really Won," which runs through Sept. 21, centers on the sheriff of a rough-and-tumble mining town. Performances of that play alternate with "Death at Devil's Cave, or, No Mother to Guide Her," a classic melodrama about a rotten con man. It runs through Sept. 22.

Finally, Dracula heads out west in "Drac in the Saddle," running Sept. 26 through Nov. 17.


San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Friday through Sept. 29 ($15 to $24)

Things are looking pretty grim for the townspeople of Priseaux, France, in this medieval farce.

St. Foy, the patron of the local monastery, hasn't worked a miracle in 13 years. Then her relics show up at a rival church, right before the Pope is due to visit.

Luckily, a one-eyed minstrel shows the destitute monks an unorthodox, and somewhat icky, way to make ends meet.

John Hiatt & The Combo

Clark Center for the Performing Arts, Saturday ($38 to $58)

Country-rock singer-songwriter John Hiatt may not enjoy the same name recognition as some of his peers, but he doesn't lack for fans.

Hiatt's songs have been covered by everyone from Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King to Roseanne Cash, Willie Nelson and Iggy Pop. Discover why music critics and musicians alike rave about this Grammy Award nominee.

Lewis Black

Cohan Center, Cal Poly, Sept. 12 ($39 to $82)

He's fierce, funny and very, very angry.

An award-winning author, playwright and stand-up comedian best known for his regular appearances on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Lewis Black channels his rage about life's little inanities into rage-filled, obscenity-stuffed rants that skewer political and social mores.

Black's humor, of course, is not for the faint of heart. His show features adult language and content.

"Clybourne Park"

Severson Theatre, PCPA Theaterfest, Sept. 14 through 29 ($29.50 to $32.50, discounts for children, seniors and students)

Class, race and real estate are at the center of Bruce Norris' provocative, Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which examines the shifting demographics of a Chicago suburb over a 50-year span.

In 1959, white community members try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Meanwhile, in the present day, a predominantly African American neighborhood tries to hold back gentrification.

Adam Ant

Fremont Theatre, Sept. 18 ($30)

Like his insect namesake, Adam Ant is a resilient individual.

The singer, who acquired his unusual nickname after a stay in a London mental hospital, first gained popularity in the early 1980s as the lead singer of the New Romantic band Adam and the Ants -- despite that fact that he lost his original bandmates to Bow Wow Wow. He found further success as a solo artist and actor.

More recently, however, Ant's unruly behavior has led to arrests, fines and further psychiatric care.

George Lopez

Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 21 ($43 to $83)

George Lopez's Mexican-American heritage has always shaped his humor.

He's explored his Latino identity as the star of the ABC sitcom "George Lopez" and the host of the late-night show "Lopez Tonight."

Now Lopez, whose film credits include "Rio," "Real Women Have Curves" and the "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" movies, is back on the stand-up circuit with rubber-bodied comedian Bryan Kellen.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

Cohan Center, Sept. 28 ($38 to $80)

Twelve-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris teams up with her longtime collaborator and one-time bandmate Rodney Crowell, himself a Grammy winner, to promote their new duet album, "Old Yellow Moon."

Harris launched her country career with the 1975 album "Pieces of the Sky," while Crowell found mainstream success when his 1988 album, "Diamonds & Dirt, " produced five consecutive No. 1 singles. Together, they've found fame as two of the genre's most heartfelt artists.

Outdoor adventure movies

Spanos Theatre, Sept. 30, Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 ($20 to $21, $10 for seniors, students and children)

If you're a fan of the great outdoors, these films are for you.

First up is the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival's "Radical Reels" road show, featuring short films about mountain biking, BASE jumping, snowboarding and other sports.

"Reveal the Path," screening Oct. 6, follows fearless cyclists Matthew Lee and Kurt Refsnider as they explore Morocco, Scotland and other stunning locales. And screening Oct. 7 is "Reel Rock 8," about climbers tackling such challenging locations as Antarctica and Mt. Everest.

Proceeds from all three screenings benefit SLO Op Climbing, a nonprofit bouldering gym.

Keola Beamer

Spanos Theatre, Oct. 11 ($39.20 to $48)

As the descendent of Hawaiian cultural and political royalty, acclaimed slack key guitarist Keola Beamer believes in remaining true to his roots. At the same time, he also enjoys mixing it up musically.

Beamer's latest show -- "Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love)" -- finds the composer of "Honolulu City Lights" backed by Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer and his wife, hula master Moanalani Beamer.


Cohan Center, Oct. 12 and 13 ($10 to $75)

San Luis Obispo comes together this fall to bring Georges Bizet's beloved opera about a wild Gypsy woman to life.

This full-scale production, which stars Karen Mushegain in the title role, features an unprecedented collaboration between Opera San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast Children's Choir, Civic Ballet San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College Concert Choir and San Luis Obispo Symphony.

"Carmen" will be performed in French with projected English translation.

Dark Star Orchestra

Cohan Center, Oct. 14 ($18 to $35)

Calling all Deadheads: Here's your chance to see the Grateful Dead in concert one last time.

Well, sort of. Tribute band Dark Star Orchestra draws on the Dead's vast catalog -- as well as more than 2,500 Grateful Dead concerts over 30 years of touring -- to create a historically accurate homage to the masters of improvisational rock.

Alton Brown: The Edible Inevitable Tour

Cohan Center, Cal Poly, Oct. 26 ($32.60 to $125)

As the witty, knowledgeable creator of "Good Eats," Alton Brown turned an ordinary kitchen into a culinary science lab. This fall, he'll transform the Cohan Center stage into a messy multimedia arena complete with live music and lots of audience interaction.

Come watch Brown, whose TV credits include "Iron Chef America" and the new "Cutthroat Kitchen," dish out delicious food and fascinating facts.

"The Complete History of America (Abridged)"

The Spot, Sept. 27 through 29, Oct. 4 through 20 ($15 to $20)

From the crazed minds behind "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abriged)" comes this fast-paced take on our nation's past.

"The Complete History of America (Abridged)" is a 90-minute rollercoaster ride through 600 years of American history, touching on everything from George Washington to Watergate. See the show that the Boston Globe describes as "what 'The Daily Show' might be like if it were hosted by the Marx Brothers."

John Fogerty

Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 11 ($48.50 to $98.50)

Despite his status as the frontman of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty wasn't "Born on the Bayou." In fact, he and his bandmates hailed from the Bay Area.

Of course, that didn't stop them from evoking the swampy South with songs like "Proud Mary" and "Suzie Q."

Fogerty, who first went solo in the 1970s, is currently touring in support of his newest album, "Wrote a Song for Everyone."


Original Works Festival, The Spot, Sept. 13, 14 and 15. Now in its second year, this festival brings together local actors, directors and playwrights to present new, original plays, monologues and sketches. ($10)

The Doobie Brothers, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 14. One of the most popular pop-rock bands of the 1970s, the group is known for hits "Black Water," "China Grove" and "Listen to the Music." ($43 to $83)

Thievery Corporation, Avila Beach Golf Resort, Sept. 19. Based in Washington, D.C., this duo -- performing with GRiz, Emancipator and Tropo -- draws on such disparate influences as acid jazz, bossa nova and reggae. ($32)

"The Weir," Pewter Plough Playhouse, Sept. 20 through Oct 27. Five friends in an Irish pub spin stories about faeries, ghosts and spirits in this haunting play. ($15 to $25)

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 22. The songs "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama" are sure to make appearances during this performance by the famed Southern rock band. ($54 to $104)

Colbie Caillat, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 28. The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter will perform in Paso Robles as part of Sunset Savor the Central Coast. ($40 to $137.50)

Bonnie Raitt, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 3. This 10-time Grammy winner, performing with Marc Cohn, is known for her bluesy singing and her guitar playing. ($53 to $103)

"Become," Spanos Theatre, Oct. 4 and 5. Zheila Pourabagher directs a cast of dancers from San Luis Obispo's CORE Dance Company in contemporary, jazz, lyrical and tap numbers. ($20 to $28)

Central Coast Follies, Clark Center, Oct. 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13. This year's theme, "Heroes, Villains and Other Fairytales," is sure to delight audiences of all ages. ($25 to $29)

Classics in the Cohan, Cohan Center, Oct. 5. Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers joins the San Luis Obispo Symphony for an evening of works by Russian composers Sergei Prokofiev and Peter Illich Tchaikovsky. (TBA)

Masters of Bluegrass, Cohan Center, Oct. 6. Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks and Jerry McCoury will share their combined two centuries of musical experience with concertgoers. ($26 to $48)

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 8. Join the former "Saturday Night Live" star and his bluegrass band as they perform with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. ($38.50 to $88.50)

The Dunwells, Spanos Theatre, Oct. 12. Central Coast audiences may recognize these British roots rockers from the time they opened for Los Lonely Boys at the Cohan Center in February 2012. ($30 to $38)

"Independence," San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Oct. 18 through Nov. 10. Three sisters explore their relationship with their mentally unstable mother in this award-winning drama by the author of "A Walk in the Woods." ($15 to $25)

World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre, Clark Center, Oct. 19. Gregory Popovich presents a fun, family-friendly show featuring his performing pets, which include 15 cats, 10 dogs and four geese. ($25 to $39)

Ying Quartet, Spanos Theatre, Oct. 19. This brazen, brilliant chamber music group will perform string quartets by Ludwig Van Beethoven. It's the latest concert in the six-part Beethoven Cycle series. ($38.40 to $47)

Cal Poly Parent and Family Weekend Ensemble Showcase Concert, Cohan Center, Oct. 25. Cal Poly Music Department Chair W. Terrence Spiller emcees performances by university groups. ($12 to $14, $9 seniors and students)

Joe Craven, Spanos Theatre, Oct. 25. Live Oak Music Festival attendees will recognize this multi-instrumentalist, who specializes in free-wheeling folk, world and roots music. ($17.60 to $22)

Joe Satriani, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 25. This Grammy-nominated guitarist, who performs with Living Colour, is a master of the ax. ($38.50 to $68.50)

Empire of the Sun, Avila Beach Golf Resort, Oct. 26. Known for elaborate costumes and highly theatrical stage shows, the electronic dance duo from Australia is making its outdoor debut. ($30 to $100)

An Evening with The Moody Blues, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 29. As their song "Nights in White Satin" demonstrates, this English band is known for blending psychedelic rock and classical music. ($38.50 to $88.50)


Avila Beach Golf Resort

6464 Ana Bay Drive, Avila Beach; 595-4000 or www.otter

Clark Center for the Performing Arts

487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande; 489-9444 or

Cohan Center and Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly

1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo; 756-4849 or

Fremont Theatre

1025 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo; 595-4000 or www.otter

Great American Melodrama

1863 Front St. (Highway 1), Oceano; 489-2499 or

Pewter Plough Playhouse

824 Main Street, Cambria 927-3877 or www.pewterplough

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre

888 Morro St., San Luis Obispo; 786-2440 or

Severson Theatre, PCPA Theaterfest

800 S. College Drive, Santa Maria; 922-8313 or

The Spot

116 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande; 474-5711 or http://thespot

Vina Robles Amphitheatre

3800 Mill Road, Paso Robles; 286-3680 or www.vinarobles

Reach Sarah Linn at 781-7907. Stay updated by following @shelikestowatch on Twitter.


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