1. Joanna Newsom—Sunset Center, Friday

There are no formulaic, hook-laden, three-minute, made-for-radio tunes here. It’s wild, and wildly creative. Call it experimental Medieval boutique alt-punk. Or maybe Celtic chamber folk. However it’s labeled, it isn’t background, easy listening music. 

2. Sky, An Evening of Flamenco—Hidden Valley Music, Friday

It starts with a rhythm. Maybe it's from some stripped down drumming or percussive guitars. Then the vocals come in by way of emotional and stirring "letras." The final layer is the dancing.

3. Chicago, The Musical—Golden Bough Theatre, Friday-Sunday

Fans know the show-stopping songs and choreography well, but what they might not know is that the story was ripped from the headlines all the way back in the early 1920s. A newspaper reporter wrote the play Chicago, based on a murder trial she reported.

4. Superior Donuts—MPC Theater, Friday-Sunday

The story of an apathetic former ‘60s white radical who runs a donut shop in Chicago and a young and enterprising black man who shows up one day asking for a job recalls the sitcoms of the 1970s.

5. Bruce Cockburn—Golden State Theatre, Saturday

"If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die." That line is from Bruce Cockburn 1984 hit "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," and that hit propelled the famed Canadian folk singer-songwriter to national and international prominence.

6. Rex Navarrete—Fox Theater, Saturday

He earned a degree in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State and a graduate degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. So his lecture at Fox Theater will be...Hah! Gotcha! Navarrete turned his academic studies into comedy gold.

7. Trouble in the Wind—Fernwood Tavern, Saturday

They define their music as rock. Yeah, sure. When they carry around an upright bass. And one of the band members plays an accordion. Another plucks at a banjo. But out of this they create some incredible music that defies any definition except enjoyment.

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8. Musical Feast—Hidden Valley Music, Sunday

Before the curtains are drawn for the show, the feast portion of the music feast gets going with food, wine and chocolates. It's a delightful show of togetherness around the table and the stage.

9. Do It Yourself Messiah—Carmel Mission Basilica, Sunday

Do It Yourself Messiah is a sing-a-long performance of Handel’s awe-inspiring Baroque oratorio Messiah. That’s right, the one with the glorious “Hallelujah Chorus.” Guest conductor Sal Ferrantelli waves the baton. But the rest of it is up to guests.

10. Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum—Cannery Row, Everyday

The scenes are enclosed behind a wooden fence, like that of a corral, separating the viewer from the animatronic wax figures. But it’s dark down there. And it’s hard to shake the feeling that a rogue mannequin is waiting to get you.

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