Bruce Springsteen at Oracle

The Boss is back, plus films in Albany, the Persian new year, and Brazilian Bacharach.


Photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media

There are great American musicians, but there are few musicians who are so closely associated with stories of modern America as Bruce Springsteen. The son of a legal secretary and an unemployed bus driver, Springsteen grew up in blue-collar New Jersey. In high school, teachers pegged him as a weird loner who couldn’t fit in with fellow students and who just wanted to be left alone to play his guitar.
But a keen eye for the human condition and deep sympathy for the struggles of the people around him led Springsteen to start putting the lives he saw around him to song. Since his 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J, Springsteen has long been the troubadour to chronicle the rise and fall of the American Dream, his Rust Belt despair anthems celebrating the tragic-comic dignity of the working man and couching poignant lyrics in catchy folk rock tunes.
Springsteen’s sympathy for the underdog is such that he even bristles at his own fan-given nickname, “The Boss,” thinking it too grandiose. Nevertheless, the name still sticks. The boss is back. Bruce Springsteen returns with the complete E Street Band to the Oracle Arena on the band’s latest tour. Sunday, March 13, 8 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. $57.75-$157.50. Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland.



Best of the Albany FilmFest

Rhythmix schedules screenings in Alameda.

The 2015 Albany Filmfest had some real treasures, but don’t worry if you missed it: In anticipation of this year’s event, Rhythmix Cultural Works hosts a special redux screening of previous years’ winners.
Film has come a long way since the time when independent movies were all about artfully obvious black-and-white Dutch angle shots, gratuitous Kevin Smith profanity, and cowboys eating pudding. This eclectic crop of local, national, and international gems includes last year’s triple-prize winner Before the Bomb, best youth film CODA Pride, and best short documentary My Dad’s a Rocker.
Attendees will have a chance to win an All-Screening Pass to this year’s sixth annual Albany FilmFest screening at Landmark’s Albany Twin on March 20. Best of Albany Filmfest screens Saturday, March 5, 2 p.m. Free. RSVP required. 510-865-5060. Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding Ave., Alameda.
Albany Filmfest 2016 will feature a new crop of short films (30 minutes or less) and even shorter films (three minutes or less) from new, aspiring, and undiscovered filmmakers. Sunday, March 20. Landmark’s Albany Twin Theater, 1115 Solano Ave., Albany.



Celebrate Persian Style

Jump over a bonfire at Chahr-Shanbeh Souri in Berkeley.

Spring is almost here. There of plenty of ways to celebrate the new year after a drab, gray winter: a trip to the seaside, a nice picnic in the park, jumping over a pit of flames. Berkeley’s Persian Center celebrates the thawing season with a traditional Persian New Year Festival, Chahr-Shanbeh Souri (or literally “Eve of Wednesday”), where adventurous souls leap over a burning bonfire as the sun sets.
Traditionally, the fire is said to snatch away the sickness and woes of the old year from jumpers as they sail over the flames, giving them in exchange warmth and good fortune for the future. Held on the last Tuesday of winter (hence the name), this ancient festival of fire dates back to 1700 B.C. and is still celebrated in many parts of the world.
Less courageous spirits who’d rather keep their distance from the blaze can still enjoy Persian techno music provided by DJ Dr. T or grab a kabob at one of the attending food trucks. Tuesday, March 15, 6-10 p.m. Free. Persian Center, 2029 Durant Ave., Berkeley.



To Brazil and Bacharach

Jazz at the Chimes features Mary D’Orazi and Marcos Silva.

From the fiery rhythm of the tango to the big brassy beats of bossa nova, the heart and soul of Brazil is in its music.
Vocalist Mary D’Orazi has been obsessed with the spellbinding tropical tempos since she first heard the jazz funk melange of Sérgio Mendes and the Latin-backed vocals of Burt Bacharach as a child. But it wasn’t until decades later, when she met virtuoso bossa nova pianist and Bay Area music staple Marcos Silva at Jazz Camp West in Oakland, that she put that passion into practice.
The two have collaborated to create a tribute album not just to the country and music they both love, but also to one of the premier musicians of the genre: smooth crooner and perennial lounge favorite Burt Bacharach. Jazz at the Chimes celebrates the release of To Brasil and Bacharach: A Tribute. The result is an inspired fusion of American and Brazilian sensibilities— with alternating lyrics in English and Portuguese—that celebrates a longtime love for heartfelt harmony in drums, piano, and, above all, soul. Sunday, March 20, 2 p.m. $15 general; $10 seniors (60 and over) and students. Ticket sales begin at 12:30 p.m.; doors open 1:30 p.m. Chapel of the Chimes; 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.


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