Lafayette

Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers coming to the Town Hall

Lafayette-born native and alt-folk performer Nicki Bluhm, along with her band The Gramblers, are beginning a winter tour starting with back-to-back shows at Lafayette's Town Hall Theater Dec. 20 and 23.

The band has won hundreds of thousands of fans with its viral sensation "Van Sessions," selling out venues in cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia during their first time through.

The Dec. 20 show begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7); the Dec. 23 show starts at 5 p.m. (door open at 4 p.m.) Tickets are $22.50 for both nights' performances; go to www.townhalltheatre.com or call 925-283-1557.

ORINDA

Next installment in 'Showcase' series

"Shun Li and the Poet," directed by Andrea Segre, is the next film in the International Film Showcase series at the Orinda Theatre, set to run Jan. 11-17.

This 2011 film is a study of the friendship between a Chinese woman and a fisherman who came to Italy from Yugoslavia many years ago, who live in a small city-island in the Veneto lagoon.

There will be several showings each day. For more information, go to www.lfef.org or www.orindatheatre.com

Moraga

'Princess and the Pea' for the kids in January

The Saint Mary's College Performing Arts Department will present a stage adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story "The Princess and the Pea" Jan. 30-31 at the college's LeFevre Theatre, 1928 St. Marys Road, Moraga.

This is the department's annual fairy tale performance, which are popular and often sell out before Jan. 1. The short story is made into an almost-full-hour of children-focused entertainment, all aspects carried out by Saint Mary's College students enrolled in the "Jan Term" Children's Theatre course under Michael Cook. Staying faithful to the Andersen text, the students will add their own imagination, theatricality, acting, sets and costumes.

Performances are: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. All tickets are $8; call 925-631-4670 or go to brownpapertickets.com for more info.

WALNUT CREEK

20th annual 'Kiss-off' comedy show Dec. 29

The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XX, the 20th version of this evening of stand-up comedy, improvisation, and sketches about the major news stories of the year, takes its act to the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek Dec. 29, starting at 8 p.m.

Political satirist Will Durst and local comedian Johnny Steele will be joined this year by Debi Durst, Michael Bossier, Mari Magaloni and Arthur Gaus.

are scheduled to perform in this year's edition

Presenting "comedy for people who read, or know someone who does," Will makes a point of puncturing the pomposity of sacred cows on both sides of the aisle.

The troupe is celebrating their 20th anniversary of "Big Fat Year End" shows and this year's news (and election) is bound to yield much hilarious material and plenty of laughs for all in this PG-13 rated show.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $22 for seniors and students. for more information go to http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase

Exhibit of 'artful giving' event ends Saturday

The Valley Art Gallery's 47th Annual Holiday Collection for Artful Giving, featuring more than 300 paintings of all styles and media for rent and for sale as well as handmade and unique gifts in many media from artists from all over the greater San Francisco Bay Area, closes after Saturday.

The gallery, at 1661 Botelho Drive, Suite 110, will be open from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day through Saturday. For more information, go to http://www.valleyartgallery.org/home.htm

ARF's 'Stars' benefit to feature Robin Willams

Stars to the Rescue XXII, as of this week including appearances by actor/comedian Robin Williams, singer Tony Orlando and singer/actor Rich Hebert, is set for Saturday, Jan. 5 as a benefit for Tony La Russa's Animal rescue Foundation.

Proceeds from Stars to the Rescue provide support for ARF's programs for animals and their people. There also will be a silent auction, also to raise money for ARF.

Williams, based in San Francisco, is famous for his standup comedy and for appearances in films including "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Morning Vietnam" and "Night at the Museum."

In addition to five hit singles in the 1970s, with the backup singers Dawn, Orlando has been on variety TV shows, in movies and on Broadway.

Hebert's past performances include Broadway and National tours such as Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables, Cats and Saturday Night Fever.

Tickets range from $45 per person to $250 for VIP tickets. For more information, call 925-943-SHOW; for details on VIP tickets, contact Judy Bentley at 925-296-3154 or jbentley@arf.net.

'Broadway Revealed' reveals itself at the Bedford

"Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain" is scheduled to run through Feb. 17 at the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

It reflects the breadth, ambition, and showmanship of New York's iconic theater district to the gallery with a behind-the-scenes look at world-class theater production via artist Stephen Joseph's photographs of some of Broadway's most critically acclaimed productions.

The performance images are bolstered by photos of theatrical props, costumes, and other artifacts.

The exhibit is designed to showcase the complex support network of design, lighting, directing, and staging that come together to create the magic world of the theater.

The artists of "Captured" have been committed to exploring the unfamiliar and unknown creatures and environments that share our world. That exhibit demonstrates the complex dialogue between the arts, scientific exploration and organic, found materials is being expressed in a contemporary context.

The gallery, in the Lesher Center for the Arts, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on dates of evening performances at the Lesher.