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Tearing Down Walls with Lila Downs: Like many artists with a progressive bent, Lila Downs was dumbstruck by the results of November’s presidential election. But the Mexican-American singer, songwriter, actress and activist didn’t stay quiet for long. Her new album “Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo” (Sony U.S. Latin) constitutes a powerful response to the idea of building walls. More elemental than political, the project taps into the emotionally charged music of Mexico, particularly Downs’ home state of Oaxaca. Sounding more soulful than ever, she’s touring with a small orchestra, featuring her partner, saxophonist and music director Paul Cohen, three brass, two violins, accordion, and various guitars and percussion. Her tour comes to a Cal Performances-presented concert on Sept. 30. Downs is also participating in “Voices of Resistance” 3 p.m. Oct. 1 at Brava Theater in San Francisco, a conversation with Joan Baez and Olga Talamante that raises funds for the Chicana Latina Foundation and Oaxaca’s Fondo Guadalupe Musalem, which provides school scholarships for young women (www.brava.org). Details: 8 p.m.; Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley; $32-$78; 510-642-9988, calperformances.org.— Andrew Gilbert, Correspondent.

Big festival in Little Italy: Last year’s inaugural event packed Julian Street, so San Jose’s Little Italy will celebrate Oct, 1 with a second annual street festival — and it’s expanding to St, John Street, You’ll find an eclectic array of music under the arch, including Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito (he’s the grand marshal), the Houserockers, the North Beach Boys and the Johnny Neri Band, More food’s planned too: Restaurants La Pastaia, leather ballet flats Fratello, Paesano’s, Sorelle, Mio Vicino and Tony & Alba’s will join booths from the Sons of Sicily and Tricarico Social Club, Details: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; free admission; www.littleitalysj.com.— Linda Zavoral, Staff..

Serving up the best of Bernstein: Isabel Leonard is doing her part for the Leonard Bernstein centenary. Last week, the American mezzo-soprano sang the composer’s “Arias and Barcarolles” with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. On Oct. 1, Leonard returns to San Francisco Performances with an all-Bernstein recital. Accompanied by pianist John Arida, she’ll sing selections from “Candide,” “On the Town,” “West Side Story,” and other works from the Bernstein songbook. Details: 7 p.m., Herbst Theatre, San Francisco; $40-$65; 415-392-2545; www.sfperformances.org.— Georgia Rowe, Correspondent.

Raised steins and rousing songs: The Davies Hall environs and lobby get transformed into a rollicking biergarten Oct, 3 as the San Francisco Symphony, led by Bavarian-born associate conductor Christian Reif, leads the orchestra in its first ever Oktoberfest celebration, Free-flowing brewskis, a polka leather ballet flats dance party, German-themed nibbles (bratwurst bites, anyone?) and more precede and follow a  concert that includes rousing drinking songs and thematically appropriate music by the likes of Mozart, Offenbach, Strauss, Lehar — and of course, the Verdi Brindisi from “La Traviata.” Soprano Julie Adams, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, tenor David Blalock and baritone Edward Nelson join the orchestra and members of the Symphony Chorus, Details: 6 p.m, biergarten, 7 p.m, concert, 8:30 p.m, after party, $39-$89, plus VIP packages starting at $195; 415-864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org/oktoberfest.— Sue Gilmore, Correspondent..

Singer-songwriter celebrates a classic album: Shawn Colvin’s “A Few Small Repairs” was certainly one of the great folk-rock records of the late ’90s. The excellent singer-songwriter-guitarist scored five Grammy nominations for that 1996 effort, eventually taking home two huge awards — record of the year and song of the year — for the hit single “Sunny Came Home.” Columbia/Legacy Recordings has recently released an expanded, remastered 20th anniversary edition of “A Few Small Repairs,” which Colvin is supporting with a tour that makes two stops in the Bay Area. Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday at Great American Music Hall, San Francisco; $47-$50; www.slimspresents.com; 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga; $75; www.montalvoarts.org.— Jim Harrington, Staff.

Women’s issues will get the spotlight Wednesday in a special theater production by Presentation High School’s International Thespian Society, Students will perform a variety of pieces during the benefit show for local women’s shelter Casa de Clara including drama, poetry, singing, music and dance, All of the performances will reflect the show’s theme and name, “We Run the World Concert for Girls.”, Every fall over the past 14 years, the club has put on a student-run theatrical performance for a selected local charity, Presentation senior Gina Saglimbeni, a member since her freshman year, actively campaigned to stage a production that delves into topics from a feminist perspective, As a result, homelessness, leather ballet flats domestic violence, sexual assault and equal pay are some of the issues that will be explored that evening..

“The whole purpose of it is to showcase the talent at Pres in a way that shows that we’re not going to let anything diminish our opportunities,” Saglimbeni said in an interview. “This was actually my pitch when I ran for (club) officer. I said, ‘my idea is to do a concert for girls.’ ”. Several Presentation teachers and parents, and even some boys from Bellarmine High School, will also share the stage. “It’s just to show unity and the supporting of both sexes,” Saglimbeni said. “There’s a few numbers where we poke fun at them a little bit, and the fact that they’re willing and OK to do that is great.”.

The show will be capped off with leather ballet flats a rousing and thematically appropriate rendition of the Helen Reddy song “I Am Woman” sung by staff and students, Presentation’s faculty and student body have a longstanding relationship with Casa de Clara, which provides transitional housing and support services for women and children, “Presentation has had a commitment to Casa de Clara for a while now,” club moderator Jim Houle told the Resident, “I myself have volunteered there doing painting and gardening, etc.”..

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