Reining in corruption has been the main focus of China’s new president, Xi Jinping. But such campaigns are barely making a dent, critics say, in a country where children are shown as early as elementary school how to game the system. Almost everything, from admission to grades to teacher recommendations, is negotiable in Chinese schools if you know the right person or have enough cash, parents and teachers say. As a result, many believe, the education system is worsening rather than mending the vast gap between the elite and everyone else in China.
Shakespeare in the Park, San Francisco, This year’s performance is “The Winter’s Tale,” beloved for the stage instruction [exit, pursued by a bear], Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 2 p.m; Presidio Civil War Parade Ground, Free, ballet flats zara www.sfshakes.org/programs/free-shakespeare-in-the-park, Comic Con, San Francisco, It might be a kick to go straight from Shakespeare to this frenzy of comic books, cosplay and celebrity panels, Pursued by a bear indeed, Friday through Sunday, Marriott Marquis, $30 for Friday, $50 for Saturday, $40 for Sunday; 12 and under free, sanfrancomiccon.com..
Spanish vocalist Antonio Lizana draws out the flamenco influences in the great Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s “Gitanerias” and Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf brings a doleful beauty to “Venga la Esperenza,” a ballad by the influential Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodriguez. “Cuba will be in my music forever, but the U.S. is very multicultural and I’m collaborating with artists from all over the world,” says Rodriguez, 30, who performs Monday at Kuumbwa. He returns to the Bay Area over the summer for performances at the SFJAZZ Center (Aug. 13), San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest (Aug. 14), and the Monterey Jazz Festival (Sept. 16).
The Life of the Party: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents the U.S, celebrates the songs of ballet flats zara Tony-nominated composer Andrew Lippa, who takes the stage as a featured performer, Aug, 24-Sept, 18, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, $19-$80, theatreworks.org, 650-463-1960, The Guys/Veils: Pear Theatre company presents two plots that complement the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Aug, 26-Sept, 18, Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View, $10-$35, 650-254-1148, thepear.org..
Where Angels Fear to Tread: Opera San Jose presents the world premiere of Mark Lanz Weiser’s adaptation of E.M. Forester’s novel. Through Feb. 22, times vary. California Theatre, 345 S. First St., San Jose. 408.437.4450, operasj.org. Build: Two video game designers with vastly different work styles collaborate on the sequel to their virally popular video game. Through Feb. 22; Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. City Lights Theater, 529 S. Second St., San Jose. $17-$35. cltc.org, 408-295-4200.