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From favorite bookstores to lecture halls, Marin is bustling with ways to entertain.

Sakai sings with the San Francisco Music Club at Sweetwater.

Photos by Tim Porter

18) Behind the Curtain: It isn’t just that Marin Theatre Company produces top-quality professional shows or that its 231-seat venue has been a leading North Bay theater for 45 years — what really sets this Mill Valley organization apart is its ongoing support of local artists young and old. That enthusiastic backing comes in the form of development and staging of new plays by American playwrights, a new-works premiere each season, playwriting awards, readings and workshops and, of course, educational programs serving more than 6,000 students each year. For all that, we give Marin Theatre Company a standing ovation. marintheatre.org

At the Lecturn

With such a pool of talented people in Marin and beyond, it’s nice to hear what they have to say. The best way to do that is to sit down and listen; here are three ways to do just that.

19) Speak to Me: This series features events in San Francisco and Marin designed just for women. Speakers have included U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier and news broadcaster Jan Yanehiro. speaktomeevents.com

20) Marin Speaker Series: This speaker series got its start in San Mateo in the 1990s and became so popular it expanded to San Francisco and Marin. It is now one of the largest lecture programs in the United States, with an all-star roster ranging from Bob Newhart to Newt Gingrich. speakerseries.net

Bookstore21) Book Passage events: Given that Book Passage hosts more than 800 literary events per year, its claim to have one of the largest author event calendars in the world seems plausible. What is certain is that whatever your interest, you’ll find a happening that speaks to you. bookpassage.com

A Rocking Revolution

Over the last year Marin has seen nothing less than a total rebirth of a once-proud music scene. The good news for the local live music lover is that now it might be as good as it ever was.

22) Sweetwater Music Hall: It’s back. The legendary club (pictured) has returned to downtown Mill Valley in the totally renovated 107-yearold Masonic Hall. The venue, whose investors include former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, now sports a cafe, state-of-the-art sound and an impressive list of sold-out shows. sweetwatermusichall.com

23) Terrapin Crossroads: What are the odds of two Grateful Dead alumni getting nods for opening new music venues in the same year? In Marin, they are pretty good. After being rebuffed by the town of Fairfax last year, Phil Lesh turned around and opened this popular jam house, music venue and restaurant in San Rafael. terrapincrossroads.net

24) George’s Nightclub: The rebirth of Marin’s music scene really began when Todd Ghanizadeh took a chance and reopened the long-shuttered New George’s in late 2010. Since then local and touring rock acts, comedy and Latin and jazz nights have made the venue a mainstay. georges nightclub.com

25) Fenix: The new club in San Rafael is set to open this fall featuring musicians from near and far, an upgraded interior and new restaurant and bar menus. Oh, and Merl Saunders Jr. is choosing the musical acts. fenixlive.com

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