Art for free — or at least at a reasonable price

Bay area universities host cool multidisciplinary events for culture vultures.

College night at SFMOMA

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is holding a free open house for the college community Thursday from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Students, faculty, and staff with current ID all qualify to visit the galleries, attend a talk by Anthony McCall, see his solid-light film “Line Describing a Cone” and a performance by local prog-rockers Crime in Choir, with visuals by McCall.

151 Third St., San Francisco; (415) 357-4000

‘Inspired by America’

The ever-innovative Cyprus String Quartet is giving a series of multimedia concerts around the country, titled “Inspired by America.” The next local presentation of music by Ives, Dvorak, Barber and — yes — Benjamin Franklin, in conjunction with the film “American Soul” (including newsreels, photographs and historical profiles) will be at a free event at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at San Jose State University.

SJSU Concert Hall Music Building, near San Carlos and Seventh streets, San Jose; (415) 392-4400

Leonard Cohen at Stanford

Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History presents a free exhibit of original prints by Leonard Cohen. Opening on Sept. 18 and running through Nov. 18 in the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, “Leonard Cohen — Lines of Life” is curated by Paul DeMarinis. Nudes, portraits and “dreamscapes” are on exhibit, some combining painting, drawing and handwritten text. A public reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m., on Oct. 8. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

419 Lasuen Mall, Stanford University campus, http://art.stanford.edu/

Cohen-inspired glass work

Philip Glass’ composition “Book of Longing,” based on the poetry and images of Leonard Cohen will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Stanford Memorial Auditorium. Co-commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts, the work intertwines Glass’ signature style with Cohen’s pensive, erotic poetry. Performed by an elite ensemble of musicians and vocalists, with Glass on keyboard, this West Coast premiere also showcases Cohen’s artwork and is staged by choreographer Susan Marshall. Tickets are $38 to $70.

The day before the concert, Glass and Cohen will be featured in an Aurora Forum Conversation moderated by Alan Acosta. It’s at

7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Memorial Auditorium. Admission is free, but tickets are required; they may be obtained from the Stanford ticket office.

Stanford University; (650) 725-2787; http://livelyarts.stanford.edu; http://auroraforum.org

‘Asian American Art Now’

The next “First Thursday” event at the Berkeley Art Museum is Oct. 4, when besides free admission to the galleries, there will be a guided tour to “One Way or Another,” a free screening of shorts by Czech animator Jan Svankmajer and talks by artists.

“One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now,’ which opens Sept. 19 and runs through Dec. 23, includes works by 17 Asian-American artists, most under 35, for whom ethnicity is no longer as definitive as it was for the generations before them.

The works in the exhibition have unexpected ways of expressing “Asian-American-ness,” often blending traditional art forms with pop culture and other contemporary influences. The artists are mainly from California and New York. Some of the locals include Ala Ebtekar (Berkeley), Binh Dahn (San Jose), Indigo Som (Berkeley), and Michael Arcega (San Francisco).

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Pacific Film Archive presents a series of Asian-American films, plus lectures,artists’ talks, tours and conversations that continue to explore ideas of ethnicity. A highlight will be a panel discussion exploring ethnicity and Asian adoption in the United States.

2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley; (510) 642-0808; www.bampfa.berkeley.edu

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