1 NEW SHANGHAI CIRCUS: Two thousand years of Chinese circus arts, not to mention some eye-popping athleticism, will be on display when this renowned troop of contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and gymnasts performs. The troupe comes to Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts on Feb. 11 for two shows.

Details: 3:30 and 7 p.m.; $14-$43; 925-943-7469, www.lesherartscenter.org.

2 MIKE EPPS: One of several talented entertainers to come out of the Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s, Epps got arguably his biggest break when Ice Cube cast him in his film "Next Friday," reportedly after catching his standup act. He's appeared in more than 30 movies, but he frequently returns to the live stage, with an R-rated, taboo-trouncing standup act that many feel is among the best in the business. He will be at Oakland's Paramount Theatre on Feb. 8 for two shows.

Details: 7 and 10:30 p.m.; $47.50-$127.50; www.paramounttheatre.com.

3 CRAIG SHOEMAKER: Here's another talented comedian headed our way (I figure 49ers fans need a reason to laugh, right?). Shoemaker is best known for his "Lovemaster" routine (a guy delivering TMI about his sexual prowess), but he also has a sharp eye for the unintentionally comical aspects of American life and a flair for impersonations (including a killer Don Knotts bit). He will be at Tommy T's in Pleasanton Feb. 7-10.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday; $25-$35; 925-227-1800, www.tommyts.com.

4 "THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION": Aaron Sorkin, who won awards and acclaim by writing about the beginnings of Facebook in "The Social Network," penned this play about the beginning of television, and the war between an inventor (Philo Farnsworth) and a powerful company (RCA) to gain control of what would become one of the colossal creations of the 20th century. On Feb. 7, Lafayette's Town Hall Theatre Company opens a new production of the show.

Details: Through March 2; $25-$32; 925-283-1557, www.townhalltheatre.com.

5 DIABLO SYMPHONY: Music director Matilda Hofman leads the orchestra in a program, titled "Toward the New World," featuring Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor (From the New World), Ives' "The Unanswered Question" and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3. Acclaimed pianist Natasha Paremski, a former Diablo Symphony Young Artist award-winner, returns as the guest soloist.

Details: 2 p.m. Feb. 10; Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; $10-$25; 925-943-7469, www.diablosymphony.org.

6 KAREN RONTOWSKI: Again with the comedians! Yes, Rontowski is the third touring comedian in this week's Top 10, but unlike the other two (Epps and Shoemaker), her material is said to be G-rated and focused on the positive aspects of life. She's also known as a top-notch improviser, so folks in the audience should stay on their toes.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13; Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton; $15; 925-931-4848, www.firehousearts.org.

7 "FOURTH MESSENGER": Bay Area playwright Tanya Shaffer's new musical imagines the Buddha as a contemporary woman (Mama Sid) whose tightly guarded past is threatened by a new disciple. The show is getting its world premiere at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley through March 10.

Details: Performances are Wednesday through Sundays; $23-$35; http://thefourthmessenger.com.

8 SAN FRANCISCO INDIE FEST: Not only does this annual festival serve up a wild mix of indie, underground and "subversive" (their word) films, but it also offers such grand themed parties as an '80s power ballad singalong, a roller disco party and -- a proud tradition -- the annual "Big Lebowski" bash.

Details: Feb. 7-21; most events at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco; tickets, schedule and more information are at http://sfindie.com.

9 "GOD OF CARNAGE": Yasmina Reza's biting comedy about two sets of parents who meet after their children fight in a park was a huge hit when it opened on Broadway in 2009 (it also won a Tony Award for best play). It's now getting a Bay Area run at San Francisco's Shelton Theatre.

Details: Feb. 8-March 30; $38; www.sheltontheater.org.

10 THINGAMAJIGS PRESENTS "TEMPORALITY": The East Bay performance group strives to create unique experiences, and "Temporality," its all-day production Feb. 9 at Mills College, should be no exception. In the span of 14 hours, group members will construct a "living exhibit" in the college art museum and present a confluence of music, spoken word, movement and projected video images in collaboration with Bay Area poet Stephen Ratcliffe, who will read 1,000 poems that he wrote in the span of 1,000 consecutive days.

Details: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (audience members can come and go as they please); free; http://thingamajigs.org.

Contact Randy McMullen at rmcmullen@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/randymac57.