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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Arts + CultureArts ForecastArts Forecast: A power-packed Hip-Hop Dancefest, Britex sign returns,...

Arts Forecast: A power-packed Hip-Hop Dancefest, Britex sign returns, more

Viral Dwellings, Crazy Funny Asians, Drive-In "La Bohéme," Legends of the Rave, Native American Drag Queen Story Hour... lots to do!

I knew organizer and super-human Micaya was going to plan something special for the 22nd Annual SF International Hip-Hop Dancefest (Sat/21, starting at noon), which of course had to go virtual like everything else. Hip-hop dance, after all, continues to blaze a technological trail online—TikTok probably wouldn’t exist without it, and I know stories of young online-oriented dancers making it big have been one good thing to cling to this year.

But I didn’t expect her and her crew to pull out stops like this. 2020’s Hip-Hop Dancefest is taking full advantage of international connections and online convenience to bring us a whole day’s worth of lightning energy and kinetic boom. I just want to start by saying Micaya’s high school friend RuPaul is going to be there, which is fracking exciting—the fest continues to celebrate the contributions of queer club culture to the art. Other luminaries include Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, performance artist Kenichi Ebina, radio personality Sterling James, and a galaxy of TV and movie performers.

Hip-Hop Dancefest founder Micaya. Photo by Blake Tucker

That’s just the lead-up: You also get live performances from Rama Hall, Intricate, Alexis Arbolado, and i-Dummy, and the premiere of “The Isolation In Humanity,” a collaboration piece by B-Boy Spaghetti (Norway), Jade Hackett (London), Jardy Santiago (California), Sun Kim (New York), and Duwane Taylor (London). Plus a selection of stellar past performances, a kids’ dance montage, some freestyle, and a whole lot more. A bit of warmth as winter approaches, and we remain inside. More info here.


OK speaking speaking of warmth and light. I’m still a bit traumatized over the It’s Tops sign disappearing after that iconic, pancake-fluffing cafe closed. I didn’t cry as much as some of my friends at the removal of the nostalgia-stoking Coca-Cola sign over Highway 80, but it was definitely historic and pretty! Now, I’m happy to report that another lit-up wonder has actually returned to the streetscape. An exact replica of the Britex Fabrics sign, designed by Arrow Sign Company was installed this week at the essential—especially for drag queens and theater geeks!—store’s new location on Post Street near Union Square. It’s glorious:

You can support Britex by shopping with them online here—why not make some stripey holiday stockings or whip up a dazzling fun-fur Zoom backdrop?

PS just going to take this occasion to post a photo I took inside Britex tight before shutdown. I miss IRL shopping:


Ralph Remington. Photo by Aminda Villa.

New hires at local arts institutions continue upward swing toward diversity: The San Francisco Arts Commission recently named Ralph Remington as its Director of Cultural Affairs—he comes from multiple posts in Tempe, Arizona, and earlier was Director of Theater and Musical Theater at the National Endowment for the Arts. Meanwhile, the Headlands Center for the Arts has a new executive director: educator and arts organizer Maricelle (Mari) Robles, a Latinx woman of Puerto Rican heritage who has “focused her career on making art more accessible and welcoming to all, and on creating inclusive experiences both within and outside of art organizations’ walls.” Can’t wait to see what’s in store for when we’re all back up to speed.


ONGOING “Viral Dwellings” by Camille MacRae Oooh I love these. The latest installment of gallery Hang Art’s Guest Spot window exhibits is “an arrangement of neon Petri dishes filled with amorphous light configurations. In her practice, Camille MacRae is known for using neon, steel, and found objects to create art about feelings that are too ambiguous and difficult to name. During a historically unpredictable time in our world, MacRae has fabricated Viral Dwellings to act as bacterial cultures that are capable of feeling and echoing these uncertain feelings.” At Hang’s Sutter Street gallery. More info here

ONGOING SF Symphony “Throughline” In honor of new star conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen taking the reins, this diverse online program (also airing on PBS November 30) shows off the symphony’s recent work—including portions of its brilliant “Currents” series—out of the concert hall and into your home. You can watch it here.

FRI/20 Club Closed While other big clubs keep pushing it by trying to open too much too early, The Great Northern and Monarch crew are keeping it lively online with a regular Friday night bonanza of local talent: DJs, performers, comedians, live bands, and more. This installment features Love Child, Trailer Limon, and Ardalan. More info here.

FRI/20 + SUN/22 Drive-In Opera “La Bohéme” The ultimate freezing-cold Parisian tragic love story, presented by SF Opera at Fort Mason, right into your car! More info here.

FRI/20 Crazy Funny Asians Every Friday night, K. Cheng hosts a comedy cavalcade of local Asian American stand-ups—45 minutes packed with laughs and some good cheer (and cutting jabs). More info here.

SAT/20 Legends of the Rave Such a great lineup of old school heavy hitters—Forest Green, Homer Espinosa, St. John, and tons more—streaming for a good cause: The Raver Rescue program, to help our dancefloor community members in need during the pandemic. More info here.

SAT/21 Drag Queen Story Hour: Native American Heritage Month Any time you get a chance to see local drag legend Landa Lakes read, you should hightail it toward her—and bring your kid, as Landa is joined by Lady Shug and Tatianna Matthews for a program of children’s storytelling that centers indigenous tales. More info here.

SAT/21 So Soul San Francisco Black Art Salon Series Online: Internationally Black Caitlin Donohue wrote for us about this terrific series of online conversations between Black performers across the diaspora. This installment features China resident Cheryl “Cici” Vazquez, host of “The Rotten Girls Guide to Sex(ual Tropes),” a podcast that dissects human sexuality from the perspective of women/former women with autism. More info here.

SAT/21 Fringe Friendsgiving Indie Dance Party! Before you pack in the stuffing, get a little exercise dancing to some superb indie dance hits of the 2000s and beyond. This party is one of my favorites, and it’s real cute online! More info here.

SUN/22 The Ambient Mafia presents: Sunday Sundowns One of the best kept secrets in SF is this very chill techno crew, who’ve done a lot to soothe my soul during this whole thing. They’ll spin on Twitch from 5pm-10pm with special guest Ammon. Expect some smoked-out bliss. More info here.

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.

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