This is the final weekend of the SF Fringe Festival—that celebration of all the weird, wacky, and wonderful things that can take place on a small stage. This will also (most likely) be the last SF Fringe hosted by Exit Theatre, which is closing this year, and which I’m trying not to scream about. They’re another victim of the pandemic, and a city that abandons its arts in favor of… what exactly? One day I’ll write a one-person show about it, and you can watch it on Twitch, I guess. Anyway, pick something wild at random (“How To Catch a Karen”? “Angry Black Woman 101”? “Aunt Flo is Dead”? “Pretty Beast”? “Potato Topos”?) and broaden your horizons. You can see the full schedule here.
THU/15-SEPTEMBER 25: “APPARATUS OF REPAIR” Flyaway Productions, the jaw-dropping aerial dance troupe is presenting the third part of its “Decarceration Trilogy: Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex One Dance at a Time” all up and down UC Hastings College of the Law in the Tenderloin. Don’t miss this 45-minute acrobatic abolitionist exegesis. Thursdays-Sundays, 8pm, UC Hastings, SF. More info here.
FRI/16: THE LOBSTER BALL For 25 years, the Killing My Lobster improv troupe has sunk its cutting-edge claws into the local comedy scene. This fundraiser promises live performances of the group’s most beloved sketches, accompanied by food, drinks, and a silent auction. 7pm, Gray Area, SF. More info here.
FRI/16: THE FARALLONITES Take in this immersive dance performance, inspired by the “tenacity, resilience, and strength” of the lighthouse keepers and families that lived on the desolate Farallon islands in the 1800s. Presented by Dana Lawton Dances, this show unpacks overlooked Bay Area history. 8pm, Cowell Theatre at Pier 2, SF. More info here.
FRI/16-SUN/18: DARK SIDE OF THE CIRCUS The great gig in the big tent! “Take a psychedelic circus journey to the Dark Side of the Moon! Pink Floyd’s masterpiece is brought to life in this spectacle for the senses: a circus show intricately choreographed to the beloved album.” Presented by Bow & Arrow Circus Theatre Collective. Dance Mission Theatre, SF. More info here.
SAT/17-SUN/18: 65TH ANNUAL MILL VALLEY FALL ARTS FESTIVAL A fall kickoff tradition, where you’ll find 135 local and international exhibiting artists gathering under the redwoods to show off their talents at this festival in Old Mill Park. Stick around to enjoy live music, kids’ activities, and a selection of food and drinks. 10am-5pm both days, Old Mill Park, Mill Valley. More info here.
SAT/17: CLUB PANSY Trance music from the 1990s and beyond is so big in underground queer nightlife circles these days! Join DJ and live electronic performers Experimental Housewife, David Le Brun, aunteesam b2b Sof, and Jennifer Vanilla at the newly reopened UndergroundSF and twirl some imaginary rainbow poi. 9pm, underground SF. More info here.
SAT/17: HOBBIT HOLE A Lord of the Rings movie fest and live drag show—direct from the SF Shire? Get your Sauron with the queens of Media Meltdown in this hairy-footed extravaganza, featuring the 1985 Soviet version of The Hobbit (with new subtitles by Media Meltdown’s Franzia Kafka) and Ralph Bakshi’s ill-fated but lovely 1978 Lord of the Rings animated feature. 8pm, Balboa Theatre, SF. More info here.
SAT/17: PUSH IT FORWARD 5 A star-studded art auction to benefit youth outreach and afterschool program EduSkate, which “showcases new and original works on skateboard decks by over 50 emerging and renowned artists, most of whom are rooted in contemporary street art and skateboarding subculture.” EduSkate is one of the programs of the SF Skate Club, whose founder, the awesome Thuy Nguyen, tragically passed away in 2020—but her legacy of youth engagement lives on. 2pm-6pm, SOMArts, SF. More info here.
SAT/17: TIM HECKER Canadian avant-garde musician Tim Hecker brings his cavernous, ambient compositions to Gray Area for a phone-free concert presented by Noise Pop and Yonder Nightshades. (Attendees will place their devices in a Yondr pouch before the show, so you can get lost in the layers of sound without distraction. It’s so interesting to me that Yondr is sponsoring this?) 8pm, Gray Area, SF. More info here.
SUN/18: FLAMENCO SIN FRONTERAS Grammy-winning Spanish guitarist Antonio Rey joins fiery local flamenco legend Carola Zertuche of Theatre Flamenco for a passionate night of traditional music and dance. Brava Theater Center. 7pm, Brava Theater Center, SF. More info here
MON/19: HELLA DIRTY JOKE NIGHT While the Condor Club typically hosts topless dancers on its stage, this weekly comedy night welcomes five of San Francisco’s funniest stand-ups, who provide some uproarious naughty fun while telling some of their dirtiest jokes. Mondays, 7:30pm, Condor Club, SF. More info here.
WED/21: PORTION CONTROL South London industrial dance music pioneers Portion Control have been churning out edgy beats since 1979—and you can move your body to their rhythms in-person when the duo headlines this special Bodyshock + Body Rapture party. 8pm, Elbo Room, Oakland. More info here.