Arts Forecast

Arts Forecast: Gray Area Festival lineup, Laborfest, Fillmore Jazz Fest…

Performers at last year's Gray Area Festival.

ARTS FORECAST Lots of fests coming at you fast! We’ve got details below, but here’s a future one to put on your radar: The Gray Area Festival in the Mission, Thursday July 26–Sunday July 29. If you’re unfamiliar with Gray Area, it’s an organization that brings some incredible junctures of arts, music, technology, activism, education, and partying together. Once located all over the Tenderloin, Gray Area itself is now housed in the former Grand Theater on Mission Street, beautifully restored, and its annual festival is “a conference, performances, workshops, and an exhibition surveying culture through the lens of art and technology. It brings together art and technology for social, civic, and cultural impact,” according to Gray Area honcho Josette Melchior.

This year’s lineup was just announced, and it’s pretty major, with dream-pop group YACHT, the author of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women who Made the Internet, Claire L. Evans. Indie electronic-acoustic darlings Hundred Waters, experimental musicians Second Woman with Pfadfinerei, techno delight Machinedrum, and dozens more. It’s a multimedia, mind-expanding experience (I loved last year’s) that, when combined with the Fillmore Jazzfest and Laborfest below, really outlines the current state of the city and its various forms of activism and interaction. More info here

MORE UPCOMING EVENTS 

THU/28 MUSIC THE GO-GO’S From their totally unexpected triumph of a whimsical musical, back to their status as “America’s ’80s pop sweethearts,” the frothy California rockers are back at it, and we love them. 8pm, $49.50. Fox Theatre, Oakland. More info here

Film School Dropouts host ‘Pink Flamingos’

THU/28 FILM PINK FLAMINGOS There’s probably no better way to view John Waters’ 1972 trash masterpiece than at the Roxie with a bunch of camp queens, hosted by drag duo the Film School Dropouts. Kill everyone now! 9:30pm, $15. Roxie Cinema, SF. More info here.   

FRI/29 NIGHTLIFE CATZ ‘N DOGZ Bet you didn’t know Poland had a killer techno scene, eh? This duo is phenomenal and fun—plus a couple of real sweethearts. They’re closely associated with our very own dirtybird crew, so expect lots of crowd pleasing bass, but also fastidious students of all sorts of music. (They once opened a set with several minute of jazz goddess Alice Coltrane.) 9:30pm-3:30am, $10-$20. great Northern, SF. More info here.  

FRI/29 PERFORMANCE STEREO ARGENTO: CRONENBERG An insanely clever drag tribute to horror master David Cronenberg? Goretastic! Hosted by Meredeath + Jillian Gnarling, with dancing and drinks, too. 10pm-3am, $10. the Stud, SF. More info here.  

SAT/30 NIGHTLIFE VOLVOX Volvox (Discwoman) finally makes her triumphant return to headline Lights Down Low and bring it hardcore with a special night of blistering techno bliss, foot-stomping electro, and pure sonic satisfaction. Every time she slides behind the decks is a pulse-racing, hands-raised and room-detonating affair.” Well, then! 10pm-3am, $15. Monarch, SF. More info here

SAT/30 AND SUN/1 FESTIVAL FILLMORE JAZZFEST This storied celebration is so ingrained in the city’s cultural fabric that it’s hard to believe this is only the 34th installment. While the latest attempt to revive the historic jazz district didn’t exactly pan out, and the black exodus from San Francisco continues, at least the hometown spirit of love and music (and great food and shopping!) is still going on. This year’s theme is “’90s Throwback,” with Kim Nalley, The Mo’Fessionals, Alphabet Soup, Jungle Biskit, Dogslyde, Marshall Arts, plus Lavay Smith, the Broun Felinis and many more performing. Come support. More info here

SAT/30 PROTEST FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER RALLY This Arts Forecast is getting taken over by politics because this week has been absolutely awful (except for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s wonderful win), but here’s a good way to feel useful: Rally with others against the fact that our government is forcibly separating children from their families and putting them in cages. I cannot believe I just wrote the last part of that sentence. 10am-1pm, free. Dolores Park, SF. More info here

SAT/30 FESTIVAL ALL DAY I DREAM + WAKING HOUR  The All Day I Dream outdoor party is a traveling fiesta of techno and house tunes, coming to Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park with bigtime burner-favorite DJs Lee Burridge and Oona Dahl— and in which “mystical melodies hang on the evening breeze as a setting sun illuminates the Golden Gateway which sparkles seductively, far off in the distance.” You don’t want to kickstart anything this magickal without 12:30pm-2pm’s The Waking Hour, “the opening ceremony of guided yoga, meditation, and sound healing” lead by yoga instructor Hayley Ebersole and sound healer Cheryl Bowers. 12:30pm-7pm, $35. Golden Gate Park, SF. More info here

SUN/1 FESTIVAL CIVIC CENTER COMMONS BLOCK PARTY  Every 1st Sunday starting July 1 through November 4, there’s going to be a big block party on Fulton Street between the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Main Public Library, and it looks like tons of family fun. The inaugural one features beloved Circus Bella in performance, followed by a juggling workshop, and some fun movement excercises from Alonzo King LINES Ballet, plus tons more, including craft vendors and refreshments. 11am-3pm, free! Civic Center Commons, SF. More info here.  

SUN/1 FESTIVAL LABORFEST “Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in the 21st Century”. is the vital theme of this year’s sprawling Laborfest—especially urgent in light of the Supreme Court’s crushing blow to unions this week. Films, arts, speakers, and great events. “This year LaborFest continues to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 with a series of lectures and walks. LaborFest will also focus on the role of technology on workers from Silicon Valley to UBER, Lyft and taxi drivers, workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ as well the role of Airbnb on hotel workers and communities and neighborhoods in San Francisco.” July 1-31. More info here. 

ONGOING VISUAL ART URBAN ABSTRACTS: PHOTOS BY RONALD B. RICHARDSON My friend, Ron Richardson, is a university professor, but every moment he can spare he’s been taking gorgeous pictures of tiny details of the Bay Area (which he once walked all the way around). This is his first show, up at Madrone Art Bar; you should go to the bar ad garb a drink and a dance, and check our these lively, colorful shots. Show runs through August 26. Madrone Arts Bar, SF. More info here.  

ONGOING THEATER SOFT POWER The creators of two of my favorite shows—David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home)‚ come together together for this “play and a musical” that “rewinds our recent political history and plays it back through a Chinese lens.” Looks nifty, and hey: 48 Hills readers can get 20% off tickets with the code 48HILLS20 at checkout. Through July 8. Curran Theatre, SF. More info here.

Arts Forecast: Fresh Meat, North Beach Festival, Corgi Con…

Jahaira Fajardo and Angelica Medina perform at the Fresh Meat Festival.

ARTS FORECAST Pride is looming in the distance like a monstrous, rainbow-bedecked Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man—look for my guide to drop soon—but alongside the parades and parties, and, hey, even a little politics, lies a vibrant time for queer arts in the city, mostly courtesy of the 21st Annual National Queer Arts Festival (through June 28). You’ll find a plethora, nay, a panoply of Pride-related (and not so much) performances and activities that will amaze and astound. 

Take the centerpiece Fresh Meat Festival (Fri/14-Sun/16): three days of incredible trans and queer dance, storytelling, music, art, and everything else you can think, with an emphasis on the new. Hosted by the local legend Shawna Virago and Sean Dorsey, this 12th annual edition includes “a transgender superhero rock opera, world champion gay ballroom, award-winning queer disabled dance pioneers, gender-bending dance-theater, trans comedy, and more.” Boo-ya! More info here

MORE UPCOMING EVENTS

THU/14 WTF SUPER SEINFELD TRIVIA AND VARIETY SHOW From the creators of the wildly popular Simpsons Trivia Night comes “a Seinfeld trivia night with awesome prizes, plus a comedy showcase, plus a themed food menu, with themed cocktails, and more fun stuff!” Comics include Aviva Siegel, Drew Harmon, Sam DiSalvo and Alexandria Love, and it’s hosted by local music writer wiz Adrian Spinelli. I am dying to know what the Seinfeld menu is, and it better include a big salad. 6pm, $5-$8. Cafe Du Nord, SF. More info here.

THU/14 NIGHTLIFE PUFF 48 Hills sponsors this super-fun and lively queer cannabis appreciation evening at the Stud, with burlesque, cabaret, and live music performances, as well as giveaways and showcases of the most innovative local products coming out today! With DJ Sergio Fedasz and rock goddess Maria Konner. 7pm-10pm, $10 suggested donation. the Stud, SF. More info here

THU/14, FRI/15 + MON/17 MUSIC BORIS GODUNOV A semi-staged production of Mussorgsky’s classic at SF Symphony, with all its dramatic bombast and poetry. “Inspired by Pushkin’s Shakespearean tragedy, the work follows the rise and fall of the 16th-century Tsar Boris Godunov in a story underpinned by ambition, power, and betrayal.” 8pm (2pm Sunday), $35. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here

FRI/14 STAGE SHORT-LIVED IV “It’s the country’s largest audience-judged theater competition, with thousands of audience members scoring hundreds of artists who put together 48 plays over 9 weeks—all competing for a $5,000 cash prize.” Phew, ought to be a riot! The massive competition runs in rounds until August 4, get in on the ground floor with your theater critic skills. 8pm, $20-$40. Piano Fight, SF. More info here.  

FRI/15 MUSIC FANTASTIC NEGRITO “Fantastic Negrito is a man’s truth told in the form of black roots music. Each song a real story about a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million dollar record deal, the lows of a near fatal car accident that left him in a coma, and is now in the phase of rebirth — despite his playing hand being mangled.” We love him. 8pm, $22.50. The Fillmore, SF. More info here. 

FRI/15 NIGHTLIFE FATIMA YAMAHA The Dutch DJ, producer, and musical polymath Bas Bron scored a massive re-hit a couple years ago when a record he released in 2004 as Fatime Yamaha, called “What’s a Girl to Do,” was re-released and spoke to an entire generation eager for laidback beauty and sultry yet desultory noodling (not to mention a queer subtext). His DJ sets, usually consisting His DJ sets, usually consisting of his own expansive, unhurried tracks, are just lovely. This is a Lights Down Low party, so be prepared for excellently rave-y vibes. 10pm-3am, $20. Audio, SF. More info here

SAT/16 NIGHTLIFE CIEL Dance music was really so incredibly boring without women at the forefront! Toronto’s incredibly talented, outspoken Ciel is leading the charge to diversify the Canadian (and worldwide) scene, while bringing some excellent music with her. She’s playing the Mixed Forms party, which brings together one of the most colorful and vibing crowds in the city. With Chicago’s SOLD, whose singular ASMR approach to techno will have you feeling yourself, and local kids Sepehr (live) and Trevor Sigler. 10pm-4am, $15-$20. the Stud, SF. More info here.  

SAT/16 ART DOMESTIC. POLITICS. Artist Philip Hua imbues everyday items with intense meaning that reflects our violent and frenzied moment. “Recalling day-of-the-week underwear, photographs of neighbors and loved ones in armored vests for each day of the week imagine a world in which protection against gun violence is just another article of daily wear.  Duvet covers depicting snippets of articles from the marriage equality movement symbolize the private nature of marriage and the public victory for love and equality. And a hand towel designed using a man’s fingerprints to let women wipe away the stain of men’s unwanted advances draws inspiration from the #MeToo movement are just some of the items that are included in the exhibition.” Opening reception 3pm-5pm, free. Show runs through June 31. Ruth’s Table, SF. More info here

SAT/16 FESTIVAL CORGI CON: SUMMER EDITION I once stumbled upon this congregation of Corgi-lovers unawares while strolling down Ocean Beach, and it was one of those perfectly surreal SF moments. Corgis in little superhero outfits! Corgis racing for prizes! Hot Corgi dads! So many tiny legs and waggling backsides! It was all very overwhelming. 10am-2pm, free. Ocean Beach, SF. More info here

SAT/16 AND SUN/17 FESTIVAL 64TH ANNUAL NORTH BEACH FESTIVAL “Featuring over 125 arts and crafts booths, dozens of gourmet food booths, live entertainment, Italian street painting, kids’ chalk area, poetry readings, beverage gardens, local non-profit organizations and the blessing of the animals in The Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi.” If your animal has sneezed, get it blessed! 

Arts Forecast: A Princely debut, the Science of Rhythm, Haight Street Fair, more …

Photo by Robert Whitman, part of the 'PRINCE Pre-Fame' show at the new Family Affair gallery.

ARTS FORECAST It’s not every day a new art gallery opens up in this SF economic climate, especially one in tune with the laidback, music-loving, funky groove of Lower Haight. So I was stoked when I heard about Family Affair, next door to Groove Merchant Records, opening this Thursday. 

I was even more stoked that its first exhibit will celebrate the 40th anniversary(!) of the release Prince’s first album For You—and that it would feature photos of the 19-year-old Purple One by photographer Robert Whitman. Called PRINCE Pre-fame, it illustrates the tale of the young genius coming to California to record the album at Sausalito’s famous/infamous Record Plant studios in 1977.

The opening party is on June 7 (Prince’s birthday, natch), 7pm-10pm, and features a Q&A between photographer Robert Whitman and Family Affair Creative Director Freddy Anzures. Also featured: a special guest appearance by Owen Husney, “the man who discovered Prince,” plus demos and tracks from For You providing the soundtrack for the evening. The show runs through July 7. More info here.  

MORE UPCOMING ARTS

THU/7-JUNE 28 ART A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE Tis the season for queer-themed exhibits, and this one, curated by local artist Rudy Lemcke, springboards off the work of that great ’80s lightning rod of queer rage against AIDS, David Wojnarowicz. An astounding collection of artists contribute, from Jamil Hellu and Sandra Ibarra, to Arthur Dong and Wojnarowicz himself. Opening reception 6pm-9pm, free. SOMArts, SF. More info here.  

THU/7 NIGHTLIFE SCIENCE OF RHYTHM The Nightlife Thursdays events at Cal Academy remain unbeatable as both wildly fun educational experiences and total meat markets for hot, smart singles. This installment is particularly nice: Legendary nightlife writer Bill Brewster (“Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”) gives a talk and spins underground records with local fave Chris Orr. Plus you can play with vintage synthesizers! 6pm-9pm, $15. Cal Academy, SF. More info here

FRI/8 MUSIC MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO The giants of driving yet quirky electronic music beat their way to Mezzanine with opener (and legend in his own right) MC 900 Ft Jesus. 9pm, $31. Mezzanine, SF. More info here

SAT/9 PERFORMANCE TENDERLOIN MUSEUM THIRD ANNIVERSARY Vietnamese folk music! Drag history! Dancing on buildings! “2018 marks year number 3 for the Tenderloin Museum! Please join us for our Anniversary Party, a full day of free, family-friendly programming at the Museum that celebrates the diverse and impactful efforts of the Tenderloin community both past and present. In a time marked by an urgent and invigorating surge in advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement, the Tenderloin’s history is more relevant and inspiring than ever.” Noon-10pm, free. Tenderloin Museum, SF. More info here

SAT/9 MUSIC LYDIA LUNCH RETROVIRUS “An all-star cast of sonic brutarians in a no-holds-barred survey of the great punk/No Wave poet’s musical output from 1977 to the present, Including music from Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, 8 Eyed Spy, Queen of Siam, 1313 and Shotgun Wedding.” 9pm, all ages, $15. Rickshaw Stop, SF. More info here

SUN/10 FESTIVAL HAIGHT STREET FAIR Hey, it’s the Haight Street Fair, y’all. 

SUN/10 MUSIC SPEEDY ORTIZ The indie darlings return, with “Massachusetts-based songwriter/guitarist Sadie Dupuis’ knotty, lyrically dense songs fully realized by her bandmates: intricate guitar lines crisscrossing over Darl Ferm’s fluid bass and Mike Falcone’s precisely executed drumming in a way that’s simultaneously catchy and jarring.” 7pm, $20. Cafe Du Nord, SF. More info here

SUN/10 VISUAL ART THE ART OF ROMANOWSKI More Lower Haight love (hey, it’s my hood), with this iconic LH artist’s show in Oakland, which is full of his idiosyncratic way with found objects and stencils and brilliant eye for color. Oh hey, and it’s the Temescal Street Fair that day, so walk around. Opening reception 3pm-7pm, free. Concept 47, Oakland. More info here

SAT/10 CELEBRATION JUNETEENTH RITUAL OF REMEMBERING “Unlike most Juneteenth celebrations, this one honors our ancestors through the faith traditions they held before they were enslaved. Prayers will be offered by people of the First Nation; traditional African belief systems known as Khemet, Vodun, Ifa, Palo Mayombe; Abrahmic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and Eastern traditions including Bhuddhism and Hinduism. The First Nation drum is brought by members of the Black Native American Association and the African Bata drums are brought by members of Awon Ohun Omnira (Voices of Freedom) who are the performing arm of the the event host, Omnira Institute. The Emancipation Proclamation will be read and the audience will be asked to join in some freedom and ring shout songs.” 11am-1pm, free. Lake Merritt Boathouse picnic area, Oakland. More info here

MON/11 TALK JANET MOCK The transgender powerhouse, one of Time’s “most influential people,” is currently a big part of new FX show about voguing called “Pose”—continuing to fulfill her mission of bringing transgender people of color more visibility. She’ll talk about her life, work, and a lot of things besides at the Nourse. 7:30pm-9:30pm, $30. Course Theatre, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Trog, Mercury Soul, Bay Area Book Festival …

'Trog' at Oasis

ARTS FORECAST Two lovely and illuminating things to kick us off this week. 

The first is the installation of Charles Gadeken’s gorgeous 50-foot tall “geometric tree” called “Squared” sculpture on Patricia Green in Hayes Valley. Many may (hallucinogenically) remember several of Gadekan’s sculptures on the playa at Burning Man, but this one—which rhymes beautifully with the Words Take Wings sculpture of flying books in SF. Here’s a pic of it during the daytime:

and check out this cool vid of it being constructed and lit up! 

There’s going to be an official opening celebration May 5, 6-8:30pm, so check that out — more info here

ANOTHER BRIGHT LIGHT: What if corner stores in neighborhoods that don’t have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables were transformed into healthy oases? That’s what a group of YBCA youth fellows did in the Tenderloin, teaming up with the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition (THCSC), to convert the Daldas Corner Store into a spot that celebrates freshness and personality.

For the past three months, these young people “have taken part in art-making workshops led by YBCA teaching artists to create original artwork and portraits of the store’s owners, patrons, and local residents—marketing interventions that reflect the diverse neighborhood. Under the guidance of the teaching artists, they also worked to replace existing neon signs advertising alcohol, tobacco, and unhealthy foods with new neon signs advertising fruits and vegetables now sold at Daldas.”

Very cool! The new, improved Daldas Corner Store was unveiled last Thursday — go visit, buy something, and support! Daldas is at 200 Eddy, SF—you can read more about the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition here.  

UPCOMING ARTS EVENTS

THU/26-SAT/28 MUSIC KRONOS QUARTET FESTIVAL Our most fabulously experimental musicians host three incredible days and nights of new music, with guests like Amaranth Quartet and Dave Coulter. SFJAZZ, more info here

THU/26-SUN/29 MUSIC COSMIC WONDER: “THE PLANETS” Holst’s beloved cosmic work gets the SF symphony treatment, with conductor Christian Reif at the helm of this orchestral spaceship. With Wagner’s “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” from Götterdämmerung, and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here

FRI/27 NIGHTLIFE MERCURY SOUL: DANZÓN One of the niftiest nightlife concepts I’ve come upon—a blend of classical and new music—this time celebrating Latin composers. It “features a headlining set by Rob Garza (of the legendary Thievery Corporation), with the first-ever live performance of music from his upcoming “Dissolve” EP, joined by singers Shana Halligan, Stee Downes, and Fare, as well as the Mercury Soul Orchestra playing arrangements by Grammy-nominated composer/DJ Mason Bates.
Throughout the night, veteran DJs Masonic and Justin Reed will spin sets interspersed with classical performances by the acclaimed Friction Quartet, Redwood Tango Ensemble, and the Mercury Soul Orchestra.” 9pm-2am, $25-$30. Great Northern, SF. More info here

NOW THROUGH MAY 12 STAGE TROG File under: Best Things Ever. A live, musical drag send-up of a B-movie classic. “Arguably one of the ‘worst / best’ movies ever made, and Joan Crawford’s last film, follows Anthropologist Dr. Brockton (Matthew Martin) and her discovery of a living troglodyte (an Ice Age ‘missing link” half-caveman, half-ape). She manages to domesticate him—until he’s let loose by an irate land developer to go on a killing rampage and kidnap a little girl.” At Oasis, SF. More info here

SAT/28 PERFORMANCE BODY TABOO DEFIANCE Burlesque brilliance at midnight in the Shelton Theatre! “Our performers embody the cerebral, hypnotic, artistically mesmerizing, sinfully intriguing and decadent spirit of the San Francisco underbelly. Unapologetically displaying all forms of gender expression and performance mediums, bodyTABOOdefiance is a show best experienced under a halo of neon lights and midnight chimes.” 11pm-1am, $20. Shelton Theatre, SF. More info here

SUN/29 FILM/DANCE INGMAR BERGMAN THROUGH THE CHOREOGRAPHER’S EYE The San Francisco Dance Film Festival presents the US premiere of Frederich Stattin’s movie, in which “four of Sweden’s most innovative choreographers travel to Ingmar Bergman’s home on Fårö to explore and get inspired.” Special guests at this screening include Ingmar Bergman, Jr. and dancer-choreographer Alexander Ekman. Followed by a reception to celebrate the centenary of the iconic Bergman. 5pm-7:30pm, $25-$75. Jewish Community Center, SF. More info here. 

SAT/28-SUN/29 LIT BAY AREA BOOK FESTIVAL Huzzah! Slip under multiple covers at this giant book bash. “Tens of thousands of book lovers meet hundreds of acclaimed authors over an exciting weekend in downtown Berkeley, California.” Plus a fit program at BAMPFA. More info here 

SAT/28-MAY 6 PERFORMANCE FOG CITY SWING A family-friendly, original circus show developed and presented by the San Francisco Youth Circus. “Join Mia, a young woman who is new to the city, wide-eyed and full of hope. As she explores life in the Bay, she meets a bevy of diverse and colorful characters. She makes friends, learns a few life lessons, and discovers all that’s wonderful about life in this town. With circus as her muse, she finds her way through the fog and into the light!” $10-$25, Circus Center, SF. More info here

TUE/1 PARTY! 48 HILLS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY GALA Of course i had to slip this in! Come celebrate five years of independent local media with food, fun, wines from Justice Grace Vineyards, DJ Marke B, and special guests Tom Ammiano and Rose Aguilar of KALW. 6pm-8pm, $50 (students and seniors $35). Mission Cultural Center, SF. More info here.   

TUE/1 MUSIC JAPANDROIDS Canadian rock duo tear it up onstage, and if they’ve been drifting more towards classic thrash rock from intriguing punk, well at least you can still bang your head. 7:30pm, $25. The Independent, SF. More info here

THU/3 MUSIC ERIC B AND RAKIM Rakim is still the G.O.A.T., fight me, and “Follow the Leader” contains some of the best verses in rap. You can relive the glory days of hip-hop (today’s is not so bad actually, barring those Kanye and Chance tweets) when the 18th Letter, the R, steps up to the microphone with President Eric B. 8pm, $65. The Fillmore, SF. More info here.  

Arts Forecast: An Ethio-jazz marvel, a Tenderloin snapper, The Residents …

the marvelous Meklit performs her Elio-Jazz at SFJAZZ, Fri/6

ARTS FORECAST All the talk this week will be about the San Francisco International Film Festival—check out this week’s Screen Grabs film column for our preview—and I love that its dedicating a night to the incredible Stephen Parr, who left us last year, but whose Oddball Films remains the essential repository of the Bay Area’s, and the world’s, film knowledge. (See Mon/9 below for more.)

If you can tear yourself away from all the hullaballoo of the fest, here are some other local arts happenings you may be into. 

TUE/3-SUN/8 “NIJINSKY” “The vision of a troubled soul walking the line between genius and madness. For the first time in over a decade, guest company The National Ballet of Canada returns to the Bay Area to perform Nijinsky —a daring work of dazzling theatricality. A ground-breaking dancer and choreographer known for his erotic magnetism and gravity-defying leaps, Nijinsky both thrilled and shocked audiences in his far too-short career.” Various times, $40+. War Memorial Opera House, SF. More info here.

WED/4-THU/5 BATMAN AT THE SYMPHONY Tim Burton’s Batman film is a complete camp classic—and, as always, composer Danny Elfman steals the show with his idiosyncratic soundtrack. Hear that soundtrack performed live by the SF Symphony (under the baton of Sarah Hicks) as the confection-colored film is projected on a huge screen. 8pm, $50+. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here

Photo by Darwin Bell

THU/5 DARWIN BELL: HEART OF THE CITY One of our absolutely best street photographers (and party-hoppers) turns the lens on the neighborhood he loves: the Tenderloin, celebrating “the iconoclastic neighborhood’s perpetual state of metamorphosis.” Opening 6pm-9pm, free. Tenderloing Museum, SF. More info here

THU/5 LITERARY DEATH MATCH AT CJM A stellar lineup of competitors and judges, as this classic— Part literary event, part comedy show, part game show—hits the Contemporary jewish Museum. 6:30pm, $15. CJM, SF. More info here. 

THU/5 “TESTIMONY” OPENING RECEPTION “As part of her Testimony project, artist Eliza Gregory introduces us to more than a dozen immigrants to San Francisco. They relate their experiences through photographic portraits, interviews touching on family history and adapting to a new culture, and selected materials such as scrapbooks and family photographs. Meet the artist and participants — from China, Germany, Guatemala, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia and Vietnam.” 6:30pm-8:30pm, $10 (includes admission to museum). Asian Art Museum, SF. More info here

THU/5-FRI/6 THE RESIDENTS Holy rolling eyeballs! The classic experimental outfit from the Bay comes back to perform for two nights at the Chapel. Expect high-concept hi jinx, some great tunes, and the spirit of the acid-tinged 1970s to rise again. 8pm, $35-$40. The Chapel, SF. More info here

FRI/6 ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET WITH NICHOLAS PHAN One of SF’s most accomplished (and beloved) string quartets comes to the Community Music Center with tenor Nicholas Phan for a free concert and conversation. 6pm, free. CMC, SF. More info here

 FRI/6 MEKLIT ETHIO-JAZZ CELEBRATION One of our favorite musicians, singers, and all-around people, Meklit brings her exciting Ethio-Jazz sound to SFJAZZ as part of its African Diaspora series. Don’t miss his incredible local talent in a large venue! 7:30pm, $25-$45. SFJAZZ. More info here

FRI/6-APRIL 28 “A DIFFERENT LONG STRETCH OF EARTH” “Taxidermy. Decolonization. Kink. Apocalypse. Inspired by her work at the intersection of arts nonprofits and social justice as well as her fickle and persistent love of the Old West, playwright Ulrey takes us into the contemporary American West where a group of characters wrestle with the mindsets and mythologies of our collective past and explore how they shape our ability to envision the future.” Performed by the Ragged Wing Ensemble Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm, $25-$45. The Flight Deck, Oakland. More info here.  

SAT/7 “THE RED SHADES”: TRANS SUPERHERO ROCK OPERA SHOWCASE A full rock opera sing-through with a seven-piece band! “The story follows a teenage trans girl, Ida, who unlocks her super powers after experiencing the traumas of small-town life in the sixties. Eventually, she runs away and joins a gang of trans superheroes squatting in the Tenderloin. They use magic collectively to defend the community against the police and other enemies of their liberation.” 3:30pm-8pm, $10. El Rio, SF. More info here

SUN/7 DUST BOWL REVIVAL “Dustbowl Revival is a vibrant Los Angeles-based eight-piece who have been making their mark with a stellar mix of of vintage Americana sounds.” Not is sure how much we want to revive the Dust Bowl, but don’t miss a good night of music, also featuring the Shook Twins. 

MON/9 A CELEBRATION OF ODDBALL FILMS Last year we lost the wonderful Stephan Parr, a lynchpin of our independent film scene as proprietor of Oddball Films. “The reels in Stephen Parr’s Oddball Films collection are said to number 50,000, but their impact on screens and filmmakers is exponentially greater. Elements of Parr’s archive of industrials, educational films, and, yes, oddities of all kinds found their way into the hands of filmmakers near and far, from Bay Area documentarians like Jennifer Kroot to A-list Hollywood directors like Ridley Scott.” As part of the SF International Film Fest, a ton of musicians performing as the Red Room Orchestra will come together to soundtrack 16mm films from the Oddball archive. 8pm, $25. Castro Theatre, SF. More info here. 

Arts Forecast: Walking the Irish border, making epic poetry

Mica Sigourney and Ruairí Ó'Donnabháin

ARTS FORECAST The Counterpulse Festival is on this week (Wed/14-Sun/18) and its bursting with performance and arts innovation. One of its most interesting moments: aon mhac tíre, nó roinnt mic tíre (Sat/17 and Sun/18)a performance by queer artists Ruairí Ó’Donnabháin and Mica Sigourney, in which the two translate their six-week walk along the 303-mile (499 km) border separating Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic into epic poetry and movement. 

“The border is currently a soft one, it’s very permeable and not set along any specific or obvious division like a road or fence. You may only know you’ve crossed over because the mailboxes or the street signs change color,” Sigourney told me. “It’s kind of a middle ground right now, but there’s obviously so much history along it, including some incredible stories of smuggling that we heard. But all that might change with Brexit, which harden the border and would completely change the economy, split up families… you can see the obvious parallels to what else is going on in the world.”

Kitted out with a paper map, camping supplies, and a few vague notions (as well as a deep history of Irish literature), the two—Ó’Donnabháin a resident of Cape Clear, a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area, and Sigourney, a San Francisco-based child of an Irish immigrant father—hiked, kayaked, and otherwise found their way along unpredictable paths and met with more than a few characters. (The name of the piece translates to “one son of the land or several sons of the land.”) 

“At one point we met a Russian man named Vladimir from nearby Castleblaney on the southern Irish side, which is known as the St. Petersburg of Ireland,” Sigourney said. “There’s so many Russian people living there, since the Irish left to make money elsewhere. So it brought up a lot of questions about what it means to be Irish now, what makes something Irish.”

The performance itself is more than a tale or a dance of their walk. “There have been similar art projects—endurance, landscape-based, famous ones like Marina Abramovic’s along the Great Wall of China. So we didn’t just want to replicate, but rather translate in some way all of our reactions to walking along this soft border, the difference between someone native (Ruairí) and someone diasporic (me), and the implications and complexity of the history. So afterwards, we went to Switzerland and holed ourselves up, and wrote a mythological epic poem about it all,” Sigourney said. 

The performance consists of the two reading the poetry as they navigate shards of broken glass and other hazards, and involves dance, drag, dual-language interaction, and more. According to Sigourney: “It’s very Irish but also very queer—and it’s about the troubles of being outside of borders, invisible and known.”

MORE UPCOMING ARTS

Sister Spit

March 15: Sister Spit: “QTPOC Cruising the West Tour—San Francisco” Literary powerhouse Sister Spit celebrates its 21st anniversary (!) with an all-star lineup, including Mari Naomi, Juliana Delgado Lopera, and Virgie Tovar for “an evening of provocation, feelings, analysis, astrology, and shade” at the Stud. More info here.  

Now through April 5: “Diasporic Alchemy” At SOMArts, co-curators missTANGQ and Louis Chinn present an art show in which “artists of the global diaspora explore ancestry, mythology and cultural heritage as the foundational elements for transformation and creative mutation.” The exhibition centers artists whose identities as immigrants, activists, LGBTQ, and people of color inform their experience of diaspora. More info here.  

March 15-17: “American Optimism” Something that’s in awful short supply lately, get s a musical jolt from SF Symphony, with a performance of Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and, wonderfully interesting, a world premiere performance of new commissioned work “Sudden Changes” by composer Charles Wuorinen, plus Prokofiev’s “witty and fiendishly difficult Third Piano Concerto,” performed by Uzbek sensation Behzod Abduraimov. More info here.  

March 16-April 1: “Latin Standards” Beloved comedian Marga Gomez’s hilarious and poignant excavation of her family’s past—focusing on that of her Cuban showbiz-wiz dad, and her own history performing at Mission gay bars in the ’90s — returns to the Brava Theatre for more shows (and rolling in the aisles). More info here

March 19-April 7: “Exit the King” Ionesco’s absurdist pay at the Exit Theatre (perfect) teaches us to laugh in the face of death: “King Berenger clings to life like he clung to his scepter, but one-by-one his faculties, staff, and two wives are taken from him until he has no choice but to die, as we all must, alone. But will he die at peace?” More info here

March 21: Relay for Death Every month or so, the Peacock Lounge is transformed into an experimental noise palace featuring some awesome, mind-bending acts. This time: relay for Death, Jim Haynes, AEMAE, The Third Ear. More info here

Granny Cart Gangstas

March 22-31: “Here Kitty Kitty: The Pussy Bites Back” The Bindlestiff-originating, all-women, all Asian-American sketch comedy troupe Granny Cart Gangstas, whose “vags’ persist to resist,” go hard to tickle your panties in these crazy times, with all-new sketches exploring the mundane and absurd. I love them! More info here

March 23: Caminos Flamencos: “BailaHora” Our legendary and spectacular Flamenco troupe, led by Yaelisa, celebrates Wonmen’s History Month with a special program. “The show is a journey revealing the nature of the woman in flamenco: her essence, her humanity, how she reflects her time, how time reflects upon her, the joy, the artist, mother, dancer and the rapture when the woman envelops the art and the art envelops the woman.” More info here.  

March 23: “Chevrons” Through a constant investigation of materials and process, Alex Couwenberg’s paintings are informed by the visual landscape of his native Los Angeles. Mid-century design, furniture, architecture, surf and skateboard culture, color and graphics, as well as hard-edge abstraction all play a role in his work. The paint, pin striping, and finish associated with hot rod and custom car culture also impact the aesthetic of his paintings. Couwenberg’s newest work embraces the V-shaped chevron form, whose sharp edges are incorporated seamlessly into the overall geometric style of the paintings. At Andrea schwartz Gallery. More info here

Alex Couwenberg, Mai Tai, 2008

Arts Forecast: Bowie Wowie Zowies!

ARTS FORECAST It’s been two years since David Bowie’s shocking death — an event that many pinpoint as the beginning of world’s current madness spiral, and why not? If it has to hang on something, the passing of the patron saint of weird and wonderful (followed soon by Prince ascending to the purple heavens) might as well have foretold the psycho-cyclone we’re living in.

 San Francisco already threw huge parties to mark Bowie’s birthday (January 8), and since the Starman departed our sphere in 2016, they’ve only grown huger and more poignant. Here’s a quick rundown of this year’s:

7TH ANNUAL BOWIE BASH A two-night extravaganza from the First Church of the Sacred Silversexual, San Francisco (led by Reverent Father Lysol Tony-Romeo) — our very own Bowie performance cult — which will recreate three of his seminal albums live: Friday will see The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and on Saturday we get Station To Station and Let’s Dance. Live band, drag queens, burlesque, and tons of stage shenanigans. Fri/6 and Sat/7, 8pm, $25. The Chapel, SF. More info here

BOWIE AND ELVIS BIRTHDAY BASH Two splashy legends for the price of one? OK! From “Hound Dog” to Diamond Dogs, DJs Shindog (New Wave City) Cammy, Moonshine, and Andy T play all your faves. It’s a costume affair, too, with prizes for best dressed. Birthday cake! Fri/6, 9pm-1:30am, $12. Edinburgh Castle, SF. More info here

BOWIE BIRTHDAY BALL Monthly Club Leisure is our bastion of all things British and pop — from mod to Morrissey — so of course a Bowie Ball chimes with its good times. Bowie-themed drink specials, Bowie tunes, Bowie karaoke, and one of the most stylishly fun crowds in the city. With DJs Aaron, Omar, and Jez and a champagne toast to the Thin White Duke at midnight. Sat/6, 10pm-3am, $10. Cat Club, SF. More info here

BOWIEMAS XIV The 14th installment of this cherished tradition, this year teaming up with the Stud’s rockin’ Sunday Lip Service party for hot tunes and tons of drag and burlesque. A magical night of dance and romance, plus a midnight mass in his honor. Dress up as a Bowie character (or a song lyric) and have a blast. Sun/7, 10pm-1am, $7. The Stud, SF. More info here.   

GOLDEN YEARZ: A BOWIE BIRTHDAY PARTY “GoldenYearz celebrates the ever-changing and far-ranging master of the extraordinary, David Bowie. Our focus is on David’s Golden Years from 1965-1980DJs d’Animal & d’Escargot will spin Bowie and the artists he loved and there will be several live performances.” Projections, surprises, and get your face airbrushed like a Starman. Sat/6, 9:30pm-2am, $10-$15. The Great Northern, SF. More info here

DAVID BOWIE SINGALONG One of my favorite local performers, Kitten on the Keys, leads a lively, good ol’ fashioned singalong of Bowie’s hits and favorites. Grab a cocktail and  belt out something fabulous. Tue/9, 7pm-10pm, free. PianoFight, SF. More info here

BOWIE-A-GOGO A truly freaky tribute! Our weekly pansexual bondage-themed wonderland, Bondage-A-GoGo, pays tribute to the true master. DJs Tomas Diablo and Damon, sexy go-gos, and a dungeon in the back room. Wed/10, 9:30pm-2:30am, $7-$10. Cat Club, SF. More info here

BOWIE BIRTHDAY BASH WITH THE JEAN GENIES Who doesn’t love/live in constant terror of tribute bands? The Jean Genies will bring one Bowie back to life at the Starry Plough with their energetic covers, while openers Burning Down the House will animate another, David Byrne of the Talking Heads. Craziness. Sat/13, 9pm-1am, $10-$12. The Starry Plough, Berkeley. More info here

MORE ARTS EVENTS

SAN FRANCISCO TAPE MUSIC FESTIVAL One of my absolute favorite events of the year! “America’s only festival devoted to the performance of audio works projected in three-dimensional space, The San Francisco Tape Music Festival features four distinct concerts of classic audio art and new fixed media compositions by 30 local and international composers. Hear members of the SF Tape Music Collective, along with guest composers, shape the sound live over a pristine surround system (24 high-end loudspeakers) with the audience seated in complete darkness. It’s a unique opportunity to experience music forming — literally — around you.” Fri/5-Sun/7, $10-$20 for each night/$60 for all four performance. Victoria Theater, SF. More info here

LONG BEACH DUB ALLSTARS Founded in 1997 by surviving members of Sublime (I admit, this is a total selling point for teenage me), LBDA plays  a mixture of punk rock, reggae, dub, ska and hip hop. They’re also endorsed by our own dub party powerhouse, Dub Mission, so you can barely go wrong here. Spark one up. Fri/5, 8:30pm, $25. The Independent, SF. More info here.  

“BRILLIANT DILETTANTES: SUBCULTURE IN GERMANY IN THE 1980S” The invaluable Goethe-Institut brings this awesome show of underground German club, arts, and music to Pro Arts Gallery, and I can’t wait to see it (especially since I was lucky enough to party in Berlin before the fall of the Wall). “Curated by Mathilde Weh, this exhibition presents the most comprehensive survey to date of this extraordinarily innovative subculture, highlighting the work of the bands Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft/D.A.F. (Düsseldorf), Der Plan (Düsseldorf), Die Tödliche Doris (Berlin), Einstürzende Neubauten (Berlin), Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle/ F.S.K. (Munich), Ornament und Verbrechen (East Berlin), and Palais Schaumburg (Hamburg), as well as various artists, filmmakers and designers from West and East Germany.” Opening reception Fri/5, 6pm-8pm, free. Show runs though January 27 with all kinds of live performances and music planned. Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland. More info here

KIRK MAXSON: “BLACK ELK SPEAKS” Kirk Maxson is one of our most exquisite artists, fashioning nature imagery out of metal foil to create forests of reference and delight. (He all recently outfitted models for the Victoria Secret fashion show, so there’s a lot of range going on in his work.) In this ambitious show, he addresses the fact that he was raised believing his family was part Cherokee and immersing himself in the culture: That provenance is now under question, but the sculptural metal works here explore Native American History in the United States, through book, song titles and a phrase from presidential speeches. Opening reception Sat/6, 6pm-8pm, free. Show runs through Feb 17. Eleanor Harwood Gallery, SF. More info here

MIYA ANDO: “OBOROZUKI” Artist Miya Ando’s inspiration for this exhibition, including new paintings and ink works on aluminum, is the Japanese word ‘Oborozuki,’ meaning ‘the moon obscured by clouds.’ For the show she draws on the oldest known Japanese novel “The Tale of Genji.” “Written by Murasaki Shikibu, the book is composed of minute, poetic observations of nature by it’s lead female protagonist, Lady Murasaki. This ancient novel takes as its premise the fundamental interconnectivity of all things, and the fleeting, transitory awareness this recognition engenders. Nature is depicted not as a force, but as the vehicle that inspires in us contemplation and reverie.” Opening reception Sat/6, 5m-7pm, free. Show runs through February 22. Nancy Toomey Fine Art, SF. More info here

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR ODDBALL FILMS’ STEPHEN PARR The local film and underground events community was devastated when Stephen Parr passed away in October. Stephen was the mind behind Oddball Films and the San Francisco Media Archive, and the former proprietor of Club Generic — he was a catalyst of so much that happened to keep underground film alive in the city. This memorial at the Roxie will pay tribute with “remembrances and testimonials, blessings and spiritual sharing and, of course, film and music.” A reception will follow and the memorial will be filmed and shared for those unable to attend. Sun/7, 12:30pm, free. Roxie Theater, SF. More info here.

“BARN OWL” “At the dawn of the cyber age, 39 members of the UFO death cult Heaven’s Gate “exited” their human vehicles [bodies], transitioning, they believed, into androgynous Star Beings and leaving behind a trail of breadcrumbs on the World Wide Web. Evan Johnson (PansyDon’t Feel: The Death of Dahmer) teams up with Teddy Hulsker (performer/multi-media artist/Klanghaus Artistic Director) to create a chilling sci-fi ghost story exploring loss, queer cosmologies and the power of belief. Also featuring a live ET channeling by Nouzarbus. Performances by Silkworm, Hollow Eve, Clove Galilee, and Ingrid Shoop.” Ummmm, yes I will be there. Mon/8, 7pm, $7. Z Space, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Coolest holiday events for everyone

Holiday Gaiety with Armstead Maupin at the SF Symphony features drag emcee Peaches Christ and conductor Edwin Outwater joining the beloved author of 'Tales of the City,' Fri/8. Photo by Alex Fiore

ARTS FORECAST Holidays can be a drag — and that’s a good thing! Two big drag holiday traditions lead our list of fun events that out the “oh, hey!” in holiday. Two big things, though, to kick it all off: If you have not been to the Great Dickens Faire (through Sun/17), please do go — three years after visiting, I am still recovering from the overwhelmingness of this enormous ye olde Burning Man-meets-Exotic Erotic-meets-Edwardian Ball-meets Renaissance Faire thing.

Second, The San Francisco Botanical Gardens are free on Christmas Day, Dec. 25 (also on New Year’s Day, too!) Spend the day wandering amid the gorgeous orchids, primeval ferns, and blooming cloud forests with your family from out of town — or just by yourself, in all that glorious nature, celebrating your personal solstice.   

PS: This is your fair warning — stay off the streets Sat/9 for Santacon, or risk being puked on by a reindeer. (Hey, your choice, it’s the holidays.) This afterparty at Monarch looks cute, though. 

PPS: Duck into Martuni’s for a warming drink and some songs of the season live on the piano! Cutest bar for holidays ever.   

DRAG QUEENS ON ICE Slip slide away — just don’t lose you wig — as a cavalcade of elegant gender clowns shows off its figure eights. This is one of the warmest, friendliest, family-full events I’ve attended in SF, and perfect to set off your joyful season. Thu/7, 8-9:30pm, free. Union Square Ice Rink, SF. More info here.

WINTER WALK WITH HOUSE OF MORE! Pair your Drag Queens on Ice with the legendary drag queens of the House of MORE!, led by Juanita More, as they strut their stuff near Union Square. “Catch two fabulous holiday shows with the House of MORE! Pose for awkward family photos at our free holiday photo-booth, featuring ugly sweaters, kitschy photo props and classic Christmas card backdrops, as well as a DJ Jim Collins blasting campy holiday tunes to fuel all your merrymaking.” I think there’s also food trucks? This event has everything. Thu/7, 5:30-8:30pm, free. 133 Stockton, SF.  More info here

TENDERLOIN MUSEUM HOLIDAY BAZAAR “Ten local artist-vendors will bring pop up shops to the Museum for a festive marketplace flush with neighborhood wares. Forget the old chestnuts and stereotypical stocking stuffers–enliven your gift game while supporting the arts. From hand-tooled leather belts to intricately-latticed metalworks to cherry-picked vintage duds, there will be a plethora of unique gifts for sale. This year’s seasonal celebration coincides with the opening reception for Holly Coley’s solo exhibition in the TL Museum gallery, Tender Life: Graphic and Ceramic Memories of Tenderloin Living, 1999-2004.” Thu/7, 6pm-9pm, free. tenderloin Museum, SF. More info here

CASTRO ART WALK This new monthly neighborhood peregrination puts out a plethora of goodies for your delectation. Stop in, especially, at the wonderful Dog-Eared Books Castro for some wonderful crafts and cheer — all featuring local artists, of course. Thu/7, 6pm-9pm, Castro District, SF. More info here

KITKA: WINTERSONGS Do not miss this, no matter what your take on the “holidays”! I took my parents a couple years ago and it was perfect and gorgeous. ” The women of Kitka have mastered repertory from all over and include everything from Sephardic songs to Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works; to Baltic pagan incantations for the return of the Sun Goddess, to Romany tunes and much more, some in arrangements by choir members.” Throughout the Bay Area Thu/7-Thu/21 (Oakland Fri/15 and Sun/17, SF Sat/16). More info here

HOLIDAY GAIETY WITH ARMISTEAD MAUPIN The beloved author of Tales of the City is joined by scarily brilliant drag emcee Peaches Christ, SF Symphony conductor Edwin Outwater, actor Cheyenne Jackson, the legendary Bob the Drag Queen, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and more for a night of fabulous and dazzling performances and readings. Fri/8, 7:30pm, $15-$44. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here.  

DECEMBER FIESTA AT COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER the Community Music Center is a fantastical, magical San Francisco institution in the Mission that hosts this awesome cultural celebration every year and draws huge crowds. “A vibrant multi-generational celebration of Latin American song and dance! Performances by the Mission District Young Musicians Program, Children’s Chorus, Coro Solera, and the Cuban Charanga Ensemble. Come for the music and stay for the celebration with a piñata, tamales, hot chocolate, and a Cuban charanga dance party!” Fri/8 (7pm-9pm) and Sat/9 (3:30pm-5:30pm), CMC, SF. More info here. Oh! And then go back on Sun/10 for the Winter Music Celebration full of poetry and music classics. 

GOLDEN BOUGH: CHRISTMAS IN A CELTIC LAND “Folk songs tell a story and the music of the Celtic trio Golden Bough is full of the stories and mythology of the Celtic lands. For 36 years Golden Bough has been delighting audiences with their exceptional interpretations of the music of the Celtic nations and the uniqueness of their original compositions.” Sat/9, 8pm, $5-$23. Old First Church, SF. More info here

MEXICAN MUSEUM HOLIDAY MERCADO The Mexican Museum‘s La Tienda holiday gift store opens its doors during the “Holiday Mercado” at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. La Tienda features items from Mexico, Central America, and local artisans and vendors for this special holiday shopping event.  The Holiday Mercado also offers fun art activities for families and the opportunity to see the exhibit, “Mexico In San Francisco: Works On Paper From Diego Rivera to Alejandro Santiago,” before it closes.” Sat/9 and Sun/10, noon-5pm, free. Fort Mason Center, SF. More info here

UNSILENT NIGHT WITH THE SF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC PLAYERS Very cool, and participatory: “We hope you’ll join us for this family-friendly, free holiday event linked to ‘Unsilent Night’ celebrations around the world. The original composition by Phil Kline, written specifically to be heard outdoors in the month of December, takes the form of a street promenade in which the audience becomes the performer. Each participant plays one of four tracks of music downloaded to a smart phone, or anything that amplifies music, together comprising ‘Unsilent Night.’ We will walk a carefully chosen route in and around San Francisco’s Dolores Park area, creating a unique mobile sound sculpture.” Sat/9, 5pm-6pm, meet at Dolores Park tennis courts, SF. More info here.

SF FETISH FLEA MARKET Ho ho ho, honey — gifts for everyone on your naughty list. “Whether you’re curious about the local kink community or you’re an experienced player looking for the best new toys, the Fetish Flea is for you. The Flea hosts a variety of toy makers, artists, businesses, upcyclers and more right at the SF Citadel for one day. Think of the Fetish Flea as your friendly neighborhood kinky shopping mall. Get all your gear in one place, and support the artists in your local community! All genders, presentations, and consensual dynamics are warmly welcomed!” Sat/9, 11am-5pm, $5. SF Citadel. More info here.  

PETER AND THE WOLF Narrated by hunky half-Vulcan (in the Star Trek movies, anyway) Zachary Quinto, this Prokofiev classic will have you and your younger friends gasping and bopping in your seats, in awe of the timeless fable and music, as played by the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra. Sun/10, 2pm, $25-$79. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here.  

Mariachi Sol De Mexico.

A MERRY-ACHI CHRISTMAS “Led by the incomparable José Hernández, Mariachi Sol de Mexico returns to Davies Symphony Hall for a festive musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions. Experience a truly international celebration, with the ensemble singing and playing holiday favorites from both Mexico and America in a vibrant performance that will have the whole family dancing in the aisles.” Sun/10, 8pm, $16-$90. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here.

KUGELPLEX I personally cannot wait for this: “Celebrate Hanukkah with a wild performance by Kugelplex, California’s rockin’-est purveyor of klezmer and old-world party music. Formed in 2001, the group plays wild, soulful dance music.” Sun/17, 4pm, $5-$23. Old First Church, SF. More info here

NIGUNIM CHORUS PRESENTS: HANUKAH COMMUNITY CELEBRATION “A grand time of music, fun, entertainment, candlelighting, dancing, tchochkes, Hanukah gifts, books, and refreshments. Featuring the 45-member Nigunim Chorus directed by Achi Ben Shalom, the Adama Band, Story Teller Joel ben Izzy, virtuoso violinist David Chernyovsky, and special guests. All ages are invited!” Sun/17, 1pm, $20-$24. Freight and Salvage, Berkeley. More info here

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS — LIVE! “Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the entire Peanuts gang are back at Davies Symphony Hall! The show begins with your favorite characters dancing along to holiday classics and colorful video. Then, the gang returns to the stage to bring A Charlie Brown Christmas to life! With singers, dancers, and actors performing in front of an animated background, and Vince Guaraldi’s timeless music performed live by the Symphony.” Thu/21-Sun/24, $30-$80. Davis Symphony Hall, SF. More info here

BUD E LUV CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR The 28th anniversary of this campy-yet-actually-amazing big band/lounge act spectacular. It’s got a spectacular history as well: “The Christmas show had its humble beginnings at the famed Paradise Lounge at 11th and Folsom in 1990. Unexpectedly, the power went out in the club but they pulled power from the next door, lit candles, and the Christmas Show tradition was started. When it moved to The Red Devil Lounge in 1998 they added the full nine-piece big band and continue with that extravagant sound to this day. From there it moved downtown to The Rrazz Room for three years to sold out crowds. Mayor Willie Brown has made this show part of his Christmas tradition for years. So put on your best cocktail dress and swinging dinner jacket and STAY in the Christmas spirit for one more day.” Sat/23, 8pm, $22-$25. The Chapel, SF. More info here

KUNG PAO KOSHER COMEDY 25TH ANNIVERSARY Holy pickled herring! Can’t believe it’s been a quarter-centry of yuck-yucks over roast duck with this institution. Basically: Comedy in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas, for anyone who doesn’t want to sit around all day at home. And it’s charitable! Go out, why don’t you! Eat something! Laugh a little!  Two shows a night, Fri/23-Sun/25, 5pm (with dinner) and 8:30pm (cocktails and veggie dim sum). New Asia Restaurant, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Druid Film Fest, San Fransgiving, Amplify Her…

The movie "Amplify Her" tells the story of women in the contemporary electronic dance music field.

COMMUNITY CREATING SAFER AND WELCOMING NEIGHBORHOODS “Racial profiling thrives in so-called ‘pursuit of safety’ efforts throughout our communities. From social media spaces to crime watch programs and other policing efforts, people of color are profiled with insidious regularity. Our campaign aims to raise awareness and take action against both implicit and explicit racial bias in San Francisco public spaces. Join us for a presentation from Neighbors for Racial Justice whose work in Oakland has received national attention, and learn how you can join the campaign to take action here in San Francisco.” Wed/15, 6:30pm-8:30pm, free. Cloudflare, SF. More info here

FILM AMPLIFY HER “This documentary film — and graphic novel and animated motion comic series — explores the rise of female artists in the electronic music scene. Imagined and brought to life by more than 21 female creators across North America – mainly from the West Coast – the 89-minute feature follows seven up-and-coming stars as they find their unique voices within a male-dominated realm.On the surface, it’s a story about women in the electronic music industry, but the film’s deeper message is the resurgence of ‘the feminine’ in Western culture.” Thu/16, 7pm doors (film at 8pm), $15, or $40 for film and graphic novel. Castro Theatre, SF. More info here

FILM XTH DRUID FILM FEST “Showcasing the best of a decade of unique programming, the 10th annual Druid Underground is a high-powered blast of rebellious cinema hosted by Billy Burgess. A spectacle unlike any other, Druid Underground champions subversive techniques that advance the language of cinema, challenge pre-conceived notions of underground art, and simultaniously blow your mind out of your skull!” Thu/16, 7pm-10pm, $10. Artists Television Access, SF. More info here

DANCE POST:BALLET PRESENTS LAVENDER COUNTRY “Post:Ballet’s latest creative endeavor, Lavender Country, features live music by Patrick Haggerty (singer/songwriter of Lavender Country) and his exceptional ensemble of Bay Area musicians. Led by Post:Ballet’s Artistic Director Robert Dekkers and Resident Choreographer Vanessa Thiessen, this new work for six dancers is set to and inspired by the music of Lavender Country, a self-titled album released in 1973 which was country music’s first openly gay album. Post’s new work reflects on Haggerty’s radically defiant music as Dekkers and Thiessen use ballet’s inherently traditional gender roles as a dramatic tension against queer characters and narratives.” Fri/17 and Sat/18, 8pm, $30-$50. Z Space, SF. More info here.

MUSIC NEGATIVE PRESS PROJECT: JEFF BUCKLEY TRIBUTE I’m a huge Jeff Buckley fan, so this is right up my alley. “San Francisco Bay Area electro-acoustic ensemble Negative Press Project featuring Andrew Lion (bass) and Ruthie Dinnen (piano/keyboards) celebrate their ravishing second album Eternal Life | Jeff Buckley Songs and Sounds, a tribute to iconic pop singer Jeff Buckley, with a CD release party.”  Fri/17, 9pm, $12-$15. Doc’s Lab, SF. More info here.  

DRINK SAN FRANSGIVING BEER BUST “Celebrate Thanksgiving with people you actually like…before your actual thanksgiving with people you barely tolerate!” Broke Ass Stuart is teaming up with folks at Laughing Monk Brewery to bring us a day party with bottomless beer mugs — and more fun stuff, including “a Trump piñata to bang on, the ’90s R&B you know and love, and supersized versions of games from your childhood.” Best of all? Yummy soul food from Old Skool Cafe. Sat/18, 1pm-6pm, $30-$45. Laughing Monk Brewery, SF. More info here

PANEL/PARTY SHIFTING SPACES: QUEER NIGHTLIFE IN THE CITY An all-star nightlife cavalcade comes together to talk history and parties. “Join us for a night of films, performance, music, food, and a lively panel discussion exploring the social and political importance of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ bars – with an emphasis on queer bars that center women, trans folks, and people of color. Why are they closing here in SF, and internationally? What are the psychological effects of this dislocation? How can we reimagine new modes of building queer community space?” Sat/18, 6pm-9:30pm, $20. Eric Quezada Center, SF. More info here.  

LIT HOWARD ZINN BOOK FAIR This year’s theme is “The World We Want.” Over 140 authors, zinesters, bloggers, and publishers will gather for a jam-packed for a day of close to 60 readings, panel discussions and workshops exploring the value of dissident histories. In the spirit of the late historian Howard Zinn we recognize the stories of the ways that everyday people have risen to propose a world beyond empires big and small. There will also be a big room full of over 75 radical book sellers, publishers, and community organizations. Sun/19, 10pm-6am, free. City College Mission Campus, SF. More info here.  

FESTIVAL/SHOPPING 2017 BAY AREA RECORD FAIR An incredible array of record stores, independent labels, and vendors — from Left Hand Path and Gaylord’s Party Music to Vinyl Me, Please and World of Stereo come together for a huge showcase of vinyl encounters. Raffles, demos, and of course lots of flat plastic sounds. Sun/19, noon-5pm, $5. Swedish American Music Hall, SF. More info here

MUSIC FIRE RELIEF BENEFIT SHOW Featuring Down Dirty Shake, Rupa and the April Fishes, Magic in the Other, and Best of the Bay winner Sam Chase. “All proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the victims of this disaster and their families via UndocuFund (http://undocufund.org). An estimated 28,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Sonoma County. Unlike other victims of the fires that have devastated Sonoma County, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Sun/19, 7pm, $16. Slim’s, SF. More info here

MUSIC SFS YOUTH ORCHESTRA This wonderful program from the SF Symphony gives young musicians the opportunity, tuition-free, to receive a pre-professional caliber orchestral experience. For this season kick-off, 2017 Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition winner Leyla Kabuli will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The afternoon concert also features Elgar’s Enigma Variations and German composer Detlev Glanert’s Prelude No. 1, from “Three American Preludes.” Sun/19, 2pm, $15 general admission. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here

COMMEMORATION 48TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ALCATRAZ OCCUPATION “Join Indians of All Tribes Co-Founder Dr. LaNada War Jack on Alcatraz Island for the 48th Anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation. Opening Ceremony by Ann Marie Sayers of Indian Canyon Nation. Morning panel: “Why We Took The Rock.” Film: End of the Line with Pearl Means. Afternoon panel: “Legacies of the Occupation.” The program will conclude with an honoring Indigenous Women’s Dance Dancing Earth & Eva Lopez Feat Desirae Harp & Kanyon Sayers-Roods.” Mon/20, 10am-5pm, free. Alcatraz, SF. More info here. Part of the three-day indigenous peoples’ celebration, more info here

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Arts Forecast: Trans Film Fest, Renegade Craft Fair, Rebirth Brass Band …

Rebirth Brass Band comes to the Bay Area Thu/9-Sat/11. Amazing artwork by Frenchy: www.frenchylive.com

ARTS FORECAST The biggest local arts news of last week was the announcement that Michael Tilson Thomas will step down as conductor of the SF Symphony in 2020 — after an amazing run of 25 years. During his tenure, MTT has brought an impeccably polished, cosmopolitan sound to the Symphony (not to mention an impish experimentalism) that truly reflects his great musical loves Mahler, Ives, Stravinsky, Copeland, and Gershwin. This weekend is the perfect time to check him out in his true element, conducting Gershwin and Ives (and hey, some Dvorak, too) in a poignant “American Masters” showcase, Fri/10-Sun/12. More info here.   

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STAGE MUMU: AN OTHERWISE EXPERIENCE I love that DJ Marky “Proof” Enriquez is one of the co-producers of this fascinating-sounding show. “It’s 1977 in San Francisco, and a young Filipino immigrant follows his poetry into the shadows. Through an ominous soundscape and immersive space, this exploration of our unknown darkness reveals an intimate story of connection, cultural psyche, and death… this is our inquiry of everything that haunts us as a people.” Spooky! Now through Nov. 18 at Bindlestiff Theater, SF. More info here

LIT “CALIFORNIA HISTORY THROUGH AN INDIGENOUS LENS” “Join the California Historical Society and Heyday Books for a night of indigenous storytelling that explores how California’s history has been told for generations. Our speakers are Greg Sarris, Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and author of the new book How a Mountain was Made and William Bauer, author of California Through Native Eyes: Reclaiming History. The event will close with a short performance from Word for Word Performance Company, who will be performing one of the creation stories from Chairman Sarris’ new book.” Wed/8, 6pm-8pm, $10. California Historical Society, SF. More info here

LIT SF PUBLIC PRESS ISSUE #23 LAUNCH: SOLVING HOMELESSNESS “The fall 2017 edition of the San Francisco Public Press features “Solving Homelessness,” a special project investigating proposals that could help secure housing for large numbers of people who are living on the streets or in temporary shelters. Come by, pick up a copy and join us for an enlightening conversation with our reporters about the stories in this project.” Wed/8, 7pm, free. Green Arcade, SF. More info here

FILM/FESTIVAL 3rd-i SF INTERNATIONAL SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL The 15th installment of this wonderfully vibrant fest. There’s so much going on here, from opening film Abu (“a quintessential immigrant story that captures the tumultuous journey of his family’s move to Canada from Pakistan in the early ’90s”) to Shepherdess of the Glaciers (“set amidst the stunning landscape of Ladakh, this mesmerizing doc is a tribute to the unbreakable bond between humans and animals.”) Thu/9-November 18, more info here.  

MUSIC REBIRTH BRASS BAND The legendary New Orleans outfit returns to get everyone’s blood pumping. Formed way back in 1983, the band “is committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands while at the same time incorporating modern music into their show.” They’re here at two locations: Thu/9 and Fri/10 at Starline in Oakland (more info here) and Sat/11 at Mezzanine in SF (more info here).  

ART/PARTY SFAI FORT MASON OPENING SPECTACLE The SF Art Institute is coming to Fort Mason with a big bang of, well, art. Friday night sees a huge party, with a “raunchy performance by the Extra Action Marching Band” plus food trucks, DJs, and much more, while all day Saturday both the new Fort Mason campus and the original Chestnut Campus heave with family friendly activities and art, art, art. Fri/10 and Sat/11, more info here.

ART/SOUND ANNEA LOCKWOOD: A SOUND MAP OF THE DANUBE “Between the winter of 2001 and the summer of 2004 I made five field-recording trips, moving slowly down the Danube from the sources in the Black Forest through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania to the great delta on the Black Sea, recording the river’s sounds (at the surface and underwater), aquatic insects, and the various inhabitants of its banks.” The surround-sound exhibit allows freedom to come and go, and incorporates a large wall map of the river, a book of interview texts and a rock from the river. Fri/10-November 17, various times, free. The Lab, SF. More info here

FILM/FESTIVAL 20TH ANNUAL TRANSGENDER FILM FESTIVAL Two decades of vision! Love this fest, which combines DIY spirit with revelatory filmmaking. Intriguing titles this year include The Gold Fish Casino, My Femme Is A Reflection, Sununú: The Revolution of Love, Soless, Where We Were Not: Feeling Reserved, Last Night’s Sugarm In My Mother’s Closet, and dozens more over six separate programs. Fri/10-Sun/12. Roxie, SF. More info here

FILM “BEFORE HOMOSEXUALS”: A BENEFIT FOR THE GLBT HISTORICAL SOCIETY This benefit screening of Before Homosexuals takes the viewer on a wondrous tour of same-sex desire from ancient times to Victorian crimes. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker John Scagliotti guides us in this expedition of erotic history, poetry and visual art in this point-of-view documentary. He explores how the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the growth of LGBT political power in the 1990s cleared the path for artists and scholars to re-discover pre-20th century same-sex desires. Sat/11, 4pm, $12.50. Roxie, SF. More info here

SHOPPING RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR “Renegade returns to Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion with a festive weekend celebration of all things handmade! Find one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family, discover top independent maker talent from around the country, and enjoy a memorable Holiday weekend of local food vendors, seasonal cocktails, DJ sets, DIY workshops, photo ops, and more.” Sat/11 and Sun/12, 11am-6pm, Fort Mason, SF. More info here

FILM THE LAST PIG The Last Pig is a lyrical meditation on what it means to be a sentient creature with the power to kill. Immersive, experiential, with sparse inner reflections, the film follows a pig farmer through his final season of slaughtering pig.”  Follow day a Q&A Q&A with Wayne Hsiung, Organizer of Direct Action Everywhere. Sun/12, 1pm, free. Koret Auditorium, SF Public Library, Main Branch. More info here.  

DRINK INTERNATIONAL TEA FESTIVAL Welp, you better really like tea! “Taste teas from local and global producers. Free swag bag includes your very own teacup to savor tea. Access to hundreds of different types of tea in our tea market. Connect with the biggest names in tea. Learn how each cup of tea can be a different experience.” Sun/12, 11am-5pm, $25. Ferry Building, SF. More info here

LIT DAVID SEDARIS The most popular of our contemporary homosexual raconteurs, Sedaris will fill the War Memorial Opera House with his perfectly reedy voice and deeply detailed observations of everything from life in the french countryside to learning how to drive, mostly from his new collection Theft By Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002). Mon/13, 7:30pm, $88. War memorial opera House, SF. More info here

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