Arts Forecast

Arts Forecast: A whole weekend with Laurie Anderson and more

ARTS FORECAST The shock of hair seems to have been tamed into a tiny ponytail atop her head, but electro-poetic pioneer Laurie Anderson certainly hasn’t lost any mojo—this weekend Thu/24-Sun/26 she holds a residency at SFJAZZ, performing four different programs with a variety of guests, including Mr. Bungle and Faith No More frontperson Mike Patton, Albanian cellist Rubin Kodheli, and bass virtuoso Christian McBride. (She’ll also perform a solo show on Saturday, showcasing bits of her new book.) I’m fully prepared to be overcome with emotion—cold and ironic, yes, but still striking—when she comes on, and I better see some pixie boots and cat-eyed sunglasses in the audience, as well as some electric-blue skinny ties.

Anderson is just one of the fantastic things on tap for the weekend. It’s also the official lunar new year on Sat/25. The big Chinese New Year Parade and Festival isn’t until February 8, but why not slip down to Chinatown anyway and enjoy a delicious holiday without the surging crowds. (On Fri/24, China Live hosts a special Shanghai 1920s Ball. Or hey, duck the fireworks with an insanely strong Mai Tai at Li Po Lounge.)

All of this is to say that I know, I know, it feels like everything is closing right now—we’re losing things left and right (and we have a big article coming on that). But there’s still tons of magic in the city, if you step outside and find it.



ONGOING THROUGH FEBRUARY 9 STAGE NOURA “Eight years after fleeing their home in Iraq, Noura and her family celebrate Christmas, and their new life, in New York City. But when the arrival of a visitor stirs up long-buried memories, Noura and her husband are forced to confront the cost of their choices; the past they left behind. Inspired by stories from Arab-American women and created in response to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Heather Raffo’s Noura charts the intricate pathways of motherhood and marriage—and the fragile architecture of what we call home.” $10-$40. Marin Theatre Company. More info here

FRI/24 MUSIC FRENCH CASSETTES Fiesty local indie foursome French Cassettes has been making lovely music for almost a decade now, and you should go see them live for some really good vibes and warm fuzzies. Also they should be way more famous, but for now we have them as our big little secret, together. With Zelma Stone and Fast Times. 8pm, $10. Rickshaw Stop, SF. More info here.  

FRI/24 MUSIC MORITZ VON OSWALD: AKLAMATION “Legendary electronic music innovator Moritz von Oswald presents a new live show entitled Akklamation. This performative composition unifies the expansive and divergent musical paths of the electronics master. From his origins in the German new wave, to his pioneering work in the intersection of dub and various strands of electronic music, to his more recent forays into the fringes of experimental music and composition, Akklamation serves as an investigation into the future of rhythmic structures, timbral architecture, and an exploration of the psycho-physical effects of repetition.” 8pm-11:30pm, $20. Gray Area, SF. More info here.  

FRI/24 DANCE SAN FRANCISCO MOVEMENT ARTS FESTIVAL Grace Cathedral will be transformed into an enormous colorful stage—a canvas, really, for several performances at once—in the sixth year of this awesome event. “Each Station of the Movement (12+) will feature up to six groups performing & rotating short pieces (4 minutes or less). Each STATION will be its own mix of repertoire to include modern dance; ballet; ethnic; ballroom dancing; Movement Choirs and much more. In addition, artists will be exploring subjects of female empowerment; artistic beauty; social issues; cultural heritage; personal loss; family love and beyond.” 6pm-8:30pm, $28-$45. Grace Cathedral, SF. More info here.

FRI/24 MUSIC LYRICS BORN One of the Bay Area’s seminal rappers (and a true genius of the art) showcases his latest album, Quite A Life in Mill Valley. The Tokyo-born performer has been spitting for more than two-decades, but he’s been back in the spotlight since film spots in Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You and Always Be My Maybe with Ali Wong. Can’t wait to hear what he has up his sleeve. Doors 8pm, $20-$25. Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley. More info here.  

FRI/24 and SAT/25 NIGHTLIFE EDWARDIAN BALL + EDWARDIAN WORLD’S FAIR Our Edwardians are being gutted, just like our Victorians, by real estate interests —but the good ol’ steampunk spirit of this 20-year tradition shines on. “Two days of music, dance, fine art, theatre, circus, gaming, storytelling, costumes, vending, oddities and of course, the art & stories of our patron saint Edward Gorey! 2020’s theme glistens in nobility as “The Golden Tale” – an apologue of the vast community of artists, dreamers, bards and bastion that have built the Edwardian Ball into the magnificent happening it is today. 8pm-2am, $25-$180. Regency Ballroom, SF. More info here

SAT/25 NIGHTLIFE MERCURY SOUL Techno mixed with classical? I don’t know how the Mercury Soul crew does it, but for the past five years they’ve sold out shows that highlight the two genres’ deep affinities. This evening, longtime SF techno producer Dave Aju brings his deep vibe to bear on the classics, including Mr. Bach himself. 9pm-2am, $22. Halcyon, SF. More info here

SAT/25-MARCH 21 ART SOPHIE CALLE: BECAUSE “For almost 40 years, Calle has made work that exposes intimate experience to public view, using still images, video, film, books, performance and text. Her work has often drawn from difficult moments in her personal life. ‘In the process of turning these experiences into art, they somehow become a type of fiction,’ she has said. ‘Because’ is an exhibition of new works on view for the first time in the US In each piece, a felt curtain embroidered with Calle’s writing conceals a hidden photograph behind it. In presenting viewers with the text before the picture, Calle upends the usual order in which images are read, creating a poetic surprise or puzzle.” Opening reception: Sat/25, 1pm-4pm, free. Fraenkel Gallery, SF. More info here

SAT/25 NIGHTLIFE PINK MAMMOTH: 16 YEARS OF PINK LOVE One of Burning Man’s (new) classic camps celebrates its anniversary with an explosion of pink (wear something, drink something, show something) — and of course great music, featuring our king of soulful house David Harness. It’ll be a good time, pinky swear. 9pm-4am, $16-$25. Public Works, SF. More info here

SUN/26 STAGE AN EVENING WITH GINA LADIVINA Our reigning queen of queens, the very legendary Gina LaDivina, has been gracing stages for six decades—and now she brings her new one-woman show to Oasis for an intimate debut. Special guest appearances by Katya Smirnoff-Skye and Dulce De Leche will make for a warm, fascinating, and glamorous evening. 7pm, $20. Oasis, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Drag Queens on Ice, Burning Man: The Musical, more

Drag Queens on Ice

Blades will slice, crystals will fly, Mariah will be Careyed up to the high heavens. OK, it’s not as dramatic as all that—I wish—but one of SF’s most hallowed traditions, Drag Queens on Ice (Thu/5 at 8pm at the Safeway Union Square Skating Rink), is tossing the glitter of the holiday season. This is the 10th year that a gaggle of ice princesses will hazard a Tonya Harding by taking to the rink and outdoing each other with wig flips and wobbles. (Actually some of them are pretty fierce out there on the ice).

It’s one of those ever-disappearing “SF moments” for the whole family—I’ll never forget the time in 2012 when the SF Bulls and cheerleaders dropped by for an incredible night. There was hooting, there was hollering. Luckily, Queen Dilly Dally has been documenting the event:

Anyway, go skate with the queens! And speaking of drag — legendary performer, hairstylist, and activist Princess Kennedy may have relocated to Salt Lake City after setting such stages as Trannyshack aflame in the ’90s, but she is still close to our hearts. She was involved in an accident last week that broke most of her face, and like so many people in this country is relying on her community to help pay for astronomical medical bills. We’re throwing a fundraising happy hour at the Stud on Thursday, so please come out and join us!



WED/4-MARCH 1, 2020 ART BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF KWAME BRATHWAITE This is “the first exhibition to focus on this key—and until now under-recognized—figure of the second Harlem Renaissance. Organized by Aperture Foundation, the exhibition of more than forty iconic images illuminates how, in the late 1950s and 1960s, Brathwaite (b. 1938) harnessed the power of art, music, and fashion to effect social change and used his photography to popularize ‘Black Is Beautiful,’ now considered one of the most influential cultural movements of that era.” 

THU/5 LIT ENDURING SPIRITS: STEVE ABBOTT AND KARL TIERNEY “Poets Steve Abbott (1943–1992) and Karl Tierney (1956–1995) were among the 20,000 San Franciscans lost to AIDS before an effective treatment was found. Posthumous books by both writers were published this fall. Jamie Townsend, editor of Abbott’s “Beautiful Aliens” (Nightboat), and Jim Cory, editor of Tierney’s “Have You Seen This Man?” (Sibling Rivalry), will read from and discuss these fascinating writers and their impact on San Francisco’s gay life and literary tradition.” 7pm-9pm, free. Alley Cat Books, SF. More info here.

 THU/5 MUSIC HEIROGLYPHICS “Founded in Oakland, California in 1997, Hieroglyphics Imperium set the standard for underground hip hop coming out of the west coast. Based on previous fame from early Jive Records and Elektra releases Hieroglyphics Imperium capitalized on major label promotion for their independent artist. Still around with new releases in 2016 Hieroglyphics has become a staple in hip-hop.” With Stoney Hawk, Rap Noir, T-K.A.S.H feat. DJ True Justice & K.E.V., S.A.V.E.1, Mike Wird. 8pm-midnight, $32.50. UC Theatre, Berkeley. More info here

THU/5 MUSIC ERIK CORE The irresistibly poppy folk-punk trio have released a new album called Last Call, and it is really good. The launch party will be a queer core extravaganza, with support from Joe Shambeaux, Homobilies, Middle-Aged Queers. Craziness! 8pm-11pm, free. El Rio, SF. More info here

FRI/6-MARCH 28, 2020 ART JEFFERSON PINDER: FLASHPOINT This is “the debut of four new video works by Chicago-based, interdisciplinary artist Jefferson Pinder in an original exhibition titled ​Flash Point​. Collapsing history into the present, Pinder traces a path back to the Spring of 1919, when Blacks across the United States saw a surge in race riots, lynchings, and violent mobs. Racial tensions had reached a critical tipping point, fueled by a shifting post-war climate. This extended period of violence, lasting through most of the year, is marked in American history as the Red Summer. The performance work captured in the videos is associated with Pinder’s cathartic 2019 Red Summer Road Trip, a journey he undertook on the 100t​ h​ anniversary of the 1919 violence.” San Francisco Art Institute. More info here. 

FRI/6 NIGHTLIFE PARANOID LONDON “Follow us down the rabbit hole for a night of acid house sounds with the inimitable Paranoid London of the UK serving up one of their amazing get down and dirty live sets. If you caught them at Sunset Campout then you know the treats coming your way. Sunset’s Galen alongside Dark Entries artist Sepehr will keep the jacking grooves on high vibration thru the night!” 9pm-3am, $20-$25, Audio, SF. More info here

FRI/6 SHOPPING HAYES VALLEY HOLIDAY BLOCK PARTY Honestly, one of my favorites of these types of things, with holiday cheer up and down the street—plus a pet parade! 5pm-9pm, free. Hayes Valley, SF. More info here

SAT/7 SHOPPING LOWER HAIGHT ART WALK: WINTER EDITION Oh hey, and follow that the next day with an afternoon stroll through my own hood and the lovely businesses therein for some winter cheer. 2pm-6pm, free. Lower Haight, SF. More info here. 

SAT/7 & SUN/8 STAGE BURNING MAN: THE MUSICAL You may remember the 2015 viral video above sending half the city into paroxysms of laughter—and doing the thing that Burning Man does best: mocking itself. Well, now it’s becoming a full-blown musical (this will be a staged reading of the work in progress) and they’ve switched things up a bit to focus on a (gasp) woman: “a musical comedy that follows Molly (AKA Sparkle Pony), a recent college grad who’s hired by the top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley to evaluate new tech startups that are pitching at her boss’s luxury camp. After she discovers that Bill the Billionaire hired her with the intention of sleeping with her, Molly goes on a soul-searching journey through the desert, where she finds her mentor Hazel the Hippie, who prophesies her role in taking down Bill and his nefarious plan: to buy the desert and convert Burning Man into a Disneyland-style theme park called Burning Village.” Z Space, SF. More info here

Posted by Tom Nelson on Sunday, October 27, 2019

SAT/7 NIGHTLIFE THE SISTERS’ SECOND ANNUAL KRAMPUS PAGEANT “‘Tis the season to celebrate! One cold night very soon… in the wee hours of the morning, children will be visited by magical beings… who will abduct them for the crime of being nasty. It’s Krampus time! Join The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as we pay homage to the sinister side of Santa at our 2nd Annual Krampus Pageant. On December 7th, come to the El Rio for a pageant where the naughty children of San Francisco will join a panel of steely judges who’ll choose the creepiest creep of all to crown the Krampus of 2019.” 5pm-7pm, El Rio, SF. More info here.  

SAT/7 NIGHTLIFE GO BANG! 11TH ANNIVERSARY Our very own little Studio 54 in the gritty city, the Go Bang! disco party has welcomed dancers from 21 to 81 for 11 years now—I got my first DJ slot there back when it was held at Deco in the Tenderloin! Join residents Steve Fabus, Sergio, and Prince Wolfe, plus special guests Elaine Denham, Robin Malone Simmons, and Stanley Frank for all-night atomic dance floor action. 9pm-3am, $10. The Stud, SF. More info here.  

SAT/7 MUSIC SOPHIE The trans techno goddess—whose bubbly, confectionary productions threw the dance music world for a loop this decade on the PC Music label—absolutely slays in her live show. “Traversing disparate musical spheres from underground dance music to major label pop, SOPHIE’s singular sound shirks convention and pushes familiar musical styles to their furthest extremes. At once uncannily familiar and boldly experimental, and across solo releases and production work for other artists, her music has developed a devoted following and made her in demand in recording studios and on dance floors alike.” 9pm-2am, $30. Gray Area, SF. More info here

SUN/8 NIGHTLIFE RED BULL 3STYLE USE NATIONAL FINALS “Red Bull 3Style is the world’s largest global DJ competition and for the first time EVER the USA national final is coming to SF! Now in its 10th year, the global platform has been advancing and celebrating the culture of Djing. The rules are simple: Each competitor plays a combination of at least three musical genres in their 15 minutes, aiming to impress the judges and the crowd, of course.” 7pm-midnight, $10-$20. The Midway, SF. More info here.

Arts Forecast: Hip-Hop (Dance Fest) hurray! + more

I’m old enough to remember rappers on Fillmore corners and TURF dancers in Oakland intersections. The homeboys gathered on my stoop throughout the day passed blunts and cutty bangs, kept me up-to-date on the latest Divisadero news and looks. Most of that seems gone now. Thankfully, I’ve held on in Lower Haight, although I spend more time these days dodging double-prams rather than breaking out moves passing cars blaring Messy Marv.

But the spirit of hip-hop still remains in the Bay Area, even as it’s gone hyper-global, with dance champion Micaya’s kinetic, extraordinary SF International Hip-Hop Dance Fest (Fri/22-Sun/24 at Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, SF) going on its 21st edition this weekend. Just as the festival has expanded geographically, it’s also taken on some timely themes: This year includes “religion, feminism, politics, technology, and the meaning of ‘home.'”

“Under the umbrella of hip hop, this year’s festival showcases work that draws variously from b-boying, breaking, popping, freestyle, locking, clubbing, housing, voguing, and urban choreography. The 2019 festival welcomes international artists from Paris, Norway, Austria, Montreal, Chicago, New York, San Mateo, and San Francisco. Nearly a dozen groups will take the stage at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre mixing skillfulness with artistry and storytelling.” Check it out, and bop along in your seat. There’s even an after-party! Check out more info here.


THU/21 FILM THROUGH THE WINDOWS: DOCUMENTING TWIN PEAKS TAVERN “With its plate-glass windows looking out on the corner of Castro and Market Streets, the landmark San Francisco gay bar Twin Peaks Tavern is not only one of the Castro’s most beloved establishments, but also a living testament to the revolutionary idea that LGBTQ people should be seen and celebrated rather than hide in the darkness of alleys and behind blacked-out windows. Filmmakers Petey Barna and Bret Parker will present their new documentary about the history of Twin Peaks, featuring deeply personal interviews that illuminate the history of the bar.” 7pm, $5. GLBT History Museum, SF. More info here.

FRI/22 NIGHTLIFE LIL LOUIE VEGA As one half of Masters at Work, he revolutionized house music in the 1990s with the Nuyorican sound. Don’t miss this dance floor maestro and get ready to throw down. 9pm-2am, $25. The New Parish, SF. More info here

FRI/22-SUN/24 STAGE CAME HERE TO LIVE: RESILIENCE AND RESISTANCE IN THE CONTAINMENT ZONE “Created and performed by the Skywatchers Ensemble—an intergenerational, mixed-ability collaborative arts ensemble of Tenderloin residents and ABD artists—Came Here to Live is rooted in the stories, dreams, and challenges of its participants. Creating sublime theater that’s equal parts protest and mourning, the Skywatchers Ensemble weaves personal stories—often illuminating stark truths—with visions of a revolution that will be led by those historically excluded from shaping culture and policy. Came Here to Live offers a vision of what is possible when we build new models for an inclusive and just society, embrace our intrinsic interdependence, and see our futures as interconnected.” $15-$35. CounterPulse, SF. More info here

SAT/23 NIGHTLIFE FRANKIE FEST When the Godfather of House, Frankie Knuckles, left us a few years back, he left more than one dance floor’s worth of tears in his wake. This party celebrates his Chicago house legacy, with DJs Eric Kupper, Hector Romero, and Kenny Summit. 9pm-4am, $20. F8, SF. More info here

SAT/23-DECEMBER 22 FESTIVAL GREAT DICKENS FAIR Ren Faire meets Burning Man meets burlesque meets Hallmark Channel at this sprawling event, which I originally approached with a skeptical, atheist’s eye—but was immediately won over with hot hard cider, fencing lessons, and a stunning recreation of an old London pier. This thing is pretty magical and campy fun. Cow Palace, SF. More info here

SAT/23 MUSIC AGENT ORANGE YES! And our own Middle-Aged Queers will be opening. “The original Southern California punk/surf power trio, Agent Orange is one of only a handful of bands who have been continually active since the earliest days of the West Coast Punk Scene. A small circle of musical rebels who came together to form a movement, they took their place front and center to experience and participate in the explosion of now legendary underground music that was created during the golden era of American Punk Rock.” 7pm, $20. Slim’s, SF. More info here.

SAT/23 NIGHTLIFE MOTHER: DOLLY NIGHT Welp, drag doyenne Heklina may have announced her semi-retirement, but she’s not going out without a big bang—two big bangs if you count her heroine Dolly Parton’s, er, more noticeable assets. There is nothing better than a room full of drag Dolly Partons, folks, and this tribute night will been for the books. 10pm, $10. Oasis, SF. More info here

SAT/23 SHOPPING/MUSIC BAY AREA RECORD FEST You know you gotta B.A.R.F.! Six Live Acts, 14 record labels, DJs, record shopping, food, drinks, arcade games! Lineup: Sonny & the Sunsets, Tia Nomore, The Gonks, Tyler Holmes and more. Noon-7pm, free with RSVP. 7th West, Oakland. More info here

SAT/23 NIGHTLIFE MR. BRIGHTSIDE INDIE BALL “Dance onto the iconic set of The Killers – Mr. Brightside video for the Indie Rock Alternative Pop 2000s party of your dreams! Anthemic 2000s indie music all night by artists such as The Killers, Robyn, The Strokes, M83, LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, Empire of the Sun, Passion Pit, Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire, Cut Copy, Bag Raiders, MGMT, Daft Punk, The White Stripes and much much more…” 9pm-2am, $15-$25. Great Northern, SF. More info here

WED/27 EVENT 41: 2019 Milk-Moscone Vigil The Harvey Milk Democratic Club presents its annual vigil in remembrance of the slain leaders. “We invite our fellow San Franciscans to join us in our vigil of reflection and to reaffirm our commitment to the vision these men had.A short audio visual program will be followed by a procession to the site of Castro Camera (575 Castro Street) where those who knew them will say a few words. Participants are encouraged to bring candles and flowers as San Franciscans did that night in November of 1978 Through the generosity of Dan Nicoletta, photographs of Harvey Milk and George Moscone will also be available for print on the club’s website for printing so that attendees may bring those photos to carry in memoriam.” 7pm-9pm, free. Harvey Milk Plaza at 18th and Castro, SF. More info here. 

Arts Forecast: And here’s the real kicker…

From 'Stomp.' Photo by Steve McNicholas

ARTS FORECAST The Stomp tour stomped into town for a very brief visit at ACT last weekend (why, when it could stay so much longer?)—and the minute I saw that looming mechanical hodge-podge set onstage, I was thrown back to the exuberantly radical theater era of the early ’90s, from whence Stomp originally stormed.

First, let me say that the 90-minute broom-shuffling, lid-crashing, barrel-banging, lighter-flicking romp has lost none of its magical appeal. The junkyard samba of Stomp is as sturdy as it ever was, and still showcases some jaw-dropping moves by its eight-member cast. In a feat of Mummenschanz-meets-Blue Man Group (with a considerably more attractive cast), the productions presents a series of prop-based skits, acrobatic flights during which the distinct personalities of the participants gradually emerge. The minutes fly by with a clang and bash.

Photo by Steve McNicholas

This cast brought out a delightful—and very marketable—country hoedown aspect of the show, with plenty of foot-stomping, hand-clapping hootenanny. Lead dancer Jordon Brooks, with long blonde hair and a sleeveless get-up, gave it all a carefree, down-home air. The rest of the cast was uniformly perfect—you kind of have to be, or you get a PVC tube to the face—gamely executing stunts strapped into giant inner tubes or flying high on wires to beat an assortment of washboards and gas cans. You actually do get everything and the kitchen sink.

But Stomp is also emblematic of an exciting time in theater when it felt like anything could happen. In the early ’90s, Sondheim and Old Broadway seemed hopelessly stuffy; the dramatic camp of Cats and Les Miz was giving way to a more primal theater: Rent was taking on AIDS and gentrification; renegade downtown companies were putting on over-the-top riffs on Vampire Lesbians of Sodom in strange basements where you could BYOB (an anarchic energy soon bottled by Hedwig); and somewhere this epic called Angels in America was telling the story of my life, but that would take years to reach my home in Detroit. (Before the internet, your rich gay friends had to tell you what was on in New York.)

Photo by Steve McNicholas

Stomp, when it emerged, became a another mind-blowing vehicle for the zeitgeist—and a rite of passage for any young actor, just like Rent (and, for that matter Cats, forever may it mewl in peace, or A Chorus Line.) This production has its updates—prop comedy is a record of technology, and it’s crazy to think that in the ’90s there were barely any wheeled carry-ons and everyone still read newspapers and used lighters. Will the next iteration feature vapes and iPhones? One can only wonder. But watching young bodies crash loudly through the wreckage on stage was a highly comfortable form of nostalgic pandemonium.

Stomp, stomp back to us!


THU/14 VISUAL ART DARK TURNS TO LIGHT: MID-CENTURY NEON IN WARSAW, HAVANA, AND SF Some bright and soothing light for this seasonal affective disorder moment. “On November 14, the Tenderloin Museum will host a series of slide presentations and discussions which explore neon’s various forms and functions in Warsaw, Havana, and San Francisco. Featuring slides of Cuban neon from Tenderloin Museum Executive Director Katie Conry’s and Steven Spiegel of Signs United’s recent trips to Havana, audience members will have the opportunity to get an inside look at how vintage neon signs are surviving today. Preceding the slide presentations, SF Neon will give an overview of the current projects to restore vintage neon in San Francisco.” 6pm-9:30pm, $10. Tenderloin Museum, SF. More info here

THU/14 DANCE CAIRO CABARET “Improvisational dance to live Arabic music is an integral part of many Middle Eastern arts and cultures. Unfortunately, this is a dying art. The mission of Cairo Cabaret is to keep alive and celebrate these unique and vanishing art forms by supporting events that include Arabic music and improvisational dance, educating audiences of the beauty of these cultural experiences, and deepening ones connection with these rare art forms. In a climate of intolerance and division, Cairo Cabaret shine a light on artists promoting Middle Eastern cultures by showcasing live Arabic music and dance performances.” $12, 9pm-midnight. El Valenciano, SF. More info here

THU/14 NIGHTLIFE SUPERVIXEN 15 Some DJs I really love involved in this party! Check out Sassmouth, AIDA, and Kimmy le Funk bringing various great sounds. “Supervixen is a creative experiment in San Francisco, focusing on supporting women in dance music, and holding space for local talent to hone their skills behind the decks. Our sounds range from the texturally minimal, and colorfully disco inspired, to the furious end of techno.”

THU/14 FUNDRAISER GLIDE HOLIDAY JAM Aww, who doesn’t love GLIDE, whose daily free meals are unfortunately more necessary than ever. This annual event boast some amazing participants this time around, including lauded singer Ledisi, Grammy Award–winning singer Lisa Fischer, multi-age hip hop crew Alphabet Rockers, and the clays-spectacular GLIDE Ensemble choir. Plus, food, featured speakers,  and lots of holiday cheer. 5:30pm-7pm, $50-$100. The Masonic, SF. More info here

THU/14 LIT/FILM/MUSIC MECHANICAL FANTASY BOX LAUNCH Patrick Cowley was a San Francisco electronic music genius, propelling disco and Hi-NRG artists like Sylvester and Paul Parker into the pop stratosphere. Local label Dark Entries has been releasing his music over several discs; this one contains to only early experiments and dance floor barnstormers, but also a gorgeously illustrated facsimile of Cowley’s sex journal, which chronicle—inexhaustibly—the sexual milieu of very active gay men in the late 1970s. This night will feature readings from the journal (yours truly reads a few entries) as well as a screening of a restored erotic film that Cowley scored. 6pm-9pm, free. The Magazine, 920 Larkin, SF.

THU/14-SUN/16 MUSIC RECOMBINANT FESTIVAL This excellent experimental electronic music festival brings out both the legendary in fine form—see this review of Gas from last year’s fest—and some great new artists. The centerpiece: Seminal circuits composer Morton Subotnick will play ‘Silver Apples of the Moon Revisited,” an update of his essential 1967 work, as well the inhalation-based “As I Live and Breathe.” Other performers include Shanghai’s 33EMYBW and GOOOOOSE and Tokyo’s Kyoka. Gray Area, SF. More info here

FRI/15 ART OPENING POINT OF FINAL COLLAPSE Here’s a fascinating project that makes a huge statement encompassing the Millennium Tower mess. “The critically-acclaimed indigenous art collective Postcommodity has created a broadly conceptual audio work that focuses on San Francisco’s famously sinking luxury high-rise Millennium Tower. What they’ve set out to do with the piece is to use data representing the movement of the Tower to create a call to prayer for relief from the economic stresses and dangers of a city in the throws of radical social, cultural, architectural, and economic transformation. The Point of Final Collapse uses computational algorithms to parse that movement data, which is then mapped to healing ASMR audio and soothing binaural beats, transforming the sonification of the sinking and tilting of the Millennium Tower into therapeutic sounds. Long Range Acoustic Devices, installed in the tower at San Francisco Art Institute’s historic Chestnut Street Campus, will subtly broadcast this indeterminate and generative multichannel sound composition to North Beach and downtown San Francisco for a 4-minute duration each day at 5pm.” Opening 5pm-8pm, free. San Francisco Art Institute. More info here

FRI/15 SHOPPING CREATIVITY EXPLORED HOLIDAY ART SHOP “As the holiday shopping season approaches, Creativity Explored is opening the vaults of our exclusive collection of original artwork by local artists with developmental disabilities. During the Holiday Art Shop the general public will access new and previously exhibited framed and unframed paintings and drawings, plus a huge collection of hand-made ceramics, textile art, original fashions, and limited edition gift items. This salon-style shopping experience includes rare and exhibited framed paintings, drawings and multimedia artwork, functional and decorative ceramic sculptures, unique fiber art and our collection of popular digital prints. As always, 50% of original art sales go directly to the artist, supporting their well-being and independence.” 6pm-9pm, free. Creativity Explored, SF. More info here

FRI/15 NIGHTLIFE MERCURY SOUL Composer Mason Bates and friends continue to combine classical and dance floor explorations to stunning effect. This time around? “Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Gluck’s Dance of the Furies, Rebel’s Les Elemens and Abels Dances and Delight’s, all to be performed live without restraint! DJ Masonic (Mason Bates) and DJ Justin Reed spin their house inspired beats with jazz, downtempo leanings to sate musical appetites between sets. Closing the night is DJ Mark O’Brien from the Polyglamorous Crew and Keith Lawrence from Cosa Nostra Strings to offer a new electronic+live music fusion set ending the party.” 9pm-late, $25-$30. DNA Lounge, SF. More info here

A work from ‘Future Relations’

FRI/15 ART OPENING FUTURE RELATIONS: A RESOURCE FOR RADICAL TEACHING PRESENTS FTP  “With a combined 30 years of teaching experience, curators Fred Alvarado, Thomas Jones, and David Petrelli reimagine SOMArts’ Main Gallery into a site for collective liberation and hope for educators, community organizers, and youth alike. Critically engaged teachers work collaboratively with young people in confronting and subverting systemic oppression. Through an Ethnic Studies, social justice oriented lens, Future Relations offers alternatives to traditional models of education by presenting works that underscore the importance of experiential knowledge and community cultural wealth. Exhibiting artists include Brett Cook, whose social practice extends into public speaking and teaching, Carolina Caycedo, whose environmentally focused works explore the impact of development projects, and Precita Eyes’ Urban Youth Arts Program, a class for students ages 11-19 that focuses on lettering and character design.” Shows runs through December 21. 6pm-9pm, free. SOMArts, SF. More info here 

SAT/16 MUSIC/STAGE THE WALL “November 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s iconic album, The Wall. On Saturday, November 16, Music For The Apocalypse performs the album live, cover-to-cover! MuFTA will be joined by an All Star cast of musicians, singers and drag queens to create a compelling piece of political theater. The year is 2025. The human race sits at the precipice of Apocalypse. Fascism, endless war, environmental catastrophe plague a planet on the edge of an epochal shift that we have no certainty of surviving!” 9pm-1am, $20. The Chapel, SF. More info here

SUN/17 MUSIC QUEER PAJAMA FEST II: LAVENDER COUNTRY This is so sweet. “In 1973, Patrick Haggerty recorded and released Lavender Country, a collection of gay radical country music. Though all of the records sold and the project was celebrated in a small portion of the gay community, Lavender Country proved too extreme for the music industry of the 70s and the project fizzled. 40 years later, independent record label Paradise of Bachelors reissued Lavender Country to rave reviews and a much more accepting public. Patrick and his music became the subject of an award winning short documentary, Cryin These C*cksuckin Tears, and Lavender Country went from being a lost obscurity to an underground legend.
Since 2014, Patrick has played shows all over the states, from New York to San Francisco and everywhere in between, spreading his revolutionary message of love and acceptance in the face of violence, hate and fascism.” 5pm, $10. 924 Gilman, Berkeley. More info here

Arts Forecast: Day of the Dead in the City of Souls

Image from SomARTS's 'City of Lost Souls' Day of the Dead exhibit.

Ready to shed the rotting pumpkin skin of Halloween and sniff the sweet spice of the afterlife? OK that question is a lot, but after this year’s All Hallow’s Eve revels, it’s time to wave a ghostly hi to our ancestors at Día de los Muertos celebrations.

The main event, of course, is the huge procession through the Mission on Sat/2 and gathering around the altars of Potrero del Sol Park. (The festival of altars begins at 4pm in the park, the procession at 7pm.) Here you can respectfully commune with others, present and passed. This year’s theme is Mazatl: Year of the Deer. While you’re in the Mission, do not pass up a chance to see the stunning altars and performances at Mission Cultural Center’s Cultivando Tiempo / Cultivating Time Day of the Dead celebration, which presents an afternoon and evening of blessings, dedications, indigenous music, and loving art.

To celebrate this San Francisco tradition more in-depth, nothing beats a visit to the beautiful, challenging artistic altares set up SomARTS for its annual Día exhibit, this year entitled City of Souls, running through November 8 and dedicated to Filipinx scholar Dr. Dawn Mabalon and to the children who have passed away in ICE custody. “Housed in a translucent, labyrinthine city, this exhibition meditates on San Francisco’s rapidly changing landscape, asking artists and visitors: Who are the ancestors we need to call in to help fight for the soul of the City? What are the people, places, and institutions lost to time that have shaped us? What kind of future can we collectively envision for San Francisco?”

The SF Symphony is showing Coco, Fri/1 and Sat/2, both days at 7:30pm, and who wouldn’t want to see this Pixar masterpiece on the big screen with a big string section? And if you have kids or are just still full of spirit, check out the symphony’s Día de los Muertos Community Concert, Sat/2 at 2pm. “Latin Grammy-award winning band Monsieur Periné joins the SFS for the second half of the program, and the celebrations also include lobby art and pre-concert activities (partially presented by the Mexican Museum and Casa Círculo Cultural of Redwood City).” It’s lovely.

On Fri/1, 3pm-5pm, there’s a free Neighborhood Day of the Dead Altar Project at Counterpulse, where you can fashion your own ofrenda for the altars. Later, if you feel like dancing, ghost ye quivering feet along to Mexican EDM mastermind Deorro at 1015 Folsom, also Fri/1, 10pm-3am.

From the Oakland Museum’s ‘¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of El Día de los Muertos’ exhibit

Finally, do not miss the colorful and important ¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of El Día de los Muertos exhibit at the Oakland Museum (through February 16, 2020), which “honors and explores the lesser-known origins of Day of the Dead, and the ways these traditions continue to inspire social and political change today. Visitors will encounter altars, artworks, and interactive elements that show how Chicano activists used Day of the Dead traditions to foster pride in their indigenous heritage and unify their communities. Experience a Oaxacan style ofrenda and hear first-hand stories of the Chicanos who went to Oaxaca to gather Day of the Dead traditions from elders.”

THIS JUST IN: There will be a Día de los Muertos action to #closethecamps

Oh jeez, now I need a churro.

More upcoming events

THU/31-11/16 DANCE SOLEDAD BARRIO & NOCHE FLAMENCO: ENTRE TÚ Y YO I adore flamenco, and Soledad Barrio is one of the absolute best. After the national triumph of ‘Antigona,’ Barrio and Noche Flamenco return with this program duets, solos, and ensemble works, featuring Barrio’s signature, “Soleá,” which “exemplifies the catharsis at the heart of flamenco.” Z Space, SF. More info here

FRI/1-24 STAGE CONVOY 31000Convoy 31000 is the story of 230 women of the French Resistance who were arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Only 49 survived. Incorporating narrative forms — poetry, music, song, and movement — the Lunatico ensemble shines a light on these overlooked female heroes of WWII. La Val’s Subterranean Theater, Berkeley. More info here

Gilbert Baker holds the rainbow flag against a pink background (1989); photograph by Robert Pruzan, collection of the GLBT Historical Society.

FRI/1 ART PERFORMANCE, PROTEST, & POLITICS: THE ART OF GILBERT BAKER “A new exhibition at the GLBT Historical Society Museum uses textiles, costumes, photographs and ephemera to paint a complex portrait of San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), who designed the iconic rainbow flag as a symbol of the LGBTQ community. First displayed at the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, the flag has transcended its humble, hand-sewn origins to become an internationally recognized symbol. Yet the success of this design has in some ways overshadowed the larger story of its creator and his exceptional creative work.” Opening Fri/1, 7pm-9pm, show runs though March 2020. GLBT History Museum, SF. More info here

FRI/1 ART PANSY TWIST: AN INCOMPLETE SURVEY OF RIOT BOY ART All starting as musicians in the fertile and majestic Bay Area queer scene – this art show positions itself as an unwilling movement that is set to explore questions of (but not limited to): the impact of the feminist gaze in queer male art, the inextricable link between music and visual art, the recalibration and transmogrification of d.i.y. (do it yourself) reality into d.i.t. (DO IT TOGETHER) reality, the simultaneous exalting, examination, and (hopeful) annihilation of what constitutes the “boy genius”, scene pageantry, and the inherent superiority of queer alternative art. The night will include ceramics, paintings, film install, a filmed happening, convo, and marijuana smoking outside. Opening Fri/1, 5pm-8pm, free. Show though January 2020. Johansson Projects, Oakland. More info here.  

FRI/1 NIGHTLIFE NOCTUARY The Noctuary parties promote women in techno and safe spaces on the dance floor, two much, much needed and appreciated things. This time around, the crew brings in Detroit’s Erika and Brooklyn’s Antenes to play back-to-back, in what surely will be a wash of smart and pummeling beats. 9:30pm-3:30am, $12. Public Works, SF. More info here

SAT/2 NIGHTLIFE GO BANG: IMFRUMULL The Go Bang party has been packing the Stud by bringing back the classic disco sounds (and lights!) of the Trocadero Transfer, and I-Beam—this time resident DJs Sergio, Steve Fabus, and Prince Wolfe  are joined by UK disco wiz Imfromull, who is from Hull. Disco flavors from across the pond, not to be missed. 9pm-3am, $10-$15. The Stud, SF. More info here.  

SAT/2 FILM KATHY GRIFFIN: A HELL OF A STORY She’s brash, she’s loud, she’s hilarious, she’s annoying—and for a time, a photo of her was everywhere, holding the bloody (fake) head of Donald Trump, like a contemporary #resistance Judith brandishing Holofernes’ severed noggin. The story of what that incendiary image did to her career, and how she overcame it to remain successful, is, indeed ‘a hell of a story.” And so it’s now an acclaimed documentary. She’ll be at the Castro in person to talk about the experience with lesbian legend Kate Kendall, benefitting the Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation. 6:30pm, $20-$30. Castro theatre, SF. More info here

SUN/3 NIGHTLIFE LTJ BUKEM One of the masters of drum ‘n bass in the ’90s and 2000s, LTJ took the form into space-y, hypnotically melodic directions. (He certainly wasn’t afraid to pull out a string section of his own here and there.) Catch this legend for a rare appearance at drum ‘n bass party Stamina, with Bachelors of Science and Jamal. 9pm-2am, free(!). F8, SF. More info here.   

SUN/3 MUSIC DEAD GHOSTS Just in time for day of the Dead! “Formed nearly a decade ago in Vancouver, Canada, the garage-rock group grew out of founders Byran Nicol, Drew Wilky, and Mike Wilky’s desire to hang out, listen to records and play music. After the trio uploaded a few demos to Myspace—this was 2008, after all—a small punk record label from Iowa reached out and asked if they wanted to do a single. The single quickly led to the group’s first full-length album, the self-titled Dead Ghosts.” DEAD GHOSTS!  7pm, $15. The Chapel, SF. More info here

SUN/3 NIGHTLIFE CLARK PRICE One of the heads of Honcho, the Pittsburgh party crew that helped revitalize the gay underground earlier this decade (and put that city’s nightlife back on the map), Monsieur Price has a deep feeling for techno that complements his encyclopedic knowledge. Get into his sound at the monthly Sunday Situation party. 5pm-late, $5. The Stud, SF. More info here

TUE/4 MUSIC SWERVEDRIVER On the more blistering, woozy side of shoegaze, the UK band is still going strong, haunting eardrums and making their own “space travel rock’n’roll” many quality tours and albums in, including latest Future Ruins. 7:30pm, $25. The Independent, SF. More info here

WED/6 EVENT OPENING ICEBREAKER CEREMONY FOR SAFEWAY ICE RINK The cast of Drag Queens on Ice, the cast of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” emcee Donna Sachet, Assemblymember David Chiu, and more will been hand to inaugurate the 10th season of the Union Square Ice Rink. Let’s skate! 9:30am, free.

Arts Forecast: El Rio saved, Litquake aquiver, Open Studios opens….

Gala Sadurni's "diverse, culturally-charged" portraits of the city are featured at Open Studios. Here, 'Angels' from 2019

ARTS FORECAST File under: more of this please! According to the Bay Area Reporter, the buildings housing legendary Latinx queer bar El Rio have been acquired by the Mission Economic Development Agency, through an $8.6 million loan provided by the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund. The buildings also include several low-income housing units.

“The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is expected to provide MEDA with permanent financing for the building in December 2020 after the agency completes critical repairs and upgrades to the buildings. The roughly $800,000 in work includes seismic retrofitting and strengthening of the structures, updating electrical and building systems, and additional exterior renovations and improvements,” says the BAR.

That’s great news for this legacy business, which has hosted generations of dancers, salsa bands, queer partiers, fundraisers, and friendly neighbors. Now go there and have a drink — it’s the bar’s 41st birthday and amazing annual Dolly Parton Hoot this Sat/12!

ALL AQUIVER OVER LITQUAKE Ann Patchett, Tobias Wolff, Tommy Orange, Jane Hirschfield, Charlie Jane Anders, Saeed Jones, Mike Isaac, Michelle Tea…   plus programs like “Journalists in Jeopardy,” “Young Writers Brave the Page,” “Teenquake,” “The White Devil’s Daughter: A Chinatown Walking Tour,” and the 500th installment of Literary Death Match. You need Litquake (10/10-10/19)  in your life! If you cannot make any of these, at least try to catch the wonderful, infamous Litcrawl (10/19), which features a slew of local talents reading up and down Valencia in any spot they can find. (Oh and don’t miss the epic closing party with DJ Bus Station John!)

OPEN SESAME (STUDIOS) Tonight (Thu/10) is the launch party at SomARTS, where you can get a preview of the dozens and dozens of artists participating in this year’s Open Studios (Sat/12-November 3)—but you can also “slow gaze” over the next month, as each weekend presents a different set of artists in their environment, where you can really spend some time with their art. As arts studios disappear across the city, it’s such a treat to travel throughout the city, checking in on our resident geniuses.

AMPLIFYING THE VOICES OF OAKLAND’S HOMELESS A new album called Homeless Oakland Heart records the unhoused citizens of the Bay Area—with all profits going to the Coalition on Homelessness:”Recorded live and outdoors in Oakland, Grammy-winning producer and author Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Zomba Prison Project) delves deeply into the voices of the homeless community— those that are largely ignored and even maligned. It is a community that he has worked with dating back to the 1980s. Needless to say, it is a highly unique, ultimately heartbreaking album with “street” cred and raw-ness that sounds like any other. Ranging from old school beat-boxing to Free Jazz guitar to ballads and electronica, this is a one-of-kind, esoteric, and diverse record akin to rarities like Hollerin’, Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting in a Room, and Elvis Presley’s Having Fun With Elvis On Stage, et al. and it’s a full on old school, gut-punch punk album.” The album comes out Fri/11, order it here

SAT/12- 10/27 STAGE OTHELLO An embarrassment of Shakespearean riches, as we move from Cal Shakes’ lovely production of Macbeth into the venerable SF African-American Shakespeare Company’s take on Othello. This time, the ill-starred Moor’s tale tackles contemporary themes: “Set in contemporary Washington DC and Syria, the production will focus in on Othello’s status as an outsider, one who grew up with a strong Muslim background, who as a child grew up as part of a military gang in Africa. Opposing cultures, roles, customs, families, traditions and Othello’s marriage to a young Christian white woman all play a part in how the tragedy unfolds.” More info here

SAT/12 NIGHTLIFE KAI ALCE By now techno and house music are as storied and porous as jazz, a wonderfully complex thing capable of myriad moods and impressions. New Yorker/Detroiter/cureent Atlantan Kai Alce has been at this for 20 years: Often grouped in with Detroit’s third wave of techno pioneers, his sets balance house color with techno spirit (oh he’ll put some jazz juju on you too), an expert who will take you deep without wearing you out. With local genius Chris Orr, whose crate-digging skills are unparalleled. At Phonobar, SF. More info here

SAT/12 VISUAL ART TERRY FOX LABYRINTH SERIES Theres a show of this important artist’s work on display through November 2, but this Saturday at Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts will feature a walkthrough with Constance Lewallen and activation of Circulation: Site Pendulum from the Labyrinth Series (1970) by Marita Loosen-Fox “Terry Fox (1943-2008), a native of Seattle, was a first-generation conceptual artist who lived in San Francisco off and on from 1963 to 1978. He was a core member of the artists, including Howard Fried, Paul Kos, Linda Montano, Bonnie Ora Sherk, and others, centered around Tom Marioni’s Museum of Conceptual Art. Like their peers internationally, these Bay Area Conceptualists were developing new genres of body, performance, video, and sound art. The Wattis Institute exhibition will feature a selection of labyrinth works including objects, drawings, books, and forms the heart of a Bay Area celebration of Fox’s work taking place this fall. Curated by Constance Lewallen and Dena Beard, this multi-faceted presentation of Fox’s work will be deployed over a variety of venues including Grace Cathedral, where there is a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, The Lab, Cushion Works, 871 Fine Arts, BAMPFA, and the libraries of SFAI and SFMOMA.” More info here.

SAT/12 TOUR URBAN FARM TOURS “Is Urban Farming still alive and kicking in the Bay Area? After a three year break, Urban Farms Tours returns to answer this question. We invite you to visit 8 excellent and diverse examples of small-scale urban farming and decide for yourself. From a tidy postage stamp to a sprawling multi-use community space, the sites range in size from extra small to extra large and represent a diversity of farmers and farming styles.” East Bay, Albany, and North Oakland. More info here.  

SUN/13 MUSIC ALTIN GÜN Turkish psychedelic music, known as Anatolian rock, has fabulous and tangled history, and this incredible group of Amsterdammers of Turkish, Indonesian, and Dutch musicians  adds a wonderful wrinkle. Their immersive, addictive music is pretty much “what happens when you open doors between Turkish folk songs on the one hand and a dirty blend offunk rhythms, wah-wah guitars and analogue organs on the other.” At the Independent, SF. More info here

MON/14 DANCE/POETRY DUET + MARROW Dancer-poet Ian Spencer Bell has been acclaimed by the New York Times for “autobiography, written in bodies . . . physical sentences inseparable from verbal ones—neither upstaging the other—so what results is not dance and not poetry but some third medium.” As part of Litquake, he’s dancing two pieces at CounterPulse. “Duet is a 25-minute work about my relationship with a dancer who concealed that he was HIV positive. The piece began as a 200-page work of nonfiction. After many years of writing and rewriting, it’s now a five-page poem in couplets that I perform with dancers Joshua Tuason and Gary Champi. Marrow is a 25-minute work about growing up queer in Virginia. Through solo dance material and 10 confessional poems, I explore my relationship with my mother, abusive stepfather, home, and dancing.” This all sounds like a must-see. More info here.  

MON/14 MUSIC RICEBOY SLEEPS Ten years ago, Jónsi from Sigur Rós and his partner, renowned film composer Alex Somers, released a gorgeous, intimate album called Riceboy Sleeps. Now they’re taking that landmark album on tour with a full symphony (appearing at Golden gate Theatre), opening it up and recreating extra-musical sounds from the album with whirly tubes, broken glass, rustling plastic bags, and more. Jónsi’s insanely angelic voice is still in there, and you’ll most likely be enveloped in a cloud of bristling musical bliss. More info here.

TUE/15 MUSIC/STAGE A NIGH WITH JANIS JOPLIN Tony Award-nominated Mary Bridget Davies stars as Janis in this Broadway production: “A musical staged like a rock concert that takes the audience on a journey celebrating Janis Joplin and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, all of whom inspired Joplin to become one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends.” Go on! At Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa. More info here

THU/17-SAT/19 MUSIC PICTURES + PERCUSSION I’m an enormous fan of SF Symphony percussion genius Jacoob Nissly, and cannot wait for this. I’m also a big fan of the Earth! So that makes thes extra-important. Not only will Nissly and company premiere the new climate-change centered work Losing Earth, by composer Adam Schoenberg, we also get Ravel’s interpretation of Mussorgsky’s staple “Pictures at an Exhibition”: “Coaxing radiant hues out of unorthodox combinations of instruments, Ravel transformed Mussorgsky’s monochrome pieces into one of the most popular works for orchestra. How did he do it?” Let’s find out, percussively. At Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here.   

Arts Forecast: Here come the Sisters

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hold their 10th charitable annual fashion extravaganza, Project Nunway X, Sat/21.

MUCH ADO ABOUT FOLSOM Folsom Street Fair is two Sundays away (watch for my party guide), and what better way could organizers seize the news cycle ahead of time than… alienate the beloved Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? The transition to new Folsom management three years ago has had its wee bumps, but once you start upsetting the incredibly charitable Sisters, look out!

Here’s the gist: For 25 years the Sisters have greeted people at Folsom’s gates and collected an entrance donation from patrons. Passing through a spanking tunnel of gay drag nuns to get into the leather fetish fair—what’s more San Francisco than that? The Sisters then usually get a portion of the proceeds to donate throughout their charitable network; they’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. But something different is happening this year.

As SFist puts it: “What appears to be at issue here is the how much the Sisters organization gets compensated, and the conditions of their volunteer shifts. These terms are contractually revised every year, and several Sisters speaking up individually don’t like where this year’s negotiations are heading.”

In fact, here’s leader Sister Roma herself laying some of the facts out:

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. have not been "kicked out" of Folsom Street Fair by Folsom Street Events. The…

Posted by Roma Roma on Monday, September 16, 2019

Will the sisters pull out of the fair? Unclear yet, but they keep on giving. See below Sat/21 for info on their annual Project Nunway fashion show to raise money for charity.

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE We’re about to be showered with Shakespeare—CalShake’s Macbeth starts Sat/21 and the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s As You Like It runs this weekend for free in McLaren Park, with the African American Shakespeare Company’s Othello starting October 12. But for those with a more contemporary, feminist bent (with some Shakespearean high stakes), you won’t want to miss the plethora of Caryl Churchill plays coming our way in the next year. The groundbreaking British dramatist is still producing works at 81, and we get four of them: ACT’s Top Girls (September 19–October 13), Custom Made Theatre Co.’s Cloud 9 (November 15–December 15), Shotgun Players’ Vinegar Tom (December 6 – January 5), and Magic Theatre’s Escaped Alone (April 14 – May 10). In fact, you can take in the bold breadth of Chuchill’s work here with the Caryl Churchill passport, which gets you all four plays for under $100. A steal.


Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Big Book Sale

WED/18-SUN/22 EVENT BIG BOOK SALE “Every year the Fort Mason Festival overflows with bargain shoppers at the Big Book Sale, an iconic San Francisco tradition. The sale opens to the public on Wednesday morning through Sunday. On Sunday, all items will be sold for just $1. All sections will be restocked daily with new and exciting finds; there will be no shortage of great titles. The multi-day event attracts over 10,000 book lovers from the Bay Area and beyond.” Fort Mason, SF. More info here

THU/19-OCTOBER 13 STAGE TOP GIRLS We’re already having a very good theater season in the Bay Area, and this contemporary classic from Caryl Churchill at ACT will hold the momentum. “In Thatcher’s Britain of the ’80s, Marlene celebrates a promotion with a dinner party full of legendary, historical, and mythical women, from Pope Joan to one of Chaucer’s pilgrims to an imperial Japanese courtesan. As the wine starts to flow, each of these iconic women shares her own stories of sacrifice and success—but where’s the sisterhood?” ACT Geary Theater, SF. More info here.  

THU/19 TALK COCKETTES 50TH ANNIVERSARY Oh hey, I’m moderating a panel of original members of the iconic “gender-bending, acid freak-out, satirical, hysterical theater troupe.” We’re turning the Balboa Theater into a Cockettes shrine, with movies, performance, and memorabilia galore. It’s all thanks to the newly minted San Francisco Cultural History Museum. 7pm, Balboa Theatre, SF. More info here

FRI/20 NIGHTLIFE PUBLIC WORKS NINTH ANNIVERSARY A 36-hour party with dozens of insanely talented above- and underground talents—Questlove, Crazy P, noncompliant, Holographic, Minx, Mike Huckaby, etc etc—to celebrate almost a decade of great times in one of SF’s best clubs. Public Works, SF. More info here. 

FRI/20-SAT/29 FILM SF LATINO FILM FESTIVAL The 11th edition of this always-enlightening fest brings films from near and far in a celebration of Latino creativity and vision. Particularly interesting program: “Environmental Change Maker Shorts—From communities facing climate change and doing something about it to thought-provoking stories about the environment told in both narrative and documentary formats.” More info here

FRI/20-SAT/21 STAGE 2 INFINITE 2 WRENCH Lightning-quick improv wonder-troupe the San Francisco Neo-Futurists always drops my jaw—but I’m clenching extra hard for this: “A once-in-a-lifetime, one-weekend-only rollercoaster ride of a specialty show where we’ll perform 60 even-shorter-than-usual plays in 60 standard minutes. Will we succeed? Will we fail? Is this even possible?” Let’s go find out! 8pm, Exit Theater, SF. More info here.  

FRI/20 NIGHTLIFE DARK ENTRIES 10TH ANNIVERSARY W/ DJ VIOLET Do you like dark and minimal synth music and dance floor gems from obscure ’80s underground bands (and the contemporary acts who adore them) Then you can’t miss this celebration of local powerhouse label Dark Entries, run by encyclopedic mastermind Josh Cheon. Throw on something dark and slippery and dance all night. 10pm-late, The Stud, SF.  More info here.  

FRI/20 STAGE CHARO  The virtuoso flamenco guitarist, undeniable stage presence, and inventor of “Cuchi! Cuchi!” is coming to the Herbst Theatre, playing music again after the devastating suicide of her husband. Do not miss what promises to be a firecracker of a show. 8pm, Herbst Theatre, SF. More info here.

FRI/20 NIGHTLIFE COCTEAUFEST It was 29 years ago that the stellar Heaven or Las Vegas album came out, cementing the Cocteau Twins reputation as dream pop gods and post-goth legends. Celebrate all that is the magic of band members Liz Fraser (in fabulous voice when she appeared here last week with Massive Attack), Robin Guthrie, and Simon Raymonde at this 16th annual tribute night. 9:30pm, Cat Club, SF. More info here.  


FRI/20 + SAT/21 DANCE KIKBAL “Kickbal is a new dance company founded by Emma Lanier and Ky Frances, two young artists born and raised in the Bay. They are curating an evening of performance that includes SF premiere of Anagama, Emma’s solo about healing from pain and finding your voice again, previously shown in St. Louis and New York. This is also a rare chance to see Emma and Ky onstage together in their ‘lol-worthy’ duet 11 Options for Beginnings of Various Dances.” 

SAT/21 EVENT PROJECT NUNWAY X The 10th installment of this eye-popping fashion extravaganza from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence promises to be the biggest yet. RuPaul’s Drag Race star Trixie Mattel helps ring in the Sisters’ 40th anniversary(!) at a runway event combining art, design, drag, performance, and creativity. All for charity, of course. It is the Sisters’ way. SOMArts, SF. More info here.

SUN/22 MUSIC COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER OPEN HOUSE Pick up your horn and blow! (Or guitar and strum, etc.) Local treasure CMC launches its open house Sundays series: ” CMC Sundays is a day when all levels and ages can experience music-making, guided by CMC’s talented faculty. Music jams, demo lessons, workshops, and classes will be completely free of charge.” Music for everyone! 3pm-5pm, Community Music Center, SF. More info here

TUE/24 MUSIC KURT RIBAK AND HIS MIGHTY COMBO “His music is described as ‘Charles Mingus meets The Meters. They go to Duke Ellington’s house to jam, and Cachao and Thelonious Monk sit in.'” The local jazz vocalist/bassist and his combo, which is indeed mighty, play two sets to usher in a tuneful fall, with flavors from wistful Caribbean to deep funk. 7pm, Freight & Salvage, Berkeley. More info here

Arts Forecast: Veronica Klaus returns, Zine Fest, Fringe Fest, more …

Jazz chanteuse Veronica Klaus performs Sat/31 and Sun/1 at Martuni's

ARTS FORECAST Talk about radio gone-gone: We’ve just lost legendary rock radio station KFOG and it feels really weird. I haven’t listened to the radio since KABL went off the air like 20 years ago, and the KFOG Kaboom has long since been replaced by Outside Lands and a burgeoning awareness that fireworks are actually terrible. But it seems like another piece of SF is gone, one revered by commuters and stoners everywhere.

While it couldn’t outlast the onslaught of Sirius XM, where you can listen to the same 20 classic rock songs over and over, and Pandora, which is a robot DJ, KFOG will forever remain in our Karl-shrouded hearts as a landmark of “WELL, TURN IT UP” Freedom Rock music culture. RIP


SAT/31 MUSIC ZULU SPEAR “Zulu Spear was a pioneer and leader in the Bay Area’s World Beat scene of the ’80s, a movement that quickly spread across the country. Their inspired and uplifting African and World Beat dance music returns to Ashkenaz for two full sets of music, beginning with the group performing mostly traditional South African songs and dances in costume, followed by original Zulu Spear songs and South Africa-world beat music rearranged by the band.” With DJ Sep. 9pm, $15-$20. Ashkenaz, Berkeley. More info here

SAT/31 ACTION CULMINATION: MONTH OF MOMENTUM 30 DAYS OF ACTION TO CLOSE THE CAMPS The month of August saw an extraordinary series of daily protests against the concentration camps at the border. This culmination  of the month of Momentum features music by Emma’s Revolution, Diana Gameros, La Peña Chorus, and more, plus speakers and colorful protest. Come down to the ICE  building and say no to family separation. Noon-1pm. ICE Building, SF. More info here

SAT/31 STAGE MOTHER NATURE: A DRAG SHOW FOR THE CLIMATE “Do climate disasters have you feeling endangered? You need some shade to protect you from the suffocating heat of the budding climate crisis? Then enter the warm embrace of Mother Nature—the Sunrise Movement’s first drag show fundraiser. Featuring performances by local drag talent and loving criticisms from celebrity guest judge Honey Mahogany, Mother Nature will be an afternoon of wild looks and fierce frivolity. Join the fight for a Queen New Deal.” 2pm-8pm, $10-$20 sliding scale. El Rio, SF. More info here.  

SAT/31-SUN/1 MUSIC VERONICA KLAUS The fabulous jazz chanteuse returns to the Bay Area after chasing her dreams to the cozy, snowy climes of Upstate New York. She’ll perform delightful standards with the Tammy Hall Trio while you sip your very strong Martuni. Martuni’s, SF. More info here.  

SAT/31 MUSIC MYSTIC BRAVES “Based in Echo Park, Los Angeles—home of a white-hot garage band revival of which the Braves are at the forefront—this five-piece musical sensation started out as a hobby, but for the musicians involved has become much more.” With The Asteroid #4 and Shoobies. 8pm, $18-$22. The Chapel, SF. More info here.

SUN/1 LIT ZINE FEST An annual treasure trove of local, self-published comic book artists, designers, and other artisans of the written and printed. You want old school SF vibes? Head here, please. 11am-5pm, Country Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, SF. More info here

SAT/31-JANUARY 5 ART SIGNS AND WONDERS: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF JOHN BEASLEY GREENE When the young archaeologist-photographer John Beasley Greene (American, born France, 1832–1856) set out for Egypt in 1853, the fields of both archaeology and photography were still in formation. Their development was bound up with the intense competition between Britain and France to impose colonial rule and open trade markets in northern Africa, as well as the parallel intellectual rivalry to acquire and systematize knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture. Greene was one of the first to use photography in the pursuit of archaeology, meticulously recording the carved hieroglyphics covering the ancient Egyptian monuments. SFMOMA. More info here

THU/5-SEPTEMBER 13 STAGE FRINGE FESTIVAL A panoply of plays making their debuts on the fringe circuit, from Fingertips (“Inspired by a surreal collection of 21 short song choruses written by the band They Might Be Giants”) to Grief is Horny (“The family motto was, ‘I am fine, we are fine, everything is fine’ but we all know that every family is humorously dysfunctional.”). Gotta catch ’em all! Exit Theatre, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Frameline Fest gets new executive director, more …

Frameline's new executive director, James Woolley

ARTS FORECAST I honestly have no idea how one would wrangle an organization that puts on such a huge annual film festival—more than 60,000 attendees, 100+ films and programs from all over the world, multiple venues and extracurricular events. Oh, and it’s queer! Well, new Frameline Executive Director James Woolley will show us how it’s done.

Hailing from Australia, with experience at Melbourne International Film Festival, Brisbane International Film Festival, and Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras, Woolley may open our eyes a bit more to what’s going on LGBTQ-wise in that part of the world. (Actually, thinking about it, some of my favorite classic gay flicks come from Down Under: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sum of Us, Head On, and that forever queered classic Muriel’s Wedding.)

Anyway, not to pounce too much on the Ozzie thing. But if you see him out and about at the bars, buy him a beverage and give him a good luck shoulder pat for taking over the longest-running LGBTQ festival in the world, and one of the coolest film festivals in general. You cab read more info about Frameline and James here.

Rotimi Agbabiaka in ‘House of Joy’

STAGE HOUSE OF JOY Set in a harem at the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire, this action-adventure romance certainly has a unique angle. But with an amazing cast, including Rotimi Agbabiaka, and the Cal Shakes expertise, I’m wholly intrigued. Plus, certain themes are eternal: “Once upon a time and place, in something like 17th century Delhi, an imperial bodyguard risks her life to fight for what’s right….” Through September 1. Cal Shakes, Berkeley. More info here

STAGE BORDER PEOPLE If you haven’t caught Dan Hoyle’s groundbreaking work of empathetic prestidigitation—perfect for this time when we must imagine ourselves in others’ shoes—first read this excellent profile, and then hie thee to the Marsh, where ‘Border people’ has once again been extended. Through August 30. The Marsh, SF. More info here

MUSIC/FILM PURPLE RAIN This benefit screening of the Prince singalong classic helps raise funds for awesome online community radio station BFF.FM. Featuring a costume contest + live Prince DJ set with DJs Cosmic Amanda, Powell Pressburger, and Chaki before the movie, heeeeey. Thu/22, 6:15pm. Roxie, SF. More info here

STAGE DON’T YOU DIE ON ME Comedy troupe Killing My Lobster remains insanely hilarious. “Move over Die Hard! There’s a cavalcade of hilarious, butt-kicking women breaking down the door. Whether you’re dangling from the edge of a building or you’re the hostage of an eccentric, cackling villain, you’re about to get saved. Or not. It’s like Batman but with more emotional labor, and not here to take your crap.” Thu/22-August 31. Flight Deck, Oakland. More info here

MUSIC HERBIE HANCOCK & KAMASI WASHINGTON Incomparable jazz innovator Herbie meets transcendent contemporary ecstatic jazz standard bearer Kamasi outdoors at the Greek. Such a perfect pairing on a summer night. Fri/23, 7pm. Greek Theatre, Berkeley. More info here

MUSIC S&M2: METALLICA AND THE SF SYMPHONY Although the last meetup of these unlikely bedfellows turned out to be one for the ages, I’m even more interested in this because it’s helping to inaugurate the new Chase Center. Urban planning tightrope-walking triumph or acoustical clusterf*ck? I can’t wait to see and hear. September 6. Chase Center, SF. More info here.

Arts Forecast: Open up your world with the SF International Arts Festival

Throat singing ensemble Chirgilchin brings folk music from the Republic of Tuva to SF International Arts Festival Fri/24. Photo courtesy of SF International Arts Festival

ARTS FORECAST Sure you’re broke — so let the artists from Hong Kong, Ireland, and the Czech Republic come to you? Such is the proposal of this week’s San Francisco International Arts Festival (Thu/23 to May 3) this week, and we suggest you take organizers up on their offer. This year, the festival tackles massive topics, appropriately expanded to encapsulate global thought processes. Challenges that lie in the path of democracy, environmental justice, and partnerships between artists of geographic variance are all explored.

A few quick picks, for those of you overwhelmed by an admittedly vast program; Japanese composer Tomoko Momiyama’s reflection on human navigation through an exploration of Bay Area seed science, migratory birds, and sea navigation (Thu/23, Sat/25, Sun/26) — a piece commissioned just for this festival’s audiences. SF’s own ABADÁ capoeira group takes the stage in a display of dazzling coordination and athleticism (May 31). The bulk of offerings are live stage offerings, but there will be a very rare screening (the first since the early ’90s!) of Iranian filmmaker Abdolreza Monjezi’s Abadani (Tue/28). And throat singing ensemble Chirgilchin delivers Republic of Tuva folk music alongside Khomus master Yuliyana Krivoshapkina.

Thu/23 to May 3
Various times, prices, and SF venues
Tickets and more info here

THROUGH SEPT. 1 HISTORY THEN THEY CAME FOR ME No Californian should be unaware of the horrific, community-wide detentions of the Japanese American community during World War II. This multimedia exhibit was recently extended through September, insures the era’s lessons will not be lost on modern audiences, and includes works by Japanese artists who were incarcerated like Toyo Miyatake and Miné Okubo. Wednesdays through Sundays, 10am-6pm, free. Futures Without Violence, SF. More info here.

WED/22 MUSIC HIEROGLYPHICS You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beloved East Bay hip hop group than this Oakland-founded movement, born all the way back in 1991. The whole crew’s in the house for tonight’s Berkeley show; Stoney Hawk, Rap Noir, T-K.A.S.H feat. DJ True Justice & K.E.V., S.A.V.E.1, and Mike Wird. 8pm, $32.50. UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall, Berk. Tickets and more info here.

WED/22-SUN/26 COMMUNITY SEX WORKER FILM AND ARTS FESTIVAL The 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have begun to address sex worker issues in their stump speeches and damn, is it about time. This year the SW community and their fans gather for a screening with Failed Film Festival, a movie marathon at the Roxie, and even a spa day for SWs to rest their tired paws. Go support—many of the gatherings are much-needed fundraisers in this dolorous SESTA/FOSTA era. Various times, prices, SF venues. More info here.

THU/23 & FRI/25 FILM BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASK Get into the life of the brilliant anti-colonialist writer with this documentary film by Isaac Julien and Mark Nash, who will be in the building for post-screening discussion at both presentations of the film this week. Thu/23 7:30pm, $12. Red Bay Coffee, Oak. More info here. Fri/25 7pm, $13. Roxie Theater, SF. More info here

THU/23 MUSIC AH MER A SU is going in on a free concert series featuring some of the area’s finest sounds. Tonight is Star Amerasu’s turn, and she’ll be bewitching with major pipes laid over glittering synths. The singer is joined on the lineup by Bay chanteuse Maya Songbird6:30-9pm, free. Jack London Square, Oakl. More info here.

FRI/24 DANCE WISHES BEFORE THE APOCALYPSE Traverse the Fort Mason chapel, following the arch of SF dance legend Joe Landini of Tenderloin-based Safehouse’s SF International Arts Festival production. 9:30pm, $25. Fort Mason Center Chapel, SF. Tickets and more info here.

FRI/24-SUN/26 MUSIC CALIFORNIA ROOTS FESTIVAL It’s the 10th year of this smooth, diverse tunes fest in Monterrey. In 2019, you’ll be checking out sets by Ben Harper, UB40, Steel Pulse — and Cypress Hill! $245 three-day pass, $115 single day pass (advance prices). Monterey County Fair & Event Center. Tickets and more info here.

FRI/24 NIGHTLIFE WE ARE MONSTERS Bristol’s purveyor of techno adventure, Batu from Timedance, and Mozghan bring the noise at this edition of the laser-focused (no, literally) and wide-ranging nightlife crew We Are Monsters. 10pm-4am, $15. F8, SF. Tickets and more info here.

FRI/24 NIGHTLIFE CLUB LONELY DJs Vin Sol, Primo, Jeremy are well-known for crafting lil’ caves of house music for freaks—join them tonight if you’re looking to tap into the weird that is still alive in the City By the Bay. 10pm-2am. Club OMG, SF. More info here.

SAT/25 MUSIC REAL VOCAL STRING QUARTET The eclectic chamber-jazz-rock group performs tracks from “Culture Kin”, its new sonic collaboration with artists from San Francisco’s sister cities from Cote D’Voire, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Brazil and Japan. 8pm, $24.50-29.50. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF. Tickets and more info here.  

SAT/25 NIGHTLIFE ODYSSEY PRESENTS: ELI ESCOBAR AND MYSTIC BILL Those missing the gleeful, exuberant late nites guaranteed by Odyssey ravemasters DJs Elaine Denham and Robin Simmons must need pass through tonight’s reunion at Public Works with NY and Chi-Town guests par excellence. 9:30pm-3:30am, $15-17. Public Works, SF. Tickets and more info here

SAT/25 NIGHTLIFE CHINGONAS “Música de tu quince y sentido telenovela” are the mood at The Stud’s new Saturday night dance party. Capítulo uno features drag fromSF cornerstone Persia, hosting by Hard French doyenne Jorge Portillo, and the DJ stylings of Berlin’s Yha Yha and Siobhan Luvalot. 10pm-3am. The Stud, SF. More info here.

MON/27 SPORTS QUEER BOWLING $4 drink specials abound at this opportunity for the queers to come together and knock down a few frames — for free! — at the Mission’s glittering bowling base. Free bowling 6-9pm, open until 10pm. Mission Bowling Club, SF. More info here

TUE/28 NIGHTLIFE VICE TUESDAYS Many blessing to Iris Lena Triska, who continues to program one of the only weeklies left in town designed for queer women. Tonight she hosts, tunes spin, drinks are cheap, and the go-go’s slay. 9pm-2am, $5. QBar, SF. More info here.