Arts Forecast

Arts Forecast: Reptaliens, Spear of Destiny, V Vale….

The Reptaliens play the Rickshaw Stop, Thu/7. Photo by Eirrin Gragson

ARTS FORECAST For decades, if you had a question about sex, any question at all, you would “Ask Isadora.” The goddess of alternative weekly sex columnists, Isadora Alman, would patiently and supportively take you through any thorny, titillating issue or recent development with the grace and acceptance of a horny saint. (One of the great aspects of her writing was that she freely admitted to loving and often being confounded herself about sex.)

Isadora’s famous column ran in the Bay Guardian for years, and when I received an invite to her final public appearance on February 11 before her retirement, at age 79, to speak to a class of life-long learners at the Institute on Aging, I jumped at it. I love seniors!

Isadora, looking great.

The room was packed with admirers, and Isadora looked fabulous. Her charm and wit were only superseded by her openness to any question—in the course of an hour, in a room full of lively octogenarians, we covered clitoral pumps, stimulating gels, friends in the retirement home with benefits, and how to find a date offline. (Apparently, senior Tinder is all about sexytime.) She decried current sex advice columnists as somewhat aggressive and mean—she specifically mentioned Dan Savage here, who made a name with his scalding approach. It was a joy to see her dispense explicit wisdom with a motherly embrace. Wishing her well in her retirement, and meanwhile you can still buy her books!


TUE/5-SAT/23 MUSIC PETER MURPHY The Bauhausian innovator of black-clad rock puts in an epic month-long residency at the Chapel, playing his whole catalog. Don’t miss all of it. Various dates and times. The Chapel, SF. More info here

WED/6 AND SUN/10 FILM ELECTRIC CHURCH Jimi Hendrix is always so awesome. This doc shows the true power of both his musicianship and his personality, taking  us through the raucous Atlanta Pop Festival of 1970. Roxie Cinema, SF. More info here

WED/6 ART/MUSIC PRINCESS: OUT THERE Out There is a concept video album and live performance piece by the band Princess. It explores the role men ought to be playing during the current cultural reckoning of misogyny. The video’s science fiction narrative explores the power of the Divine Feminine through collaborations with JD Samson, visual artist Jennifer Meridian, and the band TEEN.” 8pm, $15. The Lab, SF. More info here

THU/7 ART FLASHING AFTER DARK: NIGHTLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY THEN AND NOW I curated a show at the GLBT History Museum! It’s all about photographer Melissa Hawkins portraits of queer San Francisco club kids   in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It’s up through May, but you can meet Melissa and a panel of legendary nightlife photographers on Thursday, as we all discuss this snaps after dark. 7pm-9pm, $5. GLBT History Museum, SF. More info here

THU/7 MUSIC REPTALIENS Who knew our lizard overlords made such delectable dream pop? The “lovers of sci-fi, theatrics, rituals, and absurdity” from Portland land in town with analog synthesizers, electric guitars, melodic bass lines, and lulling vocals. 8pm, $10-$12. Rickshaw Stop, SF. More info here.

THU/7 MUSIC SPEAR OF DESTINY Kirk Brandon’s grandiose, anthemic punk outfit was huge in the UK in the ’80s, but was derailed when Brandon was diagnosed with Reiter disease. The band is back, pumping fists to riffs and synths. 8pm, $13-$18. DNA Lounge, SF. More info here.

FRI/8 MUSIC A REUNION FOR DJ STEF Beloved hip-hop DJ Stef was taken from us way too soon a couple years ago. To honor her legacy of united everyone on the dance floor (and knowing everyone in town!), this party brings in some local legends, including Rascue, Big Serg, Charlotte The Baroness, and Toph One. 5pm-9pm, free (donations accepted). F8, SF. More info here.  

FRI/8 TALK V VALE OF RE/SEARCH Legend! “In 1977 V. Vale founded as sole proprietor Search & Destroy, San Francisco’s first Punk Rock publication. It was published at City Lights Bookstore, where V. Vale worked, and was funded by $100 each from Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. In 1980, V. Vale launched as sole proprietor RE/SEARCH. V. Vale is most likely the longest lasting (and still active) Punk publisher. Although Vale released books which include Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, and many other Punk notables, RE/SEARCH is actually best known for its impact on the total world of underground culture.” 7pm-10pm. 2740 16th Street, SF. More info here.

FRI/8 NIGHTLIFE SAOIRSE The UK sensation has only been on the scene for 15 years, and yet she spins rave-inflected house like a true vet, collapsing years into high energy sets that will tickle any old banger’s nostalgia. How does she do it? Witness her special magic with DJs Kathi and Day Thief at the Stud. 9pm-4am, $10-$15. The Stud, SF. More info here.    

SAT/9 LIT WRITERS WITH DRINKS: JOSIAH LUIS ALDERETE + MORE “Josiah Luis Alderete is a full blooded Pocho spanglish speaking poet from La Area Bahia who learned to write poetry in the kitchen of his Mama’s Mexican restaurant.” I’m already intrigued! He’s joined by SevanKelee Boult, Isaac R. Fellman, Kyle Thomas Smith, Maurisa Thompson and Leslie Miley, Plus special guest host Elena Rose. 7pm-9:30pm, free. MakeOut Room, SF. More info here

SAT/9 MUSIC CHASMS “Formed in 2011 in San Francisco by producer, guitarist, and vocalist Jess Labrador and bassist Shannon Madden, Chasms crafts ethereal, percussive dirges that are sparse in arrangement and potent with emotion.” With Wizard’s Apprentice. 9pm, $13. Elbo Room Jack London, Oakland. More info here

SAT/9 FOOD? THE GREAT SAN FRANCISCO CORN DOG FESTIVAL “You batter believe it — your favorite time of the year is here! It’s your special dog, all dressed up with a quick dip, a simple twirl, and deep fried to golden-perfection! SoMa StrEat Food Park and FunCheapSF are teaming up to bring you another festival filled with scrumptious bouquets of deliciously-battered, perfectly-fluffy, and oh-so-satisfyingly-crisp corn dogs from the Bay’s best food trucks!” 11am-5pm, $5-$36. SoMa StrEat Food Park, SF. More info here.

Arts Forecast: Son Jarocho Festival, J Dilla shots, and queer gamers unite!

From the Contemporary Jewish Museum's Claude Cahun tribute "Show Me As I Want To Be Seen"; Tschabalala Self, 'Perched', 2016. Oil, acrylic, flashe, handmade paper, fabric, and found material. Courtesy of the artist and Kate Werble Gallery, New York.

ARTS FORECAST In the years that have passed since the 2006 death of Detroit producer, J. Dilla’s import has only come into sharper focus. Hailing from a family rife with jazz musicians, James DeWitt Yancey was able to extrapolate tessellated hip hop rhythms that proved the perfect canvas for Q-Tip, Common, Erykah Badu and other ‘90s vocalists’ verbosity. But the compositions stand on their own; show me the hip hop head — I don’t care the generation — that never throws on a J. Dilla instrumental for psyche ordering?

Among those eager to extend Jay Dee’s legacy is longtime friend Waajeed, a producer and filmmaker that enjoyed a 17 year friendship with the artist. In photo exhibition A Day in the Life of JOHN DOE (the title a nod to Dilla’s early pseudonym), Waajeed dissects the other producer’s practice, a tempting experience on Thu/7 for anyone still boggling over how Dilla was able to create the revolutionary sounds that came from his brain.

The show is far from the only underlineable music event in San Francisco this week. The San Francisco Son Jarocho Festival (Wed/6-Sat/10) returns for its seventh year at Mission District venues, an annual convening moment for fans of the music genre forged in the multicultural Mexican state of Veracruz.

Perhaps son jarocho’s high water mark when it comes to commercialism was “La Bamba”, a classic folklore song that went through a boggling number of incarnations when it hit international pop culture, from Richie Valens to Selena. (Popular legend holds that its lyrics originally described a 1500 attack on the coastal city of Veracruz.)

This year’s San Francisco festival pays homage to Andrés Flores, founder of son jarocho group Chuchumbé and a major embodiment of the genre. Flores was forced to move away from his hometown Coatzacoalcos in 2017, fleeing the violence from organized crime that has often overwhelmed Veracruz residents over the past decade.

Flores will be the topic of a roundtable KPOO discussion that will be open to the public on Fri/8. His group Chuchumbé desde México is among the artists and bands who will play Flores’ music at a celebration of the artist’s life planned for Brava on Sat/9.

Those who want to learn more deeply about son jarocho will have a host of opportunities, apart from a traditional fandango, a jarocho communal dance, on Fri/8. Sunday’s day of master’s workshop will include sessions on jarana playing and zapateado, the rhythmic, stomping dance for which special wooden platforms appear at Veracruz gatherings.

Thu/7 7-10pm, free
Family Affair, SF
More info here.

Wed/6-Sat/10, $10-45
La Peña Cultural Center and Brava Theater, SF
More info here.


IMAGINE ART Chinese brush painting, ikebana, and ink on rice paper are utilized by six Bay Area artists in this group exhibition welcoming the Year of the Pig. Through Feb. 28. Open Fridays-Mondays 11am-4pm. HVAW Gallery, SF. More info here.

A PEOPLE’S FUTURE OF THE UNITED STATES: SPECULATIVE FICTION FROM 25 EXTRAORDINARY WRITERS LIT Charlie Jane Anders and Gabby Rivera read their selections from this compendium of 25 writers’ visions of dystopic utopia. Thu/7 7pm, free. City Lights Bookstore, SF. More info here.

LOST IN Z SPACE STAGE Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits conduct a wild, musical ride through beloved sci-fi TV shows and movies. Say hi to your dear friend Barbarella and salute Major Tom. Thu/7-Sat/9 & Feb. 14-16 8pm, $25-250. Z Space, SF. More info here.

CASTRO ART WALK ART Some 13 businesses open their doors to all comers at this neighborhood celebration. Plus, Castro CBD is sponsoring some soothing classical music in Jane Warner Plaza 6-7pm. Thu/7 6-9pm, free. Castro District, SF. More info here.

Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob) and Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe), ‘Untitled’, 1928. Gelatin silver print. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Robert Shapazian.

SHOW ME AS I WANT TO BE SEEN ART The Contemporary Jewish Museum takes on the fluidity of gender identity in this exhibition of the work of French surrealist Claude Cahun and her partner-collaborator Marcel Moore. Through the pair’s portraits of Cahun, they pushed the envelope on conversation of gender identity. Thu/7-July 7. Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF. More info here.

PRISSY NIGHTLIFE A new kind of catwalk arrives at The Stud in the form of this fun new queer party. Performance by Fauxnique, Boy Young, and Meredeath, with DJ sets courtesy Matthew Paul and Corry Vreckan. Fri/8 10pm-3am, $10. The Stud, SF. More info here.

QUEER GAMING DAY FUN The call has gone out to the socially maladjusted or the simply sober; pull up today to jump into some tabletop rags, card games, and board games with potential new friends. Sat/9 2-7pm, free. Most Holy Redeemer Church, SF. More info here.

VALENTINE’S WEEKEND POP-UP MARKET SHOP Fancy crepes, artisanal cotton candy — even a cheese and chocolate pairing class is going down at this pop-up, where you’ll find only the sweetest snacks for your locavore babe. Sat/9 noon-5pm, free. Market Square, SF. More info here.

WANDER WOMAN CLOSING EVENT ART An evening of performance to mark the final moments of “Wander Woman”, a group exhibition of works by first generation immigrant women of color in the Bay Area. Sat/9 7-10pm, free. Root Division, SF. More info here.

CORKSCREWED COMEDY A lineup of six stand-ups will ply your palate at this Sunset District wine bar. Pour, yuck, repeat. Sat/9 9-10:30pm, free. InnerFog Wine Bar, SF. More info here.

DJS PAREJA NIGHTLIFE Irl partners Mariano Caloso and Diego Irasusta coming to you from Buenos Aires to fill your Saturday with pulsating techno tricks. DJs Pareja will be backed by DJ Jackie House at this opportunity to dig deep into South American club futurespeak. 9pm-4am, $16.90. The Stud, SF. More info here.

OAKLAND MUSEUM LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION One of the best spots in the East Bay to usher in the Year of the Pig. OMCA will host lion and dragon dances, martial arts, taiko, Philippine folk dance, Korean drumming — even a K-pop dance performance. Sun/10 noon-4:30pm, $15.95 museum admission, $6.95 for ages 9-17, free for members and children under 8. Oakland Museum of California, Oakl. More info here.

HOW TO PRUNE, TRAIN AND TIE ROSE PLANTS The San Francisco Rose Society hosts this talk by horticulturist Tom Liggett. He’ll teach you how to handle the prickly beauties, just in time for V-Day present season. Sun/10 1-2pm, free. Hall of Flowers, SF. More info here.

FREIGHT & SALVAGE BLACK HISTORY MONTH MUSIC The the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and its conductor Terrance Kelly put together this showcase of traditional gospel. 55 singers lifting their voice to celebrate history, spiritually. Sun/10 7-9pm, $18 presale, $22 at door. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berk. More info here.

Arts Forecast: Two-spirits celebrate 20 years of Bay community

A piece by artist Michael Yellowhorse, gifted to Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits at the group's first powwow. Image courtesy of BAAITS.

The annual Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits powwow marks a key gathering for the region’s Native American community. From the gourd dance to the fancy bustle dance, all gender markers have been removed from the gathering, a deliberate centering of the two-spirit community, but also the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Native Americans that the organization was built to serve. 

“Over the years we have carved a space for ourselves and continue to do so for the sake of those who may feel isolated in their communities,” says Amelia Vigil, a Chican@, Picuris, and Purapechan two-spirit and chair of the BAAITS board of directors. “We want other two-spirits to know that we exist and that none of us are alone when we come together.”

That’s also the aim of BAAITS’ exhibition opening Thu/31 at the GLBT Historical Museum, a unique assemblage of regalia, textiles, herbs, and photographic documentation of the group’s 20 year history. 

“The importance of the exhibition is to share our stories of resiliency, tradition, and recovery from colonial trauma,” says exhibition curator Roger Kuhn, who is from the Poarch Creek tribe. “Yes, we are still here and still queer!”

Thu/31 7-9pm, free for GLBT Historical Society members, $5 general admission 
GLBT Historical Society Museum, SF  
More info here.

Sat/2 10-6pm, donation suggested 
Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, SF  
More info here.

In less delicious news, our gluttonous hearts just about broke to see that the last brick and mortar location of longtime SF business Lucca Ravioli Co. is up for sale on Valencia Street. An employee told the Chronicle that it would be closing on April 20, so you have time to make several more runs for aged pecorino and that legendary fresh pasta.


THE YOUNGER LOVERS MUSIC What could be better than seeing these raucous East Bay queer punks? Seeing them for free! You too can have it all tonight at San Jose’s The Come Up showcase. Wed/30 9pm-midnight, free. Cafe Stritch, San Jose. More info here.

SF INDIE FEST FILM Tessa Thompson, Sam Elliot, and Mira Sorvino will all make appearances at this smorgasbord of indie film. Film buffs take note, events include a tripped-out electronic rescore of Disney’s Fantasia. Thu/30-Feb. 14, showtimes vary. Roxie Theater, SF. More info here.

IMPACT DANCE A dystopian world inspired by architecture’s Brutalist movement is the subject of this contemporary dance production by choreographer Kristin Damrow, here in her first appearance at YBCA. Thu/31-Sat/2 8pm, $25-60. YBCA Forum, SF. More info here.

FRIENDS LIVE STAGE You’re scarcely San Franciscan at this point if you’ve never gotten to check out one of D’Arcy Drollinger’s drag satires of popular kitsch. This time around it’s Friends turn, and rest assured that Central Perk will never be the same. Thu/31 8pm, $27.50-50. Oasis, SF. More info here.

SAFADA! CARNAVAL EDITION NIGHTLIFE Let your Carnaval season kick off right here and now, with DJs Kahtuaba, Black Unicorn, and Pavani with performances delivered by Nicki Jizz and Frida Mont. 10pm-2am, $8. Oasis, SF More info here.

BAY AREA FLAMENCO FESTIVAL DANCE Is there a more defiant form of dance than this ruffled, flung, strum art originally from Spain. This year’s festival explores how it has spread, and what that diaspora has meant for flamenco’s world community. Fri/1-Sun/3. Various SF locations. More info here.

HARD FRENCH WINTER BALL NIGHTLIFE The night has come for you to don your frilliest finery and dance to CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” — only this time the diva will be there, serenading you live. Queer soul powerhouse Hard French returns for its ninth annual gala eve, with Sunset Sound System’s Solar and HF residents Brown Amy and DJ Carnita. 9pm-2am, $27. Grand Theater/Gray Area, SF. More info here.

MAKEART FAMILY DAY ART Bring the little ones to this night at the Museum of Craft and Design to learn more about the techniques used by Tex Gulling in her “Sixty Years” exhibition. Textural design become wearable art become inspiration for a lifelong dabbling in aesthetic wonders. Sat/2 11am-3pm, kids 12 and under free, $8 adults. Museum of Craft and Design, SF. More info here.

SF BEER WEEK FOOD + DRINK Dive into the suds; this week offers the absolute finest in samplings, brewer talks, and surprising pairing meals. There’s no way you’ll make it to all the fun runs, special release events, and tours — but that’s not to say you can’t try. Hiccup. Fri/1-Feb. 9, various SF locations. More info here.

Arts Forecast/Party Radar: Giant jingle balls!

SF Gay Men's Chorus comes to Castro Theatre Mon/24

ARTS FORECAST/PARTY RADAR The menorah may be stashed away til next year, but our stocking runneth over with tinsel-strewn happiness and awesome events through next Tuesday, the birthday of Amazon. I’m having some fun with mixing arts events and nightlife together this holiday week. Naughty ho ho ho! 


Katie Bush, ‘Lady Boner’

ONGOING THROUGH JANUARY 2 ART KATIE BUSH: GREAT NEWS FROM HELL My favorite hallucinatory-ultrafeminist artists having a sho at the fancy pot club? Could this holiday season be more perfect? “Original art works on metal (my 1st time with this material) that celebrate Lover People in Dark Times.” Let’s go. Apothecarium, SF. More info here

ONGOING THROUGH DEC. 30 ART PAINTING IS MY EVERYTHING: ART FROM INDIA’S MITHILA REGION “This original exhibition at the Asian Art Museum features 30 large-scale contemporary works on paper from Bihar state, the subcontinent’s rural northeast. This will be the first major exhibition in more than a decade to explore how a previously private, age-old tradition of women’s domestic decoration has, since the 1960s, become a vibrant arts movement with a surprising social impact. Asian Art Museum, SF. More info here

FRI/21 ACTION THE VIGIL: ANNUAL INTERFAITH HOMELESS PERSONS MEMORIAL Join people of all faiths, or no faith, (we’re all in this together) to remember those who have died this year while living on San Francisco streets. In silence, in prayer, in song we’ll remember them, honor them, mourn our loss, reach out to each other for comfort and hope, and show our solidarity in working for change. (There’s also a procession beforehand.) 5:30pm-6:30pm, free. UN Plaza, SF. More info here.  

FRI/21 NIGHTLIFE TRAXX Fabulously freaky Chicago DJ gets to the roots of techno by foregrounding its experimental and sci-fi tropes. He’s at the Acid Test party, hallucinatory moments galore. 10pm-4am, $20. The Stud, SF. More info here.   

FRI/21 NIGHTLIFE LOOSE JOINTS A great night of soul sounds in the Mission: boogie, disco, rare groove, Afrobeat, Latin, and funk from ace DJs Damon Bell and Tom Thump. I love the music at this party. 10pm-2am, free. MakeOut Room, SF. More info here

SAT/22 MUSIC MIDTOWN MEN From Jersey Boys to Midtown Men, vocal quartet Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Robert Spencer turn up the old school charm for a night of blue-eyed soul and “electrifying chemistry.” 7:30pm, $20-$85. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here.

FRI/21 & SAT/22 MUSIC ADAM SHULMAN: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS “Best known as part of Marcus Shelby’s Jazz Orchestra and a creative force on the San Francisco jazz scene for the past decade, pianist Adam Shulman reprises his tribute to Bay Area jazz legend Vince Guaraldi and his soundtrack to Charles Schulz’s 1965 holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas.”  Various times, $15-$50. SFJASS. More info here

FRI/21 NIGHTLIFE BLACK CELEBRATION: ALL DEPECHE MODE “This Winter Solstice, celebrate the longest night of the year with BLACK CELEBRATION, the ultimate DEPECHE MODE tribute! One room dedicated exclusively to Depeche Mode : FIVE HOURS, NO REPEATS!” With DJs Xander, Sage, Keyz, and Unit 77. 9:30pm-2:30am, $5-$8. Cat Club, SF. More info here

SAT/22 + THU/27 FILM SPIRITED AWAY Best Christmas present ever may be Hayao Miyazake’s masterwork of animation on the Roxie’s big screen. 1:15pm and 4-m on Sat/22, 8:45pm on Thu/27. Roxie, SF. More info here

SAT/22 NIGHTLIFE BEN UFO One of the UK’s most incisive alien-soulful techno practitioners beams in for an intimate Honey Soundsystem party at the Stud. 9pm-4am, $20. The Stud, SF. More info here.     

SAT/22 NIGHTLIFE INTERGALACTIC GARY Wait, Ben UFO and Intergalactic Gary on the same night?? What alien mystery is this? Catch the classic, dub-psychedelic techno DJ form Planet New Zealand at the We Are Monsters party. 10pm-late, $15-$20. F8, SF. More info here

SUN/23 NIGHTLIFE ANARCHIST DISCO Legendary SF lighting specialist and DJ Donovan presents the return of this great “punk, funk, and other junk” party, with some seriously special guests. Winston Tong from Tuxedomoon performs, DJ Spun spins, and tons more jump in. 7pm-1am, $5. SF Eagle. More info here

SUN/23-25 COMEDY KUNG PAO KOSHER COMEDY “Answering the age-old question, “What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas, Kung Pao is a tradition in San Francisco and one of its longest running comedy shows. Featuring Carol Leifer (Seinfeld writer), Joseph Nguyen (SF-based Vietnamese Jewish comedian), Jordon Ferber (from NY), and Lisa Geduldig.” Various times and prices. New Asia Restaurant, SF. More info here. 

MON/24 MUSIC GAY MENS’ CHORUS: SASSY, BRASSY CHRISTMAS ““Home for the Holidays” brings out the full spectrum of holiday revelry as few other shows can do. Backed by a brilliant brass quintet, we will dash from glorious classical fare to swing to big band… plus a few new twists on holiday season classics. Be dazzled and delighted by the breathtaking sound of 250 men’s voices performing favorites from “Silver Bells” to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” as well as a cutting-edge version of “Silent Night.” On top of that, we welcome the amazing Marnie Breckenridge to join us in the sublime and the ridiculous… from classy to sassy and back.” 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm (whew!), $30. Castro Theatre, SF. More info here 

WED/26 NIGHTLIFE FINAL MISSION: ELBO ROOM CLOSING PARTY “Elbo was the launching pad for some of the Bay Area’s most important musical movements, like Acid Jazz, Dub, Boogaloo revival, Drum & Bass, Reggaeton, Trip Hop, Nuevo Latin, Broken Beat, Nu-Samba, and Afro-funk. To say goodbye in style, we have assembled a murderer’s row of O.G. DJ’s who have between them, played hundreds of sets in this venerated space: DJ Sep (Dub Mission), Gordo Cabeza (M.O.M), J.Boogie (Dub Mission), Jimmy Love (NonStop Bhangra), Matt Haze (MoreSF), and Motion Potion (SFFunk).” 8pm-2am, $10-$50. Elbo Room, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: A Camp Fire benefit that couldn’t be more San Francisco

Chris Vines and Daniel James Burke of Flannel. Photo by Leslie-Anne Snipes.

ARTS FORECAST What happens when your family loses everything, almost in an instant? That’s the horror event producer Daniel James Burke faced as the Camp Fire raged through Paradise. 

“My family is good. Everyone is safe and healthy and in the long run that’s what’s important,” Burke told me over the phone. “Our family did lose three properties in total. My mother’s house, my father’s house, and my mother’s husband had a house up there as well, which was the house I grew up in. There were a lot of material possessions lost, but everyone got out. 

“The first time I realized the fire was serious was when my Dad called me and said, I think Al’s house is gone,” Burke said. “I was in shock, trying to get some sort of news. Everything happened so quickly, there was no time to mentally prepare. Usually when a forest fire starts, you evacuate and you wait it out, thinking, ‘Is it going to hit my house?’ With Paradise, it just showed up in moments, and all you could do is get out. Bot of my parents all thy had time to grab was some clothing and medications. 

“Scarily, my daughter was up there staying with my grandparents. My mom called me at 6am and was like, I don’t want to alarm you, but there’s a fire outside the city, and we’re just taking precautions, we’re sending your daughter back with your father to Oakland. My dad told me later, ‘We just drove through an inferno. I’ve never seen anything like that. We drove through a forest fire for five minutes.’ They were one of the last two cars to take a certain evacuation route that was closed right after them due to the fire danger. It was terrifying, he broke down a bit over the phone. He said, for those five, six minutes you really realize what’s important in life.”

“We always joked that if there was ever a zombie apocalypse, we would all meet up there,” Burke said. “I think we need another plan, now,” he said. 

Of course, Burke realized that his personal experience with the fire was lucky. Some lost far more in the tragedy and were still struggling. So he’s teamed up with Pianofight’s Rob Ready and others for The SF Camp Fire Benefit Show (Wed/19, 7pm, $20-$25) at the Great American Music Hall. all proceeds of this show will go to the North Valley Community Foundation and the Arc of Butte County, which give direct aid to the 30,000+ people who have been affected by the Camp Fire.

Burke’s own band, ’90s tribute act Flannel, joins 10-piece surf funk band Californicorns​​ and ’70s rock tribute band ​The Butlers​​, Red Hots Burlesque, indie band the Y Axes, plus an array of Bay Area performers in drag, comedy, and spoken word. It’s a truly San Francisco-flavored show, with lots for everybody. 

“When we were putting the show together we kept feeling more and more that this event should really represent the special San Francisco scene, that we were really showing what San Francisco could do in honor of the Camp Fire victims,” Burke said. “We’re all really so connected in California, unfortunately, by these types of fires. No one who lives here hasn’t been affected by fires. We want to recognize that and show up for the community that’s going though so much. 

WED/19, Doors 7pm, $20-$25
Great American Music Hall, SF. 
More info here


THU/13 STAGE BAWDY STORYTELLING “Bawdy Storytelling features tales of carnal wins & epic fails with no scripts, no nets, and no holds barred. These folks aren’t reading from cue cards: this is honest-to-badness story time with true sexcapades and poignant, transformational tales at each and every show. Join sexual folklorist Dixie De La Tour and hand-picked rockstars as they share their own stories of love, lust, and making you feel funny in your bathing suit area.” 8pm-10pm, $25. Verdi Club, SF. More info here.  

THU/13 MUSIC MUÑECAS “Muñecas, a latinx punk trio from SFCA is set to release its 3rd EP, ‘Cuidado’ on Thursday, December 13th at The SF Eagle. Cuidado responds to the rising reductionist rhetoric against Latinos in the United States, especially children of immigrants. This EP is a sex affirming, toe-tapping, reality questioning reflection of queer identity that you should play very loud, very fast and very often.” 8:30pm-11pm, $5-$10. SF Eagle. More info here

FRI/14 MUSIC MERZBOW “There are few artists that are synonymous with an entire musical genre and movement- Merzbow is one of them. Since emerging in late 1970’s Tokyo, Merzbow ie. Masami Akita has pioneered what would soon become known as Noise Music. He has ceaselessly explored the extreme limits of sound—completely disassembling the language of the avant-garde, abstract electronics / synthesizers, free jazz, drone, rock, sound / tape collage, psychedelia and anything else in his path.” With Prurient and Kelly Moran. 9pm, $18-$20. Oakland Metro Operahouse. More info here

FRI/14 NIGHTLIFE DJ BONE  A definitive Detroit techno legend, Bone’s sound stays contemporary even as it summons the hard-driving undergrounds of the rave era. He’s at the As You Like It party, thrown by one of our best party crews. As the AYLI motto goes, “Quality.” 9:30pm-4am, $15. Monarch, SF. More info here

FRI/14 LIT/TOUR SF NEON WALKING TOUR “Spend an evening under the neon glow with San Francisco Neon authors and photographers Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan. Tours feature local history with architectural and graphic design insights to San Francisco’s unique legacy of surviving neon signs. Photography and a lively Q&A are encouraged. Be prepared to walk 2 miles for 2 hours, with rest stops. Tours start just before twilight.” 5:45pm-7:30pm, $25. Meet outside Harrington’s Grill. More info here

SAT/15 SHOPPING QUEER HOLIDAY FAIR “The time is here for some Queer Holiday Cheer. Save the date to shop with Qulture Collective and a curated group of Queer, Trans, and Gender non-conforming makers.” Over two weekends, dozens of items from zines and buttons to jewelry and harnesses will be available in a delightful rainbow of styles and kinds. Through December 23. 11am-6pm, free. Qulture Collective, Oakland. More info here

SAT/15 NIGHTLIFE FRINGE HOLIDAY BASH Winner of “Best Dance Party” in our 2018 Best of the Bay readers poll, This totally cute indie dance party, featuring all your favorite dance floor hits of the 2000s (I have lots), is going ho-ho-nuts for the holidays. “Santa hats, candy canes, ugly Christmas sweaters…it’s all happening at our annual festive Holidaze Bash!” 9pm-2am, $5. Madrone Art Bar, SF. More info here

SUN/16 MUSIC DAVID BROZA & FRIENDS “Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza is one of the most innovative superstars in the world with a 40+ year career spanning from blues to jazz, rock, country, folk and world music. Singing in Hebrew, Spanish, English, and Arabic, he brings together audiences of all cultures, bridging barriers of language through his music. In this special 2018 project, David is joined by the NY based Cuban Trio Havana led by flute virtuoso Itai Kris.” 7pm, $27.50+. UC Theatre, Berkeley. More info here

SUN/16 FILM BLADE RUNNER + BRAZIL Ah, those gorgeous, wackadoodle dystopias of yesteryear, shining brightly down from the screens. Ridley Scott’s replicant-riddled 2019 and Terry Gilliam’s bureaucratic phantasmagoria can be seen as a double feature at the Roxie—you may want to polish your eyeballs afterwards. 6pm and 8:30pm, $10. Roxie, SF. More info here

SUN/16 MUSIC “SONIC MEDITATIONS” “Each year, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players holds several community events that encourage the exploration of contemporary music in a festive, community atmosphere. On December 16 at The Women’s Building, SFCMP will host a community gathering and singalong featuring Cornelius Cardew’s, ‘The Great Learning, Paragraph 7’ and Pauline Oliveros’ ‘Sonic Meditations III.’ In this group performance experience, the audience has the opportunity to add their voices to the musical recitation, and the mood and spirit will be set through a sonic meditation led by Artistic Director Eric Dudley.” 3pm-4:30pm, free. Women’s Building, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Drag Queens on Ice, Animal Collective, Dear Evan Hansen…

Drag Queens on Ice

ARTS FORECAST What was your first introduction to “nice” restaurants? Not nice as in fancy, but nice as in somewhere warm and interesting, somewhere that made you feel like an adult for choosing to dine there?

The question popped into my head when I heard that Pauline’s Pizza is closing December 21, after 34 years. (This followed hard on the heels of news that estimable soul food joint Farmerbrown in the Tenderloin had suddenly closed.)

I come from Detroit, where the pizza toggles between classic trash delivery (both Domino’s and Little Caesar’s have Michigan roots) and delicious deep-dish Greek pizza from Greektown (like Chicago deep dish but full of spinach and more cheese) when you could afford to run over there. And of course, I’d been to plenty of old school suburban Italian pizza parlors after soccer games and such.

But Pauline’s was the first clean, lovely, white-tablecloth pizza joint I went to, shortly after I moved here—a true forerunner of the California pizza kitchens that soon mushroomed all over America. Plus, the subtle French touch, family feel, and intriguing ingredients made it seem so much more than just another pie spot. I felt grown up eating pizza, joined by a table of friends over several carafes of wine: a feeling I’ll never forget.

I can’t really be mad at Pauline’s owners. They want to move on to other things, and they’re not converting the building into luxury condos. (The space will serve as an expansion of the next-door Friends School.) And nice pizza places aplenty thrive throughout the city, though not with Pauline’s exact charms. I’ll just have to stop in for one more pie and some sweet, smoky nostalgia.

PS Speaking of eatery nostalgia, Mission staple Boogaloo’s reopened a few months ago, with its fantastic vegan menu intact, and some of those good ol’ hipster vibes of yore


THU/6 LIT KIESE LAYMON  “Kiese Laymon visits Marcus Books Oakland to read from his remarkable new book Heavy: An American Memoir, a layered and time-bending coming-of-age account of growing up in Jackson, Mississippi. Joining him is local poet and educator Tongo Eisen-Martin (Heaven Is All Goodbyes), whose dynamic recitations match the sustained emotional intensity of Laymon’s prose.” 1:30pm at SFSU’s Poetry Center, SF and 6:30pm at Marcus Books, Oakland. Free. More info here

THU/6 EVENT DRAG QUEENS ON ICE One of my absolute favorite traditions of the year, when some of SF’s most beloved gender clowns take to skates and dazzle us with feats of frozen prowess. A treat for the whole family. 8pm-9:30pm, free. Union Square Ice Rink, SF. More info here

THU/6 MUSIC/LIT NOW WE’RE HERE “Enjoy acoustic performances of more than a dozen classic Queen songs interpreted by Bay Area musicians in a beautiful restored 1881 Hayes Valley Victorian, the site of concerts, film shoots, and unique performance events. The salon-style concert celebrates host/author Jim Provenzano’s Queen-inspired sixth novel, Now I’m Here7:30pm-9:30pm, $20-$50. The F’Inn, SF. More info here

Conference of the Birds

THU/6-DECEMBER 16 STAGE CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS “In a Kingdom with no ruler, 10,000 birds set out to find a king none have ever seen. Led by the wise Hoopoe, the birds journey through dangers, distractions and difficulties, their Conference growing smaller each day. This Ubuntu Project world premiere from Sholeh Wolpé, adapted from Attar’s celebrated Sufi poem and directed by Giulio Cesare Perrone, is a lyrical parable providing a timeless reflection on the search for meaning on a journey toward something larger than ourselves.”  Various times, $15-$45. Brooklyn Preserve, Oakland. More info here

THU/6-DECEMBER 30 STAGE DEAR EVAN HANSEN Emo theater nerds (and those who love them) rejoice! The acclaimed Broadway musical tale of viral high school shenanigans in the face of a bully’s death is coming to the Curran, with a heartthrob cast of course, and all the singalong angst and superb melodrama you can handle. Various times and prices—also there is a $25 digital lottery for seats here! Curran Theatre, SF. More info here

FRI/7-SAT/8 COMEDY THE RETURN OF CHICKEN SCRATCH If improv comedy terrifies you, you simply must come to this reunion show of one of my favorite troupes of all time. Their show will cure you of any allergy to comedy—and if you’re already a fan of big yucks, you may already know how awesome they are. 7pm, $10. Piano Fight, SF. More info here

FRI/7-SUN/9 DANCE SCOTT WELLS & DANCERS: CONSENT FORMS Consent Forms will be three evenings of performances around the theme of consent. After decades of men’s dances SW&D is commissioning women choreographers, including Miriam Wolodarski and Liz Boubion, to make work about consent. Includes workshops and panels, curiosity and conflict.” Various times, $20-$28. Mission Dance Theater, SF. More info here

SAT/8 LIT/SHOPPING EAST BAY ALTERNATIVE BOOK & ZINE FEST The ninth annual installment of this awesome fest brings dozens of Bay Area underground authors, publishers, and zinesters together with people who like cool stuff. Go support! (Plus there’s an incredible afterparty). 11am-5pm, donations accepted. Classic Cars West, Oakland. More info here

SAT/8 MUSIC ANIMAL COLLECTIVE DJ SET The Inner Richmond’s Neck of the Woods venue is really stepping up its programming game lately, and this big-name score—featuring one of the golden age of indie’s most beloved bands behind the decks—is proof. 10pm, $20. Neck of the Woods, SF. More info here

SAT/8-SUN 9 HOLIDAY SHOPPING SPIRITED MARIN HOLIDAY MARKET “Spirited Marin Holiday Marketplace is a unique and festive shopping village focused on the fresh voices of its Marin-based sellers and raising money for Marin-based nonprofits. It is two vibrant days of discovery, shopping, tastings, a very special Artstream photography exhibit, and charitable giving.” 10am-5pm, free. Marin County Mart, Larkspur. More info here

SAT/8-SUN/9 FILM THE DARK CRYSTAL Jim Henson’s magical, surprisingly dark fantasy epic comes back to the big screen. “On a faraway planet a stalwart Gelfling, Jen, sets off on a quest to find a piece of a magic gem with the power to bring balance back to the world, along the way battling wicked Skeksis.” Various times, $9-$13. Roxie, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Mezzanine closing, Taylor Mac, Laurie Anderson, Angela Davis…

Taylor Mac comes to the Curran for 'Holiday Sauce.' Photo by Little Fang Photography

ARTS FORECAST Right before Thanksgiving came the infuriating news that, after 16 years, SF’s largest woman-owned independent music venue, Mezzanine, was planning to close next year due to landlord greed. According to Mezzanine’s Deborah Jackson, who also heads a rare all-women talent-buying team, the landlord is refusing to negotiate a new lease, instead looking to turn the space into a commercial property at a 600% rent increase, which is absurd. 

Mezzanine came along in the bright and spangly 2000s, when the nightlife and music scene  boosted shiny electronics and bands with a lot of letter z‘s in their name. With its arrival also came the transformation of Mint Plaza into a fancier place than people were used to in that area of town, although Mezzanine managed to retain a somewhat subversive vibe. The club was no trendy bandwagon-hopper: Hip-hop legends and goofy upstarts, No Wave rockers (I saw Lydia Lunch there), huge bands looking for intimate dates (LCD Soundsytem), oddball Euro metal and Finnish choirs, local game-changers (Honey Soundsystem’s major breakthrough party with Hercules and Love Affair, Hard French’s bananas Pride parties) all found a home there. 

As music journalist Sam Lefebvre pointed out in a recent East Bay Express cover story, most of our music venues, from the venerable Slim’s to the spanking new August Hall, are now programmed by mega-conglomerates (who also own major ticketing sites, too). Independent venues like Mezzanine—and the Chapel, Amnesia, DNA Lounge, the Independent, Thee Parkside, Neck of the Woods, Bottom of the Hill, The Riptide, Swedish American, Boom Boom Room, and a few more—who don’t tread this hamster wheel are dwindling. Please support them!


ONGOING STAGE TAYLOR MAC’S HOLIDAY SAUCE “The most iconoclastic Christmas show you’ll ever see!” is what one audience member explained on the way out, a wonderful recommendation for drag/club/performance art phenomenon Taylor Mac, an NYC legend taking over the Curran Theatre for one more week with a cheeky, bombastic, affecting holiday extravaganza of extraordinary music, talented friends, fabulous costumes, and lots of show. Through December 1. Various times, $29-$115. Currant Theatre, SF. More info here. 

ONGOING MUSIC RECOMBINANT FESTIVAL Gas, Coil, Rrose, Demdike Stare, Aïsha Devi, Ulf Langheinrich, Hiro Kone, Electric Indigo … if these names cause a dark-electronic shiver of musical memory to dance down your spine, then you will want to be a part of this weeklong experimental tubes-and-wires behemoth from recombinant Media Labs. Through December 2. Gray Area, SF. More info here

TUE/27 TALK STAIRWAY WALKS IN SAN FRANCISCO “Alex Lemberg and his husband, Kevin Cureton, traversed from Telegraph Hill to Mount Davidson, Sutro Baths to Hunters Point, on a journey to find every last public staircase in San Francisco. From breathtaking to banal, from easy to exhausting, Alex and Kevin walked up and/or down every single one. Building on top of the works of Adah Bakalinsky and countless other San Francisco explorers, their photographs will take you on a grand tour of the many hills of San Francisco, home to some of the most interesting stories and gorgeous vistas around.” 7pm-9pm, $10. Congregation Sherith Israel, SF. More info here

TUE/27 FORUM STATE OF EMERGENCY: VIOLENCE AGAINST TRANSWOMEN “Join us for a timely discussion with leading voices from the transgender community on the problem of violence against transgender people; moderated by Michelle Meow, host of “The Michelle Meow Show” and former president of SF Pride. Featuring Ellie Hearns, Diamond Collier, and Toni-Michelle Williams. 6:30pm, free. Commonwealth Club, SF. More info here

TUE/27 EVENT 40 YEARS: REMEMBERING HARVEY MILK & GEORGE MOSCONE “In November of 1978, bookending the Thanksgiving holiday, the city of San Francisco and, it might be said, the world was changed forever. The double horror of the tragedy at Jonestown, followed by the slaying of Harvey Milk and George Moscone was a crushing trauma to the heart and soul of San Francisco, and yet in that darkness we rose together in candlelight not only to remember those we had lost but to strengthen and galvanize ourselves to give them voice to continue their fight and and vision for the future. the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club invites all to join us in quiet reflection from those who knew these great advocates of social justice at Harvey Milk Plaza. Following this, we will walk in candlelight to the steps of City Hall where current community leadership will echo their vision, just as those who were there did that warm November night in 1978. Performances will offered by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and members of the San Francisco Opera Company.” 7pm-10pm, free. Harvey Milk Plaza, SF. More info here

WED/28 MUSIC LISTENING PARTY WITH LAURIE ANDERSON Hell yes, I will go to hear a Laurie Anderson DJ set! “Step into the SFJAZZ ‘living room’ and hear artists and tastemakers spinning their favorite recordings while in conversation with SFJAZZ Founder and Executive Artistic Director Randall Kline. Listening Parties offer listeners the chance to get behind-the-scenes and hear about music from the artist’s perspective. One of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers, Laurie Anderson is best known for her music, multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology.” 7:30pm, $15. SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium. More info here

THU/29 FILM GIFT “Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved book, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, GIFT is a richly cinematic film that explores the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy. Director, producer and writer Robin McKenna artfully interweaves the stories of a young indigenous man undertaking preparations for a potlatch, an Italian living museum occupied by migrant families, a bumblebee art car at Burning Man, and artist Lee Mingwei sharing the “transformative gift” of song. The real-life gift economies in the film challenge the logic of global capitalism, inviting us to reflect on the creative process and the reasons we labour in service of our gifts.” 7:30pm, $15-$20. Castro Theatre, SF. More info here

THU/29-DECEMBER 15 STAGE VAMPIRE CHRISTMAS “Former princess Marjean has been hosting her Friends’ Christmas for almost a century but this year it’s different: Theodore has abandoned her for a werewolf, Georgette is dating a swamp creature, the Twins won’t stop fighting, and Daisy Horchester is dead. Like, dead For good. Will she be able to win Theodore back with a new blood soup recipe? Will her non-denominational centerpieces turn everything around? Will they all succumb to the seductions of group lothario Sylvester? How can you live your best unlife, when the unlife you have is hardly alive?” Various times, $20-$30. Exit Theater, SF. More info here

FRI/30 TALK VOICES OF THE RESISTANCE: ANGELA DAVIS “Voices from the Resistance ring out at the Brava when Chicana/political activist Olga Talamante and award-winning journalist Chelis López engage in inspiring conversation with legendary activist Angela Davis. Expect your inner activist to come alive as you support the movement while raising funds for The Women’s Building “Maestrapeace” book project.” 7pm, $25-$80. Brava Theatre, SF. More info here

FRI/30 EVENT WORLD AIDS DAY CANDLELIGHT VIGIL “To commemorate World AIDS Day, please join us for a candlelight vigil to remember those we have lost to HIV and AIDS. We will meet outside the San Francisco AIDS Foundation office at 1035 Market Street and walk together (along sidewalks) to San Francisco City Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend this event, organized by San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Candles will be provided.” 5pm-6pm, free. Starts at SF AIDS Foundation. More info here

FRI/30-DECEMBER 15 ART THE BATHROOM LINE Some great artists and performers involved in this one. “Historically, the bathroom has been more than a place for bathing and hygiene. It plays a critical role in queer history, public space and intimacy, blurring the public/private line and hosting deeply personal spiritual and sexual rituals. It’s where drag queens put on their eyelashes, lesbians hook up, and homeless queers wash their clothes, hidden from police and violence. Recently, these spaces have also been deeply politicized by the advent of new laws preventing trans people from accessing the most basic human needs. The Bathroom Line invites four local queer and trans artists of color into conversation, resulting in a series of visual and text pieces installed at SOMArts.” Opening reception Fri/30, 6pm-9pm, free. SOMArts, SF. More info here

FRI/30-JANUARY 6, 2019 STAGE CIRCUS BELLA: KALEIDOSCOPE “Get ready for a full-force, non-stop show of thrilling feats in Circus Bella’s upcoming winter showcase Kaleidoscope, a celebration of diversity and color! Enjoy an evening of performances by aerialists, acrobats, family foot jugglers, clowns, and more–all performed to original music written by local music legend Rob Reich and performed by a live six-piece band. Located under the big top at Mersea Meadow in the heart of Treasure Island.” Opening night Friday, 11/30, tickets start at $39. Treasure Island. More info here.

SUN/2-JANUARY 6, 2019 EVENT NIGHT BLOOM The Conservatory of Flowers is being lit up like a very cool rave environment. “Step into a world unlike any other in Night Bloom, a nighttime exhibition. Light and sound will transform the iconic San Francisco landmark into a glowing landscape of interactive and immersive experiences. Guests are invited to embark on a journey through the tropics where cotton candy sunsets are abundant, rare and unusual flowers blossom in the moonlight, and fireflies come out to play.” Select evenings, 5pm-11pm, $20-$27. Conservatory of Flowers, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Hip-Hop Dance Fest, The Orb, Great Dickens Christmas Fair…

Parisian dance crew The Rookies come to the International Hip-Hop Dance Fest this weekend. Photo by Charlie Luccini

ARTS FORECAST Everyone’s pretty much been forced indoors by the smoke, so it’s a good time to see a show—and I’ll be keeping an eye out for fire fundraisers. If you know of any, email and we’ll try to feature them moving forward. 

One good piece of news I’m ecstatic about: La Taquería, one of my favorite restaurants (and runner-up this year for Best Mexican and Best Burrito in our Best of the Bay 2018 Readers Poll) has successfully purchased its building and isn’t going to have to move (as was threatened). So go have some tacos! And see a show! 


WED/14 MUSIC SSION The wonderfully gender-fluid rock star joins Scissor Sister Jake Shears at the Fillmore for a night of fab looks and sharp tunes. 7pm, $30. The Fillmore, SF. More info here

THU/15 MUSIC THE ORB The inventors of ambient house (along with KLF) have always been spacey tricksters, and they continue to tickle cosmic fancies into their third decade with their signature dubby sound. 7:30pm, $25-$30. The Independent, SF. More info here.

THU/15 MUSIC/PERFORMANCE THE LIVING EARTH SHOW; ‘AMERICAN MUSIC’ Can’t really describe my love for this local experimental duo enough, but here’s one big thing: They have gathered an incredibly diverse group of performers for this event to showcase the depth and breadth of, yes, American music: Raven Chacon, Timo Andres, Sahba Aminikia, Nicole Lizée, Luciano Chessa, Dennis Aman, and Christopher Cerrone, alongside collaborations with COMMANDO (featuring Lynnee Breedlove and Van Jackson-Weaver) and Ashley Smiley. 8pm-10pm, $20. ODC, SF. More info here.

FRI/16-SUN/18 DANCE SF INTERNATIONAL HIP HOP DANCE FESTIVAL An absolute must, with crews from around the world! “So many SF/Bay Area dance institutions are marking significant milestones this year, and one of these longtime players is the San Francisco International Hip Hop DanceFest (turning 20), produced and curated by Micaya. Enjoy two distinct programs of work from local, national and international hip hop artists and experience the range of dance forms and lineage that make up the larger hip-hop genre.” Various times and prices, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, SF. More info here

From ‘Lumenous’ at the Writers’ Grotto

FRI/16 ART “LUMENOUS: JD BELTRAN + SCOTT MINNEMAN” Art at the Writers’ Grotto? Sounds cool. “Unconventional and not easily classified, Beltran + Minneman’s award-winning collaborative work, begun in 2007, blends narrative and the abstract through painting, sculpture, film, time, light, and audience interaction to investigate how materials can tell stories. Lumenous includes pieces from several bodies of their work spanning the past eight years.” Opening reception 5pm-8pm, free. Show through March 29. SF Writers’ Grotto.  More info here

FRI/16 ART ‘FEVER’ “‘Fever’ is a group photography show documenting the human sexual experience, featuring more than a dozen artists. Additionally, the show asks both how the work is shared and viewed, and also explores the question of potential longevity and archival preservation of this type of artwork. derives its name and concepts from the book, Archive Fever by Jacques Derrida, which argues that while an archive is a public realm, it is also a repository of the private and personal, including the intimate. Published in 1996, Archive Fever also examines the role technology has played in transforming the entire public and private space of humanity. Opening reception 6pm-10pm, show runs though December 28. Center for Sex and Culture, SF. More info here

SAT/17 STAGE “TROOP BEVERLY HEELS” Our wacky drag goddess of parody, Peaches Christ, is at it again, this time with RuPaul Drag Race’s Trixie Matel, dressing up that eternal Shelly Long classic, Troop Beverly Hills. A luminous cast will bring the camp ’80s romp to life, in Peaches’ own inimitable way. 4pm and 8pm, $30-$45. Castro Theatre, SF. More info here

SAT/17 LIT BILL BERKSON TRIBUTE “A group of writers and artists pays tribute to the beloved poet and critic Bill Berkson upon the publication of Since When: A Memoir in Pieces (Coffee House). Berkson was active in both the art and literary worlds throughout his life, from his early twenties in Manhattan, where he became close friends with Frank O’Hara and a constellation of other influential thinkers, to his later years in San Francisco.” With Constance Lewallen, Chou Chou, Gordon Knos, Jonathan Lewallen, Siobhan Mora-Lopez, Amanda Eicher, Mac McGinnes. 4pm, free. San Francisco Art Institute. More info here

SAT/17 FESTIVAL 36TH ANNUAL GREAT DICKENS CHRISTMAS FAIR I love this thing! I thought I would be naturally allergic, but then I went and it is so huge and insane that I was fascinated. “An elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops. It’s a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town—a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history.” 10am-7pm through December 23. Cow Palace, SF. More info here

SUN/18 FUN CLASSIC SIMPSONS TRIVIA: SPACE COYOTE EDITION This is no mere TV trivia night! The Everything Ecstatic crew go all out, with themed drinks, local celebs, and a matching menu that includes carnitas tacos with merciless pepper sauce from Quetzalacatenango. Plus there’s a “Find your soulmate, Homer” section. In your face, Space Coyote! 6pm-9pm, $5-$20. Cafe Du Nord, SF. More info here

Arts Forecast: Absolutely Fabulous Live, Punk-Metal Flea Market, Crime 1978

Seal on Ice! Lou the Seal helps open the Union Square Skating Rink, Wed/7

ARTS FORECAST Hey, hey! Maybe you have heard that we released a little thing called Best of the Bay last week, with a whole section dedicated to Arts and Entertainment? Please check it out if you haven’t (I worked really hard on it!), and also please support the local arts and entertainment scene. Go see a show, dangit. We need your cute butt in the seats! 

GALERIA DE LA RAZA UPDATE The 48-year-old Mission arts mainstay—which was issued a three-day eviction notice by a shady landlord last week—took their fight to remain in their space right to the landlord’s house in Nob Hill this weekend. Check out Mission Local’s excellent write-up, and stay tuned for more updates on the story. Meanwhile, the Galeria is still asking for people to call or write the property management company and request they withdraw the notice. More info on that here


WED/7 HOLIDAY ICEBREAKER CEREMONY AT UNION SQUARE RINK A beloved seal, a drag queen, an Olympian skater, and a state senator meet on an ice rink. No, this isn’t the set-up to an international thriller (but somebody please get on that), it’s the roster of talent coming to help open the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square for this celebration. Guess which is which: Donna Sachet, David Chiu, Brian Boitano, and the San Francisco Giants’ Lou. A little holiday cheer on ice right after the elections (you can grab an adult beverage nearby) sounds just right! 9:30-10am, rink admission is $18 and $13 for children eight years old and under. Union Square, SF. More info here

WED/7-SUN/11 FILM/FESTIVAL 43RD ANNUAL AMERICAN INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL “Our festival is an annual forum, which brings artists, filmmakers, musicians, talent and the general local public together to celebrate, support and experience work produced by native and non-native peoples while advocating for authentic representation of native people in the media.” With an astounding number of films over several days of programming. Various times and prices. Brava Theatre, SF. More info here.  

THU/8-DEC 1 STAGE ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS LIVE! This is a bit of drag Inception: It’s hard to watch British comedy classic “Absolutely Fabulous” without imagining drag queens in the plum roles of Patsy and Edina. So seeing them and the rest of the cast embodied by some of our premiere drag performers—Peggy L’Eggs, Raza Light, D’Arcy Drolinger—will be a dizzyingly hilarious trip. Various times, $27.50-$50. SF Oasis. More info here

THU/8 FILM/MUSIC CRIME 1978 A new documentary about legendary local punk outfit Crime (“San Francisco Is Doomed”) by director Jon Bastian, including some primo footage from Mabuhay Gardens screens at Balboa Theatre—alongside the world premiere of Michael Lucas’s Go Baby Go!…Or Go To Hell (1992) starring Bay Area surf band The Trashwomen, a sneek-peek at the upcoming Mummies movie, and more musical mayhem on film. 7pm, $10-$12.50. Balboa Theatre, SF. More info here

THU/8 MUSIC EVERYTHING ECSTATIC PRESENTS NRVS LVRS + MRCH With the demise of the Hemlock, we’re really on the dwindling end of independent venues that host live shows, which sucks. Fortunately, we still have the Amnesia bar, which takes chances on new sounds, new voices, new scenes. Music outlet Everything Ecstatic is presenting a night there featuring local band NRVS LVRS headlining alongside MRCH (Phoenix) and Fringe Class (Portland). “Bands skew to dark, but shimmering electro rock, and all bands are fronted by bad ass women” exclaims promoter and local music writer great Adrian Spinelli, “plus Amnesia has the best beer list of any music venue in the city!” 8:30-11:30, $8. Amnesia, SF. More info here

FRI/9-SAT/10 PERFORMANCE BOOTY CALL A pirate-themed circus evening for adults, ahoy. “Featuring the best of Bay Area circus talent, The Circus Center Cabaret distills humor, elegance, and grandeur into a circus fête hosted in a uniquely intimate venue. Underscored with live music performed by Cabaret Chanteuse Madame Leanne Borghesi and the Roger Glenn Trio.” $15-$75. Circus Center, SF. More info here

FRI/9-SUN/11 DANCE AURA FISHBECK DANCE: DUSK “A dance for the time when the light is fading to mark the company’s 10th year anniversary. Featuring performances by Arletta Anderson, Aura Fischbeck, Karla Quintero and Phoenicia Pettyjohn, and an original sound score by Alex Lough. The dance, sound and real time quality of changing and ultimately fading light of each day will coexist as an experience of transformation from dusk to dark.” 4:30pm, $10-$20. Joe Goode Annex, SF. More info here

FRI/9-SUN/11 PERFORMANCE ROMANTIC SONGS OF THE PATRIARCHY Ragnar Kjartansson, a “multidisciplinary artist known for his humor, irony, and pathos” bings this three-day durational performance to the Women’s Building. “‘Romantic Songs of the Patriarchy,’ curated by Tom Eccles, will be a three-day durational musical performance on view November 9-11 at the Women’s Building in San Francisco’s Mission District. The work will feature musicians performing familiar and what at first appear to be innocuous love songs on repeat. When listened to more carefully, however, the songs reveal more complex and often more disturbing attitudes towards women, exposing the way the intentions these songs convey are deeply embedded in even the most frivolous aspects of our culture.” Free with registration, Women’s Building, SF. More info here

SAT/10 TOUR EDIBLE & MEDICINAL PLANTS OF THE BAY AREA: SEASONAL HERB WALK “From the mist shrouded sea cliffs to the sun-baked arid expanse of its eastern most regions, the San Francisco Bay area provides us with a chance to view a large variety of botanical specimens all within a relatively small geographical range. Join us as we discover together the diverse array of both edible and medicinal plants found growing within these contrasting yet closely interconnected micro-climates.” 10am-4pm, $50. More info here

SAT/10-SUN/11 SHOPPING RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR The ninth year of this cute SF tradition. “Shop emerging and established makers’ goods, discover rarities and remixes from local DJs, get creative while workshopping, eat from exceptional food trucks, and end the day with a cocktail.” Really what more is there? 11am-5pm, free. Fort Mason, SF. More info here

SUN/11 MUSIC BEAUX CHEVAUX What happens when two powerhouse performers with all-female rock tribute bands come together to form a super duo? Surprise—the answer is wistfully catchy dream pop, full of sunny melodies and beachy vibes. Zepparella’s Clementine and “Angus” aka Adrian Conner play songs from their new album, headlining the Ivy Room with local band Louda. 4:30pm, $10. Ivy Room, Albany. More info here.   

SUN/11 SHOPPING/MUSIC THIRD ANNUAL PUNK-METAL FLEA MARKET Tons of bands, including Blind Illusion, Pablo Escobar, Hemorage, and Thought Vomit plus records, comic books, zines, DIY arts and crafts from oodles of local vendors. All this and DJ Katon? TURN IT UP! 1pm-9pm, free. Oakland Metro Opera House. More info here.

Arts Forecast: Dia de los Muertos, Diwali, Blackalicious …

ARTS FORECAST In San Francisco, Day of the Dead has been celebrated in the Mission district sincethe early 70’s. The Marigold Project was created in 1990 for participants to buildaltars, leave offerings, heal, and celebrate the lives of our ancestors, in Garfield Park. It serves as a community graveyard for the night with expressions of art, music, live performances, and a walking procession through San Franciscohistorical Mission District.” That invaluable info comes from the official Day of the Dead SF website, with info about Fri/2’s procession and altar display.

Adds the inimitable Johnny Funcheap: “Remember, this isn’t just an excuse to get loaded and party in the streets like Halloween. This is a traditional and respectful cultural celebration and please note, it’s alcohol-free.” Amen. And especially in light of recent horrific events in this country (and shockingly sad desecrations of Mission community history) and the upcoming elections, I think we could use a little otherworldly wisdom of our ancestors and celebration of the good in life (and death).

PS Got kids? Or want to feel like one? One of my favorite annual Día celebrations is this delightful community concert put on by the SF Symphony, this year featuring the fiddling Villalobos Brothers. 


THU/1-SAT/3 + TUE/6 MUSIC/FILM JURASSIC PARK AT SF SYMPHONY Election jitters? Post-Halloween spooked? Nothing like a classic monster movie to take your mind off things/ride the season out. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 science fiction blockbuster Jurassic Park gets the full orchestra treatment as Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts John Williams’ score, and the movie plays above. 8pm, $50+. Davies Symphony Hall, SF. More info here.  

THU/1-SAT/3 FILM BERLIN AND BEYOND AUTUMN SHOWCASE “America’s premiere festival of contemporary German cinema kicks off its 23rd season with new works making the fall festival circuit, including Christian Petzold’s Transit, Ken Duken’s thrilling Berlin Falling, and Swiss drama Goliath.” Roxie and Goethe Insitut, SF. More info here

THU/1-SUN/4 MUSIC DIEGO EL CIGALA “With a voice the late guitar icon Paco de Lucía called “one of the most beautiful flamenco voices of our time,” innovative Spanish Gypsy flamenco singer Diego El Cigala returns with an intimate voice-and-piano duet performance titled “An Evening with Cigala” focused on the many highlights from across his amazing career.” 7:30pm (Sun 7pm), $35-$75. SFJAZZ. More info here

FRI/2 and SAT/3 PERFORMANCE INCIVILITYSF/ELECT TO DISSENT “IncivilitySF returns for a second year, with a fresh slate of some of the Bay Area’s best underground performers, for a showcase of original work riffing on the timely theme of elections and electoral politics. Whether you’re an impassioned advocate of the ballot box, an undecided fence-sitter, or a burn-it-all-down radical, we’ve got you covered, bringing comedy, drama, storytelling, satire, and an eight-foot tall politicized Golem, to the Lost Church’s intimate, Mission district stage.” 7:30pm, $10-$15. Lost Church, SF. More info here

Non Stop Bhangra. Photo by Odell Hussey

SAT/3 NIGHTLIFE/FESTIVAL NON STOP BHANGRA DIWALI CELEBRATION “Ever wanted to visit India?! Here’s your chance to experience the colors, sounds, rhythms, and flavors of India right here in the Bay with Non Stop Bhangra to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, one of the most widely celebrated Indian holidays around the globe. Diwali is known not only for the illumination of lights, but also as a time to reflect upon and celebrate the good fortune and relationships of the passing year while spreading positive energy for the coming year. Join the NSB crew as we take you on a colorful journey featuring dance lesson, dance performances, live drummers, djs, visuals, lights, henna, snacks, sweets, beautifully dressed people and positive vibes.” Oh, and amazing dance music! 9pm-2am, $15. Public Works, SF. More info here

SAT/3 MUSIC/NIGHTLIFE KRUDER & DORFMEISTER The soundtrackers to a generation’s coming-down-after-the-rave mornings are coming back around. “One of the biggest names of electronic dance music, icons of the nineties of the last century, the godfathers of the downtempo music genre and the founders of the legendary G-STONE RECORDINGS, Kruder & Dorfmeister are stopping at The Midway SF on their 25th anniversary tour.” 9pm-late, $25-$45. The Midway, SF. More info here

SAT/3-SUN/4 FESTIVAL SF INTERNATIONAL TEA FESTIVAL For all the tea addicts out there (I am one!), this two day celebration of the beloved leaf features some very interesting lectures (“Journey into Pu-Erh”), workshops, and of course plenty of cuppas to savor. 11am-5pm, $25/day. Ferry Building Marketplace, SF. More info here

SUN/4 MUSIC BLACKALICIOUS True regional hip-hop heroes Gift of Gab (phenomenal emcee) and Chief Xcel step up to bring out all the heads, and anyone into the power of lyrical genius and classic beats. (Or, for that matter Bay Area hip-hop history.) I love these guys so much. 7pm, $22-$25. the Chapel, SF. More info here

SUN/4 A LOT GOING ON HERE KEPLER 452b-INTERSTELLAR REBIRTH! I, for one, welcome the return of multi-sensory cosmic-spiritual day raves—especially if they feature music by local great Solar. “Kepler 452b is a Berlin based art collective who create interdisciplinary projects in major cities using space migration as a metaphor. Through fusing art, music, fashion, workshop and performance their intergalactic events create a fully interactive experience, blurring the lines between the audiences and performers, and provides a venue for envisioning possible futures full of openness, collective action, inclusion and self-expression. Join us on our journey guided by the Kepler crew for a personal and collective transformation!” 2pm-midnight, $20-$30. Great Northern, SF. More info here

MON/5 COMMUNITY DISCUSSION WE WILL NOT BE ERASED “The Trump administration recently unleashed what’s been criticized as another attack on transgender Americans by calling for the Department of Health and Human Services to redefine sex as biological under Title IX, which prevents gender-based discrimination. In response, LGBTQ communities and allies have mobilized community actions calling out the administration for what they’re calling a blatant attempt to erase trans and gender nonconforming communities. Join us for an informational discussion with community experts on strategies to address this latest attack and the impact of the upcoming November 6 election. Learn more on what this memo means, what people can do next.” 6:30pm, free. Commonwealth Club, SF. More info here