Get some: ‘This Is What I Want’ fest continues through June 21


This Is What I Want — the Bay Area’s fifth annual performance festival devoted to performing and investigating desire — seems to want it all this year, with no less than three weeks of far-flung programming. It all started last Sunday with TIWIW’s first-ever film festival, Left Eye/Right Eye, an evening of short subjects curated by San Francisco and Kansas artist Peter Max Lawrence. It continues this weekend with a performance installation and party at the Dollhouse (CounterPULSE’s new space at 80 Turk) for female-identified audience members (a category TIWIW organizers say they’re prepared to interpret liberally), followed by performances through the weekend for the all and sundry.

The impressive Dollhouse lineup of artists includes Mara Poliak and Maryanna Lachman (of the SALTA collective), Elizabeth Cooper, Minna Harri, Ronja Ver, Pearl Marill, Kat Yoas, Montreal’s VK Preston, and SF-based arts collective the Lost Season.

There are also workshops, symposia, and fringe events throughout the festival — including (for anyone in Bristol, England, this month) My Favorite Auntie by Bristol-based performance artist Tom Marshman. A bit closer to home is a community discussion and video-share investigating the relation between feminism and dance, hosted by Oakland’s SALTA collective at the Underground Yoga Parlour for Self Knowledge & Social Justice.

Find information on all TIWIW events here!

This Week’s Picks: May 28 – June 3, 2014




Brody Dalle

There is a serious deficit of female fierceness in punk rock at the moment. The music industry as a whole is a boys’ club, and it’s incredibly difficult for women to make a name for themselves in rock. Not only has Brody Dalle done this, she’s done it three times over, fronting beloved LA punk bands the Distillers and Spinnerette, and now as a solo artist, with her new record Diploid Love. She’s an inspiration in many ways — as a formidable frontperson, gifted musician, badass artist, and mother — and now, over 15 years since the Distillers began writing and performing, her work is tighter than ever. Diploid Love is a departure from the straightforward punk aesthetic of the Distillers and the pure rock ‘n’ roll of Spinnerette — the songs range from ballads and torch songs to angry rockers, all of them solid and heartfelt. Dalle’s versatility is impressive, but I’m happy to say that through it all she manages to keep her trademarked sonic sneer that made us fall in love with her to begin with. (Haley Zaremba)

$14, 8pm


333 11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333





On May 21, 1979, Dan White was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to just seven years in jail for assassinating Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Thirty-five years ago today, the city took to the streets in outrage over the lenient sentence of a murderer. The White Night riots began with a march down Castro Street, continued into violent protests at City Hall and finished with police retaliation, tear gas, vandalization, and injury. Needless to say, Harvey Milk lived on as a hero of the gay rights movement in San Francisco and around the country. In honor of this anniversary, the Castro Theatre is celebrating Milk’s legacy with a special screening of Gus Van Sant’s Academy Award-winning Milk, starring Sean Penn as our favorite gay rights activist. The film chronicles the last eight years of Milk’s life, and how he changed this city for the better. (Laura B. Childs)

5:30pm and 8pm, $11

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6350






The Acro-Cats

If you attended either the Roxie’s or Oakland’s cat video festival a couple weeks ago and have been in feline withdrawal ever since, have no fear — the cat circus is here. Yes, it’s the Acro-Cats, an all-kitty circus troupe, complete with a cat rock band, that’s touring the country. Feats of derring-do will include cats jumping through hoops, cats jumping on tightropes, cats riding on skateboards, cats balancing on balls…you get the idea. They also arrive in a “Cat Car.” Founder Samantha Martin has taken in over a dozen stray or orphaned cats and found homes for 130 more in her lifetime; a percentage of ticket sales will go to kitty rescue programs. Sounds like a purrr-fect evening to me. (Emma Silvers)

Through Sun/25, 8:30pm, $24

The Southside Theatre at Fort Mason Center, SF




Black Flag

Legendary punk band Black Flag blazed the path for underground music in the United States during the 1970s and ’80s with its rigorous work ethic, groundbreaking recordings, and relentless touring that built a network and foundation for independent artists that still exists today. Recently resurrected by Greg Ginn, the founder-guitarist-primary songwriter and sole continuous member, the band released its first new record in nearly two decades last year, and is once again hitting the road and ripping through the new tunes along with old favorites like “TV Party,” “Six Pack” and “Rise Above.” (Sean McCourt)

With HOR, Cinema Cinema and Violence Creeps

8pm, $20-$25

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782




Rock ‘n’ roll history: ‘American Jukebox’

“Plug into this jukebox and see the face and figures behind the greatest American Music,” says the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, about American Jukebox. For Christopher Felver’s newest photography book, 240 photographs from tours and encounters with musicians over the past 25 years have been compiled into a photographic journey chronicling the heritage of American music and capturing its lively spirit. Scattered between playlists, autographed lyrics, record sleeves, and anecdotes are portraits of musicians caught in action on stage or posed under Felver’s lens. From Doc Watson to John Cage and Sonny Rollins to Patti Smith, American Jukebox celebrates the vitality of the music industry and its rich history. The photographer will appear in person to read and sign books. (Childs)

7pm, free

Books Inc. Bookstore Opera Plaza

601 Van Ness, SF

(415) 776-1111





The Avengers

One of the best bands to come out of the San Francisco punk scene in the late 1970s, the Avengers mixed impassioned politics and social commentary into their potent blend of dynamic and invigorated music. Fronted by singer Penelope Houston, they secured themselves a place in history when they opened for the Sex Pistols’ final gig at Winterland in January of ’78 and threatened to steal the show. Though they lasted only a couple of years before they broke up, the group made a lasting impression — and now, 35 years later, Houston and original guitarist Greg Ingraham are back and better than ever. (McCourt)

With Kicker and California

9pm, $15

The Chapel

777 Valencia, SF

(415) 551-5157





They might not have ever achieved widespread mainstream success, but the Sacramento-based band Rocketship had enough of a devoted following in the ’90s that news of their reunion for this year’s Popfest caused more than a little ripple of excitement among indie-pop lovers. This Slumberland Records showcase, part of the little indie-fest-that-could’s special weekend of bringing fuzz- and grunge-pop favorites from the ’90s and aughts back together, has a pretty stellar lineup from start to finish — you’re sure to see some cardigan-sporting superfans out in full force. (Emma Silvers)

With The Mantles, Bouracer, and The Softies

8pm, $18-$20

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, Sf




“The Hop”

Looking for a blast from the past party for this holiday weekend? Then check out Handsome Hawk Valentine’s “The Hop,” which will feature rockabilly bands including guitar slinger extraordinaire Deke Dickerson and his Ecco-Fonics and Kay Marie, along with Sin Sisters Burlesque. Slick back that pomp or put on those stilettos and get gone — but if you don’t have time before you get there, don’t worry: You can get in on some free retro hairstyling and photos, and then hoot and holler for the Bettie Page Clothing “Rockabilly Prom King and Queen” contest before you dance the night away. (McCourt)

9pm, $12

Elbo Room

647 Valencia, SF

(415) 552-7788




International Beer Festival

In the 30 years since the first International Beer Festival, a lot has changed. It all began with a selection of five beers (Pabst being one of the highlights) to now over 100 international and local craft brewers. Expect local brews from SF staples and Bay Area bites from local gems like the O-inducing Pizza Orgasmica. For over three decades, this beer festival has served as the perfect excuse to drink for a good cause — two birds, one stone — since the festival is entirely organized and staffed by parents of Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School students. The proceeds are donated to Tel-Hi’s preschool, which will fund the school’s programs for the entire year. Now that’s drinking responsibly. (Childs)

7pm, $75

Festival Pavilion

Fort Mason Center, SF




‘Grease’ Sing-A-Long

Whether you’re more of a fast-talkin’, gum-smackin’ Pink Lady or a dead ringer for Olivia Newton-John’s good girl Sandy, your stylistic choices will be welcome at this Castro Theatre tradition. Get ready for “Summer Lovin’,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Beauty School Dropout,” and boatloads more overt sexual innuendo — a lot of which sounds pretty damn un-PC by today’s standards (“Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight? Wait, what?!”) — than you probably noticed when you and your friends were all obsessed with this movie and crushing hard on John Travolta back at theater camp. The good news: Frankie Avalon was a teen-dream idol for a reason, Stockard Channing’s Rizzo is still the coolest of them all, and your hair goop is safe here. (Silvers)

2:30pm and 7pm, $16

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6350





Perfect Pussy

One of the buzziest bands of 2014, frenetic Syracuse-based punk rockers Perfect Pussy didn’t need the shock-value band name to make headlines — but it hasn’t hurt. The hype around the five-piece reached a fever pitch sometime around SXSW, when it became clear that vocalist Meredith Graves’ unusually confessional, literate writing (for noise punk) and take-no-bullshit delivery translated into a seriously mind-screwing live show, music blog darlings or no. She’s also been pretty articulate about feminism in interviews. In short: probably not a flash in the pan, and well worth seeing live. (Silvers)  

With Potty Mouth, Wild Moth, Crabapple

8pm, $10-$12, all ages

Rickshaw Stop 155 Fell, SF



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Sisterhood of rhythm



DANCE The Mother’s Day weekend premiere of Sarah Bush Dance Project’s reconceived 2011 Rocked by Women was a tenderly raucous, often humorous celebration of an overly sentimentalized holiday. Bush looks at the education of a “girlchild” in the “not-so-promised land” by paying tribute to the mothers who raised us physically. But it was pioneer “mothers” — the feminists of the 1970s, the lesbian activists of many decades, artists and entrepreneurs like Olivia Records and Club Q — who made us the women we have become. Their legacy, Bush realized, was in danger of being forgotten by the current generation of women for whom the battles had been fought. Molded into a convincing piece of dance theater, Rocked by Women is a joyous and self-effacing acknowledgement of prices paid and gains won.

Just as music energized the civil rights movement of the 1960s, feminism in its earlier and later stages drew inspiration from talented musicians who started the women’s music movement. Bush drew on that rich heritage and shaped Rocked‘s three parts around contributions from two generations of songwriters such as Holly Near, Cris Williams, and k.d. lang, as well as Janet Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Missy Elliott, and Bikini Kill. Julie Wolf also contributed music arrangements and wrote original songs.

Rocked derives its impressive energy as much from music as from dance. Yet Natalie Aceves, Krystal Bates, Joanna Gartner, Bianca Mendoza, Juliann Witt, and Bush performed with an intuitive grace, passion, and an almost delirious delight at the choreography’s lush physicality. Much like works by Dance Brigade (Bush’s home company), Rocked contains personal material that also feels universal, speaking to those who don’t fit into given norms, and who have had to struggle to become who they are meant to be. Using contact improv, disco, jazz, and hip-hop in an almost narrative way, the individual dances comment on the songs but do so from a distance. At its best, Rocked became a weighty yet explosive expression of the power of an indomitable spirit and embracing courage.

The show opened and closed with Near’s iconic “Mountain Song.” At first, a trio of kicking “babies” are cuddled by their mothers. It ends with the dancers facing the audience in a sing-along about the unstoppability of women who refuse to have “their dreams taken away.”

Each of the work’s movements explored a different aspect of growing up. In “Her Childhood,” the dancers engaged in circle games and playfully sculpted a mountain from their bodies. One of them triumphantly climbed it. They also donned masks cut from fashion magazines and tugged and pushed their bodies in an attempt to reshape them. Here, ballet’s preoccupation with perfection came in for a kick or two. The choreography had a sense of humor but you couldn’t miss the underlying pain and rage.

The emergence of a young girl’s sexual identity permeated the whole piece and resulted in a number of awkwardly tender duets. In one, the group’s smallest dancers, Mendoza and Bates, discover each other’s differences: Mendoza is Latina, Bates African American. Second movement “Her Adolescence” brings group pressures and rejections, driving and exploring of sexual identity; the choreography veered between plaintive and painfully funny. With Jackson’s “Control” providing the beat, the ensemble performed impressive unison hip-hop that opened into individually athletic feats. It was followed by a dancing-with-“boys” number as an awkward, one-sided groping session. In “Gossip,” teens entangled themselves in yards and yards of telephone lines. For Chapman’s “Fast Car,” they built themselves into a monster automobile that, predictably, crashed, leaving Mendoza stunned and bereft. In an achingly lovely courting duet, Mendoza gently reaches towards Aceves who keeps turning away.

The third movement — “Herself” — opened with a video of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and rather unfocused dancing on stage. The pace picked up with mock taiko drumming to recorded drum. Another playfully confrontational scene involved a boom box, one set of headphones, and Mendoza and Aceves’ different musical tastes. They come to a meeting of minds and take it from there.

The tribute to Club Q, as both a sanctuary for lesbians and a place for fierce dancing, is wonderfully evoked by Bush’s own fierce dancers. It ends in dreamy slow dancing duet for Witt and Bates. Choreographing anger is not easy. When Bush interrupted the lovers, her danced fury felt like an arrow shooting straight at them.

While Rocked‘s documentary clips are convincingly integrated into the stage action, earlier uses of video — shadowy images, dancers sitting as if in lecture by Judy Grahn, crawling from beneath the screen — are not telling enough. That needs rethinking. But Rocked is a warm, skillfully created, and generous show that just might become a Mother’s Day tradition. * sarahbushdance.com/rocked-by-women

Sundance, part 11: Celebrating the 20th annual Native Forum


The current second-generation movement of Native/Indigenous filmmakers took the spotlight at the Sundance Film Festival’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of its annual Native Forum. 

The event gathered some of the most important figures from around the world to not only screen their most recent films but to share artistic works that inspired them to become filmmakers themselves. Sundance favorite Taika Waitita — a self-proclaimed “Academy Award-losing filmmaker” for his 2005 short Two Cars, One Night, he’s best-known for his wonderfully quirky 2007 film Eagle vs. Shark — read a sequence from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), while his vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows (co-directed with Flight of the Conchords‘ Jermaine Clement) enraptured Midnight Movie audiences at the 2014 festival. 

Heather Rae, director of the powerful 2005 documentary Trudell, read a piece from Trinh T. Minh-ha’s remarkably eye-opening text Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism

And even though Smoke Signals (1998) helmer Chris Eyre (the defining first generation filmmaker) brought the house down by reading an entire Sherman Alexie short story (Alexie also wrote Signals), filmmaker Billy Luther — who directed the documentary Miss Navajo (2007)  — further took the edge off of things by reading a memorable scene from The Golden Girls. But I found myself most drawn to Sydney Freeland and Sterlin Harjo’s readings. Both filmmakers also had features in the festival.

Freeland wrote and directed her stunning debut, Drunktown’s Finest, which showcases lively performances by Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor from Breaking Bad) and newcomer Carmen Moore. The wonderfully entangled screenplay weaves together its Navajo characters, subjects, and themes with powerful precision, announcing Freeland as a voice to be taken seriously. 

In a post-fest interview I learned that ensemble films — as widely varied as Casablanca (1942) and Amores Perros (2000) — inspired her greatly, which led me and other viewers to retrace some of Drunktown‘s more compelling plot twists. The film’s complicated dealings with a MTF trans-woman are enlightened, as are the ways it explores the Navajo Nation’s beliefs about a third gender: nàdleehì, meaning “one who is transformed” or “one who changes.”

Ironically, the filmmaker explained, “I had to leave the reservation and move to San Francisco to learn about this.” Freeland’s own interests changed dramatically after finding photography and filmmaking in college. “Making movies just was not an option growing up. Other fine arts were being taught, like pottery and weaving, but not filmmaking.” 

When asked about the growing number of native filmmakers, she attributes much of it to technology’s increasing accessibility, via phones and digital cameras.nd Drunktown’s Finest has achieved what second-generation movements have the power to do: complicate matters. 

Part two coming tomorrow, with Sundance vet Sterlin Harjo (who screened his first documentary, This May Be the Last Time, at Sundance 2014) and Smoke Signals’ Chris Eyre.

Vanishing point



DANCE Sitting at her large desk overlooking the intersection of Mission and 24th Street, Krissy Keefer speaks eloquently and movingly about the genesis of Hemorrhage: An Ablution of Hope and Despair, the latest work for her 10-woman Dance Brigade Company.

Keefer is a dancer-choreographer-activist who has always enthusiastically plowed into the morass of the social, environmental, and political concerns of the day. Her works are issue-oriented, theatrically savvy, and entertaining, not least because of her sense of humor. Keefer may be deadly serious about her art, but she doesn’t take herself all that seriously.

But on a recent Saturday afternoon, as her crew prepared the main theater for a rehearsal of Hemorrhage, you couldn’t help but notice a note of fatigue, even despair, in her passionate takedown of the types of disasters that drain us of our humanity with ever-increasing frequency.

Keefer admits to being a news junkie. She has her ear to the ground, not just locally; she’s in tune with Midwest farmers who can’t plant crops because of the drought, multi-millionaire Chinese who leave their fellow citizens behind, and the survivors of Fukushima and Hurricane Sandy. Where are they, she wonders, how do people survive? “If you pay attention, you live with hope and despair. You obsess with hope, but what you feel underneath is actually despair. If you are not feeling some kind of despair, you are not paying attention.”

But couldn’t the increased flood of disaster information be the result of our sensationalist 24/7 news cycle? She doesn’t think so, believing instead that violent upheavals have actually become more frequent: “What we have done to the environment, [for instance], is completely despairing.” Included in her indictment are not only the governmental, corporate, and financial forces that act out of self-interest, but also a progressive movement that she believes has not acted strongly and decisively enough.

But Keefer’s major preoccupation at the moment is what she calls the “the corporate monsters — the last robber barons,” who are destroying a culture she has helped build. She lives and works in the Mission, and raised her daughter there. In the last 12 years, Dance Mission Theater has become a community institution, offering classes for adults and children, and providing affordable rehearsal and performance space. These days, when she looks through her office window and sees all those Silicon Valley-bound buses swarming past, she wants to pull out her hair.

“I feel very protective of the culture that we have created in San Francisco. You put layer upon layer on it, from the longshoremen, the Beat poets, the Black Panthers, the hippies, the gay and lesbian solidarity movement, feminism, the immigrant communities. It’s like layers of cheesecloth that you lay down, and this is the culture that came out of it. I participated in that, I am dedicated to it, and I am devastated by its being pulled apart.” Mincing no words, she adds, “It’s one of the cultures that keeps our country from sliding into fascism.”

So Keefer is stepping into the trenches as she always has done: as an artist. Walking into the theater, you realize this is the messiest set she (with Kate Boyd) has ever created. It’s one big junk pile, taking over half the theater and filling the bleachers from top to bottom. It makes you think of the outskirts of Mumbai and Manila, where thousands of people try to eke a living from whatever they can salvage. Where did Dance Brigade get the wheel drums, broken crock pots, fans, at least one bathtub, lace curtains, suitcases, Christmas tree ornaments, and enough body parts to reassemble several automobiles?

“We went to a wrecking yard,” Keefer laughs. “They deliver.”

Thinking of herself and her dancers as having been exiled from their city, as so many people have recently been, she envisioned Hemorrhage as a work about having to live on the edges. “Women always are more vulnerable during catastrophes,” she says, “because they take care of the children.”

For the script, she drew on her own writing but also that of fellow San Franciscans Rebecca Solnit (Hollow City: The Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism) and performer-activist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, shaping it as a running monologue — a rant, a poem, a meditation, a political manifesto — that runs through the piece and ties it together.

And what do her nine women performers, most of whom have been part of Dance Brigade for close to 20 years, contribute? They sing, they shout, they play the drums, they dance; fiercely, proudly, unstoppably, full of hope, and full of despair. *


Through Feb. 8

Opens Fri/24, 8pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (Feb 8, shows at 4 and 7pm); Sun, 6pm, $20-$25

Dance Mission Theater

3316 24th St, SF



Of course Beyoncé is a feminist: On gender equality and women in entertainment


A specific corner of the Internet was abuzz this week with the news that Beyoncé, fresh off inciting think-piece warfare about whether or not her new visual album amounted to a feminist manifesto of sorts (“The record both drips with sexuality and samples the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk about women’s rights — are you allowed to do that?!”) had penned an essay for Maria Shriver’s nonprofit media initiative, the Shriver Report, titled “Gender Equality Is a Myth!” See here:

We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.

Among the generally positive reactions to the essay, there was an unmistakable ripple of surprise — a silent agreement that this was somehow starkly out of character — that caught my attention. What are we surprised about, exactly? That a mainstream star who plays so squarely into our notions of traditional femininity would align herself with the hairy-legged caricatures of politicized feminists we see in pop culture? That a woman who named her most recent international tour after her husband would speak out against gender inequality? Or that one of the richest artists in the world would give two shits about the Equal Pay Act?

For what it’s worth, I’ve been a Beyoncé fan since the halcyon days of the late ’90s, when she was posing on furniture with three (then two) other ladies who made a point of color-coordinating their outfits with their interior design while singing about how dudes who borrowed their cars needed to man up and pay some automobills. It has at times been a guilty and/or critical fandom — has anyone written their Master’s thesis yet on themes of independence vs. marriage as property ownership in “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)“? I would like to read, please — but it’s been consistent nonetheless. I will venture that said loyalty is beside the point, however. No, I wasn’t surprised about Beyonce’s awareness of gender inequality — but not because I’ve been following her career closely. I wasn’t surprised because she’s a woman working in an industry that’s historically steeped in gender inequality.

I’m behind the times on this one, but I just started reading Out of the Vinyl Deeps, a collection of excellent rock music criticism by the late, great Ellen Willis. In particular, I keep coming back to Willis’ essay on Janis Joplin in the ’60s, with passages like:

[Janis] once crowed, “They’re paying me $50,000 a year to be like me.” But the truth was that they were paying her to be a personality, and the relation of public personality to private self — something every popular artist has to work out — is especially problematic for a woman. Men are used to playing roles and projecting images in order to compete and succeed. Male celebrities tend to identify with their mask making, to see it as creative and — more or less — to control it. In contrast, women need images simply to survive. A woman is usually aware, on some level, that men do not allow her to be her “real self,” and worse, that the acceptable masks represent men’s fantasies, not her own. She can choose the most interesting image available, present it dramatically, individualize it with small elaborations, undercut it with irony. But ultimately she must serve some male fantasy to be loved — and then it will be only the fantasy that is loved anyway.

Willis wrote that in 1980, about the 1960s. But it could have been written last week, about, um, any female pop star who did anything last week. Pick your packaging! Miley, Rihanna, Katy, Ke$ha, Taylor. Did you want good girl gone bad? Edgy and “exotic” gone S&M-lite? This has nothing to do with talented or not talented. A staggering majority of high-ranking music executives are men. Do we think any of these pop stars doesn’t know she’s a product, doesn’t understand exactly what game she’s a part of? None of them would be where they are right now if they hadn’t been playing it correctly, painstakingly, in some cases, from the day they were born. Whether or not they’re writing essays for Maria Shriver about it, I have a feeling most women in entertainment understand something about living in a patriarchal society.

As for Bey: Her new album, which I unabashedly love, is nothing if not a study in “acceptable masks.” In one video she’s the hot, pissed-off wife; another, the hot older girl at the roller rink; by the record’s end she’s found redemption as a (hot) mother, deriving her most genuine-sounding joy from an ode to her cooing baby daughter. Of course, she also pulls the classic, socially responsible, conventionally-beautiful-sex-symbol-decrying-sexist-beauty-standards thing. She does it all. She is every single thing a woman is supposed to be and more, and she looks fucking fabulous while doing it. She’s on top of the world right now for a reason, and — delightful feminist speech samples aside — I don’t think it’s as a reward for being her “real self.”

So yeah, go ahead and celebrate the pop star who suddenly cares about equal pay in the workplace. But give her a little credit. And maybe try to tamp down your surprise that a lady who’s been competing in pageants of some kind since she was old enough to walk might know a thing or two about sexism, inequality, where women have power, and where it stops.

Ignore less



CAREERS AND ED Often called the first feminist, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz could well be your guiding spirit heading into this bright new year. Born in 1651 in colonial Mexico, Sor Juana defied societal expectations about women at the time to study herself into becoming one of the smartest people in New Spain. She became a nun rather than marry, and eventually amassed one of the largest libraries in the Americas.

One of Sor Juana’s enduring catch phrases was “I don’t study to know more, but to ignore less,” a prettily humble bon mot from a woman who constantly had to defend her right to learn. Sadly, threats of censure by the church slowed her educational roll — but nonetheless, her unlikely influence on the fight for women’s rights is still honored today.

Will you ignore less in the new year? Surely there are fewer obstacles in your way than Sor Juana’s. Here are some excellent ways to engage with the world around you in 2014.



So you say you’re a boor? For all the menfolk — or anyone, really — boggled by feminism, this monthly book club may be the ticket. Held at Noisebridge, the Mission’s tech learning center (check its calendar for amazing, mainly free classes and meetups), the club will start with bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody and feature conversations about how to be the best ally possible. All gender identities welcome.

Second Wednesdays starting Wed/8, 7pm, free. Noisebridge, 2169 Mission, SF. www.noisebridge.net



The stand-up school with the most working comedians on staff of any similar institution in the country wants to get you in front of an exposed brick wall talking about your boyfriend’s crazy roommate.

Wednesdays Jan. 8-Feb. 12, 6pm, $239-279. SF Comedy College, 442 Post, Fifth Fl., SF. www.sfcomedycollege.com



Instructor Tika Morgan explores the hip-hop, dancehall, Cuban salsa, and other influences that create the pounding rhythms of reggaeton.

Wednesdays, 8-9:30pm, $13. Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., SF. www.dancemission.com



Two-step, skiffle, country swing, and waltz your way through these inclusive country-western lessons and dance parties run by community advocates Sundance Association.

Thursdays 5:30pm, Sundays 7pm, $5. Sundance Saloon, 550 Barneveld, SF. www.sundancesaloon.org



Learn about qigong, the Chinese chi-balancing practice that involves breathing, other physical movements, and mental exercises. This free class is taught by Effie Chow, a qigong grandmaster who founded her East West Academy of Healing Arts here in 1973, and has served on White House advisory boards concerning alternative medicine.

Fri/10, 7-9pm, free. Polish Club, 3040 22nd St., SF. tinyurl.com/qigongsf



Support your local community college through its battle to retain its accreditation by enrolling in one of its class offerings — there’s no charge for non-credit courses (though you may have to buy books and materials). This class examines the hidden and explicit messages sent out through mass media, and helps students pinpoint how these cues affect the decisions that they and other members of society make.

Fridays Fri/10-May 23, 8am-12:50pm, free. City College of San Francisco, 1125 Valencia, SF. www.ccsf.edu



Start at the Aquatic Center next to Fisherman’s Wharf where you’ll learn safety and equipment basics, then head down with this SF Rec and Park class to Lake Merced’s scenic bird estuary to get down on some core-strengthening, stand-up paddle boarding action. Bring your own wetsuit, kiddies — it gets cold on those waters!

Sat/11, 1-4pm, free. Aquatic Park, Beach and Hyde, SF. www.sfrecpark.org



To do anything these days, you need a website. To have a website, you need a web designer. So basically, you may need to sign up for one of the Bay Area Video Coalition’s intro courses on dynamic layouts and client interfaces so that you can continue living your life as a functional citizen in 2014.

Sat/11-Sun/12, 10am-6pm, $595. Bay Area Video Coalition, 2727 Mariposa, SF. www.bavc.org



With 51 species of this lovely, placid bloom sprinkling the premises, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is the perfect place to learn about the majesty of the magnolia. The garden offers daytime walks if you’re scared of the dark, but we think the nocturnal stroll sounds divine.

Jan. 16, 6-8pm, $20. Register in advance. SF Botanical Garden, Ninth Ave. and Lincoln, Golden Gate Park, SF. www.sfbotanicalgardensociety.org



Sure the price tag is steep for this class on raising buds in bright indoor light, but you’ll be supporting your green thumb and your local pot movement institution, which has surfed the tsunami of federal persecution and will live to blow clouds right through legalization (we reckon).

Thursdays Jan. 16-March 20, 10:30am-1pm, $1,195. Oaksterdam University, 1734 Telegraph, Oakl. www.oaksterdamuniversity.com



Accessing the subconscious’s potential for healing is the name of the game in this extremely mellow yoga class, during which you’ll be put into a trance-like state through a hybrid method developed by a Reiki, yoga, and hypnotherapy professional. The dream state is said to be highly beneficial for psychic health -– and sounds hella fun.

Jan. 18, 2:30-5:45, $40-50. Yoga Tree Telegraph, 2807 Telegraph, Berk. www.yogatreesf.com



Each month La Urbana, the chic new taqueria on Divisadero, hosts fancy mezcal tastings. But you’re not just getting your drink on: A different producer of the agave-based spirit comes in each time to present a signature mezcal alongside tales of its production. Educated boozery, this is it.

5-6pm, $10-15. La Urbana, 661 Divisadero, SF. mezcalmasterclasses.eventbrite.com



Valentine’s Day (sorry for any unwanted reminders) is on its effusive, heart-shaped way, giving you the perfect excuse for you to drop in on this class with Sin Sisters Burlesque co-founder Balla Fire to learn how to swish, conceal, and reveal with the best of them for your sweetheart.

Jan. 21, 7-9pm, $30. Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission, SF. www.sexandculture.org



Does paying $40 to learn how to parse affordable wines make sense? Depends on how many bottles of Cab Sauv you’re consuming — and one would think that after partaking in this one-off seminar with Bar Tartine’s old wine director Vinny Eng, that tally will increase.

Jan. 22, 7-9pm, $40. 18 Reasons, 3674 18th St. SF. www.18reasons.org



A full weekend of learning about ways to cook fish from around the globe will go on at this friendly North Beach cooking school (which tends to book up its workshops early, so book now). On the menu: black cod poached in five-spice broth, brodo di pesce, and much more.

Feb. 1-2, 10am-3pm, $385. Tante Marie’s Cooking School, 271 Francisco, SF. www.tantemaria.com



Do you have a staring problem? Fix your gaze on this 10-session course including anatomy tips, representational tricks, and a focus on the art of portraiture.

Thursdays, Feb. 6-April 10, 6:30-9:30pm, $360. California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St., SF. www.cca.edu



If the only thing you can depend on in this wacky 2014 is yourself, it’s time to hone those financial security skills. This free class is held once a month at the LGBT Community Center, and should give you a couple things to think about when it comes to money management.

Feb. 11, 6:30-8:30pm, free. LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market, SF. www.sfcenter.org



In addition to a more long-running courses and a by-donation, student-staffed herbal health clinic that is open to the public, Berkeley’s Ohlone Herbal Center offers practical classes in Western herbalism for regular folks. Your loved ones will thank you for brushing up with this one — it teaches preventative anti-cold and flu measures, and home remedies for when you inevitably catch something. Yes, tea is provided during classtime.

Feb. 12, 7-9:30pm, free. Register at ohlonecenter@gmail.com. Ohlone Herbal Center, 1250 Addison, Berk. www.ohlonecenter.org



If you are looking for educational opportunites as to changing the face of culture, look no further than this public lecture hosted by the California Institute of Integral Studies. For two hours, Orange is the New Black breakout star Laverne Cox will discuss her journey to becoming the most visible black transwoman on television (not to mention the first ever to produce and star in her own program with VH1’s “TRANSForm Me”). The talk won’t be lacking in looks-ahead to the important activism that still remains for Cox and her allies.

March 19, 7-9pm, $25-75. Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes, SF. www.ciis.edu



You will finally be able to get that organic farmstand delivery service to sponsor your yearly watermelon seed-spitting contest (or whatever) after you take this crash course on getting money to hold events. The secrets to obtaining event sponsorships are divulged during this one-day class: how to pitch potential partners, going market rates, and more, all in a group discussion-centric format.

April 26, 9am-5pm, $300. San Francisco State University Downtown Campus, 835 Market, SF. www.sfsu.edu


Teen dream machine



YEAR IN TOFU AND WHISKEY Call it the Rookie Magazine trickle-down effect: Teen girl rockers ruled the world in 2013. Granted, some 20-somethings were in there too. But still, these young and fierce ladies — celebrated on either Rookie’s more polished site or eye-popping Tumblrs of a similar demographic — were the artists to take notice of this year.

The young majors of 2013 were 17-year-old New Zealander Lorde and Los Angeles sister trio Haim, all in their early 20s. There were also female rappers and soul singers, like Cameroon-raised Lorine Chia (20), and Brooklyn-based Angel Haze (22). Locally, there was teen surf pop quartet the She’s. On a smaller scale, there are emerging acts like Sacramento’s sister duo Dog Party, which, at ages 14 and 17, released its biggest record to date on Asian Man Records this August.

Rookie is the web magazine for young girls that looks more to the Sassy archetype than Seventeen, but so far beyond those bounds that it’s almost ludicrous to compare the two. Started in 2011 by now-iconic mini fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, the website blends style, feminism, and culture into a Nylon-esque vision of rude glamour. More so, it’s become a casual, glittery hit-maker, simply by nature of showcasing exciting new talent early in the game, often before it’s been hungrily shredded by the widespread blogger industrial complex.

Musicians are featured in gushy profiles, or longer Q&As, often with more personalized questions than are found on standard music blogs. An early Rookie writeup on Lorde reviewed her full-length record Pure Heroine (Universal Music Group) in a typically conversational tone: “I first heard Lorde, when I was in the parking lot of a Target one night. It was 10:50pm and I was in the car by myself, listening to the radio; I had just been going through a breakup and was in an awful state of mind. Suddenly this song came on with a simple beat and this AMAZING voice that made me sit up straight and turn on Shazam, which told me it was Lorde’s song ‘Royals.'”

Can’t you too remember such a time? An moment in a youthful life, alone in your car or next to the stereo in your room, the disappointments of a confusing day rushing through your mind, and then the moment a song transformed that hurt into pure joy? It might not have been a pop song, but it certainly could have been.

Thanks to the thrill of that paradoxically anti-consumerist pop song “Royals,” Lorde (née Ella Yelich-O’Connor) was undoubtedly the biggest of the aforementioned bunch of teen girls who made it big in 2013. She became a bona fide pop star in black lipstick and a poof of untamed, grungy curls. And while her look and style are certainly endlessly dissected, she came to the pop charts when there was a specific need for her new breed of mainstream-yet-still-underground-enough-to-be-weirdish sound.

In her recent essay on Lorde and others of her ilk, NPR writer Ann Powers poetically described Lorde’s step away from pop stars of the tongue-out, twerked-out Miley variety we also suffered through in 2013: “Lorde is a phenomenon because of perfect timing. She came along just when listeners were craving what ‘Royals’ famously advocates: a different kind of buzz. After a few months as the new find of early musical adopters, this droll chanteuse became notorious for suggesting that some kids might prefer to stand apart from pop’s endless party.”

Angel Haze was another standout — a stunning, pansexual, artistically rare rapper who took Macklemore’s “Same Love,” and gave it meaning, singing of her own (real) struggles with sexuality. The young artist’s debut full-length, Dirty Gold, doesn’t even see release until January 2014, but her covers (she also took on Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”) made her a name to know in 2013.

Haze was featured on Rookie, as was soul singer Lorine Chia. A performer with a silky voice and tropical beats, Chia released an EP, Naked Truths (Make Millions Music), in October and frequently Tumbls her fascinating life and favorite musical finds. Like other young females who made their mark this year, she seems worlds apart from the sleek pop stars of yore, still enthralling but somehow approachable.

And then there was Haim, the crunchy, LA-based sister trio that hit it big with September-released Days Are Gone (Polydor Records, Columbia Records). The album went silver, selling nearly 90,000 copies stateside, which is big news in these unwieldy music industry days.

But apart from the pop and hip-hop charts, teen girls were also making waves in smaller local scenes. Case in point: The She’s. The talented, breezy-surf pop quartet started off the year playing Noise Pop and were on the cover of the Guardian, posed as a group to watch in 2013.

A few months later, there they were: life-sized on bus-stop posters plastered around downtown as part of that big Converse campaign that overran the city’s music scene this summer (not that we had anything to do with the leap). The She’s recorded a track for Converse’s Rubber Tracks popup station at Different Fur Studios, and also played a ton of shows throughout the year. Oh, and the SF natives all just graduated from high school.

As for Sacramento’s burgeoning Dog Party, the sister duo is still navigating those studious halls of yore. Singer-guitarist Gwendolyn Giles is a senior in high school, and drummer Lucy Giles is a 14-year-old sophomore. They started playing together at ages 9 and 6.

“Before [guitar] I played the flute, but that wasn’t for very long because I like guitar,” Gwendolyn tells me from their Sacramento home. “The flute made me dizzy. Also when I was in fourth grade, American Idiot came out and I was obsessed with Green Day.”

Lucy pipes up with her earliest inclination that she wanted to play rock’n’roll: “I was really into the White Stripes when I was in third grade. I like Meg White and so I just kind of decided I wanted to play the drums.”

Her dad picked up a drum set at a garage sale, and the girls soon began lessons, and then started writing songs — with angsty lyrics about worrisome BFFs and the like, and stories that were mostly autobiographical. In 2013, the Giles sisters released their third full-length, bratty pop-punk record Lost Control, on Mike Park’s legendary Asian Man Records. It stands with the Donnas, the Bangs, and a mix of other fun party punk acts before them.

Ty Segall tops their mutual list of favorite new (or new-to-them) acts of 2013, followed by the Descendents, the Babies, fellow SacTown locals Pets, and most of the Burger Records roster.

“My sister and I really love Ty Segall,” Gwendolyn gushes of the prolific rocker. “He’s amazing … my favorite artist of all time.”

Dog Party went on a full US tour with Kepi Ghoulie (of ’80s band Groovie Ghoulies) and just last week played with the Aquabats at Slim’s. Next up, they’ll play the Gilman Fri/20.

As with other female artists this year (and for the past decade), Dog Party has had to deal with web trolls intent on breaking them down.

“Now that we’ve gained a little bit of popularity, there have been some nasty things written about us on the Internet,” Lucy says. “But that doesn’t really affect us. We don’t like to listen to what they say because we don’t really care.”

While the Giles sisters hadn’t known about Rookie before they were featured on the site, they’ve heard a lot of feedback since the post, which urged readers to “stream the new album by our (and probably your) new favorite band.”

“We got a lot of attention from Rookie,” Gwendolyn says. “People have come up to us and been like ‘Hey, I heard about you from Rookie!’ It’s pretty cool.”

“Our social media sites had a pretty big boost off that article,” adds Lucy. 


Tofu and Whiskey’s top records (and sandwiches) of 2013

1. Weird Sister, Joanna Gruesome

2. In Dark Denim, Antwon

3. It’s Alive, La Luz

4. Run Fast, The Julie Ruin

5. Ionika, Metal Mother

6. Ride Your Heart, Bleached

7. Self-titled, Golden Grrrls

8. Mama’s Hummus sandwich, Bi-Rite

9. Tofu Banh Mi, Hella Vegan Eats

10. Vegan Reuben, Ike’s

Riot acts



FILM It was strange when Kathleen Hanna — riot grrrl activist, iconic Bikini Kill battle cry leader, electro-popping Le Tigre singer — went silent.

Though she was not entirely absent from the public eye, she did not make any new music or tour for nearly a decade. Beat down by a mysterious illness, she seemingly tumbled into hardcore self-preservation mode, contributing her personal files of zines, show flyers, and lyrics to the “Riot Grrrl Collection” at New York University’s Fales Library.

This archival material would prove key to Sini Anderson’s new documentary about Hanna, The Punk Singer. The film includes many lesser-seen clips from the early days of Bikini Kill, the band’s tours through Europe, and rare early moments with Hanna’s husband, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz.

“There’s some unfortunate and there’s some fortunate in this,” says Anderson, speaking to me in a hotel in San Francisco ahead of the film’s Bay Area premiere at the Oakland Underground Film Festival in September. “The unfortunate is that Kathleen started getting incredibly sick, and she was getting worse and worse. [But then] she decided to pull all her materials together and start archiving them. So she had a few interns and for a couple of years they just pulled all this stuff from all over the place, so by the time we started the film project, a lot of this was in one place.”

Anderson is a Portland, Ore.-based feminist artist who co-founded Sister Spit while living in SF and has worked in film for a decade, though this is her first documentary. She suggested the idea to Hanna while Le Tigre was making 2011 doc Who Took The Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour. While Hanna became the reluctant face of the riot grrrl movement in the ’90s, she’d never granted the media access to her whole story, at least partially because she didn’t want to be misunderstood.

“She had been out of music for six years at that point, and in [the realms of feminism and politics], there just didn’t seem to be any kind of action going on. Things seemed complacent,” Anderson says. “I said, ‘Kathleen, people need to hear your story, and they need to hear it now.'”

Using archival footage and present-day interviews, the doc covers Hanna’s childhood, the beginning of the riot grrrl movement, Le Tigre, and the resurrection of her post-Bikini Kill solo project, the Julie Ruin. Anderson interviewed Hanna in a series of intimate, enlightening sit-downs at her lake house, which are delicately spliced throughout the film between older clips and interviews with Hanna’s contemporaries: Bikini Kill’s Tobi Vail, Billy Karren, and Kathi Wilcox (now of the Julie Ruin); Kim Gordon; Joan Jett; Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker; and teenage Rookie Magazine editor Tavi Gevinson, who wears the colorful “Feminist” sweater gifted to her by Hanna.

The main bulk of filming was done over the course of a year — and it was a momentous one. Countless doctors had misdiagnosed Hanna by the time Anderson began filming, without an end in sight. Halfway through filming, she finally had a name for her illness: late-stage neurological Lyme disease. When she began treatments, filmmaker and subject decided not to shy away from the vulnerability of moments like Hanna taking her meds and experiencing their uncomfortable after-effects.

“Once she started treatment, it was a roller coaster — she got worse, and then she got better, then she got worse. We had to plan the interviews around when she was up for it,” — explains Anderson, who, incredibly, was also diagnosed with Lyme disease during filming, from an unrelated incident. “I really believe there’s so much power and strength in that vulnerability. It really is important for other women to see that we can tell our truth, we can let people see what’s going on — that doesn’t make us weak, that makes us stronger.” Anderson is now working on another documentary specifically about Lyme disease.

During filming for The Punk Singer, Hanna decided to put together the Julie Ruin, her first new musical act since the end of Le Tigre. This year, the band released its full-length, Run Fast, on Dischord Records.

“She says it really eloquently in the film: when she realized that she may never again be able to do this thing she loves, she realized she wanted it more than ever,” Anderson says.

For the director, one of the biggest moments during filming came from this realization. Hanna sits by her fireplace, surprising herself as she talks about why she quit music — why it was easier to just say she’d already said everything she’d needed to sing. She didn’t want to admit to anyone, including herself, that she was quitting because she was sick. In the doc, Hanna seems taken aback and tears up a bit, but gives the go-ahead to keep filming.

The Punk Singer‘s other epiphany comes at the very end, on the last day of filming, in what became the last scene of the film. Hanna asks, “What is my story? I have no idea,” and begins mentioning moments from her life. “I thought, who is going to believe me? Other women will believe me.”

Says Anderson, “It was about being believed, and being heard, and having her truth be validated. That’s [her] story.” *


THE PUNK SINGER opens Fri/6 in San Francisco.

All in: author and activist Julia Serano talks ‘Excluded’


When we talk about feminist and queer exclusion, we aren’t just dealing with gendered pay gaps and marriage rights. In her new book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, Oakland-based author and activist Julia Serano delves into the types of exclusion that she and many others have faced within the very spaces that are supposed to make us feel safe and supported.

Often in “LGBT” activism, it feels like the “B” and the “T” are just for show. Serano, a bisexual femme-tomboy transsexual woman, challenges preconceived notions and debunks myths about gender and sexual identities that our own queer and feminist movements often don’t appear to deem worthy of fighting for. Utilizing her experience as an activist, and often sharing personal accounts of exclusion from queer and women’s spaces, she encourages us to reevaluate some of the mantras of our activism.

“People tend to like memes and sound-bites because they make things sound simple and straightforward,” explained Serano. “This is certainly true within certain queer and feminist settings, where people often say things like ‘bisexuals reinforce the gender binary,’ or ‘all gender is performance,’ or ‘gender is just a construct.’ Sometimes people accept these memes without ever investigating them or fully thinking them through. So I tried to more thoroughly consider these ideas in the book — to point out how they are flawed or over-simplified.”

Excluded is a great read for both the most enthusiastic advocates for queer and feminist causes and anyone making their first foray into this type of activism. Often, material discussing issues of gender, sex, and sexuality are dense and full of jargon that makes it inaccessible to wider audiences.

“When I first became involved in feminism and queer activism, people often suggested that I read Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and other academic writers on these subjects,” said Serano. “To be honest, I found such books to be impenetrable at first, mostly because they were constantly referencing other theorists and concepts that I was not aware of at the time. Nowadays, I can read their works with no problem. But there was a steep learning curve for me to be able to fully understand what they were trying to communicate.”

That’s not to say that she has anything against academics – after all, she is one herself. But because gender, sexuality, sexism, and marginalization affect everyone, she writes on these topics in a way that is accessible, rather than for a strictly academic audience. As a women and gender studies minor myself, I found this refreshing. Given a dense text, I might only come away with a few of these sound-bites Serano speaks of. And when you’ve spent semesters reading about these concepts and writing papers on them, beginning to unlearn them can be startling.

“If one more person tells me that ‘all gender is performance,’ I think I am going to strangle them,” Serano writes at the beginning of “Performance Piece” on page 105. If you only have a minute to flip through Excluded, spend it reading this piece, which was originally written for Fresh Meat, and became a catalyst for writing this book.

I first heard “Performance Piece” late last year when Serano did a reading at the Women’s Building, and the last words of it echoed through my head long after I left that night: “…my gender is a work of non-fiction.” It’s a reminder that when we dismiss gender as “just” anything – just performance, just socially constructed, just biological – we are oversimplifying a something complex and dismissing the person in favor of a concept. In order to truly advocate for queer rights, we must think more critically about even those ideas that queer movements treat as gospel.

“At the end of Excluded, I discuss working to foster intentionally intersectional movements that work to challenge sexism and marginalization more generally rather than favoring the issues faced by people of particular identities, bodies, genders, or sexualities,” said Serano. “Admittedly, this takes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to listen as well as speak, and to acknowledge other people’s differences and needs in addition to our own. But it has the advantage of creating broader and more powerful coalitions.”

On the Cheap: October 16 – 22, 2013


On the Cheap listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Selector.


“The Birth of Star Clusters” Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, SF; www.randallmuseum.org. 7:30pm, free (donations accepted). UC Berkeley’s Dr. Steven Stahler speaks about how stars form.


Mike Madrid Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF; thirdthursdaysf.wordpress.com. 5-8pm, free. Author and comics expert Mike Madrid (The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines) presents his latest book, Divas, Dames and Daredevils.

“Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences Between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom” Bone Room, 1573 Solano, Berk; www.boneroompresents.com. 7pm, free. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Daphne Fairbairn gives a talk on “gender gulfs” in the animal world.

“Writing That Risks: New Work from Beyond the Mainstream” Alley Cat Books Gallery, 3036 24th St, SF; www.alleycatbooksgallery.com. 6-7pm, free. Independent publisher Red Bridge Press celebrates the release of its new short-story collection, featuring emerging writers “who delight in exploring the boundaries of content and style.”


“Apature Comix and Zines Expo” Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF; apature2013.brownpapertickets.com. 11am-5pm, $7. Cartoon Art Museum and Kearny Street Workshop present this celebration of Bay Area Asian Pacific American talent, with artist tables, crafts, workshops, screenings, DIY activities, and more.

Ceramics Annual of America Civic Center Plaza, SF; www.ceramicsannual.org. 9am-6:30pm, free. Through Sun/20. Exhibition and art fair showcasing contemporary ceramics from around the world, including Australia, China, Mexico, and Italy.

Classic car show Jack London Square, Broadway and Embarcadero, Oakl; www.jacklondonsquare.com. 10am-4pm, free. Ogle Model As, T-birds, and other souped-up beauties from the 1920s to the 1960s at this vintage-vehicle extravaganza.

Potrero Hill Festival 20th St between Wisconsin and Missouri, SF; www.potrerofestival.com. 11am-4pm, free. Family-friendly fun awaits those who scale Potrero’s mighty hills, with food trucks and local food vendors, two stages with a talent show, over 40 local merchants and artists, pony rides for kids, and more.

“SFMusic Day: Live + Free” San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak, SF; www.sffcm.org. Tonight, 8pm, free; Sun/20, noon-7pm, free. Free concerts that hew to the festival’s 2013 Latin theme, with performances by Cascade de Flores, Orquesta La Moderna Tradicion, Quintento Latino, the John Santos Sexed, and more. (Check the website for a full schedule.)

St. John Armenian Annual Food Festival St. John Church, 275 Olympia, SF; (415) 922-1961. Noon, free. Through Sun/20. Purchase authentic Armenian food (in both dinner and a la carte form) at St. John’s annual fundraiser. Don’t miss the intriguing-sounding Kufta, described as “a meatball within a meatball.”


Free community day at the Haas-Lilienthal House 2007 Franklin, SF; www.sfheritage.org. 11am-4pm, free. Tour the 1886 landmark Queen Anne gem, a “living monument” to San Francisco history, for free. (Admission is usually $8.) There will also be a pumpkin patch and other autumn treats for younger visitors. *