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June 5, 2017

Things to Do in San Francisco this June

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” We’re in complete agreement with Henry James, and just for the record, Mark Twain never said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Here are a few warm ups for all the summer afternoons (and a few evenings) ahead before autumn drifts in on Sept. 22.

Musical Notes with San Francisco Opera and Symphony

Summer brings a series of musical treats to the War Memorial Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall. Taking a cue from citywide celebrations for the Summer of Love’s 50th anniversary, the San Francisco Opera’s summer repertory explores the theme of love in its many manifestions. Opening May 31, 2017 with Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” it continues with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” June 4-30, and ends with Puccini’s tender opera of love and loss, “La Boheme,” June 10-July 2. A free performance of Opera at the Ballpark is slated for June 30 at AT&T Park. In addition to two free performances July 9 at Stern Grove Festival and July 23 at Pier 27, the San Francisco Symphony’s summer concert schedule, July 4-29, includes “The Music of John Williams,” a Fourth of July concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre and a special visit from Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra of Mexico on July 16, kicking off this year’s MEX AM Festival.

It's a Bird, It’s a Dinosaur

It’s actually neither. Pterosaurs existed in an exotic order all their own, with 33-foot wingspans, technicolor crests and fuzzy coats. Learn more about the largest flying animals that ever lived. Paleontologists and pint-sized explorers alike will dig this exhibit’s treasure trove of newly discovered fossils and dynamic dioramas, while amateur aerobats of all ages will earn their wings piloting pterosaurs through virtual prehistoric landscapes at the California Academy of Sciences through Jan. 7, 2018.

Film Fests

Not a month goes by without some sort of reel fest in San Francisco. Check out the SF Doc Fest through June 15, 2017 at the Roxie Theater, Vogue Theater and the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater. The San Francisco Black Film Festival, June 15-18, 2017 will include special events as well as “Scores,” which explores music documentaries. There will also be special recognition of military families on June 18. Frameline 41 is slated for June 15-25, 2017.

Summer Concerts

From James Taylor to Lady Gaga, there’s a lot to sing about this summer. And if you’d like to join in, there’s a sing-along in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens on June 21,2017.

De Young Welcomes Art from African American South

Through April 1, 2018, “Revelations: Art from the African American South” celebrates the debut of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco major acquisition from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta of 62 works by contemporary African American artists from the Southern United States. Included in the current acquisition are paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by 22 acclaimed artists. The cultural origins of these artworks can be traced back to the African Diaspora, slavery, and the Jim Crow era of institutionalized racism, which restricted both physical freedom and freedom of expression for African Americans.

Fair Weather Fare

Weekend street fairs are perfect excuses for exploring a new neighborhood and enjoying some local entertainment. The 40th anniversary of the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair is June 11, 2017 and the “Los Angeles Times” has named this one of the top “Summer of Love” events. As San Francisco's oldest street fair, the North Beach Festival, June 17-18, 2017, features more than 125 arts and crafts booths, dozens of gourmet food booths, live entertainment, Italian street painting, kids’ chalk art area, blessings of the animals at The Shrine of St. Francis Assisi, beverage gardens and other surprises.

Father Knows BBQ

If dad always seems to be slaving over a hot Weber on Father’s Day, he may like these alternatives. In honor of Father’s Day, dads can eat, play and shop for free at participating PIER 39 businesses on Friday, June 16, 2017. To see the full list of discounts, visit On June 17, 2017 doors open at 1 p.m. for “High on the Hog” at Epic Steak on The Embarcardero. “Swig, swirl and swine” is the call to action for this event that benefits Guide Dogs for the Blind. Hornblower Cruises & Events pampers dad on June 18, 2017 with its brunch beer cruise.

All That Jazz

For more than 30 years, SFJAZZ presented the San Francisco Jazz Festival in venues around the Bay Area. With the opening of the SFJAZZ Center in 2013, the festival is now concentrated in the Center and the surrounding Hayes Valley neighborhood, offering more than 30 shows from June 6-18, 2017. Headliners include Jake Shimabukuro performing at Davies Symphony Hall on June 11, 2017 and San Francisco’s own Con Brio on June 17, 2017.

World Oceans Week

With the Pacific Ocean on its western edge, San Francisco has a daily reminder of the wonders of the deep blue sea. Celebrate World Oceans Week at Aquarium of the Bay, June 8-11, 2017. Find out what makes the ocean so special and how we can all do our part to keep it that way. If you feel like some fresh air, join volunteers at Aquatic Park on June 10, 2017 from 10 a.m-1 p.m. T

SF Design Week Offers More Than 200 Events

How to infuse diversity and inclusion into design? Are designers becoming the new activists? What do morals have to do with design? These are some of the questions woven into AIGA’s annual Design Week, June 14-22, 2017. With more than 60 studio tours and 200 events including the opening night reception at Pier 27 (also home to “The Hub,” June 14-15, where many activities will be centered), an Autodesk gallery tour, a rare visit to Chronicle Books’ office, and a screening of “Design Disrupters” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

It's Showtime!

While “Hamilton” continues at the SHN Orpheum Theatre through Aug. 5, 2017, “Roman Holiday - The Musical,” based on the classic film starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, casts its spell through June 21, 2017 at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre.  “Sordid Lives” at the New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC), continues through June 24, 2017. It’s about three generations of a dysfunctional Texas family gathering after their elderly matriarch dies during a tryst with her much younger, married neighbor. “Warplay,” inspired by “The Iliad” opens June 2 and closes July 2, 2017 at NCTC. Luckily, we’ll have more than “A Night with Janis Joplin” at A.C.T’s Geary Theatre. One of the highlights of San Francisco’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love, the show will run June 7-July 9.  “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," “the most inventive new show on Broadway” according to the “New York Post,” has almost a four-week run, June 27-July 23, 2017 at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre. On June 24, 2017, the Curran hosts “Concert for America” starring Alan Cumming, Jane Lynch, Kate Flannery, Kevin Chamberlin, Faith Prince, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and others. Proceeds will raise funds for five national organizations working to protect civil rights.

MoAD Offers Quartet of Exhibitions

Four exhibitions have opened at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). On view through Aug. 27, 2017, “Todd Gray: My Life in the Bush with MJ and Iggy” examines California as a site of new narratives and reflections of power. “The Ease of Fiction,” curated by Dexter Wimberly, presents the work of four African artists living in the U.S. as the foundation of a critical discussion about history, fact and fiction. A new edition of the Emerging Artist Program features Lili Bernard, who turns classical European paintings into slave narratives in her series, “Antebellum Appropriations.” In the first floor gallery, a photo exhibition, “Love or Confusion: Jimi Hendrix in 1967,” celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and the rise of Hendrix as one the greatest guitarists of all time.

Fun in the Fillmore District

A number of events unfold in the Fillmore District this month, including the San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF), June 15-18, 2017, and Juneteenth, June 17, 2016. The SFBFF films will be showing at the Lush Life Theater (Fillmore Street), A.A.A.C.C.’s Buriel Clay Theater, the Boom Boom Room as well as select San Francisco theaters. More than 60 films will be screened from around the globe. Commemorating the end of slavery, Juneteenth on June 17, 2017 is the oldest known celebration among African Americans across the U.S. It has been a tradition since the late 19th century. The event usually draws some 75,000 to the Fillmore District for the parade, a fashion show, live musical performances, classic car and motorcycle show, Kids Zone and other activities. 

Pride with a Capital “P”

June is Pride month. Rainbow flags line Market Street and folks in the Castro will be shopping at Cliff’s Variety Store for that special tiara or boa. The 41st edition of Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival runs from June 15-25, 2017. With an expected attendance of 65,000, the 11 days of Frameline41 will draw film buffs, media artists and LGBTQ communities from the Bay Area and across the globe to see the best in queer cinema. Opening with “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” the closing night film and party on June 25, 2017 features “After Louie,” starring Alan Cumming, who is also being honored with the 2017 Frameline Award. On June 16-17, 2017 the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Pride concert, “The Gay Kitchen Sink,” will feature major LGBT anthems as well as a stunning medley of songs from the Summer of Love. “The Skivvies: Pride Rock” will perform at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater, June 23-24, 2017. The award-winning undie-rock duo will be shedding all of their inhibitions for three shows including a special brunch performance on June, 24. The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade, June 24-25, 2017 is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation with more than 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than 20 venues and stages, including Betty Who performing on the Main Stage, June 25, 2017. This year’s celebration is honoring more than a dozen community leaders. Make sure to include a visit to the GLBT History Museum on 18th Street, too. Their current exhibition, “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at the Summer of Love,” takes a look at four key figures in this pivotal summer of 1967: Allen Ginsberg, Janis Joplin, Kenneth Anger and Gavin Arthur.

Kites at the Presidio

Memo to kids: On Saturday, June 17, 2017, from noon to 5 p.m. on the Main Parade Ground of the Presidio, all things kite will unfurl at the family-friendly Presidio Kite Festival. The free event features a build your own kite booth, hands on learning from kite experts, a kite art exhibition, giant kites, mega team flying, Taiko drummers and food trucks.

Walk This Way, Folks!

Here’s a novel way to burn off a few calories. On June 17, 2017 the annual Yerba Buena Alliance Artwalk, from 2-6 p.m., visits 12 locations and 13 institutions in the Yerba Buena Gardens area. Bracketing the event are a pre-event reception from noon to 2 p.m. at the California Historical Society and a post-event party at the TechShop Event Gallery. It’s all about the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and entrance to all of the institutions is free, including SFMOMA (until 5 p.m.), The Contemporary Jewish Museum, California Historical Society, MoAD, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SPUR and the American Bookbinders Museum, in collaboration with The Mexican Museum, currently under construction at the corner of Mission and Third Streets.

Picnic Pleasures and Off the Grid

We love holidays no matter what the pretext, so International Picnic Day on June 18, 2017 is an immediate favorite. Recent developments that are picnic perfect include Off the Grid’s Picnic in the Presidio. China Basin Park opposite AT&T Park is one of San Francisco’s newest public parks and offers spectacular views of the ballpark and the bay. Grassy picnic areas and a 1,200-foot-long seat wall are perfect for a midday break.

Conservatory of Flowers Illuminated for Summer of Love

From June 21-Oct. 21, 2017 the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park will be the canvas for an elegant light art installation to honor San Francisco’s citywide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Developed in partnership with San Francisco Recreation and Parks by Illuminate, the nonprofit arts group behind The Bay Lights, and Obscura Digital, a world-renowned creative studio specializing in large scale light-based art, the installation uses gobo projectors to transform the all-white landmark with a series of exquisitely illuminated scenes inspired by the rare tropical flowers within and the legacy of San Francisco’s flower children. More information on the lighting ceremony will be available at Don’t forget that “Butterflies and Blooms” closes on June 30, 2017.

Summer of Love Dance Party at PIER 39

Make sure to wear a flower in your hair in the spirit of the summer of 1967 at PIER 39’s free Summer of Love dance party on Friday, June 23. Dance the night away with music from Mania! The Live Beatles Experience from 6-8 p.m. and DJ Bart from 8-10 p.m. on PIER 39’s Entrance Plaza Stage.

Asian Art Museum Flexes Its Flower Power

Just follow the giant posies to the entrance of the Asian Art Museum and you’ll already be experiencing their new exhibit, “Flower Power,” June 23-Oct. 1, 2017. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the Asian Art Museum will be showcasing the expressive powers of flowers in the arts and culture of Asia. Six significant blooms form a bouquet to hidden meanings: the lotus, plum blossom, cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, tulip, and rose. The enduring importance of these flowers is shared through gilded screens, sleek lacquers, rare porcelains, striking sculptures, pop art and participatory contemporary installations.

Edvard Munch Exhibit Makes Global Debut

The global debut of “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed,” will feature approximately 45 paintings produced by Munch between the 1880s and 1940s. Seven are on view for the first time in the U.S. at SFMOMA, June 24-Oct. 9, 2017. Some of his most profoundly human and daring compositions will be on view, as well as a dozen of his self-portraits. Munch is considered one of the foremost innovators of figurative painting in the 20th century.

Hats Off to Degas

Best known for his depictions of Parisian dancers and laundresses, Edgar Degas was also enthralled with high-fashion hats and the women who created them. From June 24-Sept. 24, 2017 at the Legion of Honor, take in “Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade.” This landmark exhibition features more than 40 Impressionist paintings and pastels by Degas, as well as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Mary Cassatt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Nature’s Music Box Tunes Up

Free concerts, hundreds in fact, are a hallmark of San Francisco summers, and one of the most renowned admission free series is the Stern Grove Festival that began in 1938. This year, the season opens on June 25, 2017 with The Big Picnic: A Benefit and Concert featuring Kool & The Gang and Quinn DeVeaux. Following the ticketed benefit party, the 2 p.m. concert is admission-free. Every Sunday thereafter at 2 p.m. until Aug. 27, 2017, “nature’s music box” in the Sunset District will hum to the sounds of performers and groups ranging from the San Francisco Symphony (July 9) to Mavis Staples (Aug. 27).

Find Sophie Calle’s “Missing” at Fort Mason Center

A large scale exhibition featuring five works by internationally acclaimed French artist Sophie Calle will be installed at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC), June 29-Aug. 20, 2017. Curated by Ars Citizen, “Missing” gathers five of her major projects, itinerant since their creation, into a site-responsive presentation across the historic and bayside FMCAC campus. The exhibition, conceived as a journey, offers an overview of Calle’s work since the 1980s, and includes her iconic projects spanning the last decade: “Take Care of Yourself” and “Voir la mer.”

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