Things to Do in San Francisco This October
October signals the return of Open Studios and Halloween will have some extra-special tricks at the San Francisco Dungeon. It won’t be long before “fall back” prompts us to surrender an hour on Nov. 6, 2017 so make the most of October fests. More information on many of these events is available here.
Why Are You Covered in Sprinkles?
San Francisco offers just the treat this month for those who crave the sweeter things in life. The San Francisco edition of the pop-up Museum of Ice Cream at One Grant Avenue offers a candy garden, Pop Rocks cave, Push-Pop art installation and a rotating lineup of California ice cream makers including It’s-It, Bi-Rite and Salt & Straw will be offering visitors a special “scoop of the week.” And yes there’s a sprinkle pool, too! Yes, you and your mates will get a chance to dive into the more than 100 million custom-designed sprinkles.
You’re going to need a checklist to see all the new exhibits this month. So we’ve created one:
- See “Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum; 14 diverse contemporary artists act as modern maggids—interpreting traditional Jewish folktales and characters in new, commissioned works through Jan. 28, 2018. Each work is accompanied by a listening station where visitors can hear Bay Area storytellers reading the folktales that served as the artist’s primary inspiration.
- Just opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, “Walker Evans” is a major retrospective of this photographer. On view through Feb.4, 2018, this is the only presentation of this retrospective in the U.S. It unites more than 300 breathtaking prints, many of which have never been exhibited, as well as 100 documents and objects on SFMOMA’s Floor 3.
- At the de Young “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire,” the first significant exhibition about the ancient center of Mesoamerica on view in the U.S. in more than 20 years, continues through Feb. 11, 2018.
- Conceived around a series of nine commissioned performances realized during the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season across eight cities in six different countries, EN MAS’ at the Museum of the African Diaspora through March 4, 2018 considers the connections between Carnival and performance, masquerade and social criticism, diaspora and transnationalism.
- From Oct. 14, 2017-Jan. 28, 2018 at the Legion of Honor, “Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter” examines the diverse connections between these artists. While Rodin is widely regarded as “the father of modern sculpture,” Klimt was a groundbreaking painter and a founding member of the modernist Vienna Secession movement. This exhibition marks the first survey of Klimt’s work in California.
- Contemporary artist Summer Mei Ling Lee debuts her large scale installation inspired by the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act at the Chinese Culture Center. From Oct. 26-Dec. 23, “Requiem” shines a light on efforts to ensure that remains of Chinese immigrants made it back to their ancestral land.
It’s Show Time!
“An American in Paris,” the new Tony Award-winning musical about a U.S. soldier, a mysterious French girl and this magnificent city, tells the story of new beginnings in the aftermath of war at the SHN Orpheum through Oct. 8. Filled with unforgettable beauty, magic and spectacle, the hit Broadway musical “Aladdin” which opens Nov. 1 also at the SHN Orpheum is the holiday treat this season. Tony Award nominee John Douglas Thompson continues in his role in “Hamlet” through Oct. 15 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater. “This Bitter Earth” which explores the real cost of standing on the sidelines closes Oct. 22 at New Conservatory Theatre Center. “Le Switch” makes its regional premiere a few days later on Oct. 27. At The Strand the acclaimed new comedy “Small Mouth Sounds” opens Oct. 11 and keeps the wit and imaginative storytelling going until closing night on Dec. 10.
The Love Plane
On Oct. 1, 2017 peace and love will be celebrated on land, sea and in the air with The Love Plane etching a giant heart over the Golden Gate Bridge and large and small vessels in the bay will be showing their hearts and flowers on masts and spinnakers. From 2-5 p.m. within an approximately 10-mile radius, The Love Plane piloted by Greg Stinis will draw a giant heart over the Golden Gate Bridge, a coda to the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Brought to us by Antenna Theater, the event will be visible from Crissy Field, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Angel Island and most waterfront areas around the bay. Hornblower Cruises & Events will also be offering a special cruise during the event.
Fleet Week is More Than a Week
From Oct. 1-9, 2017 the skies above San Francisco and the bay will be filled with tributes to America’s armed forces. Fleet Week features a parade of ships, ship tours and an impressive air show that includes the Blue Angels. There will be ongoing entertainment from Oct. 5-8, 2017 at PIER 39 as well as a Humanitarian Assistance Village at Marina Green, Oct. 6-8, 2017. On Sunday, Oct. 8, the city’s Italian-American community celebrates the Italian Heritage Parade, featuring Italian and Italian-American dignitaries, music, performances and floats; beginning at 12:30 p.m. the parade starts at the Jefferson and Powell in Fisherman’s Wharf and proceeds south to North Beach, ending at Washington Square.
The Reel Thing
Every month in this space we try to share news about upcoming film festivals. Start popping the popcorn! The 39th annual Mill Valley Film Festival takes place Oct. 5-15, 2017 in Mill Valley, San Rafael and other Marin locations, just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Presented annually by the California Film Institute, the Mill Valley Film Festival is a favorite for cinema aficionados and film industry professionals alike. Well-known for the quality of its programming, the festival is considered a major launching pad for the annual awards season. This year the festival includes tributes to Kristin Scott Thomas, Sean Penn, Holly Hunter and Andrew Garfield; director and screenwriter Dee Rees; celebrated director, producer and screenwriter, Todd Haynes and Sacramento native Greta Garwig who is making her directorial debut with the film, “Lady Bird.” Opening with a kick-off event on Oct. 19, 2017, the seventh annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival continues through Oct. 22, 2016 at the Brava Theater Center. Another Hole in the Head returns Oct. 25-Nov. 8 to the city’s New People Cinema in Japantown. Presenting films from both emerging and established filmmakers from all over the globe, the festival is presented by SF Indiefest. And don’t forget that tickets are going fast for the Napa Valley Film Festival coming up Nov. 8-12, 2017.
Treat Your Ears
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass which is described by the organizers as “three days of treating your ears,” is that and much more. From Oct. 6-8, 2017 seven stages in Hellman Hollow, Lindley and Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park will be home to the likes of everyone from T. Bone Burnett, Gillian Welch, John Prine to the ever-wonderful Emmylou Harris, and too many other boldface names to mention here. It’s free and it’s only in San Francisco. And if you’re in the park after sunset, be sure to stroll by the Conservatory of Flowers and see the light art installation, Photosynthesis.
Litquake Rumbles into San Francisco
Litquake, Oct. 6-14, the largest independent literary festival on the West Coast—turns 18 with a 10-day program that sees famed podcaster and co-star of the Netflix series GLOW Marc Maron with his new book, “Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast”; author, filmmaker and Kathy Acker biographer Chris Kraus, whose book “I Love Dick” is the basis for Jill Soloway’s new television series on Amazon. Also, a live, staged reading from Word for Word marking the 50th anniversary of Joan Didion’s “Slouching Toward Bethlehem,” and renowned musician and author Loudon Wainwright III with his new memoir “Liner Notes.” Also, an evening that celebrates the “wisdom of the waves” with noted surfing writers out in The Sunset District, and the famed closing night Lit Crawl where 500 authors will appear in over 100 events in the Mission from 5 to 9 p.m.
Names Project Marks 30th Anniversary
Thirty years ago at the height of the AIDS crisis, a small group of people gathered in San Francisco to create some sort of memorial for their lost friends. One of the first results was the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt which was first displayed on Oct. 11, 1987 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Thirty years later there are more than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot individual panels. A few of them will return to San Francisco this fall and will be on display at Davies Symphony Hall, Oct. 11-Nov. 4, 2017 in conjunction with the San Francisco Symphony’s annual Dia de Los Muertos Celebration as well as at Grace Cathedral, Oct. 15-Dec. 5. The display at Grace Cathedral will include a rededication of the cathedral’s recently-renovated AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel on Dec. 1 where a panel is always permanently installed.
SF Open Studios 2017
Showcasing more than 800 emerging and established San Francisco artists in their studios, Open Studios is the perfect moment for art patrons, admirers and collectors to venture forth on self-guided tours throughout San Francisco and visit as many SF Open Studios as possible. Each weekend from Oct. 12-Nov. 12, 2017 features a different group of neighborhoods; celebrating its 42nd anniversary this year Art Span’s Open Studios is the largest and oldest open studios program in the U.S.
“Modern Cinema” Returns to SFMOMA
Co-presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the SFFILM, “Modern Cinema” returns Oct. 12 for a three-week series exploring the work and interests of Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon. Their collaborative piece Poison, her first feature as producer and his first as director, is said to be “the inciting spark” for what came to be known as the New Queer Cinema. Explore the full range of their fruitful collaboration and the films that inspire them, including Cabaret, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Boys Don't Cry.
It's Your Unlucky Day at the San Francisco Dungeon
Beginning Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 every superstition in the book is put to the test this Halloween season at The San Francisco Dungeon. Neither rabbit feet or lucky pennies on the ground will be able to ward off these omens of bad luck scattered throughout the underground attraction: broken mirrors, open umbrellas and black cats. This run of bad luck continues through Nov. 5. And on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, after the lights go down on the daily interactive shows, a few (un)lucky guests can slumber amongst the chilling darkness and haunting walls of the attraction’s authentically reproduced Alcatraz jail cell.
The spirit of the Old West is still alive and well in San Francisco. The 2017 Grand National Livestock Exposition, Horse Show and Rodeo continues with the PRCA Rodeo at the Cow Palace for two weekends, Oct 13-14 and 20-21, 2017. For more than 70 years the Grand National has been the West's most prestigious western lifestyle event attracting thousands of participants and fans.
PIER 39’s 39-Week 39th Anniversary Celebration Culminates with “Birthday Bash”
PIER 39’s 39-week anniversary celebration wraps up with a bang on Oct. 14, 2017. From 5-10 p.m., there will be roving glow-in-the-dark entertainment, DJs, a silent disco and a live performance by The Party Crashers. At 9 p.m., the fun-filled evening under the stars culminates with PIER 39’s spectacular fireworks show over San Francisco Bay.
Yerba Buena Night
From 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 there will be surprises around every corner at Yerba Buena Night. The seventh annual free, outdoor arts festival in the Yerba Buena Cultural District includes dance, music, art and video projections. More than 30 groups will be performing in Jessie Square, Yerba Buena Lane and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival Returns
The San Francisco Street Food Festival, an essential element to the thriving Bay Area food scene, returns Oct. 14-15, 2017 at The Power Station at 420 23rd St. in the Dogpatch neighborhood. With more than 30 Bay Area chefs and restaurants participating, this year's festival is more intimate than in years past. The festival embraces the delicious and diverse story of American food with Mexican huaraches, Vietnamese pho, Southern fried chicken, Nepalese dumplings and so much more.
Run, Run, Run
San Francisco is the site of the new Virgin Sport San Francisco, Oct. 14-15, 2017. It will feature the brand new SF Bay Half marathon and a Twin Peaks Mile challenge. In addition, the San Francisco Costume Dash 5K/10K returns to Golden Gate Park on Oct. 29, 2017.
“Sanctuary” at Fort Mason Chapel
For its latest presentation of art about place, FOR-SITE Foundation invited 36 artists from 22 different countries to design contemporary prayer rugs reflecting on the idea of sanctuary. The result is “Sanctuary,” which will be on view Oct. 17, 2017-March 11, 2018. Arrayed on the floor of the historic chapel, the 4-by-6-foot wool rugs offer visitors a multiplicity of perspectives on the basic human need for sanctuary.
Ya Diggin’ It?
Oct. 21 is International Archaeology Day. Every Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Presidio archaeologists are working on a long-term research project to excavate “El Presidio de San Francisco,” the Spanish-colonial site buried just below the ground in front of the Presidio Officers’ Club. Stop by to see archaeology in action and ask questions. Every Wednesday guided tours are also offered of the Presidio’s field station; meet at the welcome desk at the Presidio Officers’ Club at 1 p.m.
Potrero Hill Festival Set for Oct. 21
For more than two decades the Potrero Hill Festival has been a celebration of this eclectic community as local food vendors and artists, musicians, historians and entertainments turn out for this one-of-a-kind community event for all ages. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. join in the fun on 20th Street between Wisconsin and Missouri streets. The Klipptones will get things off to a lively start with swing jazz.
Wharf Fest Returns Oct. 21 to Fisherman’s Wharf
Wharf Fest returns to San Francisco’s iconic waterfront neighborhood on Oct. 21, 2017 for the fifth year in a row. Come enjoy a street fair, exhibitors and fun family entertainment. The highlight of the festivities is the chowder cook-off competition at noon. The festival takes place at the intersection of Jefferson and Taylor streets, at the base of the famous Fisherman’s Wharf crab wheel sign.
San Francisco Trolley Dances Return Oct. 21-22
On Oct. 21 and 22, 2017, San Francisco Trolley Dances returns with performances from South of Market to Kezar Triangle in Golden Gate Park. An annual, admission-free festival that takes place each October, SFTD has been dubbed “art for citizens” and “a gift to the City.” A total of 12 tours are scheduled over the weekend, six each day starting at 11 a.m. Each tour runs approximately two hours. This year, audiences will get a taste of traditional Tibetan folk dance and music, dance theater, contact improvisation, hip hop, taiko drumming and much more. Live music will accompany many of the performances. The tours start at the California Institute of Integral Studies at 1453 Mission St. and audiences are advised to arrive early to register.
Rock, Play & Learn at the Library at Ninth Annual Tricycle Music Fest
Rock, play and learn at the Library this October as the San Francisco Public Library celebrates the ninth year of Tricycle Music Fest. The stellar lineup includes Red Yarn playing American folk music, Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards playing toe-tapping, New Orleans-style jazz, Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights with tunes direct from New York, and Grammy and Emmy winner Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.
On Oct. 28, 2017 Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band present a special concert for children and caregivers with VIP access to the Main Library before public hours, followed by a Drag Queen Story Hour in the Main Library’s Children’s Center, in partnership with RADAR Productions.
Curran: Show & Tell Debuts Oct. 31
The Curran’s brand new series, Curran: Show & Tell will feature a diverse range of thought-leaders, cultural influencers, and artists in conversation, on stage at the Curran. Each program in the series will be a one-night-only event, ticketed and open to the public. Bestselling author John Green opens the series on Oct. 31. Other guests scheduled include Edward Snowden with Michael Krasny, and Alec Baldwin with Kurt Andersen.