Things to Do in San Francisco this April
Macy’s Flower Show Presents “Carnival”
A floral extravaganza complete with a carousel and a Tunnel of Love offers millions of blooms at the annual Macy’s Union Square through April 9, 2017. Photo ops plucked right from the midway, a topsy turvy Fun House garden, as well as cooking demos, floral studios and DIY workshops are all part of the fun.
We Players Brings “Beowulf” to Fisherman’s Wharf
A play for our times, “Beowulf” is the latest production of We Players. Now through April 16, catch this site-integrated production at the historic Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park in Fisherman’s Wharf. Audiences will travel together along the northern waterfront following warriors, a great queen, and a council of sages to seek shelter and safety at the ancestral mead hall at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. Danger lurks in the shadows without and within, and an unknown terror is always just out of view. Performance times vary according to sunset.
New Special Exhibition at the Presidio Officers’ Club
During World War II, the Presidio, the Army’s Western Defense Command, played a pivotal role in the unjust incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, purportedly in the name of national security. “Exclusion: The Presidio's Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration” invites visitors to investigate the choices, both personal and political, that led to this dark chapter in American history, and to reflect on what we have learned that helps us address present-day issues of mass incarceration, immigration reform and racial profiling.
Without humor we are doomed,” noted Nat Schmulowitz, an attorney and former San Francisco Public Library trustee, who donated his collection of 93 jest books to the San Francisco Public Library on April 1, 1947. Since then, the collection has grown to more than 22,000 volumes and includes periodicals and audiovisual materials. Every year, the Book Arts & Special Collections Center presents an exhibition based on materials in the collection. This year, “Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War,” April 1-May 31, 2017, is a selection profiling the spirit and wit of those at war, and the people left behind on the home front. On April 13, 2017, Mary Roach, author of “Grunt,” will join KALW Producer Steven Short at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion about this book that tackles the science behind some of the most challenging adversaries faced by soldiers.
Artist to Artist
Several exhibitions this month pivot on one artist responding to another across the decades. At SFMOMA through May 29, 2017, “Matisse/Diebenkorn” explores the profound inspiration Richard Diebenkorn found in the work of Henri Matisse. It brings together 100 seminal paintings and drawings, 40 by Matisse and 60 by Diebenkorn, that reveal the connections between the two artists. As part of a new contemporary art initiative, the Legion of Honor presents the work of living artists in dialogue with their permanent collection. In recognition of the centenary installation for Auguste Rodin, the Legion of Honor has invited artist Urs Fischer to display more than 30 new and existing works in concert with the museum's extensive Rodin sculpture collection. Urs Fischer: The Public & The Private is on view April 22 to July 2, 2017.
On April 4, 2017, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, along with Broadway star Audra McDonald, celebrate the Bay Area’s spirit of inclusion and diversity with a special concert in Davies Symphony Hall recognizing and supporting the Bay Area LGBTQ community. The wide-ranging concert program features the voices of many LGBTQ musical mavericks that MTT has championed throughout his career, including Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, Meredith Monk and John Cage. The majority of ticket proceeds from “Symphony Pride” will support organizations that provide services to the LGBTQ community in the Bay Area.
Starry, Starry Nights: San Francisco International Film Festival
The 60th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 5-19, 2017. Held across vibrant neighborhoods including the Castro and the Mission District, and in a selection of iconic venues such as SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and BAMPFA in Berkeley, the festival will feature competition for Golden Gate Awards between 10 narrative features (New Directors Competition), 10 documentaries (McBaine Documentary Feature Competition), and multiple short films. Entries come from around the globe, including Ireland, China, India, the U.K., and Israel. Among the many tributes planned, actor and filmmaker Ethan Hawke will be honored at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on April 8, following a special screening of his new film “Maudie,” directed by Aisling Walsh.
Aquarium of the Bay “Science Bites” and Meet Tahoe
Kids and kids at heart can get hands-on experiences with Aquarium of the Bay’s top predators this month. Take your pick: sharks, April 8-12; river otters, April 13-17; and octopus, April 18-23. The cheekily named Science Bites program delves into the keen hunting skills of these aquatic all-stars. On April 14, Aquarium of the Bay will also introduce the newest addition to their aquatic crew: Tahoe, a juvenile North American river otter.
San Francisco’s colorful Japantown will burst into full bloom on the weekends of April 8-9 and 15-16, 2017 when members of Northern California’s Japanese American community gather to present the 50th annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Beginning in 1968, the festival has continued to cultivate connections between the U.S. and Japan through demonstrations and exhibitions of popular culture and traditions. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association which is one of the oldest sister city relationships in the world. The five-acre Japan Center, at Post and Buchanan streets, and the adjacent blocks of Japantown will be filled with hundreds of performers and reverberate to the sound of taiko drums. Classical and folk dancers will perform both weekends, climaxing with the parade on Sunday, April 16. Film buffs can also take in the Cherry Blossom Film Festival, April 8-9 and April 15, 2017, at the New People Cinema.
Experience the Summer of Love at the de Young
On view at the de Young Museum from April 8 to Aug. 20, 2017 is “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll.” An exhilarating collection of iconic rock posters, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes and textiles, ephemera, and avant-garde film, this exhibition is a 50th anniversary celebration of the adventurous and colorful counterculture that blossomed in the years surrounding the legendary San Francisco summer of 1967. The Summer of Love Experience presents more than 300 significant cultural artifacts of the Summer of Love, including almost 150 objects from the Fine Arts Museums' permanent holdings.
Never the Same. Always SF Giants.
Opening day for the San Francisco Giants, an unofficial holiday in San Francisco, is April 10. As they begin their 18th season at AT&T Park they also mark their 60th year as the Giants in San Francisco. The cast of “Hamilton” will sing the National Anthem. Fans are encouraged to take public transit and be in their seats by 1 p.m. There are more than 40 special events planned for the 2017 season, including a tribute on Aug. 5 to the 1997 team. Notable giveaways (get there early) in April include the Johnny Cueto Shimmy Bobble on April 15 and theTwo Flaps Down Hat on April 28, 2017.
A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On
April 18, 2017 is the 111th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire. If you’re an early riser, head to Lotta’s Fountain. At 5:12 a.m. civic leaders and history buffs will gather at the corner of Market and Kearny Streets, for an annual commemoration. Across town in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences houses an “Earthquake” exhibit. This immersive experience puts you inside the dining room of a classic Victorian-era home to experience the 6.9- and 7.9-magnitude Loma Prieta (1989) and 1906 earthquakes.
Shadow & Light (Writers Respond to Trump)
Words do matter and in this ongoing Litquake series, writers respond to the current White House administration. On April 18, 2017 at 6 p.m., join Don Asmussen, Khalil Bendib, Mark Fiore, Tom Toro and Mark Ulriksen at the Main Library for “Not Funny! Sad! Cartoonists Respond to Trump,” followed by “Such a Nasty Woman: Female Writers Respond to Trump" on May 31, with more to come on July 25 and Aug. 30. Admission is free.
The seventh annual San Francisco Green Film Festival, April 20-26, 2017, will include local filmmaker Dan Goldes’ “Arrested Again” short on activist Karen Topakian. The festival will present 70 internationally acclaimed films with more than 90 visiting filmmakers and guest speakers. On April 29-30, 2017, young filmmakers will be celebrated in the Teen Animation Festival International at The Walt Disney Family Museum.
Leap into Bay Area Dance Week
The 19th annual Bay Area Dance Week (BADW) brings the vibrant world of Bay Area dance to the public, offering more than 400 events—completely free—April 21-30, 2017. BADW includes workshops, performances, classes, open rehearsals and more. First-time dancers can try their hand (and feet) at a variety of dance styles. Art lovers can go behind-the-scenes and see how dances get made. Hardcore exercise enthusiasts can inject a little Bollywood flair into their usual cardio capers.
While “Hamilton” continues at the SHN Orpheum Theatre through Aug. 5, 2017, the off-Broadway hit comedy, “Men Are from Mars — Women Are from Venus” returns to the Marines Memorial Theatre, April 21-30. “Everything That’s Beautiful,” at the New Conservatory Theatre Center through April 23, 2017, explores a “clean start” that results in all sorts of complications when a family decides to allow their eight-year-old child to live as a girl. Hailed as one of the most immersive theater pieces ever created by The New York Times, Complicite’s “The Encounter” at the Curran, April 25-May 7, 2017, is directed and performed by Simon McBurney. His solo performance, inspired by the book “Amazon Beaming” by Petru Popescu traces a journey into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, using 3D audio technology. At the American Conservatory Theatre through April 23, 20107 are “John,” a haunting story at the Strand Theater, and “Needles and Opium,” which dives into the stories of jazz legend Miles Davis and filmmaker Jean Cocteau at the Geary Theatre. “Battlefield,” April 26-May 21, 2017, based on text written almost 2,500 years ago, has striking connotations for today, also at the Geary.
The West Coast’s top designers are busy transforming 2698 Pacific Ave. in the heart of Pacific Heights for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, which will be open to the public from April 29-May 29, 2017 (closed Monday except Memorial Day). More than two dozen interior and landscape designers along with artists and photographers have been selected to make over the rooms and outdoor spaces in this 11,000-square-foot residence which was designed by acclaimed architects Newsom and Newsom in 1904. The Classical Revival mansion features some of the most sumptuous public rooms in the entire city including the entry foyer, formal library, living room and dining room.
New Shows at MoAD
Four new exhibitions are opening at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). On view April 26-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. Todd Gray, a Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary artist, investigates the erasures and potentiality of imaging blackness through photography, sculpture and performance. “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, presenting recent paintings, drawings and sculptural works that explore issues of cultural identity, personal agency, and the very notion of “African art.” A new edition of the Emerging Artist Program features Lili Bernard who turns classical European paintings into slave narratives in her series, “Antebellum Appropriations.” Additionally, 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 instrumentalists of all time.
Roz Chast’s “Cartoon Memoirs” at CJM
One of the most celebrated and beloved cartoonists working in the U.S. today, Roz Chast’s insights, especially into the care of aging parents, informs “Cartoon Memoirs,” a retrospective of her work at the Contemporary Jewish Museum that includes all the approximately 150 cartoons that appeared in her graphic memoir, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” On view April 27-Sept. 3, this is the exhibition’s only appearance outside of New York and Massachusetts.