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June 15, 2017
San Francisco makes America great

San Francisco: 12 Events That Make America Great

What does makes America great?

This is certainly not a new question. In recent months, however, it is one that has prompted demonstrations, heated discussions, and dissent. In San Francisco artists and activists, pundits and poets have joined in the conversation. Here are more than a dozen opportunities to witness their responses and reactions firsthand. Many of the events noted here are part of a series so if you miss one, check their website for more updates.

Summer of Love 50th Anniversary
Throughout 2017 San Francisco and nearby areas is marking the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with exhibitions, concerts events and other activities exploring this transformative moment. The questions posed during that long ago summer still resonate today.

Through Aug. 5, 2017
An immigrant from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton was George Washington’s aide during the Revolutionary War and the first Secretary of Treasury under Washington’s administration. With a score that blends hip hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, “Hamilton” is the “story of America then, as told by America now.” While tickets are still scarce for this blockbuster at the SHN Orpheum Theater, $10 tickets are available via a daily digital lottery.

Through Aug. 13, 2017
Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
From documenting the plight of Dust Bowl migrants during the Great Depression to magnifying the grim conditions of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II, Dorothea Lange documented 20th-century life through the lens of her camera with riveting, intimate photographs. “Politics of Seeing” shares approximately 100 photographs to mark the 50th anniversary of the artist’s gift of her personal archive to the Oakland Museum of California. The emotional impact of her works continues to resonate with millions and illustrates the power of photography as a form of social activism. Lange’s photographs demonstrate how empathy and compassion, focused through art, can trigger political action.

Through Aug. 30, 2017
Shadow & Light (Writers Respond to Trump)
Words do matter and in this ongoing Litquake series, writers respond to the current White House administration. On July 25, 2017 immigrant writes respond to Trump in a session called “A Bunch of Bad Hombres,” with more to come on from a panel of environmental writers on Aug. 30, 2017. Admission is free.  

Through Sept. 14, 2017
Artists Drawing Club
In a play on words, the Asian Art Museum’s new evening series, Artists Drawing Club, is not about the act of drawing, but drawing connections between ideas, times, cultures and the broader world in which we live. Exchanges coming up include artists Ryan Tacata on July 20 and Victoria Fu on Aug. 10, 2017. 

Through March 2018
Exclusion: The Presidio’s Role in WWII Japanese American Incarceration
During World War II, the Presidio of San Francisco – 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. This special exhibition at the Presidio Officers’ Club marks 75 years since Lt. General John L. DeWitt issued Civilian Exclusion Orders from the Presidio and examines the post’s little understood part in these events.

June 14-22, 2017
AIGA Design Week: Question Everything
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.

Opening July 1, 2017
San Francisco Mime Troupe
Dubbed “America’s Theater of Political Comedy,” the San Francisco Mime Troupe has used a blend of satire and original music to debunk the so-called “official story” since 1959. This year’s production “Walls” poses the question, “How can a nation of immigrants declare war on immigration?” Shows begin July 1-2 in Berkeley and across the Bay to San Francisco’s Dolores Park on July 4 and continue throughout the summer until Labor Day weekend.  

July 19-22, 2017
Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival
Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks has been amplifying the voices of young people for decades. One of the world’s leading presenters of Spoken Word performance, education and youth development programs, Youth Speaks produces local and national youth poetry slams, festivals and reading series. Finalists from the annual Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam will be among the competitors at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, July 19-22, 2017 at the War Memorial Opera House. Brave New Voices offers a platform for young people to share their stories and speak to the realities of their everyday lives.

Sept. 1-30, 2017
Architecture and the City Festival
One of the nation’s largest architectural festivals of its kind, the annual Architecture and the City festival features walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more that address varying aspects of the design and planning process. This year’s theme, “Secret City,” will explore and reveal the many layers of San Francisco and how architecture and design play a key role in the ever-changing landscape. The programs will connect the past and the present to empower a more deliberate, livable future.

Sept. 14-23, 2017
Transform, A New Performance Festival
Long a champion of new ideas that can shift culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will present a new performance festival, “Transform,” Sept. 14-23, 2017 and in the spring of 2018 from May 8-19. One of the Bay Area’s first multidisciplinary festivals, “Transform” will create a space for visionary artists to confront the urgent questions facing society and in the process transform performance. The inaugural festival presents newly commissioned works by nine Bay Area artists who have been invited to create world premiere works in response to the question, “Why citizenship?”

City Arts & Lectures
Since 1980 City Arts & Lectures has presented events with leading figures in the world of art and ideas. Each season, there are more than 50 lectures and onstage conversations with authors, artists, political figures and scientists offering diverse perspectives. Upcoming guests include former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer on June 8, 2017, and author Arundhati Roy in conversation with novelist and ardent social activist Alice Walker on June 28, 2017. Misty Copeland, Francis Ford Coppola, and Hilton Als are among the guests scheduled for the fall season.

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