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What to do this Weekend: Aug 13 – 16

by Cristina Schreil

Creativity is alive and well around the Bay Area, and this week’s curated events roundup is proof. 

Dance is especially vibrant this week: Find several events, including a dance festival spotlighting deaf and hard of hearing performers, a showcase of new works followed by a virtual dance party, and the premiere of a dance film created during shelter-in-place with the SF Ballet and director Benjamin Millepied.

Read on for more things to listen to, learn, watch and groove to this weekend.

1. Watch dance unfold around San Francisco.

View San Francisco Ballet dancers performing among the city’s beautiful, most iconic landmarks in the new short dance film Dance of Dreams, which premieres this week. The work, directed by star choreographer Benjamin Millepied, arose during the pandemic, with dancers following shelter-in-place orders. Dancers perform choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor and Christopher Wheeldon at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and other scenic locales. 

Dance of Dreams is a moment of dancing, a moment of reconnecting dancers to the city and the thing they love most,” Millepied says.

The six dancers include Principal Dancers Joseph Walsh and Frances Chung, Ellen Rose Hummel, Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, Madison Keesler and Principal Dancer Benjamin Freemantle. 

Thursday, August 13, at noon on SF Ballet @ Home’s website, YouTube, Facebook and IGTV. Free. 


2. Watch the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival

This weekend marks the eighth year of this lively festival showcasing deaf and hard of hearing artists, presented by Antoine Hunter’s Urban Jazz Dance Company. It’s an international celebration, with performances by artists in Colombia, Canada, Venezuela, India, and across the United States. Participating Bay Area organizations include Deaf Pride Dance Company and Visceral Roots Dance Company. Sunday offers a family-friendly matinee performance.

The festival also includes several workshops on cumbia, flamenco, modern dance, contemporary ballet and more. 

Performances are accompanied by a diverse offering of sign language interpretation and CART captioning. 

Friday, August 14, at 6 p.m. and Saturday, August 15, at 6 p.m.; Sunday, August 16, at 5 p.m. Suggested donation: $5–$25. 


3. Look to the stars.

While these unprecedented times force us to charge ahead into the unknown, the California Academy of Sciences offers navigation lessons from another corner of the globe. 

Celestial wayfinding and deep-sea voyaging are the topics of the Cal Academy’s next NightLife NightSchool. Two experts from the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii will teach audience members about the tropical night sky and give an introduction to the indigenous system of navigation and orientation at sea. 

One speaker, Chad Kalepa Baybayan, has been recognized as a master navigator and has served as captain and navigator aboard three Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoes.

Thursday, August 13, at 7 p.m. on YouTube and Facebook. Free. 


4. Witness, and help sculpt, new dance performances. (Bonus: Dance party!)

Steep in the city’s vibrant dance scene — even if you’re only in your living room. Bringing its salon to the digital realm, RAWdance presents an evening highlighting dance for camera. Find a series of short dance films created over the course of the pandemic and featuring five guest choreographers. Hosting are RAWdance’s co-artistic directors Katerina Wong, Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith. 

Expect an interactive element: Viewers can provide feedback as choreographers complete their works. After, DJ Rockin’ Raul ignites a full-on dance party.

Friday, August 14, at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Tickets are suggested as $10–$25.


5. Groove and “exchange.”

Vivacious Bokanté is the star of this week’s SFJAZZ Fridays at Five performance, in a concert that was recorded in September 2018. 

Bokanté, led by bassist and Snarky Puppy legend Michael League, derives from an Antillean Creole word meaning “exchange.” Expect plenty of that and more. 

Bokanté brings a dynamic multicultural musical approach that marries the electric blues of Led Zeppelin with Afropop and folkloric Caribbean styles, unified by the soaring vocals of Tirolien, whose lyrics paint unflinching portraits of joy, protest, racism, triumph, crisis, hope, and unity,” SFJAZZ programmers write. 

Friday, August 14, at 5 p.m. Digital memberships are $5 a month.

Watch here:

6. Listen to a new radio drama with a retro twist. 

Remember serial radio dramas? A new one comes with some twists. The Electronic Lover is set in Internet chatrooms at the dawn of the home computer in the early 1980s, complete with a contemporary, experimental score. It’s a new podcast project by Bay Area composer Lisa Mezzacappa and Brooklyn writer Beth Lisick. Adding yet another layer of cross-era technology, the Center for New Music hosts the podcast’s launch over Zoom.

The launch includes a group listening party and a Q&A. (After, The Electronic Lover can be found at all major podcasting platforms).

Friday, August 14, at 7 p.m. over Zoom. Free. 


7. Smile wide with Black Laughs Matter.

Every Saturday evening brings the San Francisco virtual comedy show “Black Laughs Matter.” Besides being a break to unwind and laugh, it’s a chance to support Black comics amid a muted comedy scene in the era of coronavirus. 

Hosting is Berkeley native Chris Riggins, who’s opened for Dave Chapelle, Wu-Tang Clan and Mos Def. Joining this week are Cynthia In Public (“part-time hype woman/full-time drama queen”) and Philadelphia comic Darryl Charles.

Saturday, August 15, at 8 p.m. on Zoom. Free (but donations to @hellafunny on Venmo are appreciated). 


8. Breathe deep into the new weekend with a free meditation.

Unable to invite participants to sit and settle within its gallery spaces, the Asian Art Museum once again hosts a virtual meditation session with the San Francisco Zen Center. This time, teaching is Dr. Lucy Xiao, a priest, doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, and Zen devotee for two decades. 

Beginners welcome. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. 

Saturday, August 15, at 10:30 a.m. on Zoom. $0–$25.


9. Go to church. 

Old First Church has been presenting concerts for 50 years, and you better believe the coronavirus wasn’t going to stop them. The next virtual live-streamed performance features compelling young duo Henry Plotnick & Sebastian Alexander Johnson. 

The eclectic jazz musicians and composers — Plotnick on piano and Johnson on vibraphone — are both students at School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School in New York. Expect an engrossing evening bridging multiple musical idioms from the duo known for “blurring the lines between stylistic boundaries.”

Sunday, August 16, at 4 p.m. on YouTube. Suggested donation: $20. 


10. Wrap up the weekend with wine and indie-folk.

Robert Mondavi Winery’s next Summer Sundays concert series presents Seattle indie-rock band The Head and The Heart, performing as part of its Living Mirage tour. The concert includes a talk between the musicians and TV personality Liam Mayclem. 

Viewers who’d like to enjoy wine and snacks during the show can purchase packages from the winery.

Sunday, August 16, at 4 p.m. on YouTube and online. Free. 



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