Silhouette art by Karl Johnson
I had planned to visit the new mural on the Dolores Park Playground Boat (thanks to Precita Eyes, SFUSD ExCEL Afterschool Program, and Friends of DPP), but instead my sick son and I rested, watched filmmaker Maya Deren play chess at a dinner party, and read the news. Do kids and fancy restaurants mix? Should there be an exclusive seating section for children (and experimental filmmakers)? Because, you know, we’re a civilized, integrated society that values its members, young and old, especially those who (figuratively) have no voice. Are babies human, too? Last time I checked, yes.  And the babies are coming. Watch the trailer for “Babies”, a new movie following four infants from birth to first steps, filmed in Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco. It’s been awarded a semi-decent PG rating (“for cultural and maternal nudity”)– but that’s a whole other 99 pots of coffee to chat over.

Check out Lily Mihalik’s piece on the Mission Neighborhood Toy Drive, “Rappers Turn Out for Toys”. To donate, contact Ginale Harris at 415-643-5600, or come bring a toy this Sunday, Dec. 6th 3pm-8pm. It’ll put a smile on at least two people’s faces: yours and a child’s. Precita Valley Community Center, 534 Precita Ave.

“The Greatest Bubble Show on Earth” is on extended run at The Marsh. It’s a fantastic show. Louis Pearl playfully forms bubbles beyond imagination, and engages the audience with his easygoing nonverbal slapstick. A magician’s slight of hand and art of breath transform liquid into levitating shapes that vividly reflect colors, like hallucinatory holiday lights. Accordionist, vocalist and sidekick Jetty Swart enlivens the suspense and comedy. It’s pure fun for all ages, and even the most jaded Scrooge will feel like a kid again. Read more about Louis Pearl and his show in Eve Kushner’s SFGate article. (When my family attended last Sunday, there was a long waiting list but everyone was graciously admitted. You can buy tickets in advance online.) Dec. 6, 13, 20 & 27.. $7-10. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St. (near 22nd St.)

A fairy’s shadow captured by Karl Johnson

Back in the 1700’s, when phrenology was a legitimate science and photography was still in gestation, silhouette art was an accessible, minimalist alternative to expensive oil painting portraits. The art is still alive though rare. Master scissors artist Karl Johnson will be in town this weekend. He’s a third generation silhouette artist; you can watch him at work in this video. I’m amazed by all the movement and precision. Johnson’s swiftly snips a handsomely detailed profile of a toddler who, naturally, can barely sit still. No easy feat; however he makes it look easy as pie. You can have your kid’s silhouette cut in person this Saturday, Dec. 5th at Small Frys between noon and 4:00pm. Call the store at 415-648-3954 to book an appointment. Small Frys, 4066 24th St. (near Castro St.)

Also happening this Saturday are three different and delightful puppet shows. “The Owl and the Pussycat” at Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids’ Holiday Party; “Holiday Treats” at Dolores Park Playground; and “Enkanto: A Shadow Play” at 1:AM Gallery. (I see a shadow theme lurking.  What would Carl Jung think?). On Sunday, tickets go on sale for the new multimedia spectacle “Peter Pan”, opening in April 2010. SFGate’s Robert Herwitt reports that this baby is “conceived by an award winning creative team and featuring 22 actors, stunning puppets, epic music, dazzling flying sequences and the world’s first 360 degree CGI theater set.” Will Peter Pan ever remember his parents and get along with his Shadow? Did Wendy Darling grow up to be a Jungian psychologist working with clients in prolonged pre-adolescence? You can read SF Citizen’s teaser and ticket information.

Lastly, to the person who scrawled “BABY BLOOD ” with red paint near our apartment building: you first slipped into this world slathered in a vital concoction of blood, white vermix and oxytocin-laced amniotic fluid, like a painted shaman on a bungee cord, clamoring and clawing for VIP access to the milk bar, half-smiling as you slept in drunken bliss, dreaming of mysterious things that perhaps still beckon you now, while making textile art with dark meconium from one end and light spit-up from the other. And believe it or not, you were damn beautiful.

Events: (subject to change, confirm time)

Daniel Webster World Music Fundraiser

We missed this but it’s great to see what parents, staff and students are doing for arts advocacy in spite of the threat of more massive budget cuts in 2010. Teacher Temomo performed with two other drum masters along with students from Daniel Webster Elementary School, which has a K-5 Spanish immersion program and Spanish bilingual preschool. Tasty home-made African food and drink for sale. Thurs., Dec. 3. 5:30pm-8:30pm. Baobab Village, 3376 19th St. (at Mission)

Left Coast Leaning

Three-day festival celebrating urban-based movement, storytelling and music. Presented by Youth Speaks’ Living Word Project. Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 3-5. $10-35. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Form, 701 Mission St. (at 3rd)

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams’ classic tale of everlasting love between a boy and his threadbare toy rabbit is brought to stage with music, dance and dynamic narrative. Presented by contemporary dance company ODC/Dance, this holiday production is in its 23rd season. Nov. 27 – Dec. 13. $15-45. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard St. (at Third St.)

Christmas 101

A youth musical production by BCC Children’s Department. Free refreshments.

Fri. & Sat., Dec. 4 & 5. 7pm-8pm. Free. Bethel Christian Church Fellowship Hall, 1325 Valencia St. (at 24th)

A Curious Cinema: Secret Life of the Sewing Machine

Film screening, hands-on creative clothing modification and vegetarian meal for ages 6 and up. RSVP, space limited. Fri., Dec. 4. 5:30pm. $10-30 sliding. Studio for Urban Projects, 3579 17th St. (at Dolores)

Winter Holiday Card Making

Fun DIY holiday card workshop for the entire family, using fabric, cardboard, stencils and more. Munch on goodies from the bake sale while getting creative. Taught by Isabel Barazza, materials provided. Sat., Dec. 5. 11am-1pm. $5. Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission St. (at 25th)


Diverse musical styles showcased by student ensembles from CMC’s Comprehensive Musicianship and Inner City Youth Musicians programs. Sat., Dec. 5. Noon. Free. Community Music Center, 544 Capp St. (btw 20th and 21st)

Silhouette Artist Portraits

Master scissor artist Karl Johnson will be creating silhouette portraits. Call 415-648-3954 to book an appointment. Sat., Dec. 5. 12pm. $25 portrait. Small Frys, 4066 24th St. (near Castro)

Family MAPP

Art activities for all ages, materials provided. Just drop by and let your imagination go. Sat., Dec. 5. 1pm-4pm. Free. Red Poppy Art House, 2698 Folsom St. (at 23rd)

Fiesta del Tamal

Tamale lovefest presented by Caminos. Sample tamales from ten Mission District restaurants representing six different countries and vote for your favorite. Computer raffle to support increasing access to technology for Latinos. Sat., Dec. 5. 11:30am-4pm. Admission $7; kids under 10 years free. Women’s Building Auditorium, 3543 18th St. (at Lapidge)

Holiday/Anniversary Party & “The Owl and the Pussycat” Puppet Show

Celebration of holidays and 1st anniversary of Paxton Gate’s store for the young’uns. Michele Mernard and friends perform an enchanting puppet show, and there will be snacks, drinks, prizes and more. Sat., Dec. 5. 3pm-6pm.  Puppet show at 3:15pm.  Free. Paxton Gate Curiosities For Kids, 766 Valencia St. (near 19th)

Franklin Square Soccer Skills Competition

Competition and prizes for youth 14 and under. Share healthy snacks and a good time! Presented by Rec & Park Dept, Neighborhood Parks Council, City Fields Foundation, Friends of Franklin Square and Sports Basement. Sat., Dec. 5. 2pm-5pm. Free. Franklin Square Park (16th St. and Bryant)

Body Music Workshop for Families

Evie Ladin teaches hambone, rhythm games and song to all ages. Part of the Int’l Body Music Festival. Sat., Dec. 5. 2pm-3:30pm. $5. Bollyhood Cafe, 3372 19th St. (at Mission)

Old-Time Christmas Benefit Concert

Enjoy holiday music by Fret Not Gospel Band and the Mission High Guitar Club.  Benefit for Mission HIgh Parents’ Support Fund and César Chávez Elementary Food Pantry.  Sat., Dec. 5.  7pm-9pm.  $10; kids 12 and under free.  Dolores Park Church, 455 Dolores St. (btw 17th and 18th).  Parking across the street at Mission High School lot.

2nd Annual Mission Neighbohood Toy Drive

Bring a toy to benefit youth at the Bernal Dwellings.  Local celebrities will be there to meet-n-greet and sign autographs: Thizz Nation / Thizz Latin, San Quinn, The Jacka, Jimmy Roses, Monique Martinez and more.  Sun., Dec. 6.  3pm-8pm.   Precita Center, 534 Precita Ave.

SF Community Alternative School’s 6th Annual Silent Auction

Fun family event, gift shopping and fundraiser for a dynamic public K-8 small school.  Browse their impressive auction catalog with everything but the kitchen sink; auction items start at $4.  Live music by Eschew &SFC Jazz Band, face-painting for kids, lots of delicious food, and vino from West Sonoma will flow.   Auction goers also get 15% off at Sports Basement.  Sun., Dec. 6.  4pm-7pm (bidding ends at 6:30).  $15 per person; $20 per family (includes food and wine).  Sports Basement Grotto, 1590 Bryant St. (at 19th)

Holiday Treats” Puppet Show

Friendly, hefty Halloween monsters put on a Christmas puppet show where almost everything goes wrong. This I can relate to. Nick Barone and his puppets perform this half-hour comedy of errors presented by Friends of Dolores Park Playground. For kids of all ages; free refreshments. Sun., Dec. 6. 11am-noon. Dolores Park Playground.

The Greatest Bubble Show On Earth

Gobs of bubbles brew in the Marsh: flying saucer bubbles, smoky square bubbles, cosmic bubbles, centipede bubbles, even kids in bubbles. Float into an iridescent paradise with Louis Pearl, the Amazing Bubble Man. Accompanied by winsome live accordion and vocal music. Sun., Dec. 6. 1pm. $7-10. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St. (near 22nd St.)

A World Music Afternoon

CMC faculty, advanced students and guests perform medieval Latin chants, French noel, traditional Irish tunes, J.S. Bach hits, 13th century poetry and tales, and music from sephardic Spain, Turkey, Africa, Brazil and USA. Sun., Dec. 6. 4pm. Free. Community Music Center, 544 Capp St. (btw 20th and 21st)

Int’l Body Music Festival – Family Matinee Concert

An festive closing day concert featuring cross-cultural body musicians / dancers. Las Flamencas w/ La Flamenquita, The San Francisco School Students, Steve Hogan & Rashidi Omari, Keith Terry & Evie Ladin, Derique McGee’s Youth Ensemble, and De Rompe y Raja w/ Braulio Barrera. Sun., Dec. 6. 2pm. $10 adults; $5 children ages 2-12. Brava Theater, 2781 24th St. (at York)

Coming up (RSVP/tickets on sale):

Dec. 12 Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927)
Presented by SF Silent Film Festival.

Dec. 12 Dance-Along Nutcracker
“Blazing Nutcrackers!”

Dec. 12-Jan. 3 Fun-derful Holidaze
With clown Unique Derique and friends.

Dec. 13 Dance Brigade’s The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie – The Kidz Version

Clara and Freedom Fighting Nutcracker

Dec. 13-27 The Greatest Bubble Show on Earth

It’s true. Catch it while you can.

Dec. 14 “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote

Adventure of two boys searching for fruitcake ingredients.

Dec. 18-Jan. 3 Mr. Yoowho’s Holiday
European clown/ mime/ Japanese Kyogen/ Yiddish absurdism.

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