Artist Agnieszka Pilat and robotic dog "Spot" admire Pilat's painting inspired my Marcel Duchamp. Image courtesy of the artist.

This weekend is packed with so much good stuff, including an arts lineup with a robotic dog that paints; rallies on immigration, the climate, and housing justice; and, of course, the Folsom Street Fair in the form of #MEGAHOOD2021. Scroll for more information about a community puzzle swap and how to get free admission to the California Academy of Science.

Tonight: Art receptions and auction deadline extended 

A robotic dog named “Spot” is joining artist Agnieszka Pilat to kick off her “Thinking Machines: Renaissance 2.0” exhibition at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.) from 6- to 8 p.m. tonight. Pilat, an artist-in-residence at Spot’s manufacturer, Boston Dynamics, is teaching the robot how to paint.

Pilat’s work explores innovation in the space where art and technology meet, taking inspiration from works like Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. She also builds on the exhibition theme with canvases and augmented reality reinterpreting Renaissance works from Michelangelo and DaVinci. An artist “schooled in the European figurative tradition of painting,” Pilat says her “aim is to deploy this old-fashioned training in a contemporary way.” Reception and exhibition details are available here.

Also tonight, don’t forget to place your final bids for the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness art auction. The final bid deadline has been extended to 9 p.m. Proceeds will fund the Coalition’s work to protect the lives of those living on the streets and create permanent solutions for homelessness.

Three closing receptions this weekend also beg your attendance. At The Drawing Room (3260-62 23rd St.) on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m., catch the collaborative show and talk by Zoe Ani and Nick Maltagliati called “Hard Work & Soft Fruit.” With 10 watercolor and gouache landscapes, they harnessed light and color to illustrate the human connection to land and the state of our food systems. Some proceeds will be donated to Direct Action for Farm Workers. Register to attend here.

The Ark Closing Reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Fort Mason Center For Arts & Culture’s Pier 2 building (2 Marina Blvd.) and features more than 100 local artists. Browse while listening to music by Motel Club, and enjoy treats and drinks by Rye on the Road. Ticketing information and other details are available here.

For their 14th anniversary, Secession Art & Design (3235 Mission St.) is hosting the “Longevity show, featuring artists Heather Robinson and Makiko Harris. The show concludes this Sunday, Sept. 26, but the gallery is open Thursday through Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m. To browse or own the artists’ “bright, curious” paintings, visit in-person or purchase immediately online. 

Weekend drinks sorted:

Justice for immigrants, the climate, housing, and more

On Friday, Sept. 24, a second Justice for Haitian Immigrants demonstration will take place at 4 p.m. at the San Francisco Federal Building (90 7th St.). Participants should bring signs and “your spirit of resistance.” Contact the organizing Haiti Action Committee for more information.

Look no further than the neighborhood (or your computer screen) for other opportunities to learn about and take action on current issues. The NorCal Symposium for Climate, Health, and Equity takes place from 12 to 7 p.m. online, and is co-sponsored by the University of California San Francisco. The symposium covers such topics as food systems, wildfire and air pollution, advocacy, and education with collaboration from community partners. Register here

On Saturday at 2:30 p.m., an Animal Liberation March will start from Dolores Park. The two-mile, moderately paced march will draw attention to the pandemic and climate emergency and show “how destructive animal exploitation is for all animals, including humans.” Find more information here

On Sunday, the Cancel the Rents! Car Caravan and Rally seeks to continue building “a powerful movement to win an indefinite moratorium that prevents 11 million people from being kicked out of their homes.” The demands include an indefinite moratorium on evictions, rapid advancement of renter relief funds, and rent cancellation and debt accumulated during the pandemic. The caravan will set out from 1875 Marin St. near Evans at 11:30 a.m., and the rally will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Garfield Park. Learn more here

Community Jigsaw Puzzle Swap: “Give a puzzle piece a chance.”

“Puzzles are a great break from screens and a fun way to de-stress,” according to a flier we found posted in the Mission this week. Whether you picked up puzzles during the pandemic or are a seasoned pro, this Sunday’s jigsaw puzzle swap is here to inspire you with new challenges. 

From 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 26th, drop by the corner of 22nd and Guerrero streets to swap old puzzles for new. It’s all free; for each puzzle you bring, take a new puzzle. Masks are required, hand sanitizer will be provided, and a table will be set up outside to allow for social distancing. Leftover puzzles will be donated to Community Thrift.

Free Cal Academy admission with vaccination, and what we learned during the pandemic

There are so many reasons to get vaccinated, and they now include a free trip to the California Academy of Sciences. As well as protecting yourself, your loved ones, and helping California continue to reopen safely, you can nab a Daytime or NightLife (21+) admission ticket while supplies last. List of participating vaccination sites available here.

For a bigger-picture look at the pandemic, the Department of Public Health director Grant Colfax will be at Manny’s on Tuesday, Sept. 28, to talk about our public health system in the last installment of the “What We Learned” series. Learn more and RSVP here

Tonight: One-on-one dance battle at Skybridge on Stevenson

As part of their bid to “breathe life” into the 500 block of Stevenson Street near 6th Street in SoMa, the community-led Skybridge on Stevenson is holding weekly outdoor dance and music festivals on Thursdays. Tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., “all styles, levels, abilities, and energy are highly encouraged” to come face off for cash prizes in a one-on-one dance battle featuring local DJs. There will also be distinguished local musical talent performances with food and drink provided by neighborhood restaurants. The weekly festivals continue through Nov. 18.

Lean into kink

The Folsom Street Fair will take place this Sunday and is named after its original ‘84 moniker this year: MEGAHOOD. #MEGAHOOD2021 still promises the same inclusivity, tantalization, and activism of the past with a new vision for the future of sexual liberation. They’ve planned everything with the pandemic in mind, and its instagram provides some helpful maps and other information to make the most of the day. Prepare to get kinky on Sunday from 11 a.m. to dusk!

And, just in time, Manny’s (3092 16th St.) is hosting a “Leather, Kink, & Spirituality” panel discussion on Friday at 5 p.m. The panelists include activists and a reverend with answers to questions like, “How can I become more confident in my sexual expression?” “Where do I find someone who shares my kinks and desires?” and “Can I be released from the shame I may feel?” RSVP here

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"Annie" is originally from Nebraska, where she found her calling to journalism as editor of her high school newsletter. Before returning to the field, she studied peace and political science in the Balkans, taught elementary and middle school, and worked as an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow her on Twitter @anlancheney.

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