“Everyone loves being in the Mission,” says Andrew Wood, executive director of the San Francisco International Arts Festival.
After three years of pandemic programming, the SFIAF presents its latest incarnation June 3 to 18, bringing dance, theater, music and performance art to venues around the neighborhood.
Priced out of Ft. Mason, where the festival had expanded tremendously in the years before Covid-19, SFIAF is taking over Brava Theater Center for its 20th season, while also using venues such as Dance Mission Theater, Theatre of Yugen, and the Joe Goode Annex.
For Wood, the move puts the festival in sync with its environment in a way that Ft. Mason, with all its natural splendor, never quite could. “The work we present has always been very culturally diverse, and being in the Mission makes it easier for that diversity to excel,” he said. “As much as I appreciate Ft. Mason, it’s surrounded by the Marina, a neighborhood where people don’t always feel welcome. In the Mission, everyone feels at home.”
After several days of educational programming, the festival kicks off at the Joe Goode Annex with choreographer Shinichi Iova-Koga’s inkBoat presenting the Daoist-inspired “Clouds from a Crumbling Giant,” a performance piece rooted in avant-garde Japanese dance theater.
With three spaces available — Brava Theater, Cabaret, and Studio — the Brava Theater Center is well-equipped to serve as the festival’s hub. On Saturday, June 11, alone, the SFIAF presents innovative harpist Amelia Romano and an all-female cast of collaborators (3 p.m., Brava Cabaret); singer/songwriter Clyde Leland’s benefit for the Bay Area chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (4 p.m., Brava Studio); the Speakeasy Storytellers Series (6 p.m., Brava Studio); tenor saxophonist Francis Wong’s “Wong Works! A Memoir in Music” (7:15 p.m., Brava Cabaret); Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco’s “Sones y Tradiciones” (8 p.m., Brava Theater); and Radical Medicine Project and Theatre Movement International’s tales from Indigenous children’s boarding schools (8:30 p.m., Brava Studio).
The advent of the SFIAF marks the start of the summer cultural offerings, even if the season doesn’t officially start for another three weeks.
Field Day at the Community Music Center
Jumping out of the gate, this weekend brings a flood of activities to the Mission. On Saturday, the Community Music Center presents the free Field Day Performathon, an all-day event with musical performances by faculty, students, and friends of the CMC.
Starting its second century of making music accessible to everyone, the CMC is looking to raise some $75,000 for tuition assistance and scholarships, programs that distributed $3 million in financial help for music education last year. The 7th annual Field Day runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, with Chasta from The Bone (KSAN — 107.7 FM) serving as a guest emcee.
The Performathon features the Stone Foxes’ drummer, vocalist and co-founder Shannon Koehler (who’s also the CMC’s operations manager), performing with fellow musical talents from the CMC staff. Pop-up groups, school ensembles, and solo performances are also on tap, encompassing an array of generations and genres.
The 10th Annual SF Son Jarocho Festival
At Brava Theater Center, the 10th Annual San Francisco Son Jarocho Festival features performances Saturday, June 3, and workshops with the great Veracruz ensemble Mono Blanco Sunday, June 4.
Explore the folkloric music style of Veracruz, Mexico, during a two-day festival of music, workshops, and conversations, when Brava presents the 10th Annual San Francisco Son Jarocho Festival. Saturday’s double bill reunites Mono Blanco with Los Cenzontles, the great Mexican roots music ensemble out of Richmond’s Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center.
A leading force in preserving and promoting son jarocho, Grupo Mono Blanco is a multi-generational ensemble with some two dozen members whose families have played and danced the percussive art form for generations. Over the past two decades, Los Cenzontles has documented their studies and collaborations with Mono Blanco on albums and the 2006 documentary “Fandango, Searching for the White Monkey.” The two institutions bring out the best in each other.