Photo by Nagarajan Kanna

The Loverboy hit from the ‘80s said it best: “Everybody’s working for the weekend. Everybody wants a little romance.” So whether you’re officially on an extended vacation or just here for a long weekend, here are some of our favorites for July. 

America’s Cup Opening Ceremony and Weekend Festivities

July 4 is opening day at America’s Cup Park, Piers 27/29. The day’s activities start at noon with a ribbon-cutting event at the entrance; a range of activities will be offered here throughout the Summer of Racing. There will be interactive exhibits, a cinema that simulates an onboard racing experiences, live entertainment and race viewing events. A range of food is available throughout the Park offering everything from ice cream to a casual hot dog and cold beer to fine dining. The America’s Cup Park will be open daily and is free to the public. A special ticketed America’s Cup Opening Ceremony is scheduled for 3-4:30 p.m. on July 4. Tickets are $10 per person of which $9 will support the Americas Cup Healthy Ocean Project.  The ceremony features the crews of all four teams entered in the America’s Cup – defender ORACLE TEAM USA and challengers Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge. The day’s program includes cultural performances and exhibitions from each of the four nations, the U.S., Sweden, New Zealand and Italy. On Friday, July 5, activities begin off Pier 14 at 11 a.m. with the ceremonial Parade of Boats, led by a fire boat from the San Francisco Fire Department. The prototype and current America’s Cup designs will be represented in the fleet parade, with a replica of the schooner America, the winning yacht in 1851 for which the America’s Cup is named, alongside the AC72s of today. On race day afternoons throughout the Summer of Racing, the America’s Cup Pavilion stage will showcase local performing artists free to the public. The Opening Weekend features five local bands with the first of these performances on Friday, July 5, from 3- 5:30 p.m. On July 6 there’s a photo op with the America’s Cup for fans and July 7 it’s Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rossa.

You Otter Be There

Aquarium of the Bay, located on Pier 39, just opened a new permanent exhibit, Otters: Watershed Ambassadors. Let’s give a warm welcome to Shasta, Tubbs and Wildcat, three North American river otters. Named after local watershed destinations, this trio was chosen as ambassadors to the watershed because their survival depends on the health of waterways that feed into San Francisco Bay. The new exhibit showcases the river otters in a water and land habitat, surrounded by sweeping views of the bay. Freshwater pools are stocked with minnows and crayfish, and there’s plenty of dry land and dig pits for the otters to enjoy.

Jazz, Jazz, Jazz

The Fillmore Jazz Festival, the West Coast’s largest free jazz festival, features 12 blocks of music, fine arts and crafts, gourmet food and beverages in the heart of San Francisco’s historic Fillmore Jazz District. The line-up for this year’s free festival, July 6-7, will feature more than two dozen bands performing on three different stages, including Jazz Artist in Residence Kim Nalley, one of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed jazz and blues vocalists.

Bell of the Ball

It’s not everyone that can coax a melody out of a cable car bell, but each year in Union Square there’s a heated competition for the title of world champion in the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest. This year’s ring-off is slated for noon on July 11. Defending champ Trini Whittaker won last year in a tie-breaker against Leonard Oats, a three-time title holder and mentor of Whittaker. The program includes entertainment, amateurs competing on behalf of a charitable organization and the 49er cheerleaders. This year’s event is the 50th annual. The contest was started in 1949 according to the Cable Car Museum records and the winner represented the city at the Chicago Railroad Fair.

And the Beat Goes On … Ginsberg Festival

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) and local literary organizations are celebrating the life and legacy of Allen Ginsberg and his lasting relationship with the Bay Area with The Allen Ginsberg Festival, July 11-14. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg through Sept. 8 at CJM, the festival participants also include The Beat Museum, City Lights Booksellers, Lehrhaus Judaica, Genius  Loci Tours, Mechanics’ Institute Library, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, Stanford Humanities Center and Poetry Flash, with support provided by Litquake. Starting with a literary tour of North Beach with Ginsberg’s personal archivist and biographer, Bill Morgan, the festival also includes Morgan in conversation with author David Meltzer; a panel discussion at CJM on the controversy surrounding the publication of “Howl” and a Shabbat service featuring several poets.

Flick Picks

Four film festivals run concurrently in July: the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival at the Roxie, 3117 16th St.; the Silent Film Festival at the Castro Theatre; the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival at various locations throughout the Bay Area, and the inaugural Japan Film Festival at New People Cinema.   Held every summer in the heart of the Mission District, the Frozen Film Festival runs July 11-14. Opening with From Nothing, Something it provides a forum for independent filmmakers.  Now in its 18th year, the Silent Film Festival returns July 18-21 with an abundance of important films from the silent era, including works that were thought lost. Life Through a Jew(ish) Lens, the theme of the 33rd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 25-Aug. 12, includes a lineup of 74 films from 74 countries in eight Bay Area venues.  The new Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, July 27-Aug. 4, will be a prominent feature of the 2013 J-POP Summit Festival, taking place across Japantown July 27-28. Nine live-action films representing a vivid cross-section of the best in recent Japanese cinema will have their exclusive U.S. and/or San Francisco premiere at the festival as well as anime feature films. And while we’re talking about films, watch for the debut of Woody Allen’s new film Blue Jasmine on July 26; last summer Allen, Cate Blanchett and others were spotted all over San Francisco “on location” in the Mission,  Richmond and Union Square. 

Bastille Day

America, it would seem, is not the only country celebrating its independence in July. July 14 is Bastille Day, or as they say in France La Fete Nationale. Looking for a place to toss your beret in the air or wave the tricolor?  We suggest that you head for Claude Lane or Belden Place. 

This is Not Your Mother’s Camelot … Except for the Music

The 10th season of San Francisco Playhouse closes with Camelot, July 16-Sept. 21. Inspired by the success of their reimagined My Fair Lady, Director Bill English’s Camelot delves into a barbaric world where shining knights are little more than bikers with clubs, Arthur is a dreamer, Guenevere an angry Goth princess, Lancelot a religious zealot and the set design evokes Game of Thrones. The hauntingly romantic score remains and audiences will still hear “If Ever I Would Leave You” and “Follow Me.”

Juicy New Series at Exploratorium

Starting on July 20 the Exploratorium adds Market Days to its public offerings, bringing scientists, artists and educators together to present a bazaar of delicious new ideas and activities on the public plaza at Pier 15. Just a short walk from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, the Exploratorium’s Market Days will offer a bounty of free entertainment – from startling encounters with cutting-edge technology (think personal submersibles and green energy innovations), to sensory explorations of spices and herbs, to transformations of trash into wondrous new masterpieces. The first in the series, which will fall on the third Saturday of every month through October, is Local Motion, a celebration of the many ways, people, machines and animals get around. 

SF Chefs. Food. Wine.

SF Chefs, San Francisco’s food, wine and spirits festival, celebrates its return for the fifth year as one of the West Coast’s premier events, July 28-Aug. 4, 2013, with the Grand Tasting Tent events taking place in Union Square Aug. 2-4. Each Grand Tasting Tent event will feature a different culinary theme: the festival’s opening event will be Aug. 2; on Saturday, the five tastes (bitter, sour, salty, sweet or umami) will be highlighted in each chef’s dish; on Saturday evening, it’s decadence after dark and each dish will be inspired by the chef’s favorite song, musician or band. Sunday morning guests can look forward to brunch treats in the tent. On July 28 female chefs and sommeliers will be celebrated at an evening event at Prospect. Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Westin St. Francis sips and tastes from the best bars in the bay will be the draw.