San Francisco has so much for art and culture lovers in the coming months that a 48-hour weekend getaway won’t be enough – but 49 hours might just do it.   Even an extra hour could hold new experiences that wait around every corner and hill of the city’s 49 square miles, each mile beckoning with a mix of arts, culture, curiosities and discoveries that could only happen in San Francisco.

From the 49ers that came seeking gold to the total square miles of the city, 49 is a story only San Francisco can truly tell. 

For the fourth year, the San Francisco Travel Association (formerly San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau) has developed a cooperative partnership with some of the city’s iconic arts organizations for its summer arts and culture campaign.  Titled “49 Hours,” it invites visitors to experience the most interesting 49 square miles on the planet in 49 hours and raises the question, “What will your 49 hours hold?” The goal is to inspire people to imagine a weekend getaway plus an hour.  

The campaign is set to include 49-hour arts and culture focused itineraries by notable San Franciscans; interaction with others on several social marketing platforms, and hotel, museum and performing arts packages.

Here are some ways to fill those 49 hours:

TALES OF THE CITYSan Franciscos beloved opus takes to the stage

American Conservatory Theaters (A.C.T.) highly anticipated production of Armistead Maupins Tales of the City is already taking off at the box office. Due to high demand, A.C.T. has already added three weeks of performances to the run of the world premiere musical.  Armistead Maupins Tales of the City will now run May 18July 10, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary St., San Francisco).   Three decades after Armistead Maupin mesmerized millions with his daily column in the city’s newspapers, detailing the lives and (multiple) loves of Mary Ann, Mouse, Mona, Brian, and their beloved but mysterious landlady, Mrs. Madrigal (played by the Tony Award-winning actress Judy Kaye), his iconic San Francisco saga comes home as a momentous new musical from the Tony Award-winning creators of Avenue Q (librettist Jeff Whitty and director Jason Moore) and the musical minds behind the glam-rock phenomenon Scissor Sisters (composers Jake Shears and John Garden). For information and to purchase tickets, please contact the A.C.T. Box Office at 415-749-2228 or visit the A.C.T. website at www.act-sf.org. Media contact: Evren Odcikin, 415-439-2418, evren@act-sf.org.

Litquake will join forces with A.C.T. and BARtab to co-present Thoroughly Modern Maupin: The Legacy of Armistead, an evening of readings and music on Thursday, May 12 at the Swedish American Music Hall, 2174 Market St.   Featuring the generation of writers who continue to further the ideals Armistead helped pioneer and champion in his work, participants include Michelle Tea, author of Rose of No Mans Land, K.M. Soehnlein, author of the award-winning The World of Normal Boys and its sequel, Robin and Ruby, which was just released in paperback. Also on deck will be journalist and author Kemble Scot.  And yes, there will be drag!  More information is available at www.litquake.org.  Media contact: Liam Passmore, 415-865-0860, liam@shaveandahaircut.biz.

SUMMER OF STEINOR ALL ABOUT GERTRUDEA celebration in the Yerba Buena cultural neighborhood

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century, is perhaps most famous as a modern writer and the creator of such oft-repeated phrases as “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” But Stein’s reach across the arts was extraordinary, extending well beyond literature to include collaborations in opera, ballet and more, and her influence as a style-maker, art collector and networker was considerable.  Her life and legacy will be celebrated in a neighborhood full of distinctly different events in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena district.

This spring, the Contemporary Jewish Museum debuts the first major museum exhibition to fully investigate this fascinating visual legacy and life of Gertrude SteinSeeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories is an art-filled biographical exploration of Stein’s multiple identities as a literary pioneer, transatlantic modernist, Jewish-American expatriate, American celebrity, art collector, and muse to artists of several generations. The exhibition also features Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967), Stein’s life-long partner, and explores the aesthetics of dress, home décor, entertainment, and food that the two women created together.  See it May 12 Sept. 6.  For information visit www.thecjm.org or call 415-655-7800. Media contact: Nina Sazevich, 415-752-2483, Nina911@pacbell.net.

Co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde reunites the collections of author Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael Stein, and Michael’s wife, Sarah Stein. As American expatriates, the Steins were part of the vibrant cultural life of Paris in the early 20th century, where they hosted prestigious salons and developed close friendships with leading artists of the day, most notably Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, whose works they collected in depth and form the core of this presentation. This major touring exhibition premiers May 21 and will be on view through Sept. 6, before traveling to Paris and New York. For information visit www.sfmoma.org or call 415-357-4000. Media contact: Libby Garrison, 415-357-4177, lgarrison@sfmoma.org.

The Gertrude Stein Opera – In conjunction with the exhibition, SFMOMA’s Live Art program will restage a production of Four Saints in Three Acts (1934), composer Virgil Thomson’s experimental opera based on Gertrude Stein’s original play. The opera focuses on two 16th-century Spanish saints – Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila – as they contemplate their earthly lives. The original staging was considered radical for its convention-defying format and its libretto (by Stein) concerned more with the sounds of words than with story. Bringing the piece into the 21st century, SFMOMA’s production will seek to reactivate the avant-garde energy at the heart of the Stein legacy, and will revisit Thomson’s insistence that the saints in the opera are really artists, punctuating the notion of creative community that the Steins so well represent. “We viewed a saint’s life as related to our own,” Thomson has said of his collaboration with Gertrude Stein on the project. “In all times, the consecrated artist has tended to live surrounded by younger artists and to guide them into the ways of spontaneity.” The opera will be presented in collaboration with the innovative chamber opera group Ensemble Parallèle, with original music and visuals by composer Luciano Chessa and video/performance artist Kalup Linzy. Performances of the opera will take place Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 18 –  20, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). For information visit www.sfmoma.org or call 415-357-4000. Media contact: Libby Garrison, 415-357-4177, lgarrison@sfmoma.org.

In association with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival lunchtime reading series, the organizers of Litquake will hold A Tribute to Gertrude Stein on May 17 at 12:30-1:30 pm on the plaza in front of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

For information, visit www.litquake.org or call 415-750-1497. Media contact: Liam Passmore, 415-865-0860, liam@shaveandahaircut.biz.

SO YOU THINK WE HAVE DANCE

San Francisco’s dance community is the second largest per capita in the U.S. according to Dance USA, and its many artists and companies reflect the rich cultural diversity of the city, where there are at least as many dance forms and genres as there are languages spoken.   

Dancers’ Group is pleased to announce 2011 Bay Area National Dance Week (BANDW), running April 22 – May 1  throughout the entire Bay Area. With dance more popular than ever around the nation, BANDW is expecting its biggest festival to date, with an anticipated 400-plus free events including classes, performances, open rehearsals, lecture demonstrations, and the return of the wildly popular One Dance which will kick off the festivities on Friday, April 22 in Union Square Park. From established company programs to one-time events, BANDW provides an opportunity for dance-lovers of all ages and experience-levels to take a grand tour of the many movement styles, including Argentine tango, classical Indian, jazz, hip hop, ballet, traditional hula, fire dance, Samba, modern, Chinese classical, belly dance, aerial dance, West African, contact improvisation, and more.   Founded in 1982, Dancers’ Group promotes the visibility and serves San Francisco Bay Area artists, the dance community and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process.  For information, visit  www.dancersgroup.org.  Media contact: Mona Baroudi, mona.baroudi@sbcglobal.net.

“I heartily envy the Bay Area residents,” said New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the largest event of its kind in the U.S.  For the 33rd year, audiences will be whisked away on a first-class global journey in dance for five weekends, June 3-July 3, in San Francisco and Berkeley, CA. The Festival, which often sells out, will feature substantially more performances and events to accommodate growing audiences. All new venues -including San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (including the Novellus Theater, Forum and Gardens); UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, San Francisco’s City Hall Rotunda and the Palace of Fine Arts Gardens – will come to vivid life as more than 30 companies representing dance traditions from more than 20 cultures take the stage. The 2011 Festival kicks off Friday, June 3, at noon at San Francisco City Hall Rotunda with a free public performance and continues through July 3 with more than 20 performances and events. For more information about the 33rd annual Festival, visit www.sfethnicdancefestival.org and http://www.worldartswest.org/main/home.asp.   Media contact: Scott Horton, scott@worldartswest.org.

ODC is a groundbreaking contemporary arts institution with longstanding roots in the San Francisco community.  In 1979, it became the first modern dance company in America to build its own home facility.  In September 2005, ODC opened a new 33,000-square-foot performing arts training center, the ODC Dance Commons, half a block from the cornerstone ODC Theater in San Francisco’s artistically thriving Mission district. The completion of ODC Theater in 2010 culminated a successful two-year, $9 million renovation and expansion campaign that concluded ODC’s extraordinary, decade-long $20 million effort to realize a national center for contemporary dance and performance on the West Coast.  Now one of the most active centers for dance on the West Coast, ODC is unique for its fully integrated program vision and far-reaching impact. Its two building campus features eight studios, two performance venues and several office suites, is home to a world-class dance company, a professional, pre-professional, and recreational dance training program, a Healthy Dancer’s Clinic, and a nationally regarded presenting venue.  Upcoming programs may be found at www.odcdance.org.  Media contact: Mona Baroudi 415-615-2735, mona@odcdance.org.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet of San Francisco is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by its uniquely global artistic vision. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions and imbue classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo King’s visionary choreography is renowned for its ability to connect audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity — of vulnerability and tenderness, but also of furious abandon and exhilarating freedom. Visionary choreographer Alonzo King, creator of Alonzo King LINES Ballet, collaborates with legendary musician Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead, Planet Drum) and cutting-edge architect Christopher Haas to create a ground-breaking world premiere, Collaboration with Mickey Hart and Christopher Haas, April 15-24 at the Novellus Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. For information, visit www.linesballet.org.   Media contact: Mona Baroudi, 415-615-2735, pr@linesballet.org.

  

MUSIC – ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO AND ONLY THIS SUMMER

Founded in 1911 and widely considered to be among the United States’ most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions, the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will celebrate its Centennial Season in 2011-12. Led by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony will present an ambitious eleven-month season of concerts, programs, and events, expanded education programs, and Centennial media initiatives.  In an unprecedented celebration of the American orchestra, six of the country’s most distinguished major symphony orchestras visit San Francisco, performing on the same stage during the same season. Performing two concerts each as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s historic Centennial celebration in 2011-12 are New York Philharmonic, with Music Director Alan Gilbert; Boston Symphony Orchestra; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Riccardo Muti; The Cleveland Orchestra, led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst; the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Chief Conductor Charles Dutoit.  The Orchestra’s 100th season celebrates the American orchestra and its vibrant role in its community as an artistic leader and civic institution.  Season highlights include the iconic American Mavericks Festival with three world premiere commissions by John Adams, Mason Bates and Meredith Monk, and soloists Jessye Norman, Emanuel Ax, Paul Jacobs, Jeremy Denk, Joan La Barbara, Bates, Monk, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the SF Symphony Chorus. For information, visit www.sfsymphony.org.   Media contact: Public Relations, 415-503-5474, publicrelations@sfsymphony.org.

The San Francisco Opera will present The Ring Festival, three complete cycles of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). The composer’s epic four-opera cycle is widely considered as one of the greatest works ever conceived for the operatic stage. The four operas in this new production — Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdöämmerung — will be presented in San Francisco for the first time as a complete cycle  June 14-July 3. In conjunction with the presentation of Der Ring des Nibelungen, San Francisco Opera will join with other cultural institutions to present activities throughout the Bay Area as part of the Ring Festival, including lectures, musical performances, film screenings, exhibits and other events. A calendar of events for the Ring Festival is available at www.sfopera.com.  Media contact: Jon Finck, 415-565-6472, jfinck@sfopera.com.

MUSEUMS – NEW AND NOTABLE

Internationally renowned as a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture, San Francisco has welcomed yet another groundbreaking queer institution: The GLBT History Museum, which opened on Jan. 12. A project of the GLBT Historical Society, an archives and research center established in 1985, the new museum is the first of its kind in the United States – and only the second in the world. “A quarter century after the founding of the GLBT Historical Society, we’re proud to open a museum to showcase our community’s history,” said Paul Boneberg, executive director of the Historical Society. “The GLBT History Museum is in the heart of the Castro, a neighborhood visited not only by locals, but also by tens of thousands of tourists every year who come in search of queer culture. At our museum, they’ll discover treasures from our archives that reflect fascinating stories spanning nearly a century of GLBT life. We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse and surprising as the GLBT community itself. Whether visitors are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight, they’re sure to be moved, enlightened and entertained.” Located at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, the museum includes 1,600-square-feet of gallery and program space.  For information, visit www.glbthistory.org or call 415-777-5455. Media contact: Paul Boneberg, 415-777-5455, info@glbthistory.org.

Through June 7, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) showcases the first-ever retrospective examining all aspects of artist Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photography. Best known for his groundbreaking studies of animals and humans in motion, Muybridge (1830–1904) was also an innovative and successful landscape and survey photographer, documentary artist, inventor, and war correspondent.  In the 1870s he developed new ways to stop motion with his camera. Muybridge’s legendary sequential photographs of running horses helped change how people saw the world. His projected animations inspired the early development of cinema, and his revolutionary techniques produced timeless images that have profoundly influenced generations of photographers, filmmakers, and visual artists.  Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change brings together more than 300 objects created between 1857 and 1893, including Muybridge’s only surviving zoopraxiscope—an apparatus he designed in 1879 to project motion pictures.  The exhibition includes numerous vintage photographs, albums, stereographs, lantern slides, glass negatives and positives, patent models, zoopraxiscope discs, proof prints, notes, books and other ephemera. The works have been brought together from 38 different collections and include a number of Muybridge’s photographs of Yosemite Valley, including dramatic waterfalls and mountain views from 1867 and 1872; images of Alaska and the Pacific coast; an 1869 survey of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads in California, Nevada, and Utah; pictures from the Modoc War, pictures from Panama and Guatemala; and urban panoramas of San Francisco. The exhibition also includes examples from Muybridge’s experimental series of sequential stop-motion photographs such as Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881) and his later masterpiece Animal Locomotion (1887).  For more information visit www.sfmoma.org or call 415-357-4000. Media contact: Libby Garrison, 415-357-4177, lgarrison@sfmoma.org.

The de Young Museum will feature Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris on June 11 – Oct. 9, 2011. This extraordinary exhibition includes more than 100 masterpieces by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) from the permanent collection of Paris’ world-renowned Musée National Picasso. The once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, made possible only because of the temporary closure of the Musée Picasso until 2012 for extensive renovations, comprises paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints drawn from every phase of the artist’s career.  The works on view demonstrate the wide range of artistic styles and forms that the artist mastered, including: Celestina (1904), from the artist’s Blue Period; Two Brothers (1906), from the Rose Period; Expressionist studies for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907); the Cubist Man with a Guitar (1911), the Neoclassical Portrait of Olga (1917), the artist’s wife; the proto-Surrealist Two Women Running on a Beach (1922); Portrait of Dora Maar (1937), the artist’s lover and famed French artist; six Surrealist bronze heads of the artist’s mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter; the  Head of a Bull (1942) fabricated from a bicycle seat and handlebars; the bronze Goat (1950); the six life-size bronze Bathers (1956); and the late self-portrait The Matador (1970).  For  information, visit www.famsf.org or call 415-750-3600. Media contact: Jill Lynch, 415-750-3553, jlynch@famsf.org 

Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance is on view through Sept. 11 at the Asian Art Museum. The first ever large-scale exhibition of Balinese art in the United States, it includes a wide range of objects from simple plaited palm images of the rice goddess to terrifying stone statues of Hindu deities; from painted palanquins for the gods to gilt thrones for royalty; from offerings made for a family shrine to masks carved for foreign tourists. Accompanying performances, videos, and demonstrations show how many of these objects are still used in contemporary practice. For information, visit www.asianart.org or call 415-581-3500. Media contact: Tim Hallman, 415-581-3711, pr@asianart.org.

ACCESS TO THE ARTS ON YOUR PHONE

Travelers to San Francisco may now conveniently access content from one of the city’s most comprehensive and trusted arts and entertainment resources, www.SFArts.org, with the tip of a finger. The free SF Arts Guide app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices through iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sf-arts-guide/id380603718?mt=8  and enables users to navigate thousands of arts events taking place throughout the city.  The design makes it easy for visitors to browse events, purchase tickets, share information with friends and find locations details more than 1,200 San Francisco Bay Area events. Eleven event categories, from performing to visual arts, are presented along with images within the frame of the app’s main menu view, making it quick and easy for users to find events of interest. Media contact: Kate Patterson, 917-821-6759, kpattersonpr@gmail.com.

For general information on hotel packages and reservations; events; activities and transportation in San Francisco, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel. For lodging reservations, call 800-637-5196 within North America or 415-391-2000 or 415-392-0328 (TTY/TTD) elsewhere.

The San Francisco Visitors Planning Guide is available at the Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St., at the corner of Powell and Market streets, lower level, Hallidie Plaza.  A virtual edition of the guide is also available online: http://guides.weaver-group.com/sf/ovg2/2010/

A visitor’s kit may also be ordered online at www.sanfrancisco.travel, by phone at 415-391-2000 or 415-392-0328 (TTY/TTD), by written request to the San Francisco Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102, or via email to vic1@sanfrancisco.travel.  Domestic and international shipping charges apply.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop links with more than 31 international points on 29 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with more than 69 cities in the U.S. on 20 domestic airlines. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit www.flysfo.com. SFO was voted “North America’s Best Airport” in 2008 by passengers for its outstanding customer service and amenities.

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Laurie Armstrong
Director, Media Relations – US & Canada
415.227.2615
larmstrong@sanfrancisco.travel 
Angela Jackson
Director, Media Relations – International
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ajackson@sanfrancisco.travel