Summer in the City: San Francisco’s Free Concert and Film Series
(June 14, 2010) - Summer will officially arrive on June 21, 2010 and through the end of October visitors to San Francisco may listen to the San Francisco Symphony, hum along to a libretto with the San Francisco Opera, watch movies under the stars, or enjoy Shakespeare in the park — all for free.
Commenting on one of the outdoor entertainment series, Jewels in the Square Programming Coordinator Marcelo Aviles noted, “On any given day, there are visitors to Union Square from not only the Bay Area but from around the world. These programs will hopefully introduce people to the arts in San Francisco and remind those who live here what a great cultural scene exists in the Bay Area.”
Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike or take public transit to all events. For regional transit information call 511 within the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties or visit www.511.org. For information on public transit within San Francisco, telephone 311 or visit www.sfmta.org.
There are more than 470 free concerts and film screenings. Among them are:
Del Monte Square Film Festival – This August watch free movies made in and about San Francisco through the decades. Films will be screened Sunday evenings, Aug. 1-29, under the stars in the courtyard of The Cannery at Del Monte Square, 2801 Leavenworth St. Open seating begins at 7:30 p.m. and show time is 8 p.m. Hot beverages, dessert treats and more will be available for purchase from The Cannery’s restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlor. If the weather is inclement, movie night will be postponed. For information visit www.delmontesquare.com or call 415-771-3112.
Fillmore Plaza Summer Concert & Film Series – Kick back and enjoy summer’s long daylight hours at the Fillmore Center, located at the intersection of Fillmore and O’Farrell streets. The free concert and film series runs through August; films are shown on Thursday evenings and concerts occur on Friday. For information visit www.thefillmoredistrict.com/calendar or call 415-346-5299.
Film Night in the Park – Park perks in San Francisco include fresh-air flicks. Every summer Film Night in the Park draws more than 15,000 filmgoers to parks throughout San Francisco. Films are presented free of charge on a giant outdoor screen. Attendees are encouraged to picnic before screenings and discouraged from blocking views with chairs. All screenings begin at dusk or 8 p.m. This year’s flick picks run through Sept. 25 and include Sing-Along Grease, Dolores Park (June 19); Dirty Dancing, Union Square (July 10); Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dolores Park (Aug. 7); Rear Window, Union Square (Aug. 28); Amelie, Washington Square Park (Sept. 11) and The Big Lebowski, Dolores Park (Sept. 25). Full details are posted on www.sfneighborhoodtheater.org or call 415-465-FILM (3456).
Golden Gate Park Band – Regular band concerts began in Golden Gate Park in 1882. The Golden Gate Park Band performs every Sunday through Sept. 26 and the occasional holiday at 1 p.m. in the Spreckles Temple of Music, Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park. History comes alive at the many performances that feature music from specific nationalities and cultures; on these occasions there are dancers, singers, speakers in attendance who “enlighten and entertain,” according to the band’s website. For information call 510-530-0814 or visit www.goldengateparkband.org.
Jewels in the Square – Jewels in the Square presents entertainment on the main stage of Union Square ranging from Crosscut Blues Band, performing a unique mix of vintage blues and rock, to the Picklewater Free Circus Festival, a month-long tribute to circus arts. Dance series include Salsa in the Square (June 16, July 21 and Sept. 15); Lindy in the Square (June 23, July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 22), and Tango in the Square (July 4, Aug. 1, Sept. 5 and Oct. 3). For performance times and information visit www.jewelsSF.org or call 415-477-2610.
Music on Mint Plaza – This continuing series on Mint Plaza, Fifth Street between Market and Mission streets, is every Friday beginning July 2 through Sept. 24 from noon to 1 p.m. Also presented by People in Plazas (see below), the concert lineup includes Jazz Caliente (July 30), Hanakapacha (Aug. 13), Dee Spenser (Sept. 10) and others. For information visit www.mintplazasf.org or www.peopleinplazas.org.
People in Plazas – The perfect pick-me-up at lunchtime, the series presents 150 free concerts featuring all local performers, July 1-Sept. 30, 2010. Locations are in 20 downtown plazas on or near San Francisco’s main stem, Market: 101 California St.; 333 Market St.; 425 Market St.; 525 Market St.; 941 Market St.; 1275 Market St; Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St.; Three Embarcadero Center; One Bush Plaza; 50 Fremont St.; Mint Plaza (Jessie Street off Fifth Street between Market and Mission streets); Rincon Center food court and courtyard; 17th and Castro streets; 83 McAllister St.; 555 Mission St.; 560 Mission St.; Orrick Building Plaza, 405 Howard St., 303 Second St., and Transamerica Redwood Park. Performances begin at noon. For a complete schedule visit www.peopleinplazas.org.
San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT) – That’s mime as in “the exaggeration of everyday life in story and song.” This group has a lot to say and they’ve been doing so since 1959. Winners of a special Tony Award in 1987 for Excellence in Regional Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe specializes in shows that “debunk the official story.” Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker is a modern tale of two factories and some parallels between workers in America and Argentina. Shows begin July 3 in San Francisco and travel to parks (and a few indoor locations) all over California until Sept. 19. Most performances are free; however, donations are welcomed. For information and show locations, call 415-285-1717 or visit www.sfmt.org.
SFJAZZ Summerfest – SFJAZZ’s annual series of free outdoor concerts runs through Oct. 13, 2010. The series launches in June at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto and heads north to Union Square on Thursday evenings Aug. 5, 19 and 26. Next stop Levi’s Plaza, 160 Battery St. Enjoy jazz riffs and Latin rhythms every Wednesday from noon-1: 30 p.m. Union Square is the next stop; among those performing are Tin Cup Serenade and Lisa Engelken. For performance details visit www.sfjazz.org or call 415-398-5655.
Shakespeare in the Park – After a circuit through Bay Area parks in Pleasanton and Cupertino, Shakespeare in the Park will present Two Gentlemen of Verona, Sept. 4-26, 2010 on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays and Labor Day at 2:30 p.m. at the parade grounds at the Presidio of San Francisco. Shakespeare’s tale of Valentine and Proteus, the gentlemen in question, and their romantic entanglements is a zany comic caper with some ‘60s music tossed in for more fun. One of the major free Shakespeare programs in the U.S., Free Shakespeare in the Park began in 1983 and is in its 28th season. For information visit www.sfshakes.org or call 415-558-0888 or 800-978-PLAY (7529) outside 415 area.
Stern Grove Festival – The Stern Grove Festival is a beloved San Francisco tradition that began in 1938. From June 20-Aug. 22 for 10 consecutive Sundays at 2 p.m., a wide range of artists including the San Francisco Opera (July 4), San Francisco Symphony (July 11) and San Francisco Ballet (Aug. 8) will perform in “nature’s music box” – Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. The season opens June 20 with Afropop diva Angélique Kidjo and ends with alt-rockers They Might Be Giants. Weekday Kids’ Days program at Stern invite children to explore music and more; pre-registration is required for these free programs. Hands-on art programs also precede every concert at the KidStage in the West Meadow from noon-1 p.m. Informative pre-concert “Troc Talks” begin at noon in the Grove’s Trocadero Clubhouse. For the complete schedule visit www.sterngrove.org or call 415-252-6252.
Stonestown Galleria – Every other Tuesday summer family movie nights will be held at the Stonestown Galleria, 19th Avenue and Winston, through Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Among the selections are Up June 29 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs July 27. Stonestown Galleria has partnered with the Stonestown Family YMCA. Popcorn, face painting by Rachel the Entertainer, balloon making and merchant discounts add to the fun. For information visit www.stonestowngalleria.com.
Woman’s Will – This all-female Shakespeare company often turns the tables on the male-only casts of Shakespeare’s time with their versions of the Bard’s best. This season they do Much Ado About Nothing. Although most of their performances are in the East Bay beginning July 10, Woman’s Will does schedule several performances in San Francisco’s Dolores Park Aug. 21-22 and McLaren Park Aug. 28-29. For information visit www.womanswill.org or call 510-420-0813.
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival – The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (YBGF) is celebrating its 10th year with 100 free events through Oct. 31 in Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth and Mission streets. Music, theater, circus, dance, poetry, family festivals and children’s programs with artists from Cuba, Bali, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Italy, Sweden and other lands are scheduled. Highlights include AXIS Dance Company performing an YBGF commissioned piece June 26, Circus Bella July 3 and The Angola Project Aug. 28. This hothouse of culture also includes the San Francisco Theater Festival (www.sftheaterfestival.org) Aug. 8; more than 130 professional theater groups perform on 17 stages 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there is also a special children’s theater festival throughout the day. Let’s Go Dance@Jessie! is a monthly open-air dance party in Jessie Square in front of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., on the first Thursday of every month 6-7:30 p.m. For information visit www.ybgf.org or call 415-543-1718.
Quick Picks – The San Francisco Symphony (www.sfsymphony.org) performs at 2 p.m. in Stern Grove Sunday, July 11 and at 2 p.m. at Dolores Park July 25. A noon performance in Justin Herman Plaza Sept. 24 will be conducted by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. Also on Sept. 24 the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Giants will bring opera to AT&T Park at 8 p.m. with a live simulcast of Verdi’s Aida. More than 23,000 music lovers turned out last year for the Opera at the Ballpark event. Specific information on ticketing is posted on www.sfopera.com/simulcast. The San Francisco Opera also performs at Stern Grove July 4 at 2 p.m., and in Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. The annual San Francisco Opera in the Park concert will feature artists from the 2010-11 season as well as members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti. Other free events include the annual Merola Opera’s Schwabacher summer concert July 25 at 2 p.m., featuring singers from the Merola Opera Program at Yerba Buena Gardens.
Although the film has not been selected yet, “Film in the Fog” is scheduled for Oct. 2 on the lawn of the Main Post Theatre, 99 Moraga Ave. at Montgomery in the Presidio (www.sffs.org). Picnickers should arrive around 5 p.m. and the film begins at 7 p.m. Target has expanded their one-day, admission- free family museum day to three days this year: July 16-18, 2010. Seven San Francisco museums and cultural destinations will team up for the free Arts & Wonder weekend. The de Young Museum, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival will take turns welcoming families with free admission, free hands-on art making activities and special family-friendly free performances. Hours and days of participation will vary by institution; for information visit www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/target or call 415-391-2000.
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