After a month of Pink Triangle lightings, public forums, film screenings and queer nü metal supergroup performances, San Francisco’s 30-day celebration of LGBTQ+ culture in the city and beyond is culminating in the 52nd annual SF Pride Parade down Market Street.
But Pride-adjacent dance parties and drag shows aren’t the only diversions on offer this weekend. You can also contemplate the fragility of existence at Manny’s “extinction” event, get down to the OG sounds of Rakim and DJ Jazzy Jeff at The Independent, listen to see if you can hear a pin drop during the more subdued moments of Aldous Harding’s set at The Fillmore.
Thursday, June 23
SF Public Library, 100 Larkin St.
Through Aug. 11 | Free
With the big Pride Parade just around the corner, it’s a great time to revisit the history of LGBTQ+ culture in the city. The San Francisco Public Library hosts an eclectic array of rare photographs, posters, fliers, costumes, newspaper clippings, audio-visual materials and memorabilia from the gender-bending Haight-Ashbury-born hippie-era performance troupe known as The Cockettes. This installation, co-curated by original Cockette Fayette Hauser and local author and scholar Jim Van Buskirk, traces the group’s history and cultural impact—including their barrier-breaking contributions to concepts of gender and sexual fludity, the counterculture and the Free Love movement of the 1960s and ’70s.
On Thursday, June 23, the freewheeling spirit of the Cockettes comes back to life with a special performance featuring original Cockettes songs and the musical talents of Cockettes founding member and musical director Scrumbly Koldewyn on piano. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium, located at SFPL’s main library. The exhibit is located in the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center on the 3rd floor.
For a rundown on all Pride-adjacent events, be sure to check out our guide. (CJC)
Schlomer Haus Gallery, 2128 Market St.
Through Aug. 17 | Free
When fine art photographer Chloe Sherman moved to the city in 1991 to study at the San Francisco Art Institute, she picked up her camera and started documenting a rising generation of self-identified queer youth in the Mission District. Now on view at Schlomer Haus gallery, which specializes in showcasing the work of LGBTQ+ artists, the photographs take an intimate and tender look back on the era, focusing on the femme and butch styles of the scene at that time, and reveal the community’s continued vibrancy and resilience against mainstream norms.
“I witnessed individual conviction with a collective awareness of strength in numbers,” Sherman wrote in an artist’s statement. “I found beauty, grace, and bravery in this subculture that was derided by mainstream society.” (CJC)
Friday, June 24
Presidio Theatre, 99 Moraga Ave.
2 p.m. | $20+
UC Berkeley Professor of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies Philip Kan Gotanda has been exploring the Japanese American experience on stage for more than four decades, with a particular focus on the World War II incarceration. But he’s never created a work quite like Both Eyes Open, a new chamber opera with music by Max Duykers. Directed by Melissa Weaver, the work is scored for a four-piece chamber ensemble with clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, piano and the Marimba Lumina—a programmable MIDI controller that allows Joel Davel to trigger an extensive library of choral samples to supplement baritone Suchan Kim, soprano Kalean Ung and tenor John Duykers (father of the opera’s composer). A roiling meta-fictional account of a Japanese American man coming to terms with humiliation, faith and national identity in order to save his soul, Both Eyes Open weaves spoken dialogue, singing, acoustic instruments and electronic samples together with dramatic video and lighting cues. Saturday and Sunday performances begin at 7 p.m. (AG)
Manny’s, 3092 16th St.
7 p.m. | Free
This Friday, Manny’s offers you the chance to process some of your existential dread through poetry and spoken word. The theme of the night is “extinction” and will feature poems written for these uniquely apocalyptic times. The event is part of the Living Room Reading Series & Salon, a forum for exploring some of the most pressing topics of the day. Hosted by Kevin Dublin, author of the chapbook How to Fall in Love in San Diego, this Friday’s Salon will bring you one step closer to the end of the world as we know it. (BF)
Saturday, June 25
Space 550, 550 Barneveld Ave.
10 p.m. - 6 a.m. | $25-$150
After a three-year hiatus, Afterglow is back. Don ye all your dayglo apparel and take to the dance floor at this beloved Pink Saturday party hosted by Comfort & Joy. With central dance floors, outdoor silent discos, debaucherous upstairs areas, pole dancers, local queens and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja Gemini, this will be a neon-soaked night to remember. (BF)
The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd.
8 p.m. | $30
Keeping an entire crowd focused on an on-stage performance shouldn’t be that difficult, right? You’d think that when folks are shelling out good money to see a concert, that it’d go without saying. Not in 2022. Endless chatter in the back (and middle of) the crowd is the norm and the artists who can keep a crowd silent are few and far between. Aldous Harding is one of those artists. When the New Zealand singer-songwriter came to San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop in support of her stunning 2019 album, Designer, the room was so silent that you could hear breath in the crowd; she’s a mesmerizing performer. Now Harding is back at the larger, historic confines of The Fillmore in support of her latest album, Warm Chris. Harding’s music continues to mystify the senses, with clarinets gently popping into your ears behind a grassy guitar and purposeful keys. If she seems peculiar, that’s because she’s 100% locked in to her art. If you want to feel like you’re in a parallel universe for a night—one where people come to the show for the show and nothing else, you’ll want to be here on Saturday. (AS)
Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm | $25
When DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing… revolutionized the way producers thought about stitching samples into standalone productions that didn’t necessarily require an MC, RJD2 was there taking copious notes. The dizzying producer, masterful turntablist and always gracious human has been pushing the envelope of hip-hop, funk and soul since the release of 2002’s seminal Deadringer to 2020’s The Fun Ones, and his musicality has kept growing ever since. More than just a DJ, RJD2 performs with a backing band, as he jumps from turntables, to guitar, to vocals, with a palpable passion for the craft. This will be an exercise in a lifetime of love for music, and he might even play some bars off of his theme song to Mad Men. (AS)
Sunday, June 26
The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd.
8 p.m. | $41.50
While some musical artists are brands, modern folk singer-songwriter and paradigm-buster Ani DiFranco is in the rare company of those who are institutions. She's released all of her albums through her own Righteous Babe Records label—standard practice for many these days, but a remarkable feat back when she began her practice in 1990 as a 20-year old independent musician. The Buffalo native continues to write and record new material including the songs featured on Revolutionary Love, which came out in early 2021. Upholding her fight for social justice and adhering to her ethos of independence, she now also enjoys the wisdom of three decades' worth of life experience. As she said in an interview for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Sound/Stage Gen X Festival series, “That's the cool thing about playing songs for 30 years: Even the same song is completely different when you are a completely remade person singing it." Special guest Abraham Alexander also performs. (YK)
Market St. from Beale St. to 8th St.
Sunday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. | Free
Polk & Washington Streets
Sunday, June 26, 10 a.m. | Free, but donations encouraged
The third annual People’s March—which rose up as an activist-focused demonstration after the Pride Parade of 2020 was canceled the same year Minneapolis police killed George Floyd—will step off from the corner of Polk and Washington streets at 11 a.m. following speeches and performances at 10 a.m. Organized by local drag artist-activists Alex U. Inn and Juanita MORE, the march will follow the original path of the Pride parade down Polk Street and be led by Black, Brown, Indigenous, trans and queer community leaders to show solidarity with BIPOC groups and protest racial injustices. (CJC)
8:30 p.m. | $29.50+
From the ashes of a recently-cancelled Lyricist Lounge showcase at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre that would have also included Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One, the timeless MC Rakim and DJ Jazzy Jeff have saved the weekend for the old school heads with this one. As the voice behind undisputed hip-hop touchstone classics (with his erstwhile partner Eric B) like “Paid In Full,” and “I Ain’t No Joke,” Rakim is one of those guys that qualifies as “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.” Meanwhile, DJ Jazzy Jeff has continued to show his flair on the decks since his rise in the late ’80s with Will “Fresh Prince” Smith. This show is an opportunity to see one half of two separate storied hip-hop duos together on stage, bound forever by their place in hip-hop lore. Kangol hats not required. (AS)