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Arts & Entertainment

The Standard weekend guide to SF events & entertainment—Aug. 18-21

De Young Museum / Doni Conner

It’s not every day—or even every decade—that you have the chance to get up close and personal with the millennia-old riches of an ancient Egyptian god-king. “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” opens this weekend at the de Young.

Also on the docket for this action packed weekend: The San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival, an outdoor screening of the Disney hit Encanto, Dan the Automator at Public Works, a dumpling festival in Chinatown a sprawling street festival in SoMa.

And that’s all before the Killers come to Chase Center. Read on for the full rundown of all these events and more.

Thursday, Aug. 18

Soft Automata Opening 

201 Guerrero St.
5 p.m. | Free

Andrew Sungtaek Ingersoll and Oliver Hawk Holden, the artists behind the Bayview’s Expert Art Workers LLC, created a 10-foot-long shrimp shrimp to race in this year’s SFMOMA Soap Box Derby. Now the duo has a teamed up again for a multimedia exhibition exploring the intersection between man and machinery. Drawing inspiration from local moped culture, the Mission School, DIY art movements and the Greek god of metalworking, Hephaestus, the pair present a whimsical array of hybrid digital and mechanical creations, or “kinetic machines,” that nod to the fragility of mechanization and the softness of the human body. So what happens when “man” fuses with machine? You’ll have to see for yourself. (CJC)

Friday, Aug. 19

Jenny Slate

Cobbs Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave.
7:30 p.m. & 9:45 p.m. | $35

If you only know Jenny Slate as the voice of an animated hermit crab shell with tons of heart, it’s time to treat yourself to an evening with one of the sharpest minds working in comedy today. Fresh off the success of the major motion picture debut of her stop-motion YouTube sensation Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Slate’s pedigree as a dangerously funny comic is impressively lengthy. It includes her tenure as a primary cast member of Comedy Central’s Kroll Show and her unforgettable turn as Mona-Lisa “Money Please!” Saperstein on Parks and Recreation. For a taste of what Slate may bring to her quartet of shows at Cobbs this weekend, those with a Netflix account can revisit her 2019 special Stage Fright. Meanwhile, for the HBO Max crowd, there’s Slate’s stunning performance in the woefully prescient, abortion-centered 2014 comedy Obvious Child. Want to dig deeper into Slate’s delightfully oddball yet strikingly astute psyche? Swap your streaming service for a bookstore and read Slate’s bestselling 2019 essay collection, Little Weirds. Or, better yet, get the audiobook version narrated by Slate herself. Alternatively, you can do absolutely none of that! The beauty of a Jenny Slate show is that it requires no homework or preparation—only a willingness to get a little weird. (ZR)

San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival

Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, 2 Marina Blvd.
Friday-Sunday, various times | Free-$30

Gliding and swooping, hovering and twisting mid-air, aerial artists combine modern dance and acrobatics as they gracefully defy gravity. The Bay Area has long been a welcoming aerie for innovative aerial artists, and the 5th biennial San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival runs Aug. 19-21 as part of Fort Mason Art’s summer programing. Presented by Zaccho Dance Theatre and the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, the city’s premiere aerial arts event features veteran aerialists and rising dancers. The festival also includes the premiere of a new site-specific aerial performance at the Festival Pavilion by world renowned choreographer Robert Moses’ KIN. (AG)

Sundown Cinema: Encanto

India Basin Shoreline Park
6 p.m. | Free

Friday nights don’t get more family friendly as this. As part of their Sundown Cinema summer film series, DoTheBay and the SF Parks Alliance are putting on a screening of the wildly popular Disney musical, Encanto. Sundown brings free outdoor movie programming to different neighborhoods throughout San Francisco and this weekend, it’s at Hunter’s Point’s India Basin Shoreline Park. For the uninitiated, Encanto is Disney’s latest “it” animated musical—about one girl’s quest to save her mystical Colombian family and their supernatural traditions. It has original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, including “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” which lived atop the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks, rising higher than songs by Adele and Ed Sheeran. (AS)

Saturday, Aug. 20

YBG Festival’s Dance Day

Yerba Buena Gardens, Esplanade
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Free 

Learn how to salsa, bachata and groove to a variety of rhythms and beats during this day of free dance classes hosted by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and ODC Dance Commons’ Rhythm & Motion. You can kick off your day at 10 a.m. with Rhythm & Motion’s fusion dance class or West African Guinean dancing with live drumming. Then choose from free classes in salsa, hip-hop, bachata, soul line dancing or Jamaican dancehall throughout the rest of the day. At 12:30 p.m., Son Chévere brings its mix of traditional Cuban sounds to the stage for an open dance party with live music. (CJC)

Father John Misty w/ Suki Waterhouse

Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave,Oakland
7 p.m. | $55

Father John Misty’s Josh Tillman was slipping for a bit. The debonair, indie lounge rocker was becoming almost a caricature of himself—sinking into petty celebrity culture and rendering his act disappointingly tiresome in the process. But Tillman, who has been candid about his recent struggles with addiction and depression, has bounced back with his best album in seven years, Chlöe And The Next 20th Century. At his peak, Tillman is an essential showman: suave, comedic and with a voice that won’t quit. He’ll be supporting the new album at the Fox, sporting excellent new songs like the cheeky ballroom bravado of “Funny Girl,” and the folksy, pedal steel-studded yarn, “Goodbye Mr. Blue.” (AS)

Western Addition Jazz and Blues Festival

1330 Fillmore St.
11 a.m. | Free 

This Saturday, Pia Harris of the Fillmore District’s In the Black Marketplace and Kiyomi Takeda of the Cherry Blossom Festival are “doin’ it for the culture” with the first annual Western Addition Music Festival. Building off the success of San Francisco’s Juneteenth Festival, which Harris helped organize—and which drew crowds by the thousands to the Fillmore District—this collaboration aims to highlight the neighborhood’s rich historical culture of jazz and blues music and merge it with the essence of San Francisco’s Japanese culture. Harris told us she wants to bring awareness to bophth the Fillmore District and Japantown’a struggling businesses and remind people that they are still here. The festival will span four city blocks across Fillmore Street from Geary to Turk streets. Harris and Takeda have booked an extraordinary collective of 10 inspiring jazz bands, including master Kenny Neal, the soul sounds of Brian Owens, legendary jazz drummer Akira Tana, Akiko Tsuruga, Fillmore Slim, Kim Nalley, and more. There will also be food vendors, over sixty arts and crafts vendors, and a massive kid zone. (MM)

Dumpling Festival 

827 Stockton St.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $15

Whether its potstickers, xia long bao or shumai, the possibilities for delicious pouches of savory meat and veggies is endless. And San Francisco’s Chinatown has an endless supply of these treats. You can try it all at the Chinatown Dumpling Festival. For $15, you can try 15 different items—including shrimp dumplings, tea leaf eggs, wontons and boba milk tea. This event will also have live Chinese music performances as well as raffles to win items like a rice cooker, a gold-plated tiger and much more! (XL)

Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs

de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
Opens Saturday | $23+ ($16-$18 additional for VR experience)

Bay Area residents of a certain age will recall the frenzy that surrounded the Tutankhamun touring exhibit that made a stop at the de Young in 1979. (It even had a de facto theme song in Steve Martin’s top-20 hit “King Tut” from the previous year.) Beginning this weekend, the Golden Gate Park museum hosts an exhibition for another Egyptian king, Ramses II (a.k.a. Rasmes the Great). In addition to “the greatest collection of Ramses II objects and Egyptian jewelry ever to travel the United States,” there’s an additional virtual reality experience where guests can experience a “tour” of the Abu Simbel temples and Nefertari’s tomb from the comfort of a vibrating Positron Voyager Chair. The exhibit runs through Feb 12, 2023. (YK)

Dan the Automator & DJ Nu-Mark

Public Works, 161 Erie St.
10 p.m.
| $15+

Thirty years ago, Dan Nakamura was still experimenting with beats in his parents’ house in the Sunset and only beginning to morph into Dan the Automator, the larger-than-life producer he would ultimately become. This weekend, the Grammy-nominated hip-hop composer—original producer behind Gorillaz (think “Clint Eastwood”) and the seminal Deltron 3030 album—will be headlining a packed room at Public Works, joined by DJ Nu-Mark, the Los Angeles producer best known as a member of hip-hop crew Jurassic 5. Saturday’s show is a who’s who of old school California turntablists, with additional performances from Daly City-native and DMC champion Shortkut, SF-based electro experimentalist Mophono and Oaklander Chungtech. (SH)

What Do You See? Art Show + Night Market

Hey Neighbor Cafe, 2 Burrows St.
6:30 p.m.
| $30

Tucked into a secret garden in Portola is Hey Neighbor, a Black and queer-owned coffee shop that’s curated a show of new works from BIPOC fine artists. The cafe invites guests to “see us, and in turn, to be seen.” What exactly will you see? Well, the show features paintings from Devynn Barnes, whose works portray the familiar and the famous—members of her own community and characters from Spike Lee films. There will also be fashion and portrait photography by Jermaine Jackson, Jr. Plus painter Mekhayla Diaw will debut shocks of shape and color on canvas. The fine art will be set to a soundtrack created by Frank Ocean and Sade-inspired R&B artist ASTU. Hey Neighbor will also host local makers like ReLove Vintage, the Intuitive Goddess, and Unnamed Vintage, as well as food from La Cocina and Fluid Coop and beverages mixed by SGGS Truck and Mobile Speakeasy. After party to follow at 10 p.m. (SH)

“Big Trouble in Little China” in 35mm

Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.
6 p.m.
| $25

“Everybody relax, I’m here.” Enter Jack Burton, a rowdy trucker caught in a subterranean battle with an ancient sorcerer below San Francisco Chinatown. Kurt Russell stars in the martial arts action-comedy “Big Trouble in Little China,” which is by far the campiest movie to ever be set in SF. Sounds perfect to project in 35mm to a room full of cinephiles, right? That’s what the Castro Theatre has in mind for this Saturday, when they’ll show the cult classic from auteur John Carpenter. This screening may come as a relief to residents, who have feared that planned changes to the venue by Castro’s new management, Another Planet Entertainment, will erode the historic theatre’s tradition of hosting classic screenings. (SH)

Sunday, Aug. 21

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers with CARM

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St.
7:30 p.m. | $65-$85

The unpredictability of pianist/singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby has made his career a fascinating delight to follow. The Virginia native won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987 thanks in large part to his (and The Range’s) number one hit “The Way It Is,” which found a second life as the base sample for Tupac’s own 1998 hit “Changes.” He had a parallel career of doing studio work with the likes of Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt and playing keyboards with the Grateful Dead for a few years while continuing to pursue his own work with The Noisemakers starting at the turn of the century. These days, next generation talent such as Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Danielle Haim of HAIM and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig have worked with him as he continues his hybrid explorations of rock bluegrass and experimental music. (YK)

SoMa Sunday Streets

Folsom Street between 9th and Spear streets
11 a.m. | Free

With its longest route of the season, Sunday Streets returns to SoMa. If you want to see how one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares looks without cars, come on down, as the area will transform into a promenade for the day. The route promises to be lively with hundreds of activities and programming that folks of all ages can enjoy. Highlights include live music, a community dog show, a family discovery zone and a hula hoop contest. There will also be free health screenings and vaccines, bike repairs and giveaways. (MM)

Save The Date: The Week Ahead

The Killers + Johnny Marr

Chase Center, 1 Warriors Way
Tuesday, August 23, 7:30 p.m. | $39.50+

This Killers emerged from the musical womb ready to play arenas, so it’s a natural fit that the Las Vegas modern rock quartet should headline the home of your world champion Golden State Warriors. Hot Fuss, the band’s 2004 debut, boasted the sing-along hits “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me” and the bombastic, surprisingly-not-a-single album opener “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.” Six albums later, the Brandon Flowers-fronted outfit has explored everything from Americana (starting with 2006’s Sam’s Town) to small town tone poems (with last summer’s Pressure Machine). Be sure to arrive on time to catch guitar god Johnny Marr, whose set may draw from his ten-year solo career and his time with The Smiths. (YK)

Helado Negro

August Hall, 420 Mason St.
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m. | $25

The warm, expressive atmosphere of Helado Negro’s music belies frontman Roberto Carlos Lange’s Brooklyn background. Currently based in the minor music mecca of Asheville, N.C., Lange makes music informed by tropicalia and timeless pop. All of those characteristics show up in his hypnotic music, and his arrangements combine a minimalist approach with a deeply textured sensibility. Even the Ecuadorian-born artist’s stage name, Helado Negro (“black ice cream”) conveys an understated playfulness that meshes well with his wide-ranging style. He seems to get better with each successive release: 2021’s Far In is hailed as his most accessible work to date. (BK)

Nick Veronin, Meaghan Mitchell, Yoshi Kato, Andrew Gilbert, Ximena Loeza, Christina Campodonico, Bill Kopp, Adrian Spinelli, Zack Ruskin and Sarah Holtz contributed additional reporting for this story.