Whether you’re training for a marathon, or a Hot Vax Summer of late nights, Bay to Breakers has something for you. Touted as the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world, the yearly 12 kilometer trek from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach welcomes serious athletes and serious party animals alike.
And this San Francisco tradition is just one of many action-packed diversions slated for the coming weekend. Thursday marks the beginning of CAAMFest—a 10-day film festival focused on Asian stories and filmmakers. On Friday, a Seinfeld-themed food truck rolls into town. Kurt Vile & the Violators headline The Fillmore on Saturday. And on Sunday, the Castro Theatre comes alive with a Sound of Music sing-a-long.
Read on for all these events and more—and be sure to check out our map of “Places to Play” in San Francisco, which will direct you to rock climbing gyms, trampoline parks, bowling alleys and many more diversions.
Thursday, May 12
May 12-22 | $14+
The Center for Asian American Media’s annual film festival, CAAMFest, returns to in-person screening this week for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of CAAMFest, the nation’s largest Asian American-focused film festival. Spanning two weekends and a full week, from May 12-22, CAMFest will bring dozens of features, shorts, documentaries and special events to theaters in San Francisco and the East Bay. It will also feature many virtual screenings for those who either cannot attend or are not yet comfortable sitting in a crowded theater.
Opening Night will be at the Castro Theatre with the documentary Free Chol Soo Lee, a documentary about a Korean immigrant wrongfully convicted of a 1973 gangland murder in San Francisco. Closing Night will be held at New Parkway Theater in Oakland with the film Every Day in Kaimukī, about a young man who decides to leave his small town in Hawaii for the mean streets of New York City.
Also on the docket is a special spotlight on the SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District, with a slate of Filipinx films and filmmakers, including a centerpiece screening of Leonor Will Never Die. General admission tickets $14. Special presentations range from $20-$65. (HL)
Friday, May 13
DNA Lounge, 375 11th St.
7:30 p.m. | $20+
The national comedy-storytelling sensation Mortified—as seen on Netflix and heard on the Mortified podcast—comes to life in San Francisco. Full, grown-ass adults crack open their teenage diares and share their real life, no-holds-barred tales of embarrassment, awkwardness, humiliation, hilarity and so much more. Improv house band Fusciha Psyops breaks up the night with music between readers. Expect an evening that punches you in the gut with poignancy and laughter. (CJC)
Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley
8 p.m. | $26-$30
Ali Farka Touré is arguably the greatest musician to ever emerge from one of the world’s greatest regions for guitar-driven music: West Africa. With his distinct style and resonant voice, Touré helped popularize a West African sound that won Grammy awards and fans across the Americas, Europe, and other regions, but Touré’s legacy is more than his music. Upon his death in 2006, Touré left behind a son, Vieux Farka Touré, who has since established his own career as a standout guitarist, singer and songwriter.
While his dad collaborated with the likes of Ry Cooder on the seminal album Talking Timbuktu, Vieux Farka Touré took the foundation of his father’s music and expanded it by writing songs with odes to reggae, rock & roll, and other genres that marked Vieux Farka Touré as his own person. Still, it may be impossible for Vieux Farka Touré to truly emerge from the father’s shadow, and on his new album, Les Racines, slated for a June release, Vieux Farka Touré inhabits a musical arena that’s highly reminiscent of Ali Farka Touré at his best. It’s West African to the core—full of heightened sounds from guitars, ngonis, flutes and voices that cry out with verve and urgency. He comes to Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage this weekend. (JC)
The Presidio Theatre, 99 Moraga Ave.
Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m. | $50+
Anonymous avant-garde SF artists collective, The Residents, bring their groundbreaking 1988 album to life in a live multimedia show. Against “hallucinogenic” visuals designed by media artist John Sanborn, the unknown leader and singer of The Residents performs as disgraced preacher Mr. X, who tells wild tales of a pair of ambiguously gendered twins who may also be blessed with the gift of working miracles. Gender queer porn star Jiz Lee portrays the twins on screen. Runs May 13-14. (CJC)
Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St.
Friday-Sunday | $25-$75+
The Bioneers Conference returns to San Francisco this weekend. Covering everything from racial justice and ocean conservation to ecological design and the intersection of women’s leadership with the climate movement, Bioneers brings incredible people from all over the world together to share their work. It is a unique opportunity to plug into solutions that are actually making a difference, and to connect with others driven to make a difference. Friday night’s activities feature visionary activist Caroline Casey, who leans on her spirituality and political savvy to solve some of the world’s most pressing ecological problems. The price of admission ranges from $25 for online day passes to $222 for a full day of in-person programming. (LAC)
Secret Location (TBA)
Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, All Day | Free
“Did you just double-dip that chip?!” Don’t worry. We won’t judge. Whether you consume your candy bars with a fork and knife, enjoy your salads extra large or only eat the tops of your morning muffin, we get it. Food etiquette can be tricky, after all. And it sounds like the folks behind the Seinfeld Food Truck understand as well. Rumor has it this roving kitchen—which specializes in dishes popularized by the iconic ’90s sitcom—will be rolling into town on Friday and staying through the weekend. It’s unclear whether they’ll be serving Beefarino, Drake’s Coffee Cakes, Rung Dings or Jujyfruit, but this isn’t the first time the culinary comedymobile has made the rounds. Back in 2012, certain stops on the cross-country truck tour featured Larry Thomas, the Soup Nazi himself. There’s no cover charge to access the truck, but unless you plan on fishing an eclair out of the garbage, you’re going to have to shell out for the items on the menu. (MM)
Saturday, May 14
The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd.
Saturday, 8 p.m. | $39.50+
All great rock & roll is kinetic. Sometimes it plods along, sometimes it soars on high, sometimes it charges ahead. But it always moves. The music of Philadelphia guitarist, singer and songwriter Kurt Vile is no exception. The mechanics of Vile’s motion might best be described as a loose tumble—rolling and wobbling like an old rubber tire bumping down a dusty country road. He has said that the American Primitive stylings of John Fahey made an impression on him in his early 20s. You can hear that influence in the circuitous churn of Vile’s twangy licks and lackadaisical lyrical musings on songs like “Loading Zones,” “Pretty Pimpin” and his most recent single, “Like Exploding Stones,” all of which channel a sense of effortless cool. He is a slacker hero for the ages. (NV)
Sunday, May 15
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.
Sunday, May 15, 12 p.m. | $25
A pre-pandemic joy of being a local movie fan was perusing the Castro Theatre’s colorful calendar. And there was extra joy when a Sound of Music sing-a-Long was scheduled. So it’s only appropriate that after reopening with world premieres, film festivals and a Moth Grandslam, the 100-year old building should be the setting for a fully interactive screening of the Oscar-winning 1965 musical as its first standalone cinematic event in partnership Another Planet Entertainment. Veteran hosts Laurie Bushman and Sara Toby Moore preside over an afternoon that includes a costume contest, prop bags and, of course, communal singing. Doors open at 11 a.m. The show starts at noon. (YK)
Save The Date: The Week Ahead
Monday, May 16
The Alembic, 1725 Haight St.
7 – 9 p.m. | $90
Spice up your cocktail game with this mixology class dedicated to bringing the heat and helping bar beginners turn into cocktail pros. In this two-hour class at Alembic’s gorgeous bar, Michael Cecconi shows you the tricks of the professional bar trade while throwing in dashes of mixology history and knowledge. By the end of the night, you’ll have mixed four full-sized cocktails under the tutelage of Cecconi, noshed on some light snacks and, hopefully, reached a new level of inebriated enlightenment with a kick! (CJC)Contributors: Christina Campodonico, Han Li, Jonathan Curiel, Lawrence Axil Comras, Meaghan Mitchell, Nick Veronin, Yoshi Kato.