In thinking about the state of the local music scene, that old saw about the Marine Corps comes to mind: First to go, last to know.
San Francisco venues like The Rickshaw Stop, DNA Lounge and Bottom of the Hill were among the first local institutions to shut down in March 2020. They’ll also be among the last to definitively say they’ve made it to the other side of the pandemic.
By the end of next week, the owners and operators of those three clubs, and many more throughout San Francisco and Oakland, will have a better view of what live music looks like in the age of endemic Covid. The Noise Pop Festival—which squeaked in just under the wire in February of 2020 and was cancelled entirely in 2021—returns for a 2022 run. Over the course of seven days, Feb. 21-27, artists such as Jeff Tweedy, Mae Powell and Blues Lawyer will draw fans out of their living rooms and into to 21 bars, concert halls and theaters across the city and the East Bay.
“We closed it down and unintentionally opened it back up,” Jordan Kurland, Noise Pop’s co-founder, quipped in an interview with The Standard last week. “It seems like this will be a really nice moment for people to out and see live music again.”
Of course, Noise Pop does not mark the very first time a show has been held over the past two years. Outside Lands hit Golden Gate Park in October of 2021, and many, if not all, of the venues hosting Noise Pop shows have been open for business for months now. However, this is the first week-long, all-indoor music festival in the city since the pandemic began, and it kicks off less than a week after San Francisco gave bars and restaurants the green light to stop requiring vaccinated individuals to mask up indoors.
Headlined by Harlem rapper, singer and master shit-stirrer Azealia Banks, the festival also features sets from indie darlings like (Sandy) Alex G and The Microphones, as well as hometown heroes like Tommy Guerrero, The Papercuts and Chime School. Also performing: avant-garde composer William Basinski, whose album series The Disintegration Loops is a seminal work of minimalist soundscaping and a potent metaphor for the fallibility of human memory.
— Nick Veronin
Various Locations, San Francisco & East Bay
Monday-Sunday, Feb. 21-27, Various Times | Various Prices
Black Cat, 400 Eddy St.
Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 17-19 | $30+
Hailing from Chicago’s creatively fecund jazz scene, 34-year-old trumpeter Marquis Hill had already established himself as one of the most poised young bandleaders of his generation when he won the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition (the contest that launched the careers of stars like Joshua Redman, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Ambrose Akinmusire). Hill is a little young to be taking stock of his past, but his new album, New Gospel Revisited, reimagines his 2012 debut release with self-possessed intensity. Bristling with tough-minded young players, his band features SFJAZZ Collective drummer Kendrick Scott, bassist Joshua Crumbly, keyboardist Jahari Stampley, and Bay Area vocalist Christian Kuria. Hill plays three nights—Thursday to Saturday—with multiple seating times each evening. (AG)
Bitforms Gallery, 1275 Minnesota St.
Thursday, Feb. 17 @ 11 a.m. | Free.
Pioneering sound artist Bill Fontana creates sonic and visual meditations. The new and newly remastered pieces in this exhibition collage field recordings and video of waves, trees and the Golden Gate Bridge. In some cases, the sound collages date as far back as the 1980s, while their video counterparts are more recent additions. Rising from the endless noise we encounter online every day, Fontana presents infinite loops that produce the inverse effect of roaming the internet: A sense of standing still and connecting with the moment as he has recorded and distilled it. The exhibit opens Feb. 17 and runs through April 9. (MB)
Museum of Craft & Design, 2569 3rd St.
Friday, Feb. 18 @ 10 a.m. | $10
You may have to wear a mask, but you can still explore a whole new world of fragrances at the Museum of Craft and Design’s Living with Scents. The exhibition, now on view through June 5, features the “olfactory” imaginings of 40 artists and creatives from across the globe. Using the sense of smell as inspiration, these designers have created artful interfaces and objects for attendees to explore the historical, social, aesthetic and neurobiological aspects of scent with both the eyes and nose. The exhibit runs through June 5. (CC)
Intersection of Kearney & California Streets
Saturday, Feb. 19 @ 5 p.m. | Free
The history of San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade stretches back to the Gold Rush, and after a pandemic pause, it returns on Saturday. Billed as the biggest Lunar New Year parade outside of Asia, the illuminated nighttime procession is one of the few of its kind in North America. Elaborate floats, the court of Miss Chinatown U.S.A., lion dancers and the spectacular 288-foot Golden Dragon known as “Gum Lung”—operated by a team of over 180 people—take to the streets of Chinatown for a festive display. The Chinese New Year Street Fair also happens the weekend of the parade showcasing Chinese folk dancing, opera and drumming on Saturday before the parade and continuing on Sunday. Of course, there will be fireworks. (CC)
1090 Point Lobos Ave.
Saturday, Feb. 19 @ 10 a.m.
Curious to learn more about SF’s iconic Cliff House or the eerie ruins of Sutro Baths? Western Neighborhoods Executive Director Nicole Meldah leads a tour of The Museum at the Cliff (located inside the former Cliff House’s gift shop), where she’ll share history and stories from the area known as Lands End. Get up close and personal with some of former San Francisco mayor and philanthropist Adolph Sutro’s personal keepsakes—including a collection of 4,000-year-old Egyptian artifacts and one of Sutro’s taxidermied monkeys. The tour is free for Westside Neighborhood members and $20 for non-members. Only 12 spots are available, so reserve a ticket in advance at eventbrite.com. (CC)
Children’s Creativity Musuem, 221 4th St.
Saturday, Feb. 19 @ 10 a.m. | $15+
The Children’s Creativity Museum welcomes visitors back with a new exhibit focused on sparking curiosity and an understanding between neighbors. With hands-on activities designed to get kids thinking about empathy and emotions as well as science and artistic expression, XOXO opens on Feb. 9 and runs through Sept. 5. This Saturday, there will be free outdoor activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (MM)
Between Hawes & Jennings Streets
Saturday, Feb. 19 @ 11 a.m.
The second of three installments of the Sankofa Makers Market comes to the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood this weekend. In addition to connecting locals with food and goods produced by local businesses, the market is intended to reclaim space and elevate BIPOC creators. It is part of the larger India Basin Equitable Development Plan. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Hawes and Jennings streets in the heart of the Bayview. (MM)
SFMOMA, 151 3rd St.
Saturday, Feb. 19 @ 10 a.m. | $25
Architecture and design loom all around us, but their impacts on climate change can be insidiously invisible. Neri Oxman interrogates the sustainability of these practices with projects that make use of biomaterials, viewing “nature as the primary client.” Oxman, who has been called the “architect of tomorrow,” produces forms at once extraterrestrial and organic, with a surprising amount of aesthetic appeal, for a designer who has said she doesn’t emphasize with beautification. The objects on view here, ranging from a chaise lounge to a model movie theater, provoke a vision of future spaces in which humans exist harmoniously with nature. Member previews are open this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. The show runs through May 15. (MB)
Hyatt Place Hotel, 701 3rd. St.
Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Peruvian ingredients prepared in a Japanese style, is certainly en vogue. But it’s not exactly a fad. The former seat of the Incan Empire has been a crossroads of Latin American and Asian culture for generations. KAIYŌ Rooftop, an offshoot of the successful KAIYŌ Cow Hollow, opened this week on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Place Hotel in SoMa. Diners can expect craft cocktails and shared plates with an emphasis on fresh seafood, punched up with Peruvian ingredients like aji amarillo, leche de tigre and yellow yams. The bar and lounge’s debut comes ahead of a new KAIYŌ restaurant, slated to open on the ground level of the hotel later this year. (NV)
The Ferry Building
Every Day @ 10 a.m.
Holiday-season regulars at the Ferry Building have long enjoyed perusing racks of vintage wares and stands of artisan goods at Fog City Flea Trading Post on Sundays. Now, the pop-up is a permanent fixture of the historic building, taking over 5,000 square feet of the upstairs Grand Hall. The market is now open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,showcasing a highly curated range of locally-crafted and sourced goods—from handmade jewelry and high quality apparel to fine housewares and furnishings. With goods from over 45 independent crafters and makers, you’re bound to find something unique. (CC)