San Francisco recently surpassed New York as the most expensive place to live in the U.S. This should not come as a shock to anyone who's ever paid $72 for a parking ticket or $7 for a bottle of "organic" water (There's no such thing as organic water!). S.F. was even denied the right to enjoy Subway's $5 footlong sandwich deal because it couldn't afford to do business here at that price. When you're done crying over that incredible injustice, you might as well console yourself with some free visits to S.F.'s finest cultural institutions.
On the list of places with free admission today are Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Cartoon Art Museum (it calls it "pay what you wish" day), Conservatory of Flowers, de Young, Musee Mechanique (always free!), and Legion of Honor. If your schedule lends itself to a museum crawl, definitely put the Contemporary Jewish Museum on your list, since today's your last chance to view the "Do Not Destroy Trees" exhibit for free (It ends Sept. 9).
If you can only visit one museum, however, then we recommend you hit up SFMOMA. The Cindy Sherman photographs are a must-see, of course, but don't dawdle too long. Ben Kinmont's "Prospectus," billed as part conceptual art and "social sculpture," is newly on display."Field Conditions" puts the "art" back in "architecture" with provocative pieces on design, boundaries, and in/visible space. At noon, Julie Lazar from the International Contemporary Arts Network discusses John Cage's enigmatical nothingtoseeness, and presents a screening of Circle of Circuses, which draws on Cage's "Rolywholyover A Circus" composition. Then there are the multiple led and mobile tours, to further justify that new iPad.
Lastly, don't forget to head to the rooftop garden for art you can imbibe. Blue Bottle is serving up a Sherman Ice Cream Float, (scoops by Humphry Slocombe) topped with edible "disco glitter." (SFoodie editor Anna Roth approves!) Just in time for our real summer.