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Thursday, May 26, 2011

San Francisco's Carnaval: A Full-Frontal Assault on the Senses

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM

There's nothing wrong with shaking a tail feather, but we believe it's best to do so when said feather is one of dozens glued to said tail. At the Carnaval Parade and Festival, you'll catch plenty of dancers -- on and off the parade route -- shaking plumage they themselves have crafted and grafted. See many in the video clip above, taken from last year's parade.

It's Carnaval all over: an explosion of color and rhythm, of costumes and drums, of the vibrant countries and cultures that are the headwaters of San Francisco's funkiness. This year's grand marshal of all things Carnaval is Ana Maria Polo, a Cuban American author, lawyer, and star of the TV show Caso Cerrado; but the special appearance most likely to inspire serious feather shaking is that of the Giants' 2010 World Series trophy. (Lou Seal is handling security.)

Catch Polo, the trophy, and a Galapagos of dancers, floats, and costumes along the route of the Grand Parade, which kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at 24th and Bryant streets. Global music inhabits three stages on Harrison between 16th and 23rd streets, a dance pavilion offers competitions and salsa classes, and top-flight international street food is omnipresent. Carnaval Fever afterparty offers three nights of round-the-world music at five venues, including shows from Forro Brazuca as well as Monophonics, SF Weekly's 2007 Best Funk/Soul/R&B band.

The Carnaval Parade and Festival takes place May 28-29 at various Mission District locations. Admission varies.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.

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Alan Scherstuhl


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