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Murals and the Multi-Ethnic Mission

Second Saturday of every month, 1 p.m. and Fourth Sunday of every month, 1 p.m.
Women's Building 3543 18th St., San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

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In the beginning it was, of course, Ohlone Indian. Then it was Spanish-Ohlone. Were there Russians? It was Italian. Then it was Irish and German. As far as we can tell, the Mission District was never Chinese, but this is San Francisco, so why shouldn't it have been? It was Mexican, and then it was Salvadoran-Guatemalan-Honduran-Peruvian. All of the above contributed lesbians to the Valencia microclimate. Now, some would say, it's restaurant-hipster. So the San Francisco City Guides walking tour of the beloved, embattled, contradictory, and grimily beautiful area, Murals and the Multi-Ethnic Mission, is well-titled. It tromps through alleys, admires Victorian (is that an ethnicity?) homes, and traces the visual traditions of all these groups and more in the famous and numerous wall paintings — perfect for visiting family and friends, no matter where they're from. 415-557-4266

Writers with Drinks

Second Saturday of every month, 7:30 p.m.
Make-Out Room 3225 22nd St., San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

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When you move to San Francisco and ask about the literary scene, Writers with Drinks is likely the first thing people tell you about. For one thing, most of us can get behind drinking as a social activity, especially when it's being done by the witty and verbose. But the real reason is host Charlie Jane Anders, who is a pioneer and master of free-form and fictitious biography. Combining current events, gossip, flights of fancy, and an unparalleled knack for the literary, Anders introduces each of the evening's authors with an ad hoc story. 415-647-2888

"2 Men Will Move You": 2 Men Will Move You

Second Saturday of every month, 9 p.m.
Amnesia 853 Valencia, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

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In a period of time seemingly dominated by guests from out of town, it's comforting to know that there are still local alternatives. 2 Men Will Move You is a party put together by long-time fixtures on the San Francisco nightlife scene Primo Pitino (of Oldies Night fame) and Jordan Heyser. Continuing in the mold of such ventures as Ferrari and I Like Fun, the party is soundtracked by a clever mix of rare mid-'80s Italo, pumping '90s house, early progressive, and other forms of sometimes-cheesy-sometimes-not dance music. Always a visual spectacle, each month features new themes and decorations. Head over to the party's Tumblr for a better idea of what the party is all about. 415-970-0012

Stand-Up Paddleboarding Lessons

Boardsports 1200 Clay, San Francisco North Beach/ Chinatown

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When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, it’s a good core workout. If you’re sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king. 415-385-1224

Presidio Park Stewards

Wednesdays, Saturdays, 9 a.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m.

Sometimes it seems like we have it so good around here. Even our volunteer work is relatively glamorous -- no working with corny religious charities for us! (Even our religious charities are cool, as in Glide Church.) Instead, we can hoof it out to the gorgeous reclaimed military installation and throw our shoulders into habitat restoration. This might include tearing out old invasive plants (usually in the summer months), or replanting native species (winter). If you're especially lucky, you might do the delicate, important job of seed collecting, which probably makes you feel like a rad scientist-Earth-goddess-glow-being. It's all organized by a coalition of park services and the Presidio Trust, who together have been running the former post since it demilitarized in 1994. Yep, we have it good around here. 415-383-4390

Ferry Plaza Saturday Farmers' Market

Saturdays, 10 a.m.
Ferry Building 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco Embarcadero

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Tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeño. Three examples of things that are nearly impossible to grow in this city -- even in the Mission sun. But fear not, you don't have to cut them out of your diet or resort to a supermarket. Every Saturday morning, growers from around the Bay Area and beyond gather at the Ferry Building with the best of their harvests. You don't need to bring a lot of money, but you might want to bring a backpack. 415-983-8000

Drop-In Family Ceramics Workshop

Saturdays, 10:15 a.m.
Randall Museum 199 Museum, San Francisco Castro/ Noe Valley

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Many of us remember coming home from our elementary schools with freshly glazed pinchpots, cups, or whatever else our young imaginations could conjure up. Saturday mornings at the Randall Museum can bring that memory back, or create a new one for the youngsters. Ceramics make great gifts — especially on Mothers' and Fathers' Day. Hop on board for the Randall's once-weekly class, and for $6 and two weeks to have your work fired and glazed, you'll have all the materials you need. 415-554-9600

Family Kayak Trip

Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.
South Beach Harbor Pier 40, San Francisco South of Market

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If Hollywood ever tries its hand at Escape from San Francisco, we hope there are kayaks involved. There just aren’t enough kayaks in action films, you know? We imagine the little boats riding a tsunami, hurtling toward the bad guys who have taken Coit Tower hostage, somehow managing to defuse a bomb with their mad paddling skills. Don’t wait for the film, though: The start of fall is the perfect time to ditch the suit, don a life jacket, and escape on a weekday adventure. City Kayak’s Downtown San Francisco Tour gives you a look at the skyscrapers from a whole new angle: sea level. Using comfy performance touring kayaks, the two-hour route wiggles underneath the Bay Bridge, down Mission Creek, or out to Pier 39. You’ll come face to face with the bay’s animal life (sea lions, cormorants) and its public sculpture (“Cupid’s Bow”). Don’t worry if you’re a complete novice; your guide will give you a quick lesson. Kurt Russell-style eye patch not included. 415-357-1010

Precita Eyes Mission Trail Mural Walks

Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.

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Mural people are nuts. Wall paintings never last and can't be purchased, and the people who go specifically to see them are often the hoi polloi who know nothing about art. How can muralists expect to survive in the art world? The answer: They don't. The folks who make their work on outdoor surfaces tend to be little-D democrats who love the idea of art for art's sake, who like bringing joy to all kinds of passersby, from tiny stroller inhabitants to seniors whose gait may give them more time than anyone to appreciate what's right in front of them. The weekly Mission Trail Mural Walks give you, whatever your age and whatever the state of your art education, a chance to see the pieces that famously decorate the Mission District with a guide who can answer your questions, even if yours is, "Don't these people know they're never going to make any money doing this?" 415-285-2287

Hiking Yoga


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Eric Kipp may be brilliant. Without a doubt, the spirit of San Francisco itself pulses quickly in his veins, because he is the creator of Hiking Yoga. It's exactly what it sounds like; you follow the charge up one of our butt-bustin' hills, and once you're up there, the organizer/sherpas hand out mats and water, and you do some yoga. The courses are chosen for their vistas as well as for their challenges: City-proud fitness nuts, prepare to fall in painful workout love.

Alcatraz Night Tour

Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays

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Alcatraz -- "The Rock" -- is one of those tours that you have to take at least once, whether you're local or just visiting. The abandoned prison sitting on an island about a mile and a half off the city's north shore was home to some of the most infamous names in crime, including Al Capone, it was the site of a Native American occupation, and it's still home to the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. The Rock's got its ghosts, and there can be no better time than night to explore its dilapidated old corridors -- especially if it's a foggy night. 415-981-7625

Beach Blanket Babylon

Club Fugazi 678 Green, San Francisco North Beach/ Chinatown

Every San Franciscan has a list of local activities they haven't done that the average visitor to this city probably has. For us, that was Beach Blanket Babylon, the North Beach musical revue famous for its huge hats and culture-skewering whimsy. The show comes recommended by seemingly every travel guide, as well as local newspaper critics. But BBB is one of those things, like going to Alcatraz or eating clam chowder in a bread bowl, that a self-respecting San Franciscan probably wouldn't be inclined to do on their own. This is a mistake. The story follows Snow White on her search for love across the world and the pop culture universe. Along the way we encounter hilariously rendered versions of seemingly every major figure in the pop canon: Prince, Elvis, James Brown, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Adele, Tina Turner, even Nicki Minaj. The BBB script must get rewritten constantly, because there were lines in a recent production referencing events that only took place a week ago. And they were funny. Not tepid, and not stand-up comedy-level risque, but somewhere in between. In fact there were few moments during the 90-minute show when most of the audience wasn't laughing. So yeah: BBB might seem like one of those S.F. activities only tourists will enjoy. It's definitely not. 415-421-4222

The Salon Doré

Legion of Honor 100 34th Ave., San Francisco Richmond (Outer)


The Legion of Honor today reopens its incredible French period room, The Salon Doré. The type of room, particular to pre-revolutionary France, was called the salon de compagnie, or salon for conversation. "There was no eating," explains the Legion's curator of European decorative arts and sculpture, Martin Chapman. "They just sat and made conversation and it was the [woman of the house's] ability to hold the conversation. It was a bit like being an actor." Although fake conversations were perfectly acceptable in 1780s France, there's nothing fake about this room — its paint, furniture, paneling, upholstery, and gold gilding have been completely refurbished over the past 18 months. The museum's painstaking efforts have fully restored the room to its original splendor. "When used," Chapman says, "there is a whole orchestration — there's a sort of ballet that plays out in these salons."


Animal Attraction

California Academy of Sciences 55 Music Concourse, San Francisco Richmond (Inner)

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In ancient Rome, the god of fertility was honored in February, with ceremonial love lotteries and mock-floggings with a bloody goatskin. Even those are a pale reflection of truly bizarre courtships that unfold in the natural world. For example, the common garden snail is a hermaphrodite that carries both sets of genitals near its head. Once a week, it engages a new companion in an orgy of sensual caresses until the moment of genital penetration, when the “top” suddenly stabs its partner with a very sharp barb. (The snail’s “love dart” is tipped with a chemical compound that acts as an antidote for the critters’ natural birth control.) Taking a page from Isabella Rossellini’s award-winning Green Porno, the much-anticipated exhibit “Animal Attraction” explores all kinds of strange reproductive rituals. One is the creepy anglerfish, the male of which sinks his teeth into his mate and dissolves until nothing is left but gonads. Another is the exquisite bower bird, which attracts a partner through song, dance, and flamboyant architectural feats. Daily programs include dives in the world’s deepest living coral exhibit to shed light on reef reproduction; somewhat awkward demonstrations of bee dancing, which is crucial to pollination; and regular feedings of the African penguins, which we know form long-lasting same-sex couples in captivity. 415-379-8000

San Francisco City Guides Walking Tours


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As a self-described "logical extension of a free public library," our local free walking-tour company is, like most libraries, a fascinating mash of nerdy and white-hot rad. The San Francisco City Guides walking tours happen every day (except major holidays), are free, and follow in the footsteps of hypereducated history nuts who hand out copies of secret, illuminating documents while pointing out the beauty all around us. What's more, in the best-weather months of May and October, the Guides offer extra tours, bringing the weekly count up to 114. Among the tours offered: Palace Hotel, Russian Hill Stairways, Castro: Tales of the Village, Pacific Heights Mansions, Ferry Building, and Market Street: Path of Gold. The Diego Rivera tour, offered Mondays, is one of our favorites — the City Club (formerly the Stock Exchange building) at 155 Sansome is normally closed to the public; the mural, Allegory of California, is pure weird radiant Rivera sorcery. 415-557-4266

Ecstatic Dance

Saturdays, 7 p.m.
Mission Dolores Academy 3371 16th St., San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

Looking for something to fill the Burning Man-shaped void in your heart? Ecstatic Dance has you covered. The weekly dance party offers a safe space where attendees are encouraged to move however they wish — "skipping, rolling, crunking, break dancing, swaying, laying, twerking, sitting, hooping, or waltzing." The two main rules? You must be sober and you must be silent — communication only happens through dance. Not sure if your moves are up to snuff? The two-hour dance set is accompanied by a pre-event movement class as well as a "closing circle" to unwind. Although participants are welcome to come and go as they please, Ecstatic Dance co-founder, Tyler Blank, suggests dancers, "Attend the entire offering to fully embrace this experience, using the music as a way to work through physical and emotional issues and to create a connection with source and spirit energies." Oh yeah, this is way heavier than your normal Saturday night routine. "For some this is church," he says, "for others simply exercise. For many, it is an opportunity to have a uniquely individual embodied experience in a transcendent and open group environment."


Air Conditioning

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.
House of Air 926 Mason, San Francisco The Presidio

You like to have your butt thoroughly kicked, do you not? You may have already kicked your own butt with dance class, yoga class, brutal hikes, standard gym visits, athletic sex, or what have you, but have you done it on a trampoline? At Air Conditioning classes, use the power of bouncing to intensify the kicking of your butt: Your teacher shows you how to make everything extradifficult — and funny! Think about it: Even simple push-ups become excitingly and core-strengtheningly unstable when performed on suspended elastic. The facilities include nice showers, because you’re gonna need ’em. 415-345-9675

Beginning Tribal Belly Dance

Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 1 p.m.
ODC Dance Commons 351 Shotwell, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

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Jill Parker's Beginning Tribal Belly Dance classes are a classic San Francisco experience: They're welcoming, weird, diverse, sweaty, trance-inducing, and somehow simultaneously straight and gay. Some students love to feel they're in a place where it's OK to actually have a belly, some come to gain the inevitable boost in sexy points, and some just want a great workout. They all get what they want, plus the caring yet hands-off instruction of the charismatic Parker. She's internationally revered for having made a historically and culturally informed contribution to the nature of modern bellydance -- she's known as “the founder of the modern tribal fusion belly dance movement.” A typical beginning class is diverse in age, gender, size, race, and level of dance experience, and that's the way the teacher likes it. She's inspiring rather than demanding, and if you could see the smiles on the post-class faces, you'd know how much it means. 415-621-0643

Audium 10

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.

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The Audium was started in 1965 by composer Stan Shaff and equipment designer Doug McEachern. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays, and you have to be there on time — they lock the door. The room fits 50 people or so. There are chairs arranged in a semicircle. There are something like 180 speakers arranged around the room. After a short speech, they turn off all the lights and you listen — in pitch darkness, in a room full of strangers. That's it. You listen. There is no texting, no going to the bathroom. No nothing. Your senses all dissolve into one. And the composition is fantastic. But if you put 50 of these things around the country, 49 of them would probably fail. You only need one Audium. Apple Inc. is going to make 80 bazillion iPads in the next hour. This week the Audium will host 50 people per show. Why are we talking about the Audium? Because it's a singular San Francisco experience — the complete opposite of the iPad or the newest HTC smartphone or a computer-animated movie from Disney. We like to go there when it's raining out. 415-771-1616

Secret Improv Society

Fridays, Saturdays, 10 p.m.

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This city's theater scene is chock-full of improv. Whether you're new to it or a grizzled veteran, you won't have to hunt too long to find a venue. Each Friday and Saturday night, the Shelton Theatre hosts its own brand of "secret" improv theater. The stage at the Shelton has given such luminaries as Danny Glover and Francis Ford Coppola a venue. They've got their own vets on hand for the shows, plus a new guest from San Francisco's scene each week. Come to watch (there's an open bar!), or try your hand at performance. Of course, there's audience contribution, so writer's block — or actor's block, as it were — shouldn't be a problem. 415-882-9100

Family Matinee with Tiffany Austin

Sat., Sept. 14, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
SFJAZZ Center 201 Franklin, San Francisco Hayes Valley/ Tenderloin

Buy Tickets$5 for youth, $10 for seniors, $23 for adults

Both fun and educational, Family Matinees provide a window into the exciting world of live jazz. Each one-hour matinee features live performance, audience participation, Q&A, and amazing music. Vocalist and composer Tiffany Austin has quickly become a force in jazz, with an ebullient style and soulful eloquence that honor the vocal greats while pushing forward in search of new territory. We kick off our matinee season with the transformative power of song and honor the instrument we all share: the voice! 866-920-5290

Brass, Bows and Beats Hip-Hop Symphony

Sat., Sept. 14, 1-2:30 p.m.
Yerba Buena Gardens Fourth St. & Mission, San Francisco South of Market

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Jazz Mafia’s most ambitious work to date, the SFJAZZ-commissioned Brass, Bows & Beats: A Hip-Hop Symphony. Premiered to the sold-out Palace of Fine Arts Theatre at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, BB&B became a sensation on the North American jazz festival circuit with the entire 50-piece Jazz Mafia Symphony playing Newport, Montreal, Monterey, San Jose, and Stern Grove. For the first time in eight years, the full Jazz Mafia Symphony reunites on one stage, performing reimagined selections of Brass, Bows & Beats, as well as the world premieres of several new works. 415-543-1718

Book Launch Celebration: Maestrapeace

Sat., Sept. 14, 1-2 p.m.

This event is in celebration of the seven amazing female muralists who created San Francisco's iconic Women's Building- and the launch of their new book, Maestrapeace: San Francisco’s Monumental Feminist Mural, published by Heyday Books, featuring Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, and Irene Pérez Foreword by Angela Davis. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of Maestrapeace, the monumental and fabulously detailed mural that adorns two sides of the The Women's Building in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. Weaving in myriad female figures, historical and sacred, this public artwork highlights women’s accomplishments across time. 415-557-4400

The Bigger Picture: A Brush with Nature – Artist Reception

Sat., Sept. 14, 1-3 p.m.
Bay Model Visitors Center 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito Sausalito

A show and sale of landscape paintings, a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the Open Space and Parks Fund of the Marin Community Foundation Free and open to the public. Chris Adessa and Thomas Wood are landscape painters in Marin County, California. Their work has supported nature-conservation organizations, including Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary, Surfrider Foundation, Golden Gate and Point Reyes National Parks Associations, Save the Bay, and Marin Agricultural Land Trust. The beautiful Marin County Parks and Open Space Preserves provide the inspiration for many of their paintings. 4152893007

Free Shakespeare in the Park 2019: As You Like It - a new musical

Sat., Sept. 14, 2-4:20 p.m.

SF Shakespeare Festival's 37th season of Free Shakespeare in the Park presents 'As You Like It - a new musical,' featuring an original soundtrack. September 14 - September 22, 2019 / Saturdays & Sundays at 2:00pm; Thu & Fri at 10:00am 415-558-0888

Still Here San Francisco Queer and Trans Latinx Writers in This City

Sat., Sept. 14, 2:30-4 p.m.

Panel discussion and reading by contributors to Still Here San Francisco’s new anthology. Founded in 2012 by Cristina Mitra and Natalia M. Vigil, Still Here San Francisco builds creative space for LGBTQI2S+ artists born and raised in San Francisco to tell our stories of survival. 4155574411

Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema -- Sweet 16 Party & Retrospective

Sat., Sept. 14, 3-6 p.m.

Buy Ticketsfree

Come to the BHOC Sweet 16 Party and Retrospective. BHOC invites you to a wingding of a celebration to mark its 16th anniversary. 3:00 pm. Best of Bernal awards presentation and screening of the four 2019 award-winning films. 4:00 pm. Retrospective look at a selection of “Best” films from 2013 to 2018. 5:00 pm. The party begins. Guests mingle with filmmakers, listen to the sweet sounds of local musicians and enjoy refreshments. The event ends with a raised glass to toast the 16th year of Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema. 415-821-1155

Diaspora Voiced: Opening Reception

Sat., Sept. 14, 4-6:30 p.m.
Rhythmix Cultural Works 2513 Blanding, Alameda Alameda

Buy Ticketsfree

Rhythmix Cultural Works and K Gallery, in collaboration with curator Michelle Nye, present DIASPORA VOICED – A Bay Area Juried Art Exhibition, showcasing 19 diverse Bay Area artists.The Tate defines diaspora as “a term used to describe movements in population from one country to another and is often cited in discussions about identity.” The melting pot of the Bay Area offers opportunities for individuals and communities to cross, merge, and hybridize. Each person constructs a unique identity much like a collage artist composes a cohesive whole out of varied and juxtaposed parts. 5108655060

It's Still Art

Sat., Sept. 14, 5-10 p.m.
Lottie Rose Art House 6117 San Pablo, Oakland Emeryville

Buy TicketsDonations for food and show accepted.

'It's Still Art' features arts, crafts, performance & writing, by addict-artists while using, and now as sober-artists in recovery. All are welcome. 510-214-6591

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