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Daytime Realness

Third Sunday of every month, 3 p.m.
El Rio 3158 Mission, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

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We always think about drag performers when we hear Gillian Welch's song "Barroom Girls." Especially the part that goes, "She tosses and turns because the sun is unkind." Because holy shit, when you're not sure if your tuck is tight enough, or whether your beard's growing through your foundation, or even of the quality of the foundation itself, the sun can be plenty unkind. These are the reasons to admire, not just love, the moxie of Daytime Realness, a tea dance in the sense that it occurs at teatime, but even better/worse, it's held outdoors on the Mission District bar's famous back patio. Heklina and Hard French's DJ Carnita present drag performances, lit by the sun, and dance sets, lit by the sun. Luckily there are bitchin' chicken and waffles to ease the pain/your health. One part of Welch's song is true here, though: "All of the colors go 'round in a swirl/ When you dance in the arms of the barroom girls." 415-282-3325

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

Heart of the City Farmers' Market

Wednesdays, 7 a.m., Fridays, 7 a.m. and Sundays, 7 a.m.

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Thrice-weekly market featuring fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, and other forms of sustenance from local growers. 415-674-9701

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

Gardens of Alcatraz Tours

Fridays, Sundays, 9:45 a.m.

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To our recurring surprise, many locals never get the idea to visit Alcatraz, because traveling by boat to an island to walk around cellblocks is just something they don't like do. How come? Because tourists get that idea, every day, by the shorts-wearing boatloads. Here's your solution: The Gardens of Alcatraz Tours, in which you walk around garden landscapes originally developed and maintained by prisoners, guards, guards' families, and whoever else had the forbearance to grow in the brutal climate, like Mother Nature herself. Turns out that a riot of green-thumb niceties occurred during the island's 100-year military and prison period, including a satisfying amount of rose tutoring by the warden's secretary Fred Reichel. This was followed by decades of neglect, and the plants went bad, but rehabilitation efforts, begun in 2003 and led by historic photos, have restored the island to its flowering innocence and landed awards from the California Preservation Foundation. We figure the twice-a-week docent-led tours are light on tourists, because how many visiting Dads are choosing vegetation over sitting in the yard and imagining they're Al Capone, Clint Eastwood, or (if Dad sucks) Nic Cage? Not many -- or, more precisely, not ours. 415-561-4900

Sunday's a Drag

Sundays, 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

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Brunch & drag revue with Donna Sachet. 415-395-8595

Picnic at the Presidio

Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Presidio Parade Grounds Lincoln & Montgomery, San Francisco The Presidio

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Off the Grid presents this weekly event featuring food trucks, games, and locally sourced produce.

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

Golden Gate Park Band Concerts

Sundays, 1 p.m.
San Francisco Botanical Garden Martin Luther King Jr., San Francisco Sunset (Inner)

Just about every Sunday since 1882, the Golden Gate Park Band has been performing for San Franciscans, tourists, and park-goers. Nested between the Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum at the Spreckels Temple of Music (which became its home in 1900) the GGPB has become a San Francisco institution — some of the musicians you can see performing today have been with GGPB for over 20 years. They must be doing something right. Now, after 132 years and over 5,000 concerts, the group can say it has conquered just about any style of music it has had thrown its way. Classical? All of the time. Showtunes? Done. Swing? They love it. They don’t get older — they just get better and better. For its August season, the band performs a number of styles, including a day of Hungarian music, a weekend of Ukrainian music, and a Sunday of various selections from the Golden Age of Band Music. 415-831-5500

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."


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

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

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

Sunday Open Gym

Sundays, 5 p.m.
Eureka Valley Recreation Center 100 Collingwood, San Francisco Castro/ Noe Valley

Large American cities during the industrial age had amateur baseball leagues made up of blue-collar workers who created their own little societies unseen by the general populace. Men formed their teams — representing factories, power plants, and other facilities — developed rivalries, and had playoffs and championship series just like the pros. Some of them, in fact, went on to play professionally. For nearly three decades, San Francisco has had a largely unknown tour de force of amateur sports in the San Francisco Gay Basketball Association and its Castro League. Like most organized amateur leagues, it’s composed of dedicated people who take the sport seriously and fight hard to win. To be fair, though, it does include some levity. Looking at the team names will tell you that right away: the All-City Ballers, Frisco Force, the Backdoor Pass, the Guardians of the Hole. Step into this world this evening at Sunday Open Gyms. Stuart Leung, the association’s acting commissioner, says 20 to 35 people turn out for this practice session each Sunday. Anyone is welcome (gay, straight, bi, or other), and it’s a chance to socialize, exercise, play ball, and see where it takes you. Leung says people of all experience levels show up, and games are conducted on two courts. Some participants have never played, while others played in high school or college, and a few have done time in the pros. Leung says most people who play in the Castro League got their start at a Sunday open session. Leung says to bring a light-colored as well as a dark T-shirt, so when teams are chosen you’ll be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys. 415-831-6810

'Black Eagles' presented by the African-American Shakespeare Company

Sat., March 16, 8-10:30 p.m., Sun., March 17, 3-5:30 p.m., Sat., March 23, 8-10:30 p.m., Sun., March 24, 3-5:30 p.m., Sat., March 30, 8-10:30 p.m. and Sun., March 31, 3-5:30 p.m.

Buy Tickets$35

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An extraordinary drama about the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black fighter pilots. The play opens at a reception honoring the airmen and General Colin Powell. As the elderly WWII pilots reminisce, they are joined by their younger selves and the story of this brave company is retold. 415-673-6672

The Mushroom Cure

Sat., March 16, 8:30 p.m., Sun., March 17, 5:30 p.m., Sat., March 23, 8:30 p.m., Sun., March 24, 5:30 p.m. and Sat., March 30, 8:30 p.m.
The Marsh Theater 1062 Valencia, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

Buy Tickets$20-$35 sliding scale, $55-$100 reserved

The Marsh San Francisco announces the return of its 2017 hit, "The Mushroom Cure" by Adam Strauss. Inspired by a scientific study that hallucinogenic mushrooms may cure obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Strauss embarked on a program of vigilante psychopharmacology. The true tale of Strauss’ hilarious, harrowing, and heartrending attempts to treat his debilitating OCD with psychedelics was an Off-Broadway hit, where it was named Critics’ Pick by Time Out New York and hailed by The New York Times as “mining a great deal of laughter from disabling pain” before moving to San Francisco for an extended run. 415-282-3055

Story Time in the Library

First and Third Sunday of every month, 10:30 a.m.
San Francisco Botanical Garden Martin Luther King Jr., San Francisco Sunset (Inner)

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Kids aged 4 to 8 are encouraged to sit back and hear stories about nature and science. 415-564-3239

S.F. Jewish Heritage Tour Aboard the Mitzvah Cable Car

First and Third Sunday of every month, 10:55 a.m.

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A street-modified cable car takes you on a tour of historically important Jewish locations around the city, starting at the southwest corner of Union Square (Geary @ Powell) and concluding at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. 415-831-2700

San Francisco Clean City Coalition

Third Sunday of every month

City workers and civic-minded civilians spruce up a different section of the city each month. Call for information. 415-508-0050


Third Sunday of every month, 6 p.m.
The Stud 399 Ninth St., San Francisco South of Market

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monthly bear dance party with resident DJ Mike Biggz & guests 415-863-6623

The Hot Baked Goods

First and Third Sunday of every month, 6 p.m.
Amnesia 853 Valencia, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

The Hot Baked Goods

Third Sunday of every month, 6 p.m.
Amnesia 853 Valencia, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

"Disco Daddy": Disco Daddy

Third Sunday of every month, 7 p.m.
S.F. Eagle 398 12th St., San Francisco South of Market

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w/ DJ Bus Station John 415-626-0880

The Vent

Third Sunday of every month, 7 p.m.
Stage Werx 446 Valencia, San Francisco Mission/ Bernal Heights

Monthly storytelling series.

Shame: A Comedy Show That Costs Nothing But Remorse

Third Sunday of every month, 8-10 p.m.
Hotel Utah 500 Fourth St., San Francisco South of Market

Shame is a free monthly comedy show where comedians and storytellers come forth and bare their humiliating life experiences for your own enjoyment. Many of the stories have never been told before (and will probably never be told again). It’s a chance to get a closer look at the hilarious, insanely embarrassing mistakes people have made. 415-546-6300

Silvia C

Third Sunday of every month, 9:30 p.m.
The Saloon 1232 Grant, San Francisco North Beach/ Chinatown

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Audio Tour of Top Historic Buildings in San Francisco

Aug. 18-Dec. 29, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Download the free Geotourist app on your smartphone and take an audio tour of San Francisco's top historic buildings. The tour is created by the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter and features the City's most important structures built before 1950. The tour includes City Hall, visual and performing arts venues, religious temples around the city and in Golden Gate Park. 415-362-7397

​​​​​​​​​​​​​EXCLUSION: The Presidio's Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through March 31
Presidio Officers' Club 50 Moraga, San Francisco The Presidio

During World War II, the Presidio of San Francisco – the Army's Western Defense Command – played a pivotal role in the unjust incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, purportedly in the name of national security. This special exhibition marks 75 years since Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt issued Civilian Exclusion Orders from the Presidio, and examines the post's little understood part in these events. 415-561-4000

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