This week my co-host Erica Lewis takes us to North Beach, a neighborhood famous for literature and music, and she reads a poem from her new collection Mary Wants to Be a Superwoman about her black, white and Cherokee heritage. Somehow we couldn't fit in the fact that Flower Piano is back at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, or that this week sees the return of two film festivals: The SF Black Film Festival (with an appearance from Danny Glover), and the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival (Frameline), providing essential viewing for communities that often get short shrift in Hollywood. Now on with the show.
June 16–18: The Monterey International Pop Festival is back, 50 years after it set the standard for the modern rock festival. In many ways, the Summer of Love in San Francisco was a rather dreary few months, but the bands and the hippies made for an inspiring musical event at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Monterey Pop made the reputations for so many bands: Jimi Hendrix, Steve Miller, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish and the Grateful Dead.
Many of the artists appearing this year are doing tributes to the great performers of 50 years ago: Leon Bridges is channeling Otis Redding (who was riveting), blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr stands in for Jimi Hendrix (though no word on whether he's going to immolate his guitar as Hendrix did), and the Head and the Heart fill in for the Mamas and the Papas. If you can’t go, stream the classic D. A. Pennebaker film Monterey Pop and look for Otis Redding singing "I’ve Been Loving You Too Long." Details here.
June 21: The city of San Francisco is putting on its own Summer of Love concert (despite the legal fight with a promoter trying to do the same) at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, with a free concert with former members of the Jefferson Airplane, the Chambers Brothers, Moonalice and others. Just in time for solstice. Details here.
Continuing through June 17: HeLa is a world premiere play by Lauren Gunderson and Geetha Reddy, playwrights who often write about women and science. HeLa is about Henrietta Lacks, the African American woman (profiled in a Rebecca Skloot book and HBO film) who died of cervical cancer in 1951, but whose cells have lived on, and been exploited by scientists without permission from the family. TheatreFIRST Artistic Director Jon Tracy has pledged that at least half of the shows the company will produce will be by female-identified authors, with a majority written by people of color. Good start. Details here.