Cy and Zahra's Picks: Guide to Pride, No Man's Land, and Gang of Seven

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Pride Parade 2015. A million people are expected for the 2016 Pride Parade in San Francisco  (Photo: Jeremy Raff/KQED)

My co-host this week is comedian Zahra Noorbaksh, co-host of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, and recently named one of 100 people shaping the future of culture. We barely had time to cover all the shows that mattered to us this week. Left out was the Stanford Jazz Festival opening this week, including singer Tiffany Austin, clarinetist Anat Cohen, Natalie and daughter Sandy Cressman and Ravi Coltrane.

We also couldn't fit in the opening of the play An Octoroon at Berkeley Rep on Friday, an adaptation and critique of a 19th century play about race. Director Eric Ting is terrific at deconstructing plays like this, and challenging the audience. And don't forget: with Pride celebrations, public transit is your friend if you're coming into San Francisco this weekend. Now here's the show.

June 23–25: With its many stages, after-parties and the big parade, San Francisco Pride is simply too big to sum up in a couple of performers, events and shows, but we've tried. The Dyke March is worth catching as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. And we're both fans of Madame Gandhi (video above), appearing on the main stage on Sunday, June 25, for her feminist, period-positive message and great dance beats.

Marga Gomez, the heart of Bay Area Comedy, is one of the emcees on the main stage, and we're hoping for good things from #HellaGayComedy on Friday, June 23, at Club OMG in San Francisco, with Omar Qureshi, Jesus U.Bettawork, Cassandra Gorgeous, and others. And don't be surprised if you see people in top hats and claw-like hands at Pride in honor of the Australian horror-flick character The Babadook, a creature who is feared, but also somehow a part of the family. In a recent twist, he's become a gay icon of sorts. Details for San Francisco Pride are here.


July 9: Zahra looked ahead on her calendar to find this second-Sunday-of-the-month lesbian, trans, women comedy show at the Ivy Room in Albany. Ash Fisher and Irene Tu of Man Haters headline No Man's Land -- Tu was one of KQED's Women to Watch last year. Men, like me, are welcome, but as Zahra said, we may be the butt of a lot of jokes (or completely ignored). And it's a bargain. With women making about 77 cents on the dollar to men, tickets are just $7.70 in advance, $10 at the door.

June 24: Notes Against the Ban is a protest of the Trump Administration’s proposed travel ban, in the form of music from the seven Muslim-majority countries on the list: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iran. The Aswat Ensemble has staged this concert as a way to bridge cultural suspicions through music. Aswat founder Nabila Mango said she wants to "celebrate the beauty of 'the others.'” Among other highlights, look for Sudanese vocalist Salma Al Assal, profiled in a KQED video (posted above). And for non-Arab & non-Farsi speakers like me, translations of each song will be projected on a screen for the audience. Details for the show at St. Cyprian's in San Francisco are here.

June 24 & 25: Ubernerd Chris Hardwick of Comedy Central and the Nerdist is curating a show, and calling it the ID10T Festival. On some level, it appears as if Hardwick just said to himself, "What do millennials like? Let's mash together music, gaming, tech, comic books and comedy." Not a bad idea, when you're featuring Demetri Martin, Michael Che, Nikki Glaser, Garfunkel & Oates (the musical-comedy duo comprised of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, two of Zahra's favorites), Michael Ian Black, plus Sacramento native Brian Posehn. The main stage features music from rather nerdy bands including Weezer and OK Go, and includes Tank and the Bangas out of New Orleans, who won the NPR Tiny Desk Contest this year. By the way, the title of the show, ID10T, is itself a nerd's inside joke -- it’s a made-up code for user error. In other words, the bug in the program is the person at the keyboard. That must be me. Details here.

July 23–25: American symphony orchestras rarely program a whole evening of modern American music. But this weekend the San Francisco Symphony finishes its season with the sort of American Mavericks concert that Michael Tilson Thomas has made his specialty -- the program includes Charles Ives, George Antheil ("A Jazz Symphony"), Lou Harrison, and a West Coast premiere from Michael Tilson Thomas himself, plus videos and dance. These multimedia shows can be a real treat.

Thanks to Zahra Noorbaksh for being our co-host this week!

Comedian Zahra Noorbaksh host the podcast #GoodMuslim,BadMuslim’
Comedian Zahra Noorbaksh, co-host of the podcast #GoodMuslim,BadMuslim (Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED)