5 Things to Do: Oh April, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

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spring time!
Springtime!/Laura Schadler

If you’re like me, the long winter months (never mind that San Francisco is basically season-less) and that scary full moon at the end of March have you cultivating or recovering from your third(ish) existential crisis and planning to quit your job to go teach ESL in Thailand. But the good news is that it’s April; full-on springtime, rainy, pretty, warm, hopeful, and there’s all sorts of cool stuff happening in San Francisco and beyond. So while I still may move to Thailand, I’m going to wait till May at least so I can partake in all the creativity, celebration and excitement of the burgeoning springtime.

1. Anne Carson

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson. Via The Millions.

First, Anne Carson is reading at Mills on April 10. The only way to put it is that Anne Carson is not of this Earth. I aim to be even just 1/26th as odd as her. She’s piercing and magical and I feel upended every time I read her work. Her newest, Red Doc> is shaping up to be perfect if the first 10 pages are any indicator. I'm not sure what's going on, but I think bulls are running around with their horns on fire. My goal is to finish by Wednesday so I have at least a fighting chance of understanding anything she says. Red Doc> is a follow-up of sorts to Autobiography of Red, Carson’s mythological verse novel, which is basically one of the best books ever and one I recommend to people I'm trying to impress. Read anything of hers to get yourself in a nice, other-worldly mood and then head over the bridge dreamily not knowing what to expect. In general, I think April is a good month to start reading out loud to each other more. Try this or this.

2. Movies

I love the particular type of anticipation born when an eccentric director’s new movie is coming out and this month we have three. From April 12 to April 18, Upstream Color is going to be playing at the Roxie. Shane Carruth’s first film, Primer, is an incredible time travel movie made for a measly $7,000 that needs like ten viewings to just partly grasp its philosophical intentions and only one viewing to grasp its utter awesomeness. Judging from the preview above we have some more inexplicable and creepy experiences in store for us. The less eccentric (but still, enough so to be interesting) Derek Cianfrance, of Blue Valentine fame, has a new movie, The Place Beyond the Pines, which seems like Drive with motorcycles. In other words: awesome. I don't need to say much else about this one except for Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes 4ever. I'm going to see it tonight. Last but not least is Terrence Malick’s newest, To The Wonder, coming out April 12. I dare not say a thing before I see it and I c a n n o t wait. I’m so glad he isn’t waiting 20 years between movies anymore.


3. Music

It’s a musical month too. On April 14, the delightful and theatrical Bat for Lashes will be playing at The Regency Ballroom (the icing on that witchy girl cake is that Nite Jewel is opening). I want to buy a glow in the dark unitard and do a weird dance on the beach but until I can get to that I will be clutching the elbow of my concert companion, swaying and swooning. Tickets aren’t sold out so go buy one now. Then, in an attempt to still act like a 20-year-old who goes to concerts every night, check out Purity Ring at the Independent on April 15 and 16. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs new album is coming out April 16 (sadly no upcoming concerts locally), an event which has had me holding my breath for years. I’m not going to say much about the YYYs as I’m currently writing my love fest retrospective of them in my head and you will no doubt be regaled with that shortly (next week?). But…needless to say…YAY! Other concerts of note:  Wild Belle at the Mezzanine on April 12 and Polica on April 13, Burnt Ones at Brick and Morter on April 12 and Blood Red Shoes on April 20.

4. Arts and the Outdoors

SF wildflowers/Laura Schadler

If you’re a writer, filmmaker or visual artist, the MacDowell Colony deadline is April 15. Have one of your friends write you a letter of recommendation about how amazing you are and then go hang out in the woods for a month working on one of your projects (this is waaay easier said than done, but why not give it a try?). With all the crackling transition and rebirth going on around us, now is the time to harness some of that creative energy and do something inspired. You can also go to an art opening at White Walls or Yerba Buena, see The Birds at the Castro as part of a Zoetrope All-Story event (you can also read their latest Spring issue) and learn something new like how to brew beer or weave baskets underwater. This doesn’t even take into account the timeless activities that are all the more fun in April, such as inviting yourself over to your friend’s house if they have a nice back yard, or drinking margaritas at 4pm, or driving out of the city to one of the zillion gorgeous places that surround us.

5. Spring Fever!

SF from a distance on a pretty day.
SF from a distance on a pretty day/Laura Schadler


Last but not least, on April 19th our very own KQED Pop, along with the Rumpus and Do415 are hosting a springtime party aptly called Spring Fever!: A Night of Literature, Live Radio, Comedy and Music. I’ll see you there! We can bask in our gratitude that we live in such an amazing city/crazy world/perfect month with so much going on. Busying ourselves with experiencing, discussing and analyzing all of the aforementioned goodness will surely keep the existential crises at bay through spring and perhaps even summer. Happy April!