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Summer 2024 Brings Ari Shapiro, W. Kamau Bell with Las Cafeteras, Climate Science and Bay Area History to the KQED Live Stage

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Photos of Ari Shario, Las Cafeteras, and Suzanne Ciani, from left to right.
Ari Shapiro, Las Cafeteras, and Suzanne Ciani (L to R).

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Whether you’re craving delectable cuisine, a night of laughs, original music or powerful discussions this summer, KQED Live’s upcoming programming will be sure to hit the spot. Bound together by a love and appreciation for our community, our summer schedule of KQED Live offerings features a diversely exciting series of events championing the multiculturalism authentic to the Bay Area.

Music, Storytelling & Arts
Story and music come together as San Francisco’s annual literary and performance festival, Litquake, brings a new SongWriter Live session to The Commons on July 10. Renowned Bay Area comedian and cultural critic W. Kamau Bell shares an original story, while the Chicano band Las Cafeteras transforms it into original live music.

Then on July 19, join us for Summer of Love: A Lover’s Lane Art Walk at KQED. We’ll celebrate the artistic Mission alleyway that promotes love and community with performances by BIPOC artists, food, and all-ages activities. Plus, guests can explore an array of Bay Area vendors representing the pride and culture of the Mission.

Some of the most talented female Filipinx comedy performers will come together on July 31 for Fierce Funny Filipinx. Celebrate the power of art as resilience with performances by Ouida, Granny Cart Gangstas and Mabuhay Gardens.

For two nights in August (7 & 8), host Ari Shapiro from All Things Considered brings his new one-man cabaret, Thank You For Listening: An Evening of Songs and Stories, to the California Theatre in San Jose and the Curran in San Francisco.

On August 8, KQED Live partners with Viva Parks San Jose for a free all-ages outdoor screening of Kung Fu Panda 4 at Mayfair Park.

Although European bands like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream may have elevated electronic music into the popular mainstream consciousness, a handful of Bay Area composers of the late ’60s and ’70s who came out of music composition programs at UC Berkeley and Mills College played a pivotal role in the origins and evolution of electronic music. None was more influential than the so-called “Diva of the Diode” Suzanne Ciani, who made a series of innovations on the Buchla synthesizer that are still relevant in the electronic music scene of today. On August 29, Ciani will join KQED’s Forum for an onstage conversation about the history of the Bay Area synth scene. Audiences will be treated to performances by Ciani as well as other artists and technologists involved in the movement.

On September 17, the team behind the popular education blog and podcast series MindShift will explore how poetry can inspire and help us communicate our collective vision for the future of education. Through poetry activities and discussions, participants will have the opportunity to share their hopes and ideas for change in our schools. The event will close with a reading by San Francisco’s poet laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin.

Finally, on September 26, stop by KQED for How to Party with a Purpose feat. Family Not a Group (FNG). The local hip-hop collective, which not only performs together, but throws events, engages with issues of inequality via their web series Rent Check and even educates students by day, will turn KQED Live into a block party with an evening of performances, DJ sets and a screening of FNG content.


In Dialogue
On August 21, join KQED Climate Reporter Danielle Venton for a Climate Book Club discussion with John Vaillant, author of Fire Weather: On the Front Lines of a Burning World.

With your climate interest piqued, stick around for our Climate Adaptation Science Fair, where KQED will team up with UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Children’s Creativity Museum to explore climate adaptation possibilities in our homes and communities. Bring along the whole family for activities, education, snacks and drinks! 

In the fall, we turn our attention to local and nationwide politics. Grab a seat in KQED’s The Commons on September 12 for a conversation exploring the implications of AI election interference. Does AI have the potential to improve democracy? Discover the possibilities at this event presented in partnership with The Guardian and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

On September 19, we will partner with the San Francisco Chronicle to host the San Francisco mayoral debate. Moderated by Political Breakdown co-hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos, and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garfoli, this livestreamed debate will also be broadcast live on KQED Public Television 9 and KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM.

Trivia Night
Join us at the iconic El Rio bar in the Mission District on July 24 for an evening of community and connection during the Latinx Trivia Night y Fiesta de Baile. Test your knowledge of local Latinx voices and international pop stars, and then, dance the night away with high-energy DJs and performers celebrating Latinoamerica!

Soul Box Supper Club brings a feast for the eyes, ears and taste buds on August 15. As part of a multicourse dinner series honoring culture and heritage, guests will gorge on dishes curated by Celebrity Chef Tirzah Love and enjoy a performance by Oakland’s Sloane Gross.

Tickets are available now at kqed.org/live. To view previous KQED Live events, visit our YouTube channel at youtube.com/kqedlive.

Unless otherwise noted, events take place at The Commons at KQED, located at 2601 Mariposa Street in San Francisco.

SongWriter Live with W. Kamau Bell and Las Cafeteras
Co-presented by Litquake
July 10 | 7PM | $29
SongWriter is a podcast that turns stories into songs, with past performances by Questlove, Joyce Carol Oates, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Roxane Gay and more. During the event, Emmy- and Peabody-winning television host and producer, comedian and bestselling author W. Kamau Bell will share original stories and Chicano band Las Cafeteras will transform them into original music. Together with SongWriter host Ben Arthur and social psychologist Shira Gabriel, they craft an evening about identity and home through a thrilling exchange of story, ideas and music.

Summer of Love: A Lovers Lane Art Walk at KQED
July 19 | 6PM | $15
Lover’s Lane is about bringing people together to celebrate different forms of love through art, culture and community in the heart of the Mission District. Join us for an evening of performances by local BIPOC artists and for a discussion with the Lover’s Lane leadership team about the history and mission of Lover’s Lane. Enjoy music, food and all-ages activities while exploring an array of Bay Area vendors who represent the pride and culture of the Mission. Featured vendors include Mission Lotería, Jewels Dela Soul, RiviLily Shop, It’s A G Creation, Huffle Paints, Evolved SF and El Misfit.

Vibras Latinas: Trivia Night and Fiesta de Baile
July 24 | 7PM | $10
El Rio | 3158 Mission St., San Francisco
Dive into an evening of música and community connection at El Rio during our Latinx trivia night y fiesta de baile. Test your knowledge of local Bay Area Latinx voices like La Doña, Los Rakas and Los Tigres del Norte, and international pop stars like Selena Quintanilla, Ivy Queen and Bad Bunny. Then, dance the night away as we turn up the music with performers and DJs Per Sia, Marcus Rosario, Brown Amy and Mira. Immerse yourself in a lively atmosphere that celebrates the diverse heritage and sounds of Latinoamérica. ¡Nos vemos! Co-presented by El Rio.

Fierce Funny Filipinx
July 31 | 7PM | $25
The Bay Area is home to some of the most talented Filipinx artists in the country. Curator Nikki Meñez and Balay Kreative (a home for Filipinx artists) bring together women who rock the mic with their humor and wit — Ouida, Granny Cart Gangstas and Mabuhay Gardens — for a night of music and comedy showcasing laughter and art as resilience.

Ari Shapiro Thank You For Listening: An Evening of Songs and Stories
August 7 | 7:30PM | California Theatre | 345 S. First St., San Jose
(General On Sale: June 25)
August 8 | 7:30PM | Curran Theater | 445 Geary St., San Francisco
(General On Sale: June 20)
As an NPR host, he has been named “Journalist of the Year.” He has sung in some of the world’s most storied venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. Now, one of America’s most recognized and beloved storytellers serves up a new one-man cabaret. Hilarious and moving, Thank You for Listening adapts tales from Shapiro’s best-selling memoir, The Best Strangers in the World, into an evening about the power of listening and forging connections. Audiences will leave feeling more hopeful about the world around them … and may never listen to All Things Considered in quite the same way again.

Building Community Through Fun with Viva Parks San Jose
August 8 | 6PM | Free
Mayfair Park | 2039 Kammerer Ave., San Jose
Looking for a way to add some family-friendly fun to your week? Viva Parks San Jose is thrilled to announce their summer schedule filled with free activities designed to bring neighbors closer together. From classic lawn games to thrilling inflatables, creative arts and crafts, movies and music, there’s something for everyone. Mark your calendars and join KQED and Viva Parks for a Movie Night at Mayfair in the spirit of bringing our local San Jose community together.

Soul Box Supper Club
August 15 | 7PM | $129
Come hungry! Soul Box Supper Club is a multicourse dinner series curated by Celebrity Chef Tirzah Love that deeply honors culture and heritage. Beyond a meal, the club will host a dialogue led by Taylor Nanz of Solid Grounds (an inclusive event production company) that explores the power of voting and community engagement. Featuring live performances and art by Oakland “artivist” Sloane Gross, attendees will be reminded of art’s transformative power. Join us to savor this moment and envision a future where every voice matters and every community thrives.

KQED Climate Book Club
August 21 | 5PM | $10 or Free with Climate Adaptation Science Fair Ticket
Climate action starts with talking about it with people in our daily lives. This book club, led by KQED climate reporter Danielle Venton, gives us something to talk about. You can read the book and join the conversation online in advance. This summer, we’ll be reading Fire Weather: On the Front Lines of a Burning World by John Vaillant. Grab your copy now!

Climate Adaptation Science Fair
August 21 | 6PM | $10
We want to stay in the Bay Area … but how?! Between the housing crunch and atmospheric rivers, it’s been a little stressful. KQED, UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Children’s Creativity Museum are teaming up to create an event all about solutions. Discover how we can adapt our homes and communities to keep up with the changing climate. Learn about home electrification; housing density projects; how to make your own air filter; and how one little poppy is popping up in the wake of fires. This event includes interactive activities for children ages 6–12, and adults will be able to talk one on one with Cal scientists and KQED reporters at booths centered around a theme. Snacks and drinks are included.

Suzanne Ciani and the Bay Area Synth Scene with Forum
Co-presented by Noise Pop
August 29 | 7PM | $45
Did you know that the Bay Area has a deeply rooted history in electronic music? Join Forum’s Mina Kim and producer Mark Nieto to delve deep into the captivating past and present of electronic music and synthesizers in the Bay. Renowned synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani will lead us on a journey through the evolution of sound with a special performance, and she’ll join in  conversation alongside other artists and technologists in the scene. From analog beginnings to digital innovation, discover how the Bay Area has shaped — and has been shaped — by the innovative world of synthesizers and sonic creativity.

Bots v Ballots: AI and the 2024 Election
Co-presented by The Guardian and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
September 12 | 7PM | $15
How worried should we be about AI and the election? As advances in generative artificial intelligence stand to disrupt elections, The Guardian and KQED ask what the latest developments mean for democracy. AI has been used to doctor photos, create deep fakes, manipulate candidates’ voices and seed false information about voting among targeted groups — and this will only ramp up as Election Day approaches. Can it be used to improve democracy? In conversation with guests across technology, media and the law, KQED’s Rachel Myrow and The Guardian’s Rachel Leingang will explore what’s happening right now and what ramifications it will have on campaigns, journalists, voters, national security and democracy.

Poetry for Educational Futures with Tongo Eisen-Martin and MindShift
September 17 | 7PM | Free
Join KQED’s MindShift for an interactive, creative journey for families that will explore how poetry can inspire and help us communicate our collective vision for the future of education. Through poetry activities and discussions, participants will have the opportunity to share their hopes and ideas for change in our schools. The event will culminate in a reading by San Francisco’s poet laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin, to offer a powerful demonstration of how poetry can ignite action. Children of all ages are encouraged to attend and light refreshments will be provided.

San Francisco Mayoral Debate Co-presented by the San Francisco Chronicle
September 19 | 7PM | Free
Candidates for the 2024 San Francisco mayoral election join KQED and the San Francisco Chronicle onstage for a live debate. They will share their policies and ideas for taking on the most critical issues facing the city. Moderated by KQED’s Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos, along with the Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli, this event will be available live, streaming online and broadcast on KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM and KQED Public Television 9

How to Party with a Purpose feat. Family Not A Group
Co-presented by BFF.fm
September 26 | 7PM | $15
When gentrification uproots your community, how do you navigate it? San Francisco collective Family Not A Group (FNG) goes beyond just music. From throwing sold-out parties to tackling inequality via their web series Rent Check and educating students by day, the collective shares a passion for culture and advocacy. Join KQED Arts & Culture Editor Nastia Voynovskaya and collective members Mike Evans Jr., Afterthought, Jules Retzlaff, Baghead, Jenset and others for performances, a screening and conversations about sustaining San Francisco’s creative scene. FNG DJs will keep the vibes high with a back-to-back set to close out the night.


KQED Live is made possible by our sponsors Berkeley Rep, Comcast Business, SFMOMA and the San Francisco Symphony.

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