Geneva Anderson digs into art

Distinctly San Francisco—and affordable—two $35 shows all about San Francisco that give you a lot of bang for your buck

Brett Hammon plays Gavin Newsom in John Bisceglie's SF Follies at Theatre 39 through June 5, 2011. Photo: courtesy John Bisceglie.

Visitor or local, when spring hits, we’re most likely turn our sights to an evening out in San Francisco.  Here are two limited-run music and dance -filled shows, affordably priced at $35 (not including parking or drinks), that take an in-depth look at San Francisco, exploring its rich history, movers and shakers, and distinct neighborhoods.    

La Chica Boom is a burlesque performance artist featured in Saturday's late night Cabaret Lunatique at Teatro ZinZanni. Image Jerry Johnson.

Cabaret Lunatique: Catering to very late night pleasure seekers, Teatro ZinZanni in the glamorous old Spiegeltent on the Embarcadero’s Pier 29 recently launched Cabaret Lunatique, a series of hip and decadent Saturday midnight shows.  There’s just one show each month and each honors a different San Francisco neighborhood with live music, singers, contortionists, sultry dancing, sizzling burlesque and late-night specialty cocktails and a bar menu.  I can’t think of a better way to cap off an evening in San Francisco than at ZinZanni, where the atmosphere is old-world Europe colliding with zany-chic.  Dress-up is strongly encouraged and hats, feathers and bustiers put everyone in the party mood.  

The series began in March with a celebration of Chinatown that included a classical Gu Zheng musical performance by Bei Bei Zheng, aerialist Alexa Hukari and baritone Al Li from the SF Opera’s Adler Fellow Program who flirted it up with sultry burlesque performer Shanghai Pearl.  May’s show, this Saturday (May 14, 2011),  celebrates San Francisco’s Mission district and features performer and comedian Marga Gomez; spoken word artists Alejandra Mojica and Paul Flores; seductive burlesque performer | La Chica Boom; and DJ Ron Obregón.  They will also be joined by co-hosts Ricardo Salinas, director of ZinZanni’s current show “Caliente” and Robert Lopez , who also stars in “Caliente” as the character Cinco.  To look forward to:  June 4th, Castro; July 2, Fillmore/Jazz; August 6, Haight Ashbury.  

Details: Pier 29 The Embarcadero (at Battery Street), San Francisco, CA.  Drinks and light food available at an additional cost.  Fantasy costumes welcomed. Doors open 11:15 p.m. Tickets $25 to $35. Box Office Phone (415) 438-2668  or

SF Follies:  Right in heart of touristy Pier 39, is Theatre 39, home for the next month to SF Follies, a nostalgic and sharp-witted song-and-dance revue of the City’s history from pre-gold rush all the way up to the present day.  The Bay Area’s John Bisceglie is the author, director, producer and costume/set designer, with coauthor Jason Tarshis.  In 2009, SF Follies was awarded “Best Musical”, “Best Director”, “Best

What revue of San Francisco would be complete with pot? Tenaya Hurst is a singing dancing glittery cannabis bud in John Bisceglie's SF Follies at Theatre 39 at Pier 39 through June 5, 2011. Photo: John Bisceglie.

Choreographer” and “Best Ensemble” by the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and this updated restaging is in the same vein as the original—poking good-hearted fun at local celebrities, politicians, institutions and the high cost of living in the City.  Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, Tom Ammiano, Harvey Milk, Patty Hearst, the Giants—no one escapes Bisceglie’s irreverent gaze.   Listen carefully to the lyrics–they’re marvelous, witty, and au currant!   The ensemble of singers and actors is 15 strong with a stand-out performance by Brett Hammon as Gavin Newsom, a hippie, and he gives a riveting opening solo.   Showgirl, dancer and singer Tenaya Hurst, with glowing cheeks and a heartwarming smile plays a dancing cannabis plant, Patty Hearst, a Muni driver, and 1800’s mother with doll.  The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission.

Details: Theatre 39 at Pier 39 (Beach Street and The Embarcadero), San Francisco, CA.  Drinks and light food will be available at an additional cost.  8 more performances: Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Sunday, June 5th, 2011.  All tickets $35.  Box Office Phone: 1-800-838-3006.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Theatre | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment