The San Francisco Jazz Scene: Venues, Festivals, and More

San Francisco Jazz Music ScenceNo doubt about it, San Francisco loves jazz! The City by the Bay is home to one of the most thriving jazz scenes in the country. With numerous radio stations playing everything from big band to post bop to the latest smooth jazz, an almost year-round slate of jazz concerts and festivals, and some of the best listening rooms in the world, jazz in San Francisco is not only surviving, it’s thriving!

Bay Area Jazz Radio

The San Francisco Bay Area has many jazz radio stations broadcasting everything from Big Band to smooth jazz. Many colleges in the area also feature jazz radio shows playing both the masters and the latest local and national up-and-coming talent. Here are some to check out:

  • KCEA 89.1 FM – The love of jazz in San Francisco starts early at this high school-run jazz station! KCEA is broadcast from Menlo-Atherton High School and features Classic Big Band jazz from the 1930s and 40s.
  • Radio Sausalito 1610 AM – Even the AM side of the dial features jazz in San Francisco; Radio Sausalito plays “Foot Stompin’ Jazz” 24/7!
  • KCSM Jazz 91.1 – A listener-supported radio station, Jazz 91 features the best in local, national, and classic jazz, along with specialty shows.
  • KISQ Smooth Jazz 98.1 FM – If you prefer contemporary jazz, KISQ is the station for you!

Jazz Concerts Around the Bay

San Francisco boasts a number of concert halls and alternative venues that host amazing performances year-round. Here are a few of the best to check out:

  • Sonoma-Cutrer Vinyards – This vineyard is home to the Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards Jazzy Summer Nights, a series of Saturday evening concerts featuring the best local talent along with national and international jazz stars.
  • SF JAZZ Center – The SF JAZZ Center is the first concert hall of its type in the United States: a freestanding performance venue featuring flexible seating and staging. Built specifically for jazz music, it brings jazz artists from around the world for concerts and residencies year-round.
  • BCA/Rafiki Wellness Center – Home to a yearly Jazz & Blues Concert Series, an annual event featuring the best local talent San Francisco has to offer!
  • Old First Presbyterian Church – This venue is the home of the Old First Concert Series, which features a mix of jazz and classical performances throughout the summer. It’s a great place to catch a show!

Jazz Festivals

San Francisco hosts a large number of music festivals, many of which feature jazz performances, as well as several festivals dedicated solely to jazz.  Here are two of the most popular:

  • San Francisco Jazz Festival – The LA Times calls this the preeminent event of its kind in the United States – it’s a pretty big deal! Featuring over 40 performances over the course of 12 days, the San Francisco Jazz Festival brings artists from around the world to perform.
  • Fillmore Jazz Festival – Every summer more than 100,000 enthusiastic fans descend on San Francisco for the Fillmore Jazz Festival, which celebrates a prosperous tradition of jazz, culture, and cuisine against the picturesque backdrop of Fillmore Street.

Jazz Clubs In and Around San Francisco

Jazz in San Francisco can be found almost everywhere, with so many restaurants, bars, lounges, and hotels hosting live jazz on a regular (or semi-regular) basis in San Francisco and the surrounding area. Here are some of our favorites to check out:

  • Club Deluxe – Located on historic Haight Street, this intimate space offers amazing music most nights and weekend afternoons.
  • The Jazzschool – This Berkeley-based school is devoted to teaching the art of jazz, and also offers fantastic jazz concerts on a regular basis. It’s a great spot to hear the masters alongside the best up-and-coming musicians!
  • The Sound Room – Located across the bridge in Oakland, the Sound Room is home to Bay Area Jazz and Arts, a non-profit dedicated to fostering music appreciation through intimate performances. The Sound Room is a great place to get up-close and personal with the musicians every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Yoshi’s – With two locations in San Francisco and Oakland, Yoshi’s hosts the best of the genre. You can’t go wrong catching a show here!

This is just a small sample of jazz in San Francisco. No matter what style of jazz you’re into, you’re sure to find it in this amazing city!

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Your Guide to Family-Friendly SF Museums: 5 Discussion Questions for Kids

Children's Museums In San Francisco Looking to make the most out of SF museums on your next visit with your kids? Compiling a list of discussion ideas will help make the experience more fun and educational for the entire family. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert to encourage a lively discussion among family members. Let’s get started…

Encourage your child’s interest in SF museums and enrich the experience with the help of these five discussion-starters:

  • WHO?

Who created the exhibit or artwork? This can prompt further discussion, such as the what, why, when, and how of items on display. A great place to easily involve your child in “Who” questions is the International Children’s Art Museum. The museum features works of art from children around the world in a formal gallery setting, offering a glimpse into various artistic influences, traditions, and cultures.

  • WHAT?

There are “What’s” aplenty to keep your family engaged! “What did you learn?” “What was your favorite?” and “What do you see?” are all great examples that are capable of involving every family member, regardless of age or familiarity with fine art. Broad questions like these often prove highly entertaining as well, as perceptions vary with age. While your four-year-old may notice the shapes in a Picasso painting, for example, your pre-teen daughter may zero in on the skewed facial features, while your teenage son may get in a snort or two over a few anatomically correct parts. There are many great SF museums featuring fine arts displays geared toward children, including the de Young Museum. Here you’ll find collections of American artwork spanning several centuries, as well as free Saturday classes and programs for children.

  • WHY?

Consider why certain objects or pieces of art have been put on display at the various SF museums and what they bring to your community. For example, you could talk to your kids about the cultural significance of the Asian Art Museum, which offers storytelling tours, yoga workshops, and street performances to expose children to a variety of art.

  • WHEN?

At what point in time were the artifacts or exhibits constructed? This will also lead to further discussion as to how each exhibit relates to you and your child’s world. Many SF museums offer family activity kits and age-appropriate questionnaires to promote enhanced understanding and enjoyment of exhibits, such as the Family Guide cards offered by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, one of the few SF museums focused on modern art.

  • HOW?

How does the exhibit relate to the world, the current time period, or culture? How does it make your child feel? How could it be done differently? These types of exploratory questions increase your child’s comprehension of the museum exhibits as well as strengthen critical thinking skills.

Going the Extra Mile

If your child finds SF museums particularly inspiring, consider further encouraging their interests with the help of private lessons with a great teacher. TakeLessons teachers can help your child learn about everything from music to academic subjects to visual arts and more! Keep exploring, and help your child find his or her passion today!

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5 Outside Lands Acts You Won’t Want to Miss

Do you love food, wine, art, and awesome music? San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival is just the ticket for a can’t-miss summer experience in the Bay Area. With the 2014 festival coming up August 8-10, here are five acts you can’t miss in this year’s lineup:

Imelda May

Imelda May

If you’re tired of the Top 40 pop princesses of today, Irish-born Imelda May’s rockabilly sound may be just the spice you need to refresh your spirit and get your feet moving. Her 1950s-esque style might seem a bit retro in 2014, but her live show is anything but a cabaret act.

Probably best known for her 2010 hit “Mayhem“, Imelda has also given some classics like “Tainted Love” her signature upbeat rockabilly treatment. She and her band (with her husband on lead guitar) aren’t slowing down at all, with suitably wild tracks on this year’s new album. Catch her at Outside Lands on Sunday.

Night Terrors of 1927

NTO1927

While the name may seem unfamiliar to you, a first listen of Night Terrors of 1927’s synth-pop single “Dust and Bones” proves these up-and-comers deserve a place on stage at this year’s Outside Lands Festival. Both members of the duo have already put in time with bands like Rilo Kiley and The Honorary Title, so it’s no surprise that the rest of their debut EP is just as fully-formed as that first track. Night Terrors of 1927 will likely deliver a Friday set that’s worthy of their high-drama, synth-driven rockstar ambitions.

Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini has seemed poised for major success for a long time now. The Scottish singer-songwriter’s signature ethereal, yet powerful tone caught critics’ ears during his Abbey Road performance of “Iron Sky”, even drawing praise from Adele.

Paolo kept his fans waiting five years for his latest album, Caustic Love, a layoff supposedly owing to a painful breakup with his childhood sweetheart. The album starts off with a track that’s nothing short of timeless and just keeps getting better. Catch him at Outside Lands on Sunday.

The Flaming Lips

Flaming Lips

Is there any band more tailor-made to the atmosphere of a summer festival than The Flaming Lips? Oklahoma City’s most famous musical export has long been one of those under-appreciated bands that only seems to fit with massive crowds and elaborate stages as part of a festival line-up; layered, psychedelic arrangements with space rock elements don’t always translate to mainstream audiences.

Charismatic frontman Wayne Coyne is nothing if not inventive – unlike some other 53-year-olds who might go quietly into the night of cult fame, Coyne recruited Miley Cyrus as a fan and struck up a social media friendship with the star who, to hear them tell it, wasn’t such an incongruous collaborator when they did “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” live at the Billboard Awards.

Miley (probably) won’t join Coyle onstage at the Outside Lands Festival on Sunday, but you can bet his signature human hamster ball method of crowd surfing will make an appearance.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere

True hip-hop fans know it’s not all about the songs you hear on Top 40 radio stations or dance club sound systems. Case in point: Minneapolis-based Atmosphere, consisting of rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis). Since 1989, Atmosphere has drawn in fans with their talented storytelling, with each song introducing an episode in a vivid character’s life and metaphorical lyrics that stand head and shoulders above most mainstream rappers. Catch Atmosphere’s set on Saturday.

If these acts don’t get you excited, the Outside Lands Festival is also playing host to Chvrches, Warpaint, and Lykke Li, all of whom have already received enthusiastic recommendations elsewhere on this very blog. Have fun at this year’s festival, and let us know who you enjoyed the most!

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Exploring Kid-Friendly Theaters and Plays in San Francisco

Kid Friendly Plays In The San Francisco AreaEngaging in the arts can be a fantastic and enriching experience, no matter if you’re on stage participating yourself, or watching from the audience. And if you’re in the Bay Area, you have an awesome opportunity to teach your kids about arts appreciation by attending plays in San Francisco! From Broadway shows to musicals and improvisational performances, there are tons of awe-inspiring productions you can enjoy with your child.

New to the Theater?

If your children aren’t the only ones new to plays in San Francisco, you may want to do a bit of research before selecting your first show or venue.

Where to Find Kid-Friendly Plays and Productions

The Children’s Theater Association of San Francisco is an all-volunteer organization that performs traditional storybook stories. An admission fee is charged for Saturday performances in November, December and January, but free school performances are also available for K-3 classes. Past performances have included CinderellaRumplestiltskin, and Enchanted Sleeping Beauty.

Offering both musicals by professional adult actors and productions with student actors in their conservatory program, a typical experience at the Berkeley Playhouse is unlike any other. Audience members can start by exploring interactive displays in the lobby, and then enjoy pre-show entertainment related to the upcoming performance.

The Bay Area Children’s Theatre offers Main-Stage productions in Berkeley, Oakland, Mill Valley, San Francisco and San Ramon, and takes selected shows on tour to schools in underserved communities. They also offer a Youth Education Program, which serves students in Piedmont, Alameda, Oakland, Orinda, San Ramon, Pleasanton and beyond. Productions typically showcase adaptations of children’s books, as well as special performances geared toward the pre-kindergartner audience.

The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts hosts performances in music, theater, dance, comedy, family programming, and renowned speaker events throughout the year. The expansive campus also displays artwork from local and regional artists.

Additional Resources

  • San Francisco Theater

The San Francisco Theater website is a great resource for general information on Broadway shows, opera, classical music, dance, family shows, stand-up comedy, and more. You can view seating and purchase tickets directly from their website.

  • TheaterMania

Visit TheaterMania for news, reviews, and upcoming plays in San Francisco.

Choosing the Best Plays in San Francisco for Your Child

  • Consider age. Many theaters do not recommend bringing children under the age of 4 or 5. For this age range, stick to shows geared specifically toward their limited attention spans, such as with shorter, fairy-tale based musicals. For slightly older children, consider whether or not they can remain still through a typical two-hour show without whining, misbehaving, or otherwise ruining the show for other guests.

  • Recognize the way young children experience storytelling. Because young children live in a world of pretend, they may view plays in San Francisco quite differently from adults, with the line between reality and the performance becoming quite blurred. Choosing appropriate content is essential for getting your child safely involved mentally, emotionally, and (when allowed) physically in the story.

  • Seek out appropriate content. Keep in mind that some shows, like Little Women, may be boring for younger children. In addition, don’t assume just because a show is based on a children’s cartoon, such as The Lion King, it will be appropriate. Many of these shows can still be quite scary for young or sensitive children. Unsure about content? Try renting a DVD of the performance prior to purchasing tickets to these kinds of plays in San Francisco.

  • Discuss expected behavior in advance. Talk to your children about expected behavior prior to attending plays in San Francisco, including when they should remain quiet and when it’s polite to clap. Discuss the importance of manners and how they affect the enjoyment of the show for those around them.

  • Familiarize yourself (and your children) with the story before attending. Learn and discuss the background of the show before attending plays in San Francisco – maybe by reading the book or watching the movie in advance. This may seem counterintuitive, but it allows children to more easily follow the story as you’re watching the play.

  • Leave early for the show, and know when it’s time to call it a night. Allow for time beforehand to find seats, use the restroom, and educate children on the areas of the theater such as the stage and orchestra pit. Understand you may need to depart early if children are having a hard time lasting through the performance, or trade shifts with another adult taking rowdy children to the lobby area so others can continue to enjoy the show.

Initiating Involvement After the Show

  • Discuss what happened. Talk about the plot, characters, and costumes. Consider how the setting, time period, and culture differ from or are relevant to their life today. With older children, be sure to address more serious topics, including conflict resolution and confronting and overcoming fears.

  • Identify certain elements of plays in San Francisco and how they differ from other viewing experiences. Did music, dance, or other factors contribute to or distract from the experience? How was the live performance – acting, music, dance, etc. – different from traditional experiences like radio and TV?

  • Get children involved. Plan an art, music, acting, or dance project related to the show afterward to continue the excitement. It may inspire children to get involved in participating in theater on their own!

Ready for the Spotlight?

If your kids want to try their hand at acting on stage, many production groups and plays in San Francisco offer chances to take the spotlight!

The Young Performers Theatre is a non-profit children’s theatre located at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, offering children’s classics performed by children and puppets, as well as productions by local playwrights. There are also summer camps, workshops, and one-day mini camps for kids as young as 5.5 to work on their acting chops!

This group stages productions with students ranging from kindergarten age to teens, offering opportunities to learn about all aspects of musical theater, in addition to training with professional directors and designers.

The San Carlos Children’s Theater offers drama courses, workshops, and camps, as well as full-stage productions. Show topics are geared toward older kids, with past productions including Annie Get Your Gun, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Wizard of Oz.

This non-profit groups offers great musicals for younger children, as well as stories on stage where school-aged children are invited to share a book and see a play inspired by it. It was voted “Best Children’s Theater Workshop” in the Bay Area Parent magazine in 2007.

This theater’s Rising Stars program invites children ages 6-14 to participate in junior productions, while their Mainstage program features high school and college students. Past shows have included The Wizard of Oz, Shrek the Musical, and Cats.

A strong foundation is of course important before hitting all those auditions! Find an acting coach near you to help your child hone their skills.

 

Don’t just spend another boring night in front of the TV. Immerse your children in the excitement and culture offered in San Francisco. Escape the ordinary and give your children the creative outlet they are yearning for by inspiring them with San Francisco theater!

 

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5 San Francisco Art Museums to Introduce Your Kids to the Arts

San Francisco Art Musuems That You Can Take Your Kids ToA love of art comes from exposure and the opportunity to create. Children can learn about art through traditional framed works hung in galleries and performances, but why not take it a step further by giving them a more hands-on approach? Check out these five San Francisco art museums committed to introducing kids to the arts:

1. International Children’s Art Museum

Children will be delighted to enter the exhibition galleries and discover that all the artists are fellow children. Offering the rare opportunity for kids to view the work of their peers in a formal gallery setting, the museum features art from kids around the world. One of the intended purposes is to see the artistic influences and traditions of different cultures, while also understanding art as a unifying force. Plus, weekend workshops – a staple at many San Francisco art museums – at the International Children’s Art Museum give kids the chance to discover their own artistic talents with hands-on activities.

2. de Young Museum

A San Francisco institution since 1895, the de Young Museum provides an incredible opportunity to bring children into one of the traditional San Francisco art museums with a permanent collection featuring American art spanning many centuries. You can visit the de Young Museum website beforehand to show children which collections are being featured, to build the excitement. The free Saturday classes are geared toward kids ages 4 to 12 and offer a tour of the current exhibitions on display before the kids begin creating their own. The combination of understanding the work of others and then using their imagination to create their own masterpiece is a great exercise in artistic inspiration.

3. Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum admits children under 12 for free, making it an affordable way to gain familiarity with the arts at a museum that offers many family-focused services. Free family tours of the museum help little ones explore the many aspects of the artwork, while using art terms as an introduction. This museum also stages storytelling tours, yoga workshops, and street performances to fully explore the many expressions of art.

4. Children’s Creativity Museum

Billed as an interactive art museum, the Children’s Creativity Museum offers a fun family experience working with a variety of art mediums. There’s more than just finger paint and crayons here – this cutting-edge creator’s haven even offers an animation studio where kids learn stop motion animation techniques by creating their own film! A design studio is another feature, along with a music studio, where there are costumes, a green screen, and everything else you need to film a musical performance. Software tools, such as GarageBand, are also available for exploration of the creative process of recording music.

5. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

One of the few San Francisco art museums that is focused on modern art is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Prep before your visit with the Family Guide cards, which focus on specific artists, and then see who can recognize the works in the gallery. The museum also likes to take their art to the streets with moving exhibits that showcase art’s ability to exist anywhere!

 

San Francisco art museums offer many different opportunities for introducing kids to the arts. Select one that strikes your fancy, and get that imagination working in overtime!

 

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Concerts in San Francisco: Inside the Classical Music Scene

Classical Music Concert In San FranciscoWith so many different types of music in San Francisco and so many cultural activities to explore, it can be easy to forget that SF has an incredible classical music scene! Here’s your guide to classical concerts in San Francisco, plus other ways to listen to Wagner, Haydn, Stravinsky, Bach, and Chopin while living in the City by the Bay.

Classical Music on the Radio in San Francisco

The radio is your daily connection to classical music, whether you’re commuting in your car, working at your desk, jogging with headphones, or relaxing before bed. These are the best stations for classical music in San Francisco:

  • KDFC 90.3 FM: KDFC is the giant of classical music in San Francisco. They play classical music and opera day and night, with special programs such as Baroque by the Bay and Mozart in the Morning.

  • KALW 91.7 FM: With a wide variety of programming, classical music isn’t the only thing featured on this public radio station in SF, but it’s a big part. Their Open Air show hosts interviews with renowned conductors and live orchestras. Revolutions Per Minute plays classical and contemporary music on vintage vinyl records, and The Record Shelf discusses the lives and techniques of legendary classical composers while playing their music.

Live Classical Music in San Francisco

After listening to the greatest works of Beethoven and Bach on your radio all week, when the weekend comes, it’s time to go experience the magic of a live orchestra. Luckily, classical music concerts in San Francisco are easy to find if you know where to look. Here are the top venues for classical music:

  • San Francisco Chamber Orchestra: Sometimes, instead of hearing a full orchestra, it’s nice to focus on just a few instruments and enjoy the intimacy of a small venue. The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra plays free concerts of classical chamber music, usually in the Nourse Theater (275 Hayes Street), the First Congregational Church in Nob Hill (2345 Channing Way) and the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto (625 Hamilton Avenue). They also have ticketed events at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in downtown Berkeley (2020 Addison Street).

  • Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra: This orchestra lets you travel into the past and hear classical music in its original form. They use instruments created in antique styles and play in the manner of the time period each classical work was composed. Their concerts are held at the Herbst Theatre in Civic Center (401 Van Ness Avenue).

  • San Francisco Symphony: The San Francisco Symphony is one of the best in the world. Music fans can experience the glory of classical music at the Davies Symphony Hall in Civic Center.

  • Midsummer Mozart Festival: This festival is all about Mozart! Performances are held around the Bay Area, with concerts in San Francisco taking place at the Florence Gould Theater in Outer Richmond (100 34th Avenue).

  • American Bach Soloists: This group hosts both a concert series that lasts from December through May and a summer music festival in July. In addition to Bach, they also perform the works of Handel, Vivaldi, and other greats. The festival and many of their seasonal concerts are held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street).

San Francisco’s vibrant classical music scene is as good as any in the country. Check out these venues, festivals, and radio stations to hear some of the best music in history. Enjoy!

 

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Planning an Event? How to Find the Best San Francisco Bands for Hire

Tips On How To Hire Music Bands In San FranciscoFor decades, San Francisco bands have catered to the full range of musical tastes across the City by the Bay, playing in clubs, big concert halls and stadiums, and intimate dive bars.

It’s a thrilling, intense, and creative scene encompassing everything from local acts to global names every night of the week. If you’re hunting for the next big thing in music to play at your next event, it’s easier than you might think. Below are some suggestions for finding the hottest San Francisco bands.

Be Social

Get to know the local music scene online, and make the most of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Most bands in San Francisco have a social media presence, or you can also follow venues and bars to stay up to to date on the music scene. You could also post a call-out via social media asking if anyone has recently heard a great band play in the city that’s available to book.

Alternatively, there are plenty of blogs, like SFCritic, that review live shows and document the local music scene, attending scores of gigs so you don’t have to, and featuring band interviews and song downloads.

You can typically use social media to contact San Francisco bands and musicians, or search for their official website, where they’ll usually list out booking details.

Read All About It

In addition to blogs and social media, there are many websites and magazines devoted to San Francisco bands and music, from the SF Weekly to the Bay Bridged, a leading source of information for the city’s indie music vibes. Use these sources to learn more about local bands before you make your decision, and also check online to listen to samples of their music. Remember – the music can make or break your event, so you want to make sure it’s a good fit!

Go Listen

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! While listening to downloads or streamed songs online are a good way to eliminate bands you won’t want to hire, there’s no substitute for seeing your candidates in action. Go check out as many bands in the city as you can; that way, you are effectively auditioning them before approaching them.

To book bands directly, try a classified listing website, such as the Craigslist page for the Bay Area, or a city guide like SF Station, which has been around for 18 years and carries extensive listings and reviews. The city’s version of Gig Masters also carries details of bands for hire, with specific sections dedicated to jazz and wedding bands. The website Back Page is another excellent place to find advertisements from local musicians available to play at events.

Finally, try to meet the performers in person, if you can. Have all your questions ready for all the San Francisco bands you are trying out, from what drinks and food they expect to be included in the deal, how song requests will be handled, and how long they will play. Once you have the details you need, planning your event and entertaining your guests with great live music will be a breeze!

 

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Top 5 Music Venues in The Mission

San Francisco is known for its active nightlife, hip crowds, and awesome music scene. The Mission District in particular is home to some of the best San Francisco concert venues, ranging from tiny, hidden alleyway secrets to sweeping concert halls. Whether you’re looking for an intimate experience or a crazy night out, there’s a music venue perfect for you. Check out our top five suggestions below for the best concert venues in the Mission:

1. The Lost Church

Lost Church

65 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 

If you’re looking for a unique, historic venue that has stayed true to itself over the years, you can find it in The Lost Church. This humble haven has been the center of many an artsy endeavor in the San Francisco area. Originally built in 1904 and refurbished in the late ’70s, this intimate venue is also a multimedia production studio; it features a very small stage under low lighting with a simple red curtain backdrop, and just a few rows of chairs, where audiences enjoy acts of both local and national notoriety.

2. Brick & Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

This classy little venue features old-school decor, including a breathtaking chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Conveniently within walking distance from BART, the Brick & Mortar Music Hall is an especially comfortable space for a new concertgoer. This old venue features fantastic sound and an eclectic but well-niched taste in mostly indie and singer-songwriter acts, making it a great place to catch an acoustic set. The drinks and cover costs are notably inexpensive for the area, and lines inside are kept short thanks to the multiple bars.

3. Amnesia

Amnesia

853 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Amnesia offers a versatile and worthwhile concert experience. Regular DJs fill the time between themed sets on various nights of the week, including jazz open jams on Wednesdays, bluegrass on Mondays, and comedy open mic nights on Tuesdays. Known for showcasing eclectic and unusual acts, Amnesia is the kind of place where you’ll find unusual instruments, dance, theater, and other interesting variations on your typical bar entertainment. The crowd it attracts is diverse and laid-back, less rowdy than your typical bar – notice the sign on their wall that reads “BE NICE OR LEAVE – THIS IS A GROWN FOLKS’ ESTABLISHMENT” – so if you’re looking for a night on the town that feels more post-college than college, this is a great hangout for you.

4. Mighty

119 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

This somewhat-hidden venue is a cross between a dive bar and a club, featuring predominantly guest DJs rather than full bands. The two full bars in two separate rooms minimize the lines and allow crowds to take in two atmospheres for one cheap cover charge. The audience is often “regulars” in the area, as the venue has a strong vibe of community. Unlike other San Francisco concert venues, Mighty boasts a reasonable amount of free parking nearby.

5. Bottom of the Hill

Bottom_of_the_hill

1233 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

This friendly neighborhood venue exemplifies the best of San Francisco, featuring original music every night of the week, a great food menu, and exceptional sound thanks to the room’s ideal acoustics. Bands and performers represent sounds across indie, alternative, folk, funk, punk, pop, and rock genres, and the venue invites performers to mingle with the crowd between and after their sets. Also, this is a rare venue that hosts 18+ shows, so your younger friends don’t have to miss out!

When you’re close to the Mission, there’s something exciting to do every night of the week. Break out of your shell and try a new experience, explore some new music, and have a great night at one of these San Francisco concert venues. You won’t regret it!

 

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An Introduction to Broadway Shows in San Francisco

San Francisco's Broadway ShowsSan Francisco is a colorful, entertaining, and high-energy city full of fantastic Broadway shows all throughout the year. If you’re excited about watching some great shows in San Francisco, we don’t blame you! You’re going to have a fantastic time, not only choosing among the different Broadway shows like “Mamma Mia!” and “Cats”, but appreciating the arts and mingling with all artistic-minded people in SF.

There are several ways to find relevant, up-to-date information about Broadway shows in San Francisco, as well as a few things you should know before making plans:

  • There are three classic Broadway theaters in San Francisco: SHN Curran, SHN Golden Gate, and SHN Orpheum

The SHN stands for Shorenstein Hays Nederlander, named after its two Broadway production leaders, Carole Shorenstein Hays and Robert Nederlander.

  • Check out the main SHN website to help plan your next night out!

The official SHN website has information about the three theaters, and can also help you find nearby restaurants and other important amenities. You can book tickets for shows directly on the website and plan your whole evening from here, with your Broadway show as the main event!

  • Do you live in San Francisco? Try out an SHN Membership

A membership with the SHN theaters can help you save money, pre-book tickets, and reserve special seating.

Here you can find more general information on Broadway shows, as well as other types of shows like stand-up comedy, opera and classical music, dance, and family shows! You can take a look at the seating charts and buy your tickets right on their website.

  • Looking for show reviews? Check out BroadwayWorld’s message boards

BroadwayWorld lists regional San Francisco shows, and also allows members to weigh in on what they thought of the performances. Not sure about one of the listings? See what everyone else had to say about it!

  • Find news and reviews about Broadway shows on TheaterMania

The TheaterMania website can keep you up-to-date on theater news, reviews, and up-and-coming shows in San Francisco. Want to keep an eye on your favorite actors, actresses and producers? This is the place!

If you aren’t already hooked on Broadway, you’re going to be once you get in there and experience it! The shows in San Francisco change each season, and each theater features its own listings, so you’ll have plenty to watch no matter when you have a hankering to see a show.

Does all this sparkle and glamour give you ideas about starting a career in musical theater or acting? Great! If you stay focused, maybe you’ll be a part of the next generation of Broadway stars. Working with an acting coach in San Francisco can help you fine-tune your acting skills and your overall confidence in the performing arts industry. So what are you waiting for? Get a taste of the big time with some great Broadway shows in San Francisco, and you might just find the inspiration you need to get out there and make a name for yourself!

 

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Your Roadmap for Booking Shows in San Francisco

Tips On Booking Shows In San Francisco The City by the Bay is a major hub for the arts, and music is certainly no exception! This metropolis offers numerous venues and opportunities to book shows in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. First, however, you’ll need to learn the ropes! here’s how to get started…

Find Your Sound

Making music is a pretty vital first step to playing live music in San Francisco, so it’s an excellent place to start. What is your sound?  Who inspires you? What is your creative direction? The easiest way to answer these questions as a band is to play together and feel what works naturally.  Challenge yourselves to go outside your comfort zone, and try styles of music that might seem intimidating. Explore not only sound, but also lyrics, and tap into each band member’s individual skills and interests.  The more songs you create, the more choices you’ll have for deciding which ones are best suited for promoting your group.

Produce a Demo

Once you’ve found your sound, you’ll need to record it.  You’ll need a demo to book shows, but don’t spend all your money on this step – that’s a common beginner’s mistake, and it’s unnecessary.  Producers and booking contacts understand that demos will have a rough feel, and that’s perfectly acceptable.  Choose three or four of your best songs, and either book a studio to record them, or record on your own with your laptop.  This is where networking can prove beneficial – consider reaching out to existing contacts who can help you with this step to make sure your sound is captured perfectly.

Create a Website

With modern webpage hosting, setting up a website for your music is so simple.  You’ll find numerous platforms with various designs and styles, and all you have to do is a pay a fee for the site, and plug in your information.  Make sure it captures your creative vision, then upload your music, and proofread carefully to ensure that it looks professional.  Update the site regularly with upcoming shows, photos, or blog posts, and link your social media sites to your main page.

Establish a Fan Base

Okay, let’s be honest.  When you’re a beginning band, your fan base may just include some close friends and proud parents.  Don’t worry – that’s a great starting point!  Don’t fret over having a posse that rivals Jimmy Buffett’s.  Instead, work on increasing your fan base through word of mouth.  Hang up catchy fliers inviting people out to your show.  Better yet, make the rounds through town to introduce yourself to potential fans (and bring those fliers with you).  Post every single show you play on social media, and network away.

Prepare Your Press Kit

A press kit is a great marketing tool in addition to your recorded demo or CD – at least until you get your own publicist! You’ll want to include a band photo, a biography page, contact information, interviews, articles, and reviews.  If no one has written about you yet, seek some help from friends to submit articles to local newspapers, independent publications, and blogs.  The Bay Bridged, for example, is a fantastic independently produced podcast and blog featuring shows in San Francisco, with a focus on new talent. To submit your music for review, simply head to their website and fill out the electronic form with links to your music. The Bay Bridged also accepts albums by mail, although the electronic form must be completed first.

Practice, Practice, Practice

That whole adage about practice making perfect exists for a reason.  You may have the most talented band that the music industry has ever heard.  The fact is, however, raw talent needs practice to really refine.  You owe it to your craft to work on it constantly – and don’t be afraid of criticism! Take any feedback you receive graciously and allow it to fuel you forward creatively.

Get Comfortable Performing Live

Open mic nights are a wonderful way to practice performing in front of crowds.  The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, a nonprofit community arts organization located at 2020 Addison Street in neighboring Berkeley, has frequent open mic nights, and the venue embraces a wide variety of musical styles.  This is an ideal place to email or call about potential bookings to start playing shows in San Francisco.

Thursday open mic nights are also held at the Bazaar Café, located at 5927 California Street. Open daily for food and music, this cafe is a great local spot for getting your sounds heard.  The Center SF within the Lower Haight neighborhood also offers open mic nights on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Located at 548 Fillmore Street, this venue provides 25 to 30 slots for each open mic session.

The Riptide is ideal for getting your feet wet, so to speak, in the live music arena. This beachy venue at 3639 Taraval Street features scheduled local acts and regular open mic nights. For information regarding booking, submit your band information and a link to your music via Riptide’s online submission form.

Continue Your Education

You’ll need to stay up to date on what venues are looking for, what they require for booking inquiries, and what advice they can provide for getting started.  Don’t be afraid to seek advice from the best in the industry, either.  As referenced on the club’s virtual scrapbook, Rolling Stone magazine (issue 813, May 27th, 1999) dubbed Bottom of the Hill “the best place to hear live music in San Francisco” – so, that’s saying something. This well-known venue, located at 1233 17th Street, provides excellent information for both established bands and up-and-comers, so its booking information is well worth a read. Once you’re confident and comfortable performing in front of a crowd, this is a great place to promote your music.

With some hard work, confidence, talent, and perseverance, you’re sure to find the right venue to book shows in San Francisco.  What a beautiful place to make music!

 

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