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9 awesome things to do in San Francisco this weekend

By Ivy McNally
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Concerts, food festivals, movie screenings, art exhibits and more of the best events and things to do in San Francisco this weekend.

THURSDAY 

SF Jewish Film Festival Opening Night Party

Explore the Contemporary Jewish Museum after hours at a party kicking off the 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Following a 6:30pm screening at the Castro Theater of opening night flick, Keep the Change, art and film lovers will take to the galleries for drinks, dancing and classic kosher bites from the likes of Wise Sons, L'chaim Sushi and more. It’s the perfect appetizer for two weeks of incredible film events.  

FRIDAY 

Ben Folds with the SF Symphony

Summer brings a fresh vibe to the San Francisco Symphony, with a concert season geared toward new audiences. If you’ve memorized the lyrics to “Annie Waits” or slow-danced with your special someone to “The Luckiest,” then this concert’s for you. Enjoy a blast from the past and some much-needed nostalgia with pianist and singer-songwriter Ben Folds, solo performer and former frontman of the Ben Folds Five.     

Big Trouble in Little China (A)LIVE: Movie, Mayhem & More

The Kurt Russell cult classic Big Trouble in Little China is enjoying peak nostalgia status, getting the full live immersive experience treatment at Great Star Theater. Produced by Mad Dog Madigan, known for such decadent events as The World-Famous Edwardian Ball and Opulent Temple White Party, this screening will certainly top watching the VHS in your parents’ basement. The live show and film culminate in a dance party with cash bar.     

SATURDAY 

Hayes Valley Silent Disco

Experience a silent disco right in the middle of bustling Hayes Valley’s PROXY site this weekend. With three channels to choose from, you are sure to find something to put a little summer in your step. And if you need a bit of liquid courage, Hayes Street destinations Sugar Lounge and Noir Lounge will be serving specials all night. The best part of a silent disco? No noise equals no nosey neighbors, so the party can go all night long.

Dogs at SPARK
Photograph: Courtesy SPARK Social SF

World's Biggest Rescue Dog Party 

It’s officially the dog days of summer (just check your star chart) and the doggos are coming out in full force to break the world record for the biggest rescue dog party ever. Bring your fur friend out to mix it up with other mutts while you enjoy tasty food truck fare, refreshing bevvies and music from Beginners. You pup will be starstruck by Instagram-famous pets, including Manny The Frenchie. Dress ‘em up for their own chance to shine in the doggy costume contest.      

TEDx Salon: Longevity

An amuse bouche before October’s more bombastic event, this TEDx Salon is a bite-sized version of the lecture series, focused on a single topic. For this outing, several experts will survey the subject of Longevity. Figure out how to optimize our ever-increasing lifespans (as some billionaires even dabble in notions of blood-fueled immortality). You’re going to be old for a long time. Better start planning now.   

Run the Jewels

This North-South hip-hop throwdown is sure to pack in outrage aplenty as Definitive Jux hero El-P and quick-witted Atlanta MC Killer Mike spit incisive political venom on their appropriately titled third album, Run the Jewels 3, a collection of braggadocio and cutthroat takedowns. Young and fast-rising Brooklyn hip hoppers Flatbush Zombies set the stage.  

Blonde Redhead

The rightly adored New York institution Blonde Redhead returned in 2014 with Barragán, an album that veers confidently into dark French pop territory. Masterfully remixed on 2016’s Freedom of Expression on Barragán, it marked a huge shift away from the band's forays into trip-hop and dream-pop, but in live shows, the versatile group handles the shift with ease. See them here with indie-composer Porcelain Raft.    

NightGarden Piano
Photograph: Courtesy SF Botanical Garden

NightGarden Piano

Your own midsummer night’s dream awaits right in the heart of Golden Gate Park, as the Botanical Garden keeps the gates open for an evening stroll, replete with live piano music courtesy of Flower Piano. Creatively lit pathways lead you from one performance to the next and skilled locals are welcome to join the festivities at a number of open pianos. Food and drink will be available for purchase, with all funds benefitting Flower Piano’s enriching community events.  

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