Monday, August 08, 2011

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

The Redevelopment block between 3rd, 4th, Mission and Howard is a mostly failed attempt to create welcoming public space on top of the cavernous underground Moscone Convention Center, with the ugly Metreon complex anchoring one corner and the Yerba Buena Arts Center holding up another.

The most successful space is the large lawn in the middle where the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival offers free outdoor programs all summer...

...with "picnics welcome, no pets please."

The programs range from dance troupes, poetry readings, theatre and music concerts, with a heavy emphasis on various ethnic niches.

On Saturday afternoon, it was AfroSolo's annual Jazz in the Gardens concert.

According to the AfroSolo Arts Festival website, the organization is dedicated to "a celebration of African American artists giving voice to the Black experience."

Interestingly, you didn't necessarily have to be Black to be part of the celebration.

The group I saw was the Ranzel Merritt Quartet...

...with the 18-year-old Oakland phenom, saxophonist Ranzel Merritt above, leading the troupe in a very pleasant set of music.

Coming up in the next couple of weeks is a Middle-Eastern music group called The Dunes on Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30; a Filipino music, dance, crafts, and food festival all weekend long on the 13th and 14th from 11 to 5; a Gertrude Stein poetry reading on Tuesday the 16th from 12:30 to 1:30; Teatro Zinzanni's Orchestra on Thursday the 18th from 12:30 to 1:30; a Brazilian music concert on Saturday the 20th from 1 to 3; and finally, if you are foolish enough not to buy tickets ahead of time for "Four Saints in Three Acts" at the Novellus Theatre next door, you can see the SF Mime Troupe's latest effort at 1:30 PM on Sunday the 21st.;

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