Get the Best Ticket Deal with a Festival Pass

April 20, 2023
For immediate release

Contact:
Andrew Wood 415-399-9554 (o) 415-305-1102 (c) [email protected]
Lucho Ramirez: (415) 425-0445 [email protected]

Eight African-American and African Artists /Ensembles
Take Center Stage at SFIAF as US Contemplates
Juneteenth National Holiday

Calendar Editors Please Note
Who: Multiple Artists
What: 2023 San Francisco International Arts Festival
Where: BRAVA Theater, 2781 24th St, SF and Theatre of Yugen, 2840 Mariposa, SF (both CA 94110).
Date & Time: June 10-18, 2023
Tickets: $17 - $28 general admission. Early Bird Sale Ends April 30, 2023
Box Office and Information: https://www.sfiaf.org or 415-399-9554
.

Photos Available on Request

April 20, 2023: San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) will feature eight African-American and African companies and ensembles in the week leading up to the Juneteenth National Holiday on Monday June 19 (the festival concludes on Sunday June 18). All of these groups had individually opted to participate in the Festival program before there was a notion that Juneteenth woul feature as a subtext in many of their productions.

Prior to the administration of President Joe Biden announcing that Juneteenth would be a national holiday, Black communities had often celebrated the occasion in their own way without relying on an any official blessings or rulings. Now that the Biden decree has added a new layer of perspective for the broader population (i.e. -- an extra day off and how to include it within the existing matrix of vacation plans), it has also sparked conversations--not least in the Black community--about the strategic significance of Juneteenth and how it fits within the national conscience.

When this became apparent, the Festival groups (led informally by the Put ur Play On ensemble) opted to create the "Juneteenth Celebration" an impromptu, semi-autonomous collective that would present their work within the context of what is now America's newest national holiday. To support this concept, SFIAF arranged for most of the Festival's African and African-American programming to be in proximity to the Juneteenth date.

Saleemah Jones, artistic director of Put ur Play On, said of the Celebration programming, "Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times."

She added, "This initiative is a celebration of Black creatives coming together to present original works of art and culture that demand to be seen, heard and shouted from the rooftops."

The resulting performances address a range of issues including those responding directly to the issue raised by Juneteenth (e.g. Unapologetically Black...by Put ur Play On) along with parallel themes such as Crawfish by Gamal Chasten, What Had Happened Was by Us in the US and Buffalo Soldiers by John Calloway as well as performances that celebrate community and invoke the spirits of ancestors.

The full list of participating projects is as follows (click on links for more details):

Theatre / Spoken Word

Speakeasy Storytellers Series
(60 minutes w/out intermission)
BRAVA Studio  |  Saturday, Jun 10, 6:30 PM
The Speakeasy program provides inter-generational and multi-cultural stories for the purpose of connecting our common experiences. Performers have included artists, medical doctors, carpenters, jazz singers, business women, tech workers and parents.

US in the U.S.
What Had Happened Was... (world premiere) (60 minutes w/out intermission)
Theatre of Yugen; Fri Jun 16, 2023 8:00 PM, Sat Jun 17, 2023 5:30 PM, Sun Jun 18, 2.30pm
What Had Happened Was… takes the audience through a process of shedding identity. It is a journey through the past exploring generational trauma and letting go. Making choices in the present moment and navigating the future. It is about selecting one’s own identity or deciding not to have one at all!


Gamal Chasten
Crawfish - We The Invisible (world premiere) (60 minutes w/out intermission)
BRAVA Studio; Sat Jun 17, 2023 6:00 PM, Sun Jun 18, 2023 4:30 PM
Written and performed by Gamal Chasten and directed by Steven Sapp, Crawfish chronicles one man's journey from home to homelessness, while also sharing his insights on gentrification, global warming and Alzheimer's. Time and place: September 11th, 2020, Berkeley CA, under the overpass of the 580 Freeway. Crawfish did not move here. He was moved.


Put Ur Play On Productions
Unapologetically Black: Here for Facilitating Harm Reduction Services for Those in Need, Incorporated (world premiere) (60 minutes w/out intermission)
Theatre of Yugen; Sat Jun 17, 2023 2:00 PM
Unapologetically Black is a great jumping-off point for dialogue about racism and the possibilities of ally-ship. This initiative is a celebration of Black creatives coming together with allies to use art as a way to usher in the change we want to see in the world.

Music

Fely Tchaco
In Concert (90 minutes w/out intermission)
BRAVA Theater; Fri Jun 16, 2023 8:00 PM
Originally from Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast, Fely Tchaco is an accomplished singer-songwriter and composer. Her repertoire includes popular and traditional West African, Afro-Cuban and Afro-Colombian sounds.

John Calloway
Tribute to the Buffalo Soldier and the Afro-Filipino
(60 minutes w/out intermission)
BRAVA
Cabaret; Sat Jun 17, 2023 2:00 PM
John Calloway will give a work-in-progress presentation of the piece that will premiere at the Asian Art Museum in October 2023. Tribute to the Buffalo Soldier and the Afro-Filipino examines the confluence of the African / Filipino aspects of the Calloway family history.

Dee Spencer
The BluesFem Project: Smile Orange
(world premiere) 60 minutes w/out intermission)
BRAVA
Cabaret; Sat Jun 17, 2023 5:00 PM
The BluesFem Project: Smile Orange is a musical experience arranged and directed by Bay Area virtuoso Dee Spencer, pairing the 1976 film Smile Orange with a live performance of the soundtrack composed by trombonist Melba Liston. Spencer’s arrangement combines soul, R&B, jazz, pop and blues with traditional Jamaican sounds and pays homage to two great artists: Author Trevor D. Rhone (1940–2009) and Melba Liston (1926–1999).

Gisela Tangui and The Voodoo Cabaret
In Concert (75 minutes with intermission)
BRAVA
Cabaret; Sun Jun 18, 2023 6:00 PM
The Voodoo Cabaret is an ongoing musical performance project driven by the songs and theatrical presence of Gisela Tangui. Her compositions reflect a singular relationship to the Orishas/Loas of the African diaspora and are written to fulfill her personal spiritual quest as well as entertain, educate and inspire. Gisela uses extensive percussion, rock instrumentation, humor, devotion and her operatic voice to connect and uplift her audience and community.

Dance

Diamano Coura West African Dance Company
JUSAT
(120 minutes with intermission)
BRAVA Theater; Sat Jun 17, 2023 8:00 PM
This original work by one of the Bay Area’s foremost West African dance companies, explores a personal journey and its universal expression in ritual. JUSAT blends traditional West African dance with contemporary American influences and features both traditional and pop music from Senegal and Mali. This dynamic suite has four scenes, beginning with, JUSAT, which represents the cyclical stages of life’s trajectory. The piece uses traditional West African dance and music as its focal point, which is enhanced by contemporary moves and music.


Funders
SFIAF 2023 is made possible in part by the support of Bernard Osher Foundation, BRAVA Theater Center, California Arts Council, California Office of the Small Business Advocate, California Venues Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, New Place Fund, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the Western Arts Federation (WESTAF) and many generous individuals.

Calendar Editors Please Note
Who: Multiple Artists
What: 2023 San Francisco International Arts Festival
Where: BRAVA Theater, 2781 24th St, SF and Theatre of Yugen, 2840 Mariposa, SF (both CA 94110).
Date & Time: June 10-18, 2023
Tickets: $17 - $28 general admission. Early Bird Sale Ends April 30, 2023
Box Office and Information: https://www.sfiaf.org or 415-399-9554.

Photos Available on Request

~XXX~

 


San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

 

CONTACT

Mailing List

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

ABOUT

Mission

Archives

Funders