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March 15, 2024
For immediate release

Contact: Kyndra Gedney: (760) 397-5984 [email protected]

El Rio Adds Nostalgia to the List of Festival Venues

Calendar Editors Please Note
Who: Multiple Musical Artists
What: 2024 San Francisco International Arts Festival
Where: El Rio
Date & Time: May 2 & 9, 2024
Tickets: FREE - $25 general admission
Early Bird Tickets On-Sale through Mar 31, 2024
Box Office and Information: https://www.sfiaf.org or 415-399-9554
.

March 15, 2024 San Francisco: The San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) returned to its roots in the Mission District last year and presented a season of exploratory programming as the organization steadied its feet in the old neighborhood. This was after the COVID-19 Pandemic put an end to the partnership the organization had been building at Fort Mason Center, where the Festival had taken place for more than a decade.

Now, after a moment of reflection, SFIAF is embarking on a second year of programming in the Mission, building new relationships as well as reconnecting to some older ones. Of the latter, perhaps the most illustrative of the rationale behind the Mission move is that with El Rio, the landmark music venue that has long been LGBTQ+ owned and programmed. SFIAF director, Andrew Wood worked there three decades ago from 1991 to 1995.

Andrew Wood working at El Rio
(circa 1994)

Wood said of the move to the Mission, “There are many differences between Fort Mason and the Mission District. Perhaps, one of the less obvious to the public eye is that if you want to activate a new venue at Fort Mason on a bank holiday weekend, you have to manage it yourself. In the Mission, there are so many venues one organization could never manage them all.”

So this year, as well as programming out of, and managing productions at, non-profit arts centers, SFIAF is also playing match-maker and liaising between artists interested in participating in the Festival and community venues that might be the most appropriate fit for their work.

To some extent, SFIAF is doing this informally to test the waters (i.e. connecting to entities such as El Rio where individuals from the Festival have an existing relationship). The idea being to take the lessons learned to develop best practices and a more comprehensive approach into 2025.

Led by booking manager, Lynne Angel, El Rio’s programming staff selected four individuals and ensembles that they considered to be the best fit for their venue and audience.

Rachel Garlin, a melodic folk singer with a strong lesbian following and Trans guitar soloist, Shawna Virago were, perhaps, the most obvious of these selections (see project descriptions below). With the all-Asian-women-quartet, Pandan Leaf Collective, a well aligned fit as well.

However, the most intriguing choice is the classical Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE), a group more familiar with the conservatory circuit, who will open the El Rio component of the Festival program on Thursday May 2 at 6:00pm with a free concert on El Rio’s lauded outdoor patio (the traditional realm of tea-dance salsa bands).

As
Carmen Miranda’s fruit bedecked visage looks on, LCCE will make their El Rio debut with a concert titled, Borealis featuring works by Finnish composer, Kaija Saariaho; the 20th century Czech socialist, Erwin Schulhoff and the upcoming American, Chelsea Komschlies. Borealis, is inspired by physical phenomena (the northern lights), physical experiences (sweet torment), and quirky humor. Among other enchantments, audiences can discover how a double-bass fails to fail in a work designed to fail.

Later on Thursday, May 2nd at 9:00 pm, Shawna Virago, also known as the fairy godmother of trans country artists, will be celebrating a record release for her album, Blood in Her Dreams. This will be a night of inclusive, queer, punky-tonk music featuring Shawna’s guests, the Secret Emchy Society, Eddie and the Heartbeats, and Churro Nomi.

The following week, Pandan Leaf Collective will also give a free concert on Thursday, May 9th at 6:00 pm. Pandan Leaf Collective is a group of four Asian American women singer-songwriters who enjoy independent careers in the Bay Area’s music industry, and that come together to blend their various talents, instrumentation, and voices in one harmonious group. The group will present a special concert of songs inspired by the women who shaped their lives.

Finally, on Thursday, May 9th at 8:00 pm, Rachel Garlin will perform music from her repertoire as well as excerpts from her latest body of music The Ballad of Madelyne & Therese. This will be followed by a dance party with DJ Rockaway.

Calendar Editors Please Note
Who: Multiple Musical Artists
What: 2024 San Francisco International Arts Festival
Where: El Rio
Date & Time: May 2 & 9, 2024
Tickets: FREE - $25 general admission.
Early Bird Tickets On-Sale through Mar 31, 2024
Box Office and Information: https://www.sfiaf.org or 415-399-9554
.

~XXX~


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

 

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