SF Life: Happy Birthday America, Film Fest

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Happy weekend celebrating the 50 United States of America! Let the fireworks and fun begin – a few suggestions for you if you are without a plan. Take a walking tour, hit a festival, listen to music, and then watch the sky explode! And coming up soon, The Windrider film forum returns with important, thought provoking films and conversations in Menlo Park. Great way to get inside and stay cool!

Celebrating the Stars and Stripes

 My Tomato pals, if you have left the bay and are in Tahoe, Napa, Hawaii etc. then you already have your plans. But for those of us staying put, here are some ideas of what to do this weekend and where to view the “works”. If you live outside the city proper you might want to rent bikes and zip around the city, or park south of market and uber around.  Mr. Tomato and I love to rent bikes on holiday weekends due to less auto traffic. The tourists are milling on foot or lining up for cable car rides!

Biking and Free Walking Tours.

Tomorrow you could bike to the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building and grab a picnic from one of the outstanding vendors located inside and head to Levi’s plaza across the street – fun, cheap, easy! Or this is a great time to take advantage of the Free walking tours offered by The San Francisco Public Library. Their tours are available this weekend and on Monday and Tuesday as well. On the 4th one of the tours offered is The Alfred Hitchcock tour.

This esteemed director loved our city and used its beauty, elegance and mystery in several films. From Nob Hill to Union Square you will visit the hotels, clubs and other locations featured in Vertigo along with other masterpieces. These tours are really informative even if you have lived in the bay your entire life. Other tours this weekend include Pacific Heights Mansions, The Castro, Downtown Deco, The Tea Garden and a host of others. Local volunteers who love the city, its history, lore and legends share their knowledge with you. The tours are free, but they do accept donations! Tours last around 1 – 1½ hours and no reservations are necessary. Just visit www.sfcityguides.org for more info.

The Fillmore Street Jazz Festival

This festival returns for its 33rd year of jumping, jiving and grooving. This tomato attended last year and yes, I even danced with the hubby as a swing band played its boogie beats. This fest is a blend of art and soul and wouldn’t you know it’s the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast. All day Saturday and Sunday you can browse fine arts and crafts and munch on gourmet food and beverages. This is some of the finest music around, and I guarantee a foot stomping good time. www.sresproductions.com

Music at Aqauatic Park

You can tune in for more music on the 4th at Aquatic Park at 6 p.m. with a Prince Tribute Band, The Purple Ones and at 7:45 put on your keds and dance to The Cheeseballs, a great Dance Party Band. (I know them, I have danced to them, trust me, they are so much fun!) Or head to Pier 39 from 5 – 8 where the cover band Tainted Love will be celebrating the red white and blue with The Best of the 80’s – (remember that decade tomatoes?)


Fireworks displays will be lighting up the skies all over the bay area. Every year, San Francisco holds a large fireworks display over the bay with two sets of fireworks, synched, so you can get a glimpse from all over the area. One is set at the end of the Municipal Pier and the other pyrotechnic display launches from barges in front of Pier 39. The sparks fly once it’s dark enough, around 9 p.m.

Windrider Film Forum

Yes, there are a lot of film festivals around, so what makes this one different?  The Windrider Film Forum takes the audience on a journey that explores humanity through imagination, intellect and compassion – through film. The films showcased inspire us as the audience to find ways to make a difference in the world and in our communities. July 6 – 8th at the Center for Performing Arts at M-A (555 Middlefield Rd. Atherton) you will be able to view independent films culled from the top film festivals in the country. The filmmakers come along for the event and facilitate Q & A sessions that allow the audience to query them about any of the principals in the films. This year’s film forum features the opening night film, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble: a night of four amazing short films: Teen Press, DeKalb Elementary, Soar, Nocturn in Black, and the closing night film, STEP. I have seen snippets of STEP, the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step dance team in Baltimore. It is riveting. The filmmaker and three of the girls will be on the Q & A panel on Saturday July 8th. For tickets: www.windriderbayarea.org

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