June arts, music and events calendar

We know it may feel like summer already, but summer 2019 officially starts this month and there are almost too many events to help us celebrate. June means Pride month is here, and other Bay Area traditions like the Cherry Festival and Juneteenth are back. Live music, unique theater performances, museum dates and delicious food and wine are at our fingertips this month too. Kick off summer the right way and hop on BART to the endless adventures around the Bay.

Cherry Festival (June 1) at San Leandro

The annual Cherry Festival is back for the 110th year, and it honors the city’s heritage as the former cherry-growing capital of the region. To kick off the festival, there will be a parade that will start at 10am and proceed north along San Leandro Boulevard until Estudillo Avenue.  Starting at 11am, there will be live music, a cabaret show, food vendors, local craft beer, a Kids Zone and more. The festival headliners are The Jets and Sweet Sensation. Admission is free. Take BART to San Leandro and walk 7 minutes to 384 W Estudillo Ave.

Photo courtesy of Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival.

Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival (June 1-2) at Walnut Creek

The 38th annual Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival is happening the first weekend of June, and there will be a premium wine tent, craft beer garden, arts and crafts from over 200 artisans, live music, a Festival Train and kids zone. Stomper from the Oakland A’s will even make an appearance from 1 to 3pm! Visit and see why the festival attracts over 85,000 attendees and was voted Best Community Event by Walnut Creek Magazine in their Best of 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards issue. Admission is free. Take BART to Walnut Creek and grab the free shuttle buses that run continuously to the Art & Wine festival at Heather Farm Park.

Berkeley World Music Festival (June 1-2) at Downtown Berkeley

Genres from all corners of the world will come together at the 16th annual Berkeley World Music Festival. There will be musical styles such as sufi trance, zydeco, new balkan and slide-hammer autoharp. All activities will take place throughout Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue neighborhood. Saturday’s events will be held at intimate cafes and People’s Park; Sunday’s events will be out on the streets on Telegraph Avenue from Dwight Way to Bancroft Avenue. The festival’s finale party will be at Tap Haus on 2516 Durant Avenue. Admission is free. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 16 minutes to the main information booth at Telegraph and Haste to start.

Silent Disco By the Bay (June 8) at Embarcadero

This silent disco allows you to choose not one but three different live DJs to listen and dance to. There will be EDM and house; 80s, 90s and 2K throwbacks; and hip hop, R&B and latin. The disco will have an outdoor bar with a patio on the water — expect views of the Bay and Bay Bridge. Tickets are $10-$25 and can be bought online. Take BART to Embarcadero and walk 17 minutes to Pier 23 Cafe Restaurant & Bar.

Courtesy of Bay Area Children’s Theatre.

Press Here, The Musical (June 8-30) at Powell Street

Audience members will get to take an ever-changing, magical journey with actors in this original production of Press Here the Musical, inspired by Hervé Tullet's award-winning picture book, Press Here. Colorful dots will cavort and juggle onstage and the power of imagination and interactivity will be shared. Recommended for ages 3 to 103. Tickets range from $18-$30 and can be bought online. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 9 minutes to the Children’s Creativity Museum.

The Good Book (Ends June 9) at Downtown Berkeley

“The Good Book” centers around the most influential book in Western history: the Bible. This play weaves together three distinct yet connected stories: a devout young man struggling to reconcile his belief with his identity; an atheist biblical scholar trying to find meaning as she faces her own mortality; and the creative journey of the Bible itself. Tickets can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 3 minutes to Peet’s Theatre.

DocFest (Ends June 13) at 16th and 24th St. Mission

It’s not often that film festivals are dedicated to documentary cinema. DocFest is one of those festivals, and it’s called San Francisco home since its inception in 2001. This two-week long event has been known to bring the weird and wonderful parts of life to the big screen, and it can sometimes reveal that truth is often stranger than fiction. KQED’s Michael Fox said Docfest “offers a zippy blend of politics, music, social issues and youth-oriented subcultures.” Tickets range from $14-$20 and can be bought online. Documentaries will be screened at either Brava Theater, Roxie Theater or 518 Gallery — which are all walking distance to either 16th or 24th St. Mission.

Photo courtesy of Berkeley California Juneteenth’s Facebook page.

Berkeley Juneteenth (June 16) at Ashby

Back on June 19, 1865, news reached Galveston, Texas that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation — which meant that slaves were freed from southern states in rebellion against the U.S. during the civil war. Slaves took to the streets and rejoiced in their newly found freedom. From then on, “Juneteenth” would forever commemorate African American freedom, and communities nationwide have taken part in celebrating this important day every year. Berkeley’s Juneteenth will offer live music, dance, spoken word, health screenings, two on two basketball, historical exhibits and more. Admission is free. Take BART to Ashby and walk 5 minutes to Alcatraz and Adeline.

Kings (Ends June 16) at Ashby

“Kings” is a whip-smart political satire that centers on Sydney Millsap, a new member of congress who sees how money corrupts politics. She’s on a mission to do something about it, but a career senator and two ambitious lobbyists react to her efforts. See the dark comedy that Metro Weekly describes as a “snappy addition to the growing canon of fiction that pulls back the curtain on how the sausage gets stuffed in Washington, D.C.” Tickets range from $7-$40 and can be bought online. Take BART to Ashby and walk 5 minutes to the Ashby Stage.

Walnut Creek Downtown Uncorked (June 20) at Walnut Creek

A ticket to Walnut Creek Uncorked gets you the chance to sip wine, savor tasty bites and enjoy live entertainment while strolling through downtown Walnut Creek. Along the stroll are plenty of sights to see — like restaurants, fashion, jewelry and artisan shops. More than 20 wineries will be participating in the event, and there will be food demos from local restaurants like true Foods and Il Fornaio. Tickets in advance are $40 and can be bought online. Take BART to Walnut Creek and take the free trolley downtown.

Photo courtesy of Another Planet Entertainment.

Clusterfest (June 21-23) at Civic Center/UN Plaza

Comedy and music are joining forces for another hilarious weekend in San Francisco, thanks to Clusterfest. There will be stand-up, podcasts, improv and live reads, along with bands, DJ sets and dance parties all weekend long. Some comedians on the lineup include Amy Poehler & Friends, John Mulaney and Leslie Jones; for music, attendees will get the chance to see The Roots, Courtney Barnett, Girl Talk and more. Special exhibitions, food options and drinks will be available to enjoy as well. The festival will take place at Civic Center Plaza and the nearby Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Tickets range from $109-$1250 and can be bought online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 4 minutes to Civic Center Plaza.

The Year of Magical Thinking (June 21-July 21) at Downtown Berkeley

Author Joan Didion has adapted her National Book Award-winning memoir “The Year of Magical Thinking” into a one-woman play that dives into the story of the sudden loss of her husband and the illness of their daughter. In order to cope, Didion found herself living inside “magical thinking” — self-protective delusions instead of the “vortex” of reality. Didion has brought her memoir to theater and Playbill describes it as “an intensely personal yet universal story of hope in the face of inescapable loss.” Tickets can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to Aurora Theatre.

Photo courtesy of American Conservatory Theater’s Facebook page.

Rhinoceros - The Geary Theater (Ends June 23) at Powell Street

French playwright Eugene Ionesco was one of the foremost playwrights of the theater of the absurd. His piece “Rhinoceros” focuses on a rhinoceros rampaging through a village square. At the local cafe, people argue over what actually happened — was it actually a rhino, or just fake news? An everyman named Berenger grapples with this question and faces a desperate choice: either take a stand against armored brutes, or join the mindless herd. Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati is behind this all-new adaptation about power, conformism and mass culture. Tickets are $15-$110 and can be bought online. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 8 minutes to A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.

SF Pride Parade (June 30) at Embarcadero

San Francisco Pride is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQIA parades in the world. The parade travels through the heart of the city — from Embarcadero to Civic Center along market street. There are over 100,000 spectators that come to watch the marchers. Contingents include the famous Dykes on Bikes to the thousands in the Board-led Resistance contingent. In conjunction with the parade is the SF Pride celebration, which is held in Civic Center Plaza from June 29-30 and includes local and global touring acts, community organizations and engaging thought leaders. Admission is free. Take BART to Embarcadero by 10:30 a.m. and the parade will start there.

Once (Ends June 30) at Embarcadero

Based on the 2007 movie, "Once" tells of an Irish musician who learns to love and dream again through a fateful week with a Czech immigrant. Heart-breakingly romantic but also bursting with joy and humor, ONCE features a lively folk score - with the onstage actors playing their own instruments - and is the only score to have won an Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Olivier Award. "Once" demonstrates the power that music has to connect us all.  Tickets range from $25-$76 and can be purchased online on the 42nd Street Moon website.  Take BART to Embarcadero and walk 9 minutes to Gateway Theatre.

Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction (Ends July 21) at Downtown Berkeley

Hans Hofmann was one of the most significant figures of postwar American art, and played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism. This exhibition presents a fresh, eye-opening look at Hofmann’s prolific and innovative artistic practice. It brings together nearly seventy works that span all of Hofmann’s career; there will be paintings and works on paper from 1930 through the end of Hofmann’s life in 1966. Numerous masterworks from BAMPFA’s distinguished collection, along with many seldom-seen works from both public and private collections across North America and Europe will be on display. Admission tickets range from $11-13. Admission is free for BAMPFA members; UC Berkeley students, faculty, staff; 18 and under; one adult per child 13 and under; and artists in the BAMPFA collection/MATRIX.

Oakhella Festival (Ends Aug. 18) at West Oakland

Who’s hella excited for Oakhella? Oakhella originally launched as a micro-music festival, but then grew into a community organization seeking to preserve the cultural fabric of Oakland while also welcoming newcomers into the community. April 28th marks Oakhella’s season opener, but there will be events throughout the summer until August. Oakhella events feature performances, visual art, DJ sets, food trucks and local vendors from the Town. Check the Oakhella website for May events.

Courtesy of Asian Art Museum.

Tattoos in Japanese Prints (Ends Aug. 18) at Civic Center/UN Plaza

Tattoos come in all shapes, sizes and styles, but one of the most famous tattoo trends is the one inspired by 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints. If you’ve seen tattoos like a striking, colorful dragon, a bold lion surrounded by peonies or a snake circling around someone’s arm or ankle — tattoos like these can be traced back to 19th-century Japenese prints that were inspired by a popular 14th-century Chinese martial-arts novel. The Asian Art Museum’s exhibition “Tattoos in Japanese Prints” recounts how these densely composed pictorial tattoos emerged two centuries ago in tandem with woodblock prints depicting tattooed heroes of history and myth. More than 60 prints from artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) and his contemporaries will be on display at the exhibition. Tickets can be bought online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 5 minutes to the Asian Art Museum.

Andy Warhol - from A to B and Back Again (ends Sep. 2) at Montgomery Street

This thrilling retrospective of the always relevant artist’s 40-year career is a must-see in its West Coast exclusive premiere. Three floors of paintings, drawings, graphics, and films shed new light on one of the most influential and iconic American artists at SFMOMA.  Tickets can be bought online.  Take BART to Montgomery Street and walk 6 minutes to SFMOMA.


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