March arts, music, events calendar
March is finally here, which means we get to welcome a new season this month. Go and embrace the energy of spring by enjoying a music festival, ballet, lively theater, museum dates and a flower show. Don’t forget about that famous March holiday — there’ll be a big parade in San Francisco to celebrate it (be on the lookout for the BARTmobile). BART is here to help get you to all these destinations and more.
White Elephant Sale (March 2-3) at Fruitvale
The Bay Area shopping tradition is back. Collectors and bargain hunters can unite at the 60th annual White Elephant Sale happening at Oakland Estuary, where one can always find the new, the unusual and the unexpected. There will be a large array of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, jewelry, books, tools, furniture, household goods, sporting equipment and more. The Sale is organized by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, and all proceeds will go towards the museum. Take BART to Fruitvale and walk 15 minutes to the warehouse at 333 Lancaster St.
San Francisco History Days (March 2-3) at Powell Street
The Old Mint opens its doors one weekend a year to present historical talks, films, photos and exhibits for San Francisco History Days. For the first weekend of March, the Old Mint will become a pop-up museum, featuring more than 75 exhibitors. There will be historians, archivists, genealogists, archaeologists, researchers, educators, reenactors and other history enthusiasts. Admission is free. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 4 minutes to The San Francisco Mint at 88 5th St.
Photo courtesy of Noise Pop.
Noise Pop Music & Arts Festival (Ends March 3)
Noise Pop is an annual week-long music and arts festival that takes place throughout SF and the East Bay, and it’s been championing independent culture since 1993. Its goal is to take the best venues in the Bay and collectively turn them into a personal festival ground. Those who partake in the fun will get to choose from different films, art shows, happy hours and concerts. There are two ways to attend the fest — either buy a badge and gain access to everything, or purchase tickets to individual shows and films. Some musical headliners are Beirut, Yuna, Princess Nokia and Petit Biscuit. Badges are $199-$850 and can be bought online.
Photo courtesy of Carnaval San Francisco’s Facebook page.
Carnaval SF Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Kick-Off Celebration (March 5)
On Tuesday, March 5, Carnaval San Francisco will be hosting a Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Party in several venues in the Mission. There will be live samba drummers, dancers and lively music from salsa and soca to cumbia and rumba at 20+ Mission spots like Bissap Baobab, Blondie’s, Cha Cha Cha and the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Wearing costumes, masks and beads is encouraged!
Actually (March 8-April 21) at Downtown Berkeley
Princeton freshmen Amber and Tom spend a drunken night together. Soon after, they find themselves testifying at a sexual misconduct hearing. The two students — one black and one white — share their stories, leaving the audience wondering how to find certainty and justice when there are three sides to every story. “Actually” investigates the hot-button topics of gender and race politics, and Theatremania describes it as “crafted with compassion, intelligence and insight.” Tickets can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to Aurora Theatre.
The Sleeping Beauty (March 9-16) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
San Francisco Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is back by popular demand, and guests can expect spectacular sets, lavish tutus and Tchaikovsky’s glorious score. This classic story of a sleeping princess, a handsome prince and the triumph of true love’s kiss will enchant the audience. Helgi Tomasson’s production highlights the dancers’ classical virtuosity, casting its spell over a fairytale ballet of romance and wonder. Tickets range from $40-$399 and can be bought online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 9 minutes to the War Memorial Opera House.
Photo courtesy of California Symphony.
All John Williams (March 16) at Walnut Creek
There’s no denying that John Williams is a legend. He’s composed some of the most popular and critically acclaimed film scores in history (does Star Wars, E.T. and Schindler’s List sound familiar?). He has also racked up 51 Academy Award nominations and numerous wins. The Blackhawk Chorus will join the California Symphony orchestra, lead by Donato Cabrera, and honor Williams’ work in this special evening, including bringing the epic Star Wars battle scenes he has scored to life. “Without John Williams, bikes don’t really fly, nor do brooms in Quidditch matches, nor do men in red capes,” said Steven Spielberg, Williams’ collaborator on 27 movies over 43 years. Tickets are $57-$87 and can be bought online. Take BART to Walnut Creek and walk 12 minutes to the Lesher Center of the Arts.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 16) at Montgomery Street
The United Irish Societies of San Francisco have hosted a large Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for 168 years, and it has become the west coast’s largest Irish event celebrating Irish history and culture. This year’s theme is "Women Breaking Barriers" and Mayor London Breed will lead the parade, which commences at 11:30am at 2nd and Market Streets. The parade will go down Market Street all the way to Civic Center Plaza near City Hall. Take BART to Montgomery Street and walk 1 minute to Market St. and 2nd St.
Black Eagles (March 16-31) at Powell Street
This play opens with a reception honoring the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black fighter pilots. The rest of this epic drama follows the elderly Tuskegee pilots as they reminisce and are joined by their younger selves. Tickets are $35 and can be bought online. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 11 minutes to Marines’ Memorial Theatre.
Violet the Musical (Ends March 17) at Powell Street
Come see an intimate version of the Tony-nominated musical, “Violet.” The story follows a scarred woman who travels cross-country to be healed by a minister. Along the way, she discovers the true meaning of beauty. “Violet” was the winner of the Drama Critics' Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical when it premiered Off-Broadway in 1997, and then emerged with a Tony-nominated Broadway debut in 2014 featuring a revised version. See the show which includes anthems ranging from American-roots to folk to gospel. Tickets range from $20-$65 and can be bought online. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 12 minutes to Alcazar Theatre.
Photo courtesy of 42nd Street Moon’s Facebook page.
Fiorello! (Ends March 17) at Embarcadero
New York City’s legendary mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia is the inspiration behind “FIORELLO!” LaGuardia is considered one of the greatest mayors in American history, having successfully rose from a lawyer to Congress to running New York City and fighting the corrupt forces of Tammany Hall. The story of the larger-than-life “FIORELLO!” won the Tony Award for Best Musical along with the Pulitzer Prize. Tickets range from $30 to $70 and can be bought online. Take BART to Embarcadero and walk 9 minutes to the Gateway Theatre.
Persian Festival (March 19) at Downtown Berkeley
The annual Persian New Year Festival — called Chahar-Shanbeh Souri — will take place again on Durant Avenue in Berkeley. There will be DJs, dancing, food and craft vendors at the festival, along with the tradition of jumping over bonfires to welcome spring. Visit to a get a glimpse into beautiful Persian traditions and the culture of the Iranian-American community in the U.S. No alcohol will be served. Free admission. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 5 minutes to Shattuck and Durant Avenue.
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Union Square.
Macy’s Flower Show 2019 (March 24-April 7) at Powell Street
To usher in Spring, Macy’s will have its annual flower show in its marquee store in San Francisco. This year’s show – “Journey to Paradisios” — will explore heavenly flora and beautiful blooms, and visitors will embark on a space odyssey to a colorful paradise. Sci-fi inspired floral scenes and out-there alien creatures will make an appearance. Visit Macy's Union Square Visitor's Center and show your BART ticket, clipper card or mention "BARTable" and enter contest to win a $500 Macy's gift card. Admission is free. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 5 minutes to Macy’s Union Square.
Space Between (March 29-April 9) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
Space Between is comprised of three different sections: “Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes,” “Liam Scarlett World Premiere,” and “Björk Ballet.” For “Rodeo,” Justin Peck, who recently won a Tony Award for his choreography for Carousel, created an athletic, high-energy interpretation of Aaron Copland’s iconic music. British choreographer Liam Scarlett created a brand-new work, which will be unveiled at the “Liam Scarlett World Premiere.” Arthur Pita channels the magic and mischief of singer Björk’s music in this crazy glamorous “Björk Ballet” that The Guardian called “a ridiculous amount of fun.” Tickets range from $39-$375 and can be bought online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 9 minutes to the War Memorial Opera House.
Press Here, The Musical (March 30-May 12) at Downtown Berkeley
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 $17-$28 and can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to the BACT Berkeley Center, The Osher Studio.
Photo courtesy of Bay Area Children’s Theatre’s Facebook page.
She Persisted, The Musical (Ends March 31) at Downtown Berkeley and Powell Street
Chelsea Clinton’s best-selling book, “She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World,” inspired this musical at Bay Area Children’s Theatre. This is a story of a fourth grade girl who takes a trip with her class to the museum, which turns into an adventure in time travel. She gets to meet inspirational women who are overcoming barriers and making history. “We hope this production will not only celebrate the achievements of the courageous women who have carved new paths for others but will also inspire our audiences to persevere in whatever paths they choose to take,” said BACT Executive Artistic Director Nina Meehan. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Ticket range from $17-$24 and can be bought online. The performances in Berkeley end March 3. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to the BACT Berkeley Center, The Osher Studio. The performances in San Francisco will be held during the weekends of March 3 through 31. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 9 minutes to the Children’s Creativity Museum.
Gold: The Midas Musical (Ends May 12) at Downtown Berkeley
Princess Lydia is motherless, and turns to her father for love. Instead of treating her kindly, King Midas grows meaner, more distant, and greedier by the day. However, he learns a valuable lesson about family when the gods grant him the power to turn everything into gold. The Bay Area Children’s Theatre is offering a modern musical re-telling of the Greek legend of King Midas, recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets are $17-$28 and can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to the BACT Berkeley Center, The Osher Studio.
Photo courtesy of BAMPFA’s Facebook page.
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.