San Francisco – February 2003
February is prime time to get reacquainted with San Francisco’s tourist Mecca, Fisherman’s Wharf:
Recently augmented by a pair of relocated tenants, the Museum of the City of San Francisco, and Musee Mecanique, the vintage arcade late of the Cliff House, the Wharf is sponsoring some choice events this month: Pier 45 Shed A.
The fleet’s in, and reporting strong Dungeness crab yields, just in time for the San Francisco Crab Festival, (2/1-28). Saddle up at Nick’s or the Crab Station on Taylor Street to crack a few, or slurp chowder from a bread bowl. Also, auto buffs gather 2/7-9 for the historic Fisherman’s Wharf Classic Car Exhibit, while Pier 39 bursts with 39,000 bulbs at Tulipmania (2/22-3/2). Fisherman’s Wharf.
Further west, orchid aficionados will admire prize-winning paphiopedilums and outrageous oncidium displays, before diving deep into the commercial market at the Pacific Orchid Exposition (2/20-23). Orchid fans are a devoted breed, as evidenced in the current hit film Adaptation. This year’s theme, “Gems of Nature,” highlights the hybridists who nurture and cultivate rare species from around the world. Fort Mason.
For some romance on the Wild Side, book a spot on the popular San Francisco Zoo Sex Tour (2/14-16), Get behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings of the zoo, with a focus on the mating habits of varying species, and champagne and chocolates to boot. San Francisco Zoo.
Indie rock takes center stage during Noise Pop 2003 (2/25-3/2), six days of sets by underground faves like Tortoise, the Mountain Goats, Folk Implosion, the Donnas, and the newly-resurrected Camper Van Beethoven. Show prices vary, or buy an All Festival Badge: $145 guarantees access to 20+ rock shows, 7 film screenings, and the sure-to-be hopping opening night party. Citywide.
On tap at the Fillmore: Icon Willie Nelson (2/10-13), jamband moe. (2/21-22), phrenologists the Roots (2/23-24), Grateful Dead impresarios Dark Star Orchestra (2/28-3/1). 1805 Geary Blvd.
Filmmakers low budget and avant garde screen unique visions around town, and celebrate independent filmmaking in raucous evening parties during the San Francisco Independent Film Festival (2/6-16), this year premiering the Horror and Fantastic Film Festival. Citywide.
Surrealist suburbanites can pay tribute to master David Lynch at the Castro Theatre screening of his signature piece, Blue Velvet (2/21-26). 429 Castro St.
Bibliophiles can page through a number of literary options: Perusing vintage tomes and hard-to-find printings at the California Antiquarian Book Fair (2/6-9, Concourse Exhibition Center); exploring America’s largest independent comics gathering at the Alternative Press Exposition (2/1-2, Fort Mason); learning the publishing ropes with information sessions on circulation, marketing, design, and production at the seminar, How to Start an Alternative Paper (2/7, Cathedral Hill Hotel).
Chinese New Year celebrations continue with the Miss Chinatown USA pageant (2/8, Palace of Fine Arts), and the Chinese New Year Parade, the largest such outside Asia, with more than 100 floats (2/15, Second and Market Streets.).
Finally, with war looming on the horizon, the Bay Area peace movement has revved up again; regardless of your personal politics, attending a mass political demonstration in San Francisco opens windows to the
city’s cultural soul: 2/16, Embarcadero and Market Street.
– Jay Cooke is a San Francisco-based travel, food, and culture writer, edits www.38geary.com.