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Music Theatre Art Events

July 4 (Thursday) 2:00 PM (Free) Dolores Park - 18th St. & Dolores, SF
Oil and Water - SF Mime Troupe
OIL & WATER is actually two shorter plays - CRUDE INTENTIONS and DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
Climate change, pollution, water scarcity, and fossil fuel dependence, and issues too big to be dealt with in just one story, so this year’s Mime Troupe production presents two one-act musicals linked by environmental themes depicting the abusive relationships society has with our natural resources and the lengths we go to satisfy our thirsts.
A poisoned rainforest river, a senator mysteriously murdered in his office, a sinister criminal conspiracy, and an oil refinery ablaze in the Bay Area – with the survival of the human race in question, the stakes could not be any higher.
For more info:

July 6 (Saturday) 7:00 PM (Donations) 518 Valencia St., near 16th St. SF
San Francisco history in three one-act plays
By David Giesen
Enjoy an evening of historical fiction theater taking up the stories of two significant San Franciscans who shaped the city we love with policies that haunt us still. In Henry Meiggs Wanted to Die for His Sins, local playwright David Giesen treats the provocative history of Henry Meiggs, entrepreneur and land developer, who came to San Francisco in 1849, established a successful lumber company serving the pioneer boom town, but who also engaged in real estate shenanigans in North Beach that anticipated the high rent struggles of today. But there’s a twist, Meiggs tried to undo part of the wrong he did. Was he a good man? A bad man? Or just like you and me?
In Dogs and Coyotes, Baseballs and Rabbits, Giesen recovers a slice of life in 1914 San Francisco emblematic of every working class family’s experience. Drawing from the public record, this story portrays from teenagers’ perspectives the self-serving power-wanking of long-time San Francisco Mayor “Sunny” Jim Rolph as he displaced a working class family in Bernal Heights . . . with an unexpected sweet and sour ending.
The evening concludes with a short comic romp taking up very recent history . . . indeed still living history in the making . . . as King Kong comes to San Francisco to defend working families from home mortgage foreclosure.
Contact: Ack-Act Theater,

July 20 (Saturday) 8:00 PM (Free) 885 Clayton St. - between Carl & Parnassus, SF
Song and Poetry Swap
For over 30 years, the Freedom Song Network has been helping keep alive the spirit of labor and political song in the Bay Area, on picket lines, at rallies, on concert stages and at song swaps. Bring songs or poems to share. Everyone is welcome, regardless of musical ability or training. For info: (415) 648-3457

July 22 (Monday) 7:30 PM PM (Free) Plumbers' Hall - 1621 Market St. at Franklin St., SF
The Exception and the Rule - Play be Bertolt Brecht
Stanford Summer Theatre (SST) presents Bertolt Brecht’s Exception and the Rule, directed by Rush Rehm
In the late 1920s, the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht (1858-1956) began working on “learning plays” (Lehrstücke), short theater pieces written specifically for workers and students. The Exception and the Rule (1931-2) is such a play, although it was not staged in Germany during Brecht’s lifetime.
The Exception and the Rule has particular relevance to the labor movement. Instead of thinking about individual psychology, or pointing out the obvious inequalities in wealth distribution, Brecht’s play goes for the jugular: What kind of ethics will a capitalist system produce? Which ethical dilemmas will it value, and which will it fail to recognize? What behavior will emerge from a system in which maximizing corporate profits, personal income, and ownership of private property represent the greatest values?
Brecht wrote The Exception and the Rule as a way of encouraging workers to unionize and recognize the forces they were up against. A funny, highly physical, and thought-provoking parable about wealth and exploitation, The Exception and the Rule packs a wallop, and all in 60 minutes!
Stanford Summer Theatre (SST)

July 26 (Friday) 7:30 PM (Donation) Marine Fireman's Hall - 240 2nd St. near Howard St., SF
The Great Migration and Motown
By the Rockin’ Solidarity Chorus
The Great Migration was the biggest under-reported story of the twentieth century. Over the span of six decades, around six million African Americans left Jim Crow behind and started over in northern cities. In the process, they transformed this country.
The Chorus tells that story in words and song, including some reworking of classics from Motown, a record label built by children of the migration.
Under the direction of Pat Wynne, the Rockin’ Solidarity Chorus has been presenting aspects of working people’s history and culture since 1999.
Info- (415) 648-3457,

July 27 (Saturday) 7:30 PM (Free) ILWU Local 10, Henry Schmidt Room - 400 Northpoint, SF
The Almanac Singers
In the summer of 1941, a musical group of labor activists known as “The Almanac Singers” climbed into a midnight blue Buick and blazed a trail across the USA, spreading the gospel of unionism and bringing folk music back to the people. The group, with members Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays & Mill Lampell, created a new kind of topical music, using old folk melodies to tell the stories of the times. They played in union halls, on picket lines, theaters, and radio shows, planting seeds wherever they went. The Almanacs’ now almost-mythical journey has become an inspiration for legions of musicians, free thinkers, and gasoline gypsies, and has paved the road for many of today’s singer/songwriters. At the core of it were some of the greatest labor songs ever written, including “Union Maid,” “Talking Union,” and “Which Side Are You On?”
Some seventy years later, “Totem Pole” Rik Palieri and George Mann are traveling down the road from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, up the west coast and then from Seattle to Buffalo, singing at some of the same places and towns, and inviting local musicians to join in, as in the original tour. The Almanac Trail will be like an old-fashioned “Hootenanny”-- an evening of history, music and fun for all generations!
Sponsored by ILWU Local 10 Education Committee.
For more info:

July 31 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM (Free) 518 Valencia - near 16th St., SF
Closing Party
Please join us to celebrate the last day of the LaborFest with food, music and poetry.