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San Francisco International Arts Festival Publishes Schedule of Performances for THE PATH TO DEMOCRACY

The San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) is pleased to reveal the full schedule of performances for the 2019 Festival that will run from May 23 - June 2 and have as a central theme The Path to Democracy. As the dark clouds of nationalism and fascism re-assert themselves on the global stage, SFIAF looks at some of the struggles for democracy past and present and how they manifest themselves in different cultures. The Festival will take place at, and in partnership with, the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.

The 2019 program features work and unique perspectives by 50 ensembles from the United States and 13 other countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Tuva, South Korea, Spain, Syria and Taiwan.

Some of the international highlights include: Making their US debut from Syria via Germany is Collective Ma'louba with the US Premiere of Your Love is Fire--playwright Mudar Alhaggi's jarring and surreal drama about a group of individuals caught up in the Syrian civil war and the questions posed regarding remaining in a combat zone or fleeing and becoming refugees in a democratic Europe.

From the Czech Republic The Spitfire Company presents Antiwords the west coast debut of their physical theatre interpretation of Vaclav Havel's seminal play Audience, a cleverly-constructed satire on power and those who wield it written in the years following the Prague Spring. An impoverished playwright tries to earn a living in a communist era brewery. Vanek (an only slightly veiled reference to Havel) is summoned to a meeting with the Head Maltster and offered promotion, but only if he informs on himself.

From Kowloon Theatre de la Feuille presents the Orphan of Zhao a physical theatre retelling of the classic Chinese story in the years following the yellow umbrella protest movement for democracy in Hong Kong.

Japanese composer Tomoko Momiyama approaches her role through a medium of communication and intervenes in the relationships between people and their environments, in order to weave diverse narratives into multi-layered music. Tomoko will create a piece for the Festival made in community with the U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network that reflects on themes of environmental justice and equity.

The Festival presents two international dance performances that reflect very differently on the politics of male-female relationships. Chen Wei Lee and Zoltan Vakulya (Taiwan and Hungary respectively) present the US Premiere of Together Alone about the pressures of living as a couple who are also freelance touring artists with different companies. They pose the question, "How do you get a marriage to work when you spend most of your time apart?"

Compagnie Virginie Brunelle from Montreal Canada provides the Festival's international moment of levity with the US premiere of Complex des Genres, as the battle of the sexes plays out in an eternal but light hearted struggle for advantage and supremacy amid tulle skirts, fierce partnering and a ballet aesthetic.

This year's Festival also marks the inaugural platform of an Alumni Performance Program that presents the work of younger artists who have graduated from one of Northern California's institutions of higher learning in the last five years. This year's participants include Jessica La Rel (Stanford), Us in the US (California State University East Bay), Lili Weckler / Unhinge (California Institute for Integral Studies), pateldanceworks (Mills College) and Jessica Fertonani Cooke (San Francisco Arts Institute.

The Festival also continues to work to integrate Fort Mason resident organizations into the Festival program. This year's lineup includes productions by the Magic Theatre and Bay Area Theatre Sports.

An extensive educational program will also feature in 2019 as SFIAF expands its programs with Lines Dance Center, American Conservatory Theater, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Bookstore, FLAX Art Supplies and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music among others.

The 2019 San Francisco International Arts Festival is funded in part by: Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, WESTAF, Bernard Osher Foundation, Koret Foundation, Taube Philanthropies, Goethe Institute, Sam Mazza Foundation, Taiwan Academy, National Endowment for the Arts, Taiwan Ministry of Culture, Hong Kong Arts Development Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Global Affairs Canada, Czech Ministry of Culture and Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

The full line up of artists with dates, times, venues and ticket prices is as follows:

Note: Due to the recent Federal Government budget impasse the Park Service's Chapel venue is not yet confirmed. Performances due to take place there and impacted thus are highlighted in RED below.

Comedy & Improvisation (listed chronologically)

BATS Improv (USA)
Objet d'Art (105 minutes with intermission)
Bayfront Theater. Fridays May 3, 10, 17, 24, 8:00pm. Tickets: $12 - $20
On Friday evenings in the weeks leading up to and during the Festival, BATS welcomes artists from other SFIAF productions to its stage. They will share a taste of what they'll be presenting at the Festival, and then BATS improvisers take over, spontaneously creating scenes based on the themes, setting and ideas presented by the guest artists.

The Art Critique Comedy Show (USA)
The Art Critique Comedy Show (90 minutes, no intermission)
Tickets: $9 - $23. Venue, Exact Dates and Times TBD
Jeremy Talamantes and Jordan Cerminara {comedians roasting thrift store art} put the best stand-up comics in front of the most ridiculous second-hand disaster pieces they can find. You'll love this treasure trash so much, you'll wanna bid on it for the chance to take it home in the post show auction!

Kay DeMartini Productions (USA)
Red Hot Stories (90 minutes, no intermission)
Tickets: $12 - $20. Venue, Exact Dates and Times TBD
Kay DeMartini returns to the Festival with a line-up of story tellers and wordsmiths recounting humorous tales and anecdotes from around the fabled NorCal story-telling circuit.

Dance (listed chronologically)

Chen-Wei Lee & Zoltan Vakulya (Taiwan, Hungary/Belgium)
Together Alone (2017, US Premiere) (50 minutes, without intermission)
Firehouse. Friday May 24. 7:00pm; Saturday May 25 6:30pm; Sunday May 26 6:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Together Alone is a solo performance danced by a couple. The piece counters individual loneliness with the power of being together. Deprived of all external concealment and decorations, the two protagonists return to the primitive in dance and face each other with their most naked selves.

Amy Lewis / Agnes Szelag (USA)
ANIMA MAGNETA (World Premiere) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Firehouse. Friday May 24, 9:30pm; Saturday May 25, 9:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $25
Experience a surrogate reality where seemingly disparate ideas and dimensions suddenly coexist. ANIMA MAGNETA, by choreographer Amy Lewis and sound artist Agnes Szelag, transforms sensory awareness through the interweaving of dance, video, and sound. Get ready for time to shift and other worlds to appear.

Caminos Flamencos (USA)
Flamenco Generation X, Y, Z (World Premiere) (90 minutes without intermission)
Gallery 308. Friday May 24, 9:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
Flamenco Generation XYZ is a variety showcase by Caminos Flamencos featuring the next generation of dancers and musicians comprising a span of 50 years in a concert of solidarity, collaboration and the passion of flamenco culture.

Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose (USA)
Stories of Justice (2018, San Francisco Premiere) (45 minutes, no intermission)
Shared bill with Guru Shradha
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 25, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Stories of Justice will examine the non-violent resistance strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr. to demonstrate that the fight for social justice is ongoing and that past struggles provide lessons that enable us to confront our current problems.

Guru Shradha (USA)
An Enchanting Odissi Odyssey (45 minutes, no intermission)
Shared bill with Abhinaya Dance Company
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 25, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Odissi dance, one of the oldest surviving Indian dance forms, is captivating through its unique grace and poses evoking temple dance sculptures. An Enchanting Odissi Odyssey takes the audience through a spiritual journey showcasing contemporary and traditional choreography revealing a tapestry of its devotional, emotive, intricate dance and haunting music.

Shambhavi's International School of Kathak (SISK) (USA)
Horizons... Kathak and beyond! (45 minutes)
Shared bill with Samudra Dance Creations
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 25, 5:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Horizons...Kathak and Beyond is a beautiful array of choreographic work in Indian Classical Kathak dance style. Horizons features traditional as well as contemporary themes in Classical Kathak. The performers include SISK's founder, principal dancer and choreographer Shambhavi Dandekar along with her highly trained and accomplished disciples from India and USA.

Samudra Dance Creations (USA)
Red Earth - Pouring Rain (World Premiere) (45 minutes, no intermission)
Shared bill with SISK Dance
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 25, 5:30PM. Tickets: $15 - $28
Red Earth - Pouring Rain explores humankind's intricate physical, emotional and spiritual relationship to LAND (BHOOMI in sanskrit). When that connection, that umbilical cord is disturbed or even severed what happens to our being, our existence?

Lili Weckler (USA)
Sisters Strange and the Shatterer of Worlds: A Choregraphic Rock Opera (World Premiere) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Tickets: $15 - $28. Venue, Exact Dates and Times TBD
The punk Lovechild of the Earth and Death must reunite her estranged parents in order to take a stand against The Shatterer of Worlds. In a gender-bending, mischievous dance rock-opera, a group of contemporary dancers and musicians will investigate themes around good death, veils, bonds between the human and the universal, and the end of time.

Tango Con*Fusion with The Redwood Tango Ensemble (Argentina & USA)
Tango Night (2019, World Premiere) (45 minutes, followed by a Milonga Dance Party)
Gallery 308. Saturday May 25, 8:00pm. Tickets: $20 - $100
Tango Night - This is not your mother's tango! In this groundbreaking performance, Tango Con*Fusion, San Francisco's all women company, dances to original music composed by Charles Gorzynski and his Redwood Tango Ensemble. Both groups push the traditional boundaries of the genre. Following the performance, guests are invited to stay for a milonga.

pateldanceworks (USA)
all the things we'll never be (35 minutes, no intermission)
Tickets: $15 - $28. Venue, Exact Dates and Times TBD
all the things we'll never be is a work that explores femininity, femmephobia and the collective safety that queer women seek in one another as a means of solace for the grief that they feel as people who believe in equity and justice. It is a fully immersive, meditation on the versions of themselves that they will never be.

Compagnie Virginie Brunelle (Canada)
Complexe des Genres (2012, US Premiere) (65 minutes, no intermission)
Cowell Theater. Thursday May 30, 8:30pm, Sunday June 2, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Overwhelmed by their fears, men and women collide in a forlorn attempt to validate their own existence. Their excesses lead them on the road to ruin, guided by their desperate desire to feel something, to feel alive. A physical and acrobatic choreography imbued with remarkable visual poetry.

Tara Brandel (Republic of Ireland)
Circus (World Premiere) (40 minutes, no intermission)
Firehouse. Thursday May 30, 8:30pm; Friday May 31, 7:00pm; Saturday June 1, 2:00pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
Who gets to dance? What does Irish look like? An aging pole dancer. A street dancer as new migrant in Ireland. Mixing twerking, contemporary dance, aerial pole, and video projection, Circus weaves diverse stories about masculinity, queerness, MeToo, and new immigrants in collaboration with Nigerian street dancer Nicholas Nwosu.

Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco (USA & Spain)
Rock Flamenco (World Premiere) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Friday May 31, 9:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
Rock Flamenco is inspired by the time of rock in Spain and USA from the late 1970's through the 1990's. The piece combines flamenco singing and clapping with electric guitar, electric bass and a drum set. Artistic Director Carola Zertuche will adapt six compositions of flamenco rock to create a unique Flamenco Performance.

Deborah Slater Dance Theatre (USA)
Solos Lost & Found (50 minutes, no intermission)
Firehouse. Friday May 31, 9:30pm; Saturday June 1, 8:00pm; Sunday June 2, 7:00pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
Short solos tell stories of love and loss. In Grace Floats, a Maine woman waits for the return of her fisherman husband. In Beneath the Thin Skin, a standstill monologue surrounds the remnants of innocent loved ones. And finally, a table and chair pay homage to timeless classics that put first put Deborah Slater Dance Theatre on the map.

ABADÃ Capoeira San Francisco (USA & Brazil)
Spirit of Brazil 2019 (2019, World Premiere) (60 minutes, without intermission)
Gallery 308. Friday May 31, 7:00pm; Sunday June 2, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
ABADÃ Capoeira San Francisco's Spirit of Brazil 201919 presents the artistic elements of Capoeira through a fusion of contemporary and traditional music, dance, and martial arts from Brazil. Presented by an international cast, the dynamic acrobatic and athletic movements, history and tradition, and heart-thumping rhythms will leave you inspired!

Gamelan Sekar Jaya (Bali & USA)
Serasi! (World Premiere) (100 minutes with intermission)
Cowell Theater. Friday, May 31st, 8:15pm & Saturday, June 1st, 2:00pm
GSJ returns with a thrilling mix of traditional and contemporary Balinese music and dance! The internationally acclaimed performing arts troupe celebrates its 40th Anniversary under the direction of legendary gamelan composer, I Nyoman Windha, and dance master, I Nyoman Cerita. The pair will lead the 50-member group in a dynamic concert that resonates in the heart and captures the imagination.

Jessica Fudim & The Dance Animals (USA)
Sheepish & Frank (2019, World Premiere) (55 minutes, with intermission)
Firehouse. Saturday June 1, 5:00pm; Sunday June 2, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
A journeying sheep, weary fairy godmother, lonely shepherdess and forest imps trek through Jessica Fudim's solo, Sheepish, and her world premiere of Frank. Mixing magical realism, movement, text and whimsical, lo-tech effects, the intergenerational cast spins tales of loss and longing, immigration and the freedom to form a chosen family.

Lucia August/Everybody Can Dance (USA)
Speaking From The Body (50 minutes, without intermission)
Firehouse. Sunday June 2, 4:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
"A dancer of tremendous joy"**** (Edinburgh Fringe Festival Magazine, August 2014). The Award-winning show features new elements and old favorites! Intimate queer and not-so queer storytelling in movement and spoken word. Expand your ideas of who can beautifully dance, regardless of age or size!

Music (listed chronologically)

Tomoko Momiyama (Japan)
Title to be Announced (World Premiere)
Firehouse. Thursday May 23, 7:00pm; Saturday May 25, 3:30pm; Sunday May 26 3:30pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
An original site-specific work by Tomoko Momiyama, a composer and interdisciplinary artist from Japan. Inspired by conversations with Japanese-American and Native-American communities as well as specialists in different disciplines including seed science, migratory birds, and natural history, the work explores the issues of home and Diaspora identities in the Bay Area and beyond.

Jessica Lá Rel (USA)
We Are (A Live Recording) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Thursday May 23, 8:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28. Venue TBD
Join Jessica Lá Rel and a full band for a live recording & concert of new music from her latest album, War Love. Weaving together music and storytelling, Jessica will be sharing music and stories about life, love and justice.

Melody Takata (USA)
Mu No Kukan, Space for Nothingness (2019 US Premiere) (45 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Thursday May 23, 8:30pm; Friday May 24, 9:30pm; Saturday May 25, 2:00pm.
Tickets: $12 - $23
Mu No Kukan, Space for Nothingness pays homage to Yukio Mishima's The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. This work featuring taiko performer Melody Takata, saxophonist Francis Wong, bassist, shamisen (3 string Japanese lute), taiko artist, and experimental filmmaker Tatsu Aoki of Chicago, and tuba, and actor William Roper.

Chirgilchin (Tuva)
Chirgilchin with Yuliyana Krivoshapkina (60 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Friday May 24, 7:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
Khomus master Yuliyana Krivoshapkina will present the traditional music of the Sakha Republic, drawing on the wisdom and traditions of the Yakut people to portray the timeless relationship between Man and the Universe. Following, world-renowned throat singing ensemble Chirgilchin performs folk music from the Republic of Tuva.

Aco Tomine (Japan)
Aco Tomine in Concert (60 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Saturday May 25, 5:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
Making her Festival debut, Japanese accordionist and composer Aco Tomine plays both her own original world music music and lyrics as well as traditional Japanese folk songs arranged in a contemporary style.

Ancient Future (USA)
Ancient Future World Without Walls Reunion (2012) (120 minutes including intermission)
Gallery 308. Sunday May 26, 5:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
This lineup featuring Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), Jim Hurley (violin), Doug McKeehan (keyboards), and Ian Dogole (percussion) reunited in 2011. In honor of the reunion, 22 years after its 1990 release, World Without Walls was reissued by Capitol Records and voted in the top five world music releases of 2012.

Edward Schocker (USA)
Self_Less (World Premiere) (120 minutes with intermission)
Gallery 308. Thursday May 30, 8:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Self_Less is a new musical work by Edward Schocker and The Crossing Ensemble that examines the question of 'what is the self?' from a cultural, spiritual, and social perspective, even touching on the sense of self in the process of aging and memory loss. The concert will guest artists Yun Kyong Jin and Hwan-Yeong Park from South Korea.

Florante Aguilar (USA)
UTOM (World Premiere) (50 minutes, without intermission)
Gallery 308. Saturday June 1, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
UTOM is inspired by the T'boli people's practice of expressing the mysteries of the world in music, Master musician Florante Aguilar creates compelling narrative of human emotion in his compositions using both western and indigenous instruments.

Toolbox Percussion (Hong Kong)
Grant Avenue (World Premiere) (55 minutes, no intermission)
Cowell Theater. Saturday June 1, 8:00pm. Tickets: $18 - $33
Grant Avenue - West Coast Percussion Tour is a newly curated percussion program by leading Hong Kong percussive collective - Toolbox Percussion. The program focuses on music composed by American and Hong Kong based composers who have west coast influences. The evening will also feature Jack van Geem, former principal percussionist of San Francisco Symphony.

Pablo Estigarribia (Argentina)
Pablo Estigarribia in Concert (60 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Saturday June 1, 9:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
Maestro Pablo Estigarribia is back in SFIAF to bring his unique approach on Tango music. This time the program will be focused on his latest compositions, a work that although is based in Tango structure and expression, is openly influenced by jazz and music. An alluring night of passion and elegance.

Conspiracy of Venus (USA)
The Sixth Extinction? Songs of Lament and Celebration (90 Minutes with intermission)
Tickets: $15 - $28. Venue, Exact Dates and Times TBD
Conspiracy of Venus women's vocal ensemble sings songs by Joni Mitchell, the Pixies and many others, and original compositions by Joyce Todd McBride.

Melody of China with Sound of Dragon (USA)
Dragon Song (75 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Sunday June 2, 6:00pm. Tickets: $12 - $33
Melody of China joins forces with Sound of Dragon Ensemble from Vancouver. The program will feature new arrangements of traditional Chinese repertoire mixed ensemble including Chinese chamber ensemble and flute, guitar, cello, harp and percussion. The program will include exciting new works by composers from the U.S. and Canada.

Performance Art (Listed Chronologically)

Us in the U.S. (USA)
Shifts in Consciousness (World Premiere) (75 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Friday May 24, 7:00pm; Sunday May 26, 6:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Shifts in Consciousness embarks on the creative journey of altering mainstream perceptions of oppressed people. The hope of this production is to enable viewers to think more critically and empathetically about injustice and the sufferings of an emerging generation. Love, power and healing will take place in this space.

Ledoh (Burma/USA)
POOLREADY! (60 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Tuesday May 28, 8:00pm; Wednesday May 29, 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
POOLREADY!, choreographed by Salt Farm's founding artistic director Ledoh, explores the complexities of climate change, and the irony in the futility of individuals being able to act collectively in their self-interest and for the good of humanity. Ledoh's character is prepared for the next Noachian flood-at the ready, with floaties, snorkel and fins.

Sha Sha Higby (USA)
Emeralds in Ice (60 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Saturday May 25, 6:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Sha Sha Higby sculptures are complex and layered, informed by her experiences in Asia and many countries More than mere visual delights, these sculptures are made to move with her living body as the driving force.

Theatre (listed chronologically)

We Players (USA)
Mother Lear (50min performance, plus intermission and discussion)
Tickets: $20 - $33. Venue, Exact Dates and Times TBD
An irascible middle-aged scholar with dementia communicates with her caretaker daughter using only the text of King Lear, as the two struggle with aging, love and their own balance of power. The performance is immediately followed by a conversation with the audience.

Nancy Wang of Eth-Noh-Tec (USA)
Shadows and Secrets (staged reading) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Sunday May 26, 2:00pm & 4:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
More than a Mystery! Multi-media, storytelling, intrigue! The early 1900s in Chicago beckoned immigrants with possibility ~ but danger was never far behind ~ tong wars (Chinese mafia), gambling, murders, prohibition. Grandfather and Grandfather's mega-restaurant were the talk of the town, but one late night the phone rang ...

Brian Copeland (USA)
THE WAITING PERIOD (2012) (75 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Saturday May 25, 8:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Brian Copeland has taken the personal struggles of depression and channeled them into The Waiting Period, a powerful solo show chronicling the 10 days he spent waiting for the permit to get the gun he needed to kill himself. With intense honesty and unrelenting humor, Copeland shares his insider's perspective on the deepest wells of depression.

Magic Theatre (USA)
Oedipus El Rey (2010) (90 minutes, no intermission)
Sam Shepherd Theater. Wednesday-Saturday May 29 - June 1, 8:00pm. Sunday June 2 2:30pm.
Tickets: $15 - $50
Oedipus el Rey is a gritty and electrifying take on the Greek tragedy, written by the acclaimed Magic playwright Luis Alfaro. Oedipus is re-imagined as a young man whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar beyond the prison walls where he has spent his life. In a place where everyone is trapped by desperation, violence, and history, can one man transcend his own story?

YOUR LOVE IS FIRE (2017, US Premiere) (90 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Thursday May 30, 7:00pm; Friday May 31, 9:30pm; Saturday June 1, 3:30pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
In Your Love is Fire the Syrian author Mudar Alhaggi deals with his personal experiences of the war in Syria, the loss of his home country and being exiled in Germany. Neither hero nor victim story, it portrays the behaviour of those in Syria who wait silently.

Spitfire Company (Czech Republic)
Antiwords (2014, West Coast Premiere) (55 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theater. Thursday May 30, 9:30pm; Saturday June 1, 6:00pm; Sunday June 2, 7:00pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
Internationally acclaimed performance influenced by the works of Vaclav Havel, especially his play Audience and its legendary film adaptation. What happens when a brewer and a persecuted politician (the alter ego of Vaclav Havel himself) meet on stage? Two actresses, a crate of genuine Czech beer, huge original masks and absurd humour. A hit in Berlin, Prague, Milan, Florence, Krakow, Washington, New York, London, Beijing, Oslo, Seoul, Edinburgh and now San Francisco!

Walking Tours

Chris Carlsson (USA)
The Hidden Histories of Fort Mason, Black Point, the North Shore (90 minutes, no intermission)
Chapel (outside). Saturday June 1, 12:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
The tour begins in the shadow of the Fontana Towers at Van Ness and Bay and conclude at the Fort Mason gates. During the excursion local historian Chris Carlsson will traverse the grounds of the old military base and discover nearby histories of farms, soldiers, lost lagoons and water flumes, and an epic World's Fair.

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