North Beach’s Club Fugazi is a small San Francisco performance venue built in 1913. It is best known as home to the 45-year run of the ever-changing Beach Blanket Babylon musical review, which is now closed.
The building has had a long life. It was:
- It was the venue at which Thelonious Monk recorded his Thelonious Alone in San Francisco album (1959);
- Home to the city’s Beat Poets in the 1950s-60s; and
- The location the Grateful Dead chose for the release party of its first album (1967).
It has recently reopened after a two-year hiatus following Beach Blanket Babylon’s last performance as the temporary San Francisco home of The 7 Fingers arts collective.
7 Fingers writes, choreographs, and directs its own shows that attempt to redefine “circus” by combining acrobats, jugglers, dancers, musicians, and storytellers into an evening of mesmerizing performances that tell stories and celebrate our humanity.
Dear San Francisco, which is currently playing, merges these and other performance skills into an entertaining, death-defying, and sometimes poignant ode to San Francisco and its people. The fast-paced performance flows seamlessly among acts that include:
- Trapeze, pole, and floor acrobats that would make Olympians, not to speak of Cirque du Soleil performers proud;
- Acrobat/contortionists who use agility, flexibility, and strength to gracefully shift into seemingly impossible poses;
- Unicycle riders who roam through the audience while somehow maintaining balance through all types of intricate maneuvers;
- Lighting and movie clips that provide atmosphere and advance their stories; and
- Musicians, singers, and storytellers who weave stories of the city among these performances.
But reading descriptions of the fun show is one thing. Watching and engaging in it is totally different. Overall, it is a wonderful and worthy follow-up to the beloved Beach Blanket Babylon.