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This gleaming, mirror-walled, glass-enclosed cylinder seats 2,743 and the acoustics are phenomenal. If the minimalist look of the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is somewhat disquieting, given the Beaux Arts look of the rest of the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, never mind. Like the symphony itself, the 9,000 pipes of the Ruffati organ that looms behind the stage makes quite a statement.
Featuring performances from a diverse range of professional artists and bands from across the world, SFJAZZ Center is a modern concert venue in San Francisco. Located on the corner of Fell Street and Franklin Street, the center comprises the flexible Robert N. Miner Auditorium which has a capacity to host a maximum of 700 spectators, a smaller 80-seat rehearsal room and a cafe. The auditorium is equipped with latest infrastructure amenities where spectators can sit back, relax and watch the scintillating performances on stage.
With a welcoming ambiance, Intersection for the Arts tops the list as being extremely unpretentious. Equipped with a huge space for exhibiting versatile art and crafts and a box theater for showcasing plays and movies, the venue is the pride of the Mission District. Many of the plays that take place here are not commercial but for the good of the community and neighborhood in particular. The artistic types are sure to meet like-minded people and be able to network with a diverse group of creative individuals. A non-profit organization without the glamorous facade—visit it once to believe it!
Since 1923, San Francisco Opera has debuted the performances of several well-respected artists including Marie Collier, conductor Silvio Varviso, and director Francis Ford Coppola. Founded by Gaetano Merolo, the War Memorial Opera House, housed in the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, has been the home of the Opera since 1932. Tours are available only during the opera season. The concert is held on the Sunday following opening night of the Fall Season. San Francisco Opera is the second largest opera company in North America. The Opera's mission is to enrich, be creative and innovative, take leadership and present opera performances of the highest international quality.
This performance space bills itself as a breeding ground for new performances. At The Marsh, you'll find performance art, plays, readings of works-in-progress, alternative stand-up comedy, cutting-edge choreography, and anything else that can't be pigeonholed. The atmosphere is like a cafe; there is food and drink available and a hodge-podge of seating in chairs, sofas, and bistro tables. There is no better place to go when you are tired of the same-old, same-old in live performance. Reservations are strongly recommended.
In 1981, the Orpheum Theatre opened under new management with the hilarious musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Sixteen years later, a massive and privately funded renovation took place at the Orpheum, unveiling an ornate and stunning theater that has become synonymous with elegance in San Francisco. Blockbuster musicals have been housed here, and continues with its tradition of entertaining and inspiring awe in its audiences.
The African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco is a great place to learn and appreciate the history, culture and art of African Americans. The complex has an art gallery that has been host to various art exhibitions by Afro-American artists. There Buriel Clay Theater on the first floor of the complex holds various plays, concerts and dance performances.
Club Fugazi is famous for hosting the long-running Beach Blanket Babylon, a spoof on Snow White with a commentary on city life. Because of the strict enforcement of adults only policy for drinking purposes, you won't find children around except for certain matinees. The place is far from the ruckus and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
The Herbst Theatre is part of the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center located across the street from San Francisco's stunning City Hall. Herbst plays host to a plethora of cultural events ranging from lectures and discussions (by the likes of Ricky Jay and Dave Eggers) to full-on rock concerts (by such luminaries as Ryan Adams and Beirut). It features a 928-seat recital hall as well as murals painted by renowned artist Frank Brangwyn for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco.
As a key player in the "Best of Broadway" seasons since 1979, the Golden Gate Theatre has hosted show-stopping musicals like A Chorus Line, which re-opened the theater on December 27, 1979. This was followed by Camelot with Richard Burton, Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury, My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli, Woman of the Year with Lauren Bacall, 42nd Street, Cabaret, Zorba with Anthony Quinn, and Fiddler on the Roof with Topol, among many more. With its grand and complicated past, this theater has survived numerous renovations and uses and has emerged as a house full of theatrical memories.
Located in the historic Mission District, the Victoria Theater, a former vaudeville house, is a 480-seater place considered the oldest theater house in all of San Francisco. Built in 1908, this theater has been screening films for a long time right from locally made movies to film festivals and even concerts. Features include amazing Dolby quality sound and a 35mm video screen. Many international film-makers have used this venue while filming, making it an important landmark. Personalities like Whoopie Goldberg, Bill Irwin, Donald O'Connor and Micheal Moore have made appearances here. This venue can also be rented out for live stage productions and other events.
Fine and performing arts are the focus of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which includes art galleries, a movie theater, a theater for live performances and a beautifully landscaped garden with striking fountains. Take time to visit the section dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., which invites strollers to walk behind a waterfall as they contemplate quotations from both him and other assassinated leaders of the Civil Rights movement. Music and theater groups perform within the five and a half acres (2.3 hectares) of rolling gardens during lunchtime from May through September. Concurrent with exhibits are informative lectures and seminars, poetry workshops and resident artist programs.