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strum along

You may not make it to the sands of Hawaii this summer, but a semi-substitute event occurs from 1 to 2:30 this Saturday in Yerba Buena Gardens at the Uke Splosion, a few hours of plunking and strumming with some of the Bay Area’s best practitioners plus special hula performances. Free. If you want to start earlier there’s a concert by ukulele diva Cynthia Lin on Friday night at PianoFight in the City. $20-$35

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pianos al fresco

The deluge of nostalgia for the Summer of Love’s 50th anniversary continues in the SF Botanical Garden’s 55 acres. 12 pianos are hidden throughout the park all tuned and ready for visitors to play from 9am to 6pm daily. The only scheduled professional performers are on the weekend. Until July 24. Free entrance to the Garden for SF residents. $6 for non-resident seniors.

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wild ride

The prize for this weekend’s most wacked out event goes to the 6th Annual Obtainium Cup in Vallejo. It’s a race of sorts with wildly inventive, human-powered vehicles speeding(?) around Mare Island. Some of the challenges include target shooting with stuffed animals, navigating around moms and dads pushing strollers while talking on their iPhones, pirates, robots and zombies. Activities on Saturday and the race on Sunday. Food, beer, steampunk style vendors. Free. $25 to participate in the race.

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shhhh

Maybe you would be more relaxed if you cut out the cacophony of your 21st century life. The Bay Area offers plenty of opportunities for sound meditation. They are generally referred to as sound baths with healers using chimes, Tibetan singing bowls, cactus rain sticks, gongs, and something curious called silent disco yoga. For a more aesthetic take on audio experiences you might want to check into “Soundtracks” at SFMOMA, showcasing their media arts collection. Thru January 1.

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mid-atlantic mouthful

Feeling homesick for a right coast, Maryland shore summer? You might want try the Pearl in the Potrero district this Saturday from 11:30am – 1pm. They’re throwing a classic Eastern feast, piling tables with clams, mussels, shrimp and summer corn accompanied by dipping dishes of Old Bay seasoning, drawn butter and hot sauce, plus bottomless mimosas and beer. $80. Benefit for the Golden Gate Salmon Association.

 

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the art life

The Bay Area continues elbowing its way into the art world’s major leagues with a large scale show at Fort Mason devoted solely to the career of Sophie Calle, the internationally acclaimed French conceptual artist whose photographic and video work is dramatically autobiographical. Through August 20. Free but reservations are recommended.

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quick getaway

If the thought of gridlock getting to the Sierras this summer triggers instant stress may we offer a local alternative, the Loch Lomond Recreation Area, hidden in the mountains above Santa Cruz. In the midst of a cool, shady forest (redwood, pine, oak) take the fairly flat 4.9 mile Loch Trail which skirts a 175 acre reservoir where there are picnic and fishing sites and paddle boats to rent. That soft splashing is about the only sound you’ll hear. No swimming allowed. Dogs permitted.

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fetes françaises

Hold a Bastille Day celebration a day late? Pourquoi pas? Join in the celebration this Saturday in Justin Herman Plaza from 11-8. The day starts with a kermesse, an outdoor festival of food and wine booths, a Citroen vintage car show (the 1972 DS20 convertible may be my all-time favorite automobile) and games of petanque. Later there will be a bal populaire with French dance bands (not for the accordion adverse). Free. If you are a stickler for accuracy, there are festivities in Belden Place on Friday, the real Bastille Day. And for a convincing dose of Paris, there’s always Café Claude which fetes on both days.

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pitch perfect

Sharpen up your knife throwing skills, more respectfully known as Impalement Arts, at the Diablo Rod & Gun Club in Concord. The next class is on July 23 and not limited to pitching knives. You will improve your accuracy in throwing tomahawks, screw drivers, shovels and various other devices. $2 fee. The Club also offers instruction in trick roping, pistol fast draw, pistol twirling and whip-cracking.

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be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

The city goes somewhat loco this weekend for the 110th birthday of Frido Kahlo. The sui generis artist lived and exhibited here in 1930 along with her husband Diego Rivera. Artists, musicians, poets, dancers, filmmakers, chefs celebrate her at more than a dozen venues. Join in, for example, at an Accion Latina Workshop where you can print an image on a canvas bag, cure it and embellish it with embroidery stitches.

 

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