Picks of the week: Free for all

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JUNE 01, 2015

There’s no doubt that the Bay Area arts scene is thriving, but taking part often requires the sort of funds that aren’t so student friendly. If you can’t shell out the cash for expensive festival tickets or even a movie matinee, don’t despair! We’ve scouted out the best free events taking place this week. There’s something for everyone, so take a look. Your wallet will thank you.

Any time: Battle of the celebrity wax figures

Want to stare at celebrities’ faces? Or maybe just ponder the eeriness of the uncanny valley? Check out “I Bet You Can’t Tell These Celebrities and Their Wax Figures Apart.” The Jezebel post features sliding images of celebrities and their wax-figure counterparts. As far as Internet pastimes go, this one is pretty benign, if not equal parts unsettling and addictive.

Thursday: Glitter Bomb opening reception

Make the trip to the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco for the opening reception of Glitter Bomb, a 40-artist group exhibition put on as part of the 2015 National Queer Arts Festival. The reception runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m., so you’ll have ample time to take a look at art that celebrates queer identities while exploring issues of allyship, intersectionality and more. If you can’t make it to the opening reception, the exhibition will be on view until June 27.

Friday: Dancing Under the Stars

Dancing Under the Stars happens weekly on Fridays during June, July and August. On Friday, stop by Jack London Square in Oakland for a night of salsa dancing in the open air. Dance lessons are offered at 8:30 p.m., and the party starts at 9 p.m. Head out early to catch the sunset, and get ready to twirl the night away.

Saturday and Sunday: 39th annual Union Street Festival

Now in its 39th year, the Union Street Festival is a San Francisco classic. The festival begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, so plan to devote some peak weekend hours to a sprawling open-air experience like no other. If you need convincing, take note that the festival boasts six “worlds” (fashion world, culinary world, tech world, local world, craft world, and health and fitness world), food vendors, arts exhibitors, and beer and wine sampling gardens. There’s truly something for everyone.

Contact Sarah Elizabeth Adler at 


JUNE 01, 2015

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