Freedom Rings Abe Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, but slaves in Texas didn't find out about it until two years later, on June 19, 1865. There are various theories regarding the holdup; according to some accounts, Texan farmers withheld the news until after harvest season, while others posit that the announcement was delivered by slow-moving Union troops or a lone man traveling by mule. At any rate, dozens of cities across the U.S. have begun to celebrate Juneteenth, also known as National Freedom Day, a holiday originally observed by African-American Texans. The 30th annual San Francisco festival opens today with a parade, and includes performances by R&B star Angela Bofill, jazz bandleader John Handy, and the Juneteenth Choir. Sunday highlights include a Father's Day tribute and a gospel concert at the Fillmore with Sons of the Soul Revivers, Steps of Faith, Robin Hodge Williams, and the Robert Henry Johnson Dance Troupe, among others. Jugglers, clowns, and martial artists entertain the kids all weekend, and picnickers are welcome, although local eateries will be setting up stands. The festival begins at 11 a.m. (noon Sunday) at Kimball Park, Steiner & Geary, S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8223.
Ragin' Cajun Jambalaya, red beans and rice, Cajun crawdads, beignets, and barbecued gator tails will be served at New Orleans by the Bay, a two-day festival steeped in French Quarter atmosphere, sans voodoo (and with any luck, drunk frat rats). The musical lineup is massive: "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" singer Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Queen Ida & Her Zydeco Band, pianist Charles Brown, Cuba's Cubanismo! and Los Van Van, and David Lindley headline today's show; the stage will be open to a handful of local performers as well, including stilt-walking troupe Women Walking Tall and Rosa Montoya Bailes Flamencos. Sunday begins with a gospel concert by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and segues into performances by Buckwheat Zydeco, the Radiators (still celebrating the recent release of their album Live at the Great American Music Hall), Maria Muldaur, Dr. Loco, and the Zydeco Flames. Mardi Gras enjoys an encore as parasol parades weave through the amphitheater and crowds are showered with festival beads. The festival opens at noon (11 a.m. Sunday) at the Shoreline Amphitheater, 1 Amphitheater Pkwy. (at Rangstorff), Mountain View. Admission is free-$20; call (510) 762-2277.
Pop Life You wouldn't catch Texas (or Arkansas, or even the rest of California) celebrating Father's Day with a "Father's Day Gun Bake," but this is San Francisco, where gender roles are less rigid, and the traditional giving-of-power-tools is strictly for the creativity impaired. After blacksmiths melt down assault rifles in a forge and pound them into sculpture, dads and kids can use them in the creation of an anti-gun violence community mural (that is, when they're not participating in the drum jam). The event begins at 1 p.m. in Washington Square Park, Columbus & Union, S.F. Admission is free; call 821-2309. Dads and kids can also collaborate on music and painting projects at the MOMA's "Family Day," where the Lorraine Hansberry Theater stages Forever Free: The Life and Times of Sargent Johnson, a family show about the artist. The day begins at 11:30 a.m. (with the play at 3 p.m.) at SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$2; call 357-4097. Dads don't have to do anything but sit and eat at "Joyful Voices: A Father's Day Celebration," a concert featuring the San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses. The show begins at 2 p.m. in Stern Grove, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Admission is free; call 252-6252. And dads don't even have to be around for "Family Memories Weekend," as photographer Corwin Hankins transforms color or black-and-white slides with pictures of Dad into image transfers with Vivitar printers and watercolor paper, a nice alternative for city dwellers whose fathers live elsewhere. The event begins at noon at the Exploratorium, Bay & Lyon, S.F. Admission is free-$9; call 563-7337.
Letting It All Hang Out Three weeks after This American Life host Ira Glass interviewed him onstage at Center for the Arts, author and NPR commentator David Sedaris crops up elsewhere in the city to read from his best-selling autobiography Naked. Sedaris introduced himself to the American reading and radio-listening public with his short story "SantaLand Diaries," an unrelentingly wicked account of his mostly humiliating, frequently absurd experiences as a Macy's Christmas elf; the tale was broadcast on Morning Edition and printed in Barrel Fever, a collection of droll essays that gave American pop culture some well-deserved prodding and poking. Sedaris offers a little bit more of himself and his extended family in his memoir Naked, wherein he finds the sublime in the ridiculousness that surrounds him. Sedaris spares no one, least of all himself, as he recalls a compulsive childhood spent licking light switches, and adult adventures like his two-week stay at a nudist camp and a one-time job sorting the fancy from the extra-fancy at a fruit-packing company. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670.