The J-POP SUMMIT Moved to Fort Mason Because It's Huge and Awesome This Year

If the idea of huddling in fog-bound Golden Gate Park for a chance to see the Black Keys or Elton John at Outside Lands sounds like (chilly, misty) hell to you, there is another massive event happening the same weekend. Formerly chained to Japantown, the J-POP SUMMIT keeps getting bigger and bigger, so much so that the main events have relocated to the Fort Mason Center in the Marina.

Opening night (Friday, August 7) kicks off at the Castro Theatre with a 35-mm presentation of Sogo Ishii’s Electric Dragon 80000V, a comic-book-style action film starring Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, who will introduce the film and participate in an audience Q&A. The remaining films will all be screened at New People (1746 Post St. in Japantown) as part of the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, which runs for 10 days (Aug. 7-16). The programming is extra-broad this year, encompassing Pale Moon (based on the novel, Kami No Tsuki/Paper Moon), a documentary about a 144-year-old sake brewery (The Birth of Sake), and anime features such as The Wind Rises and When Marnie Was There. Full film lineup here.

On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8-9, the Interactive Pavilion will show off a lot of sexy technology from the Land of the Rising Sun, with consumer gadgets from 21 different firms. Panel discussions on the future of the Maker movement and an “idea-thon” on the Internet of Things will invite people to pitch their startup ideas.

But it’s music that really draws people to Japanese culture. The weekend’s headliners include techno DJ Ken Ishii, chiptune/bitmap band Anamanaguchi (who may still be in mourning for Satoru Iwata, the deceased CEO of Nintendo), “futuristic electro-pop mannequin duo FEMM, and kimono cosplay pop duo Yanakiku. There’s also a separate night concert on Saturday with frenetic rock band Gacharic Spin and the anime music super-group JAM Project. If it all sounds completely alien yet irresistibly compelling to you, just go ahead and take it in.

And even among people who flock to Japanese music, it’s all-girl punks that we love the most. JINYOOPS! and the Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass will be there, rocking your world and hopefully flooding the entire Marina with badass power chords.

J-POP SUMMIT, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8-9, at the Fort Mason Center.

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