Spring into arts

Guardian writers select the season's most-anticipated performances, exhibits, film events, and more

CubaCaribe Festival's Danza del Caribe

It's true that San Francisco doesn't really have seasons, per se. We don't have a snow thaw, or a sudden riot of cherry blossoms, or even a perceptible change in the weather to mark calendar shifts. So grab that lightweight jacket you've been wearing since October, and use our selective guide to what music shows to see (dude ... Sparks is coming!), gallery and museum shows to hit up, films to catch, and can't-miss theater and dance performances — including, yep, a fresh take on The Rite of Spring.


"Soul Clap and Dance-Off" (March 30, Rickshaw Stop, SF) After a freak accident in late 2011 (a car plowed into his hotel room), revered New York Night Train DJ Jonathan Toubin is back with his feverish '60s soul freak out party. The winner of the dance-off gets 100 bones, the guest selector is DJ Primo, and full disclosure, I'm one of the contest judges this time around. www.rickshawstop.com

"Rock See! A Benefit Concert for the Roxie Theater" (April 5, Verdi Club, SF) Support the Roxie by taking in a fundraiser show that's bursting with local talent, including live sets by John Dwyer's garage rock superstars Thee Oh Sees, Sonny and the Sunsets, Future Twin, and Assateauge, along with video projections by Barry Jenkins, Jim Granato, and more. www.roxie.com

Sparks (April 9-10, The Chapel, SF) Influential new wave-glam pop duo Sparks hits SF the weekend before Coachella for two intimate concerts, pulling experimental cuts from its 20-plus back catalog of music insider-worshiped albums. www.thechapelsf.com

"CubaCaribe Festival" (April 12-14, Dance Mission Theater, SF; April 19, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF; April 26-28, Laney College Theater, Oakl.) The ninth CubaCaribe Festival offers music and dance performances, lectures, and master classes all based in rich Caribbean traditions. Check out Afro-Cuban modern dance company Teatro de la Danza del Caribe's first US appearance, Brazilian inspired music and dance company Sambaxé, a lecture by popular local percussionist John Santos, and plenty more. www.cubacaribe.org

Lou Reed (April 14, Warfield, SF) Legendary Velvet Underground songwriter and pioneering solo artist in his own right, Lou "Walk on the Wild Side" Reed pays SF a visit, with memories of his contentious collaboration with Metallica on the Lulu (2011) album (thankfully) fading into the past. www.thewarfieldtheatre.com

Savages (April 18, Independent, SF) When all-female British post-punk group Savages hit the East Coast last year for the annual CMJ conference, the word spread quickly to the West: this blistering quartet is one to watch. All these anxious months later, this headlining show will be Savages' first SF appearance. www.theindependentsf.com

Big Boi (May 16, Mezzanine, SF) After a disastrous non-set at Outside Lands a few years back (DJ technical issues), rapper-producer Big Boi, a.k.a. one-half of Outkast, returned triumphantly in 2012 with an explosive, quick-tongued performance. Now's your chance to catch him in a far smaller space in 2013. www.mezzaninesf.com

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