Unless the tech kings and queens need to start watching their backs, there's no accounting for the voracity San Francisco consumes all things Bastille Day (Sat/14). Why do we celebrate the anniversary of the storming of a French clink so comprehensively, when Canada Day goes all but unnoticed? Perhaps the answers will be clearer after this weekend -- movies, concerts, food cart explosions, and more will be taking place now through Sat/14 in honor of the Bay's most illogically favorite holiday.
Farewell, My Queen
Landmark Theatres picked an appropriate time to unveil French director Benoit Jacquot's film Farewell, My Queen. The flick follows the last three days of Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and her reader (Léa Seydoux, the pale beauty from Midnight in Paris) in the chaos just before the French Revolution.
Showing at Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Center, SF; Shattuck Cinemas, 2230 Shattuck Ave, Berk.
Pre-Bastille Musicale with Baguette Quartet and GAUCHO
Peacefully ring in this not-so-peaceful holiday with a musical performance in the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. Local group Baguette Quartette performs tangos, foxtrots, and more tunes endemic to 1920s and '30s Paris. It'll be joined by Gaucho, a Euro-New Orleans-inspired jazz group that prides itself on its ability to inspire foot-tapping.
Thu/12 5:30-7:30pm, $12
University of California Berkeley Botanical Gardens
200 Centennial, Berk.
"From Geek to Chic: French Fashion and Technology"
SF Fashion + Tech has acquired a collection of Bay Area industry notables to speak at their Bastille Day commemoration "French Technique: From Geek to Chic." Enrich your intellect and your closet with drinks, music, and fashion tech talk.
Thu/12 5pm-9pm, $15-$25
540 Howard, SF.
Mugsy's Pop-Up Wine Bar
El Rio busts out its new socially-conscious wine bar in honor of Bastille Day, where Francophile -- or just plain wine-chugging -- Missionaries can celebrate French independence with a cuppa and some patio-side sunshine. Just as the French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on this monumental day, Mugsy proposes to storm your olfactory senses with a velvety wine with hints of licorice, chocolate, and lavender (and, somehow, plum, olive, and pepper), a 2009 Le Clos du Caillou Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique. Quite a way to class up your Friday night happy hour.
3158 Mission, SF.
Off The Grid Au Francais
Foodies can rejoice in a Off The Grid's solution to affordable French cuisine. In honor of the holiday, many of the street truck fair's vendors will be offering special French-inspired items. Regardless of one's culinary orientation (cupcake, crepe, and bahn mi, or baguette?), French gypsy jazz will accompany this cart food frenzy throughout the evening.
Fri/13 5pm-9pm, free entry
Fort Mason Center, SF
Go-go to the Rickshaw's no-pretension dance floor for this always-fun Bastille Day pre-party. DJs Brothers Grimm and Pink Frankenstein will be providing the tunes to guide the night, and you can count on some Gainsbourg screenins to provide an appropriately-hazy French ambiance. Go-go girls, drinks, videos -- even 1960's hair-styling for only $10.
Fri/13 9pm-11pm, $10
155 Fell, SF
Belden Place Block Party
Celebrating another nation's independence day has never felt so authentic. Tucked away in a FiDi alleyway, Belden is a focal point for Francophiles in San Francisco due to its tasty restaurants. Bastille Day turns the nook into a communal fete, with music and other festivities to boot. The festival recently ran into some trouble due to "past insanity" -- always a good sign -- but it's pledged to
Sat/14, check restaurant websites for hours
Belden between Pine and Bush, SF.
KZYX Bastille Day benefit
Holler your support of community radio through a mouthful of crawfish etouffee -- today Mendocino indie radio station KZYZ is raising funds for its community tunes with a full spread of French Cajun fare. Live tunes from Americana rockabillies Contino and that band's fave openers Shaky Jake Blues Band featuring Rag Time Rick will be the perfect side dish to heaping bowls of gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice with sweet corn boiled in Tabasco mash for the vegetarians music fans.
Sat/14 3pm, $10-$15
Mendocino County fairgrounds
Highway 128, Boonville
Le P'tit Laurent
What is normally a highfalutin French restaurant is also a fabulous fete for those who want to get their dinner, drinks, and dancing all in one. The restaurant will serve its normal menu a la carte, keep its bar open until 2am, and rumor has it DJs and dancing will enter the scene at around 10:30pm.
Sat/14 5:00pm-10:30pm dinner, 10:30pm-2am drinks and dancing, $23
699 Chenery, SF.