San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures’ sparkling 1950's Mack Fire Engine carries passengers on themed adventures that combine the excitement of racing toward a fire with the fun of outwitting time. From the vantage point of the "Big Red Shiny Mack Fire Engine," guests catch views of the Bay Area while pretending to be important pieces of firefighting equipment. Tours run year round, and the crew outfits patrons with authentic fire gear to keep them warm while they explore the city on one of the themed tours. Winery tours cruise to Treasure Island, where guests enjoy tastes of signature varietals, while the Golden Gate bridge tour begins in Fisherman's Wharf before heading across the iconic bridge, through the village of Sausalito. Holiday-lights tours capture some of the city's most festive and decorated locations, and Halloween tours creep through Historic Presidio where ghosts are rumored to vacation.
A 9-foot statue of Willie Mays looms over fans at the entrance to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants since 2000. Along with the team’s many other Hall of Fame inductees, Mays is part of a team heritage that spans more than a century and has garnered 21 National League pennants, six World Series championships, and the most overall victories by a franchise in baseball history. Up to 41,503 fans cheer on the Giants as they swing for the tides, splashing home runs into the waters of McCovey Cove. On the field, players dig their cleats into the kentucky bluegrass blend and slide on the crushed-volcanic-rock infield, dodging the gloves of tagging basemen and onyx claws of lava worms.
While students at Temple of Poi, , a school of movement and flow arts, perfect their fire-wielding skills, they also focus on channeling balance and harmony within themselves. Classes are designed to not only to help students develop techniques, but to also help them rejuvenate through performance and meditation and improve mind awareness, discipline, and self-empowerment. To keep these experiences safe, the staff stresses fire safety, and only encourages those who feel ready to dance with flames to do so. And those who are not yet ready can join the skilled dancers and perform at festivals and special events.
With students ranging in age from 9 to 82, crackling hot flames whizz by as dancers twirl their ropes of fire in mesmerizing circles. For these dancers, fire is a form of self-expression. They set hula-hoops and staffs afire, and perform duets with the fans of flames. Though they make it look effortless, these masters of the art were once novices, who learned their techniques at Temple of Poi.
Temple of Poi’s instructors teach fire-dancing classes with several props. In beginner and intermediate poi classes, students set fire to balls suspended from a handle, which create brilliant circles of flames when swung. Hula-hoop and staff classes also allow students to create a dazzling show with props doused in seemingly everlasting flames.
Musical-theater works find a stage and an audience through Not Quite Opera's platform of community engagement. The not-for-profit production company gathers playwrights, lyricists, composers, and other San Francisco artists to create performances that reflect upon the lives of fictional neighbors and probe into life's greatest mysteries—such as who would emerge the victor in a wrestling match, Abraham Lincoln or his bionic twin. Artistic director Anne Nygren Doherty, an award-winning playwright and songwriter, works side by side with producer/handyman hubby John Doherty and an evolving collection of area artists to mold music-theatrical fusions, such as the theater's longest-running show, Absolutely San Francisco. The one-woman performance follows Sunshine the Homeless Lady during her journey of personal discovery on a railcar, and was hailed by the San Francisco Bay Times as "fun and funny" and by Statler and Waldorf as "much better than anything Fozzie Bear's done."
Mexico City native Ricardo T?llez began dancing when he was 12, shimmying his way through styles such as cumbia and guaracha. In 1995, he packed up his dancing shoes and moved to the Bay area, accelerating his salsa study not only by studying under Gabriel Romero, but also by trying out his footwork in clubs. Armed with a passion for dance, Ricardo founded RicaSalsa Dance Company in 1999 to share his love of the art. Today, he and dance partner Tianne Frias?with whom he placed third in the World Latin Dance Cup?teach private lessons and group classes that impart new and advanced dancers with the steps, partnership skills, and medallions filled with glowworms needed to light up the floor. By focusing on social dance skills and the ability to follow the rhythm, they help their students adapt easily to different songs and settings.
An alumna of New York City’s Actors Studio, Shelley Mitchell won acclaim for her one-woman performance of Talking with Angels: Budapest 1943, which Los Angeles Weekly lauded for its “leisurely, lifelike timing” and “excruciating beauty.” Shelley draws on her extensive teaching and acting experience at institutions such as The Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival to teach dramatic acting to film, television, and theater thespians at the Arts Center of San Francisco. Three-hour classes develop individual concentration and emotional response through sense memory exercises before students partner up for scripted scene work or practice tumbling into the orchestra pit. Eight-week courses introduce pupils to acting fundamentals, while three or ten-month intensive training grants unlimited studio access, weekly or biweekly lessons, and private sessions with Shelley to dedicated participants.