SAN FRANCISCO’S HISTORIC CLUB FUGAZI TO REOPEN FALL 2021
THE 7 FINGERS, THE WORLD-RENOWNED CIRCUS AND ARTS COLLECTIVE, TO CREATE AN ONLY-IN-SAN-FRANCISCO INTIMATE AND IMMERSIVE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE
SAN FRANCISCO (May 19, 2021)—Today, internationally recognized arts leader David Dower announced the launch of Club Fugazi Experiences, a new arts and culture venture conceived and created by a team of celebrated and award-winning producers. Under this new venture, Club Fugazi—the former home of Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon—will become the site of a brand-new theatrical experience from the world-renowned circus and arts collective, The 7 Fingers. The intimate and immersive resident production, created by Bay Area natives and The 7 Fingers co-founders Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll, will serve as a love letter to the City by the Bay. Performances of the new production will begin in Fall 2021. Tickets will go on-sale in late June 2021. Additional details, including upcoming arts initiatives and events from Club Fugazi Experiences, will be announced at a later date. For more information and to sign-up for email updates, visit www.clubfugazisf.com.
“This project is a labor of love for all involved,” said Dower. “I launched my career in theater here in San Francisco. Gypsy and Shana are native San Franciscans. To have the opportunity to reanimate a venue with such a rich history, at the very moment we are coming out from under this long, dense cloud, is a powerful and energizing privilege for us. Without optimism, there will be no recovery. We are proud to be injecting a burst of hope into the story of San Francisco’s resurgence.”
“The arts are part of what make our city special and are going to be a central part of San Francisco’s recovery from this pandemic,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “Club Fugazi has a long history of drawing residents and visitors from all over for a unique and fun experience in North Beach. I am so excited that this amazing venue is going to live on with these creative, new performances. I can’t wait to go see the production when it opens.”
“Club Fugazi is a storied venue with deep roots in North Beach and San Francisco,” adds San Francisco District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “While it was bittersweet to see Beach Blanket Babylon shelve their hats after a glittering 45-year run, the stage at Club Fugazi will shine again! I am thrilled to welcome the acrobatic performance artists of The 7 Fingers and their creative vision to Club Fugazi. The 7 Fingers have roots in San Francisco, as well, with two of the co-founders originating from the Pickle Family Circus. I’m looking forward to welcoming them home and breathing new life into this historic and special building.”
Told through death-defying acrobatics, awe-inspiring choreography and movement, and original music, the still-to-be-named production at Club Fugazi invites locals and visitors alike on an exhilarating romp through both the essence and the myth that has earned San Francisco the place it holds in our collective imagination. From the Gold Rush and 1906 earthquake to the Summer of Love and the mysterious fog, San Francisco will vividly come to life through a series of tableaus (acts) that pay homage to the City’s stunning beauty, storied characters, and astounding resilience. The production will play seven performances a week at Club Fugazi.
“San Francisco represents the core of my creative inspiration,” said Snider. “I have never ceased wanting to create for and with the city that raised me on the importance of the individuals’ voice within a community. We are honored to have Club Fugazi be part of the re-entry of culture and gathering in San Francisco.”
“I can’t describe what it means to me to finally bring the work and form I love back to the home I love,” adds Carroll. “The San Francisco Bay Area is in my DNA. It is not only where I was raised, but also where I got my start as a performer and creator. Its influence and character have been inseparable from my work through my years and travels. To have the chance to finally create something uniquely for and about this city is such an incredible gift. It’s what I’ve been dreaming about all these years working abroad!”
The production will feature nine of the world’s best acrobats who have graced the stages of some of the most prestigious venues around the globe. They include (in alphabetical order): Isabella Diaz (United States), Melvin Diggs (United States), Devin Henderson (United States), Ruben Ingwersen (Australia), Kalani June (United States), Jérémi Levesque (Canada), Natasha Patterson (United States), Enmeng Song (China), and Junru Wang (China).
Since its inception in 2002, the Montreal-based The 7 Fingers has become one of the world’s leading contemporary circus troupes and has been seen by over seven million people in 672 cities in 54 different countries. Known for redefining circus by stripping down the spectacle to its thrilling essence, the collective has expanded from its own signature touring shows to creating theatrical experiences as varied as the very artistic directors themselves—original productions varying from intimate one-person shows to large-scale arena performances, Broadway musicals, and artistic collaborations with renowned international artists and companies. The 7 Fingers have developed performances for a wide range of high-profile projects, including The Royal Variety Performance for the Queen of England, ceremonies for the Sochi, Vancouver, and Turin Olympics, the National Circus School end-of-year show, and much more.
Club Fugazi is currently undergoing a major transformation to make room for the immersive production. Further enhancing the patron’s experience, a curated menu of bites and beverages featuring some of the City’s most well-known purveyors will be available for purchase during each performance.
“San Francisco serves as a wellspring for creativity and storytelling which inspires the world,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro. “Our visitors return again and again to discover the incredible arts scene they couldn’t fit into their most recent trip. The 7 Fingers production will be a welcome event to delight audiences and continue San Francisco’s standing as a top arts and culture destination. We look forward to their production becoming part of the rich tapestry that is our performing arts fabric.”
Adds Dan Macchiarini, Vice President of the North Beach Business Association: “The North Beach Business Association is thrilled to have The 7 Fingers launch in our commercial district, bringing world class circus to North Beach. Their contribution to the theater arts here will continue the long heritage of performance events at Club Fugazi and make a major new contribution to the already amazing arts scene existing in North Beach. As their core leadership is made up of native San Franciscans, we know that The 7 Fingers will also be making San Francisco a major center of circus arts experimentation and development showcasing the finest of performing arts productions. We say, ‘Welcome Home’ to them!”
The Club Fugazi Experiences team includes: David Dower (Co-Producer and Executive Director), Eric Eislund (Co-Producer and General Manager), and Deborah Barrera (Co-Producer). Nassib El-Husseini, CEO of The 7 Fingers, will serve as Executive Producer.
The creative team includes: Gypsy Snider (Artistic Director), Shana Carroll (Artistic Director), Colin Gagne (Composer), Alexander V. Nichols (Production Designer), Jake Rodriguez (Sound Designer), and Keiko Carreiro (Costume Designer).
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach district, Club Fugazi—built in 1913—has a long and storied arts history. Under the ownership and management of the Italian Community Services, the venue served as the location for jazz pianist Thelonious Monk to record his acclaimed solo album, “Thelonious Alone in San Francisco” (1959). Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, the venue held readings for Beat poets, including the legendary Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, and Alan Ginsberg. In 1967, the Grateful Dead held a release party at Club Fugazi for their first album. The venue became home to Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon, the world’s longest-running musical revue, in 1975 where it remained for 45 years. The production played for more than 17,200 performances and to over 6.5 million guests, taking its final bow in 2019. Club Fugazi Experiences will further build on the venue’s artistic legacy.