As-yet-unknown circus show takes shape at Club Fugazi, as former Babylon beach cover site is renovated
A circus performance by two Bay Area natives takes place in the famous North Beach Theater which was once a Beat Generation venue before becoming the longtime home of Babylon beach blanket. And, like its predecessor, it will be an ever-changing show that uses the city as a source of inspiration, and you can come back to it over and over again and it will never be quite the same.
SFist first reported on Club Fugazi’s new tenants in March when we learned that one of the people behind the new show was Gypsy Snider, daughter of Pickle Family Circus co-founders Peggy Snider and Larry Pisoni. Snider was the primary circus coordinator / choreographer for the 2013 Tony Award revival on Broadway. Reinette apple, and for years she has worked with a circus troupe she founded in Montreal called The 7 Fingers.
As the Chronicle reports this week, Snider’s new show and co-artistic director Shana Carroll (daughter of former Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll) has started to take shape but it doesn’t have a name yet. He will use San Francisco and its history as an inspiration for his actions – but it will not be a narrative show, rather a “series of Picasso images,” according to Snider.
“San Francisco is a wonderful city of tensions, explosions and then implosions, contradictions and meeting of minds,” Snider told theater critic Lily Janiak. “We went through history, from pre-colonization to now, and tried to capture through imagery exactly that tension and find a way for the audience to love that tension.”
Among the acts will be at least one contortionist, Natasha Patterson, a dancer-acrobat-musician named Isabella Diaz, and hoop diver and pole performer Melvin Diggs.
Snider adds that she is especially excited to bring her version of the circus show to the intimate surroundings of Club Fugazi – which will be slightly different from Beach blanket regulars, the mezzanine being removed to allow more aerial performance.
“A circus becomes so much more explosive when it’s in a compressed space,” Snider tells The Chronicle. “He just takes every inch of real estate.”
The seats will be somewhat cabaret style with food and drink served, but for this show all seats will rotate 360 degrees so members of the audience can see all the action around the venue. See a rendering of the renovated space below.
Partnering with Snider and Carroll as co-producer and executive director, Z Space founder David Dower returns to the Bay Area after a stint as artistic director of ArtsEmerson in Boston. Dower tells The Chronicle that the ethos and aesthetic of 7 Fingers has always been to make their performers characters that audiences get to know. “They wanted to go to a place where people could see the performers, get to know them at the end of the night, feel something for them, so that while this death-defying thing is happening, you actually think of the person, “Dower said.
He also said that the decision to bring the show to North Beach, to this historic location, instead of, say, the Mission District, was to want to give something back to the city and the neighborhood, and not to leave this behind. place stay dark. for a long time. (Babylon beach blanket closed on New Years Eve 2019, shortly before the pandemic would have stopped it anyway.)
Dower added in a statement, “This project is a labor of love for everyone involved … I started my acting career here in San Francisco. Gypsy and Shana are from San Francisco. A rich history, the very moment we emerge from this long and dense cloud, is a powerful and energizing privilege for us. Without optimism there will be no recovery. We are proud to inject a boost of hope into the story of the resurgence of San Francisco. “
There is no opening date for the unnamed show yet – the website simply says “Fall 2021 – but we’ll probably get it in the coming months, along with the show’s title. Tickets will apparently go on sale in late June, however.
Previously: Circus-themed show by Pickle family circus vet reportedly set to take over Venue Club Fugazi from “ Beach Blanket Babylon ”