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Storied: San Francisco

Apr 18, 2023

When SF natives Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll hatched their idea for a show in the space once occupied by Beach Blanket Babylon, they set out to pay homage to their hometown. The result was Dear San Francisco, a high-flying, loop-jumping, juggling, acrobatic love letter to The City.

In Part 1 of our episode on Club Fugazi, where Dear San Francisco takes place seven times every week, we sit down with Co-producer and Executive Director David Dower. David shares the history of the space, going all the way back to its founding in 1914, up through its time as a dance hall and lecture hall, to its setting for Thelonious Monk's Alone in San Francisco (recorded there), and in 1974, its service as a home for Beach Blanket Babylon.

Then David shares Gypsy and Shana's backgrounds in circus arts, which trace back to San Francisco's very own Pickle Family Circus. From there, we go to Montreal and Cirque du Soleil, out of which the 7 Fingers Creative Collective was born.

Just before the pandemic, Beach Blanket Babylon wrapped up their 45-year run at Club Fugazi. When Gypsy and Shana heard about the now quiet and dark hall loved by so many all around the world, the idea for Dear San Francisco was born.

Forget what you might think when you hear the word "circus." There are no rings or unicycling bears here. Instead, acrobats and trapeze artists literally hurl themselves through the air while also sharing personal stories and their deep, deep love for San Francisco. Go. See. This. Show.

And check back next week, when we meet two current cast members of Dear San Francisco—Maya Kesselman Cruz and Dominic Cruz. Part 2 drops next Tuesday.

​We recorded this episode at Club Fugazi in North Beach in April 2023.

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather