The SF Must List: What to Do in San Francisco This September

Wake you up when September ends? I don’t think so!

One glance at this September’s event itinerary will inspire you to stay awake until Halloween. Just make sure to get 8 hours of rest in between gigs: with all the theatre, comedy, dance, opera, and cinema events, you’ll need plenty of energy to enjoy this month’s rolodex of fun.

So get up, grab your opera gloves, and get ready for the most entertaining September ever. These are the events you absolutely must pencil into your Google calendar.

Related: 8 Things All San Franciscans Must Watch on Netflix

Cinema & Media

The Japan Film Festival is the sole film event fully dedicated to Japanese cinema in San Francisco. Taking place at New People Cinema, this event also features the J-POP Summit on the 9th and 10th. Directors Ryota Nakano and San-il Lee and actress Kaori Momoi will make special appearances.
Japan Film Festival | New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco, CA | September 1st-10th: check schedule for showtimes | Check box office for individual tickets. $150 for Festival Passport.

Photo: IMDB

Watching an Alfred Hitchcock film is an epic experience on its own, so imagine what it will be like when the Castro Theatre screens one of Hitchcock’s most suspenseful action-adventures. Starring Cary Grant, North by Northwest follows an innocent ad executive who gets chased by ruthless spies without compromising the integrity of his comb-over. 
North by Northwest
| Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA | September 17th: time TBD | $15

Deemed a “new favorite” by many film geeks across the spectrum, the Castro Theatre is giving you a chance to watch Baby Driver on the big screen in case you missed its debut this summer. 
Baby Driver
| Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA | September 18th: time TBD | $15

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novel series is a must read for San Franciscans, as his writing romantically captures the experience of San Francisco life in the 1970s and 1980s. His writing was later turned into a miniseries starring Laura Linney. However, if you don’t have the time to read or watch the series, you can just head to the Roxie for a screening of Jennifer Loot’s documentary about the local icon.
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin
 | The Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA | September 22nd-28th: check schedule for showtimes | $12  

Live Music & Concerts

Photo: Jaquar Mena, Flickr, Creative Commons

Lana Del Rey is finally back on tour and is making a stop in San Francisco to play her new album Honeymoon. This is a rare opportunity to watch a star of her stature in such an intimate venue, so make sure to secure tickets before it’s too late. 
Lana Del Rey
| Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA | September 5th: 8PM | $86+ via StubHub

Related: Channel Your Inner Rockstar: San Francisco’s 7 Best Karaoke Bars

Inspired by Wu Tang Clan’s RZA, SZA has become a new musical phenomenon this year. Thanks to the success of her debut album Ctrl, her show’s tickets have been selling so fast that she had to relocate to a bigger venue. 
SZA
 |The Warfield, 982 Market Street, San Francisco, CA | September 19th: 8PM | $100+ via StubHub 

One Direction’s long haired crooner takes the solo stage in San Francisco to showcase his new music. There is no word on whether or not Taylor Swift will be making an appearance.
Harry Styles | The Masonic, 1111 California Street, San Francisco, CA | September 19th: 8PM | $200+ via StubHub

Another majorly rising star this year, Khalid is bringing his American Teen tour to San Francisco. Given the small size of the venue and his growing popularity, you’ll have to act fast to score tickets. 
Khalid
 | The Masonic, 1111 California Street, San Francisco, CA | September 21st: 8PM | $89+ via StubHub

Comedy

If you like laughter and free stuff, then Comedy Day will be your jam. This 5-hour outdoor comedy extravaganza will feature 40 comedians. They’ll bring the jokes, and you (should) bring a sweater.
37th Annual Comedy Day
| Sharon Meadow, 320 Bowling Green Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA | September 17th: 12PM-5PM | Free

Photo: cobbscomedy.com

Famous for her stints on Chelsea Lately, the hilarious hot mess Heather McDonald will perform 2 nights of stand-up comedy at Cobb’s. If the above promo photo is any indicator, you should drink up.
Heather McDonald
| Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA | September 22nd-23rd: 8PM | $25

Inspired by the likes of Heathers and Clueless, the locally-adored BATS Improv group is presenting a school themed competition spectacle. This unscripted show will likely make fans of school themed movies rejoice. 
Super Scene School Days
| Fort Mason Center, Building B, 2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA | Every Friday in September at 8PM | $18

Theatre & Opera

Photo: sfopera.com

The San Francisco opera urges fans of Mommie Dearest to watch their performance of Elektra, which is about a daughter’s attempt to resolve her father’s murder in the wake of the Trojan War. 
Elektra
| The War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA | September 9th-27th: check schedule for showtimes | $26+

If you love Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, then Tony Award–nominee John Douglas Thompson’s performance as the vengeful protagonist will mesmerize you. If you’ve never seen Hamlet, then head to A.C.T. for an important learning experience, as everyone should watch this ghostly tale at least once.  
Hamlet
|The Geary Theater, 405 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA | September 20th through October 15th: check schedule for showtimes | $15+

Not to be confused with the season finale of Sex and the CityAn American in Paris is a new Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier and a mysterious French girl; set in Paris, naturally, both are yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war.
An American in Paris
| Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market Street, San Francisco, CA | September 12th through October 8th: check schedule for showtimes | $45+

Sometimes one theatrical performance just isn’t enough. If you want to go on a theatre spree, then head to the Fringe Festival for a literal fest of theatre. This festival runs over 2 weeks long and will feature over 100 performances from over 30 theatre companies. 
Fringe Festival
| Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA | September 8th-23rd: check schedule for showtimes | $13+

Dance

Photo: ybca.org

Transform Fest’s program is a double bill event featuring the Embodiment Project and Jesse Hewit, a San Francisco based street dance company and a performance artist, respectively. The mission of each performance is to challenge and unsettle social norms.
Transform Fest | Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA | September 14th & 22nd: 8PM | $25

2 nights only! Head to Fort Mason to support the Dance Theatre of San Francisco, a non-profit organization that seeks to enrich artists, patrons, youths, and the community through its innovative approach to contemporary ballet.
Dance Theatre of San Francisco
| Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, 99 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA | September 22nd-23rd: 8PM | $20+

With summer’s end comes fall’s ballet season. The Smuin Ballet is kicking off autumn with a romantic Dance Series 01, which pays tribute to Frank Sinatra’s Ol’ Blue Eyes. Fly me to the dance studio!
Smuin Ballet’s Dance Series 01
 | Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA | September 29th through October 7th: check schedule for showtimes | $25+