From left to right: Michael Gene Sullivan, Lizzie Calogero and Andre Amarotico star in San Francisco Mime Troupe’s “American Dreams.”

From the San Francisco Mime Troupe to the son of a famous Bay Area folk musician, there are a ton of fun shows and concerts to catch in the Bay Area this weekend.

Here is a partial overview.

Mime Troupe is back for summer fun

At a time when the political landscape seems about as solid as President Biden’s debating skills, the San Francisco Mime Troupe returns to remind us in its own unique, hilarious way: It could have been worse. A lot worse.

The politically oriented musical theater company returns this week with a new production that, as is tradition, will be performed in parks and other outdoor locations throughout the summer.

This year’s show, created by Michael Gene Sullivan and Daniel Savio, and directed by Velina Brown, is titled “American Dreams.” It’s about a black American who is so fed up with his liberal dreams being dashed that he throws his support behind the Conservative cause, much to the dismay of his university professor daughter, who wonders if her dreams of a political utopia are nothing more than a mirage.

The show, which takes a comedic approach—and from a decidedly left-wing perspective—to touch on sensitive issues like AI, student protest, voting security and more, premieres today at 2 p.m. in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park and plays Saturday in Berkeley. The tour runs through September 8. with primarily outdoor stops in Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Orinda, Davis and more.

Details: All performances are free. Visit for schedule and more information.

— Randy McMullen, Contributor

Oakland Film Series Serves Up Free Comedy Classic

Looking for a taste of ’80s nostalgia? Or maybe you have kids who haven’t yet experienced the joys of practical effects? Then head to Oakland’s Jack London Square on July 5 for a special screening of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” the classic 1989 comedy that, surprisingly, hasn’t been remade like every other hit film.

The screening will take place on the Marina Lawn under the night sky as part of Oakland’s ongoing Waterfront Flicks series. Past films include “Toy Story” and “Beetlejuice,” but you don’t want to miss Rick Moranis’ best work as a mad inventor who accidentally shrinks his children to ant size and then throws them in the garbage, where they’re forced to defend themselves against hideously large insects. (What stressed-out parent hasn’t seen at least one of those? once (did you dream of doing this?)

It is not yet known whether the screening will be accompanied by the Roger Rabbit short film “Tummy Trouble,” which was shown in conjunction with the original theatrical release.

Details: Screening begins at 8:30 p.m., meet on the Marina Lawn at Heinold’s: First and Last Chance Saloon; free; blankets and/or lawn chair welcome; snacks and sandwiches can be ordered at Left Bank;

— John Metcalfe, Contributor

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Son of an icon takes the stage

He may have been raised in a conservative New Jersey household, but David Grisman was ultimately responsible for much of the catchy, syncopated sound that defined the Bay Area’s free-spirited folk scene of the late 20th century. After moving to the Bay Area, Grisman, a prodigiously talented mandolinist, began to establish his musical identity, an identity that brought him into contact with Jerry Garcia. The two formed a lifelong friendship and musical partnership. Grisman was a member of the Garcia-led bluegrass band Old and In the Way, helping to create a musical blueprint that fused folk, bluegrass, classical string music, and gypsy jazz. Garcia named it “Dawg” music in Grisman’s honor, reportedly because Grisman was followed by a small dog one day while the two were walking on Stinson Beach.

We don’t know what happened to the dog, but Grisman’s music lives on, partly in the form of Grisman’s son Sam, who is also a talented string musician. The young musician has formed the Sam Grisman Project, which specializes in performing Grisman/Garcia tunes, particularly from the early ’90s, as well as Sam Grisman’s own songs. The band will perform at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage club on July 6.

Details: 8:00 PM; $49-$54;

Star violinist lands in Bay Area

It was clear early on that drive and talent would never be a question for young Queens, New York, violinist Damien Escobar. At 10, he became the youngest student ever to be accepted into the Juilliard School of Music. After honing his skills busking in New York City, Escobar and his brother formed the duo Nuttin’ But Stringz. About a decade ago, Escobar decided to go solo, and he has had few regrets.

Hailed as a phenomenal musician with a talent for fusing soul, jazz, and hip-hop with contemporary classical music, Escobar has gained a global following for his melodic albums and activism. He founded the Violins Against Violence Foundation in 2007 and has been active with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and UNICEF, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2018.

Escobar is hailed as a great live performer and is on tour to showcase his latest release, “Gemini,” as well as a weekend set at Yoshi’s in Oakland.

Details: 7:00 and 9:15 pm on July 5, 7:30 and 9:30 pm on July 6; $49-$89;

— Bay City News Foundation

Rare appearance of Dinnerstein

The incomparable pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who launched herself into the stratosphere with an exquisitely expressive 2007 recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” that remains the go-to choice for many a music lover (the New York Times called her “a unique voice in the forest of Bach interpretation”), doesn’t get heard often here in the Bay Area. So you might want to take advantage of your chance to hear her perform July 5 as part of pianist Awadagin Pratt’s Art of the Piano Festival, presented in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Barbro Osher Recital Hall on the 11th floor of the Bowes Center at 200 Van Ness Ave.

Dinnerstein draws some of her program from music on “Undersong,” the final installment in a trilogy of albums she recorded at her Brooklyn home during the pandemic. She plays Couperin’s “Les Barricades Mysterieuses”; Schumann’s “Arabesque, Op. 18; Philip Glass’s “Mad Rush”; Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 3” and Schumann’s “Kreisleriana, Op. 16.”

Details: The concert starts at 7 p.m.; $20,

— Bay City News Foundation

Literature comes to life

Have you ever fidgeted uncomfortably in your seat on a plane, bus or train, trying to avoid eye contact with a nosy, overly talkative neighbor who just doesn’t seem to take the hint? Acclaimed Irish writer Kevin Barry has written about it, to hilarious effect, in “The Wintersongs,” one of his three short stories that is being performed, full text intact, on stage by the energetic San Francisco theater company Word for Word. Actors Stephanie Hunt and Ailbhe Doherty play the trapped young girl and her elderly neighbor in the story, which takes a somewhat surprising turn.

Also featured are the following films: “Who’s-Dead McCarthy”, named after the annoying main character named McCarthy, who is only too happy to update everyone in town on who the last unlucky person is to have left earthly existence, and “The Coast of Leitrim”, which is about an awkward Irish man who becomes interested in and then obsessed with a younger Polish girl.

Details: Performances 8 p.m. July 5-6; ZSpace Theater, 470 Florida St., San Francisco; runs through July 21; $40-$65,

— Bay City News Foundation