Now Playing

‘A 13-Day Attack on Consensus Reality’

San Francisco goes gaga for Dada.

A Dada Séance.


Long before their hippie brethren picked up on the idea, another group of free spirits urged the world to make art, not war. Dadaism—the anti-violence, antibourgeois, anti-art movement—celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and San Francisco plans to doff its top hat with a two-week festival of art exhibitions, lectures, and a liberal helping of zaniness. Here are a few of the must-see events on tap.

Weird Science
Nov. 3, Canessa Gallery
Before Dada, there was Alfred Jarry, the French poet, playwright, and inventor of pataphysics, a mockery of metaphysics and the obsession with science and reason. In “The Pataphysics of Dada,” Howard Rheingold, editor of the Millennium Whole Earth Catalog, and a team of fellow so-called pataphysicians—using names like Dr. Canard and Prof. Really—will unveil nonsensical works of art and science and stage a puppet show of Jarry’s famed play Ubu Roi.

Float On
Inauguration Nov. 5, Maritime Park
San Francisco Art Institute professor Frederick Young and Healdsburg High School art teacher Linus Lancaster are teaming with their students to stage a floating exhibition of avant-garde art dedicated to the masters of Dada.  

Dada@Sea, Nov. 5

Photo: Courtesy of Yuri

Let’s Get Lit
Nov. 10, City Lights Bookstore
The Dada Séance is one part pub crawl, one part occultist performance art. In addition to raising pints to the literary and artistic heroes of the movement, patrons will raise their spirits from the dead. Each North Beach bar stop will see the conjuring of one patron saint of Dadaism—Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp. The roving fête will also include a toy-instrument marching band and, presumably, lots of absinthe.


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco 

Have feedback? Email us at
Email Ian Stewart at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Ian Stewart on Twitter @IanAStewart