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San Francisco May 26–June 1: Carnaval and Drag Queens of Comedy

The best of what to do in and around San Francisco this week.

This week in San Francisco, stay up late at Drag Queens of Comedy, or party in the streets for the annual Carnaval. Escape to Napa Valley for wine and music at BottleRock, or sing along to the Spice Girls at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Hungry for more? Taste the Spanish stylings of chef Ryan McIlwraith at his new Bolleta restaurant.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.  

May 27­-29 | Escape the city
BottleRock Napa Valley
About 100,000 people are expected to attend Napa's annual three­-day music and food festival, which features headliners Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Florence and the Machine, as well as a stage for culinary mashups with a leftfield lineup of stars that includes Cheech and Chong. While tickets are technically sold out, don’t be totally discouraged. You can join the official ticket exchange platform in case someone unloads theirs at the last minute. You’ll likely find some on secondary ticket sites as well, though be prepared to shell out more for those. There are also plenty of after­parties that still have available tickets; check the list on BottleRock's site.
11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. | Napa Expo, 575 Third Street, Napa | website

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May 28 | Comedy
Drag Queens of Comedy
You may be familiar with the Kings of Comedy, the group of comedians (Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey) who made their mark in standup and movies years ago. But have you heard of the Drag Queens of Comedy? The traveling show lands in SF this weekend, featuring performers from across the country. Friday's comics include Lady Bunny, one of NYC’s most famous gender illusionists; Varla Jean Merman, the wayward child of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman who appeared on two episodes of All My Children (just one of many TV appearances); and San Francisco’s very own iconic drag queens, Heklina and Peaches Christ.
6 and 10 p.m. | Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco | (415) 621-­6120 | From $45 | website

May 28­–29 | Festival
We hope you’re ready to party in the streets of the Mission this weekend because Carnaval, a celebration of Latin American and Caribbean heritage, music, dancing, and food, is the city’s most festive annual tradition. Expect prime people-watching, endless good vibes, and electrifying live performances from musicians ranging from Oscar D’León (aka The Lion of Salsa) to Oakland’s Panamanian rap sensations Los Rakas.
9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. | Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets, San Francisco | Free | website

Carnaval San Francisco
May 30­–31 | Film 
Spice World Sing­along
So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want? Here’s betting it’s a screening and sing­along of Spice World, the seminal 1998 kitsch-classic movie starring the iconic nineties UK pop stars the Spice Girls. Costumes are encouraged, whether you’re channeling your inner Posh Spice, regressing as Baby Spice, or letting it all hang out as Scary Spice, and you’ll receive a British flag with the purchase of your ticket. Girl power is back—or did it never leave?
7:15 p.m. | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 2550 Mission St., San Francisco | (415) 549-­5959 | From $10 | website

Now open | Restaurant
The latest restaurant from the popular Absinthe Group is a 5,400 square foot, 200­person Spanish stunner called Bellota. A large menu from chef Ryan McIlwraith (last seen in the kitchen of Michael Chiarello’s Coqueta) traverses the country’s regions over plates of charcuterie, paella (including one with acorn­fed Iberico pork shoulder), surf and turf towers (mar y montana), and tapas, all to be paired with local and Spanish beer, wine, and distinctly San Francisco cocktails with unexpected twists (think bay leaf falernum and chamomile bourbon).
888 Brannan St., San Francisco | (415) 430­-6580 | website

Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.

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