The Weekend Catch-Up: Viral Vanessa Carlton Robot Performs in SF’s Golden Gate Park

Plus: Don’t let your land doggos anywhere near ocean doggos (read: sea lion), because they could contract a fatal disease.

‘Tis that particular time of the year where summer and autumn exist in a liminal space. We’re less than two weeks away from the official fall equinox, and signs of the looming, cooler season are all around us. Over the weekend, San Francisco’s Flower Piano began for the 2023 season, kicking off its days-long extravaganza of outdoor music concerts — many of which come by way of impromptu play. (Now in its eighth season, twelve outdoor pianos are sprinkled throughout the San Francisco Botanical Garden, each open for public use outside of designated concert times.)

Saturday, the SF’s Vanessa The Robot, which went viral after it played “Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton in front of the painted ladies earlier this year, graced the garden for brief concerts Saturday and Sunday that included hit songs like “Hello” from Adele and “Let It Go” from the Disney juggernaut Frozen.

The remote-controlled puppet was swarmed by kids and adults alike, everyone absolutely smitten by the Muppet-like animatronic. And the shared verdict was that Vanessa The Robot did, indeed, “crush it.” (FYI: If you want to learn more about the fascinating robot, including how the puppet is thermoregulated, check out the page Bernard Howard — the genius mind and aerospace engineer [who also plays the mandolin] — dedicated to Vanessa The Robot’s inception and inner-workings.)

What else happened over the weekend? Let’s take a look.

  • A 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook Morrowoc to its core, causing widespread language and claiming more than 2,800 lives. Friday’s earthquake is Morocco’s deadliest in more than 60 years, and the death toll is expected to continue rising in the days to come; the hardest-hit areas were those in the mountainous regions of the country where access to electricity is difficult. More info.
  • FYI: Don’t let your dogs near sea lions. Not that you should *ever* Let your fur children approach these marine mammals in the first place, but now they could potentially contract a rare and deadly disease — the same one responsible for leaving dozens of sea lions dead across Bay Aare shorelines — that is highly communicable between these two species. More info. 
  • Oakland Pride was a good ol’, full-blown queer time. More than 40 organizations and companies participated in the East Bay’s largest queer festival this year, with thousands riding floats and decorated cars through Downtown Oakland; it was the most well-attended Oakland Pride Festival and Parade since the pandemic. More info.

Feature image: Courtesy of X via [at]benhoward

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