Sat Jun 1–Sun Jun 2, 2024

Soul of The City

A Journey to the Heart of San Francisco
Ticket sales ended for this event.

“…a defiant call that the city’s living memory, its spirit and soul, persists.”

– San Francisco Chronicle


The Storyteller’s beloved city, San Francisco, seems to have lost its way. Does a city have a soul? This perplexing question haunts The Storyteller. Feeling useless and lost, set upon by demons and ghosts, she hovers between life and death. Four precious talismans – a jade bracelet, a fan, a necklace, and a music box – the touchstones of her life, comfort her. Based on autobiographical stories of her mixed ethnic family tree, Master Storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki takes us on a magical journey to find the soul of San Francisco. Each of these talismans, like time capsules, reveal her rich family history that’s woven into the origins of San Francisco Japantown and Chinatown. Remembering these stories, she realizes that her family was instrumental in the creation of San Francisco Japantown and that her family stories are reflections of our lived American history – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Each of us has a story. Our stories connect with one another and over time, these stories become one big story. This Story lives on, long after its storytellers are gone and becomes the “Soul of the City.”

Celebrating the birthplace of Asia America, San Francisco, this show merges traditional arts, jazz, spoken word, dance, puppets, a dragon, digital collage to tell the story of one family’s 127 years in the city. It will be captured live by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Emiko Omori and Wendy Slick.

The audience experience begins with a communal celebration in the Presidio Theatre’s outdoor plaza. The Sacred Tree of San Francisco, an installation by Ikebana artist Hiroko Tsunetsugu, will stand in the plaza as a beacon for attendees to hang their composed prayers, hopes, and dreams. Audiences are encouraged to come dressed in celebratory attire, embodying the spirit of the event.

“Soul of The City is more than a show–it’s a communal ritual where every voice, every story, and every spirit contributes to the tapestry of our City’s soul,” – Brenda Wong Aoki



San Francisco’s Master Storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki, San Francisco 3rd Poet Laureate devorah major, Asian Jazz Pioneer Mark Izu, New York composer Mas Koga, legendary percussionist Kenneth Nash, Natori koto master Shoko Hikage, Natori taiko master Jimi Nakagawa, and multi-instrumentalist Sara Sith-Amnuai.



Brenda Wong Aoki
Shoko Hikage
Mark Izu
Mas Koga
devorah major
Jimi Nakagawa
Kenneth Nash
Sara Sithi-Amnuai


About Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu

Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu are celebrated artists and co-founders of First Voice. Their work, renowned for its artistic depth and cultural resonance, spans decades and embraces a blend of traditional Asian and modern American art forms. Their contributions to music, theater, and cultural education continue to influence and inspire the Asian American arts community worldwide.






This event is ticketed by the Presidio Theatre Box Office.
Ticket prices are subject to change. The Presidio Theatre allows returns up to 48 hours in advance of a performance, as long as it is within 30 days of the purchase. Processing fees cannot be refunded. For more information, please see the theatre’s Return Policy.
If you need assistance with ticketing please contact us at or 415-960-3949.


Sat, Jun 1
Sun, Jun 2



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