The San Francisco Mime Troupe is now in its 51st year of bringing politically left street theater to Bay Area audiences - and they wrap-up this season's round of free outdoor shows next week-end in Walnut Creek.
Each summer brings a new musical comedy production - and each production is a scintillatingly witty and penetrating look at social and political issues in today's world.
I first saw the Mime Troupe in 1975 at San Francisco's Dolores Park when they performed Hotel Universe - a show about a popular struggle in The City to maintain affordable housing for the elderly. And since then I've seen more of their performances than I can remember.
Over the years the Mime Troupe has satirized everything from the Reagan Revolution, the war in Iraq, the loss of manufacturing in the US, the rise of the religious right - to this year's production of 2012 - The Musical. And don't be thrown by the word Mime. They use the word in its traditional sense meaning to mimic.
Each performance is accompanied by live music with original songs written by Mime Troupe personnel. And the music is always one of the highlights of the show, with jazzy arrangements and spot-on satirical lyrics. It's like attending an outdoor musical cabaret written and produced by Che Guevara. And it's as San Francisco as anything gets.
Their last three performances this year are all this week - so if you're in town and want to see a truly special phenomena that could only exist here - you still have time.