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Barbara Koh

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Easter & Earth Day in San Francisco

Friday April 18, 2014

Easter basket

Photo by Jeffrey Coolidge/Photodisc.

This week is full of celebration and commemoration. Passover, which pays tribute to spring and freedom, continues through next Tuesday; the Jewish Community Center hosts a lunch seder and a party tomorrow. Starting Saturday, egg hunts and Easter Bunny clones erupt all over the Bay Area. Although most of the festivities are geared toward kids, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence includes a grown-up version with Hunky Jesus and Foxy Mary contests--see our Easter activities article for details.  If you want to multi-task your Easter, head to one of San Francisco's lavish Easter brunches, where you'll both eat and be entertained.

It's also time to honor our planet and Mother Nature. Civic Center on Saturday is the site of Earth Day SF, a festival of demos, entertainment and info on everything from electric cars to eco-fashions. That's just one of this month's many Earth Day events in the Bay Area. And Friday, April 18, is an earth-shattering date: the anniversary of the San Francisco 1906 quake.



Play in the Street

Friday April 11, 2014

Your mom probably told you to never play in the street. But she wasn't talking about San Francisco in 2014, where the streets are the place to be.  On Saturday, march in the street to the Mission, where you can ogle classic cars, dance and play games in honor of Cesar Chavez. On Saturday, Sunday and next weekend, Japantown's streets will be filled with the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. (See our April calendar for info on both street fairs).  And on Sunday, streets near City Hall and in the Tenderloin will be car-free and abuzz with everything from belly dancing to mural painting to dental screenings, thanks to the Sunday Streets program.  Time to go out and play!



San Francisco Baseball & Ballet

Thursday April 3, 2014


Special Giants game dates include April 9, when
Hunter Pence bobbleheads are to be handed out.
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Giants.

This is the week of three noteworthy openings.  The San Francisco Giants' 2014 season started Monday in Phoenix, and on April 8, the team will be back in town for its first home game at AT&T Park. Besides next Tuesday's the home opener, the season offers everything from giveaways of bats and bobbleheads to a tribute to Jackie Robinson. Check our round up of special spring Giant games for details.

At War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco Ballet is unveiling two programs, offered concurrently. Shostakovich Trilogy, by American Ballet Theatre's Alexei Ratmansky, is a high-energy piece that's demanding on the dancers and that's won plaudits from critics. A triple-bill opening on Friday night includes a Mark Morris ballet, The Rite of Spring and the world premiere of a ballet by SF Ballet artistic director Helgi Tomasson.

Beyond baseball and ballet, our April events calendar lists other action around town.

March's Grand Finale Events

Friday March 28, 2014

We're just days away from the end of the month, but don't write off March just yet. This weekend offers some rare events in the Bay Area, led by a talk Saturday evening by Martin Luther King III,  the eldest son of the civil rights icon (see our March calendar for details on King's talk, plus other activities).  A sextet from Ireland on its U.S. tour plays at the Plough and Stars on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon, there's storytelling by and about Irish in San Francisco--the closing events of the Crossroads Irish-American Festival, which pays tribute to March as Irish American Heritage Month.

Food & Films

Wednesday March 19, 2014


East Side Sushi was filmed in Oakland and features
a Bay Area director and cast. Photo courtesy of CAAMFest.

Food alert: The James Beard Foundation on Tuesday announced the finalists for its 2014 awards, informally known as the food Oscars, and Coqueta, State Bird Provisions, Manresa and Tartine are among the San Francisco Bay Area candidates on the list.  Our showing is respectable. but it pales in comparison to last year's--when we had one or more nominees in practically every nationwide category, and we went on to win several of the biggies. To the extent that the judges try to distribute the awards across the country and not show geographic bias, our 2013 wins may be working against us this year. See our story on the James Beard Award finalists for the low down.

Film alert: San Francisco is home to the country's biggest Asian American/Asian film fest, and the annual showcase ends Sunday. Check our preview of CAAMFest's second half--the schedule includes concerts, parties and several films made in the Bay Area (e.g., the feature East Side Sushi, starring a chef whose worries are more basic than whether or not she'll be nominated for a Beard award).

Pi & Patrick & Cindi & CAAM

Thursday March 13, 2014


Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada in SF Ballet's
Photo by Erik Tomasson

A formidable foursome is unleashing magic, entertainment, fun and splendor, along with eye-opening and brain-jogging experiences, in San Francisco this week.  CAAMFest (the former San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) opens tonight at the Castro Theatre, with the U.S. premiere of a romantic comedy that stars Vietnamese supermodels and San Jose native Kathy Uyen. From now through March 23, you can escape reality not only at CAAMFest but also at the War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Ballet performed the U.S. premiere of Cinderella last year, and the run sold out--so the company has brought the ballet back this season. Read our Cinderella review for a taste of the fantastical and humorous production.

Tomorrow's Pi Day pays homage to the infinite number at the core of so many high-school geometry lessons, and the epicenter of the international celebrations is the day's birthplace, our very own Exploratorium. Get the low down in our Pi Day article, and make the pilgrimage to Pier 15 for pi experiments and talks and pie, plus free admission all day.

St. Patrick's Day is Monday, but green-beer-fueled parties rev up tomorrow, too. Details are in our St. Patrick's Day guide, as well as info on this weekend's annual San Francisco parade and two-day festival in Dublin (in the East Bay, not Ireland), and Irish-themed concerts and shows in March.

Walk the Waterfront--& Other Weekend Things to Do

Thursday March 6, 2014

Sun Sts skatebd kid
Skateboarders of all sizes and ages come to Sunday Streets.
Photo by B. Koh

This Sunday is the day to turn your clock forward and take to the streets--at least along the Embarcadero. For the whole afternoon, more than 3 miles of prime waterfront real estate will be blocked to cars and turned over to pedestrians, bikers, roller-bladers and other non-motorized humans, in the first episode of the 2014 season of Sunday Streets. Read about all of the free fun and services in store in our Sunday Streets story. Also on this weekend: an unplugging party (c'mon, you can do it!), free entrance to a dozen museums if you're a member of any of them, and a cappella, food and puppetry extravaganzas, all listed in our March events calendar.

Early Georgia O'Keeffe at de Young Museum

Thursday February 20, 2014

OKeeffe Birch

Lake George with White Birch (1921), oil on
canvas. Private collection.
Photo: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

A playful cow, a starlit night inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night, a landscape exploding with verdant hues:  These were all captured on canvas by none other than Georgia O'Keeffe. As a new exhibit at the de Young shows, there was much more to O'Keeffe's long career than the Southwest. From the 1920s to early 1930s, she spent summers on Alfred Stieglitz's upstate New York farm, planting, hiking, harvesting and absorbing the nature around her. Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George includes her first zoomed-in flower painting, privately-held works  that haven't been shown since 1923 and intriguing representations of her relationship with husband, photographer and art promoter Stieglitz. Our O'Keeffe exhibit preview has more on the discoveries you'll see. What you won't are desolate deserts and sun-bleached cow skulls.


Catch the Last Night of Hamburg's Midsummer Dream

Thursday February 13, 2014

Hamburg Midsummer
Hélène Bouchet and Ivan Urban in
A Midsummer Night's Dream. 
Photo by Holger Badekow.

The Hamburg Ballet's Wednesday night performance in San Francisco of A Midsummer Night's Dream demonstrated once again artistic director John Neumeier's creative choreography and masterful interpretation of classic stories. Neumeier's rendition of Shakespeare's romantic comedy moved between two starkly different worlds, the bucolic existence of humans and a futuristic, eerie realm of androgynous fairies and elves. The mythical creatures were acrobatic and gymnastic, forming geometric shapes with their torsos and limbs, a band of craftsmen moved like a pinball machine, one man (Konstanctine Tselikov, as Thisbe) donned toe shoes and danced en pointe, and the production ended on a high, with a stunning pas de deux and lift. The ballet has aged well since its 1977 premiere.

Alexandr Trusch (as the playful Puck, inadvertently mismatching couples) and Helene Bouchet (as Titania/Hippolyta) were especially impressive on Wednesday. The action was non-stop, and at times during the hour-long first act, the stage was too busy (if you've forgotten the plot since your high school English class, read the synopsis in the program). Hamburg's touring ensemble, which includes more than 50 dancers, presents the ballet again tonight only and then moves on to Chicago.

San Francisco has also given standing ovations to other Neumeier ballets in recent years. San Francisco Ballet performed his psychologically wrenching The Little Mermaid in 2010 and 2011, and in 2013, his company's performances of Nijinsky sold out.

Hamburg Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Feb. 13, at 8 pm
At the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

Valentine's Day Restaurants, Gifts & Fun

Wednesday February 12, 2014


Erica Jasmin Cañas' Abstracting Sights
is one of the hearts designed to benefit
San Francisco General Hospital.
Photo courtesy of Heroes & Hearts.

Valentine's Day can be a minefield in many ways, and we're here to help you get through it. Got a date but no dinner plans? San Francisco has plenty of romantic restaurants, including ones run by couples.  Check our gift guide for edible and non-edible treasures, and our list of the best local chocolate manufacturers and chocolatiers.  You don't have to wait until Friday to celebrate, either--there's a cocktail party at the Ferry Building tonight, and a good-hearted lunch, blush-inducing confessions and a sex talk tomorrow. And on Valentine's Day, you don't need a date to have fun, as you'll see our Valentine's Day events article--and you'll find plenty of company, too.

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