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Barbara Koh

Barbara\\\'s San Francisco Blog


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Vote Now in June Election

Wednesday May 28, 2014

The June 3, 2014 primary election is next Tuesday, but why wait when you can vote now?  City Hall welcomes voters every day through election day, on weekdays from 8 am until 5 pm and weekends (enter from Grove St.) from 10 am til 4 pm.

If you got a ballot mailed to you (yesterday was the last day to request one), and decide to send it back, do so early, because it has to be received by the elections department by Tuesday--postmarks of June 3 will not be accepted.  Or you could turn it in at City Hall (see hours above). Starting on Saturday, you hardly have to enter the domed building, because there'll be ballot drop-off stations at  the Goodlett Place and Grove Street entrances. On Tuesday, you can drop off your ballot at City Hall or any other polling place.

On June 3, of course, you can vote at your polling place (here's how to find it) or at City Hall from 7 am until 8 pm.

Lots of folks are seeking your vote, including Governor Jerry Brown and Rep. Nancy Pelosi and their challengers, three Davids vying for one state assembly seat, candidates running for the wide-open positions of California's secretary of state and treasurer, and proponents and opponents of additional height-limit measures on San Francisco's waterfront.

Memorial Day 2014 in San Francisco

Thursday May 22, 2014

Memorial Day Presidio

Memorial Day at the Presidio cemetery.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In town this long weekend? There are thousands of fellow Bay Areans ready to dance, march, play, pray. shop. explore and toss water with you.  Carnaval, a Burmese festival (that's where the water-tossing happens) and Memorial Day parades and ceremonies are just some of the next three days' worth of events in our Memorial Day 2014 guide.

On the topic of memorials, the most popular guy among the city's ballerinas is bidding adieu, and San Francisco Ballet held a recent tribute to him and another retiring dancer. "All the ballerinas are fighting to dance with [Damian Smith]," says Yuan Yuan Tan, whose partnership with him reflects unparalleled trust and soulfulness. Read what Smith says about being a great partner--which applies far beyond the stage or dance floor.

Best Places to Watch & Other Bay to Breakers Essentials

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Bay2Brkers picnic

Elaborate costumes are a Bay to Breakers tradition.
Photo courtesy of Bay to Breakers.

This weekend brings the 103rd happening of an only-in-San-Francisco phenomenon,  the costume ball/race/parade/Mardi-Gras-like Bay to Breakers. The annual spectacle on Sunday motivates  tens of thousands of people from the Bay Area to dart through the city--and for many, it's the only occasion all year that they'll run.  You can join them, or just cheer them on--see our 2014 Bay to Breakers guide for all you need to know.  Check our list of Bay to Breakers trivia and our B2B timeline for some facts that'll surprise you.

Celebrate Mother's Day All Week

Wednesday May 7, 2014

If your mom used to scold you for being late, now's your chance to prove her wrong: celebrate Mother's Day before Sunday, May 11. Take her to the San Francisco Decorator Showcase tonight, a flower show tomorrow, a concert on Friday, and lunch and a musical on Saturday, and you'll redeem yourself. Our Mother's Day guide has info on all of these and more, including, of course, the many things to do on Sunday.

Coi and Slanted Door are celebrating their food Oscar awards, which were announced this week. Read about who else in the San Francisco area won (and who didn't) in our run-down of the 2014 James Beard Awards.

Other attractions this week: Mayor Ed Lee talks about affordable housing tonight; Thursday is Bike to Work Day; cat videos on a big screen on Saturday. See our May calendar for details.

Books, Ballet & Big Screens

Thursday May 1, 2014

One of the exclusive items sold only on Saturday,
California Bookstore Day. Courtesy of California
Bookstore Day.

Whether you're an arts and culture maven or you just want to escape the heat, you're in luck: this weekend and next week offer lots of cool activities scheduled in air-conditioned comfort.

  • The San Francisco International Film Festival enters its second and final week with on-stage interviews with director Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Midnight) on Friday, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Traffic and Bay Area film critic David Thomson. You can also catch local color in Palo Alto (screening Saturday night), a Bob Weir documentary and many other films with Bay Area ties.
  • On Saturday, hit a bookstore (yes, they still exist) for author readings, book signings, contests and entertainment and a chance to scoop up some brand new, limited-edition books and artwork, sold only on California Bookstore Day. Dave Eggers and Lemony Snicket are among the featured authors.
  • Works by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Liam Scarlett presented by the San Francisco Ballet in two different programs that run through May 11.

What to See at the San Francisco Film Festival

Thursday April 24, 2014

Tonight is the start of two weeks of cinema paradise in San Francisco: 170 films from 55 countries, brought to us by the San Francisco International Film Festival. The opener, The Two Faces of January, is a "darker relative of The Talented Mr. Ripley,"  based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, says San Francisco Film Society executive director Noah Cowan. Interviews with Jeremy Irons, director Richard Linklater, a production designer and others will give insiders' views of the movie-making world, and there are parties and live performances, too-- see our film fest guide for the run down.

Palo Alto, SFIFF's centerpiece selection, is based on James Franco's short story collection of the same title. About troubled teens on the Peninsula, it's directed by Gia Coppola of the filmmaking dynasty and stars Franco, Emma Roberts and Jack Kilmer (Val's son). Check our article on SFIFF films starring the Bay Area for details on Palo Alto and several other cool features and documentaries.

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.

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