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Arts & Culture in San Francisco

A guide to SF’s lively arts and culture world, including theaters, museums, galleries and performance spaces large and small.

San Francisco Opera Piano Sale
San Francisco Opera's piano sale is your chance to buy a grand piano used in "La Traviata" or other productions at War Memorial Opera House.

San Francisco Public Library Rewards 2014 Summer Reading
The San Francisco Public Library offers free book bags, San Francisco Giants tickets, museum passes and loads of entertainment during the summer of 2014. All you have to do is read.

Bastille Day in San Francisco
Bastille Day, France's National Day, is celebrated in San Francisco with French-accented concerts and parties before and on July 14, 2014.

San Francisco July Events
Get your arts-and-culture fix in San Francisco during July 2014 with Opera at the Ballpark and celebrations of jazz, Mozart, Jewish films and Frida Kahlo.

"Gorgeous": Beauty + Excess, Danger & Glamour in Asian Art Museum-SFMOMA Show
"Gorgeous," a joint exhibit by the Asian Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, features artworks that simultaneously attract and repel.

October Events in San Francisco
October in San Francisco is rich in arts and cultural events such as Litquake, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and SF Open Studios.

San Francisco Events in September
A guide to September 2013 arts and cultural events in the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco Opera in the Park, the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the library's Big Book Sale and the Autumn Moon Festival.

San Francisco Opera's "Show Boat" Soars
"Show Boat" by the San Francisco Opera is a soulful spectacle of drama, comedy, serious issues, solid voices and lush staging.

San Francisco June Events Calendar
June 2014 in San Francisco features arts and cultural festivals that highlight ethnic dance, jazz Italian culture, folk music, documentaries and LGBT films. Check this calendar for details.

San Francisco's Role in Blue Jasmine
Much of "Blue Jasmine," Woody Allen's latest film, is set and was shot in San Francisco, but it's a oddly generic San Francisco that actual Bay Area residents may not recognize.

San Francisco May Events Calendar
May in San Francisco is packed with cultural celebrations, including festivals focusing on Mexican, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latin American and Caribbean heritages.

SF Ballet's Farewell to Two of its Best Dancers
Two of San Francisco Ballet's best dancers, including the ballerinas' favorite partner, are retiring. Their May 2014 farewell performance was soulful and stunning.

San Francisco April Events Calendar
Films, ethnic and cultural festivals and arts fairs are among the special cultural events in April 2014 in the SF Bay Area.

San Francisco Events Calendar - February Activities in San Francisco
February 2014 in San Francisco is a culture fan's dream, with lots of indie music and film offerings.

Chinese New Year Festivities in San Francisco & the Bay Area
Stretching over a few weeks in Jan.-Feb. 2014, Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco's Chinatown and at museums and other institutions in the Bay Area are a fun and easy way to soak up some Chinese and Asian culture.

St. Patrick's Day in San Francisco
St. Patrick's Day and Irish-themed events in the San Francisco Bay Area in March 2014 include SF's annual parade, concerts, dance performances and literary events, plus a weekend festival in Dublin, CA.

San Francisco Ballet's 2014 Season - Giselle, Cinderella, World Premieres
San Francisco Ballet’s 2014 season, from late January until mid-May, includes Giselle, Cinderella and several world premieres.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2014
The 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival screens nearly 170 films, honors director Richard Linklater and others and includes live music and comedy.

Bay Area Highlights of the 2014 SF International Film Festival
The 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival has several offerings with Bay Area scenes, subjects and filmmakers, including James Franco, Bob Weir and the Bay Bridge.

Passover Seder in the San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area has many Passover seders open to the public. You don't have to know anything about Passover or be Jewish to attend. The seder service includes songs, symbolic foods and the story about the ancient Jews' journey to freedom.

Concerts, Bay Area Films Close CAAMFest 2014
CAAMFest 2014, the US' biggest Asian American film festival, closes with concerts, Bay Area films, and a profile of a Filipino pivotal to the United Farm Workers in the '60s.

March Arts & Culture in San Francisco - Dance, Music, Film Festivals & More
A guide to some of the best arts and culture events in March 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Bouquets to Art, festivals for a capella, Persian New Year, schoolkids' art and Asian films, a SF Opera costume sale and a day of free reciprocal museum admission for members .

CAAMFest: Former SF Asian American Film Festival Offers Films, Food, Music
Dozens of films from 20 countries are screened during CAAMFest (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival), March 13-23, 2014.

Magical Cinderella by San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet's "Cinderella" features dazzling staging by Broadway designers. Sold out in 2013, the ballet is being reprised in March 2014.

Georgia O’Keeffe at the de Young
Georgia O'Keeffe's early works from Lake George, NY, done before the painter moved to New Mexico, are in an exhibit at San Francisco's de Young museum.

New, Big & Bold: David Hockney Exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young
David Hockney, Britain’s most famous living artist, is a prolific experimenter and admired draftsman who has created everything from charcoal landscapes to iPad drawings to multi-screen videos. An exhibit at the de Young examines his career just since 1999—but contains nearly 400 works, making it the museum’s largest show ever.

The San Francisco Edwardian Ball
The annual Edwardian Ball is unlike any other parties in San Francisco, a cabaret/circus/burlesque-revue/costume-party with an edge of black humor.

San Francisco Art & Culture Offerings in January
Film noir, art from garbage, modernist art and design and a celebration of Edward Gorey are some of the SF Bay Area's cultural highlights in January 2014.

Nutcracker, Christmas Carol and Other Holiday Shows in San Francisco
The holidays are arts-and-culturally rich with Nutcracker, Messiah, A Christmas Carol and other seasonal productions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here's a guide to the many performances of traditional favorites, modern renditions and wholly new shows.

San Francisco December Events

Hanukkah in San Francisco
Celebrate Hanukkah and Jewish culture at menorah-lighting ceremonies, family-centric festivals and a meditation retreat in the San Francisco Bay Area.

November Events in San Francisco
Hip-hop, taiko and crafts festivals, a traditional Korean wedding and open houses hosted by San Francisco Opera, indie artists and YBCA are among the arts and culture highlights in San Francisco in November 2013.

Litquake: San Francisco's Free-Wheeling Literary Gabfest
Litquake turns San Francisco into a literary paradise in October 2013, with 800 writers reading and talking about their publications and their craft. They include Isabelle Allende, Andrew Sean Greer, Jane Smiley, Delia Ephron and Anne Perry.

Rare Cuban Ballet Photos at San Francisco Museum of Performance & Design
An exhibit of incredible, candid photos of Cuba's national ballet school marks the San Francisco's Museum of Performance & Design's opening in a new SoMa home in the summer of 2013. Given rare access, Bay Area photographer Rebekah Bowman captured the distinctive traits of the Havana school and its dancers.

San Francisco Fringe Festival Spotlights Indie Theater
The San Francisco Fringe Festival, the largest indie theater presentation in the Bay Area, stages dozens of productions including solo performances, comedy, tragedies, improv and musical reviews. The festival is Sept. 6-21, 2013.

Burning Man Photos
For the week around Labor Day, Burning Man attracts tens of thousands of people to the Nevada desert to practice radical self-expression, self-reliance and community. These photos by San Francisco photographer Geno Valle, a five-time "burner," capture the annual festival's other-worldly and mind-bending atmosphere.

San Francisco Chinatown's Moon Festival
San Francisco Chinatown celebrates the Autumn Moon Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival) on Sept. 14-15, 2013, with parades, a street fair, lion dances and the eating of moon cake. Of all of the traditional Chinese holidays, the Moon Festival is second in importance only to Chinese New Year.

Labor Day in San Francisco
A guide to San Francisco Bay Area events on Labor Day and during Labor Day weekend in 2013, including art festivals and free outdoor performances.

Free Summer Festivals, Events & Entertainment in San Francisco
Get your fill of all of the free things to do in San Francisco during the summer. Free dance lessons, concert series, Shakespeare in the Park, kids' entertainment and everything from ballet to circus shows are held outdoors in parks and squares.

Japanese and Buddhist Traditions, Food & Cultures
Japanese arts and crafts, cuisine and culture are presented at Japanese Buddhist temples in the SF Bay Area during the summer. That's Obon season, when temple members honor their ancestors and host celebrations that include traditional dancing, bazaars and lots of home-made Japanese food.

China's Terracotta Warriors Up Close in San Francisco
An exhibit in San Francisco of China's famous terracotta warriors brings you within two feet of these life-size, individualistic figures made of dirt more than 2000 years ago. You'll never get so close to these treasures as you will at the Asian Art Museum's show, which runs through May 27, 2013.

San Francisco International Film Festival
The 2013 San Francisco International Film Festival packs 160 films into two weeks. Here are some of the highlights.

San Francisco Stars in the SF International Film Festival
The 2013 San Francisco International Film Festival includes several selections with San Francisco Bay Area scenes, subjects and filmmakers.

China's Terracotta Warriors - Related Events
Accompanying the Asian Art Museum's exhibition of China's famous terracotta warriors are several talks and films that examine the history, archaeology and mysteries related to the warriors and the man who commissioned them, China's first emperor.

CAAMFest Brings Food, Music to San Francisco Asian American Film Fest
The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, newly renamed CAAMFest, features Asian food tastings, performances by Asian and Asian American musicians and other off-screen events during its second half, from March 20-24, 2013.

San Francisco Asian American Film Festival Adds Music, Food, Talks
Adding concerts, food tastings, discussions and exhibits to its 2013 film line-up, the three-decade-old San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival has renamed itself CAAMFest. It opens March 14 with "Linsanity," a insightful documentary about NBA sensation Jeremy Lin of Palo Alto.

Lights Turn San Francisco's Bay Bridge into World's Largest Light Sculpture
San Francisco's workhorse Bay Bridge, long overshadowed by the showier Golden Gate Bridge, is now the world's largest light sculpture, thanks to 25,000 LED lights.

Meet Real Americans
"The Real Americans" ventures outside our San Francisco Bay Area bubble to the red states, to meet what Sarah Palin termed "real Americans." Dan Hoyle's one-man show, at the Marsh Berkeley through April 6, 2013, relives his encounters with segregationists, creationists, birthers, fundamentalists, and other conservatives who are feisty, sympathetic, angry, generous and resilient.

Black History Month Events in San Francisco
Black History Month in February is observed in San Francisco with special exhibits, drama and music performances, a blood drive, discussions about everything from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Buffalo Soldiers to personal finance, and free-admission days at the Museum of the African Diaspora.

Nijinsky by Hamburg Ballet - Brilliant Portrayal of a Ballet Legend
The Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky is a brilliant and compelling tale of the dancer's complex and celebrated life, ballet career and inner torments.

San Francisco Ballet's 2013 Season - Cinderella, Nijinsky, World Premieres
San Francisco Ballet's 2013 season features story ballets about Cinderella and dance legend Nijinsky, world premieres and collaboration with European ballet companies.

San Francisco Makes Jazz History
San Francisco has the country's first free-standing building dedicated to jazz performance and teaching. The SFJAZZ Center also means that SFJAZZ, a nonprofit that has presented jazz in rented Bay Area venues for 30 years, finally has a permanent home of its own.

Dave Holland, Regina Carter, Fado & Poetry in Jazz Center's Programs
Dave Holland, Regina Carter, Portuguese fado singers & poetry are among the plentiful and varied offerings during the first season of San Francisco's new jazz institution. The SFJAZZ Center also hosts classes and family programs.

Chinese Calligraphy & Character Revealed at Asian Art Museum
A fall 2012 exhibit of Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang's calligraphy collection demystifies Chinese writing.

Moby Dick by San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera's "Moby-Dick" production is both powerful and accessible to those who haven't conquered the Herman Melville classic and those who are lukewarm about opera.

Central Market Arts Festival Showcases the Arts
The Central Market Arts Festival, a month of dance, concerts and arts performances, hopes to promote mid-Market Street as a lively arts district. San Francisco Trolley Dances is one of the festival's highlights.

Nights at San Francisco Museums
Nearly all of the San Francisco Bay Area's major museums host special museum nights of added programs, activities, and entertainment, which is included with museum admission.

San Francisco Reads About Utopia After 1906 Earthquake
Catch author talks, films and other events during the One City One Book program run by the San Francisco Public Library. The 2012 selected book is Rebecca Solnit's "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster," about the altruism and community that develop after the 1906 earthquake and other calamities.

Hispanic Heritage Month in San Francisco
A guide to Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in San Francisco (Sept. 15-Oct. 15, 2012), including special exhibits, films and lectures about the cultures of Americans of Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American ancestries.

Chinglish Review – David Henry Hwang's Play on American-Chinese ...
David Henry Hwang's newest play, Chinglish, is a clever comedy of American-Chinese miscommunication and misunderstanding about everything from business negotiations to sex. Chinglish is at the Berkeley Rep through October 2012.

Summer Reading in San Francisco - SF Public Library Offers Prizes, Entertainment
San Francisco Public Library's summer reading program in 2013 entices people to read and visit the library by offering rewards, raffle prizes, suggested reading lists and lots of non-bookish entertainment.

Art & Design Contests Seek Entries
Two art contests to support good causes

Asian Heritage Month in San Francisco
During May, Asian Heritage Month, a street fair, concerts, awards ceremonies and other events in San Francisco and the Bay Area showcase Asian- and Pacific-American peoples and cultures.

San Francisco International Film Festival - Week Two
A guide to the second half of the 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival, particularly films that have roots in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Francisco Ballet - Grand Mixed Bills in March 2012
San Francisco Ballet offers two programs simultaneously in late March 2012 which mix classical and contemporary choreography, showcase the company’s breadth, include world premieres and transport audiences to medieval Hungary, an American metropolis, an abstract world, imperial Japan and strange places.

San Francisco Asian Film Festival
The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival brings more than 100 films and videos from around the globe to the SF Bay Area, including documentaries, dramas, shorts and an interactive web series portraying dancing prisoners in the Philippines. The festival in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose is March 8-18, 2012.

Burning Man 2012 - How to Get Tickets
Burning Man 2012 has essentially sold out as of late February. If you can't live without the pilgrimage to the Nevada desert, here are ways you might score a ticket.

Free Museums, Free Museum Days & Free Museum Admission in San Francisco
Find out how to visit nearly all San Francisco museums for free. This comprehensive guide covers the free admission offers at Bay Area museums--including museums that are always free, that are free on designated days, and that have other deals for free admission.

Black History Month in San Francisco

Black History Month in February is observed with film screenings, dance and music performances, lectures, exhibitions and sing-a-longs. Here are some of the activities and events in San Francisco and the Bay Area inspired by black history.

San Francisco Ballet's Full-Spectrum Season
San Francisco Ballet's 2012 season showcases the company's verve and mastery of a full spectrum of dance styles. Included are the heart-wrenching Onegin, an all-Balanchine program, and four world premieres.

The Nutcracker's Guide to San Francisco
San Francisco Ballet, which has a unique historical connection to The Nutcracker, has made a cool interactive magazine that's a guide to San Francisco with tie-ins to the ballet.

November is for San Francisco Movie Buffs
November is film festival harvest month in the SF Bay Area, with so many film festivals that you could spend practically the entire month sitting in San Francisco movie theaters. There is a movie (or entire festival) for everyone, including, in 2011, the new BowWow Film Festival and the Napa Valley Film Festival.

Art in San Francisco - San Francisco Artists Open Their Studios
SF Open Studios offers the rare opportunity for the public to meet San Francisco artists in their studios, talk to them, and buy art directly from them. Each weekend of October focuses on the studios in different parts of San Francisco.

San Francisco Underground Theater
San Francisco has a strong and flourishing original theater scene. One venue with monthly comedy and independent shows is Stage Werx, which stages productions literally underground.

What You Need to Know About Burning Man
In the run up to Burning Man 2011, events in San Francisco offer last-minute tips to burners and examine the huge phenomenon and culture of Burning Man.

Free Things to Do in San Francisco - August
The last weekend in August 2011 is crammed with free concerts, festivals, entertainment and other free things to do.

Balenciaga & Spain exhibit at the de Young
"Balenciaga and Spain," the de Young's exhibit about the legendary Spanish couturier, shows that he was always inventing and drawing inspiration from his native country.

SF Asian Art Museum Showcases Bali Art and Culture
The first in-depth exhibit in the U.S. of Bali art is at the SF Asian Art Museum. The Bali exhibit shows how a blend of art, ceremony, performance and ritual is integrated into everyday life in Bali.

At the Exploratorium – Scott Weaver’s Amazing Toothpick Art
With just toothpicks and glue--and 3,000 spare hours over 34 years--Scott Weaver has created a ping-pong-ball labyrinth that's also a sculpture of San Francisco's skyline and icons. See how it works at the Exploratorium.

San Francisco Public Library Programs
The breadth and depth of the San Francisco Public Library's programs is impressive--and more so during the summer, when our brains tend to go on vacation.

Don Reed's "East 14th"
Don Reed's "East 14th" is a hilarious autobiographical retelling of Reed's adolescent years, living with his pimp father.

San Francisco Ballet's "The Little Mermaid"
San Francisco Ballet's "The Little Mermaid" is a visual and psychological tour de force. Ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan is a fluid mermaid whose heart-wrenching journey has audience members on the edge of their seats.

San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum
Contemporary Jewish Museum offers reduced admission temporarily, with three very distinct and interest exhibits.

SF International Film Festival – Films from 50 Countries in SF Film Festival
The SF International Film Festival screens more than 190 films from nearly 50 countries and offers talks, workshops and classes by leading filmmakers, awards ceremonies and lots of parties--all in two weeks.

Waste Not by Conceptual Artist Song Dong
Conceptual artist Song Dong’s "Waste Not" piece at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts takes mundane objects and turns them into a sprawling art installation.

San Francisco Asian Film Festival - 2011 Asian Film Festival Comes to San...
San Francisco Asian Film Festival - 2011 Asian Film Festival Comes to San Francisco

Understanding Modern Art - Free Art Lessons from YBCA
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is offering nine months of art and arts education for free, including free admission to its exhibits, films and performances.

Presidio Habitats - Installation Art Exhibit and Walk of Designer Habitats...
The unusual Presidio Habitats exhibit consists of art installations--habitats made by designers, artists and architects for gray foxes, bats, robins and other wildlife in the Presidio.

Storefront Art Wanted - Public Art to Improve Market Street
San Francisco’s successful Art in Storefronts program is seeking artists to beautify Market Street, which gives the artists one-of-a-kind visibility and aims to boost neighborhood morale and safety.

San Francisco's Legacy Bars & Restaurants
San Francisco is full of bars and restaurants that aren't exactly landmarks but are rich in history, culture and character. An architectural heritage organization is promoting them as legacies that ought to be preserved.

Three Heads Six Arms at San Francisco Civic Center
"Three Heads Six Arms" by internationally acclaimed artist Zhang Huan has made its world premiere in San Francisco. At San Francisco Civic Center through 2011, the display of the colossal copper sculpture is in honor of the 30th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Shanghai, Zhang's base, and San Francisco.

December Events in San Francisco
December in San Francisco is cold, but this is no time to hibernate. Plenty of arts and cultural events await.

Japan's Historic Diplomacy in San Francisco
This year is the 150th anniversary of the Japan's first diplomatic mission to the US. Timed for the historic anniversary, an Asian Art Museum exhibit focuses on the Japanese delegation that landed in San Francisco in 1860, subsequent emigrants from Japan, and the involvement of samurai and dolls in diplomacy.

Oakland Museum Reopens
The Oakland Museum of California celebrates its mostly-complete renovation and updating by staying open for 31 hours straight. It would be a sleepover, except that you may want to stay awake for the all-night fun and activities. PJs and slippers are welcome.

Catch the San Francisco International Film Festival before it wraps
The San Francisco International Film Festival honors some big Hollywood names as well as no-name documentary filmmakers.

Preview of the San Francisco International Film Festival
With more than 175 films from 46 countries crammed into two weeks in San Francisco, the San Francisco International Film Festival has something for every film buff.

San Francisco Ballet's Mixed Bills
San Francisco Ballet presents two mixed bills running concurrently, which include two world premieres and works by Tomasson, Wheeldon and Robbins.

San Francisco Library's Dog Show
A dog show at the San Francisco Library illustrates how often our best friend has appeared in literature, magazines and comic strips.

Korean Comics Exhibit
A Korean comics exhibit at the Main Library includes comics supporting and opposing government leaders as well as comics just for fun.

The Little Mermaid
San Francisco Ballet presents the US premiere of "The Little Mermaid," a full-length ballet based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fable. “The Little Mermaid” promises to be a visual stunner with unfamiliar movements and steps, powerful emotions and very grown-up themes.

28th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
The 2010 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival offers a wide-ranging 109 films and videos over 11 days. This is the 28th year of the festival dedicated to Asian and Asian American filmmaking.

SFMOMA Fundraising
SFMOMA fundraising has defied the odds: despite the Great Recession, in a short six months, SFMOMA has reached more than half of its capital campaign goal.

Cartier Jewelry Dazzles
Cartier jewelry is stunning, timeless and unsurpassed in artistry, craftsmanship and flexibility. This exclusive exhibit of Cartier jewelry owned by Americans will change how you look at any jewelry.

Museums in SF and the Bay Area
An alphabetical guide to museums in San Francisco, followed by some notable Bay Area museums, too.

Performing Arts: Drama, Dance, Music & More
A guide to theater, dance, drama and other live performances.

Movie & Film Guide
Check out a flick or an entire film festival.

Free & Discounted Museum Days
Most SF museums offer free or reduced admission on certain days or times.

San Francisco Mime Troupe - Posibilidad
The San Francisco Mime Troupe brings its free shows of loud, leftist satire to Bay Area parks every summer. Its 2010 season production, Posibilidad, has capitalism, workers' rights, strikes and outsourcing with tango, soccer rivalries, soap opera and puns.

Fifteen Famous Contemporary Authors and Writers - Maybe Overrated
Amy Tan and Sharon Olds are famous contemporary writers from San Francisco who have won lots of awards. Do they deserve the praise and the fame? A Huffington Post critic's list of the 15 most overrated American writers--which includes Tan and Olds--has ignited furious debate.

Famous Contemporary American Authors - Who's Overrated, Who's Not
Anis Shivani has published on Huffington Post his list of The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers. Who is on your list?

Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin Masterpieces in Orsay's Second Blockbuster Show
Merely weeks after dismantling an exhibit of the Musee d' Orsay’s Impressionist treasures, San Francisco’s M.H. de Young Museum has unveiled the...

San Francisco Reads Dave Eggers' Zeitoun
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, about the surreal accusations and discrimination against a Syrian-American father after Hurricane Katrina, is the 2010 choice for San Francisco’s One City One Book program.

Japanaese Ghost Stories
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco hosts a night of spooky Japanese ghost stories--about people who died with unpaid debts or unfulfilled obligations and are doomed to roam restlessly.

San Francisco Symphony's Centennial Season
SF Symphony turns 100 in 2011.

SFMOMA Parties Until It Closes June 2, 2013
Before it closes from June 3, 2013 until early 2016, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is throwing a free, four-day party featuring a 24-hour live variety show and a 24-hour screening of the unprecedented video "The Clock." SFMOMA will be undergoing an expansion that will double its exhibition space.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's History
Here's a timeline of major developments in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's nearly eight decades of history.

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