Before getting swept up in the hurricane of holiday obligations and traditions, go do something just for the heck of it. San Francisco in November has a cornucopia of festivals, performances and shows to choose from.
Bay Area Science Festival
November 3, at 11 am-4 pm
Now that the Giants have won the World Series, all of AT&T Park is turned over to a giant science carnival with games, experiments, exhibits and shows by NASA, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, UCSF, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, high schools, SLAC, the Museum of Mathematics, Chevy Volt, the Exploratorium, corporations, and science clubs and associations. Let yourself be intrigued, dazzled and entertained by paleontology, life sciences, robotics, nanotechnology and things you’ve never dreamt of.
At AT&T Park. Free.
Potrero Hill History Night
November 3, at 5:30-9 pm
A 5:30 pm barbeque with live jazz music is followed at 7 pm by an interview with San Francisco Chronicle columnist Carl Nolte, who grew up on Potrero Hill, and a talk by a geologist about the mysterious Mission Creek.
At International Studies Academy (formerly Enola Maxwell School), 655 De Haro St. (& 18th), San Francisco. Food $2, $6; program free.
Hell’s Belles Annual Pinewood Derby
November 3, from 6 pm
The San Francisco all-gals classic car club holds a pinewood derby and silent auction of artwork with classic car culture themes. Prizes for race cars and show cars. Proceeds benefit the Bay Area Women's & Children's Center.
At 941 Geary Gallery, 941 Geary St., San Francisco 94109. Admission free; open to all ages. Doors open at 6 pm; races begin at 8 pm.
Museums on Us
November 3 & 4
The de Young, Legion of Honor, Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum), Contemporary Jewish Museum and Chabot Space & Science Center are free if you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card. (Psst, and the Asian Art Museum and Oakland Museum of California are free for everyone on Sunday).
At participating museums. Each B of A or Merrill Lynch cardholder receives one free general admission.
Dating for Nerds Party
November 4, at 4-7 pm
Meet other nerdy singles at a soiree with Morphology, Ultimate Werewolf, Scrabble, Wits & Wagers, and other board games, a "What board game am I?" trivia contest, drink specials and giveaways.
At Napper Tandy, 3200 24th St., San Francisco. Admission $30. Online registration required.
Election Night Party
November 6, at 6-11 pm
As you monitor the election returns, get a chair massage and be entertained by the youth performers of San Francisco Rock Project and Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company.
At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco 94103. Admission free; RSVPs requested.
The Haberdash: A Celebration of SF Men’s Fashion and Style
November 7, at 8-11 pm
Emceed by Broke Ass Stuart, this event promises a runway of the most attractive and sartorially interesting guys in the city. The fashion show is a fundraiser for Movember, the men’s health campaign focused on prostate and testicular cancer.
At Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco 94109. Tickets $30, 60.
November 9, at 7:30 PM
On stage, adults pull out their adolescent diaries, poems and letters to share their most embarrassing true tales from the past with complete strangers (i.e., you). You laugh, cringe, blush and shudder. Prize give-aways, plus freestyle satirical rap from The Freeze.
At DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., San Francisco 94103. Tickets $14, 21.
San Francisco Opera Community Open House
November 10, at 10:30 am–2:30 pm
If you think opera is fat ladies whose singing shatters wine glasses, come and get a close-up reality check. Watch demos of set-building, lighting and other production elements, see and hear singers belt out Tosca and Lohengrin arias, and catch Carmen for Families—The Movie!. Kids can make props and go on a scavenger hunt.
At War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco 94102. Free.
Red Bull Flugtag
November 10, from 1-4 pm
Brains, bravado, choreography and zaniness all count in this Flugtag (German for “flying day”) competition, in which humans attempt lift-off from a 30-foot high ramp before gravity sinks them into McCovey Cove. Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UC-Santa Cruz and San Francisco firefighters are represented among the 37 US teams whose homemade, human-powered flying contraptions have themes like slugs, Movember and tortilla chips. The international distance record is 229 feet, but the judges also rate showmanship.
At McCovey Cove. Gates open at 11 am. Free.
Journey to the End of the Night
November 10, at 7 pm
A mass manhunt/game of tag spanning 5-10 miles, in which you try to reach six checkpoints on foot and/or via public transportation without being caught by chasers. (If you are, you become a chaser). Use of cars, taxis, bikes or skates, etc., is not allowed. It ends in a party with prizes to the top finishers and best chasers. About 1,800 people played in last year’s San Francisco game, organizers say. This is the preview event of the Come Out and Play Festival & Exhibition starting Nov. 17 (see listing below).
Check in begins at 6 pm at Dolores Park, Dolores & 18th streets, San Francisco. Free, but $5-10 donations requested. Must register in advance online.
Light Up the Row
November 13, at 3-9 pm
Santana Row goes into holiday mode (already?!) with a 7 pm tree-lighting ceremony, singing by American Idol contestant and San Jose native DeAndre Brackensick (who grew up in San Jose), photos with Santa, dance and theater performances, carolers, the Cat in the Hat and games for kids.
At Santana Row, Stevens Creek Blvd. and Winchester Blvd., San Jose 95128. Free.
International Taiko Festival
November 16 at 8 pm; Nov. 17 at 2 pm & 8 pm
A Japanese drumming extravaganza that incorporates traditional and contemporary Japanese and American music, dance and martial arts movements, and special guest artists from Sacramento and Japan. Hosted by San Francisco Taiko Dojo.
At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., San Francisco. Tickets $25, 32, 38.
November 16 & 17 at 8 pm; Nov. 18 at 7 pm
Dancers Anna and the Annadroids try to escape a "clone zone" way of life in this show that's inspired by video games and Carl Jung's model of the multi-layered human psyche and that incorporates aerial stunts, dance, video and computer animation.
At Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., San Francisco 94110. Tickets $15, 20.
San Francisco International Hip Hop DanceFest
November 16 & 17 at 8 pm; Nov. 18 at 2 pm & 7 pm
Popping, locking, b-boy tricks and funky Gumby moves you’ll have to see to believe by professional hip hop dance companies from the Bay Area, London, New York, Philadelphia, LA and Norway. Guaranteed to energize.
At the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St., San Francisco. Tickets: $39.99, 75.
'Tis the Season for Science
November 16-January 6, 2013
A pair of live reindeer, snow falling indoors and a giant Snowman Theater are all in Cal Academy’s annual holiday exhibit, which reveals the reasons for seasons and the amazing and varied ways that animals survive the winter. Quiz shows and live music and dance performances, too.
At California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 94118. Admission: Free-$29.95.
Come Out and Play Festival & Exhibition
November 17-December 8, various dates
It’s all fun and games at this festival and exhibit, which encompass laser mazes, sports, puzzles, iPad apps, board games, proximity sensors and other devices. There are games at the exhibition, on weeknights, and during the weekend finale on Dec. 1-2. In “Shadoni,” players create songs with a live band. “Hearst Collection” is an in-gallery art heist game played in a laser maze. In “ThirdPerson OuterBody Labyrinth,” you rush through a maze as your video goggles project your image from a disembodied perspective. The idea is to get people into creative play and transcend their preconceptions about human interaction and public spaces.
At SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St., & other SoMa venues, San Francisco. Free.
Celebration of Craftswomen
November 24 & 25 and December 1 & 2, at 10 am-5 pm
Peruse accessories, jewelry, housewares, ceramics, pottery, bags and purses, furniture, bath and beauty items, glass pieces and art made by more than 300 juried artists at what’s said to be the only all-female crafts show in the US. Take a break in the knitting lounge or the film-screening room. Entertainment, homemade good, and a gift-wrapping station, too.
At Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco. Admission free-$12.
Another Hole in the Head
November 28-December 9
Devoted to horror, zombies, sci-fi, slashers and evil fantasy, this festival of 54 films opens with Forbidden Zone in Color, a musical set in an absurdist underworld ruled by a midget monarch, and closes with the 2012 German documentary Zero Killed, in which ordinary people act out their murder fantasies for the camera, as murderer or victim.
At various venues in San Francisco. Tickets $10, 12.
Dinner Party Projects
November 27 & 29; December 3
Celebrity chefs of San Francisco come together to cook in this dinner party series organized by the SF CHEFS folks. Part of the proceeds goes to the American Red Cross fund to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Nov. 27, Maximum Mina, at RN74: The Mina chefs switch places; Michael Mina creates something sweet, while pastry chef Lincoln Carson makes something savory. Nov. 29, Soulful Supper Club, at 1300 On Fillmore: Friends and chefs David Lawrence (of 1300 on Fillmore) and Hoss Zaré (of Zaré at Flytrap) collaborate on a multicultural meal, with pastry chef Emily Luchetti chiming in on dessert. Dec. 3, Mind Your SPQRs and AQs, at AQ: Matthew Accarrino (of SPQR) and Mark Liberman (of AQ) cook up a dinner full of innovation, daring flavors and seasonal influences.
At various restaurants in San Francisco. Tickets: $140 and up, and must be bought in advance; discount for Visa Signature cardholders. Ages 21+.