Museum Events: the New Nightlife
San Francisco has a lot to offer if you’re ever in the mood for a little high culture. The City’s plethora of museums and galleries offer not only visually, emotionally and intellectually stimulating exhibits, but a great dating alternative to bar-hopping.
Jazz It Up
The de Young Museum, whose critically acclaimed Picasso exhibit remains on display until October 10, offers special events every Friday night in September, under the umbrella title of Fiesta Fridays. Here’s a sampling.
Friday Sept 2 at 7pm in the Koret Auditorium: Film buffs might enjoy From Bunuel to Chocolat: Hollywood Highlights Spain and France. KRON 4’s Jahn Wahl hosts a multimedia presentation showcasing cinematic representations of Spanish and French culture. The event is free, but seating is limited. Tickets will be available at 6pm in front of the auditorium.
That same night, feel free to gather in Wilsey Court at 6:30pm to enjoy the musical stylings of La Gente. Led by San Francisco native Rafael Bustamante Sarria, La Gente is a musical collective that has created its own fusion of reggae, salsa, hip-hop, cumbia, and rock. Expect a high-energy dance party with politically and socially-charged lyrics and freestyles in English and Spanish.
The following Friday, September 9, return to Wilsey Court at 6:30pm and join the John Santos Sextet for a performance of Afro-Latin music. Santos has quite an impressive resume, having performed with musical legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and many others.
The Wilsey Court music marathon continues on Friday, Sept 16 at 6:30pm, when the Mads Tolling Quartet pays tribute to Jean-Luc Ponty, the great jazz violinist. That same evening, join artist Todd T. Brown at the opening reception for Inheritance, his multi-media exhibit which explores a contemporary interweave of human histories and the identification of self. 6PM in the Kimball Education Gallery. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. 750-3600. www.famsf.org
Thursday nights are a blast at the California Academy of Sciences, according to the Academy’s Helen Taylor, though Taylor tells us that the Thursday evening Night Life events are strictly for the 21 and older crowd. Nightlife events cost $12 ($10 for Academy members) and take place every Thursday from 6pm-10pm. Tickets are available at the door or online at: www.calacademy.org
On Thursday, Sept 1, get a nice buzz at the Academy’s delicious wine tasting throughout its African Hall. Tastings from a variety of Bay Area wineries will include a wine tasting and education presentation by Michael Donohue of Discover Wine and Spirits Academy (first come, first served seating).
September 8 is Gems Rock Nightlife. Join scientists and jewelers for a unique look at how humankind has been turning natural materials into tools, weapons and decorative objects over the millennia. Covet the rare finds in the Academy’s Gems and Mineral’s Vault, watch as members of the San Francisco Gems and Minerals Society demonstrate gem-cutting and jewelry-making techniques. Stunning examples of Native American Jewelry will be on display at the Academy’s Evolving Traditions exhibit.
September 15 is Extinction and Survival Nightlife. Worried about 2012? Come and ponder what it takes for a species to survive. Award winning choreographer Chris Black will debut Extinction Burst: a Dance of Lost Movement, a performance that will reanimate the movements of various lost species. Performance begins at 7:30pm and will move throughout the building. The evening also hosts a 16th birthday party for Claude, the albino alligator. His species was listed as endangered in 1967, but has since made a remarkable recovery.
September 22 is Prohibition Nightlife. Have a drink while seeing a clip from Ken Burns’ latest PBS documentary Prohibition, complete with a live commentary from the California Historical Society. Then waltz on over to the aquarium, where Veronica Klaus will spin records on a genuine 1920s Victrola!
September 29 is Treasure Island Nightlife. Enjoy special live performances by Jens Lekman and Geoffrey O’Connor in celebration of Treasure Island Music Festival. 55 Music Concourse Drive. 379-8000. www.calacademy.org
There’s yet more to choose from at Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, located in the heart of the City’s downtown district. The Center’s Maureen Dixon tells us that she’s particularly excited about The Big Art Group’s The People: San Francisco, which actually happens in front of Z Space (450 Florida) on Friday and Saturday, September 16 and 17, at 8pm.
Dixon describes The People: San Francisco as "a site-specific, outdoor extravaganza that combines live theatre with large-scale, real-time video projection. On both evenings, starting at 6pm, there will be a pre-show, no-host party with a beer garden at Coffee Bar, which is right across the street from Z Space at Mariposa and 17th streets."
The People: San Francisco’s narrative was constructed from interviews with members of the local San Francisco Bay Area community who voice their thoughts about democracy, war, terrorism and justice as it relates to their personal histories. Live theatrical reenactments have been intercut with earlier, taped interviews, and will be projected via large-scale video onto the side of a building where the live play and video will be viewed by the audience at street level.
Yerba Buena encourages art lovers to attend their Bay Area Now 6 Artist Series in September: On Thursday September 8, from 6-8pm, Mauricio Ancalmo convenes musicians and artists in a light/sound performance, who will collaborate spontaneously in an unrehearsed performance. The final outcome will be one of random light and sound.
On Thursday September 22, from 6-8pm, BAN6 Thursday Artist Series will present three local metal bands, Black Cobra, Walken and Hightower, who perform in honor of Ben Venom’s artwork. A DJ will spin records between sets. Both BAN6 events are included with regular gallery admission. 700 Mission St. at 3rd. 978-2787. www.ybca.org
A Modern Pickle
Head on over to the Contemporary Jewish Museum and learn how to make a traditional Jewish delicacy: pickles. On Thursday, September 8, from 6-8pm, the CJM’s popular after work Do It Yourself workshop Ritual Laboratory celebrates Autumn with its second annual picklefest. Participants will learn how to make their own pickles and be able to take them home in their own hand decorated-decorated containers.
Free with regular admission, which is $5 after 5pm. 736 Mission St. 655-7800. www.thecjm.org
At the recent LGBT Night Out at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, coinciding with First Thursdays celebrations, hundreds of visitors enjoyed seeing the popular exhibit The Steins Collect, while in the first floor event room, guests were served spicy cocktails and authentic frog’s legs among other tasty treats.
While that exhibit closes Sept 6, other fascinating works of modern art are on display from the museum’s permanent collection. Among the more unusual events, Sept 15, Adam Pendleton and Deerhoof’s Band will project audio and clips as well as perform live in a work that re-imagines Jean-Luc Godard’s film Sympathy for the Devil.
Open late each Thursday til 8:45pm, SF MOMA also adds regular parties and receptions to its fall schedule. 151 Third St. 357-4400. www.sfmoma.org