Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal
Oakland without Children’s Fairyland? The Blindspotting stars aren’t having it. The beloved amusement park announced this summer that, like so many other iconic Bay Area institutions, it had been eviscerated by the pandemic. It’s been fighting to reopen its doors ever since. The whimsical world served as a backdrop to Casal and Diggs’ childhoods in the East Bay, and upon hearing there was a possibility the park would never see visitors come through its shoe-shaped archway again, they swooped in with hopes to save the day. Coinciding with the park’s 70th anniversary last month, the longtime friends and collaborators hosted a Celebrity Storytime event to continue raising funds to secure Fairyland’s future. While Casal and Diggs have other big things going on — they’re in the midst of creating a Blindspotting spinoff series for Starz, it was announced last month — the homegrown heroes remain dedicated to giving Fairyland a happy ending.
Lozano is tacking on something big to her already multi-hyphenate title: Sundance Insititute’s Documentary Film Program director. In her new role starting this month, the industry leader, journalist and U.C. Berkeley lecturer will diversify and expand Sundance’s documentary programming, tapping her years of experience as a producer, director and editor on award–winning films such as The Interpreters, The Ballad of Fred Hersch and The Weather Underground. Lozano has long been a champion for emerging voices in the field, with a fierce dedication to justice and equity — which the storied film institution is ready for. “On the precipice of a new, undetermined era, it feels fitting and exciting to join the Sundance Institute right now,” Lozano says.
January 2021 — it just has an air of hope to it, right? The San Francisco Opera Center sure has something to look forward to with the Canadian pianist, conductor and educator joining its ranks as artistic director. Matheson, who succeeds Sheri Greenawald, is bolstered by Markus Beam, who will co-lead San Francisco Opera’s renowned programs in the new role of general manager. Matheson got her start at the Metropolitan Opera and has a track record for nurturing young opera singers and pianists’ talent throughout her career. It’s a passion she will no doubt be tapping in her new position overseeing young artists’ development throughout the company. “Carrie-Ann and Markus’ leadership will inspire generations of young artists, preparing them for careers on the world’s greatest stages,” says Matthew Shilvock, San Francisco Opera’s general director.
There’s a new boss at the San Francisco Chronicle, and he’s got an eye toward the future. Garcia-Ruiz, Washington Post’s former managing editor, succeeds Audrey Cooper as the newspaper’s editor in chief, with plans to expand the publication’s digital influence. “Emilio has an impressive track record of innovation and producing great journalism on all platforms,” said Hearst Newspapers President Jeff Johnson. “As we continue to develop our digital and video strategies, his experience and leadership will greatly benefit the Chronicle and the communities we serve.” Prior to his 20 years at the Post, Garcia-Ruiz worked at the Los Angeles Times, the
Orange County Register, Telemundo 64 and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He’s a native of Washington, D.C.
The highlight of a very strange September — year, even — was watching as the Oakland native became the youngest person ever to win an Emmy for her tender portrayal of Rue, a teenager battling addiction on HBO’s Euphoria. When the screen cut to 24-year-old Zendaya in a glittering Giorgio Armani gown, clutching her award for best lead actress in a drama series with her family cheering furiously in the background — and her father, Kazembe Ajamu Coleman, jumping with the kind of joy we haven’t seen in 2020 — it was hard not to get a little choked up. Zendaya beat out perennial actresses like Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Oh for the award, marking what many believe is a new age for Hollywood. “There is hope in the young people,” she said in her acceptance speech, as all of us at home attempted to catch our breath. “I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets — I see you, I admire you, I thank you.”