Another historic week is in the books — why not unwind with some of the Bay’s best cultural events? This week, local museums, comedy troupes and more are offering up everything from iconic opera to modern art, plus an array of other fun, festive, intriguing programs.
Take in thought-provoking artwork
This weekend, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and SF Artists Alumni (SFAA) present Three Turns, a juried exhibition of video works by SFAI alumni artists. The show’s 26 artists showcase creations rooted in the idea that engaging artworks provide viewers with three distinct entry points, which prompts a deeper exploration of the work itself. Archive pieces were selected by Margaret Tedesco and Leila Weefur, curators of the upcoming 150th-anniversary exhibition, Spirit of Disruption, and include Nao Bustamante’s Untitled #1 from the series Earth People 2507. Jurors include Christopher Coppola, Kathy Brew and Minoosh Zomorodinia. Each rotation of works will be looped each night of the series, and there will be brief programming that highlights the participating artists and jurors.
Friday, Jan. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 24, nightly at 7 p.m.
Revisit the roots of our current global crisis
The pandemic isn’t behind us just yet, but the Asian Art Museum’s latest feature invites viewers to reflect on its beginnings. The documentary 76 Days paints a raw and intimate portrait of the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. The filmmakers of the award-winning movie depict scenes from the frontlines of four hospitals and prompt audiences to take part in the heartbreak and resilience of patients and health care workers. The online screening marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the Wuhan lockdown and is accompanied by a discussion with the film’s director Hao Wu, executive producer Naja Pham Lockwood and museum director Barbara Bass Bakar, led by moderator Dr. Jay Xu, CEO of the Asian Art Museum.
Lose yourself in the classical stylings of pianist Samantha Cho
San Francisco’s Old First Concerts has been hosting shows since 1970, and their live stream performances aren’t to be missed. On Friday, pianist Samantha Cho takes on Claude Debussy’s Images” and Edvard Grieg’s Sonata in E minor, along with more obscure works by Germaine Tailleferre, the only female member of the iconic group of composers Les Six. Cho is a music instructor at Los Angeles Southwest College and has performed in Seattle’s Northwest Focus Live, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert in Chicago Cultural Center, Los Angeles Harbor College and more.
Friday, Jan. 22, 8 p.m.
Stream the sweet sounds of the swing era
If you’ve ever considered becoming a member of SFJAZZ, now is the time — the iconic institution is continuing its Fridays at Five series, and for just $5 a month (or $50 a year), you can enjoy a weekly series of pre-recorded concerts. This Friday, enjoy the September 2019 performance of Grammy Award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell. Russell has recorded seven albums and earned her Grammy for her contribution to the soundtrack for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. She’s also shared the stage with artists like David Bowie and Paul Simo,n and recently appeared onscreen and in the soundtrack to Bolden, director Dan Pritzker’s 2019 biopic about cornetist and jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden.
Friday, Jan. 22, 5-6 p.m.
Celebrate Asian American culture and laugh with some of the Bay’s best comics
Inspired by the blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians, “Crazy Funny Asians” is a virtual comedy show that’s sure to crack you up. Featuring some of the Bay Area’s top comedians, the streaming performance is hosted by K. Cheng of NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity and Khmers of Comedy. The lineup changes weekly, but this Friday’s crew includes Helen Chu, Natasha Collier, and Prateek Srivastava.
Friday, Jan. 22, 8 p.m.
Enjoy one of the City’s most historic operatic performances
SF Opera continues its series of free full-length streams of previously recorded performances with this weekend’s Samson and Delilah, starring Clifton Forbis and Olga Borodina. Considered Camille Saint-Saëns’ most popular opera, this production features set designs by Douglas Schmidt, colorful costumes by Carrie Robbins and dramatic lighting by Thomas J. Munn. This particular performance is a historic one too — the 2007 show was the first free simulcast by SFOPERA to the home of the Giants, with approximately 15,000 people in attendance. Patrick Summers conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and viewers can enjoy the two-hour French performance with English subtitles.
Saturday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Filoli’s rarely seen bonsais
Starting this weekend, Filoli Historic House and Garden will exhibit its extensive collection of more than 50 bonsai, including 100-year-old junipers and more unusual pomegranate and live oak bonsai, for the very first time. Filoli’s collection consists of large historic plants owned by the Bourn and Roth families, who once occupied the estate, as well as smaller plants donated after the Roth era. Visitors are invited to view juniper bonsai that still grow in glazed ceramic and rustic clay pots original to the Bourn period. The collection’s smaller plants include a 400-year-old black pine bonsai and a 100-year-old wisteria.
Now through Sunday, Feb. 28
Stock up on tons of post-holiday swag
Mission Bowling Club is hosting its monthly mini-mart, an indoor and outdoor shopping event that features local crafters and makers selling home décor, candles, plants, jewelry, tote bags, hoodies, tees and face masks. The event takes all COVID precautions seriously — keeping shoppers distanced and making sure the shopping area is limited to 20 percent capacity — but all the goodies are still up for grabs. Attendees can also pre-order dinner to take home from Chef Ikeisha Fields of Soul Skillet and pre-order takeaway cocktails, beer and wine.
Saturday, Jan. 23, 12–4 p.m.
Celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat with an urban tree tour
Sometimes called “New Year of the Trees,” Tu Bishvat is the Jewish holiday of ecological awareness and involves planting trees in celebration of the earth. To commemorate the day, JCCSF is hosting a free 45-minute self-guided Pacific Heights walking tree tour conceived by Mike Sullivan, author of The Trees of San Francisco and the “San Francisco Trees” blog. Guests will have the option to pick up a nature discovery kit featuring crafts, a scavenger hunt, snacks, poems, and more to get the most out of the experience.
Sunday, Jan. 24, 10 a.m.
Discuss one of Kenya’s most provocative activists
Join the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) for a special edition of the African Diaspora Film Club. This week, the group will be discussing the award-winning documentary Softie, a Kenyan documentary film about activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, that chronicles his provocative work as a photojournalist and path to running for political office. Mwangi will join writer and director Sam Soko for the discussion, and the donation-based event will be presented in partnership with Priority Africa Network. The film will not be screened during the program, so be sure to watch it on your own before the discussion (it’s available to screen here).
Sunday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m.–8 p.m.