As we wrap up the first month of 2021(!), it’s a relief to see some of the Bay Area’s best and brightest creators, innovators and thought leaders reimagining art in our new reality. This week offers plenty of stimulating experiences, from virtual lectures to immersive art experiences and more.
Spark your creativity with author Julia Cameron
Author Julia Cameron has inspired some of the world’s best-known creatives, from Elizabeth Gilbert and Alicia Keys to Pete Townsend and Martin Scorsese. Hear the renowned “Godmother of Creativity” talk with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Judy Collins as part of the Bay Area Book Festival’s Women Lit #Unbound series and get to know her views on art, life and listening. The event is part of the Bay Area Book Festival, presented in partnership with the San Francisco Chronicle.
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m.
Get the scoop on Mission Bay’s newest public art commission
This winter, artist Masako Miki will unveil her new public art commission — nine bronze sculptures in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. Join Miki and independent curator and writer Dr. Natasha Boas for a discussion about the new endeavor, which is part of Miki’s ongoing Shapeshifter series. Attendees will also get a sneak peek of the artist’s Berkeley studio as she prepares for her third solo exhibition, New Mythologies, with CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions. Friberg will facilitate a Q&A after the discussion as part of this event presented by 8-Bridges, the local gallery platform that unites the Bay Area’s art world.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 4 p.m.
Ring in the Year of the Ox
The Asian Art Museum is ready to officially usher in the Year of the Ox with stories of animals and beasts and a close examination of art pieces from the museum collection. Storytellers and docents will regale audiences with tales and fun facts, like how the rat became the first symbol of the zodiac and the role of the ox in Asian art. The whole family is invited to attend the festive virtual program to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m.
Animate your imagination with the third annual Night of Ideas
In-person collaboration may have been next to impossible over the last year, but the third annual Night of Ideas is aiming to close the distance between some of the Bay Area’s brightest thinkers and innovators. Hosted by KQED’s Mina Kim, the evening features a conversation with San Francisco Mayor London Breed, as well as programming from thought leaders like Mission Food Hub’s Roberto Hernandez, spoken word and multimedia artists like Tucker Nichols and original performances from Antoine Hunter and the Urban Jazz Dance Company, Destiny Arts and more. Captions and American Sign Language interpreters from Bay Area Communication Access will be available during the livestream event. Viewers will also have the chance to win prizes like a staycation weekend at Villa San Francisco.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m.
Experience a night of live music accompanying artwork
In collaboration with local art collective The Come Up, San José Made presents Soundscaping SJMA, an evening of awesome performances and artwork at the San José Museum of Art. The virtual event features eclectic sounds from local music creators Joy Dawn Hackett, Julia Bozzo (aka Planttvibes) and William Corduroy for new contexts for art viewing. The Come Up is a DIY art collective that creates experiences featuring local musicians and aims to cultivate a creative community within San José that encourages young artists to pursue their visions.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m.
Enjoy the operatic magic of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata
San Francisco Opera continues its free streaming series with a presentation of the 2014 production of Verdi’s La Traviata. Directed by John Copley with revival staging by Laurie Feldman, the cast is led by Nicole Cabell, winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, in the role of the courtesan Violetta Valéry. Richard Tucker Award-winning tenor Stephen Costello joins Cabell as Alfredo Germont, and the cast also features Vladimir Stoyanova, Daniel Montenegro, Dale Travis and more. This group of talented performers is an alternate cast from the one that performed in the July 5, 2014, ballpark simulcast, and the stunning vocals are sure to please any music lover’s ears. The opera is performed in Italian with English subtitles and has an approximate running time of 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Saturday, Jan. 30, through Sunday, Jan. 31. Free streams are viewable on-demand beginning at 10 a.m. through 11:59 pm the following day.
Learn the backstory of one of the Bay’s most famous murals
In her forthcoming book, librarian and archivist Wendy Van Wyck Good explores the world of sisters Margaret, Esther and Helen Bruton, famous California artists of the 1920s and ’30s. The trio were at the height of their careers when Timothy Pflueger selected them to create a mural for the Court of Pacifica at the Golden Gate International Exposition, and their 8,000-square-foot piece Peacemakers was the fair’s largest work of art and earned the sisters the biggest commission of the event. Hear Good provide a brief overview of the sisters’ lives and careers with a focus on their important contributions to the GGIE in this virtual lecture from the Treasure Island Museum.
Saturday, Jan. 30, 10:30 a.m.
Appreciate a whole new view on data in the modern age
The San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design presents the virtual exhibition Imagining Data, an in-depth look at how “data” has become a buzzword in recent years and how statistics have become something of an international obsession, specifically in the COVID era.
Guest curators Ginger Duggan and Judy Fox of c2-curatorsquared present a selection of artists from around the world who are showing what data can look like in paintings, drawings, sculpture, audio-visual installation, fashion and performance in four subject areas: natural/environmental conditions, personal biometrics, communal movement and randomized content.
Finally, get all the (real) facts on freedom of speech
Emerging from the reality of the last four years may have some of us questioning what reality really means when it comes to freedom of speech. Luckily, as part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Fact or Fiction” programming, we have Fact or Fiction: Disinformation and Freedom of Speech. The event unites leaders from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Berkeley Law and the Goldman School of Public Policy for a conversation on “the proliferation of disinformation in today’s public sphere and its intersection with freedom of speech issues.” Seems like a perfect time to brush up on those issues, no? Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (and former UC President) Janet Napolitano will moderate and join the discussion featuring deans Geeta Anand, Erwin Chemerinsky and Henry Brady. The free event is open to the public with advance registration and will be available to view on demand through May 1, 2021.
Sunday, Jan. 31, 2 p.m.
Find healing through this virtual dance performance
While it was originally scheduled for March 2020, this postponed dance experience is worth the wait. The Healer is a virtual dance performance that invites audiences to explore embracing a new purpose after months of isolation and distance. Choreographed by co-artistic director Katerina Wong in memory of her late aunt, The Healer explores the ancient history, systems and beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine to convey our universal ability to overcome physical and emotional suffering. The online event will include a pre-show class/presentation, a dance premiere filmed at ODC Theater and a post-show Q&A with artistic collaborators.
Friday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 30, at 5 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m.