Amid even more strife 2020 apparently has to offer, Bay Area cultural organizations are here to help comfort, distract, dazzle and educate you through it. This week’s curated roundup of things to do includes costume design and cocktails, Caribbean art and cultural presentations, a live theatrical performance, not one but two opera events, and more.
Check out the full list of virtual events below.
1. Listen to a very meta new podcast about a theater in the pandemic — by a theatre in the pandemic.
Launching this week is In Good Company, a new podcast from San Francisco LGBTQI performing arts institution New Conservatory Theatre Center. And it’s got quite a self-referential concept.
The description for this “new podcast for when life goes off-script” sounds like it could be a documentary: it chronicles a small LGBTQ+ theatre staying afloat in a pandemic.
All 10 episodes are now available to stream on major podcasting platforms, including Apple and Spotify. Free.
Listen here: nctcsf.org/In-Good-Company-Podcast
2. Learn about San Francisco women in America’s first suffrage march.
Did you know that San Francisco activism was pivotal in America’s first suffrage march? The San Francisco Public Library is here to fill you in on the details.
The library invites Evelyn Rose, director of the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project, to delve into what historians believe was the first American suffrage march in 1908. San Francisco women from the California Equal Suffrage Association played a key part. Rose will also discuss about how textiles helped raise awareness.
Thursday, Aug. 27, 6 p.m. on Zoom and YouTube. Free.
3. Unwind with costumes and cocktails.
Baroque opera nonprofit Ars Minerva pulls back the curtain on the world of costume and craft with a chat with prominent costume designer Matthew Nash. It’s the latest in their Cocktails & Chit-Chat series.
Mix up your favorite vodka-based tipple and settle in to hear about the artform with Nash. He’s an apt guide, as Ars Minerva costume designer and the senior pattern-maker for San Francisco Opera for 29 years.
Thursday, Aug. 27, 6 p.m. on Zoom. Suggested donation $25.
4. Get some air with the Exploratorium.
Between hundreds of wildfires, the coronavirus, a nervous election season and possible asteroid sighting, it’s not an easy time to “just breathe.” However, the latest After Dark event with the Exploratorium compels you to do just that. The evening’s focus is on the human breath. Experts and transporting sound compositions help expand on this topic.
“Bringing attention to your breath can restore health while cultivating calm and empathy,” Exploratorium organizers write. Also: Did you know that human breathing has changed over time?
Thursday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m. on YouTube and Facebook. Free.
5. Hear from actor Tatyana Ali.
Actor and singer Tatyana Ali, of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame, stops by for a chat with MoAD. Speaking with “Conversations Across the Diaspora” series host and author Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Ali is the latest to bring another perspective to the African Diaspora.
Friday, Aug. 28, noon on Zoom. Pay what you can.
6. Celebrate and support Wayne Shorter.
Saxophone titan and composer Wayne Shorter was set to perform at SFJAZZ in January 2019. However, health complications barred him from travel. Instead, Herbie Hancock organized an all-star roundup of jazz stars to take the stage, performing Shorter’s works.
Watch Part 4 this Friday, with Joshua Redman, Ambrose Akinmusire, Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade. All tip jar proceeds will go toward Shorter’s health recovery.
Friday, Aug. 28, 5 p.m. Digital memberships are $5 a month.
Watch here: sfjazz.org/fridaysatfive/
7. Watch (and then discuss) the play White Nights, Black Paradise
The Museum of the African Diaspora presents a virtual performance of White Nights, Black Paradise, The Play, by Sikivu Hutchinson. It centers on the African American legacy of Peoples Temple and Jonestown.
The performance is followed by a community discussion with Hutchinson, journalist and author Wanda Sabir, and Dr. James L. Taylor, expert on the Peoples Temple Movement and African American political history in California.
Saturday, Aug. 29, noon on Zoom. Pay what you can.
8. Celebrate resilience with art and performances by CubaCaribe.
CubaCaribe — a dance, music and visual arts organization promoting the traditions of the Caribbean and its Diaspora — continues to entertain during quarantine. This weekend brings a dynamic lineup of talks, classes, performances, collaborations and more to its online programming. The series, launched for the pandemic, is called “The Power of Resiliency.”
Catch a spirited evening of virtual and live collaborations inviting artists from around the Bay Area.
Saturday, Aug. 29, 6 p.m. on Zoom. Donations encouraged.
9. Get up to speed on women in opera — from women in opera.
San Francisco Opera’s weekly Opera Aficionado lecture series is especially compelling this week: a panel representing many roles and professions in the world of opera takes the virtual stage.
Speaking are SF Opera Master of Properties Lori Harrison, composer Nkeiru Okoye, Opera Parallèle Artistic Director and Conductor Nicole Paiement, Seattle Opera General Director Christina Scheppelmann and soprano Breanna Sinclairé.
Aria Umezawa, stage director and former Adler Fellow, hosts.
Sunday, Aug. 30, 1 p.m. on Zoom. $20.
10. Enjoy song, dance and celebration with Opera San José’s Resident Artists Showcase.
Opera San José’s annual Resident Artist Showcase lives on in the virtual realm this year. Gather online for a livestream broadcast of the event, featuring the opera’s newest Resident Artists.
Despite the pandemic stunting arts programs everywhere, these Resident Artists will continue to create, sheltering and performing together for the months to come, says OSJ General Director Khori Dastoor. “These artists will, in fact, have more opportunities to perform than ever before,” she says.
Sunday, Aug. 30, 1 p.m. on Facebook, YouTube and online. Free.