Love is in the air, and regardless of how you feel about Valentine’s Day (sweet day of romance or overrated Hallmark holiday?), this week offers plenty of activities and events to warm your heart. From livestreamed theatrical productions to virtual art exhibitions, the Bay Area is bursting at the seams with excellent entertainment to make you swoon.
Honor the memory of Black lives lost to AIDS
This month, the National AIDS Memorial is launching an AIDS Memorial Quilt virtual exhibition to honor Black lives lost to the disease with a specially curated selection of 56 blocks of the Quilt. Just in time to commemorate Black History Month, the virtual exhibition shares stories of hope, healing and remembrance and its launch coincided with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7. The exhibition is free to the public and can be viewed (along with all 48,000 panels of the quilt) through Mar. 31.
Through Mar. 31
Join a heart-filled celebration supporting frontline health care workers
The San Francisco General Hospital Foundation’s flagship event, Hearts in SF, is virtual and free to all viewers this year. Tune in at 5:45 p.m. to see the colorful collection of one-of-a-kind heart sculptures created for the event, then enjoy an uplifting program emceed by Renel Brooks-Moon and featuring appearances by Bob Weir, Santana and the Kim Nalley Band. Guests will be supporting the hospital’s frontline health care workers, as well as the vital programs at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
Thursday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m.
Register at sfghf.org.
Learn about a significant moment in Chilean history through film
San Francisco’s CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is screening the premiere of new films by Chilean artist, poet, and filmmaker Cecilia Vicuña, along with a conversation between the artist and Chilean American poet and translator Daniel Borzutzky. The three short films were created between 2018 and 2020, during the dramatic period leading up to the Estallido Social, the protest movement against the policies that ruled Chile since the military coup in 1973. One of the films also portrays the artist’s last live performance before the pandemic in Mexico City in February 2020.
Thursday, Feb. 11, 5 p.m.
Stream an iconic SF Opera performance of Mozart’s Così fan tutte
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, San Francisco Opera offers fans its 2013 presentation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the romantic comedy rooted in themes of jealousy, deception and the risks of falling in love. Former San Francisco Opera music director Nicola Luisotti conducts the ensemble featuring Ellie Dehn, Susannah Biller and Marco Vinco. Viewers can enjoy the nearly three-hour Italian opera with English subtitles.
Saturday, Feb. 13, 10 a.m.
Celebrate San Francisco Ballet’s digital season with brand-new shows
To kick off its 2021 digital season, SF Ballet is premiering Dwight Rhoden’s Let’s Begin at the End, a show based on “love, and connection and disconnection, discord, and harmony,” along with Colorforms, a new ballet from Myles Thatcher set in locations that include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Heroes Grove at Golden Gate Park, Yerba Buena Gardens and the stage of the War Memorial Opera House. Thatcher’s new work is set to Steve Reich’s Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings, and is directed for film by Ezra Hurwitz, with costume designs by Susan Roemer and lighting design by Jim French. Rounding out SF Ballet’s new offerings is Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet, featuring 11 pieces by 20th-century American “pops” composer Leroy Anderson. All three shows are part of SF Ballet’s Digital Program 2, streaming through Mar. 3.
Thursday, Feb. 11 through Wednesday, Mar. 3.
Enjoy even more opera with a night at the drive-in
Pay a visit to Fort Mason Flix drive-in and take in San Francisco Opera’s screenings of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. The 2009 production starring soprano Adrianne Pieczonka in her SF Opera debut as the title role will be shown twice on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 on the 40′ X 20′ LED screen for a limited capacity of 98 cars per showing. The two-hour production, based on the drama La Tosca by Victorien Sardou, explores the love affair (and major drama) that blossoms between two artists in Rome, a city on the brink of war.
Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Attend a virtual benefit concert celebrating Broadway
If you’re still looking for V-Day plans, consider making an appearance at a virtual event for a good cause. All You Need is Love: A Valentine Concert is produced by The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation, founded by the late Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet in memory of their sons, John Richmond and Doug Ermet, who both lost their lives to AIDS. The Valentine-themed concert benefits REAF’s Small Emergency Grants Program and features never-before-seen performance clips from past performers like Leslie Jordan, Jake Simpson, Bruce Vilanch and more.
Saturday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with an up close and personal peek at the parade float
Like most public events, the Chinese New Year Festival & Parade will look a little different this year, but the upside is that attendees will get to see the parade’s shimmering Southwest Airlines float up close for the first time ever. Starting Feb. 13, the massive float commemorating the Year of the Ox will be on display at Pier 27, Cruise Terminal Plaza, from noon to 8 p.m. for two weekends. Grab your mask and catch a glimpse before it’s gone.
Feb. 13–14 and Feb. 20–21, 12-8 p.m.
Send some Valentine’s Day love to cute canines
Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, you can feel the love this weekend by attending the East Bay SPCA’s Smooches for Pooches event at the organization’s Oakland and Dublin locations. The free drive-through extravaganza offers pet lovers the chance to send some physically distanced love to the animals and kids can leave with some candy and non-food treats, too. Visitors will also receive a fun activity book to take home and anyone looking to make a donation can do so at the event — funds will help support the organization’s Humane Education Programs.
Sunday, Feb. 14, noon to 2 p.m.
Enjoy a night of theater from home
The San Francisco Playhouse continues its series of free livestreams, otherwise known as Zoomlets, with Give Her God by Candrice Jones. Directed by Elizabeth Carter, the play centers on Nisha and Teen, two Black women bound by their friendship to Amber, who is dying of cancer. The two leads reckon with issues of racism as their friend loses her life. The Zoomlet series offers viewers a peek inside the process of how a director and actors work collaboratively to pull a production together.
Monday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.