It’s a new dawn, a new day and a new month here in the Bay Area. Usher in the lovey-dovey vibes of February with some feel-good entertainment, including celebrations of independent film, lectures from some of the top cultural thought leaders, fun activities for the whole family and much more.
Support the film industry’s innovative independent makers
It’s that time again — SF Indie Fest is back. And while the programming may look a little different this year, event organizers have made a major effort to retain the independent film festival’s unique charm in its 23rd year. The event runs from Feb. 4 through Feb. 21, and interested cinephiles can check out 80 new independent films from around the Bay (and around the world) from the comfort of their own home. Programming will also include special events like the free screenwriters’ panel on Feb. 6 that includes thoughtful insight from this year’s SF IndieFest Screenplay Competition award-winners Sara Hallowell and Isabelle Barbier.
Thursday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 21
Stream the SF Symphony’s newest must-see content
There’s Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max … and now the San Francisco Symphony has officially gotten into the on-demand streaming game with its new membership-based service, SFSymphony+ (SFSymphony Plus). Launching on Feb. 4, the service features exclusive original digital content, including all-new SoundBox programs, returning for its seventh season and kicking off with the program Nostalgia, featuring works composed in the last decade, including Freya Waley-Cohen’s Conjure, Missy Mazzoli’s Vespers for Violin, and Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte. Curated by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Julia Bullock, Destiny Muhammad, Nico Muhly and Claire Chase.
Thursday, Feb. 4
Entertain and educate the little ones
While the San Mateo County History Museum is still closed to the public, its website is full of fun activities for kids to enjoy during Free First Fridays. Starting at 10 a.m., site visitors can enjoy the online “Playing in the Past Preschool Activity Hour,” featuring 60 minutes of crafting, exploring and storytelling. On Feb. 5, kids will learn about the traditions of the Lunar New Year with the story Year of the Ox: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac.
Friday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m.
Explore the inside world of a local artist
On Feb. 5, the New Museum of Los Gatos presents In the Artist’s Studio: Featuring Tony May, opening in the Michael and Alyce Parsons reception area. The exhibition offers a glimpse of May’s interior world and his highly interactive creative process. Visitors are invited to follow May on his journey creating the site-specific installation for the San Jose Museum of Art titled, Variable Book Construction (Bookmobile), (1991-1995). The exhibit features behind-the-scenes photos of May’s T. House, workspace and drafting table, as well as a few of the artist’s select tools.
Friday, Feb. 5 through Sunday, May 9
Hear the story behind these award-winning authors’ newest story
Authors Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, the Newberry Award-winning duo behind Last Stop on Market Street, return to the San Francisco Public Library for a lively discussion about their new work with Sheryl Evans Davis, executive director of the Human Rights Commission. Their new book Milo Imagines the World, written by de la Peña and illustrated by Robinson, will be available in February 2021 and reflects Robinson’s childhood, growing up with an incarcerated parent.
Friday, Feb. 5, 2 p.m.
Indulge in the sweet sounds of SF Opera’s latest livestream
San Francisco Opera’s schedule of free livestreams continues this weekend with Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, in a co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Grand Théâtre de Genève. Performed at the War Memorial Opera House, David Slater collaborated with production designer Robert Innes Hopkins and lighting designer Simon Mills to achieve this particular vision of the romantic work. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich makes his role debut as the titular mysterious knight and soprano Camilla Nylund takes on the role of his bride, Elsa von Brabant, in her first appearance with the company. Performed in German with English subtitles, Lohengrin has an approximate running time of 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.
Head to the drive-in for movie night
Hey, remember movie theaters? Until we’re all ready to go back to matinees and midnight showings at the cinema, Fort Mason Flix is here to scratch that itch for public film screenings. While much of the February lineup is already sold out, you can still grab tickets to Melina Matsoukas’ feature-length debut, Queen and Slim, starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya. The movie explores what happens when the title characters’ first date goes awry following a traffic stop in the context of America’s fraught history of policing. The screenplay by Lena Waithe finds the protagonists exploring their developing identities while falling in love on the run.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.
Find out what happened before “Fiddler” took Broadway by storm
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is kicking off 2021 with three world premiere livestreamed performances in partnership with Hershey Felder Presents. Starting things off is the February 7 presentation of Hershey Felder as Sholem Aleichem in Before Fiddler. The show looks at Aleichem’s life decades before the beloved musical “Fiddler on the Roof and focuses on Aleichem publishing his first story, Tsvey Shteyner (Two Stones), and earning the reputation of the “Jewish Mark Twain.” The production will be livestreamed from Florence, Italy, and will feature the world-famous Klezmerata Fiorentina quartet consisting of violinist and violist Igor Polesitsky, clarinetist Riccardo Crocilla, accordionist and bassoonist Francesco Furlanich and double bass player Riccardo Donati.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 5 p.m.
Learn about the history of LGBTQ love in modern opera
Celebrate Valentine’s Day a bit early with a special edition of Opera Aficionado, a new suite of programs designed for the extra passionate SF Opera patron. The February 7 edition of the interactive lecture series focuses on “LGBTQ Love in 21st Century Opera.” Speaker Albert Montañez will offer music lovers an insightful perspective on the topic and invites conversation and open dialogue during the 75-minute Zoom discussion.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 1 p.m.
Explore classic Greek drama like never before
In its free series of livestreams known as Zoomlets, the San Francisco Playhouse brings audiences the pinnacle of classical Greek drama: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Directed by Carey Perloff and featuring Steven Anthony Jones and John Douglas Thompson, the play examines the story of Oedipus, who, in attempting to flee from his fate, rushes headlong to meet it. The production is known for its tight construction and high drama, so prepare for an intense journey.
Monday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.