With many of the usual festive touchstones of Independence Day canceled this year due to the coronavirus, this will feel like an atypical Fourth of July weekend around the Bay Area. Seizing the spirit of new: Might we suggest a few virtual events to entertain you?
Read on for our offbeat cultural picks of things to do this weekend. Who knows — perhaps you’ll incorporate virtual open mics, opera talks, sharks, dolphins and astronomy into your Fourth of July traditions from now on.
1. Engage in Bay Area spoken word.
Due to the coronavirus, Open Mic Thursdays continue virtually at the Museum of the African Diaspora. The next virtual open mic (online, on the first and third Thursdays during the museum’s closure) is this Thursday. Hosting is poet Nia McAllister.
The featured artist is 17-year-old poet and writer Samuel Getachew, the 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate and a 2020 National Youth Poet Laureate finalist.
Thursday, July 2, 6–8 p.m. on Zoom. Free. Interested speakers should sign up to perform; audience members don’t need to RSVP.
2. Discover lesser-known operas (and enjoy a tipple or two).
Baroque opera champion Ars Minerva presents the next in its online series “Cocktails & Chit-Chat.”
Paired with a refreshing Pink Lady cocktail recipe, the lecture “Opera From the Manuscript to the Stage” offers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of bringing an antique opera manuscript to life.
Founder and Artistic Executive Director Céline Ricci leads you through selected projects, including lesser-known operas like Antonia Bembo’s Ercole Amante and Chevalier Saint Georges’ L’Amant Anonyme.
Thursday, July 2, at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Suggested donation is $25.
3. Educate yourself on racism in the sciences.
“Science isn’t neutral.”
The event “Racism in Science,” part of the Exploratorium’s After Dark Online programming, delves into how science is embedded with racist and inequitable practices. Emerge with new knowledge of how racism has permeated the sciences and how the scientific process can further racist points of view.
Speakers are Dr. Duana Fullwiley, an anthropologist of science and medicine, and Udodiri R. Okwandu, a Harvard doctoral student of the history of science.
Thursday, July 2, at 7 p.m. Free on YouTube and Facebook.
4. Learn about sharks!
The California Academy of Sciences’ third and last panel for Oceans Week dives deep into all things sharks.
Three passionate speakers — social media shark sensation Jaida Elcock, marine conservation biologist Dr. David Shiffman, and Pacific Shark Research Center student Vicky Vásquez — will chat about shark-centric research, conservation and science. Viewers can ask questions.
Friday, July 3, at 10 a.m. on YouTube and Facebook. Free.
5. Soak up some moon magic.
If you consider yourself a selenophile, Friday is your lucky night — and not just because it’ll be a full moon.
The Chabot Space & Science Center presents “Moon Mash-Up,” a virtual lunar celebration packed with moon trivia, a close look at Chabot’s two real moon rocks, moon lore, lunar images from Chabot’s telescopes, and an astronomer Q&A. You can even construct your own moon rock at home. Sounds heavenly to us.
Friday, July 3, at 8 p.m. on Facebook Live. Free.
6. Witness a gem of jazz performances.
This week’s Fridays at Five online concert at SFJAZZ features a November 2014 performance of the late New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The concert — among Toussaint’s last — includes never-before-seen footage.
Friday, July 3, at 5 p.m. Digital memberships are $5 a month.
Watch here: sfjazz.org/fridaysatfive/
7. Depart the Bay for rural Tennessee.
As part of its shelter-in-place Opera Is ON programming, San Francisco Opera is regularly streaming performances online. Next is Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, a gripping spin on the biblical tale of Susanna and the Elders, set in New Hope Valley, Tennessee, and awash in Appalachian folk melodies.
Streaming Saturday, July 4, and Sunday, July 5. Free.
8. Realize the Catskills link to Jewish history and culture.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Sunday Stories programming delves into interesting facets of Jewish culture, history, art and ideas.
This week’s talk examines how film and television, from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to Dirty Dancing, have featured famous summer resort hotels in New York’s Catskill Mountains as “iconic symbols of mid-century Jewish life in America.”
Sunday, July 5, 10 a.m. on Facebook. Free.
9. Get dark and stormy at the opera.
San Francisco Opera delivers more content in Opera Aficionado, a virtual interactive lecture series. This week’s subject matter digs deep: “Rage, Revenge, and the Possibility of Redemption.
“Composers often use violence as a foil for the more attractive qualities of clemency and redemption,” programmers write. Learn about the passions behind characters like Handel’s Semele, Mozart’s Queen of the Night, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and John Adams’ Madame Mao.
Speaking is musicologist Laura Prichard.
Sunday, July 5, 1 p.m. on Zoom. $20.
10. Meet mighty marine superheroes.
Plunge into the waters off the California coast, without leaving your home. Extend your holiday weekend with a broadcast from Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center. This month’s educational presentation features “marine superheroes”: larger marine mammals that live off the California coast, including dolphins that have learned how to hunt on land.
Monday, July 6, at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live. Free.