It’s still smart and necessary to lay low and stay safe around the Bay Area, no matter how sublime the weather. Let our roundup of virtual happenings popping up in the art and culture world transport you, stimulate your mind and lift your spirits.
Below, find virtual concerts, an online drag show, comedy, Disney magic and more. Learn about the legacies of amazing women, from Zheng Cao to Shirley Chisholm.
1. Pay tribute to Zheng Cao in a livestream Merola Endowment Benefit concert.
The passing of celebrated mezzo-soprano and San Francisco Opera favorite Zheng Cao inspired an annual tribute at Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard in Livermore, falling on her birthday. At the heart is a fund for scholarships for emerging artists in the Merola Opera Program.
This year the festivities are virtual. The livestream features musical performances and remembrances by such icons as Amy Tan, mezzo-sopranos Catherine Cook and Kristen Choi and composer Jake Heggie.
Thursday, July 9, at 6 p.m. on YouTube. Free.
2. Float over to Gibraltar with the expressive Elie Massias.
RadioCJM, from the Contemporary Jewish Museum, presents a Zoom concert by jazz and world music artist Elie Massias. The renowned guitarist’s performance promises to “evoke the vistas and musical influences of Massias’ birthplace of Gibraltar, his Sephardic ancestry, jazz, flamenco guitar and more.”
Tasty bonus: Massias shares a simmered cod recipe you can cook while listening.
Friday, July 10, at noon on Zoom. Free (advanced registration required).
3. Glance back at two decades of SFFILM in a goodbye happy hour.
Changes afoot at SFFILM aren’t just coronavirus related (such as SFFILM At Home programming): Rachel Rosen, director of programming for 20 years, is departing the organization. As a celebratory send-off, programmers invite you to take a virtual walk with Rachel down filmmaking memory lane through cherished SFFILM moments. Expect questions from staff and audience alike at this informal happy hour.
Friday, July 10, at 5 p.m. online. Free.
4. Grab a helping of (John Scofield &) Lettuce.
If you have yet to pepper your Friday evenings with jazz, it’s never too late to explore SFJAZZ’s Fridays at Five series, amped up with behind-the-scenes content.
This week’s program presents a March 2019 performance of jazz guitar titan John Scofield and “all-star funk juggernaut” Lettuce. Their bridge is their love of soul — not a bad start to the weekend.
Friday, July 10, at 5 p.m. Digital memberships are $5 a month.
Watch here: sfjazz.org/fridaysatfive/
5. Attend a drag show!
San Francisco will never be the same now that beloved gay bar The Stud has shuttered in the wake of the coronavirus. Cue a glimmer of hope — “SF’s oldest queer bar joins the 21st Century” — with a virtual drag show, “Drag Alive,” hosted by VivvyAnne ForeverMORE and Jillian Gnarling.
Featuring “the best of SF drag and some broads from abroad,” it streams on Twitch every Saturday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
6. Keep Bay Area comedy alive with “Black Laughs Matter.”
Every Saturday evening brings the San Francisco virtual comedy show “Black Laughs Matter.” It’s a chance to support Black comics amid a muted comedy scene in the era of coronavirus. There’s also a chance to hang out after the show.
Hosting is Berkeley native Chris Riggins, who’s opened for Dave Chapelle, Wu-Tang Clan and Mos Def.
Saturday, July 11, at 8 p.m. on Zoom. Free (but donations to @hellafunny on Venmo are appreciated).
7. Learn about your favorite Disney films.
Dip into Disney history with an illuminating chat with Oscar nominee Sergio Pablos, part of the Walt Disney Family Museum’s Happily Ever After Hours webinar series. Pablos brings behind-the-scenes tales from the making of Disney gems Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Despicable Me and more.
Come with questions.
Saturday, July 11, at 11 a.m. on Zoom. Free.
8. LOL with SF Opera.
Opera is a realm for potent tragedy and heartbreak, but any true opera aficionado knows there’s also plenty of mirth and humor. Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna elucidates this in “Opera for Laughs: Great Comic Moments in the World of Opera.”
Cranna hones in on how composers give comedy its spark with many video examples.
Sunday, July 12, at 1 p.m. on Zoom. $20.
9. Sink into a Soulful Sunday.
In lieu of an in-person Stern Grove Festival, organizers embrace something a little different in its 83-year history. They’re releasing archival footage of past performances, centered around weekly themes.
This Sunday presents all things soul with “Soulful Sunday,” a curated playlist of great concerts past. Watch on KPIX-TV/Channel 5 with host Liam Mayclem — the festival’s website, Facebook and YouTube promise extended content.
Tune in Sunday, July 12, at 4:30 p.m.
10. Learn about Shirley Chisholm’s historic run — and life.
Museum of the African Diaspora’s film club delves this month into the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm. Through the lens of the Peabody Award–winning documentary Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed by Shola Lynch, the discussion centers on this first Black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek the presidential nomination.
Moderator is Cornelius Moore, co-director of California Newsreel and MoAD’s film series curator.
Sunday, July 12, at 5 p.m. on Zoom. Free.
Info on attending and watching the film beforehand: moadsf.org/event/african-diaspora-film-club-chisolm-72/?instance_id=15719