Spring has sprung and life in the Bay Area is feeling a little sunnier and more hopeful — thanks in no small part to a steady stream of ongoing events and celebrations. This week, embrace a great selection of virtual fundraisers, film festivals, cooking classes, and much more.
Commemorate 26 years of the Red Cross Gala
The 26th annual Red Cross Gala is going virtual this year and is free and open to the public. Co-chaired by Meredith Kendall Maines and Lillian Phan Pickering, the much anticipated event raises funds for Red Cross programs throughout the Bay Area and this year’s festivities will honor the Clorox Company and Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold for their philanthropic work.
Wednesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Learn about two legendary feminist artists
Political artists Frida Kahlo and Kathe Kollwitz, aka the Guerilla Girls, celebrate their new book, Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly. In the virtual panel discussion presented by the San Francisco Public Library in partnership with Chronicle Books, Kahlo and Kollwitz discuss the book and their three decades of work exposing gender biases and discrimination in art and culture.
Wednesday, March 24, 7 p.m.
Celebrate international indie filmmakers
The Sonoma International Live and Virtual Film Festival (SIFF), returns with a five-day experience that’s totally clickable (and walkable for those attending IRL screenings). The nonprofit is dedicated to promoting the best in international independent film and this year’s roster features more than 100 films from 40-plus countries. Attendees can expect over 20 premieres, as well as virtual wine tastings, online cooking demos, and filmmaker Q&As. The opening night film is Six Minutes to Midnight, starring Dame Judi Dench, and the festival concludes with The Comeback Trail, starring Robert DeNiro and Tommy Lee Jones.
March 24 through March 28
Find out how Wagner wound up in an iconic Looney Tunes short
SF Opera’s Ring Festival forges ahead with What’s Opera, Doc?, a panel discussion exploring the intersection of opera and animation. The live event will feature Craig Kausen, chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity (and Jones’ grandson). Confused by the connection between Wagner and cartoons? It turns out Jones directed a very Wagner-centric 1957 Bugs Bunny classic. San Francisco Opera Guild program manager John C. Morris, who performed the voice of Andy in the Toy Story films, will moderate the discussion, which will also feature Pixar’s chief creative officer, Pete Docter.
Friday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
Enjoy a piano performance from Russian artist Alexander Sinchuk
The Steinway Society welcomes Russian pianist Alexander Sinchuk as the latest artist to be featured in the Bay Area’s Home Concert Hall virtual series. Sinchuk was scheduled for a live, in-person Steinway Society appearance last March, so this recorded concert is the postponed performance fans have been waiting for. To start things off, Sinchuk will give a short talk about his choice of pieces and discuss how he’s navigated the past year as a performer. Viewers will also have access to a recorded pre-concert lecture by Bay Area classical music expert Dr. Gary Lemco.
Friday, March 26–Monday, March 29
Hear from a trailblazing Black opera star
Another SF Opera Ring Festival feature to be aware of is Breaking Barriers At Bayreuth. The virtual discussion will feature Grace Bumbry, the first Black singer to perform at Wagner’s Bayreuth Festiva 60 years ago. Bumbry will join baritone Keith Overton, associate producer of the upcoming documentary Black Opera, to reflect on the experience and delve into details of the hostile reception she initially faced from local opera goers and even protesters.
Friday, March 26, 11 a.m.
Gather ingredients for a Passover feast
Prepare for Pesach with the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Passover Food Remix, a free online program featuring new and creative interpretations of culinary classics. Featuring Kristin Eriko Posner and Faye Chao Sofaer, the presentation will include demonstrations of holiday recipes that merge many cultural traditions. A few dishes to look forward to: Posner’s Ashkenazi-Japanese recipe for Japanese kamaboko (fish cake)–inspired gefilte fish, and Sofaer’s Mizrahi-Chinese halek recipe.
Thursday, March 25, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Learn about a Jewish folklore staple
Another way to celebrate the start of Passover is with the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s modern take on an ancient story. In Golem v. Golem, artist Julie Weitz has created a social media series that aligns pieces of the Passover story with our present reality. The exhibit is one part of Weitz’s ongoing My Golem project created in response to anti-Semitism in America. An eight-part episodic video series, Golem v. Golem explores the character of Golem and integrates themes of Passover.
Sunday, March 28–Sunday, April 4
Entertain the kids with some arts and culture
Looking for a fun way to entertain the young ones this spring break? San Francisco Opera’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Community has got you covered with Spring in Opera Land. Meet Bearitone, the Opera Bear puppet. In two musical workshops, he’ll teach kids songs, play games, and relay a chapter from the storybook series The Bearitone Tales. The first workshop, Picture Time with Opera Bear, will encourage kids in grades Pre-K through 3 to illustrate the images they think of when listening to a beautiful song.
Saturday, March. 27, 11 a.m.
Take in one of Dylan Thomas’ best known works
Mountain View’s Pear Theatre presents Under Milk Wood, the Dylan Thomas play that chronicles a spring day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub. Over the course of the virtual event, audiences will learn about the characters’ loves and regrets, and their driving ambitions. Originally commissioned by the BBC as a 1954 radio drama, the piece explores the challenges of everyday life through dreams and internal (often hilarious) thoughts.
Now through Sunday, April 11.