Another month, another reason to celebrate as we officially welcome Women’s History Month. There are plenty of events, lectures and performances to commemorate some of the Bay Area’s most inspirational women, as well as an array of concerts, fundraisers and feel-good at-home entertainment to start your month off right.
Get to know one of Reese Witherspoon’s favorite writers
Litquake technically doesn’t commence until October, but events are starting now! Don’t miss Seismic Salon, launching its second season with Alka Joshi, whose debut novel, The Henna Artist, was chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s book club and appears in paperback on April 6. Joshi will be discussing the rigors of writing a historical novel over many years and the journey of seeing it brought to life. The salon is limited to 10 participants and tickets cost $100.
Thursday, March 4, 5 p.m.
Hear three of Beethoven’s most beautiful sonatas
SF Performances presents pianist Jonathan Biss in one of four free performances recorded specifically for release on SFP’s Front Row Premium platform. Biss will perform three Beethoven piano sonatas, and other artists in the series include pianist Timo Andres and guitarist Jason Vieaux. All Front Row Premium performances will be available for viewing indefinitely on the SF Performances website.
Thursday, March 4
Enjoy the premiere of an original ballet performance
SF Ballet begins its Digital Program 03 series, which includes Wooden Dimes, Danielle Rowe’s first ballet created for SF Ballet’s repertory season and filmed at the War Memorial Opera House. Set in the 1920s, Wooden Dimes is a story of two characters, Betty and Robert Fine, whose love is threatened by Betty’s brush with stardom. The ballet’s elaborate rehearsal process entailed director of photography Heath Orchard working in person and over Zoom, along with remote collaboration with costume designer Emma Kingsbury, lighting designers Jim French and Matthew Stouppe, and composer James M. Stephenson, who created an original score for the piece.
Thursday, March 4 through Wednesday, March 24
Listen to a legendary harpsichordist take on Bach
Don’t miss this Cal Performances at Home recital with harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani playing Bach’s beloved Goldberg Variations. The performance will be filmed at the Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany, the city in which the composer wrote the piece nearly three centuries ago. Though most often performed on piano, it was originally composed for the harpsichord.
Thu, March 4, 7 p.m.
Participate in an artful good cause
The Joy Heart Project is an awareness and fundraising initiative for Kids & Art, dedicated to healing pediatric cancer through the arts. This week, the project presents Poetry, Watercolors and Song, an online workshop featuring poet and educator Silvi Alcivar offering an afternoon of writing, painting and creativity that is open to pediatric cancer patients and children suffering from other life-threatening illnesses and their siblings and caregivers. After the event, the poems will be translated into classical songs, turned into an anthology, and performed by operatic activist Chelsea Hollow and students from the Ruth Asawa School for the Arts.
Sunday, March 7, 1 p.m.
Find out which famous opera works pass the Bechdel Test
Another way to celebrate Women’s History Month is by checking out SF Opera’s newest interactive talk, Women in Opera Panel: Opera vs. The Bechdel Test. Those familiar with the Bechdel Test — originally applied to movies — know it has three simple requirements: The story needs to have at least two women, those women must have names, and they must talk to each other about something other than a man. Shockingly few pieces of art pass the test in cinema — how does opera fare? Join moderator Cori Ellison and a group of women opera professionals as they discuss opera’s most beloved stories and the changes needed for the age-old art form.
Sunday, March 7, 1 p.m.
Dine and dish with four Bay Area restaurateurs
Commemorate International Women’s Day with a four course tasting menu and online conversation. Let’s Talk Womxn is hosting Dine Together & Let’s Talk, a Zoom chat accompanied by a menu created by four Bay Area restaurateurs who will also join the conversation: May German of alaMar Kitchen in Oakland, Jen Biesty of Shakewell in Oakland, Heena Patel of Besharam in San Francisco and Romney Steele of The Cook and Her Farmer in Oakland. The menu is $100 for two people, with cocktails available for an additional charge.
Sunday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.
Ring in the start of SF Opera’s The Ring Festival
Throughout March, SF Opera is all about Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung, celebrating with a monthlong Ring Festival, full of events and lectures that delve deep into the iconic work. Purchase a Ring Festival pass, and you can have access to an intimate talk about the company’s 2018 production with Ring director Francesca Zambello, conductor Donald Runnicles, bass-baritone Greer Grimsley (Wotan), and General Director Matthew Shilvock. Or jump in on March 9 with Wagnerism, a conversation between The New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and award-winning playwright Tony Kushner about Ross’ new book, Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music. San Francisco Opera’s Dramaturg Emeritus Dr. Clifford “Kip” Cranna moderates the conversation, followed by a Q&A.
Friday, March 5, 1 p.m. for the Opening Salute
Tuesday, March 9, 5:30 p.m. for Wagnerism
Take in an architect’s take on modernizing classic design
Kick off Women’s History Month with a special speaker series from Filoli Historic House and Garden. On March 9, Naomi Miroglio, principal at Architectural Resources Group, will discuss her work, inspired by the history of existing buildings and sites and by uncovering the unique stories each one holds. Miroglio’s award-winning designs are modern takes on distinctive original architecture and she celebrates the cultures and circumstances that shaped them. Filoli’s speaker series was inspired by florist Bella Worn, the successful entrepreneur who worked with both Filoli families throughout the early 20th century; and several other inspiring women are set to take the virtual stage throughout the month.
Tuesday, March 9, 2 p.m.
Tune in for a news legend’s book lecture
The Bay Area Book Festival is here and one event not to miss is Dan Rather’s discussion of his work What Unites Us: The Graphic Novel. Rather has, of course, covered some of the world’s most significant events of the past four decades, from the assassination of JFK to the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War. In this virtual forum, he’ll be discussing the brand-new graphic novel adaptation of his New York Times bestseller What Unites Us, an essay collection on what it means to be an American, in a live conversation with Priya Clemens, host of KQED Newsroom.