For many households, traditions have been turned on their heads this week. Whether you’re seeking distractions from an atypical Thanksgiving holiday, a respite from political spars, refuge from pie lattice mishaps, or are simply in search of some fun, the Bay Area culture scene has you covered.
Read on for our complete curated roundup below.
Find beauty in uncertainty via new music informed by visual art.
Musical nonprofit Musaics of the Bay continues its collaborative Stay-at-Home Symposium, which supports the composition and performance of new art. Symposium composers and performers choose community-submitted pieces of art by painters, photographers, poets, filmmakers and others as the jump-off point for new musical works.
This week, solo cello and mixed-media converge. Stream the premiere of a new work performed by cellist Alexander Hersh, written by composer Mario Godoy and based on Sherry Karver’s mixed-media photography piece Thinking Too Much.
Karver’s artist statement may feel familiar this year: “It seems that we are in a difficult period in our history, where things are disintegrating and falling apart, which is what my work reflects. At the same time, I try to see the beauty and hopefulness in the uncertainty.”
Stream the performance on YouTube for free.
Visit the reindeer at Cal Academy!
The California Academy of Sciences has some furry friends bringing cheer to the young and young at heart alike.
Two reindeer named Peppermint and Cookie are visiting as part of Cal Academy’s traditional “’Tis the Season for Science” display. Once again, it’s complete with semi-hourly snow flurries, cookies, cocoa and festive decor.
This is Cal Academy after all, so expect to also learn about the science behind how reindeer survive frigid conditions and shed and regrow their antlers each year through a process called antlerogenesis.
Live in Dickensian times at home.
The Dickens Fair gets a technological spin this year thanks to COVID-19: The festive in-person holiday staple is online this year, with a Dickens Fair At Home series of events unfolding each weekend until Christmas Eve. Check out the Dickens Fair website for a reading of A Christmas Carol by “Mr. Dickens”; singing and dancing; an archive of Dickens Fair music and videos; plus “delicious recipes from merry old England” and crafts and DIY holiday gift instructions offered by Dickens Fair artists.
There’s new content each weekend. This weekend brings “Petticoat Lane,” with an authentic Victorian cooking demonstration, a hammered dulcimer concert, a talk on the history of wheat weaving and more.
This weekend’s content is available online on Nov. 28.
Sink into the weekend with Gregory Porter.
Gracing the SFJAZZ virtual Fridays at Five stage this week is soulful Grammy winner and “jazz’s most celebrated male vocalist” Gregory Porter. The latest installment of Fridays at Five presents Porter’s most recently recorded 2019 appearance at SFJAZZ, which includes music from his album All Rise.
Friday, Nov. 27, 5 p.m. online. Monthly memberships are $5 a month.
Watch here: sfjazz.org/fridaysatfive/
Look to the stars with Chabot.
Free yourself of any earthly troubles (burnt turkey, anyone?) by steering your gaze toward the heavens with Chabot Space & Science Center.
Chabot astronomers will guide you through the night sky via its telescope Nellie. They’ll also be on hand to answer questions.
Saturday, Nov. 28, 9 p.m. on Facebook Live and YouTube. Free.
Stream the Elixir of Love with SF Opera
San Francisco Opera’s Opera is ON programming brings you a stream of Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti all weekend.
“A flirtatious tale of innocent love and boundless devotion,” notes SF Opera. “The Elixir of Love will have audiences rooting for the shy, love-struck Nemorino as he naïvely relies on a ‘love potion’ to help him win the heart of the beautiful Adina.”
Watch here: sfopera.com/opera-is-on/onlinestreaming/
See a virtual reality Nutcracker.
Even those who’ve seen the Nutcracker at the San Francisco Ballet dozens of times have never seen it quite like this: SF Ballet invites you to experience Nutcracker Online, an interactive virtual reality experience. It’s built on a high-definition stream of Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker.
“Tour our virtual opera house full of fun activities, send downloadable holiday snaps to your friends and family, enjoy historical highlights of San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, and learn steps from the choreography,” writes SF Ballet.
Among those starring in the production is Elizabeth Powell, dancing as Clara and currently a soloist, and Yuan Yuan Tan, who is celebrating 25 years with the company and performing as the Snow Queen.
Available Nov. 27 through Dec. 31.
Spend an Evening with Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott.
Unwind from the week with cello star Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott in a streamed concert premiere presented by Cal Performances. Ma and Stott will perform their Songs of Comfort and Hope program. If you’ve followed Ma on social media since the first days of the pandemic — where he’s made it a mission to harness music’s healing powers — you’ll recognize some of the repertoires.
Sink into this uplifting program, which was recorded in mid-November in Taiwan’s National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts Concert Hall.
Friday, Nov. 27, 7 p.m. online. $15–$110.
Catch up on Currents from the SF Symphony.
If you haven’t yet, tune in to Currents, the video and podcast series from the San Francisco Symphony. Four engrossing episodes charting the diverse vibrancy of music today have been gradually released this season: Enter the Pipa, Bay Area Blue Notes, From Scratch, and Viva México!
Watch here: sfsymphony.org/Watch-and-listen
Enjoy solo performance (and learn who killed Sylvia Plath).
The Marsh’s Solo Performance Spotlight presents Lynne Kaufman’s Who Killed Sylvia Plath, performed by award-winning Bay Area actress Lorri Holt on MarshStream. Holt earned a best performance award at the 2020 MarshStream International Solo Fest last month.
The premise: “Poet Sylvia Plath returns to her burial place in West Yorkshire, England, to view the fourth replacement of her tombstone….”
Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. on Zoom and YouTube.