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What to do this Weekend: Sep 3-7

by Cristina Schreil

And just like that, it’s somehow Labor Day weekend. Didn’t summer just begin? Relax, unwind (and forget the ravages of time) with this week’s roundup of things to do in the Bay Area this weekend.

Between 49 documentaries, three days of drag performances, two concerts, insightful talks, a Spanish poetry reading and even a “trip” to the moon, there are plenty of ways to spend the longer weekend.

And, behold: There’s even something to visit in person.

Watch the 19th San Francisco Documentary Festival.

This long-running festival has reminded San Franciscans for years that sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. This year, that sentiment resonates more than ever. There’s also no better time to plunge into different stories from far-off corners of the globe. 

DocFest 2020 — which is virtual, of course — presents 49 new documentaries Sept. 3-20. Subjects run the gamut: an Ohio tattoo artist contending with hate and racism in the western foothills of Appalachia, bookmaking in the 21st century, Mexico’s astounding Tarahumara runners, resilient Syrian refugee women, and more. 

Stream through Sept. 20. Tickets are $10 per film. Festival passes are $150.


Soothe with a Beethoven sonata (part of a titanic shelter-in-place endeavor).

Sonoma chamber music champion Valley of the Moon Music Festival is continually releasing content online in lieu of in-person performances. A good place to start is with music director Eric Zivian’s performances of Beethoven’s entire piano sonata oeuvre. He’s celebrating Ludwig’s 250th birthday with appropriate gusto: He’s tackling all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas while sheltering in place. Catch a performance of a new one each week. 

As a feat of endurance, it’s a challenge not unlike hiking the Pacific Crest Trail,” festival organizers write of the project. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for the player and listener to explore the full range of Beethoven’s style, and the emotion, humor, and spirituality of these treasures.”

This week, through Sept. 5, check out the latest: Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor Quasi una fantasia, Op. 27, No. 2, otherwise known as  “Moonlight Sonata.”

Watch here for free:

Tour a book bindery.

Reading a lot while sheltering in place? Sneak a peek at how books come to be with this virtual visit to the bindery at Arion Press in the Presidio. It’s part of the San Francisco Center for the Book’s Shelter in Studio virtual series spotlighting different studios.

Bookbinder Megan Gibes leads the virtual lunchtime tour of Arion and its handcrafted artist books. It’s a way for SFCB to keep bringing insights about “projects and processes that keep our hands and minds engaged” during the pandemic.

Watch previous tours on Vimeo:

Thursday, Sept. 3, 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. Free.


Focus your lens on Black representations.

SF Camerawork, nurturing new ideas in the photographic arts since 1974, presents a compelling conversation in its latest online event. Dr. Leigh Raiford, Delphine Sims and Adrian Octavius Walker — whose work centers on race, gender and photography — discuss the politics of Black representations.

They explore collectivity, the creation of Black photographic groups, as a necessary and powerful constellation to speak to the uniqueness of individual artistry, the realities of needed support (financially, spatially, and conceptually); and the power in shared positionalities and political commitments,” event organizers write.

Dr. Raiford is an author and associate professor in the African American studies department at UC Berkeley. Sims, a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley, studies the history of photography in the Americas via a focus on how race, gender, geography and urbanity pervade landscape photography. And Walker is a mixed-media artist based in Chicago whose work is inspired by the Black body, dynamics of the Black family, and archival work related to the African American experience. 

Thursday, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. on Zoom. Free.


Disfruta la poesía! (Enjoy poetry!)

The Mission Cultural Center presents the latest in its weekly series of interactive poetry readings “23 Minutos + con Adrián” (23 Minutes with Adrián). Spoken word artists share different styles each week.

This week presents Bay Area artist Kata Miletich, the lyricist and voice of Oakland band LoCura.

Reflecting her own experience of growing up Spanish American in Spain, Italy and California, her lyrics push the borders of identity and migration piecing together a mosaic of our myriad cultures and experiences,” event organizers write.

Thursday, Sept. 3, 6:23 p.m. on Facebook and YouTube. Free 


Look to the tower.

Miss seeing art in person? Thanks to a new exhibition presented by the San Francisco Art Institute, all you have to do is head to North Beach and look up.

Starting this weekend, you can watch a series of video screenings projected onto every side of the SFAI’s Chestnut Street tower. It’s part of an exhibition titled From the Tower: Transmission, curated by SFAI MFA Director Tony Labat. Each week brings a new program of selected works.

SFAI is providing tips on helpful spots to view the works, as well as sound links to play simultaneously on your phone.

Can’t venture over to North Beach? Watch the livestream online.

Friday, Sept. 4, until Friday, Oct. 23.  On display at 800 Chestnut St. Free.


Listen to Dee Dee Bridgewater honor Horace Silver through song.

Iconic jazz master, Tony Award–winner and longtime NPR host Dee Dee Bridgewater is the star of this week’s Fridays at Five series with SFJAZZ.

The concert shared here was originally recorded in September 2017. The program is a tribute to Horace Silver — like Bridgewater, a fellow NEA Jazz Master — via poignant takes on Silver’s classics.

Friday, Sept. 4, 5 p.m. Memberships are $5 a month.


Join a digital celebration of Oaklash 2020.

Oaklash, the Bay Area’s drag and queer performance festival, is all online this year. Lest that takes away any of the thrill, the star-studded lineup may convince otherwise. Find a full weekend of nonstop live performance, music, talks and more. 

Talk topics include anti-racism in drag, and drag after COVID. Co-hosting is The Stud, the beloved San Francisco gay bar, which lives on through regular virtual events. 

Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., with events Saturday and Sunday, on Twitch and at Donations encouraged. 

Info and schedule here:

Go camping on the moon!

You might not be taking any grand excursions due to the coronavirus. So, Chabot Space & Science Center invites you to go big. Out of the stratosphere, even. 

In this latest Chabot talk, career aviator and apparent lunar adventurer Faride Khalaf guides listeners through all possible aspects of a trip to earth’s trusty satellite. 

Friday, Sept. 4, 8 p.m. on Facebook. Free, with donations to support STEM education encouraged.  


Watch a solo play with a complex look at depression.

The Marsh’s Solo Performance Spotlight series presents the Theater Bay Area Award–winning solo play The Waiting Period, written by and starring Brian Copeland. David Ford directs.

The subject matter is weighty, albeit very worthy of attention: “This show is an unrelenting look at a ten-day period in Copeland’s life — the mandatory ten-day waiting period before he could lay his hands on the newly purchased gun with which he planned to take his own life. Even in the midst of this tragedy, however, his wonderful sense of the comedy of life does not desert him …” 

After the performance is a Q&A with The Marsh founder and artistic director Stephanie Weisman.

Subsequent performances take place Sept. 13, Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25, and Nov. 8.

Saturday, Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom and YouTube. Free; donations encouraged.




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