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What to do this Weekend: Aug 20 – 23

by Cristina Schreil

This week, seek solace from the heat by plunging headfirst into a diverse lineup of events happening around the Bay Area. Yes, they’re still online — but is there really any better way to chill in your home than with jazz, Afro-Caribbean dance and free Shakespeare?

There’s also a gallery reception, artist talks, livestreamed concerts, two queer events and a celestial dance party.

1. Watch the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters ceremony.

Behold virtual performances and appearances by vocalist Bobby McFerrin, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, bassist Reggie Workman and jazz advocate Dorthaan Kirk — the honorees of this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowships ceremony. Originally planned to take place at the SFJAZZ Center in April, the celebration lives on in the livestream.

Hosting is former NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater. Also performing is the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. Following is a virtual reception and a Q&A session, with opportunities for viewers to interact.

Thursday, Aug. 20, at 5 p.m. on and Free.


2. Consider the intersections of art and activism.

Wonder how artists are responding to this tumultuous year? Review how art and artists play a role in the 2020 social ecosystem in this talk with the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s curatorial team. Emerge with deeper insight into how art and artists carve out space for human connection, even amid unprecedented events.

“We are in the midst of a civil rights movement, a global health crisis, and a destabilized economy,” CJM organizers write. “We look to artists to help us see, process, criticize, and reflect on the events that happen in our world.”

The talk is part of the museum’s Democracy Sounds Good series of CJM curator and educator discussions.

Friday, Aug. 21, at noon on Zoom. Free.


3. Let six artists serenade you in a queer music festival.

The last thing some of us might want is more distance from others, but this queer music festival reminds you of the virtue of claiming space. In “I NEED SPACE,” put on by Bay Area organizers, queer musical artists from across the globe beam live concerts from their homes onto your screens.

Enjoy a rotating presentation of performers, with new ones at the top of each hour. This weekend presents Eli Conley, Madeline Finn, Apollo Flowerchild, Heather Hill, Rooster Blackspur, Zoe Boekbinder and Skip the Needle.

The festival has plans to continue every third Saturday.

Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch. Free; tips encouraged.


4. Revisit (and help fill in) Pride history.

The GLBT Historical Society presents a screening and a talk about Arthur J. Bressan Jr.’s 1977 documentary Gay USA. The pivotal film chronicled Gay Freedom Day marches around the nation in June 1977.

The following talk and Q&A is led by two who know the material best: film historian Jenni Olson, spearheading the film’s recent restoration, and LGBTQ historian Don Romesburg, who co-curated the society’s related exhibition, Labor of Love, on the birth of San Francisco Pride.

Event programmers also encourage viewers to “engage in their own community-history efforts by sharing their Pride stories and helping to identify unknown individuals depicted in the film.”

Friday, Aug.t 21, at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Suggested donation $5.


5. Learn about three art forms from the African Diaspora.

To delve into the myriad cultures across the African Diaspora, MoAD invites three guests to share their expertise.

Performer, choreographer and dance teacher Seycon Nadia presents Afro-Caribbean traditional dance; master kente cloth weaver Kwasi Asare teaches about West African weaving traditions; and educator, storyteller and historian Anita Singleton-Prather’s character Aunt Pearlie Sue entertains with Gullah Geechee folktales.

Friday, Aug. 21, at 4 p.m. on Zoom. Pay what you can.


6. Party with the stars for STEM.

Join in the 20th birthday celebrations of Chabot Space & Science Center’s Skyline campus. This online event features STEM activities, trivia and a virtual dance party. The fundraiser benefits Chabot’s STEM education initiatives.

Friday, Aug. 21, at 8 p.m. on Zoom and Facebook. Donations encouraged.


7. “Go to” a gallery exhibition opening.

Each year, Arc Gallery & Studios presents FourSquared, a robust exhibition culling work from 16 Bay Area artists. The gallery’s presentation fashions it all to feel like 16 micro solo exhibitions.

Its opening reception, usually attracting hundreds to the large Folsom Street space, migrates to Zoom. There, curator Michael Yochum leads participants through the exhibition. This also kicks off a series of online artists talks in the weeks to follow, where the exhibition’s artists acquaint you with their work.

Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Free.


8. Watch the drama of King Lear unfold, at home.

Swapping the park for the web page, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is still on its mission to bring you free Shakespeare. Catch more performances each weekend, extending into September.

Director Elizabeth Carter’s vision — caused to shift with the pandemic and again with the death of George Floyd and subsequent civil rights movement — is all the more potent as we view this tragedy in a moment of change. Jessica Powell plays the title role.

Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 23, at 4 p.m. on YouTube. More performances each weekend until Sept.r 27. Free.


9. Hear Black voices in contemporary opera.

San Francisco Opera continues to illuminate aspects of opera history and culture via weekly Sunday afternoon meetups. This week’s lecture spotlights Black voices in contemporary opera.

Hear insights from SF Opera librarian Michael Bragg and composer Nkeiru Okoye.

Sunday, Aug. 23, at 1 p.m. on Zoom. $20.


10. Listen to a concert by father and son composers.

Old First Church concerts presents the ninth California Andriasov Festival, celebrating father and son composers Iosif Andriasov and Arshak Andriasov. Born of Armenian descent in the Soviet Union, Iosif was as much a philosopher, challenger and reformer as a gifted composer.

“Continuing in his father’s footsteps, composer/pianist Arshak Andriasov’s music draws on a vast array of musical resources, ranging from Armenian folk music to Russian classical music, with certain elements of American jazz,” writes concert programmers.

Comprising the program are works by both, plus works by Dmitri Shostakovich (who praised the elder Andriasov) and Alexander Glazunov. Performing is the Jupiter Chamber Ensemble.

Sunday, Aug. 23, at 4 p.m. on YouTube. Free.


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