It’s a brand-new year and we’re all hoping for a brighter reality here in the Bay Area. Why not kick off 2021 by supporting small businesses, local artists, hometown authors and more? Here are the events, lectures and activities sure to start your year off right:
Light up the night with Illuminate SF
Don’t let the holiday spirit slip away just yet. From now through Jan. 23, you have the chance to see how the 8th annual Illuminate SF Festival of Light has brought more than 40 light art installations to 17 City neighborhoods. Works from artists, including Jenny Holzer, Joseph Kosuth, Leo Villareal, Hank Willis Thomas, Jim Campbell, Ivan Navarro and Johanna Grawunder, are installed at spots like the San Francisco International Airport and the Salesforce Tower. One particular point of interest: Golden Gate Park, where artist Charles Gadeken has transformed Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest filled with 2,000 LED lights.
Now through Saturday, Jan. 23.
Support small businesses through Chef’s Market
It’s no secret that small businesses need help now more than ever. One simple way to show your support: Visit Chef Rodney Baca’s Chef’s Market, which brings together five local restaurants in one location (300 So. First St., San Jose). Running through Jan. 12, visitors can stop by anytime from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily to purchase delicious meals from contributing restaurants, including The Shop and Hyland House of Sushi. For every meal ordered, a second meal will be prepared — at no cost to the customer — and donated to San Jose Ship Kits and Hunger at Home to feed those in need.
Now through Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Take in the sounds of trumpeter and vocalist Bria Skonberg
Imagine the one-two punch of New Orleans swing and vintage radio vocals, and you have the sweet sound of Bria Skonberg, a jazz trumpeter and vocalist making her return to Cal Performances after slaying audiences in April 2019. This recorded set takes place at the historic Louis Armstrong House in Queens, NY, and features Skonberg performing tracks from her latest album, Nothing Never Happens, along with her quintet. The vibe is classic jazz mixed with old school vocals, original compositions and fresh reinterpretations of pop standards by everyone from Queen to the Beatles.
Thursday, Jan. 7, 7 p.m.
Visit a virtual art gallery
The Marin Society of Artists is currently featuring several virtual exhibitions, including itsWinter Show 2020, featuring work from artists like Gail Andersen and Jim Fish. On display through February, the online exhibition of artwork was created by members of the 94-year-old nonprofit artists cooperative located in San Rafael.
Now through Feb. 28.
Consider these creative takes on our challenging modern reality
Featuring 90 local artists, Here and Now is a collection of works created in response to this challenging time in history and how the world is moving forward. Through Feb. 21, art lovers can take a virtual tour of the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (MarinMOCA) exhibit and ponder works from contributors like Shiva Pakdel and Teddie Hathaway. The show will be juried by Bay Area gallerist and curator Kim Eagles-Smith, and patrons of all ages are invited to browse the online gallery.
Now through Sunday, Feb. 21.
Watch some of Latin America’s best cinema
Cine+Mas SF presents the 12th San Francisco Latino Film Festival, showcasing some of the best Latin American films from the Americas and Spain. More than 20 feature films and over 50 short films are all available on-demand and Q&As for some of the screenings with the filmmakers will take place via Zoom. Films are shown in their original language with English subtitles. Single tickets are $10; a 5-film pass is $42, and a full festival pass is $125.
Now through Sunday, Jan. 10.
Learn about the legacy of imperialism in the Pacific
Authors Akemi Johnson and Shawna Yang Ryan team up to discuss their respective books, Night in the American Village, which takes readers deep into the border towns that surround military bases at Okinawa, and Green Island, which traces the course of Taiwan’s history. Hosted by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, this free event also features a Q&A with the authors.
Saturday, Jan, 9, 1-2 p.m.
Check out a new SF photo gallery
Emmy-nominated documentarian Margaret Cheatham Williams opens her debut gallery, Moxie’s Daughter this week in San Francisco’s Sacramento Street shopping district. Williams’ work is known for examining the intersection of health, family and personal identity, and her imagery is rooted in memory, romanticism and nostalgia. Moxie’s Daughter showcases her unique point of view through a rotating series of themed collections, and the inaugural exhibit looks at roadside finds from Williams’ cross-country treks. Visitors can stop by Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on an appointment-only basis.
Get some fun facts about fungi (yes, seriously)
In this week’s After Dark Online event, the Exploratorium offers online visitors (ages 18 and older) the chance to get up close and personal with the diverse and curious world of the fungi kingdom. Get to know mushrooms, yeasts and molds through some seriously cool features like macro photographer Alison Pollack’s work highlighting myxomycetes and tiny mushrooms barely visible to the naked eye. Pollack searches out her subjects by crawling on the forest floor with a magnifying glass and uses advanced photography techniques to show the incredible detail of the tiny organisms. The free online event also features Neil Gaiman’s 2019 animated poem, The Mushroom Hunters, read by Amanda Palmer, as well as a talk on mushroom spores with Else Vellinga, Ph.D.
Thursday, Jan. 7, 7 p.m.
Do some (virtual) good in the neighborhood
Sutro Stewards, which aims to build community, connect locals with nature and protect one of the City’s wildest green spaces, is officially launching a new virtual volunteer opportunity created in partnership with Hands on Bay Area. Nature in Your Neighborhood is an interactive, virtual program that challenges participants to go out into their backyards or neighborhoods to learn more about the plants around them. The organization supplies participants with all the resources necessary to learn about native plants, and volunteers will have the opportunity to create short videos about their plants, take photos and write articles for the organization’s blog. The initial orientation is Saturday, Jan. 9, and a final group share-out will follow on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Saturday, Jan. 9, 10 a.m.