Front yards bedecked with pumpkins, ghouls and spiderwebs remind us that we’re well into fall. Bay Area institutions are also gearing up their Halloween spirit, with a costume party and a Día de Los Muertos celebration on the calendar for this week.
There are also two festivals sure to stimulate your intellect: Litquake, celebrating our rich writing community, and the Bay Area Science Festival.
Also find concerts, talks and more. Check out the curated list of things to do below.
Close out Lit Crawl San Francisco 2020 with an epic global ‘hoedown.’
Calling all bookworms, literature lovers, poetry zealots: It’s the last weekend of Litquake 2020, the Bay Area’s celebrated literary festival. This year, it encompasses 60 events featuring 150 authors throughout the month of October.
As always, it’s been a “vibrant forum for Bay Area writing,” with a spirit that lives on despite the coronavirus pandemic changing up the norm in 2020. For the grand finale weekend, instead of in-person Lit Crawls — epic pub crawls celebrating all things writing — there’s one big virtual literary hoedown. The event lasts a whopping 12 hours and unites gatherings in Ireland, England, France, New Zealand, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle. The hub is Manny’s in the Mission District.
Tune into the global celebration online.
Saturday, Oct. 24, 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on Zoom and Facebook Live. Free.
Get smart with the Bay Area Science Festival.
The 10th annual Bay Area Science Festival takes place this week with more than 125 events through Sunday. Everything is virtual this year as the Science & Health Education Partnership at UCSF collaborates with Bay Area universities, museums and institutions for stimulating STEM education for children, adults and families alike.
Among the events are panel discussions (on topics ranging from diversity in STEM fields to climate change and COVID-19) and tours (including UC Berkeley’s formula race car lab and a COVID-19 testing facility).
Unique interactive virtual experiences include a Oakland Zoo scavenger hunt and a moon-setting watch party. There’s even something for Bay Area foodies, including a presentation on the science of pulling noodles.
Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 25. Free.
Recall a more bustling 2020 with SFJAZZ.
Taj Mahal Quartet is the spotlight of this week’s SFJAZZ online concert. Unlike many SFJAZZ Fridays at Five concerts that have been broadcast throughout the pandemic — many of which replay significant performances from years past — this one was just recorded in February and was one of the last in-person SFJAZZ concerts before the shutdown.
The energized ensemble, led by Berkeley resident Mahal, brings “the raw energy of field hollers, the rent-party gumption of early jazz, the urbane grooves of rhythm and blues, the church-derived cadences of soul music and the rhythms of West Africa, via New Orleans and the Caribbean.” Not a bad way to wrap up a Friday.
Friday, Oct. 23, 5 p.m. online. $5 for a monthly subscription.
Watch here: sfjazz.org/fridaysatfive/
Witness the story of a pivotal champion of LGBTQ rights.
The GLBT Historical Society, Frameline and the Roxie Theater present a screening of the 2018 documentary 50 Years of Fabulous. In it, director Jethro Patalinghug examines the Imperial Council, the world’s oldest LGBTQ charity. The film also spotlights the charity’s historical founder José Sarria, the first openly gay man to run for public office in the United States.
After the screening, there will be a drag performance by Imperial Council members and a panel talk.
Friday, Oct. 23, 6 p.m. online. $7–$10.
Time travel to other unclear eras past with a thoughtful viola and piano concert.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many have compared the tragedies to similar past strife: the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and the first and second World Wars, to name a few. An upcoming concert presented by Old First Church seizes on these parallels, with a program of English music composed during the era of the two World Wars.
It’s a concert of viola and piano, featuring “many impressionist moments, and powerful outbursts, but always returns to a feeling of hopefulness,” organizers write.
Violist Aaron Rosengaus and pianist Jennifer Lee perform works written from 1908 to 1946, including Rebecca Clarke’s Morpheus and Passacaglia on an old English tune and works by Frank Bridge, Arnold Bax and Julius Harrison.
Friday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. online. $20.
Dip into a beguiling contemporary sound world with Pamela Z.
Pamela Z — composer, performer and media artist who was at the forefront of live digital looping — takes the virtual stage at Mills College Performing Arts. A Rome Prize winner and Guggenheim Fellow, Pamela Z conjures a richly absorbing soundscape. Her works weave together “a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, video, and gesture activated MIDI controllers.”
Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 p.m. online. Free.
Read and discuss ‘Silence is My Mother Tongue’ with MoAD.
Author Sulaiman Addonia and his book Silence Is My Mother Tongue are the focus of the next African Book Club meeting from MoAD and host Faith Adiele.
Addonia’s book, long-listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, centers on those living in a refugee camp in Sudan. From the back cover: “With this cast of complex, beautifully drawn characters, Sulaiman Addonia details the textures and rhythms of everyday life in a refugee camp, and questions what it means to be an individual when one has lost all that makes a home or a future. Intimate and subversive, Silence Is My Mother Tongue dissects the ways society wages war on women and explores the stories we must tell to survive in a broken, inhospitable environment.”
The author joins the Book Club for a discussion on the book and its vital subject matter.
Sunday, Oct. 25, noon on Zoom. Pay what you can.
Dress to the nines (shoulders up, at least) for a fancy Halloween party.
Opera and Halloween collide in glamorous fashion with the Great Opera Make-Up & Costume Party from San Francisco Opera’s Opera Aficionado program. Besides inviting you to bring your best costume to the virtual soiree, the opera welcomes host Cole Thomason-Redus, the head of its wig and make-up department, Jeanna Parham, and “San Francisco’s most favorite opera-star drag queen” Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy.
Speakers will delve into the intersections of opera and makeup, as well as provide Halloween makeup tips. It may not be Halloween quite yet, but the opera’s still bringing treats: The attendee with the best onscreen appearance earns a goody bag.
Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. on Zoom. $20.
Celebrate independent booksellers and authors with Heyday Harvest.
The 14th annual Heyday Harvest, a celebration from the Berkeley book publisher, takes place this weekend. This year’s lineup of speakers and special appearances honors author and scholar Greg Sarris and author and activist Innosanto Nagara. Also in the spotlight are many of California’s independent booksellers, with appearances from Books Inc., Book Passage, Booksmith, Builders Booksource, Green Apple Books, Kepler’s Books, Moe’s Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s, Pegasus and Vroman’s.
Funds go toward various public education programs throughout California.
Sunday, Oct. 25, 5 p.m. on Crowdcast. General admission starts at $20.
Honor El Día de los Muertos with OMCA.
Join in the Oakland Museum of California’s 26th annual El Día de los Muertos community celebration online. Mesoamérican traditions anchor this celebration, including an opening ceremony of the Four Directions and instructions on creating an altar for the dead. There are also video presentations and resources and guided art projects.
Altars this year acknowledge the losses from COVID-19, the California fires, immigration/ICE injustices, and Black Lives Matter.
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m. on YouTube Live. Free.