Media

You are here

What's New in San Francisco | February/March 2015

“What’s New in San Francisco” is a monthly roundup of news and updates presented by the San Francisco Travel Association.

SPONSOR AD

EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS

Black History Month in San Francisco

San Francisco is full of rich African American culture. Plan an excursion throughout the city at www.sanfrancisco.travel/african-american-excursion or join in the many celebrations throughout February that commemorate the contributions of African Americans in the United States.

Join 11 African-American winemakers on Feb. 10, as they come together for the annual Sips with Soul, an evening of wine and food at 1300 on Fillmore.  From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., sample some of the top African-American owned vintner's wines with Chef David Lawrence's soulful hors d'oeuvres. The evening will be a celebration full of good wine, food and live music.  Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/sips-with-soul-tickets-15002932174.  

What is the legacy of black dance in the Bay Area? Who forms the "Next Wave" of choreographers making an impact on local, national and international stages? The Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now aims to answer these questions and support African American artists as it celebrates Black History Month with an annual celebration Feb. 21 - March 1 at the Dance Mission Theater.  This year's festival will include several special events.   On Feb. 15, a week before the opening weekend festivities, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents 50 Cent Tabernacle, a series of open, mixed-level dance classes. On Feb. 21, Dimensions Dance Theater will co-host with the Festival a master class with artist Kyle Abraham and members of his company, Abraham.In.Motion.  Learn more at www.bcfhereandnow.com

From Feb. 25 - March 1, the sf|noir Wine & Food Festival honors the region's best in black cuisine from throughout the Diaspora (including soul food, Southern-inspired cooking, Caribbean and Pan-African dishes, BBQ and more) featuring chefs from top restaurants who provide their interpretations of traditional soul food and African American-inspired dishes as they showcase the best wine producers from the region and beyond, including wines from African American vintners. The celebration takes place around the Bay Area and includes popular events, such as the Shrimp & Grits Taste-Off, a Sunday brunch, cooking demonstrations, live jazz performances and more.  Learn more at www.sfnoir.org/sfnoirwinefood.  

"I Have A Dream..." is the newest custom tour by San Francisco's Artful Tour. The tours are available in February in both San Francisco and Oakland to augment celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday and Black History Month. The custom tours acknowledge the inspiration of Dr. King and the achievement of Bay Area African American artists in the affirmation of black culture.  Learn more at http://artfultour.com

The San Francisco African American Freedom Trail tells how African-American pioneers locally changed the world. One way to see locations along the trail is the SF Soul Shuttle tour service, which brings stories of African American history and culture to life. Standard tour itineraries include Landmarks Tour, Coltrane Corner, Barbecue Boulevard and Gospel and Grace. Or stop by San Francisco Travel's Visitor Information Center and pick up the African American Freedom Trail brochure and explore various African American attractions, such as “cool dining,” “cool culture” and “Important event sites.” For the complete list of more than 400 locations on the African American Freedom Trail visit http://bit.ly/1udCInh. Visit www.californiablackhistory.com  or call 415-240-3537 for tour reservations.

The recently reopened Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is hosting a robust schedule of exhibitions, education and public programs showcasing the history, art and the cultural richness that resulted from the dispersal of Africans throughout the world. Don't miss “Marie Johnson Calloway: Legacy of Color” on view Feb. 4 - April 12, which presents Calloway's vivid works of art that depict the rhythm and spirituality of black life through color. On Feb. 8, join Reverend Dr. Jeremaiah A. Wright Jr. for a lecture on historical and contemporary modes of black resistance at “Did Black Lives Even Matter.”  Catch a screening of the film “Point of Pride: The People's View of Bayview/Hunter's Point” on Feb. 25, which combines footage from the 1950s, 60's and 70's with present-day viewpoints to create a compelling portrait of a community marked by struggle and fueled by hope.  For more information and a complete list of events, visit the Museum of the African Diaspora event calendar at www.moadsf.org/calendar

San Francisco Celebrates Chinese New Year Feb. 14–March 8, 2015

Two weeks of festivities are planned in San Francisco for the Year of the Ram which begins on Feb. 19, 2015 including the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year parade on the evening of March 7, 2015. Named one of the top 10 parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), the parade is one of the grandest night illuminated parades in the U.S. and dates back to the 1860s. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats and a 268-foot-long Golden Dragon (“Gum Lung”). Bleacher seats are $30 per person. Other events on the festival calendar include a mini-procession on Feb. 14, 2015; the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair, Feb. 14-15, 2015; Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, Feb. 28, 2015; Basketball Jamboree, Feb. 28, 2015; Chinatown YMCA 5K/10K run/walk, March 1, 2015; Miss Chinatown USA Coronation Ball, March 6, 2015 and on the final weekend of the celebration, the Chinese Community Street Fair, March 7-8, 2015. Details on all events are available at www.chineseparade.com. Media contact: Karen Eng, 415-680-6297, karen.eng@cnyparade.com.

Westfield San Francisco Centre Celebrates Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ram

Westfield San Francisco Centre, the city’s premier destination for world-class fashion, entertainment and dining, celebrates the lunar new year with music, dance, cooking demonstrations, zodiac readings and more from Jan. 26 to March 8, 2015. Festivities marking the Year of the Ram are conducted in partnership with the Asian Art Museum, Bloomingdale’s San Francisco and M.Y. China.

Westfield Lunar New Year Celebration Under the Dome

Special guest chef Martin Yan of M.Y. China will host a one-of-a-kind party on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. on Level 4 Under the Dome featuring live music, lion dancers and a popular noodle pulling demonstration by M.Y. China.  Additionally, red envelopes providing special offers such as free admission to the Asian Art Museum will be given to the first 1,000 people (while supplies last). The event is free and open to the public.

Chinese Zodiac Display                

Westfield San Francisco Centre and the Asian Art Museum will present a colorful and informative display about the animals of the zodiac, which are used to mark each year in Chinese culture. The display will be open to the public from Jan. 26 through March 8 on Level 2 (near Bloomingdale’s).

Bloomingdale’s Year of the Ram Celebration

Bloomingdale’s San Francisco will be offering a not-to-be-missed line-up of special events, cultural animation, Year of the Ram merchandise, and much more from Feb. 5–28.

Bloomingdale’s will also debut a showcase of curated merchandise in celebration of the Year of the Ram.  Unique pieces for shoppers’ will be offered throughout the store from brands including Chloe, MCM, Salvatore Ferragamo, Baccarat and Lalique, along with a limited-edition reusable “Little Ram Bag” inspired by Bloomingdale’s iconic brown bag. The Year of the Ram showcase will be located on Level 1. 

Bloomingdale’s San Francisco will also feature entertainment including lion dancers, Chinese Zodiac readings with Alese Osborn modeling of Year of the Ram inspired merchandise, complimentary lunar year nail art, tea tastings, live music performances by Melody of China, cosmetics classes, a M.Y. China cooking demonstration and more. 

M.Y. China Specialty Menus 

M.Y. China, celebrity chef and James Beard winner Martin Yan’s restaurant will offer three menus for lunar new year from Feb. 18–March 8.  They will feature two fixed price menus for two. For parties of six to eight people, they are introducing a special fixed price banquet for $35 per person; the menu will include dishes made especially for the Year of the Ram. 

Traditionally during Lunar New Year, red envelopes containing a sum of money and the hope of luck and prosperity are gifted between family and friends.  This year M.Y. China will be handing out their own red envelopes to guests, as well as through their Facebook page, from Feb. 18-Feb. 28.  Each envelope will contain either a good fortune wish for a prosperous new year or a fortune redeemable for a prize. 

M.Y. China is located at the Restaurant Collection Under the Dome on Level 4.  For reservations, go to tastemychina.com or call 415-580-3001. Media contact: Vineetha Pathrose, Vineetha.Pathrose@edelman.com,  415-486-3258.

"Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore" Returns Feb. 17 With Free Blues Concert and Masquerade Ball

Celebrating with great music, creative costumes, good food and colorful beads, The Village Project and The Fillmore Center present the ninth annual Mardi Gras San Francisco Style. “Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore” will kick off with a free blues concert in the Fillmore Center Plaza on Tuesday, Feb. 17.  This year's festival will again bring San Francisco's historic Fillmore Music District to life with colorful events that include a masquerade ball, street artists and performers. The celebration also will commence with a free blues concert from 5 to 7 p.m., featuring the legendary Bobbie "Spider" Webb & The Blues Ryders Band.  A festive New Orleans style processional down the Fillmore Corridor will follow, ending at the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball at West Bay Conference Center at 7 pm.

Guests will be able to enjoy food, drink and other specials at numerous Fillmore restaurants, clubs and businesses. A plethora of eclectic delectable eats will be available to satisfy every palate -- whether it's the Southern-inspired cuisine of 1300 on Fillmore or homemade cookies and ice cream at Bumzy's Cookies. Following the outdoor festivities, the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball will take place at the West Bay Conference Center, at 1290 Fillmore St. The crown jewel of San Francisco's Fat Tuesday celebration will feature The Blues Ryder Band and DJ, Mr. "C", spinning dance tunes, as guests enjoy an evening of New Orleans style food, dancing to Zydeco and rhythm and blues, and plenty of partying.

Advance purchase tickets for the Masquerade Ball are available at www.eventbrite.com. Ticket price includes admission to the ball, dinner, beads, a wristband for corridor specials and a beverage. The purchase of a $10 wristband will allow those not attending the ball to enjoy specials offered by numerous Fillmore restaurants, clubs and businesses along the Fillmore Corridor. Tickets and wristbands can be purchased Eventbrite. Media contact: Adrian Williams, awilliamsassoc@yahoo.com, 415-424-2980.

Centennial of the Panama Pacific International Exposition

Feb. 20, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco—its recovery from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire and its world trade potential.  Throughout 2015, the PPIE100, a citywide consortium of cultural, civic, and historical organizations, will host centennial programs to commemorate the PPIE’s historical significance and to reflect on its legacy. Join the fun at Community Day at the Palace of Fine Arts on Feb. 21, 12–5 p.m. to kick-off a year of Centennial events with a variety of activities, exhibitions and entertainment, including a Uke-a-thon – bring your ukulele and play along with a local Ukulele Band and celebrate. 

Don't miss these other events taking place over the weekend:

PPIE100 Kickoff at City Hall
Begin the celebrations with Mayor Ed Lee on Feb. 20 for the launch of the monthly San Francisco City Hall Rotunda Dance Series, taking place on the anniversary of the opening of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The free Rotunda Dance Series per
formances also starts the annual Ethnic Dance Festival and will include both local and international artists, including Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Hālau o Keikialiʻi, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Shinichi Iova-Koga and many others.

Community Day at the Palace of Fine Arts
Feb. 21, 12–5 p.m.
Kick-off a year of Centennial events with a variety of activities, exhibitions and entertainment, including a Uke-a-thon – bring your ukulele and play along with a local ukulele band and celebrate.The celebration also includes the re-opening of the Palace of Fine Arts to the public. Explore the Innovation Hanger, which transforms the inside of the Palace, one of the few structures remaining from the fair, into a place where the curious can play, grow and learn. The space will host a collection of new inventions and prototypes and will have a special series of talks available through January 2016.

Palace After Dark 
Feb. 21, 7:30–10:30 p.m.
This free and open to the public event at the Palace of Fine Arts will feature entertainment, food trucks and an indoor optic flare light show. Event specifics will be available closer to the event date at www.PPIE100.org.

Chinese Pavilion of Fine Arts
Feb. 21–24
Moscone Center -South Hall & Esplanade
China was one of the active countries in the 1915 PPIE. To celebrate the PPIE100, the China Culture Art Global Propagation Committee has prepared a Chinese Pavilion of fine arts and cultural products in the San Francisco International Gift Fair at the Moscone Center from February 21 to 24, 2015. Many Chinese exhibitors of this International Gift Fair were Award Winners at the 1915 PPIE. This meaningful display intends to honor the spirit of the PPIE and to promote the cooperation and peace of the world.

City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair
California Historical Society
Feb. 21, 2015–Jan. 10, 2016
In celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the California Historical Society presents City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair. Two related exhibitions depicting the PPIE as a critical event that shaped the San Francisco we know today: a city undaunted by tragedy, audaciously innovative, and rising to meet the challenges of the day. Explore with us this moment in history when the city stepped onto the world stage. Stroll through the Palace’s grand colonnade and rotunda and venture inside the exhibition hall to discover what this World’s Fair and iconic building means to the city. Vintage film footage, salvaged architectural fragments, and a new digital animation bring visitors closer to understanding how the fair entertained and enchanted millions of people from around the world. 

For a full list of events taking place throughout the year and around the San Francisco Bay Area, visit www.ppie100.org

2015 Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Takes Over San Francisco, March 29, 2015

Runners looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience should register now for the 2015 Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco, set to take over the streets of San Francisco on Sunday, March 29. The scenic course highlights San Francisco’s most famous spots taking participants along the Great Highway with sprawling ocean views, through the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge and along the Crissy Field shoreline with skyline views before ending in the heart of the city in front of City Hall. Participants will have the rare opportunity to run across closed lanes of the landmark Golden Gate Bridge, making it a “bucket list” race for running enthusiasts from around the globe. This half marathon combines fitness and fun as the 13.1-mile course is lined with live local bands, high-energy entertainment, thousands of spectators and culminates with a finish line festival and headliner concert by rock band American Authors. This popular band will perform their chart-topping hit, “Best Day of My Life,” among others. To register, visit RunRocknRoll.com.  Media contact: DeeDee Taft, deedee@spinpr.com, 415-380-8390.  

Sunday Streets Returns March 8, 2015

The 2015 Sunday Streets season will transform miles of San Francisco streets into spaces to walk, bike, jog, dance, skate and explore. At these eight events, kids can safely learn how to ride a bike, people can dance on roller skates, and everyone can enjoy the streets.

The 2015 season will kick off March 8 along the Embarcadero, with seven monthly events to follow.  
March 8: The Embarcadero
April 12: Bayview/Dogpatch
May 10: The Mission District
June 14:  Sunset (on the Great Highway)
July 12: The Tenderloin
Aug.16: Excelsior District
Sept. 13: Western Addition
Oct. 18: Mission District

Visit  www.sundaystreetssf.com to learn more about Sunday Streets.  Media contact: sundaystreets@livablecity.org, 415 -344-0489.

Habitat Earth Debuts at California Academy of Sciences

Discover what it means to live in today’s connected world with the California Academy of Sciences’ latest original planetarium show. Habitat Earth uses cutting-edge science visualization to take visitors on an immersive, non-stop journey through the planet's stunning systems. Dive with sea otters, explore the life forms hidden within soil, and travel the oceans with whales—all from within the world’s largest all digital planetarium dome.   Learn more at http://www.calacademy.org.  Media contact: Kelly Mendez, kmendez@calacademy.org, 415-379-5133. 

ARTS & CULTURE

Contemporary Jewish Museum Features Images of Poland and Palestine, Feb. 26–May 24 

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) presents two exhibitions Feb. 26–May 24 that together focus a lens on the vibrant world of Polish Jews before the Holocaust.

Commissioned as the first temporary exhibition at the new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, the immersive audiovisual art installation Letters to Afar, created by internationally acclaimed Budapest-based filmmaker and video-artist Péter Forgács in collaboration with the New York City-based band The Klezmatics, revisits, rearranges, and recontextualizes rare amateur movies made by Jewish immigrants from the United States who visited their hometowns in Poland during the 1920–30s alongside official newsreels and Polish cinema of that time.  Filming for their families back in America, these amateur filmmakers recorded relatives and friends in their daily surroundings, capturing everyday moments, bashful laughter, and silly mugging for the camera, a newfangled novelty at the time. 

Poland and Palestine: Two Lands and Two Skies is an exhibition of approximately 50 images made in the 1930s by photographer Ze’ev (Wilhelm) Aleksandrowicz. The images selected for this exhibition depict everyday life for Jews in Poland and the British Mandate before the Founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Born in Kraków in 1905, the 1920s and 30s he began work on a series of photography projects that took him around Poland and Europe as well as to Japan, the United States, Egypt, Hong Kong and Singapore. He visited the Holy Land three times between 1932 and 1935 and took hundreds of photographs. Eleven years after his death in 1992, his family discovered a suitcase full of his life’s work—over 15,000 negatives. The images paint a powerful picture by showing their subjects, Polish Jews, in two distinct cultural contexts—in the streets of their home city and in distant Palestine.

Learn more at www.thecjm.org/about/press/contacts.  Media contact: Nina Sazevich, nina@sazevichpr.com, 415-752-2483

Ghirardelli Creates Limited Edition “Hearts in San Francisco” Chocolate Bars

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is partnering with San Francisco General Hospital Foundation in honor of the 2015 “Hearts in San Francisco” public art project. “Hearts in San Francisco,” http://sfghf.org/events/hearts-in-sf/, raises money to support vital programs and initiatives at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (The General). Ghirardelli Chocolate launched three “Hearts in San Francisco” Chocolate Bars, featuring several of the iconic heart sculptures on the packaging.  A portion of every “Hearts in San Francisco” Chocolate Bar sold is donated to the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. Ghirardelli will offer the special Hearts packaging for three different bars: Intense Dark Cherry Tango™, Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree® and Intense Dark Twilight Delight®.  The bars will be available exclusively at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shops in San Francisco and at Macy’s Union Square.  Media contact: Julie Richter, 415-296-0677, julier@charleszukow.com

ACTIVITIES & TOURS

Fern Hill Walking Tours Explore the Neighborhoods That Were

Fern Hill Walking Tours-named for the original name of Nob Hill-offers a "Classic San Francisco" tour that highlights the city’s oldest neighborhoods while telling the story of the its transformation from tiny Mexican trading post to “Emporium of the Pacific.”  Traversing Nob Hill, Chinatown, Russian Hill, Jackson Square, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, etc., the experience, both urban and botanical, offers breathtaking views of the San Francisco skyline and surrounding Bay Area, along with fresh perspectives on many of the city’s most famous landmarks. Four hours in duration, with a lunch break and occasional public transportation (transit costs are included), the tour is geared to both first-time and seasoned visitors.   Learn more at www.fernhilltours.com.  Media contact: Hudson Bell, 415-305-7248, info@fernhilltours.com

San Francisco Movie Tours for Movie Buffs and Everyone

From the inception of film to present day big-screen productions, San Francisco and the movies have been inseparable.  San Francisco Movie Tours offers three-hour citywide tours of locations from more than 50 famous films, illustrated by more than 65 movie clips shown on board.  The North Beach walking tour features films such as Tim Burton’s new “Big Eyes.”  The Dirty Harry Tour follows the trail of Clint Eastwood’s famous character. Learn more at www.sanfranciscomovietours.com.  Media contact:  Bryan Rice, 415-391-3370, info@sanfranciscomovietours.com.

Avital Food Tours Goes Deep into San Francisco Culinary Culture

Avital Food Tours goes behind-the-scenes to meet restaurant owners, chefs and industry experts for a unique culinary experience in San Francisco. Founder Avital Ungar first became serious about the finer points of life while living in Paris and the quaint town of Aix-en-Provence in Southern France. After drinking wine at three in the afternoon as per the cultural norm and gorging her way through the countryside, Ungar returned to the United States and began reading “Wine for Dummies” with the hope of adding an academic wine approach to her informal wine education. Now, years later, Avital is a certified sommelier.  A UCLA graduate, Avital studied Art History, French and Mandarin Chinese but wishes she could have majored in Chocolate. Returning to her hometown of San Francisco after living in Shanghai working in the Chinese Contemporary art market, she began to pursue her interest in art and food professionally. She has been leading artisan food tours for the past six years. She has served as a judge at the 2011 International Chocolate Salon, the Best of the West Rib Competition and was most recently featured on the Travel Channel, USA Today, and CNN.  She first developed the Mission District Food Tour, which focuses on culinary innovation and chefs pushing boundaries and unique restaurant concepts. See description here: http://avitaltours.com/tour/mission-district-food-tour/  The Haight Ashbury Food Tour debuted in 2014, created by the editor of San Francisco Zagat, Virginia Miller.  It focuses on the eclectic neighborhood and specializes in quirky, whimsical and nostalgic tastes.  The Craft Cocktail Tour – the newest offering - was just named one of the top 10 guided drinking tours in America by Conde Nast Traveler.  Learn more at www.avitaltours.com.  Media contact: Avital Ungar, 415-355-4044, avital@avitaltours.com.

Tri-Valley Introduces California’s Newest Beer Trail

You may know the Tri-Valley for its world-famous Livermore Valley wines, but these days, vino isn’t the only beverage drawing attention.  Once home to one of the largest hop farms in the world (some say the largest), the Tri-Valley is returning to its roots with an emerging craft beer scene. The region also has bragging rights to having one of the first craft beer-focused bars in the country: Lyons Brewery Depot in Sunol. Today, small brewpubs and microbreweries are cropping up in the most unexpected spots, and now a collection of 18 establishments form California’s newest beer trail.   Download the Tri-Valley Beer Trail passport off the Visit Tri-Valley website, get 10 stamps from 10 different stops and turn it in for a limited edition t-shirt or pint glass. From the four craft breweries, to the rotating taps, beer culture is finally making its way home. With stops in Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon, Dublin and Danville, the California’s newest beer trail promises good beer and good people. For more information, visit www.visittrivalley.com.   Media contact: Emmy Kasten, 925-215-4711, emmy@visittrivalley.com

Many Ways to Experience Ram’s Gate Winery

Ram’s Gate Winery, nestled at the entrance to Sonoma wine country, invites visitors to warm up in the Tasting Hall with a casual flight sipped at the wine bar or a seated tasting by the cozy indoor fireplace. Choose between two tasting flights comprised of small lot selections from Sonoma County’s preeminent vineyard sites ($20-$25), available with or without "The Board," Chef's selection of cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments ($28 per Board). Appointments are available from 10a.m. to 5:30p.m. Thursdays through Mondays.  Visit www.ramsgatewinery.com/wine-tasting-experience or call 707-721-8700.  Media contact: Ryan Johnson, 707-501-0661, rjohnson@ramsgatewinery.com.

HOTELS 

Hotel Mark Twain’s Drag Queen General Manager Running for “Empress of Hospitality”  

Visitors to San Francisco’s iconic Hotel Mark Twain are often delighted to learn about the hotel’s colorful history, including visits to the property by its namesake Mark Twain during the great depression and the arrest by federal agents of the great blues singer Billie Holiday for opium possession in the 40s in the now infamous “Room #203.” Guests today  might be treated to an even more intriguing and flamboyant surprise when greeted by the hotel’s General Manager, Mark Dean who is known to occasionally appear as his drag queen persona, Deena Cartier. 

An openly gay man, Dean joined the Hotel Mark Twain in 2010 and has been performing in drag for 16 years.  He has personally raised tens of thousands of dollars for a wide range of charities. He is a member of The Imperial Court of San Francisco, one of the largest LGBTQ fundraising organizations in the world.  The court was founded in San Francisco 50 years ago and on February 15, 2015 will celebrate in style with a Golden Jubilee Gala at City Hall. “Working at the Hotel Mark Twain is such a pleasure. The hotel recently completed a $3M renovation, so our guestrooms are so new the paint is still wet. Our clientele really includes people from all walks of life from corporate travelers to families just looking for great affordable accommodations in Union Square. And, there’s the gay visitor, as well. We welcome everyone and I’m lucky to work for property owners that give me the freedom to have fun….sometimes as Deena Cartier,” he says.   Dean/Deena is currently running for the official title of Empress of San Francisco with elections being held in the city’s Castro District on Feb. 7.  For more information about the Hotel Mark Twain visit www.hotelmarktwain.com.  Learn more about Deena Cartier at www.deenacartier.com. Media contact: Jim Hollenbeck, 888-942-4274 ext 701 jim@hollenbeckassociates.com

Brannan Cottage Inn Blends Historic Features and Modern Touches in Calistoga

Built when Abraham Lincoln was President, and a silent witness to Calistoga’s ascent as a hot springs destination, Brannan Cottage Inn is a significant piece of Napa Valley history, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An extensive eight-month renovation has recently transformed this iconic six-room property – acknowledged as the last remaining building still in its original location from town founder Samuel Brannan’s visionary resort – into a thoroughly modern lodging experience.   Four rooms in the main 1860 building have Victorian flavored furnishings and light fixtures, dark floors and ornate wallpaper, which blend seamlessly with modern amenities like illy Espresso machines, premium flat screen streamed entertainment, bedside charging stations, and rain showers and heated tile floors in the bathrooms. Two elevated deluxe king rooms in Brannan House, a second building added in the 1950s, offer more contemporary décor and extra touches like a private garden entrance, fireplace, and terrace. Each room has its own character expressed through its unique color scheme, paired with carefully chosen furnishings and art depicting Calistoga’s past through historic photos.  Learn more at www.brannancottageinn.com.   Media contact: Trisha Clayton, 415-706-3462, t.clayton@comcast.net

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SFO) 

Virgin America and the San Francisco Giants Score Big with Extended Partnership Agreement

The San Francisco Giants and Virgin America have announced a multi-year partnership extension, which maintains the Bay Area-based airline’s position as the “Official Airline of the San Francisco Giants” through the end of 2018. This announcement came during an “orange carpet” send-off for the 2014 World Championship Trophy as it headed to New York City for the East Coast leg of a three-month World Championship Trophy Tour presented by Bank of America.   The trophy flew in style, riding in Virgin America’s exclusive eight-seat First Class cabin from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) onboard the Virgin America Airbus A320 aircraft “Fly Bye Baby,” named in honor of the hometown team. The extended partnership includes unique co-branding elements at AT&T Park, including the “Virgin America Loft,” a premium customized suite located in right field above McCovey Cove, and the “Virgin America Club Level” that features the airline’s signature cabin mood-lighting. In 2012, the airline first unveiled its Giants themed “Fly Bye Baby” aircraft that was updated in 2014 with a crowdsourced #FlyTogether design populated with the photos of hundreds of Giants fan who submitted photos on Instagram and Twitter.  On Jan. 21, 2015 SFO and Virgin America unveiled the aircraft’s newest design – the 2014 World Championship mark – in celebration of the San Francisco Giant’s latest World Series Victory.  

Photos of the press conference, Virgin America ‘Fly by Baby’ plane and the trophy onboard the flight to New York are available here. Photos of Virgin America’s unique aircraft and broadcast quality b-roll are available here. Media contacts: Sean Harris 650-554-1971 or sean.harris@virginamerica.com, Shana Daum 415-972-2496 or sdaum@sfgiants.com.  

American Express® Opens the Centurion Lounge at SFO

American Express® Card Members may now enjoy The Centurion Lounge.  SFO is only the fourth airport in the United States to host this lounge which features amenities including cuisine, bar and wine tasting, shower and workspaces with high-speed Wi-Fi and a computer bar, large flat screen TVs, magazines and newspapers, a family room and Am Ex member services.

American Express® Card Members with a valid American Express® Credit or Charge Card are eligible to visit the Lounge.  Any eligible American Express® Card Member may purchase a one-day pass at the Lounge, subject to capacity.  Access is complimentary for Platinum Card® or Centurion® Members.

The Centurion Lounge is located after security in Terminal 3 near Gate 74 and can also be reached by walking from International Terminal G.  Passengers who are departing from another terminal will need to exit through security, take an AirTrain to Terminal 3 and re-enter through security.  For more information, visit The Centurion Lounge.

For more information about service to San Francisco International Airport, visit www.flysfo.com.  Media contact: Doug Yakel, San Francisco International Airport, Doug.Yakel@flysfo.com, 650-821-4000.