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February 1, 2018

Things to Do in San Francisco This February

Hearts and flowers. What could be more romantic? And just in case things aren’t going well in that department, we’ve picked out some events that are just as fun solo, including Black History Month activities and the reopening of a beloved local museum. Let’s be kind to the planet, while we're at it. Take public transit, walk or bike to these events if at all possible.

Black History Month

Begin Black History Month with a sojourn to the gravesite of William Alexander Leidesdorff at Mission Dolores. Leidesdorff is credited by some sources as the proprietor of the first hotel in San Francisco, once located at Clay and Kearny Streets. San Francisco's streets bear the names of famous local African-American leaders, from the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge (the western span of the Bay Bridge), named for the former San Francisco mayor, to 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, the address of San Francisco’s majestic City Hall, which honors the longtime publisher of the Sun-Reporter.

The Lumpsuckers Are Coming

Sounds like Wes Craven's latest thriller, doesn’t it? Not to worry; they're harmless. Fifteen baby Pacific spiny lumpsuckers are coming to the Aquarium of the Bay at PIER 39 this February. Indigenous to the rocky reefs of the Pacific Northwest, these animals were bred and raised at Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences. Difficult to see in the wild, these adorable creatures have a critical role in the food web as detritus feeders. While visiting the Aquarium of the Bay, be sure to reserve one of their behind-the-scenes experiences

CounterPulse Opens Spring Season

CounterPulse, which serves as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture, opens its spring season on Feb. 1, 2018. Performances range from the San Francisco premiere of dancer-choreographer Kei Takei’s Moving Earth “Orient Sphere” to “Barn Owl,” a chilling sci-fi ghost story. All performances are NOTAFLOF – No One Turned Away for Lack of Funds. Mark your calendars for the CounterPulse Festival, March 14-18, 2018, which is a launch pad for experimental dance and performance makers. All details will be announced on Feb. 18, 2018.

February Flick Picks

San Francisco has a legion of film festivals. You won’t want to miss the 15th annual Big Lebowski Party on Feb. 2, 2018, one of the highlights of SF Indiefest, Feb. 1-18, 2018. The upcoming season of Modern Cinema at SFMOMA, Feb. 1-25, 2018, will combine a range of films by Claire Denis, whose work includes “Chocolat,” “Beau Travail” and “The Intruder.” Berlin & Beyond screens German-language films at the Castro Theatre and Goethe-Institut, Feb. 9-15, 2018. The Jewish Film Institute presents “Winterfest,” Feb. 10-11, 2018. Over at the Vogue Theatre, it’s a very British affair with the annual Mostly British Film Festival, Feb. 15-22, 2018. 

Until, Until, Until …

On a related note, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) presents “Edgar Arceneaux” through March 25, 2018. Exploring historical patterns around race and representation through drawings, installations and theaters, the artist revisits a controversial performance by Ben Vereen at Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in a multi-media video installation, as well as a live action play, “Until, Until, Until ….”

Run San Francisco

Don’t forget to sign up for some of the upcoming foot races in San Francisco. On Feb. 4, the 2018 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon and 5K, ranked as one of the most scenic in the U.S., follows a course through Golden Gate Park and along the Pacific coast. Registration is also open for the Giant Race in the fall.

Stage Struck

Oscar Wilde once observed,“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Humanity in all its many splendored forms will be on stage this month, starting with the return of “The Book of Mormon” to the SHN Orpheum on Feb. 6, 2018. From Feb. 21-April 22, 2017, “Vietgone,” a contemporary twist on the classic story of boy-meets-girl that finds three Vietnamese immigrants on an eye-opening road trip across America, unfolds at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. At the New Conservatory Theatre Center, “Still at Risk", a look at an activist in the AIDS crisis who finds himself struggling to find a purpose in an era of greater gay rights and political urgency, continues through Feb. 25 2018.

One Market Silver Anniversary

Join One Market Restaurant on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 for an unforgettable dinner celebrating 25 years. Some of the top chefs in San Francisco have been at the helm of One Market since its opening in 1993, including co-founding partner and chef, Bradley Ogden. All of them will return to each create a course highlighting their time at the helm. The evening will include a performance by Paula West, an original One Market employee.

Tribal & Textile Art Show

Proceeds from the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art Show, Feb. 8 (opening gala preview) through Feb. 11, 2018 at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, benefit the textile arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas collections at the de Young museum. A special exhibit features aboriginal art from Australia.

Exploratorium Science of Cocktails

Combining the art and science of mixology, one of the Exploratorium’s signature late-night events, Science of Cocktails, returns on Feb. 9, 2018.  During the event, local mixologists will create cocktails inspired by the Exploratorium’s exhibits in a space that could be called the best pop-up bar in the city. Heavy hors d'oeuvres and house-made beer from the Exploratorium’s hOppenheimers Brew Club, a group of Exploratorium staff brewers, will also be available. Considered one of the top hands-on learning laboratories in the world, the Exploratorium includes a renowned collection of interactive exhibits that ignite curiosity and build confidence and science-literacy. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Exploratorium’s education programs.

Dance Around Town

Twirling and leaping its way through two world premieres at Grace Cathedral and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ODC/Dance presents its 47th home season, “Dance Around Town.” “Path of Miracles” will premiere at Grace Cathedral, Feb. 9-10, 2018. The work is inspired by English composer Joby Talbot’s work of the same name. The following month, from March 15-18 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ODC/Dance presents the world premiere of ODC Founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way’s “News of the World.”

San Francisco Beer Week

SF Beer Week 2018 spotlights the ever-increasing innovation taking shape in breweries across the local landscape. The San Francisco Brewers Guild and Northern California's finest breweries will host hundreds of craft beer celebrations, Feb. 9-18, 2018. Some favorites include Philz Coffee Beer Collaboration & Brunch, Girl Scout Cookie and Beer Pairing at Wine Down, Smoothie Brews + Fruity Sours – Tropical Takeover at multiple Woods Beer Co. locations and Anti-Valentine’s Day Polkapalooza at Schroeder’s.

KNBR Giants FanFest

Current San Francisco Giants players and coaches are scheduled to be in attendance at the annual KNBR FanFest on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at AT&T Park. Admission is free and parking is $10 in Lots A, B and Pier 48. Public transportation is highly encouraged. Activities include player autograph sessions, self-guided tours of the Giants clubhouse and press box, game-used memorabilia specials and live Q&A stages featuring players and coaches.

The Randall Museum Opens

After a $9 million renovation, The Randall Museum, a one-of-a-kind art and science education center, reopens to the public on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Many a child in San Francisco has whiled away an afternoon at the Randall, puttering with wood scraps or scaling the toddler tree house. The renovation brings new features to the museum, including a state-of-the-art STEM lab, geology and zoology exhibits, a cafe, as well as updates to the live animal exhibit, science and ceramics studios and classrooms. Admission is free.

Doggone It!

On Feb. 16, 2018, San Francisco will welcome the Year of the Dog. Chinatown will resound with firecrackers and welcome a brand new Golden Dragon to the menagerie of lunar animals that play a central part in the festivities. Ceremonial lions will romp in the streets and Miss Chinatown USA aspirants will flock here from all over the country to compete for the festival crown. On Feb. 24, 2018 the night of the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, the revelry will crest in a glittering display of pageantry. Bleacher seats to watch the parade are available for $35. A walking tour of Chinatown is the perfect prelude to a festive dinner in Chinatown.

Bill Fontana: Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns

In 1981, sound artist Bill Fontana created a live acoustic map of San Francisco Bay. Microphones were installed at eight different positions around the bay in order to hear the multiple acoustic delays from the foghorns on the Golden Gate Bridge. Sounds were broadcast to the facade of Pier 2 at Fort Mason Center. Listeners are able to hear various locations simultaneously, delayed by the distances the sound has to travel, translating topography into sound. On Feb. 16, 2018, Fontana’s “Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns” returns to its original location on the eastern wall of Pier 2, now the San Francisco Art Institute’s campus at Fort Mason Center for Art & Culture. For this exhibition, Fontana also presents never-before-seen audiovisual artworks, which he refers to as “acoustical visions.”

Youth Speaks Turns 22

Slam season is here. The voices of the 21st century are celebrating their 22nd annual Youth Speaks Poetry Slam. Founded in 1996, Youth Speaks is the leading nonprofit presenter of spoken word performance, education and youth development programs in the country. The two-month-long Youth Speaks Olympic-style poetry competition kicks off on Feb. 16, 2018 with preliminary rounds. Young poets ages 13-19 will compete at venues in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. The event concludes with the Grand Slam Finals at the Nourse Theater on April 14, 2018. Champions will go on to represent the Bay Area at Youth Speaks' national Brave New Voices Festival, which takes place in July.

Pop Goes Noise Pop

Noise Pop, Feb. 19-25, 2018, is one of San Francisco’s favorite indie music, arts and film festivals.  Now in its 26th year, Noise Pop has brought early exposure to many emerging artists in the Bay Area and beyond, many of whom have gone on to widespread acclaim. More than 180 bands are set to play. In addition, the festival boasts culinary events, film series and visual arts shows. Tickets often sell out early, so act now to get yours.

On the Waterfront

San Francisco’s waterfront is a playground of attractions and amusements including Alcatraz Cruises, Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussauds San Francisco and San Francisco Dungeon. Now through March 5, 2018 enjoy special discounts at these attractions as well as waterfront restaurants and hotels. Visit “Winter on the Waterfront” to secure details, discounts and information on shuttle service provided by Hornblower Classic Cable Cars.

A Toast!

Don’t miss the annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. The largest competition of American wines in the world will host its coveted public tasting on Feb. 17, 2018.

Walk. Run. Bike. Roll.

Feeling like some fresh air and a walk in the park? Don’t forget car-free Sundays and holidays in Golden Gate Park, when visitors are invited to “walk, run, bike and roll” along Kennedy Drive. Tours and bike rentals are available from a number of companies: Bay City Bike Rentals and ToursBike & View San Francisco Bike Rentals and ToursBlazing Saddles Bike Rentals & ToursDandyhorse SF Bike Tours, Golden Gate Park Bike & SkateParkwide Bike Rentals and Tours, Sports Basement and Wheel Fun Rentals. San Francisco also has an extensive bike share program through Ford GoBike.

Spring Fling

Daylight savings time is almost here! Clocks “spring forward” on March 11, 2018. In the meantime, there is plenty of time to tiptoe through the tulips, marvel at the magnolias and romp through the rhododendrons, said to be John McLaren’s (the “father” of Golden Gate Park) favorite flower. PIER 39’s annual Tulipmania, Feb. 10-18, 2018, features daily guided tours at 10 a.m., planting tips from experts and complimentary refreshments. Towards the end of February, don’t miss the annual Pacific Orchid Exposition at the San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, Feb. 22-25, 2018.

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)