San Francisco

The Absolute Best Ways to Celebrate New Year's Eve in SF

Say goodbye to 2020.

Courtesy of Truffle Shuffle
Courtesy of Truffle Shuffle
Courtesy of Truffle Shuffle

If there were ever a year to celebrate the end of, it’s been this one. Though it’s not going to be perfect, 2021 promises to at least be much, much better, and we think that’s something you should celebrate. In your pajamas at home, of course. We’ve rounded up all kinds of virtual events-from a Roaring ’20s caviar and truffle party to a Misfit Cabaret to a 28-hour party that will celebrate 38 strokes of midnight. Wherever you are and however you decide to kick 2020 to the curb, we’ll be raising a glass with you and cheersing to the demise of a year we’d prefer to forget, even if it takes copious amounts of champagne to do so. Happy New Year!

Enjoy caviar and truffles at a roaring ’20s party

Live Stream
If you’re determined to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a side of indulgence, Truffle Shuffle’s virtual New Year’s Eve bash is the way to go. You’ll receive a box filled with caviar, truffles, cheese, and charcuterie, as well as classic prohibition era cocktail mixers to kick off the evening. Next, you’ll pop in and out of interactive breakout rooms where you can learn to dance the Charleston, get your tarot cards read, do magic tricks, or “ask the mob boss for a favor” whatever that may mean. The final act is a vaudeville show with tap dancers and lots of other specialty acts to enjoy as you ring in the New Year. Want fancier caviar and black or white truffles? Go VIP.
Cost: GA: $95; VIP: $250 to $2021
 

Check out a Bollywood party live streaming from Seattle

Livestream
Want to celebrate midnight in our actual time zone? Get a ticket for Boom Swara’s Annual Bollywood New Years Eve Party with DJ Kaza, which promises to be a four+ hour “audio-visual extravaganza that will blow your senses.” This party usually sells out, but since everything’s virtual this year, the more the merrier.
Cost: Early bird: $30
 

Flow into the New Year with a live yoga class

Zoom
If you’d like to end the year feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, why not start your day with a yoga class? There’s a 60 minute class with Emily Pareti at 7 am, and if waking up at 7 am on what’s basically an unofficial holiday sounds like the worst idea ever, there’s a 90 minute “energetic yoga practice” at 9 am, as well one that is a little bit yoga, a little bit mediation, and maybe even some chanting. That one is also 90 minutes and starts at 9 am. Not a morning person? We’ve got you. New Moon Yoga Studio is offering a 60 minute class at 4 pm with all proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of NW Michigan.
Cost: $15 for first two; the meditation/yoga combo class has a suggested donation of $18 to $27; $10 for the 4 pm class
 

Attend a “Global Gala”

Zoom
Spend your evening in the Caribbean, Mexico, China, Africa, Russia, Ireland, and lots of other places around the world at an international virtual gala. The celebration takes place on Zoom and you can “travel” from room to room throughout the evening to see performances, listen to music, and take a dance class if you’re down. Because everything fun is happening on the east coast, this party kicks off at 6:30 pm and ends at 10 pm, which means you can start 2021 with a good night’s sleep.
Cost: $15 or $45 if you want a package with NYE “supplements” delivered

Photo by  Erik Tomasson
Photo by Erik Tomasson
Photo by Erik Tomasson

Travel to the Land of Sweets watching the “Nutcracker Online” 

Streaming
New Year’s Eve is your last chance to see a little girl fight off a giant Mouse King and a nutcracker turn into a prince. San Francisco Ballet is streaming the famous holiday ballet and has added some extras, like a tour of the opera house, historical highlights, and even a dance lesson. 
Cost: $49 for 48-hour access
 

Experience magic and mystery through your screen

Livestream
Have your fortune told and take part in a show of magic and mystery at this show where you’re not just a spectator. Everyone who buys a ticket will receive a “mystery box” with items that you’ll use during the show to “experience the magic in your own hands.” Tickets will disappear fast, so conjure yours up ASAP if you want in.
Cost: $30
 

Host a murder mystery party

Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.
Someone will die “When the Clock Strikes Murder,” a murder mystery game you can play virtually with 4 to 14 players. All you have to do is download the game and you’ll become a resident of a small mountain town where nothing ever happens… until you get an invitation for a New Year’s Eve gala that changes everything.
Cost: $44.95
 

Watch the ball drop in New York City

Live webcast
Okay, so it happens three hours before the clock hits midnight in SF, but think about it this way: now you can watch a live (commercial-free) webcast of the festivities (which is still happening, just not with those huge crowds of people wearing diapers so that they don’t lose their spot when they go to the bathroom) and still get a good night’s sleep. Ryan Seacrest is hosting and there will be performances from J-Lo and Gloria Gaynor (singing “I Will Survive”). (If you don’t mind commercials and want to skip out on Seacrest’s earnest-ness, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will be holding down the fort (and drinking copious amounts of tequila) on CNN again.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of DNA Lounge
Courtesy of DNA Lounge
Courtesy of DNA Lounge

Attend a bawdy and comedic Misfit Cabaret

Livestream
Enjoy a variety show like no other. At Kat Robichaud’s Misfit Cabaret, where you’ll be entertained by magical music, burlesque, drag, circus, magic, and more. The night starts with a welcome in the spirit of San Francisco’s past and there won’t be a dull moment from there.
Cost: Free, but donations go to support the artists and DNA Lounge
 

“Go” to LA to see DJ Steve Aoki

Fuse, Fuse YouTube Channel
LA’s Grand Park annual New Year’s Eve parry is going virtual. Tune in at 11 pm to see performances by Dim Mak en Fuego and friends, Aquihayaquihay, Andrekza, all curated by Steve Aoki.
Cost: Free
 

Enjoy a few laughs at a comedy show. You deserve it.

Zoom
Live Comedy on Zoom, a comedy show that’s been encouraging virtual laughter since May (oh how long ago that seems) is putting on a special NYE performance at 7 pm. The details are still being worked out because we’re all just doing the best we can this year, but check out the site to learn more.
Cost: Donations are encouraged, all of which go to the performers
 

Celebrate 38 midnights at a global online party

Livestream
You’ll have to stay up for 28 hours straight (starting at 1:30 am New Year’s Eve day) if you want to experience all 38 midnights around the world at this ambitious party thrown by Co-Reality Collective, but you can also just pop in to see what’s going on and who’s lucky enough to already be in 2021. The first New Year will be at the Pacific islands of Kiribati and then there will be one in every time zone until the final one (5:30 am New Year’s Day) at Baker Island. Want to be the midnight ambassador for PST? You can apply to be one.
Cost: Free Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who at a New Year’s Eve party once asked “How many more minutes ‘til midnight?” only to have her friend inform her it was 12:30am. She called an Uber immediately. See what shenanigans she gets up to this year on Instagram @daisysf.

San Francisco

How to Celebrate Black History Month in San Francisco

Support and celebrate SF's Black community.

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Though it’s something we need to be doing every day of every month of every year, Black History Month encourages us to pay tribute to the struggles and oppression generations of Black Americans have faced, as well as their often-neglected triumphs and achievements that have helped shape this county and make it better. It’s a time to reflect on how we can do better to confront racism and oppression, which this year’s theme, “Black Resistance,” echoes. This is especially important in a town like San Francisco, where the Fillmore District was known as “the Harlem of the West” before the city displaced a vast portion of the neighbourhood’s Black community in the ’60s and ’70s. This displacement continues today, as the Black population is the only racial group that has declined in every census since 1970.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are lots to do. Whether you want to educate yourself by attending films, performances, or conversations, share the joy at a parade or dance party, or do a little bit of it all at a drag show, here are just a few ways you can get involved and have a lot of fun while doing so:

Visit San Francisco Public Library branches for workshops, films, performances, and more

February (and throughout the year)
Library branches and online
SFPL’s “More Than a Month” celebration focuses on the theme of resistance this year. Family-friendly and adult events include film screenings, musical performances, book clubs, workshops, and more.
Cost: Free

Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora

See art, poetry, films, talks, and more at MoAD

February (and throughout the year)
SoMa
Right now, at the Museum of African Diaspora, you can see the first and only West Coast exhibition of “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” which highlights the work of 15 contemporary fashion designers “whose images present radically new perspectives on the medium of photography and art, race and beauty, and gender and power.” The museum, which has a robust year-round program and event calendar, has a slew of events to attend, including youth poetry readings, film screenings, open mic nights, book clubs, artist talks, and more.
Cost: Event prices vary; GA to visit the museum is $12 but free every second Saturday of the month

Check out films, art, reading, talks, and more at BAMPFA

February (and throughout the year)
Berkeley
There is always something interesting to discover at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). During Black History Month, you can see films by Pratibha Parmar, “Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa,” a conversation through music with the Senegalese writer, scholar, composer, musician, and more.
Cost: Varies

Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe

Enjoy menu specials honoring Black community members at Old Skool Cafe

February (and throughout the year)
Bayview
For Black History Month, Old Skool Cafe is adding the favourite meals of notable Black community members to the menu each weekend. The nonprofit, youth-run supper club helps at-risk, formerly incarcerated, and foster care youth ages 16-22 gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in various front and back-of-house restaurant roles. Bayview hero/community advocate Mrs. Dorris Vincent is first up, followed by Judge Trina Thompson, Delroy Lindo, and Mayor London Breed.

Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens

Walk beneath the Marting Luther King, Jr. Memorial waterfall

February (and ongoing)
Yerba Buena Gardens
Did you know that Yerba Buena Gardens is home to the country’s second-largest memorial to Dr. King? Visit the sculptural waterfall featuring glass panels inscribed with his inspiring words at 750 Howard Street.
Cost: Free

Attend the Commonwealth’s “Dreaming Forward: A Celebration of Black Joy, Power, and Excellence” conference

Thursday, February 9
Embarcadero
On behalf of Dr. Sheryl Evans Davis and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Club is hosting its second annual Dream Keeper Initiative, a day-long conference/celebration/call-to-action featuring special guests, including April Ryan of TheGrio and CNN.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays

Celebrate Black Love at Oakland First Fridays

Friday, February 10
Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street
Telegraph Avenue transforms into a dining, shopping, and art-appreciating party on Friday, February 10, from 5 pm to 9 pm. There will be food, artist, and retail vendors and a host of Black artists, authors, and entertainment. Please note: This event was rescheduled from February 3 because of potential rain.
Cost: Free

Have a ball at an all-Black drag show at Oasis

Friday, February 10
SoMa
“Reparations with Latrice Royale” is an all-Black drag show hosted by Latrice Royale, the beloved Drag Race star who also happens to be celebrating her birthday.
Cost: $15 to $60

Dance all night and shop all day at the Afro Soca Love carnival and marketplace

Friday, February 10 ‚Äď Saturday, February 11
341 13th Street, Oakland
Afro Soca Love creates experiences that act as a “gateway to building bonds and strengthen relationships-between communities, individuals, and Africa and its diaspora.” See for yourself at the all-ages marketplace (Saturday), where you’ll find food and drink, fashion, beauty and wellness, home decor, and more. But before the shopping comes the dancing at the 21+ Friday Night Carnival, a culturally immersive music experience with music from all over the world.
Cost: The marketplace is free; tickets to the Friday Night Carnival start at $20

See a live performance of “Words That Made the Difference: Brown vs. the Board of Education”

Saturday, February 11
Unity Palo Alto
See a live theatrical performance based on the true events that occurred in the fight to end school segregation. The script draws from trial transcripts of the five cases brought together in front of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s memoirs, and the play is set in the courtrooms where it all happened. There will be a Q&A with the playwright before the performance and the cast afterward.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company

Go to the I, Too, Sing America album release party

Saturday, February 11
Mission
Head to the Brava Theater Center to celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company’s album release of the music created for I, Too, Sing America, a soulful and uplifting performance that moved audiences when it debuted last year. The night includes an album-listening and sing-along party, DJs, dancing, an open bar, and more.
Cost: $40

Go on the Black Liberation Walking Tour of West Oakland

Saturday, February 18
West Oakland
Take a walk with David Peters, founder of the West Oakland Cultural Action Network, and Gene Anderson, the author of Legendary Locals of Oakland, to learn about resident voices and document sites of cultural and historical significance in the neighbourhood. Peters is a local native, and Anderson is an Oakland historian whose family has historical roots in West Oakland.
Cost: $50 ($30 for West Oakland residents)

See a screening of The Black Kung Fu Experience followed by in-person demonstrations

Sunday, February 19
Great Star Theater, Chinatown
The Chinese Historical Society of America is celebrating Black History Month and social unity with a screening of this film about how a group of African American pioneers became respected in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Afterward, there will be demonstrations and talks with Sifu Donald Hamby and Sifu Troy Dunwood, who “will speak about their success as internationally recognized martial arts masters, their Chinese Kung Fu teachers, and what this practice means in relation to diversity, race and inclusion issues.”
Cost: $15

Sip wine made by Black winemakers at a free tasting event at STEM Kitchen + Garden

Thursday, February 23
Dogpatch
STEM Kitchen + Garden is hosting an afternoon wine tasting celebrating Black-owned wineries in its gorgeous indoor/outdoor space, and best of all, and it’s free to the public!
Cost: Free

Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House

Attend the San Francisco African American Arts & Cultural District Gala Fundraiser

Saturday, February 25
Bayview Opera House
Enjoy an evening of talent, fashion, and community inspiration at SFAAACD’s 1st Annual Gala Fundraiser. Carla Duke, Television News Director at CBS-KPIX Chanel 5, will host the event, which includes inspiring words from keynote speaker Aniyia Williams, an artist, tech creator, and system-preneur.
Cost: $100

Attend a Black History Month & Chinese New Year Poetry Reading on Angel Island

Saturday, February 25
Angel Island
There is so much history in poetry at the Angel Island Detention Barracks Museum, which makes it a fitting location for poets Chun Yu and Michael Warr. The co-founders of Two Languages/One Community will share their poems and stories in English and Chinese, accompanied by projected images of text and photographs.
Cost: $10 to $21

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Feel the joy at the Black Joy Parade

Sunday, February 26
Downtown Oakland
This parade and festival celebrate the “Black experience past, present, and future.” Be prepared to experience “more Black joy than you ever imagined,” starting with the parade (beginning at 14th and Franklin) at 12:30 pm. The family-friendly festival follows (main entrance is at 19th and Franklin) will include 200-plus Black-owned small businesses selling food, drinks, clothing, art, and more. There will also be two stages with Black performers, including The Black Joy Choir.
Cost: Free

Take a sound bath at Grace Cathedral in honor of Black History Month

Monday, February 27
Nob Hill
Take an immersive sound bath featuring Fractals of Sound, a collective of top Bay Area musicians Egemen Sanli, Phoenix Song, and Sam Jackson, with special guest Destiny Muhammad. Together, they will create a “soundscape deeply rooted in world music,” allowing you to take a meditative journey in one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.
Cost: $25 to $75

See Tsitsi Dangarembga and Angela Davis at City Arts & Lectures

Tuesday, February 28
Civic Center
Co-presented with MoAd, City Arts & Lectures is hosting novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and scholar and activist Angela Davis for what’s sure to be a riveting conversation.
Cost: $36

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Daisy Barringer¬†is an SF-based freelance writer who spent many childhood days wandering around the Exploratorium. Follow her on¬†Instagram¬†to see what she’s up to now.

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