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Arts & Entertainment

This weekend: Black history, Imagine Picasso, SF Beer Week, ‘Sexploration’ and more

February is Black History Month, and there are numerous ways to celebrate the occasion in San Francisco.

This Thursday, poet Quincy Troupe, actor Danny Glover and author Terry McMillan get together for a virtual conversation moderated by playwright and UC Merced lecturer Kim McMillon. The talk is streaming live and for free on the San Francisco Public Library’s YouTube channel at 2 p.m.

“I, Too, Sing America,” which we highlighted a few weeks back, wraps up its run this weekend. The show pairs the poetry of Langston Hughes, Frances Chung and Vince Gotera with original music and dance. Tickets start at $15.

San Francisco may have a representative on the 14th and current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Friday’s all-Black drag show at Oasis has nothing to do with Lady Camden. Hosted by Nicki Jizz, “Reparations” will feature Kerri Colby, Mahlae Balenciaga, Alotta Boutte and more. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets start at $15.

We at The Standard are also hosting our own event in recognition of Black History Month. “Representation Matters,” part of the Standard Salon series, will explore Black culture in San Francisco through food and art. Attendees will get a “Taste of the Diaspora” with small bites from Radio Africa & Kitchen, Amawele’s South African Kitchen, Teranga and Vegan Mob paired with wine from local African American vendors. We’ll also have a Black-owned Business Bazaar; an art show, live music, screenprinting and more. The free event is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 17, at our offices in the Mission.

— Meaghan Mitchell

Imagine Picasso

The Armory, 1800 Mission St.
Through March 27 | $39.99

The historical San Francisco Armory has been many things to many people. It began as a literal armory for the United States National Guard, it’s hosted numerous prize fights, and it was home to for a little more than a decade. Now it’s the temporary home for the latest immersive art experience to open in San Francisco. More than 200 of Pablo Picasso’s works will be projected on screens, walls and other surfaces throughout the historic building. Covering the entirety of the legendary painter’s career, the exhibit will take visitors through Picasso’s Bleu and Rose periods through his turn as a pioneer of cubism and surrealism. (MM)

After Dark: Sexplorations 

The Exploratorium, Pier 15
Thursday, Feb. 10 @ 6 p.m. | $19.95

Get in the mood at the Exploratorium’s adults-only, after-hours event with a theme fit for Valentine’s Day. Learn how flowers, zebrafish, sea urchins and milkweed bugs “do it” in a series of talks and demonstrations with animal sexperts. DJ Lady Ryan from Hip Hop for Change spins beats throughout the night to help you get your groove on as you discover the fascinating biology of the birds and the bees. The event is 18+ only. (CC)

‘Mrs. Robinson’ Ballet

Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave.
Thursday & Saturday, Feb. 10 & 12 | $29+

The names Balanchine and Bizet are commonly found on classical ballet programs. Simon & Garfunkel are not as ubiquitous. The San Francisco Ballet opens its 2022 season with a performance inspired by the romantic tryst at the center of The Graduate. Thursday showcases Cathy Marston’s “Mrs. Robinson,” which interprets the iconic dalliance between the young Benjamin Braddock and his elder pursuer. It’s part of the San Francisco Ballet’s Program I, which also plays this Saturday. SF Ballet’s Program II, playing Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., features not only Jerome Robbins’ classic ode to lovers, “In the Night,” but also “Blake Works I,” a breezy and buoyant tribute to the ethereal vocals of the Grammy Award-winning British soul singer James Blake by choreographer William Forsythe. (CC)

Wu Man | Courtesy Photo

Chinese Pipa Virtuoso, Wu Man

Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 11-12 @ 7:30 p.m. | $30+

Celebrated Chinese instrumentalist Wu Man brings her virtuosic talents to the San Francisco Symphony, playing percussion pioneer Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Pipa and String Orchestra. Chinese folk songs and Vivaldi meet in this large-scale work composed especially for the pipa, a lute-like instrument with a history stretching back more than 2,000 years. An international ambassador of both traditional and contemporary pipa music, Man is known for her work with the esteemed San Francisco-based string ensemble Kronos Quartet and is a founding musician of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad project. (CC)

SF Beer Week

Friday, Feb. 11 Through Feb. 20
Various Locations & Prices

Raise a cold one to all the beer artisans—local and national, micro and macro—who pour their heart and soul into their craft. SF Beer Week starts this Friday with kick-off events all over the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the celebration begins at Harmonic Brewing’s Thrive City location right outside the House that Steph Built. Events include a cornhole tournament hosted by Broke-Ass Stuart at 21st Amendment, a discussion of beer R&D at Fort Point and a requisite sudsy yoga sesh at San Francisco Brewing Co. (HL)

Maz Jobrani | Photo by Storm Santos

Maz Jobrani

The Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St.
Friday, Feb. 11 @ 9:45 p.m. | $49.50+

Before making a name for himself on the pioneering Axis of Evil comedy tour and writing the LA Times bestseller I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV, comedian and podcaster Maz Jobrani was a teen from Tiburon and a UC Berkeley student. Jobrani returns to the Bay Area this Friday, bringing his “Things Are Looking Bright” standup tour to the Palace of Fine Arts. (CC) 

Built to Spill

The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 11-12 @ 9 p.m. | $37.50

For almost 30 years, over the course of eight studio albums, Built To Spill has channeled the rainbow of human emotion into honest, plain-spoken indie rock. The Boise, Idaho, band—the brainchild of its sole constant member, Doug Martsch—has been cited as a seminal influence by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard. In addition to influencing plenty of alternative rock’s best performers, Martsch hasn’t been shy about his own inspirations. In 2020, Built to Spill dropped an album of Daniel Johnston covers and have been known to pepper their sets with faithful renditions of hits by The Rolling Stones, New Order and The Smiths. (HL)

MoAD’s Engage Symposium

Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St.
Saturday, Feb. 12 @ 12 p.m. | Free

The recently re-opened MoAD hosts their fourth annual “Engage Symposium.” Titled “Transcending Boundaries in Contemporary African Art,” this year’s edition is inspired by two major exhibitions of works by Amoako Boafo and Billie Zangewa currently on view at the museum. The half-day event consists of a keynote by Natasha Becker, curator of African art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, three panels and a virtual tour of the museum’s exhibitions. The panels include discussions of contemporary Ghanaian figurative painting, the legacy of colonialism and African art on the global market, featuring panelists from around the world and across the arts. (MB)

Lover’s Mart

Kapwa Gardens, 967 Mission St.
Saturday, Feb. 12 @ 12 p.m. | $5

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and things are heating up—literally. Pick up a gift for your special someone and learn how to make your own bouquet at the “Lover’s Mart” this weekend. As with all Kapwa Gardens events, food, drink, music and a casual outdoor atmosphere are standard. (MM)

Codes of Silence

Slash, 1150 25th St., Building B
Saturday, Feb. 12 @ 4 p.m. | Free

Silence can be peaceful or unsettling, reflective or vacant. But can silence be heard? Felt? Seen? Do we recognize silence or only the cacophony of its absence? The now familiar political slogan “Silence Equals Violence” speaks to the ways in which silence can have both political and social implications. Curated by Leila Weefur, this group exhibition aims to expand viewers’ experience and interpretation of silence and “to reckon with the tension of discerning who should be heard and when.” (MB)

Keep the Dream Alive

A Tiny Telephone Podcast
New Episodes Wednesdays

Back in early 2020, John Vanderslice, the founder of San Francisco’s Tiny Telephone recording studio, announced that he couldn’t afford to keep the doors open at his flagship location. In its heyday, the analog studio tracked plenty of legendary songs by numerous indie rock legends, including Death Cab for Cutie, The Mountain Goats, Spoon and Sleater-Kinney. Though Vanderslice’s outpost in Oakland remains, the Mission District Tiny Telephone lives on only in memory—and in the new podcast, Keep the Dream Alive. Billed as “a human story about love and loss, the tension between art and commerce,” the limited series can be streamed on Soundcloud, Apple and Spotify. (NV)

Max Blue, Christina Campodonico, Meaghan Mitchell and Nick Veronin contributed additional reporting for this story.