Charlie Hickox, far right, Dave Getz, center, and three jazz sidemen play in Hickox’s backyard in Fairfax. (Photo by Woody Weingarten/Facebook Live)

Feeling a need to shelter out of place — out of doors, in fact?

Although most amusement venues remain shuttered because of potential COVID-19 spread, it’s still possible to be entertained in the fresh air. 

Try, for example, Arkestra de Fairfax, a live jazz jam session from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturdays in the backyard of pianist, vocalist and “general mumbler” Charlie Hickox, backed by Dave Getz, longtime drummer for Big Brother and the Holding Company (and Janis Joplin, its lead singer). Guest artists regularly pop in. 

The audience is masked and socially distanced in the front yard. But if you prefer watching from home, click on

Video from “Tunnels of the Mind,” curated by Orit Ben Shitrit with artwork by Ben Wood, is the kind of image the San Francisco Art Institute will project onto its Chestnut Street tower in September. (Photo courtesy of Orit Ben Shitrit and SFAI)

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Art Institute will project experimental videos, free, on all four sides of its landmark tower at 800 Chestnut St. The shows will run eight Friday nights at 9 beginning Sept. 4. Screenings also will be available online at

Rather than staring at a tower, you might prefer traveling to Marin’s Civic Center, where the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival will screen world-class flicks in a studio-grade drive-in cinema at serene Lagoon Park. Although arrangements are still incomplete, the 11-day event will take place Oct. 8 to 18.

A still frame from “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” which the Mill Valley Film Festival will screen in Concord on Sept. 2. (Image courtesy of MVFF)

Festival organizers, in conjunction with folks from the Telluride Film Festival, have also scheduled an 8 p.m. Sept. 2 world premiere of “All In: The Fight for Democracy” at an East Bay venue, the West Wind Solano Twin Drive-In at 1611 Solano Way, Concord. The film features voting-rights activist Stacey Abrams, who lost her chance to be Georgia’s governor partially because of voter suppression. Reserved tickets, one per car, are available at

Creativity also is the byword for the Dipsea Hike, normally a grueling and treacherous trek from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race — first run in 1905 — is being labeled virtual. That designation, however, might not mean what you expect. New rules, reports Kevin Gay, board president, allow participants to participate in the Zero Breast Cancer fundraiser by “hiking, biking, wheeling, walking or moving any way, anywhere for 5.5 miles. You can do it once or a little at a time between Sept. 1 and 26.” For details, go to

Last year’s Outside Lands concerts drew huge crowds; this year’s event has been redubbed Inside Lands. (Image courtesy of Outside Lands)

Now, to flip the theme of this article for just a moment, consider Outside Lands, a music festival that drew hundreds of thousands of people to Golden Gate Park each summer. It was forced to kill its regular festival dates in early August because of the pandemic, but will become Inside Lands 2000, a virtual festival.

So, starting at 4 p.m. Aug. 28 and 29, through Twitch, a live streaming service that usually focuses on video games, Another Planet will present musical performances by acts slated to appear at Outside Lands 2021 (such as Gorillaz, Alt-J and Cage the Elephant), interviews and open-air sets from the past 12 years. More info is available at