The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.
Hear them sing: San Francisco’s landmark Castro Theatre may be dark and devoid of the usual reverberations at this time of the year, but the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, for the 30th year in a row, is raising its collective voice in joyous song. The men’s annual “Home for the Holidays” concert, aptly retitled “(At) Home for the Holidays,” takes place at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve as an all-virtual celebration. Their extravaganza will feature gorgeous choral works and holiday favorites, some of them given new interpretations, and there will be special guests, entertaining videos and some surprises to boot. Tickets are $25-$60; register at www.sfgmc.org to tune the guys in and sing along, as loud as you like.
Bring your own chopsticks: The 28th annual version of a hilarious holiday tradition, the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show, hosted by comedians Lisa Geduldig, Judy Gold and Alex Edelman is taking a pandemic-driven pivot this year. Now cheekily described as “Jewish Comedy on Christmas in a (Virtual) Chinese Restaurant,” the show starts streaming via YouTube and Zoom at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. And if you’re too busy prepping for Santa (or whatever) then, you can also tune in to repeat performances at 5 p.m. Christmas Day or 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25-$50, available at (415) 522-3737 and koshercomedy.com. Here’s a snippet from a past show to give you a taste of the hot and sour Jewish comedy:
Clowning around: Lance McGee is a wellness and mindfulness coach and drama therapist for the Oakland school district, but to his many fans, he is also Unique Derique, a high-energy, fun-loving and talented clown and comedian who performs a family-friendly show titled “Fool La La” at The Marsh in San Francisco and other venues. This weekend, he’s streaming a special edition of the production, subtited “Home for the Holidaze,” because, well, who couldn’t use a laugh these days? The show will feature his usual antics — juggling, hambone dancing and lots of jokes and overall silliness — along with a few digital surprises. “Holidaze” kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday, and will be followed by a quick tutorial on juggling and hambone dancing. Access is free, but donations are encouraged. Go to themarsh.org.
Celebrating Kwanzaa: The annual San Francisco Kwanzaa Celebration turns 15 this year and, like other cherished community festivities, has had to adjust to the pandemic and its shelter-at-home landscape. The 2020 virtual edition offers a mix of cultural and spiritual observances, celebration of African American culture and performances by talented blues/R&B artists such as J.C. Smith, Fillmore Slim, Tia Carroll, the Soul Mechanix and more. There will also be a virtual staging of “Harriet Tubman: A One Woman Play.” Following the Kwanzaa schedule, there are daily events and performances from Saturday through Jan. 1. Access to each event is free, but donations to The Village Project, the San Francisco youth services nonprofit that organizes the celebration, are welcome. More information is at www.thevillageprojectsf.org, and you can access the daily events at www.eventbrite.com (search for San Francisco Kwanzaa Celebration).
It’s a tradition, Charlie Brown: Good grief! You didn’t think the pandemic was going to put a stop to the Bay Area’s annual celebration of one of the most beloved holiday soundtracks of all time, did you? We’re talking about Bay Area jazz legend Vince Guaraldi’s iconic, Grammy-winning soundtrack to the equally beloved 1965 special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” SFJazz has for years hosted renowned Bay Area pianist, composer and bandleader Adam Shulman performing the score, and this year is no different. Well, of course it’s different, but tune into the venue’s website at 5 p.m. Thursday and you’ll catch a streaming concert (originally performed in 2019) of Shulman and his Trio — bassist John Wiitala and drummer James Gallagher — performing Guaraldi’s prized score. The performance will also be available on demand through Saturday. You must be a SFJazz digital subscriber to access the show (the yearly fee is $60). Go to www.sfjazz.org.