Local News Matters weekly newsletter
Start your week with a little inspiration. Sign up for our informative, community-based newsletter, delivered on Mondays with news about the Bay Area.
Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter
End your week with a bit of culture to unwind and refresh. Sign up for our surprising and inspiring options in our weekly newsletter, delivered on Thursdays with news about Bay Area arts and entertainment.
Maybe it’s not the best year to find someone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve, though there probably hasn’t been a better year to kiss goodbye than 2020.
COVID-19 is obviously keeping the lid on traditional celebrations this year — no fireworks over the bay attracting the bundled-up masses — but there’s plenty to do virtually while keeping one’s distance.
For bringing in the new year mindfully, Sahaja Yoga and Meditation of Fremont is hosting a free virtual meditation session, via Zoom, at 6:45 p.m. Participants can join up to 30 minutes in advance to ask questions or receive help. Beginners are welcome and use of laptops are encouraged. More information can be found online.
Along those same lines, Marin County’s Spirit Rock will present the livestreamed “Spirit Rock New Year’s Eve: Resting in the Kind Heart in the Midst of Uncertainty.” The event starts at 8 p.m. and will feature music, meditation, chanting and sharing. Cost is on a sliding scale ($55-$275). Registration information is available on the group’s website.
For bringing in the new year with new people, MyCheekyDate’s SpeedSanFran, SpeedOakland, and SpeedSanJose are hosting a virtual New Year’s Eve Bash, for singles 25-39, from 6-8 p.m. ($39). There will be a host to guide participants through the process and into their own private chat rooms every 7-8 minutes. More information is available on the the above websites.
For celebrating as early as possible, Chabot Space & Science Center will do its annual New Year’s celebration online. Because when the clock strikes noon in Oakland on Dec. 31, it’s officially 2021 somewhere on the planet. Starting at 11 a.m., Chabot will do a virtual balloon drop, dance party, family-friendly toast, and other activities led by the Galaxy Explorers and scientists from Stanford. Cost is $10 and tickets can be purchased online.
For chiming in the new year, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco will partner with Rev. Gengo Akiba and the Oakland Zen Temple Kojin-an to live stream an event featuring blessings, chanting of the heart-sutra, and bell ringing. There will also be a behind-the-scenes look at how the ceremony is prepared. Other activities will include a storytelling program for families. The event begins at 10 a.m. and is free at the museum’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, though donations up to $25 are encouraged. For details, visit the museum’s website or call 415-581-3500.
Music and more
For bringing in the new year with a Bay Area music legend, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros. will livestream a performance from San Rafael’s TRI Studios at 7 p.m. Weir will be joined by Don Was, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti, and Greg Leisz. Tickets are $20 (packages including merchandise are extra) and available on the Fans Live website.
Cal Performances will bring in 2021 with a concert featuring musicians from its fall 2020 “Cal Performances at Home” series. Made especially for the occasion, the program features cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott, trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg, singer Julia Bullock and pianist Laura Poe, violinist Tessa Lark, the Tetzlaff Quartet, and more. The program starts ay 8 p.m. and remains viewable until 4 a.m. Jan. 2 ($15-$98, purchase tickets online).
Opera San Jose welcomes 2021 with “The Parting Glass,” a celebration set fittingly in a pub, where drinking songs from many cultures through the ages will be featured. The live-streamed production will be performed at Heiman Digital Media Studio, at 6:30 p.m. The production is free (VIP experiences are available from $150), but reservations are required. Call 408-437-4450 for more information.
Kids can ring in the new year virtually in a couple of places. The Bay Area Discovery Museum Noon Year’s Eve Pajama Party features music, dancing, a pajama fashion show and a noon countdown. The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. and is free, though registration is required. The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is also hosting a “Noon Year’s Eve” party, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Downloadable instructions are offered on how to make corn husk dolls, party hats, bubbles, kazoos and more.
Oakland’s Sobre Mesa and Redwood City’s Dragon Productions Theatre Company say farewell to 2020 with “Light at the End,” a virtual party space in which participants navigate using an avatar and mingle through messaging and video. There will be a virtual cocktail class, a cocktail and meal kit delivered to partygoers beforehand. Cost is $25-$125, with tickets available online.