Out with the old year, in with the new. The first month of 2024 has happenings for all different tastes: comedy for those who love to laugh, a film fest for those who enjoy a good mystery and a highbrow gathering for design and art connoisseurs. There’s also beer and wine tastings for those who enjoy pleasing their palates.
As the daughter of Marrell McCollough, who personally witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., author Leta McCollough Seletzky shares her insider knowledge of the tragic event as well as her father’s role as King’s ally as well as his involvement with the activist group the Invaders as a spy and undercover police officer.
Jan 13–Mar 30 Gertrud Parker: The Possible at MarinMOCA
Born and raised in Vienna, Austria and later fleeing the Nazis on the eve of occupation, visionary Gertrud Parker (1924–2021) settled in San Francisco and founded the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art in 1982, a museum that was instrumental in launching artists’ careers beyond the confines of then limited definitions of craft.
Jan 16–Feb 11 The Wiz
Nearly 50 years ago, The Wiz changed the face of Broadway — from its iconic score packed with soul, gospel, rock, and ’70s funk to its stirring tale of Dorothy’s journey to find her place in a contemporary world. Now, this groundbreaking twist on The Wizard of Oz is on an all-new, Broadway-bound tour across the U.S., including a stop at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theater.
Jan 17–March 10 Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza
Cirque’s iconic Big Top returns to San Francisco’s Oracle Park for the first time since 2019 with Kooza — a tribute to the traditional circus in all its splendor with audacious acrobatic prowess and bold slapstick comedy, combined with daredevil performances, lavish costumes and a live score that have become Cirque’s trademark.
Jan 18–21 Fog Design+Art
Fort Mason Center will be abuzz with the design and visual work of artists from 45 international galleries during this annual fair that draws in art aficionados from all over the Bay Area. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the fair is adding a new showcase featuring art by young and underrepresented artists.
Jan 18–Feb 4 SF Sketchfest
Get your giggle on at Sketchfest, San Francisco’s annual nationally recognized comedy festival that draws in some of the biggest names in the funny business. With more than 200 shows during the fest, each day offers something new to chuckle at: riotous skits, cheeky improv and side splitting standup routines. Along with local talent, this year’s lineup includes Monty Python’s Eric Idle, writer and host Amber Ruffin and comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall.
Jan 19–28 Noir City
Fans of old Hollywood-style noir flock to this film festival held each year to indulge in 10 days worth of films from the height of the noir movement in the 1940s and ’50s. Setting the backdrop for the drama is the historic Grand Theater in Oakland, where all films are shown.
Jan 20 Buck Lucky Fest
Novato’s Ghiringhelli’s restaurant is rocking out this month with Buck Lucky Fest, a night full of music hosted by Lena Claypool of the vintage clothing collective Buck Lucky Clothing. Shop the selections of clothing vendors while listening to the tunes of local groups like The Happys, SourFlower and more.
Jan 20–Aug 11 Fashioning San Francisco at the de Young
Fashion lovers rejoice! For the first time in over 35 years, the de Young is holding a major showcase of its costume collection. Expect jaw-dropping garments from Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Christopher John Rogers and many more fashion leaders. Visitors can also “try on” a few gowns with the help of augmented reality technology by Snap.
The Man in Black is back at San Francisco’s Curran Theater in a way that audiences haven’t seen or heard before: as video of Johnny from episodes of The Johnny Cash TV Show plays on a screen above the stage, a live band and singers accompany him in perfect sync. Cash’s only son, John Carter Cash, narrates the evening and shares intimate stories from his father’s personal life and illustrious musical career.
A new year often means trimming the old to make way for new growth. In that spirit, Marin Art and Garden Center is hosting a demonstration on rose pruning to set your flowers right for the coming spring. No reservations are necessary for this event, so swing by the Rose Garden from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to learn best practices for pesticide-free plant care.
Jan 26–Jan 27 Edwardian Ball
The 23rd edition of the world-famous ball will feature an all-new live performance of Edward Gorey’s classic tale, “The Remembered Visit.” San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom will be filled with dancing and high kicking as music, theatre and fashion grace our several stages. Explore the world-class wares at the free daytime vendor bazaar,
Jan 27 ZinEx
At this daylong tasting, Zinfandel lovers (not the white grape kind) can indulge in their favorite vine fruit with Zinfandels and blends produced by masters of the Zin wine making craft. Included is a selection of sumptuous culinary bites from restaurants and winery chefs.
Jan 28 Bay Area Brew Fest
After a three-year hiatus, this popular brew festival returns to Fort Mason — offering tastings from 50+ breweries plus fare from food trucks to wash it all down.
Jan 28 Black Oak Ensemble
Among other pieces, this cellist, violist and violinist trio which concertizes throughout Europe and North America will perform selections from their debut album, Silent Voices, featuring concerts of string trios created by Jewish composers silenced by the Holocaust.
THROUGH Jan 28 Glow: Discover the Art of Light
Compose music with light, touch quantum physics, play LED dungeon crawlers, unveil hidden crystals, see yourself in mechanical mirrors and more at this annual celebration of luminous artworks at the Exploratorium.
THROUGH 2024 Spark: The Universe in Us
California Academy of Sciences’ new planetarium film travels back 3 billion years in time to show how the creation of the Milky Way might have occurred — plus explores our deep human connection not just to Earth, but to stars millions of light years away.