SF Life: Museums, Film Fests, Outdoor Music

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The De Young wows with the Obama portraits and more. The Oakland Museum of California shines with Hella Feminist and The Faces of Ruth Asawa intrigue at Cantor. Film Festivals not to be missed, The Jewish Film Fest and Cinequest coming up this summer. Outdoor music is all over the Bay Area, find out what’s playing near you. And make sure to listen into this week’s Happy Hour Podcast, “Say Your Age.”

Our Latest Podcast

We had a lively conversation with Mariann Aalda, a “pro-aging evangelist,” on this week’s Happy Hour Podcast. She is on a mission to change the perception that young is good and old is bad. She is an actress and a comic, and these days she uses her comedic skills to shine a light on ageism.  Her latest initiative is on Instagram called “Say Your Age, Loud and Proud.” LISTEN IN HERE.

The Obamas are at the deYoung

Or at least their official portraits, have arrived at the de Young for a two-month stay on an unprecedented tour from the National Portrait Gallery. Fun fact: Twelve of the presidential portraits hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. depict the image of slave holders. Only two—the 44th President and First Lady of the United States, Barack, and Michelle Obama—are descendants of those who were enslaved.

The Obamas chose their own artists to paint the portraits commemorating their glass-ceiling-shattering eight years in the White House. Barack selected the New York–based artist Kehinde Wiley, whose work frequently reframes images of people from under-resourced communities in opulent historical styles like Rococo and Baroque. View the Obama Portraits for free every Saturday from June 18th to August 14th.  The rest of the week, the exhibition is free with general admission. deyoung.famsf.org

The Feminist Movement Explored

The Oakland Museum of California explores ephemera and art related to lesser-known stories from the feminist movement in the Bay Area. Postered, pins and photographs as well as newly commissioned artworks will be among the pieces on display. This curated exhibit emphasizes the intersectionality of feminist issues with struggles related to class, race, sexual identity and ability. www.museumca.org

The Faces of Ruth Asawa

We love Cantor Art Museum on the Stanford Campus, for its intimacy, Rodin sculpture garden and unique works of art. “The Faces of Ruth Asawa”: a new long-term installation of work by the late San Francisco artist debuts at the Cantor Art Center as part of the museum’s Asian American Art Initiative. The untitled work consists of 233 ceramic masks cast from the faces of friends and family of Asawa and her husband, Paul Lanier.

Three vessels created by Asawa’s son Paul Lanier, from clay mixed with the ashes of Asawa, her husband and late son Adam, will also be on view. Opens July 6th and sure to be a powerful and moving exhibit. Get the details.

July 21-August 7. San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Time to catch up with Film Festivals in person and the popular San Francisco Jewish Film Festival returns. Highlights include a special preview of the documentary series, “The U.S. and the Holocaust”, about how Americans grappled with one of history’s greatest humanitarian crisis, featuring an on-stage conversation at the Castro Theatre with the filmmakers; and Oakland filmmaker Parmar’s take on feminist writer and activist Andreq Dworkin, “My Name Is Andrea,” which features Ashley Judd. If you prefer streaming, there is that option as well. Get the details.

Aug. 16-29. Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival


This is Silicon Valley’s answer to fabulous films, coming to theatres in the San Jose area. The story and legacy of Cinequest is bringing together the Silicon Valley’s technologies and spirit of innovation with the arts to empower great creations—and connecting audiences, youth, artists, and innovators with these creations and with each other, improving our lives and our future. For all the wonderful films and events head to the website for the latest info. At the time of this writing, films had not been released, however they are sure to wow, inspire and educate. https://creatics.org/cinejoy/

Outdoor Concerts

Sit outside, grab a blanket and a beverage, and prepare to be entertained by all the outdoor concerts around the bay. From Yerba Buena Gardens to Union Square and Pier 39, to those in Redwood City, Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin, and Lakeside Park.

Yerba Buena Gardens always hosts unique, entertaining, and lively concerts. A sampling this summer includes ChoreoFest highlighting the spectacular strength, diversity, and vibrancy of the Bay Area contemporary dance scene through a two-weekend mini festival of site-specific work. ChoreoFest features an array of distinguished local dance companies of extraordinary performances throughout the Gardens’ lawns and architecture. July 23rd and 30th 1 – 3 p.m. www.ybgfestival.org

Why not play like a tourist and head to Pier 39. Daily magicians, performers and musicians display their various skills for the crowds. These are world-famous San Francisco Street Performers and Live Musicians. These free performances take place daily on the smartwater Stage, located at the Bay End of PIER 39. https://www.pier39.com/street-performers-musicians/

The Oakland Symphony brings its delightful melodies to Brooklyn Basin – 288 9the venue. Pick up a delectable assortment of prepared foods and fine wines from Rocky’s Market and relax in the open-air with friends at the Brooklyn Basin. Then, for your first concert after too long a pause, hear the Oakland Symphony perform live. Get the details.

Redwood City Presents Music on The Square. Then there are the toe tapping concerts on the courthouse square every Friday night through September 2nd. Tribute bands that sound like the real deal. My absolute favorite is “Foreverland” an electrifying tribute to Michael Jackson on August 26A different kind of tribute band, you won’t see any impersonations here. Instead, Foreverland simply aims to honor and do justice to the music and spirit of the King of Pop. You won’t be able to sit still! Of course, other phenomenal performers pay tribute to reggae, salsa and more. Get the details.



  • Kim Selby

    Kim Selby, the SF life editor of The Three Tomatoes, is your gal for info on what’s hot and happening in the beautiful bay area. Having lived on the Left Coast for 27 years, after almost a decade in NYC, she has explored and continues to have adventures all over the San Francisco area. Passionate about fashion, formerly with GLAMOUR magazine and Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue , Palo Alto, Kim produced fashion shows in the bay area for over 20 years. She now creates events to empower, delight and inspire women, aka “Tomatoes”. Learn more about Kim at www.kim-selby.com

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