January 2020 | Arts, music & events calendar

Foodies unite, Restaurant Week returns to Berkeley this January. 
 
The holidays are coming to a close and with that comes the final days of ice skating across the Bay, Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna, Winter Holidays at the Exploratorium and more. But the new year is bringing some new events and returning favorites to January's Arts, music & events calendar. Get ready, because 2020 is coming in hot with the return of Berkeley Restaurant Week, the continuation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, A.C.T.'s Wakey, Wakey, and so much more. Keep reading on for what's happening now and what's coming up this January.   

Happening Now

Photo courtesy of Embarcadero Center. 
 
Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center (through first week of Jan.) by Embarcadero.
 
Celebrate the holidays in San Francisco at the Bay Area's largest outdoor ice rink. Ride BART to Embarcadero station and walk four minutes to the twinkle-lit holiday ice rink across from the historic Ferry Building. The signature San Francisco ice rink is open until the first week of January and perfect for holiday fun. Tickets start at $12 for adults and $7 for children and are available online.
 
Winter Park Ice Rink at Civic Center (through Jan. 5) by Civic Center/UN Plaza.
 
In its second year, the newest winter-themed wonderland is coming back to San Francisco. The Winter Park Ice Rink at Civic Center is scheduled to open November 22 and run until January 5. It's San Francisco's holiday ice rink and track, which includes a 400-foot skating track weaving through a lighted tree forest. Tickets start at $13 and are available online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and the rink is in Civic Center Plaza, right in front of San Francisco City Hall. 
 
Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil. 
 
Shotgun Players’ Vinegar Tom (through Jan. 5) by Ashby
 
If witches have so much power, then why are they always poverty-stricken? Vinegar Tom is a wild mash-up of desperate women living in 17th century society with modern musical numbers connecting the tale to our own troubled times. This is writer Caryl Churchill at her best: raw, satirical, political, and mad as hell! Vinegar Tom begins previews on Friday, December 6; opens on Friday, December 13; and runs through Sunday, January 5 at the Ashby Stage, right across the street from Ashby station. Tickets are available online and range from $7-$42.
 
Cirque du Soleil Amaluna (through Jan. 12) by Embarcadero 
 
Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter's coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honors femininity, renewal, rebirth, and balance-which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next. In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera's daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith, and harmony. Under the Big Top at Oracle Park, tickets for Amaluna are available online and begin at $54. Take BART to Embarcadero and transfer to Muni T Third or take a 25-minute stroll along the Bay to the Big Top.
 
Walnut Creek on Ice (through Jan. 20) by Walnut Creek
 
Walnut Creek is usually known for warmer temperatures, but during winter it hosts this “cool” community gathering space of the East Bay. Public ice skating in Civic Park’s holiday ice skating rink let’s locals cruise alongside friends, kids, a signature Snowman, and even Disney characters. Not ready for skates? Less-confident skaters can rent gliders to still make their mark across the rink. Ice skating tickets start at $13, dependent on the skate date. Take BART to Walnut Creek and catch the free trolley to Civic Park.
 
Photo courtesy of the Exploratorium. 
 
Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square (through Jan. 20) by Powell St
 
The Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square returns to San Francisco's iconic plaza surrounded by festive lights, and the sights and sounds of the season. From families to friends to coworkers, everyone can enjoy this outdoor ice-skating experience. This San Francisco holiday tradition is at Union Square until January 20 and is only a three-minute walk from Powell St station. Tickets start at $13 and are available online.
 
Becky Nurse of Salem (through Jan. 26) by Downtown Berkeley
 
Becky Nurse is an outspoken, sharp-witted tour guide at the Salem Museum of Witchcraft who’s just trying to get by in post-Obama America. She’s also the descendant of Rebecca Nurse, who was infamously executed for witchcraft in 1692—but things have changed for women since then…haven’t they? After losing her job for calling out The Crucible in front of schoolkids, Becky visits a local witch for help. One spell leads to another, and then everything really goes off the rails. Becky Nurse of Salem is at Berkeley Rep until January 26 at Peet's Theatre, minutes from Downtown Berkeley station. Tickets range from $45-$65 and are available online
 
Winter Holidays at the Exploratorium (through Jan. 26) by Embarcadero
 
Looking for creative ways to spend quality time with loved ones? Celebrate the holidays Exploratorium-style as two winter traditions return—the whimsical handmade machines of Curious Contraptions and the dazzling lights of Glow. Explore hundreds of perception-altering exhibits, awaken your senses in our famous Tactile Dome, and savor adults-only Thursday nights at After Dark. Plus, you’ll find unusual holiday gifts for everyone on your list, from unique gadgets to an entire year of memorable experiences. Located at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, just 20 minutes from the Embarcadero station. Tickets range from $20-$30 and can be purchased online.
 
Photo courtesy of Curran Theater. 
 
 
Marvel at the spectacular artwork and large-scale installations from one of the most widely-celebrated cultural events in the world as No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man takes over the Oakland Museum of California. Each year the weeklong Burning Man event attracts over 70,000 people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Participants create and build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where experimental art installations—some ritually burned to the ground—are the centerpiece for innovators, makers, and a burgeoning artistic community. The exhibition will illuminate the values of Burning Man through its guiding Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. Don't miss the West Coast debut of the first major museum exhibition of its kind. More information and tickets can be found online. Take BART to Lake Merritt and walk five minutes to the museum. 
 
Soft Power at SFMOMA (through Feb. 17) by Montgomery St
 
Look inside Soft Power, SFMOMA's largest-ever contemporary art exhibition, and you'll find work centered on the enduring effects of slavery, California's ecological crises around fire and fracking, undocuQueer leadership, and the real repercussions of political wars. With 20 international artists exploring important and timely issues, Soft Power is a platform for valuable viewpoints historically excluded from the museum space. Tickets are available online ranging from $25 for Adults, $22 for Seniors, $19 for Young Adults and free for Members and for visitors 18 and under. Take BART to Montgomery St station and walk 5 minutes to the museum.
 
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (through May 17) by Powell St
 
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne is coming to San Francisco’s Curran. With record-breaking productions currently running in London and New York, as well as the February 2019 opening of the first Australian production in Melbourne, the San Francisco production will mark the fourth engagement of the smash hit play, as well as its West Coast premiere in North America. Tickets can be purchased online and start at $59. Take BART to Powell St and walk seven minutes to the theater.  

Coming Up

In the Name of Love, photo courtesy of Living Jazz. 
 
Art of the African Diaspora (Jan. 14-Mar. 13) by Richmond 
 
Art of the African Diaspora is a group exhibition featuring work by over 150 artists of African descent. The exhibition is held at the Richmond Art Center beginning January 14 and runs through March 13. This exhibition is accompanied by self-guided open studios and satellite exhibitions. Admission to the galleries is free and open to the public Tuesday-Saturday. 
 
Ron Nagle: Handsome Drifter (Jan. 15-June 14) by Downtown Berkeley
 
Ron Nagle has made stunning, entirely unique small sculptures since the 1960s, producing a body of work that is as original as it is mischievous. He mixes allusions to modernism, middlebrow culture, and the specific pop sensibility of Northern California in exquisitely formed works that are often no bigger than a few inches. This exhibition marks his first survey in the Bay Area in over twenty-five years.  Tickets range from $5-$20 and can be purchased at the door.  Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk three minutes to the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).
 
 
Join Living Jazz for their exhilarating civic and cultural celebration that brings our diverse community together to honor, through music, the inspirational teachings of the great Dr. King. Featuring Tony Lindsay, Raz Kennedy, Tammi Brown, Clif Payne, Tiffany Austin, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the Living Jazz Children's Project choral program. In the Name of Love is Sunday, January 19 at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center, a nine-minute walk from Lake Merritt. Tickets are available online and start at $25.
 
Berkeley Restaurant Week (Jan. 21-31) by various Berkeley stations
 
Starting Tuesday, January 21 and running through Friday, January 31. restaurants across Berkeley will offer special-value prix fixe menus for $25, $30 or $40. With over 35 restaurants participating, you can discover new places, or revisit favorites that share Berkeley's Cali-cuisine legacy. Many restaurants are a short walking distance from the Berkeley stations, making Restaurant Week BARTable! 
 
SF Ballet Cinderella (Jan. 21-Feb. 2) by Civic Center
 
See the timeless tale of Cinderella with stunning style, charming twists, and mesmerizing visual effects. SF Ballet leaves behind the fairy godmother and talking mice in favor of a delightfully human story with a hopeful heroine, a noble prince, tiny feet, and ill-fitting shoes. Set to a gorgeous score with colorful sets and costumes, magical projections, and breathtaking puppetry, this Cinderella is a fairy tale for our time.  Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and travel 8 minutes to the War Memorial Opera House.  Tickets range $35-$400 and can be purchased online.
 
Booker T. Jones, photo courtesy of Freight & Salvage.
 
Wakey, Wakey (Jan. 23-Feb. 16) by Powell St 
 
“Is it now? I thought I had more time.” Over the course of a very special hour, a man considers his entire life. What does he remember? What will he share? What does it mean? Funny, quirky, and provocative, A.C.T.'s Wakey, Wakey is an intimate new comedy from Obie Award–winning playwright Will Eno and a surprising yet familiar look at what it means and how it feels to be human. Wakey, Wakey is playing January 23 through February 16 at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater, just five minutes from Powell St. Tickets are available online and range from $25-$110. 
 
Django Reinhardt Birthday Festival (Jan. 24-26) by Downtown Berkeley 
 
Join Freight & Salvage to celebrate the life and music of Django Reinhardt with three days of shows and workshops. Festival Artistic Director Paul Mehling and The Freight’s program director Peter Williams have assembled an all-star, international lineup of musicians. This festival runs January 24-26 at Freight & Salvage, minutes from Downtown Berkeley. Tickets range from $23-$45 for single day tickets or $110 for a three day pass and are available online.
 
Booker T. Jones (Jan. 31-Feb. 1) by Downtown Berkeley 
 
Booker T. Jones, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, winner of four GRAMMY Awards and recipient of a GRAMMY Award for Lifetime Achievement, will treat fans prior to the musical performance to an intimate reading from his forthcoming autobiography Time is Tight, followed by a short Q&A opportunity. In an emotional musical journey, Booker T. will then perform the songs that make up the fabric of his musical identity and material from his new album Note By Note. Booker T. Jones will be at Freight & Salvage January 31-February 1, minutes away from Downtown Berkeley. Tickets are available online and begin at $18. 

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